Let’s Make This the Year of Understanding Children and Adolescents

pediatric profiler pictureHere we are, standing on the threshold of a new year.  What will it bring us?  What will it bring the children and adolescents in our communities?

I have been working with children and their families for approximately 30 years.  One theme that occurs more often than I want to hear is that “They (children/adolescents) have to learn to respect us (the adults). We won’t show them respect until they show it to us first.” Where are they (children/adolescents) supposed to be learning this respect for others? From the adults in their lives, of course. Unfortunately for many children and adolescents, they have never seen it modeled and if they see it at all it is in the form of fear of others that lead to following rather than relating.

This style of interaction has roots back to the times of Colonial America when most parenting was called Authoritarian, meaning that children obeyed due to love and fear of their parents. Blind obedience was expected or else they would receive the wrath of the belt or switch. This form of parenting is still used although child services frowns on it since we now provide children and adolescents with protection from physical punishment, which includes belts and switches. This then leads to a verbal equivalent where the child is repeatedly torn down emotionally to then be built to be an unquestioning follower.  Some children, those who have temperament profiles that need to understand “why”, are frequently victims of repeated emotional abuse because they can’t simply do what doesn’t make sense.

This style of adult-child interaction is also seen in many schools, with examples being the Zero Tolerance policies where there is not room for understanding what led a child to respond or react in a certain manner.  Frequently there are very valid reasons, which left unaddressed result in a much worse outcome down the road, when this student decides to get vengeance on those who punished with no regard to the torture he may have been receiving from others until he finally stood up to them.

Look at the child abuse statistics from one year ago (1/2/2014).  30% of children who were abused became abusive parents. If you asked children in school how many of them felt that they were verbally and/or emotionally abused, I would expect the number would be high, although they aren’t seen as a significant part of the statistics listed on that site. The abuser may be their parent or parents, but it is just as likely to be a teacher, administrator, or another student. These interactions influence and model for the child how to interact, if not with all others, at least with children, thus keeping the cycle going.

2015 for me will be a time for increased speaking for children.  I will continue to travel the country explaining the hows and whys of children and adolescents in the hope of creating change in adults who influence children.  Help me do this. Share my brochure with others to bring training to parents, teachers, administrators, and others who routinely come in contact with children and adolescents.

 

Thank you and Happy New Year.

1 in 6 pediatric profiling brochure

How learning more about yourself can help children

pediatric profiler pictureOver the decades I have read constantly and taken courses to improve myself so that I would be of the most service I could to my patients, their parents, and the organizations who work with challenging children and adolescents.

I have found some of the most useful information outside of the medical and psychological fields.  Business courses, especially leadership courses have helped me understand the needs of my community.  It also informed me that some of what we are doing as adults with and to children is counterproductive to what they will need to be able to do as adults.

Because of this I am going to begin sharing with you links of experts I have grown to respect so that you too can heighten your awareness and skills, with children but also with others you work and live with in your lives.  If we adults can feel better about ourselves, and therefore less stressed, we will be there even more for the children/teens that need us.

Here is a link on Brian Tracy, who has increased the productivity of companies around the world over the last several decades.  I hope you gain from him as much as I have – Eat the Frog, 2nd Edition, by Brian Tracy.

Where did creativity go?

pediatric profiler pictureAs a child I spent a great deal of time considering the possibilities of the world. I asked “what if” and then followed up with trial and error to achieve what I was working for.

My children and I played “what if” frequently when they were small.  It helped them to think of the world as a place of adventures and creations waiting to be developed.

My grandchildren experience that with their mother, who has a degree in art.

But in my practice, I see too many children who don’t know how to ask “what if” except for fearfully.  They don’t know how to ask with curiosity and anticipation. In school they are presented with worksheet after worksheet.  They are losing recess time to complete these worksheets, sometimes because they can’t get them done fast enough and other times because they need to reach a certain goal of materials covered.

This article on creativity is a major red flag about how the current focus on teaching to the test is causing our children to lose their creativity.  Creativity is so important for innovation and problem solving.  Let’s begin a conversation with “what if” looking at ways to bring creativity back into the classroom and see what that does for test scores.  I am sure it will improve useful life scores when they go to get jobs and start careers.

Give them the skills and time and they can succeed

pediatric profiler pictureI have a colleague in the National Speakers Association who has C4-5 quadriplegia. He has an active speaking career, traveling around the country on his own.  He has had to learn many strategies in order to be independent.  It was not fast or easy.

He filmed himself doing the task of undressing (not to the explicit level so still rated G) to point out what allowing individuals the time and skills could allow them to achieve.

This is a message I would like all of you to consider as you work with your children or your students and feel that time has run out and you can no longer provide the time to get them to the mastery level of a task.  Many of these children can already complete the task but need more time to use their cognitive skills to figure it out.

Here is Chad’s YouTube video.  Let me know what you think.

 

Why positive behavioral supports work better

pediatric profiler picture

It is refreshing to see that schools are now recognizing that zero tolerance and negative responses to all actions does not allow the student to develop a sense or mastery over their own behaviors.  Students need to know that they are meeting expectations, not to just assume that if they are not being criticized or punished they are doing what the teacher or principal wants.

As a society we need to remember that children and teens don’t have all the answers.  They need to hear often that they are making progress and developing mastery skills.  They are not choosing to do it wrong or to make things worse.  They need us to help them learn the steps to success.

Check out this article about how well positive behavioral supports work.

Classroom sizes and other issues in teaching children

pediatric profiler picturehttp://www.scoop.it/t/developmental-behavioral-challenges-in-children.

I just finished posting an article on Why Smaller is Better: Class Sizes on Scoop It.  I also brought up some other issues that we have to consider when looking at how to best help students.

I look forward to your take on this.

Bringing Pediatric Profiling to School Districts

pediatric profiler picture I am excited to let you know that I have rolled out my Pediatric Profiling program for school districts. Attached you will find the brochure that I am sending out to school districts. I am looking forward to helping teachers and administrators in their efforts to decrease behavioral and processing/learning problems in their student populations.

Please share the attached brochure with your school districts.
1 in 6 pediatric profiling brochure 

I hope to see you in one of these school districts.