The Parents' Night Out series will be highlighting the growing issue of anxiety among young people.
Helping Kids Navigate Anxiety is the topic of a free parent information session that's being held tonight (Thursday, Jan. 19) at Ecole Glenbrook Middle School. The session runs from 7 to 9 p.m. and is open to all parents and caregivers in New Westminster.
"It is definitely an issue that is increasing over time," said Dana Gavrilescu, the New Westminster School District's psychologist. "I think the truth is, it is on the rise across the spectrum in adults and in kids. As adults, we are better able to address anxiety ourselves and seek out help. Even then, there is a lot of stigma attached."
Gavrilescu will discuss anxiety in children and teens, with the aim of both informing parents and giving them practical strategies that they can use to help their children deal with anxiety.
"It is not always easy to see when a child has anxiety problems," she noted. "They could present themselves as difficult or they might cry easily or may not pay attention."
Gavrilescu believes parents benefit by learning about anxiety and how it manifests itself in children.
"I think it can be a really crippling sort of problem for a child," she said. "It can interfere with all sorts of aspects of school - academically and socially."
The Parents Night Out series is a five-part information series sponsored by the New Westminster School District's community schools and drug and alcohol prevention programs, New Westminster Parks, Culture and Recreation, Fraserside Community Services Society, the Ministry of Children and Family Development, youth probation, the New Westminster Police Service and the New Westminster Teachers' Union. Future sessions include: Internet and social media awareness (Feb. 15 at Queensborough Middle School); building positive relationships with your children (March 14 at New Westminster Secondary School); and trends in teen alcohol and drug use (April 11 at Lord Tweedsmuir Elementary School).
Refreshments are provided and free child minding is available for children aged three and up.
For general attendance and child minding, register by calling 604-527-4567 or online at www.newestpcr.ca or just show up. Children are also welcome to attend the presentations.