Kids and Summer Camp: Coping with Homesickness (Guest: Dr. Frank Sileo)

BTRadioIntAs schools close for the summer across the country, thoughts turn to activities for kids and families. One of those activities is summer camp. Here’s an earlier interview I did with child and adolescent psychologist, Dr. Frank Sileo, regarding something that might be an issue for some youngsters, especially first-time campers. We present “Kids and Summer Camp: Coping with Homesickness.” –JDS


Bug Bites and Campfires: Coping with Homesickness, Dr. Frank SileoThe excitement of going off to summer camp and all the fun it brings can be offset by a first-time camper’s anxiety about leaving home. Summer camp and homesickness are real, indeed.

Feelings of homesickness are typical; most youngsters experience them the first time they spend the night away from the familiarity of home, family, pets and long-time friendships. Although it is a common type of separation anxiety, homesickness doesn’t feel common at all to the youngster caught up in it.

Our guest on this program, Dr. Frank Sileo, will offer insights and ideas for addressing feelings of homesickness. He will also share ways parents can help their child become more capable and confident BEFORE the youngster goes off to camp, often preventing many of the symptoms and experiences of homesickness.

Bug Bites and Campfires, Dr. Frank Sileo, Bug Bites and Campfires: Coping with HomesicknessDr. Sileo is the author of the children’s book, Bug Bites and Campfires: A Story for Kids About Homesickness. It’s a great example of evidence-based treatment wrapped up in a great story.

Dr. Sileo is the Executive Director of The Center for Psychological Enhancement in Ridgewood, New Jersey. He has been recognized time and time again for his skill as a child and adolescent therapist and his abilities as a speaker and author. (26:55)

TO LISTEN, use the player below or left-click the link. To access the file right-click and “Save Target as …” to save to your audio device), CLICK HERE FOR LINK




balloonclipOkay, I’ll admit it: I am excited about this! After a couple of months of planning, The Speakers Group is now a reality. I thought starting The Changing Behavior Network five years ago was a great experience, but this one tops it.
We will continue to add to this distinguished group, but I’d like to offer special thanks and recognition to the following authors/experts. Through the years, they have been my guests on the Network. It was their faith and confidence that made this “debut” possible in the first place: Mike Ferry, Alison Kero, Dr. Laurie Hollman, Judge Tom Jacobs, Natalie Jacobs, Terry Lancaster, Christy Monson, Peggy Sealfon, Rosalind Sedacca, Kirsten Taberner Siggins, Kathy Taberner, Dr. Daniel Trussell, Dr. Larry Waldman and Greg Warburton. –JDS


The Speakers Group, The Changing Behavior NetworkThe Changing Behavior Network announces a new component to the efforts of encouraging and supporting children, teens and their families in what many consider difficult and challenging times: The Speakers Group.

What Is It?

The Speakers Group is made up of guest authors/experts that have been interviewed on The Changing Behavior Network. They can provide a number of services for you or your organization, including ARTICLES for your blog or newsletter, INTERVIEWS and BOOK SIGNINGS, CONSULTING (including coaching), PRESENTATIONS, TRAINING and CONFERENCE keynotes or break-outs. These individuals make up a strong collection of resources … so use them!

(Using the “Free Materials from Our Experts” tab at the top of this page, you’ll see that these folks also have provided excellent complimentary materials on their particular specialty.)

Two Things

Two things are especially unique about these listings in The Speakers Group. First, each one of them contains a “Listen to an Interview” audio link to an actual Changing Behavior Network interview with that person. This enables you to “sample” their expertise without even leaving the page. And second, since The Speakers Group is a listing and not a booking agent or a speakers bureau, you will be able to communicate directly with each group member or their staff. That’s a BIG benefit.

A Great PLACE to Start

Consider asking one or more of these experts for an article for your blog or newsletter in exchange for a byline about their work, book and website. What better way to start a great relationship?

To go straight to The Speakers Group page, CLICK HERE, or use the tab at the top of this page.

For information or questions about The Speakers Group, email us at:

Technology, Our Children, and Social Connections (Guest: Danielle Lindner)

BTRadioInt-300x75-300x75All parents want their children to grow up to become happy, healthy adults that love their work, their families, and their relationships. But there’s a concern: How do they develop and maintain needed skills for those important relationships in life? This program is about technology, our children, and social connections.

If you take a moment to reflect on it, this really is an ongoing concern facing our children and teens today.

Danielle Linder, The Changing Behavior NetworkSocial Connections

Yes, we’re talking about social connections, the old-fashioned way: person-to-person and face-to-face. Of course, some youngsters will be better at it than others because it’s a skill like many other skills. But, if our children do all of their networking using techno devices, what happens to their face-to-face capability? How might it affect them on the job, in marriage, as a parent, or as a friend later on?

Our Guest: Danielle Lindner

Our guest on this program, Danielle Lindner, strongly believes we should address these issues now rather than later. Listen in as Danielle points out her concerns and how we can help our children understand and act on the value of improved face-to-face interaction with friends, family and others.

DLinderbookA teacher, trainer and educator, Danielle has extensive experience in both the public and private school settings. Seeing a need for an enriching, challenging and socially-engaging program for young people focusing on a scaffolding approach to learning and a strong character education curriculum, she founded The London Day School and Kindergarten Enrichment Academies in Florham Park, New Jersey.

Danielle has written a number of books for children that carry a focus on character education. (The book shown here is Tango: The Little Turtle Who Was Afraid to Go to School.) Danielle is a contributor to the Huffington Post and other publications, and she was named a Top 25 Leading Women Entrepreneur by the New Jersey Chapter of Leading Women Entrepreneurs and Business Owners. (25:32)

TO LISTEN, use the player below or left-click the link. To access the file right-click and “Save Link as …” to save to your audio device), CLICK HERE FOR LINK


BONUS: Here’s an excellent article on this from Danielle. It certainly relates to this topic. It’s entitled, “The Joys of Being Bored.” [link]

Academic Success in Teens is Equal to Their Ability to See the Future (Dr. Larry F. Waldman)

Larry F. Waldman, Dr. Larry F. Waldman, Larry F. Waldman, PhD, "Who's Raising Whom"14-year-old Jason is like most adolescent males. He’s into video games, hockey, and, of course, hanging with his friends. If you ask him the classic question adults love to ask teens, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Jason will reply, “I don’t know—maybe a lawyer or an engineer.”

A Capable Underachiever

Like many of his peers, Jason views school more or less as a nuisance—something you have to get through. Although he is intelligent and capable (according to most of his elementary teachers), he underachieves in school. Jason usually does just enough to get by and he rarely studies. Due to his good native intelligence, he has managed to earn C’s, B’s, and even an occasional A in middle school, all with little or no effort.

While Jason gives lip service to becoming an attorney or an engineer, he usually thinks no further into the future than the upcoming weekend—when he can socialize with his friends. The most futuristic thinking he engages in involves obtaining his driver’s permit about a year down the road.

Jason will start high school in the fall. As usual, he has given little thought to the importance of doing well in high school and is destined to under-perform, just as he did in middle school. Jason’s parents often try to impress him about the importance of good grades in high school. Like many teens, unfortunately, Jason tends to ignore his parents when they attempt to advise him.

This is classic student underachievement.

Vision toward achievement

In my nearly 40 years of practice as a psychologist I have had the opportunity to work with three adolescents who graduated at or near the top of their high school class. These students were by no means the most intelligent members of their school. These teens were average to above-average intellectually and were diligent, organized students.

The one outstanding characteristic, I believe, that was common to all three of these students which separated them from their classmates, is that they had VISION. They possessed the capacity to truly see the future, and they were willing to work for it from middle school on.

I cannot tell you how many times a bright, capable, but “visionless” teen told me that “grades in middle school are not important” or “it’s only my freshman year (in high school); I have plenty of time to bring my grades up.”

Grades in middle school are, in fact, important because they set the stage for how the teen will do in high school. I have never met a teen who earned average (or below) grades in middle school and performed at an outstanding level through high school. As Vince Lombardi, the famed coach of the Green Bay Packers, said: “Practice doesn’t make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect.” That “perfect practice” begins in middle school. Moreover, by doing well in middle school, students are referred to advanced classes in high school, which can improve their grade point average (GPA) and induce colleges to offer them scholarships.

What most “visionless” teens fail to realize is that after their freshman year there are only five, not six, semesters in which to improve their GPA. Students typically apply to college at the end of the first semester of their senior year and are usually accepted (or not) by April of their senior year. Thus, that final semester of their senior year does not even figure into the GPA for purposes of acceptance or scholarships.

do the math

Therefore, if Jason does poorly his first semester of his freshman year, earning C’s and a few D’s, perhaps with a B in PE, he might earn a first semester GPA of 1.8. If he does a little better second semester of his freshman year, receiving C’s and B’s with an A in Band, this might result in a second semester GP of 2.6. If he finally “gets it” beginning his sophomore year, and from that time forward earns A’s and B’s for the remaining five semesters, (which is highly unlikely), he might average a 3.4 GPA over those next five semesters. Doing the math, we have 1.9 + 2.6 + 5 times 3.4 = 21.5, divided by 7, which results in a cumulative GPA of 3.0 at the end of Jason’s first semester of his senior year.

WRWThis unimpressive GPA now precludes Jason from any academic scholarships, prevents him from getting accepted at any prestigious college, probably limits him from attending any university out of state, and may even stop him from gaining acceptance into his own state university. Jason may still have a chance to become an engineer or an attorney, but he will now have to work really hard to attain his goal and he (and/or his parents) will have to fund every dime of his education. Jason’s inability to “see the future” at the young age of just 14 closed the door on many opportunities. It certainly is unsettling to recognize that choices a 13- or 14-year-old makes can affect him or her for the rest of their life.

start talking “future”

Parents must begin to talk about “the future” with their children as soon as the child can understand the concept of the future. Waiting to discuss the future when the child becomes a pre-adolescent is too late. Parents should read to their kids before the child is one and do so for the next five to seven years, until the child can read to the parent. Parents should also model being “studious” by reading, writing, doing “paper work,” taking a class perhaps, and doing “homework.” Parents should also speak of their own academic successes; even their failures. By implementing these concepts, children may develop a better “vision” of their future which will facilitate the likelihood of achieving it.###

Larry F. Waldman, Ph.D., ABPP is a recently semi-retired licensed psychologist who practiced in the Paradise Valley area of Phoenix for 38 years. He has worked with children, adolescents, parents, adults, and couples. He also provides forensic consultations. He speaks professionally to laypersons, educators, corporations, and fellow mental health professionals. He teaches graduate courses for Northern Arizona University. He is the author of five books (currently) involving parenting, marriage, personal wellness, and private practice. His contact information: 602-418-8161;;


Our Children and Healthy Eating: Bringing the Two Together (Dr. Dina Rose)


BTRadioInt-300x75-300x75Getting their children to eat healthy and right is an ongoing hassle for many parents. In many ways the struggle itself can empower youngsters against the parents. That’s hardly a way to build family harmony. Yet, if they DON’T take a stand on what their children should eat and why, moms and dads could feel guilty and ineffective as parents. What’s the answer? This program, “Our Children and Healthy Eating: Bringing the Two Together,” looks at the problem and offers insights.

Dr. Dina Rose, It's Not About the BroccoliTo start with, our guest on this program, sociologist, parent educator and feeding expert, Dr. Dina Rose, suggests that talking about nutrition is the WRONG conversation. As she will share in this program, good, healthy eating for our children (and ourselves, also) is much more about creating positive habits regarding eating. In short, it’s about a change of focus, and it works!

It's Not About the Broccoli, Dina Rose, PhDListen in as Dr. Rose discusses the three healthy eating habits of Proportion, Variety and Moderation. She will share how teaching these habits to our children will make any mealtime a more pleasant event, and it will give our kids a “how-to” model for a whole lifestyle of eating right.

Dr. Rose is the author of It’s Not About the Broccoli: Three Habits to Teach Your Kids for a Lifetime of Healthy Eating. Her work has been featured nationally on television and radio, and in print and online news sources. In addition to writing her blog, It’s Not About Nutrition, Dr. Rose writes for The Huffington Post and Psychology Today. (27:41)


TO LISTEN, use the player below or left-click the link. To access the file right-click and “Save Link as …” to save to your audio device), CLICK HERE FOR LINK


When Outbursts Mask Depression in a Teen (Dr. Laurie Hollman)

Dr. Laurie Hollman, Unlocking Parental Intelligence, When Outbursts Mask Depression in a TeenOn one of many Saturdays, a thirteen-year-old spent the day screaming, throwing things, criticizing everyone for hours then slamming her door to her chaotic messy room and sleeping for hours.

Barely revived for dinner, she complained about the food, yelled at her mother for not knowing she was a vegan, and tossed her full dishes in the sink.

Her mother was angry, tired, and felt disrespected. She didn’t deserve this treatment and took it personally. Was this what the beginning of teenage life was going to be? Could she tolerate it?

Have you ever experienced this kind of scenario?

Earlier in the day this distraught mother had yelled,” What’s wrong with you?” sarcastically fed up and beside herself with her incorrigible child. Her husband was no help: “Now you’ve done it. She’ll never speak to you again.”

They had an argument about how to raise kids, something they’d done since she was a baby.

Something was “Hidden”
But by the end of the weekend, the thirteen-year-old’s mother shifted her tone and asked once again, but in a gentle voice, “Sweetheart, what’s wrong?” To this change of maternal voice, her daughter let forth a torrent of tears.

“I have no idea!” she said.  “I wake up with a weight on my shoulders and force myself out of bed. Everybody and everything irritates me. I don’t want to be this horrible person, but I think I’m going crazy.

Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child's Behavior, Laurie Hollman PhDThis was the opening her mother needed to understand that the outbursts were hiding a deep insidious depression overtaking her daughter. There were no outward stressors beyond the norm of lots of homework, dramas with girlfriends, and frustrations with teachers. Her grades were decent, she got to school on time, and nothing traumatic seemed to be happening, or had it ever that she could remember.

This mother, however, was reminded of the depressions that crept through the female side of her family; now she knew it was her daughter’s turn.

Signs of a Struggle
The outbursts were just outer signs of a deep internal struggle with a biological base that made everyday life seem like a torrent of wounds. Her child’s revelation opened the door to a wish for help that had been conveyed indirectly through all the complaints, messes, and screams.

They weren’t bids for attention; they were demands for support and help. And once this mother no longer felt personally provoked, she could see with different eyes that the baby she had nursed and cuddled needed her warmth and strength again without judgment or accusations.

Learning, Help and Love
That cold weekend turned into a warm one as mother and daughter shuddered and cried together. Regaining composure the mother explained depression to her daughter. They google searched the signs and symptoms and knew this was beyond her daughter’s immediate control. She needn’t be blamed or accused of anything. They would work it out with help and kindness. This surely wasn’t about discipline, messy rooms and outbursts; it was going to be about learning, professional help, and above all … love.###

Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. has a new book out, Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior, on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Familius, and wherever books are sold.


The Joys and Challenges of Foster Parenting (Dr. John DeGarmo)

Dr. John DeGarmoIt would be difficult for us to ever fully realize and understand the value of foster parents. Their contributions are ongoing reminders of the resilience of the human spirit and the impact of love, support and assurance when it is needed most. Indeed, there are many successful men and women who were raised in foster families. This program is about the joys and challenges of foster parenting.

It’s a serious thing to remove a child or teen from their biological home, yet circumstances can dictate just that. Through no fault of their own, youngsters’ lives can be changed dramatically as they are placed with a foster family, for not to move them could expose them to serious, even life-threatening, physical and emotional risk.

Although folks who have “been there” will tell you the blessings of being a foster parent outweigh the troubles, it’s understandable how a child or teen going into foster placement might not be happy about it. Patience, insight, understanding, and sometimes a pretty thick skin are needed to help these kids find their footing on a better road. So, according to our guest on this program, foster parent and foster parenting expert, Dr. John DeGarmo, being a foster parent takes a substantial amount of grit in addition to love and compassion.

Fostering Love, Dr. John DeGarmoIn this program, Dr. John explains the nature and process of foster parenting, and he freely shares some of the ups and downs he and his wife, Kelly, have experienced in their 12 years as foster parents. He also discusses some of the behaviors and characteristics of youngsters coming into foster placement (especially for the first time), and how they are best addressed. (These could include hoarding of food, boundary issues, poor school performance, difficulty with conflict, problems in exercising trust and fear of rejection.) Dr. John also shows how we all can best assist foster children and their foster families.

Dr. John travels extensively, speaking and training on foster care. He also hosts a weekly radio show, Foster Talk with Dr. John, and he’s the author of a number of books on foster care. In this program, we’re featuring one that has been especially well-received, Fostering Love: One Foster Parent’s Journey. This book is an absolute must-read for anyone thinking of becoming a foster parent. (28:50)

TO LISTEN, use the player below or left-click the link. To access the file right-click and “Save Target as …” to save to your audio device), CLICK HERE FOR LINK



Teaching Virtue in an Election Year (Dr. Daniel Trussell)

Dr. Daniel Trussell, How Families FlourishNo matter which candidate you support, there is no better time than a presidential election year to teach older children and adolescents about civic responsibility, critical thinking, and integrity. These activities all characterize people who live the good life, those who report the highest level of life satisfaction and happiness. Therefore, teaching virtue in an election year is very much worth the effort.

A “Themed” Family Meeting
If you’ve read my articles in the past, you know I am a strong advocate for regularly scheduled family meetings. Family meetings are a time to celebrate successes, compliment achievements, problem solve challenges and explore individualized family values. You might consider a family meeting themed around the presidential election.

One way to approach the discussion is to ask your child what they observe about each candidate’s performance during debates, forums, news bites and advertisements related to character traits the candidates’ exhibit rather than on their political platforms.
While this may seem a daunting task, here are some tips to help you guide the conversation.

Six Societal Virtues
Seligman and Peterson identified six virtues that can be found in virtually all societies. These include:

WISDOM- acquiring and using knowledge
COURAGE – accomplishing goals in the face of opposition
JUSTICE – building community
HUMANITY –befriending and tending to others
TEMPERANCE – protecting against excess
TRANSCENDENCE – connecting to the larger universe

Each virtue is demonstrated through consistent character strengths of an individual. Let’s look at those strengths.

How Families Flourish, Dr. Daniel Trussell, Daniel Trussell, PhDFor WISDOM, the strengths are a love of learning, discernment, curiosity, originality (approaching problems in new ways) and perspective.

COURAGE includes integrity, persistence, bravery and vitality.

JUSTICE involves teamwork, fairness and leadership.

HUMANITY manifests through generosity, loving and being loved, and social/emotional intelligence.

TEMPERANCE embodies forgiveness and mercy, humility, self-control and prudence/discretion.

TRANSCENDENCE encompasses appreciation of beauty in all things, gratitude, hope, spirituality and humor.

While no person exemplifies all the strengths mentioned above, it is helpful to identify the top and bottom strengths of an individual. For your family meeting conversation, you might want to look at the top three and bottom three strengths of each candidate from both parties.

A Few Ground Rules
If your family is not skilled at family meetings, some ground rules are worth mentioning. Family meetings need a rigid start and stop time where all family members are present. Once the meeting time is set, it can’t be changed unless there is a life or death emergency, so plan accordingly. No personal devices are to be used during this or any other family meeting (turn off TV or music, don’t answer phones etc.)

Each member gets an opportunity to identify the strengths of each candidate, without interruption, comment or judgment from the other family members. After everyone has had a chance to talk, a more general discussion can begin.

The time factor in family meetings is very important.  There is much less resistance to family meetings when they start and stop promptly. If time runs out before everyone has finished, it is better to schedule an additional family meeting (same time, next week) than to extend the meeting.

A Nice Surprise
You might be surprised to learn how your kids are reacting to and absorbing the campaign information they are exposed to. The purpose of this family meeting is not to persuade anyone to come to your way of thinking but to learn about each individual’s personal reaction to this exciting electoral process. It only happens once every four years so let’s grasp the opportunity!


Daniel Trussell, Ph.D., MBA, LPC, NCC, CPCS is author of The How Families Flourish Workbook and How Families Flourish. He is a certified Professional Counselor supervisor and conducts training for both professionals and families in incorporating the findings from positive psychology into daily life. He can be reached at [website]


Anxiety: An Emerging Challenge for Children & Parents (Guest: Peggy Sealfon)

BTRadioInt-300x75-300x75It’s been said that if a person never experiences difficulty or failure, it’s likely they aren’t doing anything really significant. Worthy plans and goals involve risk; no argument there. But sometimes anxiety can be a big issue. With that in mind, welcome to this program: Anxiety: An Emerging Challenge for Children & Parents.

Peggy Sealfon, Escape From Anxiety, Integrated Life Personal Coaching SystemWhen is the stress of life too much? At what point does anxiety come into our lives and sets up residence? What it is costing us in terms of overall health and relationships? Why do we too often seem dead-set on adding to our own misery?

Where is the “off” switch for stress, or have we lost it along the way?

Although some folks manage stress amazingly well, others do not. For a parent to expect a son or daughter to manage a full plate of expectations and pressure as well as they do could be costly mistake. Excessive anxiety in our children might not be fully realized for weeks, months, or even years later, but it can hurt them, just the same.

How can we best reach out to youngsters that are struggling, especially those that seem more susceptible to what troubles them? How can we offer relief where we can, and impart insight and skills of coping when relief might not be an available option?

Escape from Anxiety: Supercharge Your Life with Powerful Strategies from A to ZHere on this program to help us sort through these issues is Peggy Sealfon, stress and anxiety specialist and author of Escape from Anxiety: Supercharge Your Live with Powerful Strategies from A to Z. Peggy will share useful tools for reducing anxiety in the moment, tools she calls “Interrupters.” Many of these are easily adaptable for children and teens. She will also emphasize how youngsters can improve significantly when parents set an example for them. What better way for them to learn effective and adaptive skills for today and well into tomorrow?

Peggy is an internationally recognized personal development coach, author and popular speaker and trainer on dealing with stress, anxiety pain and trauma. She is certified in life-changing modalities from ancient yogic techniques to training in functional medicine, modern psychology, energy medicine, nutrition and the neurosciences. From these, Peggy developed her successful Integrated Life Personal Coaching System. In this program, we are featuring her book, Escape from Anxiety. (27:48)

TO LISTEN, use the player below or left-click the link. To access the file right-click and “Save Link as …” to save to your audio device), CLICK HERE FOR LINK


BONUS: Peggy has developed a three-minute audio designed to help a person with the de-stress process. It can be accessed HERE.

Ten Ways to Boost Creativity (Mike Ferry)

Mike Ferry, Teaching Happiness and Innovation, Ten Ways to Boost CreativityCreativity is a path to happiness. The more time we spend being creative, the happier we’re likely to become. In addition, creativity is an essential aspect of innovation, which will propel us to a brighter future. As kids many of us are naturally creative. Unfortunately, our creativity tends to be eliminated as we enter school. So, here are ten ways to boost creativity.

The really good news is that we can reclaim our creativity. In addition, we can help our kids preserve and develop their creative capacity.

Teaching Happiness and Innovation, Mike FerryHere are ten (hopefully fun) activities designed to engage your skills of creativity. Using each group of words, compose a short story, skit, poem, song, movie, dance, etc. Let your mind roam free. If this becomes hilarious and a bit chaotic, so be it! Maybe you could try this exercise the next time you need an icebreaker in the office, the classroom, or anywhere else. Plus, you might learn a thing or two by looking up the meanings of any people, places, or things you don’t know about. The more we learn, the more creative we can be!




James Bond
Walla Walla, Washington
Hula hoop


Onion rings
Millard Fillmore


Vatican City
Thin Mints
Al Capone


Golf cart
Guinea pig
Ronald Reagan


Oak tree
Lebron James


Babe Ruth




Silk Road
Flip flop


Louis Armstrong
Columbus Zoo
Hello Kitty pencil

This is a recent blog post of mine that has been getting some attention on Twitter. I’ve tried a few of these with my students, and the process has been lots of fun. ###

Mike Ferry is the author of Teaching Happiness and Innovation. A middle school history teacher in Richmond, VA, Mike is raising four (mostly happy) children with his wife, Jenny. For more information about teaching happiness to children, visit Twitter @MikeFerry7