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Supporting our Kids Well Being

     Well-being is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as a state if being comfortable, healthy and happy. Helping our children develop this state of being is a crucial process in their development. All children are complex and require a special decoding mechanism to decipher the messages they send to us. One day they are exuberant and the next day they are sullen and unapproachable. How we navigate the uncertain emotional state is often challenging and confusing for adults to comprehend. We have dreams and high hopes for our kids. We set standards of expectation and sometimes we make demands of them that are supposed to prepare them for a perfect future. What happens when this preparation process of nurturing and cultivating does not turn out how we expect? Do we blame others? Do we apply more pressure? Do we accept our kids for who they are? This is not an easy journey but there is help along the way.

     Peer pressure and family expectations for perfection with no room for failure are two common themes often heard at the high school. The main phrase from students is all my friends are taking this class, so I must take it. From parents, my student is good in math so as a 9th grader he must be ready to take AP Calculus BC. The resolve is honor code violations due to the student’s inability to maintain the extended expectations of a rigorous schedule. The parents are left with feelings of embarrassment and shame that their child had to turn to these measures to be successful.

     Today’s expectation for students to excel at faster rates is astonishing. The messages we send in this highly competitive culture plays a major role in our student’s well-being. We must take a step back and really get to know our child’s strengths and challenges. Our children are more than an exceeding standardized test score or a perfect grade point average. They are creative, athletic, musically inclined, curious about nature, and artistic and so much more. The context that we build where academics is most important leaves minimal room for total well-being.

      Fulton County Schools is organized in feeder patterns – elementary, middle and high schools which are aligned according to neighborhoods. Each school has a Student Support Team that includes a School Counselor, School Psychologist and a School Social Worker. This team is often supported by a Graduation Coach, 504 Coordinator, RTI Coordinator and Instructional Support Teacher (IST). The Student Support Team is available to help navigate all aspects of a student’s total well-being by providing academic advisement, social emotional support, and connections to community resources. It is important as a parent to get to know the school personnel as they are a resource of knowledge and expertise available to support you along this journey. As a parent, you can get involved in school by participating in PTA, PTO, PTSA, School Governance Council or even volunteering in your child’s classroom. Parent engagement activities can give you perspective of the educational process which can help you relate to your child’s experience at school.

      Life is a journey of life experiences. Our students deserve the opportunity to experience life by exploring their interests, building friendships, and setting goals for the future. Parents get the benefit of seeing this growth process unfold by providing healthy boundaries that build resilience and confidence. The good news is we don’t have to travel through this journey alone. A community is built by all of aspects of society working and supporting one another to ensure the next generation experience a great sense of well-being.

     Visit for detailed information about the Student Support Team that serves your school.

Alicia McClung, MSW

School Social Worker

Chattahoochee High School

Northview High School

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