As of today, the high-achieving suburb of Newton begins a new effort to combat stress in teens: helping their parents relax.
The town is hosting four seminars for parents to help them “relax and reboot” and learn some strategies to better take care of themselves and their stressed-out teenage kids.
In case you live in Newton and are thinking of attending, sorry. They’re already full. But the town is offering several related programs, including An Open Conversation on April 30 for parents to talk about “how we define success in a high achieving community and how that impacts the stress on our teens.”
National statistics suggest that teenage stress is at an all-time high, with kids apparently adopting adult-levels of stress, according to the latest American Psychological Association report on stress in America.
In Newton, the issue is particularly poignant because three Newton high school students took their own lives during the current school year.
But even before the suicides, Newton had decided to take a somewhat novel approach. It applied for and received a “mental health and well-being” grant — $30,000 over three years — to, in effect, allow students, parents and teachers to take a massive exhale and figure out ways, large and small, to take the edge off growing up.
One solution was to contract with the Benson Henry Institute of Mind-Body Medicine, based at Massachusetts General Hospital, and offer the stress-reduction sessions.
The town was already aware of its stress-related problems: Continue reading