Category Archives: Academics

Two Thoughts on Forgetting (Dr. James D. Sutton)

For young ones and older ones alike, “forgetting” can be a convenient way of dodging responsibility. But there’s one problem: We rarely forget things that are really important to us. Dr. James Sutton offers a handy tool for dealing with forgetting that just might be intentional.

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Two Thoughts on Forgetting, James D. SuttonEveryone, children and adults alike, sometimes forget. Ongoing difficulty with remembering specific things, however, can be associated with anxiety or worry, or it can be a veiled form of defiant behavior, an undercover way of saying, “I didn’t WANT to!” Let’s take a look at both types of forgetting.

Thought #1: Forgetting That Causes Worry and Anxiety

What about the person who leaves for work or an extended trip only to worry later if they closed the garage door, unplugged the curling iron, or left the front door unlocked? And what about the youngster who realizes she left her overdue library book at home… again?

I recently went to some training on the treatment of anxiety disorders. While there, I picked up a little intervention that makes a lot of sense. It’s based on the fact that added cognitive impression at the moment of “storage” improves memory exponentially. Point: If you want to remember, make a “bigger” memory.

It’s simple, really. As you close the garage door say loudly, “I am now CLOSING the garage door!” Your neighbors might think you strange, but, even hours later, you will KNOW you closed that door. (And the same goes for unplugging the curling iron, feeding the cat, locking the front door or putting the library book in the school backpack with a flourished announcement.)

Thought #2: Passive-Aggressive Forgetting

Forgetting is a convenient way to say, without the risk of saying it, “I didn’t FEEL like doing that; so there!” Passive-aggressive adults can turn a workplace upside down with this behavior, while oppositional and defiant youngsters can brew up a ton of frustration in teachers and parents with forgetting. Then they wiggle off the hook with a less-than-sincere, “I’m sorry.”

60 Ways to Reach a Difficult and Defiant Child, Dr. James SuttonBut, of course, nothing ever changes.

The solution to addressing intentional forgetting is to attack the intention. So, the next time you give the child or student an instruction or direction to be completed later, ask them this question (and try to do it with a straight face):

Do you think that is something you’ll forget?

(Regardless of the look on their face, it’s my guess the question will catch them off-guard. If they stammer a bit, it’s probably because they KNOW they’ve stepped into a bit of quicksand.)

For them to say, “Yes,” would be to expose more of their intent that they generally care to show. (But if that’s what they say, my next step would be to ask them to come up with a strategy for remembering, and then hold out until I get it from them.)

In most cases, the youngster will say, “No,” just to end the conversation. Then, if they DO forget, you’ve created a perfect opportunity to remind them what they told you earlier. The youngster essentially verifies the need for the question with his or her behavior.

Since these kids don’t really like to give adults the upper hand at their expense, you just might have a different outcome when you ask the same question (“Do you think that’s something you’ll forget?) next time. ###

 

A semi-retired child and adolescent psychologist, author and speaker, Dr. James Sutton is the founder and host of The Changing Behavior Network. For more tried-and-true strategies for reaching and working with difficult children and teens, consider downloading his book, 60 Ways to Reach a Difficult and Defiant Child. CLICK HERE for more information.

 

Can Thanksgiving Boost Your Child’s GPA? (Mike Ferry)

As the Thanksgiving season approaches, Mike Ferry offers some excellent suggestions on how kids and families can express their gratitude and realize some of the differences it can make. We present, “Can Thanksgiving Boost Your Child’s GPA?

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Mike Ferry, Can Thanksgiving Boost Your Child's GPA?Thanksgiving, one of our country’s favorite holidays, is revered for many reasons. We love to recall the kindness and good will that was shared between the Pilgrims and Native Americans so long ago. We devour feasts of pumpkin pie, turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, and sweet potatoes. We laugh as we tell stories among family and friends. And, of course, we watch hours of football.

Gratitude and Academic Performance

While we think of Thanksgiving as a time to dwell on our blessings, we may not realize that this holiday can actually boost academic performance for our children. This is because of gratitude, which has many benefits for adults and kids alike.

Numerous studies have pointed out the positive impact of gratitude on heart health, stress level, immune system, and longevity. Research has also shown that “prosocial behaviors” such as gratitude lead to improved performance in the classroom. In addition, kids who engage in these prosocial behaviors experience better job prospects, stronger mental health, and fewer negative interactions with law enforcement. As parents, isn’t it a good idea to foster gratitude in our children to make these outcomes more likely?

Putting it To Practice

There’s a good chance that your child could improve in the gratitude department. Actually, if you’re like me, you could probably demonstrate more gratitude yourself! The good news is that we can get better at being grateful with practice. Shouldn’t we focus on our blessings throughout the year instead of during a few days at the end of November? We’ll reap many rewards as adults, and our kids will see success at school and beyond.

Here are five tips for cultivating and practicing gratitude at home.

1. Model Gratitude. Parents who complain all the time will have kids who complain all the time. Make an effort to focus on the good. Want to take it to the next level? Set up a “parent’s complaint jar” and drop a quarter in it every time you or your partner complains about something. Your kids will love this!

2. Make a Gratitude Wall with Post It® Notes. Write down (or draw) something you’re grateful for at least twice a day. Do this in a room where you spend lots of time (like the kitchen). We tend to think about things that go wrong and bother us, but the gratitude wall will visually remind us of our blessings. Plus, of course, it’s creative and fun! When you’ve done this for a week, celebrate by going to your favorite restaurant or doing something else you enjoy.

Teaching Happiness and Innovation, Mike Ferry3. Earn the Fun with Gratitude. Does your kid want a cookie? Does your teen want the car keys? Make kids “earn the fun” with gratitude. They can get what they want after adding a Post It® note to the gratitude wall or telling you something they’re grateful for.

4. Connect with Current Events. We take so much for granted. Consider water, for example. When we’re thirsty, we go to the sink without thinking about it. What about those children in Flint? They can’t do that. We can point out to our kids how lucky they are by making connections with stories from the news.

5. Serve Others as a Family. Community service is a great way to become more grateful. By working in a food pantry, collecting used sports equipment for disadvantaged children, or singing holiday favorites at a nursery home, kids start to appreciate just how lucky they are. Plus, it’s a fun way to bond as a family.

So give the practice of gratitude some extra effort this season. You’ll like the difference it will make! ###

 

Speakers Group Member, The Changing Behavior NetworkMike 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 www.happinessandinnovation.com. Twitter @MikeFerry7

 

Back to School After Divorce: Tips to Help Your Kids! (Rosalind Sedacca, CDC)

BTSpReportReturning to school after a summer break marked by the divorce of the parents would be a challenge for any youngster. Rosalind Sedacca, founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network, offers some great tips to help these kids make the best of the support available at school. We present, “Back to School After Divorce: Tips to Help Your Kids!”

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Back to school after divorce, tips to help your kids, rosalind sedaccaMany divorces take place during the summer. This timing can help families adapt to the changes ahead. But it also makes returning to school a challenge for most children. Fortunately, there are ways to ease the transition by tapping into the many resources available through the school. That’s why it’s wise to develop a cooperative relationship with key school personnel.

Communicate with the School

Start by informing your child’s teachers about the divorce and any changes in your home environment. The more aware they are, the better prepared they can be to help your child. After all, school is often a second home for children – and that may be very comforting during this time of transition.

We can’t expect children to not be affected by the divorce. So expect raw emotions to come to the surface, including fear, shame, guilt and many forms of insecurity. Be aware that these complex feelings are likely to affect a child’s focus and self-esteem, as well as relationships with their friends – not to mention the impact on their academic performance.

Take advantage of the fact that most children trust and feel safe with their teachers. So schedule a conversation with them before the school year starts. Discuss the status of your post-divorce arrangements. Having the teacher as an ally can help your child feel more secure and less alone.

Child-Centered Divorce Network, Rosalind SedaccaUtilize the School’s Resources

The following suggestions can guide parents in using school system resources to your child’s advantage:

Teachers can look for signs of distress or depression in your child. Being compassionate by nature, teachers can talk with your child about their feelings. They can let your child know they are not the blame. Nor are they the only kids at school going through these difficulties. Messages like this can reinforce prior conversations you’ve already had with your child. It also reassures them to know that the divorce is not a big dark secret. It can be discussed candidly without shame.

Talk with your child’s guidance counselor. These professionals are a valuable resource; they are trained to handle challenging circumstances. They can be an ally to you and your children, and they can be counted on for support and guidance.

Look at these educators as members of your child’s support team. They have the background to detect signs of depression, aggression or other behavior changes that need to be addressed with you as soon as possible. So ask them to be attentive toward your child.

Be sure to take advantage of divorce support groups at school. These groups are designed to encourage children to talk with one another, sharing their feelings during or after the divorce. It’s helpful to know they’re not alone, that they’re accepted, and that others are facing or have experienced similar life-altering circumstances. That awareness gives children a sense of belonging. Many children make new friends with others who are sharing their experiences. The less alone a child feels, the easier it is to accept the challenges they will be facing in the weeks and months to come.

Of course, schools cannot replace parental responsibilities. It’s essential to talk to your child before they return to school. Prepare them for changes in routine or scheduling they might encounter. Inform them about those they can talk to at school if they are feeling sad or have questions about adjusting to new situations.

Let school be your child’s best friend at this time. It can be a great support system for your family if you take advantage of the experience and useful resources available. ###

Speakers Group MemberRosalind Sedacca, CDC is a Divorce & Parenting Coach, founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network and author of How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love! For Rosalind’s free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting, coaching services, articles and other valuable resources on divorce and parenting issues, go to: www.childcentereddivorce.com.

 

Memoirs of an ADHD Mind (Guest: Melissa Hood)

The Changing Behavior NetworkIf you’ve ever wondered what a child, teen or adult with ADHD experiences, here’s a first-hand account from Melissa Hood. The insights and interventions she offers are loaded with value. We present, “Memoirs of an ADHD Mind.”

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Missy Hood, Melissa Hood, Memoirs of an ADHD MindADHD

The diagnostic condition of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) has been recognized and utilized by medical and mental health professionals for some time now. Medications and treatments for this condition can be quite effective.

That said, those folks who seldom encounter or work with individuals presenting this condition generally know very little about it. It’s easy to say to such a child, teen or adult, “You just need to concentrate on what you’re doing, that’s all,” or “You know, if you’d only think before you do some of the things you do, you wouldn’t get into so much trouble.”

Good Intentions, But …

Statements like these might mean well, but they don’t work very well. After all, if an ADHD youngster (or adult) could concentrate better or be less “scattered,” they would have accomplished it a long time ago. They struggle because their capabilities for concentration, focus and control over impulse are affected.

Memoirs of an ADHD Mind, Melissa HoodLessons from the “Inside”

In this program, guest Melissa (Missy) Hood, author of Memoirs of an ADHD Mind, takes us on a journey of what it feels like to struggle with a condition that can dramatically affect learning, behavior and relationships in so many ways.

In Missy’s case, she wasn’t officially diagnosed with ADHD until she was in her 20s. Listen in as she shares what it was like to struggle in her learning with some teachers, but not with others … and WHY. As an adult, Missy lost 40 jobs in 15 years. Her explanation of the “why” of these difficulties, and what we can all do to better work with and relate to ADHD-affected individuals, is insightful … and potentially life-changing.

Melissa Hood

Braced with the support of a few resourceful teachers, her understanding parents and a strong faith, Missy make it through some very difficult times.  College was a huge obstacle for her, but she eventually went on to earn both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Currently, Missy is a doctoral student earning her Doctor of Education degree in Transformational Leadership. And, of course, as an encourager, Missy is deeply involved in sharing her book and its message with as many folks as possible. (28:50)

www.MissyHood.com

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


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BONUS: Here’s a complimentary chart from Missy regarding structure and coping skills as they would apply to an ADHD-affected individual. [link]

 

 

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


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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; LarryWaldmanPhD@cox.net; TopPhoenixPsychologist.com.

 

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)

www.PeggySealfon.com

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


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

How Parents Can Instill a Thirst for Learning (Michael Byron Smith)

Michael Byron Smith, The Power of Dadhood, Helping Fathers to be DadsHave you ever witnessed the look in a child’s eyes when the light bulb comes on? Adrenaline rushes in the moment he or she understands something which once puzzled, frustrated, or mystified them, accompanied by a great boost to their confidence. These moments are so important because success always begets more success. However, a child will have few opportunities to feel that rush or become more confident if not properly challenged intellectually. Let’s look at how parents can instill a thirst for learning.

photo by Michael Byron SmithBy challenged, I mean being introduced to new things which have to be studied to be understood. To a toddler it could be putting shapes in similarly shaped openings. As they mature, it could be building their own shapes, or houses, or cars with Legos and Lincoln Logs. Learning, like infinity, never ends. Experiencing it, like infinity, you may need a rocket ship. Parents can be rocket ships for their children for there will always be new discoveries to be found, studied, and conquered.

The stars of our galaxy are a wonderful way to stir the imagination. It could be explained that the North Star, the Big Dipper or other constellations helped early travelers find their way. Chemistry sets and microscopes are great tools to learn science, such as how to make slime or crystals, or how to see microscopic objects invisible to the naked eye. Each step of learning advances a child to a higher level of knowledge and a stronger desire to learn more. And don’t forget to take your kids to the local zoo or science center! Better yet, teach them about animals before you go. They will be fascinated.

I remember how astonished I was when I learned I could measure the exact height of a tree without climbing to the top and dropping a tape measure from the top branch to the ground. It was simple trigonometry. By finding a point away from the tree where the top of the tree was at a 45-degree angle from the ground, I knew the height of the tree was the same as the distance to the tree. I then wanted to learn more ways trigonometry worked to solve more mysteries.

Photo by Michael Byron SmithI haven’t even mentioned to greatest tool to a child’s imagination, that being reading! Reading to toddlers, or even babies fascinates them. They see the writing and the pictures and know they are related. Even the comfort of being on your lap and having your attention relates reading to being safe and loved. What better way to introduce a child to learning. As they get older, children want to be able to translate a written string of letters to understandable thoughts and descriptions, just like mom and dad can do.

Late Starts in Learning Can Be a Terrible Burden
But what about the child who is never read to, not to mention never having a learning tool like a chemistry set with simple experiments any parent can teach. They are left unaided to stimulate their imaginations which become a distinct disadvantage compared to their peers, those who have had loving attention and mentoring. Even though some children are born with more active imaginations than others, every child will be helped by outside stimulation. And although their schools are a key place to stimulate the imaginations of kids, the real joy of learning is discovered in the years prior to formal learning. Not surprisingly, it is the parents who are the key parties in challenging their children during these early years.

Very important in raising more than one child is to understand their different paces in learning and varied interests. Some kids will be more challenging than others, but they must not be compared. You want to challenge the fast learner and the slow learner at different rates but with similar degrees of challenge, i.e. where they will succeed, but not too easily. When over challenged, kids will get frustrated and want to quit. If under challenged, kids will be bored and disinterested in moving forward.

photo by Michael Byron Smith, parents are key teachersIf you are lucky, your child will find a passion. A child with a passion is like putting them in cruise control towards their love of further discovery. They will be driven by their interest and not by your prodding. With a passion comes a desire to learn more and more. A passionate child will more often live in the moment and not brood about the past or future.

The Dry Sponge Theory
Lastly, remember this when your child complains about not quite understanding a subject in school. Have him take the next higher level course and while he may struggle again, he will look back at the last level with more understanding. For instance, let’s say your child struggles with multiplication. If they graduate and then learn algebra, it follows that when she looks back to multiplication, multiplication won’t seem as difficult any longer.

I call this the ‘Dry Sponge Theory.’ (I discuss it in more detail in my book, The Power of Dadhood: Become the Father Your Child Needs.)  A dry sponge absorbs quite a bit of moisture. However, when a sponge is totally wet, it won’t absorb anything more. A larger sponge will have room for more absorption. Taking algebra makes your learning sponge for multiplication bigger, allowing a capacity for more understanding. It follows that no one is an expert at the level they are studying. They become experts at a level two or three steps lower than where they are currently studying. For instance, sixth graders would be considered experts in fourth-grade subjects…and so forth.

Michael Byron Smith, The Dry Sponge Theory

Your kids may not be convinced of the ‘Dry Sponge Theory’, but hopefully you will be convinced to push them forward. The ‘Dry Sponge Theory’ works similarly for topics that may bore your child like Art Appreciation or History. They may not become historians, but their learning sponge will have increased in size and, therefore, in capacity. Other topics will fall more easily into place. I am convinced of this.

Summary
Parents are key teachers in the most important early learning years–when the sponge of a child’s brain is insatiably thirsty. Introduce interesting things to them. Challenge them. Make learning fun and look for a passion that may pull them forward. And finally, if they aren’t passionate about learning, keep pushing them. Knowledge and the thirst for learning are so important for their futures! ###

The Power of Dadhood, Michael Byron SmithArticle and photographs by Michael Byron Smith, author of The Power of Dadhood [website]
Helping Fathers to be Dads blog

 

Straight Talk about Learning Disabilities, Part 2 (Guest: Laura Reiff)

The subjectLaura Reiff, Straight Talk About Learning Disabilities, learning disabilities, special education of learning disabilities can bring as many questions as answers. What are they, and how do children and teens “get” learning disabilities? What do parents and students need to know about learning disabilities, and what happens after a youngster is diagnosed? What are the responsibilities of the school to students diagnosed with learning disabilities, how are identified students to be taught, and how is progress measured and documented? In other words, what is the straight talk about learning disabilities?

And what about behavior? Does the child or teen with a learning disability ever present emotional or behavioral issues? If so how are they best addressed?

These are all good questions. Laura Reiff, our guest on this program will assist us in removing some of the mystery associated with learning disabilities, and she’ll replace it with insights gained from years of teaching learning disabled students.

The Adventures of Naomi Noodles, Laura ReiffSome insights might surprise you. For instance, did you know that many learning disabled students are quite bright? Did you know that federal law directs the effective education of children and teens diagnosed with learning disabilities?

Laura has a heart for helping students and their families to better understand learning disabilities and to lift what can be a negative stigma associated with Special Education. As a coach, guide and consultant, she operates a special website (posted below) that supports the needs and concerns of parents of children with learning disabilities. Laura is also involved in the writing of children’s books that help youngsters better understand learning disabilities and how they are addressed. Her first project, The Adventures of Naomi Noodles, is a book about a young girl coping with learning disabilities. (23:50)

www.about-special-education.com

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Straight Talk about Learning Disabilities, Part 1 (Guest: Laura Reiff)

The subjectLaura Reiff, Straight Talk About Learning Disabilities, learning disabilities, special education of learning disabilities can bring as many questions as answers. What are they, and how do children and teens “get” learning disabilities? What do parents and students need to know about learning disabilities, and what happens after a youngster is diagnosed? What are the responsibilities of the school to students diagnosed with learning disabilities, how are identified students to be taught, and how is progress measured and documented? In other words, what is the straight talk about learning disabilities?

And what about behavior? Does the child or teen with a learning disability ever present emotional or behavioral issues? If so how are they best addressed?

These are all good questions. Laura Reiff, our guest on this program will assist us in removing some of the mystery associated with learning disabilities, and she’ll replace it with insights gained from years of teaching learning disabled students.

The Adventures of Naomi Noodles, Laura ReiffSome insights might surprise you. For instance, did you know that many learning disabled students are quite bright? Did you know that federal law directs the effective education of children and teens diagnosed with learning disabilities?

Laura has a heart for helping students and their families to better understand learning disabilities and to lift what can be a negative stigma associated with Special Education. As a coach, guide and consultant, she operates a special website (posted below) that supports the needs and concerns of parents of children with learning disabilities. Laura is also involved in the writing of children’s books that help youngsters better understand learning disabilities and how they are addressed. Her first project, The Adventures of Naomi Noodles, is a book about a young girl coping with learning disabilities. (23:50)

www.about-special-education.com

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