10 Dangers of Encouraging Obedience and People-Pleasing

It’s not as desirable as it sounds! Parents can’t choose the mates of their children or the behavior of their children. You actually can’t choose anything for your children without disempowering them. —Abraham* So many of the parents and teachers who come to my presentations (especially ones like “You Can’t Make Me!” and Dealing with Difficult Students,…

What’s Wrong with I-Messages?

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…

Improving Student Behavior through Positive School Climate

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…

What’s so Hard About Win-Win?

Getting past old win-lose traditions This article was written for Educational Leadership magazine. A similar version appeared in the September 2011 edition of that magazine. Talk about safe, respectful schools and at some point, the term win-win is bound to come up. First coined in the 1920s by human relations and management pioneer Mary Parker…

Rules and Boundaries

Effectively creating structure in your classroom When I started teaching, I had some reservations about being completely in charge and responsible for the rules, so I tried involving the students in this task. Part of my intention was an honest stab at building a positive, win-win classroom environment, wanting to acknowledge the students’ needs for…

Ways to Model Respect with your Children

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…

10 Characteristics of Healthy Adult-Child Relationships

Description of the characteristics Healthy, functional relationships between adults and children (including teacher-student relationships) are characterized by the following. Increasing the presence of these characteristics in your relationships is a great way to improve commitment, communications, cooperation and consideration, and reduce stress and conflict as well! This list applies to parents and care-givers as well…

Spare the Rod

The case against corporal punishment The following excerpt comes from Chapter 17, ”Behavioral Safety: Discipline and Cooperation,“ from Creating Emotionally Safe Schools © Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc., 2001). This material was copied taken from the final draft of the manuscript and may vary slightly from the final publication. Updates where noted. All resources…

5 Characteristics of a Good Boundary- For Educators

 A positive, effective shift from rules and punishments Unlike rules (with punishments or negative consequences), boundaries* are characterized by the following: Clarity Boundaries are clear, specific and clearly communicated. They work best when you have the students’ attention, when they understands what you’re requesting, when the positive outcome of their cooperation is clear and when…

Presentation: Character Counts

Building Relationships that Build Character Presentation for educators or parents by Dr. Jane Bluestein It’s one thing to expect or demand certain desirable character traits in kids—and another to create an environment in which these behaviors are likely to emerge!