Category Archives: Behavior

Ideas in this section come from some of the nation’s most prestigious behavior management experts. You will find a collection of easy to follow procedures that will allow you to redirect children’s behaviors in positive ways.

Help Others Hear You With— ‘I’ Messages

How often have I expressed a thought or feeling and realized my remark offended someone? Often my delivery rather than the actual message caused the glitch. Fortunately, Dr. Gordon, a psychologist, provides us with a simple communication guide. When I remember to follow Gordon’s “formula,” a positive outcome usually results.

 Who’s Upset? The Upset Person Owns the Problem

You have a right and responsibility to take care of your needs and wants. You also have a responsibility to communicate in a way that gets the message across without hurting or frightening others. Consider the following example.

You notice Travis carving his initials on a desk. Travis loves carving.

  • Who owns the problem?
  • You own the problem. You feel upset. Travis feels great.

No matter how justified anger may be, if you cannot communicate acceptance, you waste your time and energy. Also, avoid accusations such as, You are making me feel . . . (In truth, no one can make you feel anything.)  Continue reading

Warning: Bullies on Board —Handle With Care

One of our grandsons just completed fourth grade with pride. Good teacher, interesting assignments, successful achievement levels. All went well until some boys decided to taunt him. Suddenly, all accomplishments faded and the voices that counted were those of his peers.

When I shared the story with our 22-year old grandson, I concluded by saying, “Kids can be so cruel.” To which he replied, “Adults can be cruel also.” That told me that like his younger cousin, he also experiences criticism and rude behavior from some of his peers.

As a grandparent, I yearn to protect them. A voice suggests, “Let’s keep them at home with a glass dome over them.” Obviously, a solution that over protects offers no solution at all. Without rough and tumble life encounters, no resilience develops. Pain usually contributes to learning and to growth and even getting picked on occasionally seems to be part of the life process. Continue reading

Helping With Stress and Anxiety

UntitledAmy_CampbellI am grateful to Amy Campbell for this contribution.  Amy is the counselor at the Rawson Saunders School for Dyslexia. Amy spends her days helping children deal with stress.

All children will have situations or periods of time that are worrisome and stressful. A child who is feeling worried or anxious may communicate these feelings through disturbances in sleep patterns, changes in eating habits, and/or reports of physical complaints. How to help a child navigate through worry, stress, and anxiety can depend largely on the situation and the child; however, here are some general things to consider when supporting children that may be experiencing anxiety: Continue reading

Listening With Intention

Listening With Intention

Although I’ve spent much of my life thinking about and working with and for children, I occasionally fail to use what I know. For example, I understand the value a child experiences when adults listen carefully. How frustrated I get with myself when I forget. Active listening is the focus of today’s blog. The ideas shared in this article come from Dr. Thomas Gordon.

Dr. Gordon was a clinical psychologist who focused primarily on communication and conflict resolution. His books for parents and teachers contain strategies that promote clarity. One concept, called active listening, involves a specific way to listen and respond to others.

In active listening, your goals are to engage the following ideas:

  1. Let the child know you are listening and understanding.
  2. Let the child know you care.
  3. Allow the child to express negative emotions.
  4. Encourage the child to participate in solving the problem (with support from you).

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True Grit and the Value of It


Teachers and parents hear a lot about “grit” today. We worry that we may not be providing the experiences children need to develop grit. Amy Campbell, the school counselor at the Rawson Saunders School for Dyslexia provides insights in the post below.

True Grit and the Value of It

Psychologist Angela Duckworth studied people in various challenging situations and her findings indicate that there was one characteristic that emerged as a significant predictor of success. The predictor wasn’t intelligence, social intelligence, physical health or physical appearance. It was grit. Grit was also a strong indicator of GPA and graduation rates in her studies. What are some ways to foster grit?

  1. Develop a better understanding of grit. Although grit is a somewhat nebulous idea to qualify or quantify, there are some great resources out there to learn more about it. A couple of books that discuss the concept of grit are “How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character” by Paul Tough and “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants” by Malcolm Gladwell.

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Dignifying Wrong Answers

We all face occasions when we need to correct a child. How we make the correction has a powerful impact. Although this entry is written for classroom teachers, the message is applicable and useful for parents.

Dignify Wrong Answers

Embarrassing a student who offers a wrong answer constitutes one of the quickest ways to anchor fear of failure and feelings of stupidity. While your job includes giving corrective feedback, the way you respond to a wrong answer will make the difference in whether a student continues to try or refuses to participate. Continue reading

Encourage Effort Over Outcome

Sometimes, well-intentioned teachers and parents create new problems by giving more praise and rewards than a child can accept. Gushy praise and extravagant rewards tend to detract from the pleasure of intrinsic satisfaction. The child receiving the praise or reward may feel I’m not really that great. I don’t deserve this.   Sometimes a child will revert to negative behavior to reveal her true self to you.

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