Tired of Nagging Your Kids?

Here’s What you Can Do Instead You’ve probably heard them all. “Awww, Mom!!” “Do I have to.” Or my all-time favorite, “You can’t make me!” Or maybe your kids’ routines are more along the lines of pouting, arguing, ignoring you (or agreeing and then ignoring you). Either way, in the day-to-day dealings with children, there…

Motivating the Unmotivated

Getting past defenses, disinterest, and disengagement Presentation by Dr. Jane Bluestein Of all the challenges teachers face, the one mentioned most consistently over the years has been, “How do I engage kids who aren’t motivated and just don’t care?” Few things are more frustrated that having your planning and enthusiasm met with groans, shrugs, or eye…

Stress-Producing Obstacles in Relationships

Patterns to avoid Want to reduce conflict, pain, and alienation in relationships with the important people in your life? Here are some of the patterns that make connecting difficult. (Some suggestions for resolution below.) • Needing to be in charge or in control, especially when it depends on disempowering or controlling others, or when it disregards…

Checklist: Characteristics of Positive Teacher-Student Relationships

Evaluate your relationships Use this checklist to evaluate patterns in your current relationships with your students. If you have implemented a specific discipline or motivation approach, does it encourage relationships in which the following are true? (Click here for a description of each category.) Proactivity: ___ I focus on prevention–not reaction. ___ I attempt to…

The Problem with Zero Tolerance and Push Out Strategies

contactHow these programs are making things worse On March 4, 2015, I had the privilege of keynoting the National Youth At Risk Conference for the second time. In meeting with many of the participants who attended the keynote and my follow-up session, as well as what I’ve observed in my visits to schools around the country and…

Top 5 Tips for Connecting with Parents

Building great home-school relationships right from the start I once heard a school administrator remind her staff, “Parents don’t send their bad kids to school and keep the good ones home. They send us the best they’ve got.” Teachers don’t get to handpick our “clientele.” The mix of students will include kids with a variety of skills,…

Book: Managing 21st Century Classrooms

How to avoid ineffective classroom management practices! You know all those behavior management strategies we learned to use? Well guess what! Some of them are actually making things worse! It’s long past time for our approach to classroom management to catch up to the kids we’re teaching. This easy-to-read book explores common misconceptions about classroom management and…

“Magic” Sentences for Effective Communication

Positive language for avoiding conflict, negotiating agreements, and taking care of yourself “Magic Sentences” are key phrases that offer practical ways to use specific language to prevent, minimize, or de-escalate conflicts with others. Different sentences will be useful in different situations. These examples represent a win-win approach to relationships, and while they were originally developed for…

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 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…