Counseling Announcements

  • SUPPORTING CHILDREN AND TEENS

    DURING THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

    The holiday season is upon us. Families are dealing with stress from multiple sources, including COVID-19, and may not be able to celebrate the holidays as usual. Although parents/caregivers may feel the need to do more to “make up” for such a difficult year, remember, more is not always better. Decide as a family how you will make each holiday special this year.

    Given these changes, adults and children may experience waves of sadness, disappointment, loneliness, grief, and anger. It is important to not feel alone with these feelings, to have your feelings supported and validated by others, and to know that in the midst of these difficult times, you can create moments of joy, hope, and connection. While some traditions may have to shift due to these challenging times, this is also an opportunity to create new family traditions together.

     

    STRATEGIES AND IDEAS FOR THIS HOLIDAY SEASON: Finding ways to make this year special

     

    Start a Family Conversation: Acknowledge What Has Changed and How Family Members are Feeling

    • Talk to your children/teens about this holiday season.
    • Help them understand why things are different. You may want to share that you are doing things differently because you want to keep everyone safe and healthy.
    • Let them talk about their feelings, what they are sad about, what makes them upset.
      • Let them know that they are not alone. You hear them.
      • Validate their feelings. It makes sense that they are feeling sad, disappointed, frustrated, angry . . . because the holidays are not the same, because they miss friends and family . . .
      • You may want to let them know that you are also sad and upset that so much has changed and that things are not the way you want them to be.
      • Even when you can’t “fix” things, you are giving children the gift of your support.
    • If loved ones have died during this year, find a way to honor their memory this holiday season and find ways to share your feelings as a family.
    • Think together about your family values and traditions related to the holidays (the way you celebrate may change, but the meaning behind the holiday does not).

    Find Ways to Make Connections

    • Connections are extremely important during the holiday season. Discuss how your family will stay connected to loved ones and friends.
      • Arrange Zoom calls to light candles, sing holiday songs, or simply laugh and share stories.
      • Check in with elderly family members and neighbors using current social distancing strategies.
      • Create a small social pod that may be able to gather together for in-person holiday celebrations.
    • Learn how gifts for teachers at your children/teens’ school are being managed or ask about suggestions for these gifts.
    • Find out what activities may be happening in your community to celebrate different holidays. Possibilities include:
      • Zoom holiday services
      • Zoom candle lighting for Hanukkah or Kwanza
      • Drive-in Christmas tree lighting and/or caroling
    • Improve your mood by helping others, even when you may be stressed. Because your children/teens do not always see your donations to charity or worthy causes, think of a way to help others in which your children/teens can also participate.
    • Volunteer as a family to:
      • Deliver meals or prepare food boxes for food banks
      • Wrap toys donated for a toy drive
      • Walk shelter dogs or play with cats
      • Have each family member suggest one way to contribute an act of kindness to others
    • Consider sending a special card to someone you know who is alone or may need some cheering up. Make a baked good and leave it at their door.

    Small Moments Matter

    • Ask your children/teens about one thing they would like to do this holiday season. Brainstorm together creative ways to make this activity happen.
    • Together, start a new tradition. In years to come, everyone will certainly remember how and why this new tradition got started, thus creating new holiday memories. Let your children/teens help decide what the new tradition should be, like:
      • Making homemade decorations
      • Cooking a favorite dish (if you know, share the story about how this dish became a holiday favorite in your family)
      • Making homemade cards to send to special family, friends, and members of the community
      • Singing holiday songs
    • Take a break from the media. Play a family game, watch something enjoyable on television, read a book, listen to music, build a snowman, or take a walk outside.

    Keep to a Routine and Notice the Good Things

    • Maintain routines as much as possible for everyone. Schedules and routines tend to disappear during the holiday season, however, they can help reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.
    • Recognize and share what each family member is grateful for this holiday season, including things you appreciate about each family member.
    • When you see a behavior you like in your children/teens, tell them. A bit of praise, encouragement, and positive notice from you can make all the difference. This can be very simple. Things you could say include:
      • “I really appreciate the way you helped with dinner.”
      • “Thank you for watching a movie/playing a game with your sister while I finished up my work.”
      • “I like how hard you are working on the holiday card. I’m sure it will be appreciated.”
    • 2021 is right around the corner. As it approaches, talk together about what you are proud of accomplishing in this very strange and challenging year of 2020. As the New Year approaches, consider having each family member set both a personal goal and a family goal to accomplish in 2021. Celebrate in some small way when the goals are achieved.

     

    Check out CDC guidance to make holiday gatherings safer.

     

    TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

    Just as you work to take care of your children/teens, remember to take care of yourself. When you take care of yourself, you are likely to be less anxious, depressed, and stressed. This will also increase your patience with your children/teens, which in turn, helps to reduce their distress. Modeling your own self-care also increases the likelihood that your children/teens will do the same.

     

    From the NCTSN

    Click here for the full fact sheet. 

     

     

     

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Tips for Students to Process Post-Election News

    ·         Treat others with respect and dignity regardless of differences in culture and beliefs.

    ·         Acknowledge your feelings.  You may feel that you’ve suffered an emotional loss, so give yourself time to heal.

    ·         Take a break from the news and allow yourself to feel, no matter the outcome.

    ·         Safely connect with friends and family.  Try not to isolate if you are having a strong response.

    ·         Do something that brings your joy or something that brings joy to others.

    ·         Offer a listening ear to others

    Remember: Despite our political affiliation we all have the ability to give care and receive care.

     

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Helping Students Process Difficult News

    The talking points below were created from two articles.  The full articles are below.

    Seek to understand the truth for yourself- If the adult has a solid understanding of the situation (good and bad), communicating with children will be easier.

    Think about what you want to say- “Some advanced planning can make the discussion easier.”

    Listen and clarify- “Encourage your kids to share what they already know, let them ask questions, and then offer simple, age-appropriate, clarifying information.  With every news report…, we can help them to patiently wait for all the information to come out, instead of latching onto the scary rumors that seem to fly around when such things happen.”- Eric Rasmussen, PhD.

    It’s also okay to use the words ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I’m not sure’ when asked why the event is happening.  Children can both sense and appreciate genuineness and honesty.

    For parents, share your feelings with your child- Parents are role models…even with emotions.

    Look for the helpers- look for those attempting to do good/the right thing.  Helpers could be parents, caring counselors or others trying to help ease the uncertainty.  Encourage children to become helpers as well in their own way.

    Reassure- “Kids need to know that the adults in their lives are there to help and protect them.  Reassure them that they are safe and loved – and that they can always bring their questions and worries to you and that you will work through them together.”- Eric Rasmussen, PhD

     

    Click Here to Read Dr. Rasmussen's Full Article

     

    Click Here to Read the Full APA Article

     

     

    Comments (-1)
  • COVID-19 Resources

    Here are some suggested resources to consider as you provide support to your children regarding COVID-19.

    Parents are encouraged to:

    • Limit their children’s exposure to the media
    • Provide a calming influence as needed
    • Help children address their fears if needed

     

    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/managing-stress-anxiety.html

     

    https://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources-and-podcasts/school-climate-safety-and-crisis/health-crisis-resources/talking-to-children-about-covid-19-(coronavirus)-a-parent-resource

     

    https://www.healthline.com/health-news/how-to-talk-to-kids-about-the-coronavirus

     

    https://childmind.org/article/talking-to-kids-about-the-coronavirus/

     

    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/coronavirus-how-to-talk-to-kids-disease_l_5e5c615ac5b601022113151d

     

    https://adaa.org/finding-help/coronavirus-anxiety-helpful-resources

     

     Talking to Children About COVID-19

     

    Coping with Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks

     

     

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Suicide Warning Signs and Risk Factors

    The most powerful suicide prevention is being aware of the common symptoms and signs in friends, children, and loved ones and taking the necessary steps to get them the help they need. 

    Information on suicide warning signs and risk factors, along with resources available through FBISD and Mental Health America-Fort Bend County may be found at the link below.

    Suicide Warning Signs and Risk Factors

    Comments (-1)

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About Counseling

  • Professional School Counselors are available at Fort Settlement Middle School to provide a Comprehensive Developmental Guidance Program and services for all students in the areas of:

    • Guidance Curriculum - In an effort to help students develop competence in essential life skills
    • Responsive Services - Provide intervention for immediate personal/social/emotional concerns
    • Individual Planning - Provide guidance to help students plan, monitor, and manage their personal, educational and career goals, and facilitate transition activities for post-secondary education and/or training
    • System Support - Support campus staff, parents, and community to promote the educational, career, personal, and social development of students, as well as the Developmental Guidance Program.

Counselors

  •                      
    Marla Angibeau                                                          Armatta                                                                                                        
    Marla Angibeau                                                             Stefanie Armatta
    Lead Counselor                                                             Counselor
                                                                      
    2020-21 ~ Grade 7                                                       2020-21 ~ Grade 6
    (281) 634-6447                                                             (281) 634-6448

     

     

     KK                                                                    

     
    Kristin Kendrick                                                             
    Counselor                                                                      Counselor Clerk
                                                                                            
    2020-21 ~ Grade 8                                                       (281) 634-6452
    kristin.kendrick@fortbendisd.com                            (281) 634-6458 - fax
    (281) 634-6449