Nassau County counselor speaks at Gural JCC

Dr. Steven Levey helps parents steer their children through the school year

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No matter the age or grade, school could be a difficult place for a number of students, and conversely helping guide a child through the educational obstacles could be quite the challenge for any parent, especially with the prevalence of technology that pervades daily life.

To help parents learn what they need to do steer their children correctly and keep them on the right course, the Marion & Aaron Gural JCC held the first of four sessions in the Parenting Today’s Child series hosted by Dr. Steven Levey on Nov. 13 as part of its two-month-old Center for Jewish Family Living. Levey is, the director of counseling at the Hebrew Academy of Nassau County. The series takes place at the JCC’s Harrison-Kerr Family Campus on Central Avenue in Lawrence.

“We know that it’s difficult to navigate the school,” said the JCC’s Associate Executive Director Stacey Feldman. “You always want what’s best for your child, you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of them.”

Dr. Levey covered a wide range of topics that could affect how a teenager performs in school. Many of these factors overlap, such as health and technology. He explained how widespread vaping has become in schools and how it can affect the brain of a teenager, which is still developing until age 25.

Sleep was another important point that Dr. Levey covered. Students often have to wake up early for school, but technology interferes with a healthy sleeping pattern as talking on their cell phones appears to keep teens from going to bed at a regular time. He explained that the effects of sleep deprivation could often mimic the symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder, including an inability to concentrate, difficulty learning new concepts and irritability.

“Look at their sleep,” Levey said. “Their phones are on [when they sleep] but they keep it on vibrate an on their desk. But we know that the REM (rapid eye movement) sleep or the deep sleep is the one that’s rejuvenating. When that light goes off it pulls you out of REM sleep and you have to start the cycle over.”

Healthy communication and nutrition was also addressed in the first session. There will be three more seminars in this series. Effective communication on Dec. 18, using technology wisely on Jan. 15 and resiliency in the age of everyone gets a trophy on Feb. 12. For more information or to register contact Feldman at (516) 569-6733 or at stacey.feldman@guraljcc.org.