Connecting with kids in emotional distress

Presentation for educators or parents by Dr. Jane Bluestein

How often do troubled or upset kids attempt to open up to the adults in their lives, only to encounter a non-supportive, ineffective, or even destructive response? Unintentional or not, it’s no wonder so many upset kids try to convince us that they’re “fine!”

This program will examine what even the most well-meaning adult might inadvertently do when kids trusts us enough to share what’s going on with them, and why it can be so hard to connect. We’ll look at the impact of stress on learning and behavior, as well as strategies to avoid setting up these roadblocks to meaningful connecting and communications, along with some positive, practical, and effective alternatives which can truly support children as they learn to manage their emotions, resolve conflicts, and problems in non-hurtful ways.

Other topics include communicating our availability (and alternatives we can offer or provide until we are available), boundaries and confidentiality, listening, validating, and how and when to help kids look for solutions.

Although initially designed as a program for working with and supporting children of all ages, this program includes strategies for  strengthening adult relationships. (See “Are Your Colleagues Driving You Crazy?” and “Clearing the Hurdles: Eliminating Stress-Producing Obstacles in Relationships.”)

Participants will:

  • Explore the impact of emotion and stress on learning and achievement, including our ability to absorb, integrate, or process new information, the ability to retrieve or demonstrate what we know
  • Discover the impact of emotion and stress on student behavior, as well as the various adaptations kids often adopt to survive, especially in a crisis situation (at home or at school)
  • Identify the qualities of a classroom climate that supports the emotional needs of everyone in it
  • Reduce conflict and misbehavior that can result from unresolved emotional issues
  • Explore various ways of accommodating a student’s need to be heard, including options for when you aren’t immediately available
  • Identify specific language and behaviors that can validate and support the reality of a child’s emotional experience
  • Explore a variety of common non-supportive responses and learn why they are much more dangerous than they might first appear, and identify more supportive alternatives to use instead
  • Help children develop positive, non-disruptive, independent strategies for managing their emotions and respect for others
  • Discover the simple interactive strategies for building problem-solving skills, including students’ ability to explore options, anticipate outcomes, and make constructive, respectful choices
  • Improve the social and emotional aspects of the classroom (including reducing negative student interactions and bullying)
  • Learn to apply these strategies for use with colleagues and other adults
© 2012, Dr. Jane Bluestein
Meet Dr. Bluestein in a brief introductory video. (Note: This is the same video as on our home page.)

Information about related books:

Parents, Teens & Boundaries: How to Draw the Line
The Parents’ Little Book of Lists: Do’s and Don’ts of Effective Parenting
Being a Successful Teacher
The Beginning Teacher’s Survival Guide: Win-Win Strategies for Success
Creating Emotionally Safe SchoolsA Guide for Educators and Parents
The Win-Win ClassroomPositive Classroom Management
Managing 21st Century ClassroomsHow to Avoid Ineffective Classroom Management Practices

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