Dr. A. Lynn Scoresby
The most complete web resource for parents, by Dr. A. Lynn Scoresby.

What Insurance Now Means

June 20th, 2014 by Lynn

For many of us, and for many years, the word, “insurance,” meant that we would pay for security in the form of medical and mental health care if and when there was a need. The idea seemed good because we thought we were taking care of potential high risk situations and hopefully the money we spent would produce high quality care for us and our loved ones.

In the new world of insurance, however, this idea has changed for many people. While it seems to be the case that some who were previously uninsured have been able to enroll there are almost an equal number who lost their insurance at the same time. Now, in addition to that situation, according to one report many are having real difficulty paying the premiums for their new insurances as costs have continued to rise even though the new law was supposed to reduce costs. There is some confusion, frustration, and a sense of loss for many. Many people I have spoken with are more afraid of the future now than before the law was passed.

Opponents of the Affordable Care Act are proclaiming that it will raise costs, result in rationing, and, as we have learned, many cannot retain the providers they know and trust. As I have watched all this roll out I began to wonder what the consequences will be for mental health. While there appears to be more people, families and children, who are showing clear signs of greater need for competent health there appears to be less available unless people can pay a very high premium to get it. There are more cases of depression, anxiety, addictions, autism, defiant children, and etc. In this situation, where the needs appear greater this seems to me like the haves get more and the have nots get less.

I believe the above suggests we ought to revisit the meaning of insurance and see if we can add the ideas of education, self reliance, and new approaches to mental and emotional health. Living more effectively may be the best insurance and learning to do more for ourselves may add to that. For instance, one website, FirstAnswers.com offers courses made available to users and combine these courses with coaches who provide help for less cost and if it is necessary licensed professionals are available on line. I know about this because I have helped write some of the courses. Further, the website AddPowerToTeaching.com uses the same method (i.e. providing inexpensive courses, along with coaches if people want help) where educational problems, parenting, and difficult children are concerned.

It is true that we might have to read and learn on our own, but then that would be a good thing especially if we could communicate with someone who can help us follow through with what we learn.
One school teacher enrolled in a course titled “Make Yourself More Effective” and went though it herself learning what both the research and practical aids could do to enhance her teaching. People are finding and enrolling in the FirstAnswer courses and learning they can learn, apply, and solve many of their problems themselves. This will not do away with the role of professional providers of mental health services. There will always been a need for competent mental health for us and for our families if and when we need it. But, it might be possible for us to need it less often because we will gradually learn how to be more successful.

If what I am suggesting is valid, and I believe it is, then now and in the future insurance comes from educating ourselves and finding resources that enable us to do for ourselves what we have relied on others for in the past. I think this might revolutionize life for some of us and our children because we would feel more confident because we know more, solve problems ourselves, and in the process live healthier and happy lives.

Posted in Mental Health, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

The Greatest Need of Our Generation

September 27th, 2013 by Lynn

As a graduate student several years ago, I read comments by the American philosopher Rollo May. He wrote that in Puritan times, there was a great deal of passion but little or no sex; whereas today, there is a great deal of sex but less passion. His comment has stayed with me over the years because I watch people in their relationships sometimes find what they want, sometimes lose it, and often struggle to keep it. What everyone seems to want, but which many still search for, is a form of emotional intimacy, a passionate connection, a tender communion, a soul-to-soul touch, and the warm caress of understanding.

At the same time this is going on, school teachers complain that a high percentage of their students are unmotivated to learn, appear disinterested in the teacher-student relationship, and despite efforts to alter the behavior, many still appear to be treating others poorly. But this is not the gravest issue. Many of our children are trying out experimental sex and becoming addicted to it. It is more common for youth to binge drink to get the maximum benefit of a sudden burst of alcohol and then add drugs, etc. Look at the dramatic increase in the viewing of pornography and subsequent addiction to that. What are people seeking? Is it a buzz or rush, or is it a relief from a painful reality? Or is it something else? It might be both, but all of it seems to warrant a closer look. In one recent study, for example, the number of adults and individuals who are hooked on pain medications have increased dramatically over the least decade. After reading about this, I considered those I had met and talked with. I can say that those who appear to be more vulnerable to misuse not only had need for pain relief but appeared to feel less integrated or connected in important relationships. In other words, they were feeling some form of emotional deficit.

There are a lot of reasons for this. Some have conflict in their relationships and have learned to protect and defend their emotions by shutting them away from other people. Other people live lives of solitude amid shallow communication with others. Still others, having given up on sincerity and honesty, have decided to create alternate realities they live in, which appear to be safer than the reality of their lives. What is lacking is the simple results of positive communication that is varied and stimulating. It includes words that reflect one’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences. It includes ideas one person has about another and what each may think about what goes on between them. It is filled with phrases that acknowledge one’s existence to another. It is not difficult, but it seems to be one of the greatest needs of our time.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Don’t Fool Around With Children’s Rights

March 29th, 2013 by Lynn

The bare facts are these: (1) Children have not done all that well throughout history in any century and virtually in every country. (2) Even in the United States, where we think we do well, current social conditions include high rates of unwed childbirth, which conclusive research shows disadvantages the children. Further there are significant amounts of child abuse and other forms of mistreatment and abandonment. All this while other segments of our population are so hungry for children they will travel far and wide for opportunities to adopt. (3) Research about marriage indicates that more couples are becoming less “child centered,” preferring to not have children or to have someone else rear their children rather than do it themselves.

Now the Supreme Court is considering the civil rights of same-sex partners and whether this includes the same legal status as traditional marriage. The conflict is well known. One side believes they deserve equal rights with other couples, and the other side argues in favor of reserving the term “marriage” for those couples who are men and women who procreate. I have read arguments favoring both positions and diminishing each position as well. It centers on “civil rights” and whether there is equality or inequality. I have also been an observer of the hatred that seems to be a part of this contest, which has been directed at gay people and which also has been directed by gay people at anyone who appears to differ with their point of view. This shows up in media, which, if it is possible, further sensationalizes the whole contest. Having read different accounts, including some scholarly attempts to define the legal and social implications of this affair, it occurred to me that people, including myself for a time, have gotten so caught up in the arguments pro and con and the extreme feelings involved that we have forgotten the children whose futures are intimately tied to any decision that is made. It is very similar to a married couple with conflict in their marriage that so draws their attention they forget about the impact on their children. Do children have rights, and is anyone seeking to consider, advance their opportunities, and protect them? I hope so, but I am not encouraged. To promote that end, however, I propose the following:

1. Before any decision is made legalizing same-sex marriage, there should be conclusive evidence that shows that two women or two men living together as partners can advance children as successfully as successful heterosexual married couples. This will require a form of longitudinal research across more than one generation. You can see the effects of parenting over at least two generations and maybe three. The Supreme Court is being asked to make a decision that has far-reaching and long-lasting implications without having any accurate conclusive data about the effects on children. I wonder if we would tolerate the same sort of process if the rights of adults are being discussed with so little reliable information.

2. We do have a lot of evidence that children, both girls and boys, have the right to access parents of both genders. The research is very clear. When fathers are absent, children do far less well than when fathers are present and competent. This research, however, deserves a new clarification. It is not just the presence of fathers. The real impact of a father’s influence is when a mother is also present as model and example. This is because the most powerful family relationship in terms of benefitting the children is a healthy triangle, where the interplay between all parts of this three-person relationship includes the child and the interplay between father and mother, father and child, and mother and child in the child’s behalf. Same-sex couples can argue that they have the same number involved, but they cannot adequately argue that they can duplicate the interplay between a male and female parent, where the children are concerned.

3. Anyone with the power of making an influential decision that impacts children should have to spend time to see how children function best. Very few legislators who make decisions about schools and children, for example, have themselves spent much time teaching children in schools. Quite frequently the decisions they make are not what school teachers would make. If I could prescribe what these powerful people need to know, it would include taking a course on child development and understanding families, schools, churches, friends, summer camps, and etc. They need to be expert in how children develop so they can understand different types of development (e.g., cognitive, emotional, social, etc.), how vulnerable children are in different periods of their lives, and how they are influenced positively or negatively during these stages. Lastly, it would be a good thing for them to apply their decision-making power to make decisions in behalf of children rather than the adults who are squabbling over their own “rights.”

Do I think anyone will pay attention to the children? I doubt it. I expect that the decision, whatever it is, will be mediated by some combination of political, legal, social, and popular opinion. None of these fully take our children into account. Many of our kids already suffer because they are not mentored well, provided for, and helped along the way. But it would be very nice to see a groundswell of support for the kids that is focused on their success and well-being.

Posted in Child Development | 2 Comments »

Teaching Your Kids To Love Themselves and Others

December 12th, 2012 by Lynn

When some parents become very busy, as most are, their behavior toward their children may change. Instead of engaging children in a lot of listening, companionship, self exploration, and affection we sometimes sacrifice all of that to get other things accomplished. We give prescriptions, orders, or demands instead. Our children begin to adjust because they must and begin to focus on themselves in negative ways and perhaps even develop ideas about themselves which are less positive than we like. Further, most children have one or more episodes where they are emotionally hurt in their school or other social experiences. This combination can make it difficult for children to love themselves. This is especially true when they undergo puberty, changes to new locations, illness, or other conditions which impact them.

Even if these these situations were not the case, developing love and respect for oneself is often not a natural thing. Being a bit nervous, timid, and even insecure marks most children’s lives. Learning to love themselves is something that requires an active, positive, companionship approach that is somewhat consistent over time. There are several things we can do to ensure that we succeed with our kids.

1. We can make certain that we communicate love for them in several different ways.
This will include teaching/mentoring them, affection, telling them, giving them attention, listening and talking with them in an attitude of respect, telling positive things about their accomplishments to other family members, and giving them work and responsibilities to perform.

2. Teach about courage and then take them into some social situations where they show a small amount of courage meeting new friends, going to new places, and learning new things. We can express confidence in them and recognize when they try new things.

3. Help them evaluate their experiences realistically. Some parents mistakenly won’t let their children fail or view themselves in any negative light. This over indulgence creates something other than self love and often motivates children to dislike themselves and others. If they fail, they fail, but can recover. If they suffer a loss of a pet or friend we can show empathy but it was still a loss. If they make a mistake, they have made a mistake but can correct it. If they make a bad choice they can accept that and make amends.

4. Teach them to be good at at least one thing. If a child is good at sports, music, being organized, being a good friend, public speaking, and so forth they have the currency to be socially successful.

5. Self esteem is not the result of praise. Self esteem is the result of actual achievement, self discipline, and social competence. You can teach and promote all three.

6. Teach positive values, display them yourself, and follow up to ensure children learn to live them. Children love themselves and others when they understand honesty, integrity, compassion, cooperation, responsibility, and sharing. Knowing and living these values are basic to the kind of love parents want their children to feel.

7. Recognize, respect, and understand feelings. Children orient to the world through their feelings. Paying attention to and understanding feelings helps them believe they are being treated fairly and justly. Ask, “”what was that like for you..” “what do you feel about that…
“I can see that you are unhappy…” Plus, recognizing their feelings it lets them know their feelings are understandable.

8. Help them communicate love for others. Children who perform acts of compassion and service to others feel more love for themselves and for other people than children who do very litte toward helping others. Doing good things for others turns about to result in more than just good feelings.

There is more we can do, but I remind you that in the world we live in, life can be tough for kids and helping them love themselves and care for others too can be difficult but a very important outcome for loving parents to achieve with their children.

Posted in Child Development | 1 Comment »

Intimate Feelings: Making Love Last III

November 16th, 2012 by Lynn

The word and idea of “feelings” is often problematic for some people who are reared with the idea in mind that feelings are bothersome, should be hidden from others, and regularly controlled. In fact, some of us learn, especially boys, that showing feelings is a sign of weakness. In these cases we grow up thinking that we are more mature when we get our feelings under control. There is part truth to that, of course, because most children have some difficulty managing their feelings and feel better when they have better controls.

But, for many of us having learned control and how to mask our feelings often prevents what we hope for when we want to develop an intimate relationship through dating, courtship, and. marriage. We discover that feelings are among the most important part of this relationship and knowing how to be intelligent in their application is the difference between success and failure. Since many are not skillful about their feelings we have many divorces that in my opinion do not need to take place.

In fact, one could say that the most important outcome people search for in marriage is a set of feelings. Examples include feeling loving and loved, happy, warm, close, tenderness, cheerful, grateful, glad, and etc. As it turns out being able to feel, communicate about, and understand feelings appears to be part of those marriage relationships where people find the greatest satisfaction and fulfillment.

But, in my experience, only a minority know about and are skillful in applying these ideas to their relationship. Too bad, too. More of us would find happiness and fulfillment and there would be fewer divorces. Thomas Goleman wrote in his book about Emotional Intelligence that this ability is more likely to determine success than other forms of intelligence. Where marriage is concerned, my experience shows this is clearly the case.

I have found that most people can learn to be much better if they practice four simple things, which are fairly easy to write, or say, but require a bit of skill to be good at. Here they are: (1) Make feelings a more important outcome of marriage than events (e.g. having a clean house or the number of times you have sex) possessions, or positions. (2) Recognize and respect each others feelings by learning to identify them in yourself and your partner, sharing them, and participating in a conversation designed to inquire, understand, and show concern about them. Don’t fix, explain, search for causes, and etc. Just understand them. (3) Organize two person communication that draws both people together such as talking frequently, negotiating differences peacefully, making decisions together, sharing time and work if possible, and making bargains that help each other. (4) Align your actions so that how you treat your partner is designed to promote positive emotions and reduce the risk of hurtful feelings. E.g. saying “I love you” or doing something caring is better than criticizing or blaming your partner.

So, let’s suppose we all tried this out and discovered that we were happier and more in love. Our children, for those who have them, will forever be thankful their parents did something to make love last.

Posted in Marriage | No Comments »

Making Love Last: Part II

August 29th, 2012 by Lynn

The other day I was interviewing a couple who had had difficulty in their marriage including an affair by one of the individuals. Having four children they wanted to see if they could make their marriage survive and so were trying to learn how to best face this difficult situation. The idea of betrayal was difficult enough, but their knowledge of forgiveness and how to approach that was very limited. After asking a few introductory questions about those two topics I turned the conversation to the kind of husband he had been and the kind or type of wife she had been. They started out by saying something similar to, ” I have been a good wife in some ways,” or “I have done some good things as a husband.” I asked them to give up evaluating themselves and move instead to giving a description of their respective roles. After hearing an example they moved to describing themselves as “fairly kind,” “somewhat impatient,” and etc. I pressed them a bit to give as many of these descriptions as they could think of. Afterward I asked them how they responded when they heard the other person”s account. Each was barely positive and limited in their response. Then I pointed out to them that neither of them had indicated that as a wife or husband they had been “loving,” and had loved the other person well. I asked them how they interpreted that omission. “I didn”t think about it,” he said. She said, ” it didn”t cross my mind.” I know that in their current circumstances they are working just to survive rather than love, but even with that in play they were likely describing what had been going on in their marriage, even prior to the affair. If that is the case they would have difficulty with the tasks of honest remorse and seeking forgiveness and the willingness to forgive. Both of these require high levels of love.

“Is it possible,” I then asked, “that if one of you didn”t think about it and it didn”t cross the other”s mind that you both of you are leaving something out of your marriage?” They nodded their agreement and fell silent.

I was reminded that in my years of being a psychologist I had never seen a case where anyone sought a divorce because they had been loved well or that one had an affair because they felt a great deal of love for their spouse. I also reflected just how easy it is for married people to get involved with the busyness of living and gradually over time remove themselves from the energy Unfortunately this is usually due to losses in water and possibly muscle tissue, depending on the how disruptive the Detox Drinks was to normal body function Regardless of the weight loss, the body will move back to its pre- Detox Drinks weight over time if diet and activity levels remain the same. and effort online casino it takes to truly love another human being.

While speaking to a group of teen agers I recently asked them if they had ever asked their parents or other leaders to make certain they knew how to love someone. No one raised their hands. I concluded that we might be assuming that skill in loving another person is a naturally learned condition and that everyone will know how to do it well. That, as all know, is simply not true. Nor is it true that in our marriage preparation plans we spend a lot of time focusing on whether we and the person we are choosing to marry have high caliber skills and tools and willingly give, show, and love another with a wide repertoire of different displays.

So now, what do we do. Many of us talk about revitalizing our marriages. Why? Because we feel we have lost something and usually that something is the real and hoped for love we wish to experience. So, I have a suggestion. In addition to making special events special loving events, I propose that you identify several small forms of love including gestures, words, and symbols. (e.g. a gesture is a hand squeeze, words include describing the other person positively, and symbols may be gifts and notes and other forms of recognition). Now, make certain that you put at least one of these in every situation you share with the person you wish to be successful at loving. This includes driving in the car, walking into the same room as the other, a quiet moment in the evening, and many other practical situations. Do this without a lot of fanfare and persist for several days. Watch and see if your feelings improve and whether the other person seems to notice what you are doing. Then, follow this up by telling your partner about a time when he or she was successful in making you feel loved. Do not point out that you have doing this and wonder why your partner has not reciprocated. If you do that you will turn a potential loving path into something less. Just continue.

You can make love last if you make it a part of many different situations and by reminding yourself and your partner when success was achieved. Fill you mind with it and fill your heart. The opposite is easy to achieve and it is lonely.

Posted in Marriage | No Comments »

How To Make Love Last

July 21st, 2012 by Lynn

There was a time in my life when life seemed to go more slowly but today it seems like things are whirling around and we are all trying to keep up. There used to be a sense of permanence in some things. More people seemed to be stay married longer than today and today more people married thirty years or something seem to be giving up on their lives together. All this might just appear this way to me because I am older but I don’t think so.

As a psychologist I spend time addressing problems of many different kinds. I believe I have learned that many of these problems are related to how love is made to last by the actions of those who claim to feel it. Here is part of my evidence for this conclusion. Those individuals who grow up without love, without comfort, without peace, and without certainty about it tend to have the most difficulty as youth and adults. While true that many individuals who are reared in bad environments survive them and succeed in many ways, it also seems true to me that many others may survive them but their success with important relationships is usually hindered or limited because love didn’t last and they don’t know how to make it last. So I thought I would start a series about what makes love last and today I am going to write about three principles I have learned about what makes love last

I am not certain how broadly to suggest these ideas apply so I will just say they apply to the people I have had the privilege of providing counseling for. Here is the first principle:

1. Bad things happen in relationships because good things don’t. I have learned that love is the result of an active, acting upon, positive approach to life. It is not neutral nor does it wait for someone else to express or give it. Those people who have more it tend to promote it by doing very good things in their relationships. Actively doing loving things will prevent some of the bad things that can happen in relationships.

2. Freedom is loves’ aphrodisiac. In the contest between love and fear, when fear is greater, people tend to restrict their feelings and they usually try to exert control on the other people whom they hope will love them. Duty and responsibility are important aspects of love, and parents can and should regulate their children; but within the intensity of close marriage and family relationships control can be excessive or manipulative. When one does not have enough self control and grant the other freedom to choose and to feel accepted, then love diminishes.

3. Practice both giving and receiving love will increase our capacity
for it
If you want to have a greater capacity to express and feel love then you need to find new ways to receive it and to display or express it. It lasts in part because we make ourselves better senders and receivers of it. I have tried this out and as a result I have done numerous things that I would not have otherwise done. I felt a bit awkward at first but finally decided that if I was sincere I would learn new and better ways to give and receive it. It is one of the best things I have done in my life.

Try out these three ideas. Next time I will use an example of a father who abused his daughter until she was in her late teens and their mutual efforts to find a way to forgive and love instead. It is a very amazing story.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Can married people be too close?

July 7th, 2012 by Lynn

Having spent a lot of years teaching and providing counseling for individuals, marriages, and families I have decided that I should add up what I have learned and see if I can pass it on. So, I am making a list of the very good lessons of life I have witnessed and participated in and while doing it I feel very grateful for all of those people who have helped me learn. While teaching at BYU I learned much from my students who I think are the very best in the world and in my professional office I have learned from the people I was trying to help. To all I express gratitude.

The first lesson I want to share is about the idea that when people are attracted to each other or parents or friends the intimacy and attachment of that relationships needs to be handled well or even close friendships and marriages can turn into something unpleasant. Here is what happens. Each of us has a certain amount of awareness of conditions in our environment such as other people, what we think they think, and what we observe them doing. We also have a certain ability to think and reflect on ourselves including what we value, our integrity, and our own goals and aspirations. The balance between these two positions is pretty fragile sometimes because we might all want somethings for ourselves but do not want to be selfish and we want to care for others without being dependent.

Problems with this form of emotional bond, in my experiences is the root cause of many emotional disorders and other kinds of relationship conflict. A lot of psychotherapy that goes on in the world is designed to effect a new balance that makes both people feel safe and cared for. I recently asked someone who had had an affair and blamed it on his wife, why a person of his high calibre would so easily give up his own integrity. “I didn’t,” he said. “An affair,” I stated and he said “oh, right.” He began to tell me that he had wanted his wife to approve of him to notice him and to be pleased with what he did. As it turned out she wanted him to show evidence that he loved her. Both were caught tight and neither felt cared for, free, or important. To solve this messy and unhappy situation I proposed that the two of them should revisit the idea of self control, identifying their own values and being consistent with them, and learning to do that when they are together. It is almost always a surprise to see how fast people become calm when they are more concerned about the consequences of their own actions rather than what someone else does. I have come to believe that we need a bit more focus on helping our children and ourselves understand the essential need for us to act congruent with our values and to learn how to balance that with concern for another. We would have less pain and fewer divorces I think.

Posted in Marriage | 5 Comments »

Are schools doing the right things to involve parents?

June 19th, 2012 by Lynn

If you haven’t already, you will soon read about the fact that many state legislatures are providing funds to provide teachers with bonus’ who involve parents during the school year. While this idea has real merit as far as children’s achievement is concerned, the laws passed by these states only require parents to come to “back to school nights” and attend “parent-teacher conferences.” Those who wrote these laws and passed them have not read the research that shows this type of parent involvement is so limited in terms of its impact it is almost as if no contact is being made. There are two reasons for this. The first is that schools typically use these times to educate parents about how to promote the objectives of the school while the children are in school rather than use these times to show parents what they can do in their families to develop mental skills, promote positive social and character skills, and acquire a “growth and learning” mindset. These are the ingredients for successful school achievement, social development, and a sense of fulfillment. Second, parents who come to these events are typically those whose children are doing at least fairly well and those who do not come are those where they are fearful of the schools or fear their children will be identified as failing. They will avoid contact in order to limit their exposure to negative things.

There are others things schools could do that have much greater and lasting impact on families. First, they could call a “Parents Make the Difference,” night and during this meeting raising expectations for what parents can do and then give them specific things like memory strategies and etc. to teach at home. Second, teachers could take a few extra minutes to survey parents to learn what type of family cultural emphasis is give to hard work, to family traditional activities such as games, music, and celebrating their ethnic culture? On occasion the teacher could introduce types of similar activities to help the classroom match the culture of the children and parents. This brings parents into a real partnership with teachers. For example, one inner city school teacher used rap rhythms and music to motivate kids to learn the multiplication tables. The worked faster and learned better. Third, teachers could communicate with parents about a working partnership to promote character qualities in class that parents are working to teach at home. Values like this matter to most parents, sometimes more than academic learning. When teachers show a desire to teach these and invite parents to join in, a partnership is formed that reaps tremendous benefits for teachers who get greater student engagement, for parents who have support for their family, and for children who learn and achieve more.

If your school is not doing these things you could ask teachers to participate with you. Most will appreciate your interest and will work with you. Try out the website, AchievementSynchrony.com and see if it will be useful for you to give your kids a more powerful experience with character, learning, and achievement. It is the best we know of to provide teachers and parents a truly effective partnership.

Posted in Education, General, Parenting | 14 Comments »

Character Education: Programs are not all alike

April 18th, 2012 by Lynn

Right at the same time we are giving greater emphasis to the importance of good teaching in our schools, more students are coming into the classroom less well prepared to participate. They often are not motivated to work hard, listen and pay attention, and frequently do not demonstrate social skills that permit them to be successful with other students. Schools could and should get parents involved and help them learn how to better prepare children, but most school personnel think this is a thankless, often ineffective, and difficult task. Many parents are not interested. Instead of that, many schools look around to see what might be available to help them with all students including those who are disruptive or unmotivated. They often settle on character programs hoping these will enable them to introduce positive behavior that will help students participate more successfully.

We have organized and introduced a character development program in over one hundred schools. We have learned that character education programs are very different and the difference can determine success or failure. For instance, many programs which schools use teach positive vocabulary in an attempt to understand honesty, responsibility, integrity, and other important concepts. While this is a positive step in the right direction, the term character actually means that an individual knows more than the meaning of concepts or has an academic understanding of the difference between right and wrong. We want our children to internalize these concepts and actually do what helps and does not harm themselves or other people. This may be easy to say but it is actually difficult to ensure unless a person who is learning is actually and kindly confronted with the consequences of positive or negative acts and has a chance to discuss (internalize) it. Learning about this, we proposed to teachers that they conduct short class meetings with students where all discuss a behavior (e.g. gossip. lying, cheating, exclusion, and etc.) that a student actually demonstrates. Plus, it helps them understand how it might help or harm someone. Further, after examining that idea, we suggested to the teacher that he/she always identify “what is better,” to help students learn positive actions that eliminated the need for some actions that are not so good. We discovered that this approach carried over to the playground, to the bus, and even to homes where children began to tell their parents what could be done instead of something that was not good which was taking place in their families. At first school personnel were a bit embarrassed when parents told them about the children’s comments but then realized this was exactly what they wanted. This is because students were applying the ideas in their lives outside the classroom. Students changed and improved their abilities to work with each other, felt cared for, and achieved more. We are excited about it. You can find this character education program on AchievementSynchrony.com Let me know what you think.

Posted in Child Development, Education, Parenting | 1 Comment »

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