I want to thank those parents who were able to attend last week’s evening session with Dr. Alex Russell. Dr. Russell emphasized that parents play a key role in helping their children manage anxiety and build resilience.
One of the ways we can help children build “adaptive anxiety” (Russell defines this as the ability to make good decisions in new or negative situations) is by using real situations as opportunities to place events into proper perspective.
For example, on Monday, Division 53 of the Toronto Police Services issued a crime alert to schools located within a 1 km radius of Yonge and Eglinton, which indicated that in recent months there had been an increase in “swarming-type robberies involving teenagers.” Some parents shared this message with me, as well as a list of street-proofing tips prepared by the Ontario Principals’ Council . It would be helpful if you discussed this situation with your children, as like you, we want all of our students to be safe.
Teaching teenagers to be vigilant with their personal property and of their surroundings, and to avoid being overly ostentatious when out in public is good common sense when travelling in and outside of Toronto.
In speaking with your children, it might also be worth noting despite this crime alert and other prominent violent crimes that have happened recently in the city, statistically, Toronto is one of Canada’s safest major cities, as crime rates have declined over the past 30 years. However, the 24/7 news cycle and the proliferation of social media may lead people to believe that the world is an unsafe place, which can intensify feelings of anxiety among parents and children.