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Attachment-Based Teaching: Creating a Tribal Classroom

March 24th, 2015
I spend a lot of time in classrooms working with troubled kids — so I also spend time thinking about what’s missing in our schools. Louis Cozolino’s Attachment-Based Teaching: Creating a Tribal Classroom hits the nail on the head: What’s missing is a sense of connection, attachment, or belonging. Having completed my masters thesis on attachment and emotional regulation, I ...

Book Review: Bright Kids Who Can’t Keep Up

BOOK REVIEW.
Think back to middle school. Can you remember a classmate who often sat daydreaming in the back of the room, seemingly unengaged with the rest of the class’s activities? Consider the frustration that student might have felt when faced with the fast-paced interactions of teachers and peers, and then again at home with exasperated family ...

The Teacher’s Guide to Student Mental Health

BOOK REVIEW.
As a special education teacher with over fifteen years’ experience, I know that educators affect thousands of students throughout their careers. Of those thousands, one in five kids lives with a mental health disorder, and one in twenty has severe emotional disabilities. As Hiam Ginott wrote several decades ago in his book Teacher and Child, the teacher is “the decisive element in the ...

Positive Psychology in the Elementary School Classroom

BOOK REVIEW.
Plato wrote that the direction in which education starts a man will determine his future in life. But what is education in our modern world? School, as we know it now, is a place where the teacher attempts to teach to the average student, using a standardized curriculum. It is a place where teachers too often concentrate on content standards, ...

Mindfulness-Based Play-Family Therapy: Theory & Practice

BOOK REVIEW.
With an influx of research on mindfulness and self-awareness, even schools are beginning to notice. They, too, are learning the benefits of having students meditate and practice yoga. As a social worker who has worked with young students myself, I was interested in Dottie Higgins-Klein’s Mindfulness-Based Play-Family Therapy. In it, she sets out to help children heal from emotional suffering and ...

Part 2: Protecting Teens from Danger: Tips and Advice for Parents

Teens Reason WellBut Not Always With Emotional MaturityPart 1 in this series "Seduced by Risk and Danger: The Teenage Mindset" can be found here. It’s scary to think about how vulnerable teens are to danger. The teenage brain has been compared to a car with a powerful ...

Part 1: Seduced by Risk and Danger: The Teenage Mindset

Teenage Girl Holding Glass Of SpiritsThe teenage years pose the highest risk of any age group for behaviors leading to fatal or permanent injuries. Accidents are the leading cause of death of youth between ages 12-24. The top dangers, according to CDC surveys are: regular alcohol ...

No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos & Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind

BOOK REVIEW.
Parents, grandparents, caregivers, teachers, and anyone else in frequent contact with kids can all stand to learn more about how to stay calm. No-Drama Discipline offers example-backed tools to help us discipline children in a supportive and lasting way. This is not the first book that Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson have written together. Their earlier book was the ...

How Parents Can Help Teens Under Academic Pressure

Overcoming Test AnxietyWhen grades are slipping and teens don’t seem to be taking action, it’s easy to react from from frustration and helplessness. Under pressure, parents can fall into common traps without realizing it. Doing so unintentionally adds to kids’ anxiety and discouragement, which saps motivation ...

Book Review: Nineteen Minutes

BOOK REVIEW.
“To the thousands of kids out there who are a little bit different, a little bit scared, a little bit unpopular: this one’s for you.” So writes Jodi Picoult in the acknowledgments section of Nineteen Minutes, a novel that thoroughly dissects a school shooting. In the book, Picoult surfaces empathy in unexpected places — empathy for the shooter and empathy ...

Helping Kids Succeed in School Despite OCD

Helping Kids Succeed in School Despite OCDRoger’s parents were nervous about the new school year. They remembered how Roger’s OCD had surfaced. His fear of possibly choking on lunch food had kept him away for weeks. This problem subsided, but Roger’s OCD had morphed into contamination ...

Parental Involvement Equals School Success

Parental Involvement Equals School SuccessIt’s already August. Summer is fast coming to a close. For those with children, the end of summer means the beginning of the school year. You can’t ignore it. Stores are displaying notebooks, backpacks and back-to-school clothes. You may be already getting ...

8 Keys to End Bullying: Strategies for Parents & Schools

BOOK REVIEW.
A school playground aide sees third-grader Riley grab hold of classmate Liza’s scarf and choke her with it. Riley is subsequently viewed as the bully. But is there more to the story? What the aide hasn’t witnessed is the endless ridicule Riley has experienced from Liza and Liza’s best friend, Jada. Liza and Jada have learned ...

What Can Parents Do When OCD Sneaks In?

What Can Parents Do When OCD Sneaks In?Megan felt miserable. She and her family had relocated in the middle of the school year to another city. She was missing her friends and changes were difficult for her. It seemed the problems began one morning when she ...

Get the Kids Off Those Screens

Get the Kids off Those ScreensIt’s probably not new information for you. American children are now spending more time on the “screens” in their lives than on any other single activity. According to a 2010 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, children and teens were spending 50 ...

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and the Teen Brain

OCD and Teens' BrainsWhen my son Dan was at a residential treatment program to battle his severe obsessive-compulsive disorder, my husband and I were encouraged by the staff there to let him make his own major life decisions, without any input from us. This didn’t make sense ...

Overcoming Test Anxiety

Overcoming Test AnxietyAccording to Wikipedia, “test anxiety is a combination of perceived physiological overarousal, feelings of worry and dread, self-deprecating thoughts, tension, and somatic symptoms that occur during test situations. It is a physiological condition in which people experience extreme stress, anxiety, and discomfort during and/or before ...

Six Ways to Help Your Perfectionist Child Find Balance

Six Ways to Help your Perfectionist Child Find BalanceFour-year-old Max would crumple his paper when his drawing wasn’t perfect. He would start over, and often grow angry and eventually give up. His parents noticed his rigidity, but hoped he would grow out of it. When he ...

Five Telltale Signs Your Child is a Budding Perfectionist

Five Telltale Signs Your Child is a Budding PerfectionistI once met a young man who had had many successes in his youth. He was intelligent and outgoing. He had always been the star in high school and had enjoyed the praise he received from others, but ...

Boys Need Help with Self-Esteem, Too

Boys Need Help with Self-Esteem, TooI’ve been writing an advice column for years. Lately, I’ve been receiving more and more letters from boys who feel bad about themselves, who are depressed that the only friends they have are online, and who feel directionless. Some aren’t doing ...

Helping Your Anxious Child Become More Assertive

Helping Your Anxious Child Become More AssertiveThe other day, I heard a grandfather talk about a phone call he received from his daughter. She told him how his elementary school-aged grandson had been teased and bullied at his local church when he wore glasses for the ...

Protecting Teens from the Spread of Suicide

Protecting Teens from the Spread of SuicideWhen teen suicide strikes close to home, communities are heartbroken and frightened as they realize many teens' pain and suffering. Sudden tragedy shocks us into vigilant awareness of danger and loss. Although we don’t usually think of suicide as contagious, one ...

Meet the Parents: Navigating the Holiday Dinner without the Stress

Meet the Parents: Navigating Holiday Dinner without the StressWith holidays approaching, my son-in-law reminisced about the first time he came for a holiday meal. He and my daughter had only been dating for awhile. They each weren’t sure if they had met “The One” but were ...