The Collaborative Spirit of six Communities in Schools (CIS) Student Support Coordinators in Spring Branch ISD resulted in an evening of “ah-has” for more than 120 parents and students recently.
CIS sponsored an evening presentation at Memorial Church of Christ by Dr. Jennifer Collier on the topic of “Your Teenager’s Brain: Drugs, Technology & Addiction.”
Parents from the Spring Branch ISD area heard about the brain science behind addictions and how teenage brain development is harmed by excesses of substance abuse and digital usage, such as gaming, pornography and cyber-bullying.
“Students these days have such access to so much more than they can handle on their own,” said Carly Kirk, CIS Wellness Counselor at Memorial High School, who helped organize the collaborative event for parents.
“It is so important for our parents to be well-equipped to guide them and provide appropriate boundaries in and outside the home,” said Kirk.
Dr. Collier explained that the frontal lobe of the brain controls the empathy skills of decision-making, rational thought, impulse control and problem-solving. When a developing brain is affected by addictions, a young person’s social-emotional ability to develop healthy relationships is also hampered.
Research says that the earlier teens use any substance, the greater the risk of addiction. Teens first using before the age of 15 have a greater than 28 percent risk of addiction.
Online tools for monitoring and regulating harmful digital usage were provided to the parents by Collier.
Translation services were provided during the presentation so that several parents were able to hear the presentation in Spanish.
At the conclusion of the event, one parent said, “Dr. Collier was able to answer so many questions I’ve had about how to look out for red flags with my teenager. I feel more prepared to help my child as she continues to grow and develop to her full potential.”
By Becky Wuerth, SBISD Communications