Health and Wellness

Psychologist addresses RE parents

Dr. Deborah Offner, a clinical psychologist with expertise in student and family counseling, met virtually with RE middle school parents on October 19 and upper school parents October 26, sharing tips on how to help their children cope during these tumultuous times. Titled “Variable Moods, Viral Videos and Virtual Classrooms: Relating to your student in 2020,” the webinars took place at the conclusion of two seamless days of virtual parent-teacher conferences.
Dr. Offner, who has taught and counseled adolescents for more than two decades, addressed hundreds of RE families from her home office in the suburbs of Boston. A mother of a high school senior, Dr. Offner attributed the surge in stress and anxiety on adolescents to three sources: the pandemic; racial injustice and unrest; and economic/political issues. She urged parents to be good listeners, taking the time to acknowledge their childrens' concerns and frustrations, large and small.

The ultimate goal: to help them find meaning and purpose. She also encouraged parents to take comfort in the fact that their children would continue to grow and learn – regardless of the circumstances.

"No matter what's going on, that growth will just kind of push through whatever is in its way," she said. "They are creative; they are thoughtful; they are finding ways to make the most of this situation. I don't believe our kids' development is really being interrupted."

Dr. Offner reminded parents that their children weren't their only priorities.

"You've got to take care of yourself," she said. "If you're not breathing easily, they won't either ... You need to preserve yourself so you can be present for your kids."
She answered many questions and shared the following resources:

Middle School Resources

Far From The Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity (2012) Andrew Solomon

Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls in the Seven Transitions into Adulthood (2016) Lisa Damour

How To Talk so Kids will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk (2002) Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish

The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives (2018) William Stixrud & Ned Johnson

All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood (2014) Jennifer Senior

It Didn’t Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle (2016) Mark Wolynn

Upper School Resources

Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Anxiety and Stress in Girls (2019) Lisa Damour

Where You Go is not Who You’ll Be: an Antidote to the College Admissions Mania (2015) Frank Bruni

At What Cost? Defending Adolescent Development in Fiercely Competitive Schools (2016) Gleason, David L.

Staying Connected to Your Teenager, Revised Edition: How to Keep Them Talking to You and How to Hear What They're Really Saying (2017) Mike Riera
It Didn’t Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are How to End the Cycle (2016) Mark Wolynn

The Steve Fund
Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.