Raising Independent Children + Life Lessons from Teaching + Extraordinary Kids

[amazon asin=1607743507&template=thumbleft&chan=default]Alanna Levine, author of Raising a Self-Reliant Child.
Topic:
A back-to-basics parenting plan from birth to age six.
Issues: Instilling independence in our children from the start; healthy sleep habits; self-discipline; potty training; conflicts with siblings and friends; problem solving and decision making; the dangers of praising too much.

[amazon asin=0743272404&template=thumbleft&chan=default]Philip Done, author of 32 Third Graders and One Class Bunny.
Topic:
Life Lessons from Teaching
Issues: Connecting what happens in the classroom to the universal truths around us; the delight of learning something for the first time; the value of making a difference

[amazon asin=B004LQ0HW0&template=thumbleft&chan=default]Rafe Esquith, author of Lighting Their Fires.
Topic:
Raising extraordinary children in a mixed-up, muddled-up, shook-up world.
Issues: Tools to guide your children to success in school and in life; how arming your children with a few simple tools (punctuality, selflessness, patience, for example), can turn them into extraordinary students and extraordinary people.

Kids Need the Same Teacher + Timeless Parenting Skills

[amazon asin=1105105040&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 1: David Marshak, author of Kids Need the Same Teacher for More than One Year.
Topic: The most humane innovation to improve education for your children.
Issues: Why having your child in a classroom with the same teacher for at least two years leads to higher academic achievement, more efficient use of school time, more positive social and emotional learning, more enthusiasm for learning; stronger and more-friendly relationships between you and your child’s teacher.


[amazon asin=1400048109&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 2: Jeffrey Lee, author of Catch a Fish.
Topic: 21 timeless skills every child should know and any parent can teach.
Issues: Can knowing how to fold a paper airplane make you a better parent? How parents can teach their children what they really want to learn. Activities ranging from the practical to the frivolous that every mom and dad can teach (and learn if you don’t already know how).

Continuous Teaching + Connecting with Your Kids + Army Family Programs + “Spouse Calls” Columnist + Young Military Journalists

[amazon asin=1105105040&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 1: David Marshak, author of Kids Need the Same Teacher for More than One Year.
Topic: The most humane innovation to improve education for your children.
Issues: Why having your child in a classroom with the same teacher for at least two years leads to higher academic achievement, more efficient use of school time, more positive social and emotional learning, more enthusiasm for learning; stronger and more-friendly relationships between you and your child’s teacher.


[amazon asin=1400048109&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 2: Jeffrey Lee, author of Catch a Fish.
Topic: 21 timeless skills every child should know and any parent can teach.
Issues: Can knowing how to fold a paper airplane make you a better parent? How parents can teach their children what they really want to learn. Activities ranging from the practical to the frivolous that every mom and dad can teach (and learn if you don’t already know how).


Interviews with…


The Homework Trap + Helping Your Kids without Freaking Out

[amazon asin=061557680X&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 1: Kenneth Goldberg, author of The Homework Trap.
Topic: How to save the sanity of parents, students, and teachers.
Issues: The science behind homework difficulties; what homework looks like from the student’s perspective; understanding the reasons behind children’s homework problems; why the suggestions and solutions you’ve been offering may be doing more harm than good.


[amazon asin=098399000X&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 2: Neil McNerney, author of Home Work.
Topic: How to help your child without freaking out.
Issues: Recognizing your personal strengths (and weaknesses) and using harnessing them; identifying the individual ways your child deals with homework and other stressors; learning to use three powerful leadership techniques to help your child achieve success.

Bad adult behavior: apparently it’s contagious

Back in grade school I was a regular in the principal’s office–probably got sent there at least once a week. And more often than not, the principal would lean me over the desk and paddle my butt with a large wooden racquet. Those were different times (I guess) and most people would agree that a principal hitting a child with a paddle is child abuse.

So what is it when a teacher and teacher’s aid at a Houston school lock 3- and 4-year old children in a dark closet for acting up in class (in one case, the punishment was for laughing in class)? And not just any closet. Apparently these clever educators told the kids that there was a monster in the closet.

[Read more...]

Sometimes Being a Teenager Just Stinks

Dear Mr. Dad: My son has changed completely over the last few months, from a sweet kid to surly and rude. He deliberately upsets our younger children, mouths off to his mother and me, and spends all his time in his room or out with his friends—most of whom are new. He’s dropped out of all the things he used to love, like soccer and orchestra, and doesn’t seem the least bit concerned with personal hygiene. The other day my mom came to visit and asked me whether some animal had died in the house. I had to admit to that the smell was coming from my son. Is he on drugs and what should I do about it?

A: On one hand, a lot of what you’re describing is completely normal for teens—especially the smell issue and the rudeness. (Of course, just because something is normal doesn’t make it any easier to deal with.) On the other hand, behaviours like hanging out with a new group of friends and losing interest in activities he used to love are definitely red flags.

Let’s start with the easier stuff. Your first order of business is to sit down with your wife and come up with some ground rules for your son’s behavior—rules you both agree on and will stick to. Then, approach your son as a team. Remind him that although he may consider himself an adult, as long as he’s living in your home, you won’t tolerate bullying and he’ll need to treat people with respect. Don’t shout, don’t lose your temper, and keep the discussion short and to the point. Health and safety should be non-negotiable.

Next, talk about hygiene. Unfortunately, a lot of teens (girls as well as boys) go through a stage where they not only start smelling bad, but they also seemingly lose their sense of smell. And they’re genuinely surprised when someone points out that whenever they enter a room the paint peels, flowers wilt, and people pass out. Fortunately, most kids outgrow this stage within a few years. In the meantime, make sure your son’s bathroom is well stocked with soap, shampoo, toothpaste, and floss. Stay away from scented products and deodorants because they can be used to mask the underlying stench. If your son doesn’t get the hint, try requiring him to pass a sniff test before he’s allowed to leave the house. If all else fails, you may want to use the magic words: “You’ll never be able to get a girl to go out with you if you don’t start showering and brushing your teeth more often.”

Now, back to the drugs. There may be a perfectly reasonable explanation for his behavior (such as that he’s a teenager), so tell him—openly and calmly—that you’re worried and ask him what’s going on. If you sense that he’s covering something up or you’ve noticed a lot of symptoms (which include a red or flushed face, slurred speech, using breath mints, sudden drop in grades, wild mood swings, excessive sleep, dramatic weight loss or gain, money and other valuables disappearing, and pupils that are huge and don’t react to changes in lighting), you’ll have to take a more aggressive approach—but don’t try to do it on your own.

Start by educating yourself by vising drugfree.org—they have a lot of great information on prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery. Then, talk to your son’s teachers, school administrators, and his pediatrician and ask them to help you help your son. The sooner you start, the better.