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26 October 2021

Emotional resilience is key for children feeling stress from oil spill and a return to school

Parents can learn how to help children cope with stress through a free program made possible from OC Health Care Agency (OCHCA).

ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. – Parents, educators, and administrators this week have fielded questions from children concerned about the recent oil spill killing fish and birds. The concerns come at a time when some educators see changes in children back in the classroom after two grades at home from COVID-19. Parenting experts today in Orange County stressed the need for positive parenting that is proven to help a child’s ‘emotional wellbeing and resilience.’ The Positive Parenting Program can be accessed by parents at and is free to all OC parents.


“Before COVID, one in five California children needed help for emotional or behavioral problems including anxiety, depression, or acting out in harmful ways,”[1] said Dr. Randy Ahn, local Triple P Implementation Consultant. “These challenges aren’t going away. ‘Clinically elevated levels of depression and anxiety’ are likely to have doubled in children globally.[2] Educators and administrators are likely seeing children in their classrooms who struggle to focus for extended periods of time or who feel greater stress and anxiety than in prior years. The good news is that parents can learn fast and simple positive ways to help manage higher levels of stress and anxiety in their children.“


“The research is clear. Positive parenting improves the health and happiness of children, and that’s what we want for all Orange County children,” said Dr. Jeff Nagel, OCHCA. “This program is a resource OC parents can access on their smartphones and computers very easily in bite-sized moments. They can learn from world-class experts in child psychology. We know this program helps parents apply lessons that create a positive environment for their children.”


“Emotionally resilient children not only have skills that can help them cope better with the challenges of the pandemic, but those skills can also help improve academic outcomes,” said Triple P America CEO Brad Thomas. “Parents should learn to speak openly about stress and anxiety and help build resiliency in their children. We are thrilled to support the OCHCA’s efforts to reach as many parents as possible and we know this online positive parenting program is a great place for parents to start.”


Local OC parents who have completed the free program are speaking up about its benefits. Gladys Zuñiga a local Fullerton parent, said she and her daughter have benefitted from the free program.


“My daughter and I reference what we learned in the program all the time now,” Zuñiga said. “Slowing down. Breathing. Taking care of myself first and foremost so I can help my daughter feel safe and loved. She’s now in 1st grade and it’s the first time she’s ever been in a classroom with other kids. I’m working every day to create a positive learning environment for her.”


Every Orange County parent and caregiver of children and teens aged 0-16 can access Triple P Online, including the online guide to parenting during COVID-19, for free at online program is available in three languages—English, Spanish, and Arabic.


Triple P: Randy Ahn, Implementation Consultant, Triple P America: (310) 694-7566;

OC Health Care Agency: Julie MacDonald, Health Communications Manager: (714) 834-2178;

[2]Racine, N., McArthur, B. A., Cooke, J. E., Eirich, R., Zhu, J., & Madigan, S. (2021). Global prevalence of depressive and anxiety symptoms in children and adolescents during COVID-19: a meta-analysis. JAMA pediatrics. Published online August 9, 2021.