ASK AWAY with Ari and Drew
Our wellness team, Ari Handel and Drew Fidler, are here to address your burning parenting situations. Send in your questions to [email protected] and you may see them (anonymously) published and answered here!
My teen is trying out for varsity, and I know how badly they want to make it since I was also on varsity in my high school days. What can I do to help set them up for success and make sure they have a great self-care routine? —Sporty Mom
It is wonderful that your teen is taking a risk! Healthy risk can be scary but is vital to teens building and developing their struggle muscle and building their long-term resilience. As your teen goes through this process, there are few key things to keep in mind:
Putting themselves out there: Some teens are going to talk to their friends, and some are going to come to you. It is important to remember that your role in this process is to be the sideline cheerleader and emotional trashcan. This isn’t about reliving your experience but helping them to get what they want out of the process. Think about things you can do to support them: helping to set alarms, providing healthy snacks, being a safe space. Teens can be hyper-focused on what this means about them and their future (college, social status, etc.), and we want to help ramp down that pressure.
Validating their feelings: It is normal for them to be excited, nervous, and feel the full roller-coaster of emotions. Be the safe space where they can express themselves without judgement. Try not to pathologize behaviors, but instead validate and support that it is normal to feel this way. Going through this process and all of the emotions will help them be better equipped to handle challenges in the future.
Winning gracefully OR managing failure/disappointment: They (and you) have made it and it's time to read the results. If they make it OR not, reinforce that they should be proud of themselves, the work they put in, and putting themselves out there. Celebrate the wins, big and small. If they don’t make it, it is normal for a teen to be upset or angry; be supportive and present, ask if they want to vent, but don’t try to make it all go away or force them to be happy.
My teen is starting high school this year and I’m worried about what the transition will look like. What can I do to help set them up for success this year and help to make sure they have a great self-care routine? —Getting Prepped Papa
In the back-to-school process, you play a vital role in helping your teen create and maintain healthy habits. Self-care looks different for everyone and what a teen needs may vary. Some basic essentials that should be on every list are sleep, rest, proper diet, exercise, and time away from school.
Help your teen to think about a goal or two for themselves for the year, and plan in advance of stressful times. Focus on the things that after, make them feel rested and restored. Do they like music, running, journaling, drawing, or yoga? Also, it's helpful for teens to think about their warning signs and ways they can communicate with you or someone else when they are feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
Self-care can be physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions, so help them think creatively about what truly helps them and give them examples of what works for you.
Meet Our Wellness Team
BBYO’s Senior Director of Wellness and Inclusion
A certified Youth Mental Health First Aid trainer, Ari supports teens throughout all BBYO programs with any needed accommodations, modifications, and support, and trains staff and volunteer advisors to ensure that teens’ needs are being met. Ari also focuses on promoting inclusion in several programing areas including LGBTQ+, mental health, disability, global, and more. Ari is responsible for hiring and supervising BBYO wellness staff, including a team of social workers and nurses, at all immersive experiences. You can reach Ari at [email protected].
Senior Director of BBYO’s Center for Adolescent Wellness
Drew is a child wellness expert with experience educating, promoting, and implementing policies and practices to support adolescents’ physical, mental, and emotional health. She a licensed clinical social worker, and an honors graduate of NYU Silver School of Social Work and Skidmore College. Drew spent seven years with the Baltimore Child Abuse Center, and has been a key resource for camps and youth-serving organizations throughout North America, crafting policy and providing support and training to staff on issues of child protection. You can reach Drew at [email protected].