Back to School: Food Allergy Bullying, Talking to Teens About Stress, and Life-Changing Middle Grade Books
Here’s how to help your allergic child deal with food bullying
By Suzanne Allard Levingston
Here are experts’ recommendations for schools, students and parents on dealing with food allergy bullying.
Talk to your child. If you have a child with a food allergy, you should start a conversation in a nonthreatening way, said Scott Sicherer of the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. Ask, “Has anyone ever made you feel bad about your food allergy, or bothered or teased you about it? It’s okay to let me know, you won’t get into any trouble, but I know this happens to some kids, and schools can do something about it without involving me or you directly.”
If your child responds that, yes, she has been a victim of bullying, Sicherer recommends explaining to the child that adults will get involved to help. He suggests that parents discuss this with the school administration. The school can institute its anti-bullying procedures, ideally including education about the seriousness of food allergies. (Procedures and laws vary by state.)
Talking to Teens about Stress
By the American Psychological Association
Stress isn’t just a problem for adults. Young people, too, frequently experience unhealthy levels of stress, as the APA’s 2013 Stress in America survey shows.
The survey found that 13- to 17-year-olds are experiencing stress levels higher than they consider to be healthy. School is the top source of stress for teens, followed by the pressure of getting into a good college or deciding what to do after high school.
That stress is leading to emotional and physical symptoms for many young people. The survey found that more than a quarter of teens report symptoms including neglecting responsibilities, feeling overwhelmed, having negative thoughts or changes in sleeping habits. More than a third reported feeling tired, feeling nervous or anxious, or experiencing irritability and anger.
15 Life-Changing Middle Grade Books
Great story + life lesson = 15 middle grade books worth checking out!
by Elizabeth Mulvahill
Sometimes finding books for kids in the middle grades (4-9) can be tricky, especially if you’re looking for well-written, engaging, stories that will make a deep and lasting impact. Check out these awesome recommendations from the experts on our WeAreTeachers Helpline.
1. Half a World Away by Cynthia Kadohata
“Teaches that family is not always about what you’re born into. Takes a difficult look at adopting older children from overseas…the obstacles and the relentless love these moms have for their children. Makes even the toughest kid tear up. Great lessons that are oh-so-subtle.” —Heidi S.