Using Spark as a Family

wheel

Here’s a little-known fun fact about Lucero: Long before we built an app, we created Quest Cards: a conversation card deck with questions that youth and families could use to spark conversations around the dinner table. With prompts like, “If your personality were a color, what would it be?” and “Tell a story about one […]

Tips for Managing Back to School Stress

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Any transition can create stress, and going back to school is a big transition for teens. At the start of the school year, they may be navigating a mixture of social anxiety, academic pressure, disrupted routines, unfamiliar situations, and other challenges, all at once. Whether they are excited, anxious, or somewhere in between, all teens […]

How an Emotion Wheel Pillow Inspired the Creation of Spark

wheel emotions

“With tweens and teens, it’s pretty common to hear ‘I don’t know how to describe what I’m feeling,’” says Meagan Butler, LPC. “And often, multiple emotions are happening at the same time.” As a therapist, Butler found assistance in the form of a fluffy pillow featuring the Emotion Wheel, an emotional regulation tool that helps […]

The Rise in Loneliness and What to Do About It

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2023 marked the release of a public health advisory unlike any other in history. Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation: The U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory on the Healing Effects of Social Connection and Community calls out the profound impact of loneliness on mental and physical health, with a special focus on adolescents. Dr. Vivek Murthy […]

How Connection Addresses Stress, Anxiety and Pressure

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In a 2018 survey by the American Psychological Association, teens reported higher levels of stress, depression and anxiety and worse overall mental health than any other age group. The sources of that stress are complex, including everything from academic pressures and negative thoughts and feelings about themselves to fears about mass shootings, climate change and […]

5 Strategies to Encourage Self-Compassion With Your Teen

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Did you know that one of the top causes of teen stress is negative thoughts and feelings about themselves? Neurological, biological and social changes during adolescence make teens more self-conscious, and that can quickly lead to self-judgment and self-criticism. To stop the cycle, teach your teen how to practice self-compassion. “Self-compassion is simply giving the […]

Why Did We Include Connection With Our App Model?

three phone mockup lucero

Connection is a core component of adolescent mental health. Without supportive relationships, tweens and teens are far more likely to experience depression and anxiety and to be at risk for self-harm. Positive relationships with family, friends and others build tweens’ and teens’ self-esteem, increase their resilience, lower their risk of anxiety and depression, and even […]

Tips for Nurturing Your Teen’s Emotional Intelligence

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Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is a secret superpower. In the book Emotional Intelligence, author and psychologist Daniel Goleman suggests that EQ may be even more important in life than IQ. Goleman and other researchers believe the full spectrum of human intelligence includes the ability to understand, express and regulate one’s own emotions and to have […]

Raising a Curious Teen

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Curiosity is one of the top qualities we should help our teens cultivate, according to researcher Elyse Salek. Why? “Because rapid brain growth during adolescence results in even greater potential benefits to memory and learning,” Salek says. “Teens are developing the capacity to think critically and reason thoughtfully. The underlying force of many of these […]

Why Emotional Regulation is so Important for Teens

Encouraging message "you got this" written on asphalt with colorful chalk.

The teen years are known for intense emotions with good reason. First, the prefrontal cortex – the part of the brain in charge of reasoning, logic and impulse control – is still developing in teens. Second, the hormones that spark puberty’s physical changes also amp up activity in the emotional and reward-seeking centers of the […]

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