Brooklyn Center, MN: District educates parents on toxic stress at home/behavior problems in school

Feb 9, 2018, New Hope, MN, Sun Post: City hosts ‘Stress of Parenting’ event The city of Brooklyn Center and the Brooklyn Center Community Schools District jointly presented “The Stress of Parenting: A Look at Mental Health in Adolescents” hosted by psychotherapist and behavioral health consultant Brandon Jones Jan. 31. The presentation was aimed to begin a dialogue between community members on trauma and toxic stress, two factors that affect teens’ psychological growth. Jones began the discussion by saying his goal was not to shame parents but to provide context for what attendees’ teenagers may be going through. As part of his introduction, he asked parents in attendance what issues their teens typically face each day. … Trauma, according to Jones, is an emotional wound that persists over time. It happens unexpectedly, quickly and often. Jones then presented what he called the Adverse Childhood Experiences Pyramid. At the bottom of this pyramid lies adverse experiences, which include toxic environments in the home. This leads to disrupted neurological development, which then moves into poor social and cognitive development. The next tier is adoption of risky behaviors such as drugs, premature sexual activity and drinking. Teen years are when an individual is likely to pick up on addictive behavior. The end result, at the top of the pyramid, is an increased probability of premature death. … Jones said many of his behavioral health clients used substances to deal with their problems. Some kids even bully others in order to cope. “Hurt people hurt people,” he said. “Bullies and the bullied experience trauma.” Toxic stress Jones then moved to discuss how toxic stress and trauma affect the brain and its development, saying these issues affect development to the point that teens feel the pain of their childhood trauma into adulthood…. “You don’t want your child going through trauma,” Jones said. “Most young people deal with stress through violence. They act out. Violence is split into two ways: hard and soft violence.” Soft violence involves verbal altercations and emotional abuse between peers. This can often escalate into hard violence, which involves the obvious: shoving, fist fights and bringing weapons to school. …

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