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How to Bring Out the Genius in Your Child: The Story of Helen

 

Baby touching nose
Baby Genius - "If I cry, I get fed!"

Bring out the genius in your child! Our expert parenting author, Rick Ackerly, is sharing an excerpt from his remarkable book, The Genius in Every Child. He'll show you what he means. Let's find out.

Put yourself in the position of a child and look at the world from a child's point of view. You are newly born. You have been thrust into the world and have one purpose. You don't name it, because you don't yet have the words, but if you could, you would say something like:

"I am determined to make it in this world, and that means learning how it all works-and I will figure all that or by finding out how I work in it."

To that end you are physiologically driven to learn, and you spend the next five years using the scientific method to know the world and how to operate in it. You develop hypotheses ("If I cry, I get fed." "If I put my arm over my head, I can roll myself over by pushing on the floor with the opposite foot.")

Every day gets more complicated. Notice the sophistication that can be achieved by age three.

 

Friends_c
              "Make Yourself Happy by                   Making Others Happy."

 

The Genius in 3-year-old Helen 

One Sunday I received the following e-mail from three-year-old Helen's father:

"Helen was playing in the sandbox when a brawl between a brother and sister on the other side of the sandbox attracted her attention.

Helen looked up as they knocked each other to the ground, arguing over a shovel. She watched intently for a while, then calmly looked around, found two more shovels, walked over, and handed one to each of the siblings.

The fighting stopped. They handed Helen the shovel they had been fighting over, and all went back to playing happily together. No words were exchanged.

Helen observed a conflict, deciphered the dynamic, figured out a solution, and implemented that solution. She did it on her own and with the utmost confidence. She didn't even look up at me. This is what we want you to do for Helen, (Headmaster Rick Ackerly), and it sure looks like you are doing it."

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If Helen Could Explain Her Genius

Rick Ackerly goes on to tell us that from her 26,280 hours of life, Helen probably made some genius hypotheses like these:

1. "Sometimes people fight because of conflicting interests, and one way to get the fight to stop is to give everyone what they want."

2. "...you make yourself happy by making other people happy." (This excerpt is from pages 24-26)

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Rick Ackerly's whole book is dedicated to the best meaning of genius. Pick up:

The Genius in Every Child: Encouraging Character, Curiosity, and Creativity in Children

Cover - Genius
Available at Amazon.com

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Let's give a BIG THANK YOU to Rick Ackerly for sharing his excellent information from his forty-five years of experience working in schools.

Blog Potential Rick Ackerly educator

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With warm wishes,

Jean Tracy, MSS

 

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How to Build Character with Stories that Make Children Think

 

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Building Character and Strong Families

If you'd like to raise children with good character but hate nagging, yelling, and lecturing, keep reading.

Amazon and I are giving my character building kindle book away for free today, Monday, October 29th and tomorrow the 30th. I'll show you how to get it whether you have a kindle or not.

Good character includes being honest, talking with respect, caring about the feelings of others, and being responsible. All children starting from babyhood are self-centered. It's normal for kids to want center stage. Good parenting means opening their eyes and helping them realize that others are important too.

Pulling them out of the stickiness of self-absorption and helping them become civilized caring people isn't easy. That's why, as a parent, teacher, and family counselor I have looked for easy ways to help parents like you build character in your children. I believe this kindle book is a fun way for you to raise children with character.

Amazon encourages you to take advantage of this offer by giving you three ways to take advantage of this offer.

First Way:

Pick up Character Building: Problem Stories for Family Discussions

Cover Brian CB vol. 1r

At   Amazon.com

Second Way If You Don't Have a Kindle:

You can easily get my free kindle book (readable on Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android phones/tablets, Blackberry, Windows Phone 7, or your Web browser with the Free Kindle Reader app).

Third Way If You Want to Borrow It:

If you're an Amazon Prime Member, you can borrow this book for free from your kindle device at Amazon.com

I hope you'll take advantage of this gift.

With warm wishes,

Jean

Jean Tracy, MSS

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The Best Parenting Question to Ask Kids for Promoting Empathy!

 

Boy thinking 25471715
Promote Empathy with This Special Question

 

Point Out the Effects of Your Child's Behavior on Others

 As you wait in the courtyard to pick up your eight-year old from school, you hear him taunting one of his best friends. "No wonder you always get picked last. You're such a spaz. Even I wouldn't pick you to be on my team."

Mortified, you hustle your son into the car and in exasperation demand, "What's the matter with you? James is one of your best friends." Your son looks back at you with something resembling blind incomprehension.

While none of us likes to hear our kids being cruel, there are reasons for your young son's lack of tact and you're in the perfect position to educate him. Children are naturally self-centered. If a friend, even a good friend, blows a catch on the ball field, then he's fair game for humiliation. Why? Because young children have difficulty standing in the shoes of other kids. Often the best they can do is stand in their own shoes. And their own shoes tell them just that they're not about to win the game, because someone else bobbled the ball.

The Special Question

Kids learn how to be empathic because we teach them how to be empathic. We can't ask enough, "How would you feel if..." Empathy is a skill like any other. We need to provide opportunities for our children to practice it and we need to "catch" them being good at it. At this age, your being proud of your child's behavior is typically motivation enough for them to become kinder.

Talk about Moral Issues

One of the many reasons that it's important to have dinner with your child most nights of the week is that this is a great time to discuss issues. Research shows that parents who encourage their kids to think about how people feel in different situations help kids become more empathic and more moral.

Hopefully a good moral compass is a strong part of your life. Talking about good morals regularly and seriously lets your kids know that you think this is an important part of life, a part they should pay attention to.

These kinds of discussions are most helpful when they relate directly to your child's life. At this age, talking about the responsibility of Wall Street is nowhere near as compelling as talking about the responsibility of the kid who copied your child's answers on his math test.

Supportive, back-and-forth discussions and encouraging your child's independent thinking is the best approach. Simply providing information or lecturing is far less effective.

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Dr. Levine's advice to discussing poor behaviors, dilemmas, and asking, "How would you feel if..." is a splendid way to build character. It's so much better than yelling, nagging, and lecturing which don't work anyway. To learn more of Dr. Levine's advice, pick up her excellent book, Teach Your Children Well: Parenting for Authentic Success.


Cover Teach Your Children Well

Available on Amazon.com

Let's APPRECIATE the valuable work and advice from Dr. Levine.

Dr. Madeline Levine
Dr. Madeline Levine

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Please share your opinions about this blog post. Just click on the tiny comment link below. It will open up for you. We want to hear from you.

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With warm wishes,

Jean Tracy, MSS

For engaging family discussions that build character in your children, pick up my kindle book Character Building: Problem Stories for Family Discussions

Cover Brian CB vol. 1r
Available at Amazon.com

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The Power of Quiet Moments for Parents and Children

 

Girl Meditating bigstock21089723
Girl Learning the Power of Quiet!

Parents and children feel overpowered by noise and distractions. Our parenting expert and author, Dr. Shefali Tsabury, is sharing an excerpt from her book, The Conscious Parent. She'll tell you why peace and quiet are so important for our children and us. Let's see what she advises.

Helping Your Child Feel Comfortable with Quiet

As a child develops mentally, an aspect of the ordinariness of life is that it involves considerable aloneness. Unless we allow our children to become comfortable with quiet aloneness, they become strangers to themselves, alienated from their essence. When this happens, whenever they are left to themselves, they are uncomfortable and may even feel desperately lonely.

The Problem with Noise and Distraction

With no one to fill the void with noise and distraction, they find themselves face to face with the absolute stillness of their being-a frightening experience for someone who is unaccustomed to resting in their essence.

How Car Rides Can Promote Inner Stillness

It's helpful to encourage our children to sit in stillness, so that they learn to exist in a state of quiet without the need to converse. Periods in the car are great opportunities to create such a space. To this end, it may be beneficial not to take gadgets or videos in the car, especially on day-to-day rides, which is when the greatest opportunities for stillness arise.

Of course, if we are going to be traveling for hours, having a video, toys, or games doesn't hurt at all. However, on a daily basis, when we are in the car, it's good to drive without the radio on. It can also be good to resist the urge to sing, make meaningless conversation, or play game after game. In this way, we create the space for quiet observation.

The Importance of Balance and Quiet Moments

When we are in a state of constant distraction with activity, our inner eye is unable to observe our inner being. The ability to observe can only be developed through quiet moments sitting with ourselves.

This doesn't mean we create so many moments of solitude that we stop engaging with our children. Rather, we are talking about becoming aware that our children only thrive if there's a balance of doing and non-doing, of activity and non-activity, of engagement and disengagement. (Pages 184-185)

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To find out how the author teaches her young daughter to meditate, pick up her book The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves Empowering Our Children. You'll find it on page 185.

Cover ~ The Conscious Parent

Available at Amazon.com

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Let's give our THANKS to Shefali Tsabury, PhD for showing us why quietness is important for our children to know their essence.

Shefali Tsabary, PhD
Dr. Shefali Tsabury

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Parenting Skills: How Teachable Moments Build Resilience in Children

 

Boy
Resilient Children Have Proactive Parents

This parenting skill will help you raise resilient children through teachable moments. Our parenting expert and author is sharing an excerpt from her book, The Resilience Formula. Let's find out how we can start teaching this formula today.

 How We Respond to Life's Challenges

Our response to any challenge, small or large, is based on our understanding of these four things:

1- SELF: what we think about who we are, what we stand for, and what we are capable of.

2- SITUATION: our ability to accurately assess the challenge before us.

3- SUPPORT: our knowledge of our support structures and how to access them.

4- STRATEGIES: our ability to access and use effective strategies to handle the challenge.

When we face any challenge, we draw on our understanding of these FourSs.

The Challenge and Teachable Moment at a Pancake Breakfast

For example, recently a group of elementary students we know hosted a pancake breakfast to raise money for charity. Everything was set to go: they had rented industrial griddles (placed in the hallway because the kitchen was so small) and about 8:50 am, they started cranking out pancakes.

The challenge? The griddles had tripped the fuse because the electrical system was not designed to handle such a power draw. In walked the first customers, with no pancakes and cold coffee.

The Response Drew from the Four Ss:

. SELF: The kids and parents needed to know that they could find alternate solutions--that they had the ability to draw on other plans.

. SITUATION: The needed to evaluate the situation and understand that they could find other solutions. One person immediately moved into the kitchen and started frying pans on the stove, another started microwaving coffee cups one at a time, a third started rounding up home griddles, and forth went to find the head of school to locate the circuit breaker. In other words, they worked together to put a plan in place.

. SUPPORT: They knew how to draw upon several support structures: other community members with home griddles the head of school, and the custodian (who happened to walk in minutes after the fuse had tripped).

. STRATEGIES: Both the kids and the adults used multiple strategies to address the challenge. They found ways to meet the immediate needs while coming up with a long-term solution to the problem (finding a few kitchen griddles and knowing where the fuse was located in case it tripped again).

The pancake breakfast was a success. Why? Because they used the challenge as an opportunity to teach resilience.

Proactive parenting is being able to use the FourSs as a rubric for everyday challenges to teach our children resilience.

Your Key to This Parenting Skill

It involves being able to understand our natural reactions, using certain tools to override those reactions, and using that challenge to teach resilience. When we can do this, we are proactive, not reactive. (From pages 31-33)

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To find out more about parenting for independence and problem solving go to page 37 of The Resilience Formula: A Guide to Proactive Not Reactive Parenting

Cover Donna
Available at Amazon.com

Let's give a special THANKS to Dr. Donna Volpitta for offering this fascinating strategy for building resilience in our children.

Dr. Donna Volpitta
Dr. Donna Volpitta

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Jean Tracy, MSS

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10 Parenting Tips: Discuss Peer Pressure, Drugs and Alcohol with Teens

 

School Boy Leader
Help Your Teenager Make Good Decisions

If you need some parenting tips for talking to your teens about peer pressure, drugs and alcohol, you'll find them here. Our parenting expert and author, Dr. Parnell Donahue, is sharing an excerpt from his hopeful book for parents, Messengers in Denim. Since today is Dr. Donahue's birthday, he is giving you a free gift. You find it below.

What Research Suggests about Parents' Influence

Parents exert significant influence on whether their kids choose to drink, smoke, or use illegal drugs. And the earlier parents talk to kids about their social problems, the more effective they are. The number one reason teens give for not using alcohol, tobacco, or drugs is that they do not want to disappoint their parents.

Parenting Tips for Talking with Kids

1. Discuss both good and bad aspects of peer pressure with your kids.

2. Don't accept peer pressure as an excuse for unacceptable behavior. Kids really make their own decisions.

3. Remember that parental pressure is as influential as peer pressure, if not more so.

4. Listen to your kids.

5. Know your kids' friends and their friends' parents.

6. Re-evaluate your own friendships. Are your friends the kind of people you want your kids to become? If not, it's time for a change.

7. Keep tobacco, alcohol, and drugs out of your home and away from your kids!

8. Talk with your kids frequently about alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. Use every opportunity that society provides.

9. If you use alcohol, use it with temperance and responsibility. If you use tobacco or illegal drugs, QUIT.

10. Encourage your kids to tell the authorities if they know of a peer who is using alcohol, tobacco, or drugs.

So if you have children, start talking to them at age 10 or 11 about alcohol and drugs. Tell them what you expect their behavior to be and bring up the subject again every chance you get. (Hollywood and its stars will provide you with more than enough opportunities.) This excerpt is from pages 128-130.

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Perhaps you need to talk to your teenager about teen sexuality. Dr. Donahue shares how to have this discussion. Pick up his book, Messengers in Denim: Amazing Things Parents Can Learn from Teens.

Cover Messengers in Denim

Available at: Amazon.com

Your Gift from Doctor Donahue!

"I have a present for you! For my birthday Amazon and I will be giving away free kindle copies of Messengers in Denim. Just go to Messengers in Denim and click on buy for free, and in seconds you will have a free, no strings attached, version on your Kindle or I-pad. Please tell you friends they are also elgible for a free copy. If anyone wants  to "like" my Amazon book page, or write a review for Amazon that would be fine, but it is not neccessary! Enjoy my birthday, I will! Thanks, Par"

Let's send a BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Dr. Parnell Donahue for writing this masterpiece and giving it to us as a special gift.

Blog Optimistic Dr. Parnell Donahue
  Dr. Donahue

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Jean Tracy, MSS

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Parenting: Here's How to Increase Relaxation and Imagination in Your Kids

 

Bigstock_Boy_jumping_triumphantly_in_ai_16234292
You Can Develop Your Child's Imagination!

Parenting includes teaching your children to use their imaginations well. Our parenting expert and author, Dr. Charlotte Reznick, is sharing an excerpt from her book, The Power of Your Child's Imagination. Let's hear her script for teaching your kids The Balloon Breath. Try it tonight with your children.

 

The Balloon Breath - Sample Script

"Imagine blowing up a balloon. Then picture letting the air out slowly, until the balloon goes flat. Can you see it? In a minute, we're going to pretend your stomach is a balloon. You're going to take a deep breath n, all the way down to your lower belly, hold it for a few seconds, then let it go gently.

"Get ready by putting your hands on you belly, about two inches below your belly button. Good.

"Now, take a few minutes to think about your breathing. Take a slow deep breath. Feel it going in and out...in and out. That's right. Breathe slowly so your belly and your hands rise and fall. Good.

"Let's breathe in even slower--to the count of one...two...three.

"Now breathe out just as slowly...one...two...three.

"Take a few minutes to practice...

"When you're ready, pay attention to your hands and feet. Where are they? What are they touching?

"Now open your eyes slowly." (From page 22)

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Please note this breathing technique sets the stage for developing your child's powerful imagination. Why not practice this relaxation strategy?  Then pick up Dr. Reznick's book and use it to increase your child's imagination for an amazing life.

Get The Power of Your Child's Imagination: How to Transform Stress and Anxiety into Joy and Success

Cover The Power of Your Child's Imagination

Available at Amazon.com

Let's THANK Dr. Charlotte Reznick for sharing how to develop successful minds in the lives of our children. This book is a powerful treasure for parents and kids. 

Author  Dr. charlotte_reznick

Dr. Charlotte Reznick

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Jean Tracy, MSS

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Parenting Skills: 4 Ways to Show Your Children You Understand Them

 

Mom_daughter_a
Love Blooms with Understanding!

 

If you show your children you love and understand them, your relationship will be wonderful. Our parenting expert and author, Ellen Galinsky, is sharing an excerpt from her book, Mind in the Making. Let's find out 4 ways we can show we understand our children. We'll also learn 3 pieces of hopeful advice from them.

Help Children Feel Known and Understood:

An Exercise: Think Back to Your Childhood

Can you remember a time when you felt known and understood? What did the adult do to make you feel that way? How did you react? Can you think of a time when you felt misunderstood? What did the adult do to make you feel that way? How did you react?

I remember a particular moment in my childhood when I was trying to get away with something and my father made it clear to me that he knew exactly what trick I was up to. He stopped me, but not in an angry or mean way. I don't remember his words, but I do remember a comforting feeling, even though I was being disciplined.

In an Ask the Children study I conducted on how kids feel about their working parents, I asked children: "What would you like to tell the working parents of America?' The response of many, in essence, was Understand me":

1. (Parents should) try to communicate with their children more because in today's society a lot of parents don't even know what is going on with their children.

2. Don't be afraid to talk with your kids. They may act like they don't want you talking to them, but it is actually very important that you do.

Remember, as one child put it:

3. You are not your children-respect and understand our viewpoints and needs.

Children who don't have any adults who they feel "know" them or who are "there for them" have a harder time connecting with others as adults...

To help younger and older children feel known and understood:

1. Repeat back your child's words or what you think your child is trying to communicate: "You are hungry."

2. Describe what you see going on, as if you're a sportscaster: "You threw that ball all the way across the yard!"

3. Ask a question: "Did you like that book we just read? Why did you like/not like it?"

4. Let them know you're been there: "I know how that feels."(From pages 92-94)

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Ellen Galinsky, with few words, tells us 2 important truths we must not forget:

1. Children might not remember our words but they do remember how we made them feel.

2. When we help our children feel known and understood, the closeness and love we create with them is wonderful.

To find out how to talk about your feelings and those of your child's, pick up Ellen's book and start on page 95.

Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skill Every Child Needs

Cover ~ Mind in the Making

Available on Amazon.com

Let's PRAISE  Ellen Galinsky for writing such a helpful and easy to understand parenting book. Your advice today, Ellen, is priceless.

Ellen Galinsky

 Ellen Galinsky

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Please share your opinions about this blog post. Just click on the tiny comment link below. It will open up for you. We want to hear from you.

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Jean Tracy, MSS

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Parenting: The Back Talk Problem - 5 Signs, Symptoms, and Solutions

 

Bigstock_Thinking Mom_499171 (429x640)
Is Back Talk Ruining Your Family Tone!

Is back talk a problem in your family?  Dr. Michele Borba, our parenting expert and author, is sharing an excerpt from her superb book, The Big Book of Parenting Solutions. In this post you'll learn 5 signs and symptoms of back talk, some solutions, and why it's so important to stop it NOW!

THE PROBLEM

Red Flags

The Change to Parent For:

Your child curbs her back talk and flippant manners and learns to voice her concerns and needs in a respectful and appropriate manner.

Question: "Our sweet daughter has suddenly become smart-mouthed. If somebody heard her speak to me with her sassy tone I'd die. What's the best way to stop back talk?"

Answer:

The best quick fix to ending back talk is simply not to allow it the very next time your child uses it. Calmly say, "Please use a polite tone. And then do not respond to what the child says until she can talk to you in a respectful tone.

You may need to leave the room, but don't back down or compromise-not just the first time, but each and every time your child uses a flippant, disrespectful tone. Your reaction must be consistent and persistent. I don't care if your child wants to tell you something important or desperately needs your help; you must make her realize that back talk is intolerable and will no longer be indulged. This approach goes for little kids and big kids, too.

Why Change?

Consider these scenarios, you politely say to your son, "Robby, remember I want you home by four," and your sweet little darling in a flippant tone retorts, "Get real." Or you calmly ask your daughter, "Can you please make your bed?" and your prized offspring retorts, "Make it yourself!" Do these responses sound at all familiar?

Back talk and sass are on the rise, and these behaviors seem to bother every adult-and rightly so. The behavior usually starts at about four years of age, but if you allow back talk to continue, negative results can spread like wildfire. Believe me: no teacher, coach, scout leader, or other child's parent appreciates a disrespectful kid.

Luckily, disrespectful behaviors such as whining, back talk, and sassiness are some of the easiest inappropriate behaviors to get rid of. In a survey quoted in Child magazine, only 12 percent of the two thousand adults polled felt that kids commonly treat others with respect; most described them as "rude," "irresponsible," and "lacking in discipline." That's all the more reason we need to nip this behavior in the bud ASAP.

Signs and Symptoms

"Back talk" is any comment delivered in a flippant, sassy, smart-alecky, and disrespectful tone. Although it is normal for any child to use back talk a few times, here are five signs that it is time for a more intense parenting plan to change this unbecoming behavior:

1. Your child does not stop using the behavior at your simple request.

2. The back talk is increasing in frequency and intensity.

3. The back talk is ruining your family tone or your relationship with your child.

4. Children or adults are complaining or are concerned about your child's rude behavior.

5. Your child is using the behavior with other adults and children outside your home. (Pages 54-55)

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To learn more of Dr. Borba's excellent solutions you'll find them on pages 55 - 59 in her simple and brilliant book, The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries.

  Cover The Big Book of Parenting Solutions

Available on Amazon.com

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Let's give THANKS to Dr. Borba for outstanding work in bringing us the best parenting signs, symptoms and solutions for stopping the back talk problem.

Dr. Michele Borba
Dr. Michelle Borba

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Please share your opinions about this blog post. Just click on the tiny comment link below. It will open up for you. We want to hear from you.

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Jean Tracy, MSS

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You might also like my family discussion e-book with puzzles, cartoon characters, and fun questions that teach your children your values. Character Building on Back Talk Street

Cover Back Talk Street

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Available at KidsDiscuss.com

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Teens Tell How Loss and Grief Hurt and 3 Ways that Help

 

Boy thinking
What Teens Say Grief Is Like


 

If your teens are experiencing loss and grief, keep reading. Our parenting experts Drs. Heidi and Gloria Horsley are sharing an excerpt from their book, Teen Grief Relief. You find out what hurts and what helps them deal with their grief. Let's find out what they learned from the mouths of teenagers.                              

Teens Tell Us That Loss Is Hard Because:

. It makes them feel uncertain. They were already asking, "Where do I belong? How do I fit in?" before their loss, and now these questions seem more difficult, if not impossible, to answer.

. Loss makes you feel different from your friends. It can make you stand out in a way that you don't want to stand out.

. After a loss, your parents may become overprotective or treat you as if they don't trust you, just when you're craving more freedom and independence. On one hand, you also want them to protect and nurture you, but on the other, you resent them for it.

. You feel sad but don't want to cry in front of other people.

. Sometimes you want to forget about the loss, pretend it didn't happen, and just have fun again. And when you want that, you tend to feel guilty.

. You sometimes feel as if you have no control over your emotions.

. You don't know which feelings are "normal" and which ones might mean you need help.

Three Things Kids Tell Us They've Done that Have Made a Big Difference:

1. Taken good care of themselves (eight hours of sleep, regular meals, exercise);

2. Stayed close to the people who care about them; and

3. Connected with people who have been through something similar (This excerpt is from pages 30-31.)

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To find out why being a survivor is difficult for teenagers go to page 32 of Teen Grief Relief: Parenting with Understanding, Support, and Guidance

Cover Teen Grief Relief

Available at Amazon.com

Let's APPLAUD Drs. Heidi and Gloria Horsley for sharing their excellent information for helping teenagers deal with loss and grief.

Drs. Heidi and Gloria Horsley
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With warm wishes,

Jean Tracy, MSS

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