Social and Emotional Growth

An Alternative to Advice Giving

May 8, 2013 Building responsibility

Asking questions to guide problem solving The questions that follow are provided to help with the mechanics of mastering the technique of “asking—not telling,” an effective alternative to giving kids advice that encourages independence and problem-solving competence. The questions are

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Non-Supportive Responses to Avoid

May 7, 2013 Counselors

Yes, these really do make things worse! If people trust us enough to share an experience that has had an emotional impact on them, we usually do the most good when we can respond with empathy and support. Unfortunately, the following non-supportive or negative responses are so common and pervasive in our culture that avoiding […]

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“Bully” is a Four-Letter Word

March 13, 2013 Counselors

Understanding the Concept to Manage the Territory by Dr. Jo Ann Freiberg Columbine was the crucible. Whether because of its scale or because it happened in an upper middle class suburban community, what occurred in Littleton, Colorado forever changed how schools and communities in the United States respond to “bullying.” Prior to this event, the […]

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Healthy vs. Unhealthy Friendships

March 12, 2013 Counselors

Learning to tell the difference Think about someone in your life who leaves an open space for you to be yourself. No one is more valuable. I would rather have a pillar of trust in my life than a pillar of strength. —Deepak Chopra Do you have friends who leave you feeling happy and uplifted? […]

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Perfectionism with Dr. Miriam Adderholdt

February 26, 2013 Counselors

What’s Bad About Being Too Good? Episode Summary: In a culture that praises and rewards excellence and accomplishment, how can we avoid crossing the line to a dangerous desire for perfection? Dr. Jane Bluestein talks with Dr. Miriam Adderholdt about what perfectionism is, how it can negatively affect our social and emotional health, and the difference […]

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Are We Still Guilty of Gender Stereotyping?

January 27, 2013 Counselors

A self-assessment survey for teachers, childcare workers, and others Ted, a 32-year-old math teacher, meets up with Jack, a 38-year-old PE teacher and Joyce, a 28-year-old science teacher in the hall on the first day of school. As they were discussing the recent departure of Debbie, the former school librarian, Ted suddenly notices Joan, the […]

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Appreciating Diversity

January 21, 2013 Culture and Community

What kids are really learning Kids get lessons in diversity all the time. Whether in our homes, in school, or out in the world, they receive message after message about how people are the same or different. A great deal of the information they receive will be out of our control and sadly, some of […]

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What’s Wrong with I-Messages?

January 14, 2013 Avoiding power struggles

Problems with a popular formula © 1991, 1999, 2003, 2013 This article was originally written for an issue of Families in Recovery, a parenting magazine that is no longer in print. Although the examples primarily feature parent-child interactions, the dynamics, issues, and alternatives are applicable to any relationship. A man in one of my workshops […]

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Improving Student Behavior through Positive School Climate

January 13, 2013 Behavior Management

It’s not about the rules! From the January 2013 newsletter: There is a strange myth around kids’ behavior that if we just have enough rules (and severe enough punishments), the misbehaviors will disappear. What I’ve observed, however, is an even stranger reality in which the opposite tends to be true. In schools, the longer the […]

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Prefectionism vs. Healthy Pursuit of Excellence

January 6, 2013 Counselors

Explaining the difference The following information was excerpted from Perfectionism: What’s Bad About Being Too Good? by Dr. Miriam Renée Adderholdt and reprinted with her permission. Perfectionists reach for impossible goals. Pursuers of Excellence enjoy meeting high standards that are within reach. Perfectionists value themselves by what they do. Pursuers of Excellence value themselves by who they are. Perfectionists […]

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Ways to Improve the School’s Social Culture

January 6, 2013 Counselors

Practical strategies for positive change • Pay attention to peer-to-peer interactions. Increase awareness, advocacy, and a willingness to take immediate, positive action (regarding how kids treat one another). • Advocate for the underdog. Encourage kids to connect with children who seem isolated. Emphasize the value of inclusion. • Interrupt any instances of meanness, name calling, […]

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Jane Bluestein Discusses Emotionally Safe Schools

December 26, 2012 Assessment and Testing

Interview by Kate Bedford ©2001 Kate Bedford, Six Seconds Jane Bluestein is an award winning author and speaker. Her newest book, Creating Emotionally Safe Schools, is a comprehensive look at how we can make any educational institution safer— from an emotional, academic, behavioral, social, and physical standpoint. Formerly an inner-city classroom teacher, crisis-intervention counselor, and […]

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Picking up the Pieces

December 23, 2012 Blog

Reclaiming our essence “I can never read your writing.” “That was awful. Maybe you should leave the athletics to your sister.” “I can’t tell what this drawing is supposed to be.” “You’ll never be any good at…” Do any of these sound familiar? I know very few adults who grew up without at least some […]

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The Power of Discouragement

December 20, 2012 Avoiding burnout

The impact of feedback on achievement Years ago working in Slovenia, I met an art teacher, Andrej Grošelj, who over the years, stayed in touch and became a friend until his recent and sudden death. With the help of Google’s Language Tools, I was able to translate email messages he occasionally sent in his native tongue. One […]

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Staying Positive in the Face of Negativity and Horror

December 15, 2012 Blog

Staying positive in the face of negativity and horror I am, by nature, a positive person. For my own sanity, and for the sake of maximizing my potential contribution to the world, I try to look for the good in all things. That said, I am also extremely sensitive to violence and cruelty, and seem […]

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Expert on Bullying Discusses Ways to Reduce the Problem

December 8, 2012 Counselors

Interview by Grace Merritt with Dr. Jane Bluestein © 2010, from the Hartford Courant, reported April 14, 2010 Dr. Jane Bluestein, an author and expert on bullying and creating a positive school environment, was the keynote speaker last week at a statewide conference on bullying prevention for teachers, school leaders, and parents. Bluestein believes that fostering […]

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Ways to Model Respect with your Children

November 28, 2012 Behavior Management

Practical ways to teach respectful behavior This list was compiled for a book for parents. Many of these tips will also apply to educators and others who work with young people. • Listen. Make eye contact when your children are talking to you. Make an effort to really hear and appreciate what your children are […]

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The Dignity Stance

November 26, 2012 Counselors

Tips for responding to meanness or bullying by Naomi Drew Note from Jane Bluestein: Ms. Drew recommends teaching kids the following strategies. I think this information would also be valuable for adults in a similar situation.

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