How to decide whom to help

pediatric profiler pictureHave you ever come upon someone who needed help that you didn’t know?  Or even someone you knew but felt was somehow different? Did you stop to help?  Or did you avert your eyes as you veered away?
This video shows what happened as a social experiment using two individuals: What would you do? One looked like a businessman who fell while trying to use his crutches along a busy street.  The other was a homeless man who also fell while trying to use his crutches on a busy street.  How did it make you feel to see the difference?
Did you know that this same type of scenario occurs in schools every day with students who are seen as lazy, unmotivated, disrespectful, etc.  Having talked with over 3000 of these students in the last 30 years, I have heard their frustration of feeling like they are not being listened to.  That they are discounted by teachers and sometimes parents because they are judged on appearances.  They feel that no one actually tries to understand how they are struggling, how they are trying but not succeeding academically, socially, or in everything they try to do. 
Next time you see a child, adolescent, or student not achieving, will you take a minute to just stop and ask how you can  help.  Assume that they don’t want to fail, but rather need support to succeed.
Can you do it for them?  Please?

Smart is Dumb

I always enjoying reading Robert Whipple’s blogs because our views on how to lead are so similar. And those that know me know that I refer to Detective Columbo frequently as a model of how to work with children and adolescents, rather than the way today’s TV cops interrogate suspects. So much more information is gained by softly leading others to insights, than by trying to ram it down their throats. And believe it or not, sometimes others, including our children and adolescents do have good reasons and ideas.

Dud ManagerIn his famous program, “Effective Negotiating,” Chester A. Karrass, makes the observation that, in negotiations, often appearing dumb is a great strategy.

The idea is that acting naïve causes the other party to fill in some blanks with information that may ultimately be helpful to you in the negotiation.

Conversely, acting as if you know everything is usually a bad strategy, because you end up supplying too much information too early in the conversation. This habit gives your opponent in the negotiation a significant advantage.

As I work with leaders in organizations of all sizes, a similar observation could be made about leadership. Being dumb is sometimes smart, and being too smart is often dumb. Let’s examine some examples of why this dichotomy is a helpful concept.

To make enlightened decisions, leaders need good information. It sounds simple, but in the chaos of every day organizational issues, it is sometimes…

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Need a reason not to spank? I have 10!

pediatric profiler pictureI have just found an article that provides 10 reasons why spanking is not effective. The reasons are all well thought out and are backed by the latest research on child development, especially brain development. I would like to hear what you think about the article and also about my insights.

I have it on my curated site of Scoop It.

It’s Faux Trust

Parents, educators, and others who work with children with developmental and behavioral challenges on a daily basis will find Robert Whipple’s latest blog one to think about.
When dealing with challenging children/teens, we tend to blame them and demand that they comply with certain standards. But frequently they will point out the inconsistencies of this in that the adults don’t feel like they need to follow the same expectations. I have parents and teachers tell me that they will show a child/student respect after they receive respect from the child/student. What they fail to take into consideration is that children learn about life from us. If they never experience respect, even when very small, they don’t have a template on which to build an expression of respect for others.
A great example of children doing as they experience is when my children were small, the two older ones came to me and said that I had to stop swearing because their 18 month old sister was copying me. Now I didn’t think I was swearing but they said that my “Oh my God” when overwhelmed was swearing. Now I hate to admit it but my 18 month old did sound “cute” saying “Oh my God” in her toddler voice, but I respected my other children for speaking up about something they felt was important. So over the next few months she and I went through a transition of “Oh my God, gosh” to eventually “Oh my gosh”. Now she is in her 20’s and I am back to “Oh my God” and she says much worse, but I did show my children it was important to trust me that I would do the right thing when it was brought to my attention.
Recently, however, it came back to haunt my oldest child. Her 3 year old daughter came into my office, went to “her chair” and immediately said “Grandma, you have to move that “s..t”. I politely asked her to repeat herself to make sure I heard correctly and she said “Grandma, you need to remove your “s..t” so I can sit down. I then asked her (politely) to say “Grandma can you move your stuff so I can sit down” which she did graciously and I complied. I then texted her mother that Karma sucks and she now would have to clean up her language.
As you read this blog, look at where you may be demonstrating faux trust and think about how you can turn that around. It will help both you and the children/teens you work and live with.

?????????????????I get a lot of gift catalogs and always chuckle when they advertise the “faux plants.” Why they do not call them “fake plants” is pretty obvious. Nobody would want to buy something fake, so they give the items a fancy name as if that is really going to fool anyone. They keep doing it, so the method must be working for them.

I work in the arena of trust, and I think the notion of “faux trust” is one worth exploring. Stephen M.R. Covey dealt with the topic of faux trust behaviors very well in his first book, The Speed of Trust. Stephen identified 13 key trust behaviors and then identified the opposite behavior and also what he called the “counterfeit” behavior: one that looks real but is not genuine. Here is the list from Stephen’s book.

Trust Behavior –  Opposite –  Counterfeit

1. Talk straight –  Lie or…

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Parents’ Yelling Is as Harmful as Hitting, Study Finds

See on Scoop.itDevelopmental & Behavioral Challenges in Children

Parents who yell at their adolescent children for misbehaving can cause some of the same problems as hitting them would, including increased risk of depression and aggressive behavior, a study found.

Dr. Pat McGuire‘s insight:

This is another in a line of studies that look at the effect of adult responses to children and adolescents on their future mental health and behavior.  Previous studies published this year have found that physical punishment of children led to increased aggressiveness of the children, which is the opposite of what the adults intended.

Basically all the studies point to the fact that in developing brains a sense of loss of love, acceptance, and respect changes the social and emotional trajectory from one of productivity and self worth to one of a belief in self failure and lack of worth.  This results in self-fulfilling prophecies of underachievement, juvenile deliquency, and for some suicide attempts.

Let’s begin to approach children and teens for what they are, individuals who are looking for mentoring, teaching, and support as they try to become competent, productive members of society.

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A new study shows why you should get the kids to bed on time

See on Scoop.itDevelopmental & Behavioral Challenges in Children

Going to bed at a regular time every night could give your child’s brain a boost, recent research shows.

Dr. Pat McGuire‘s insight:

This is an important new study that looks at many factors that affect children’s cognitive (brain thinking) functions.  After taking into account everything from TVs in the room to skipping breakfast, the biggest negative factor on brain development was an inconsistent bed time.  Do you ask why?  It is simple.  Our brains have a rhythm for when we feel tired, when we naturally wake up, when we are hungry, etc.  By altering it too much, we affect the brain’s natural growth and development cycle, thus making learning harder for children.

Bottom line, have a set bedtime and stick to it, except for very rare exceptions. This means in bed, even if the child doesn’t fall asleep right away.  And keep the electronics out of the bedroom so that the children don’t delay their bedtime by tuning in rather than tuning out.

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A Guide to the Theory and Practice of Inclusion

See on Scoop.itDevelopmental & Behavioral Challenges in Children

Learn about the practice of “inclusion” in classrooms, and the theory behind how it can benefit students with special needs.

Dr. Pat McGuire‘s insight:

I find this an interesting read since I was in school before PL42-142 was even a law.  I didn’t have interactions in school with students with special needs.  We had levels of classroomsin high school  so that the material could be taught to different levels of learners.  There were some classes where we were intermingled but for hard core academics the schools placed students in the level of difficulty class that they felt they would be most successful in.  The focus was on learning the material, not socialization.

I remember the early push for full inclusion in the 90’s as a relatively young developmental pediatrician (I had small kids myself then).  In theory it sounded wonderful.  After working with children within that model for the last 20 years, however, I can say that the needs of many children with special needs were not and are not being met.  One of the biggest barriers is that the regular education teacher has been handed this diverse group of students, ranging from gifted to mild to moderate intellectual disability, along with children experiencing learning problems at different levels of severity without the needed support, both personnel-wise and professional development-wise to have success in “Leaving No Child Behind”. Our teachers are drowning in the over the top expectations that have been put on them to meet everyone’s need by themselves.

I truly believe that this is one factor in the significant behavioral problems we are seeing even in young children since those who are struggling are not being addressed in a timely and effective manner.  I am aware that there are other factors too for the behavioral problems we are seeing, but create a no win classroom for teacher and student puts significant stress on both.

I have for many years said that for many special needs students, the LRE (least restrictive environment) is not the general education classroom, but a classroom where they can receive the teaching and intervention they need to truly close the academic gap. This article and several others I have read recently say the same thing.

This should be part of the discussion of education reform.  We need to develop educational environments that help all students succeed as best they can, not just the ones who can learn above the chaos.

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