What Students Really Need to Hear


These are the same thoughts that race through my mind every day I see my my students hijacking their own learning. These are things I’ve always wanted to say, but have never known how to…so instead of saying it all over again, I’ll just re blog this well said post.

Originally posted on affectiveliving:

It’s 4 a.m.  I’ve struggled for the last hour to go to sleep.  But, I can’t.  Yet again, I am tossing and turning, unable to shut down my brain.  Why?  Because I am stressed about my students.  Really stressed.  I’m so stressed that I can only think to write down what I really want to say — the real truth I’ve been needing to say — and vow to myself that I will let my students hear what I really think tomorrow.

This is what students really need to hear:

First, you need to know right now that I care about you. In fact, I care about you more than you may care about yourself.  And I care not just about your grades or your test scores, but about you as a person. And, because I care, I need to be honest with you. Do I have permission to be…

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Redefining my Priorities

Work. Cleaning the house. Laundry. Shopping. Driving Places. Cooking. Friends. Work. Job. Career…stopping and smelling the roses??

So often we make ourselves too busy and get out of sync with what is really important in life and we neglect to tend to the things that really matter.

Spending quality time with our kids/friends/family/pets. Taking a walk outside to appreciate nature. Reading a good book. Cooking a quality meal and eating it with those we love. Exercise. Being alone for a few minutes…

What are the things in your life that you’ve neglected but need to get back to? What are things that have never been priorities but need to “make the list”? Think about taking some time to redefine your priorities. You’ll soon notice a new you and you’ll have more time where you thought you didn’t. Redefining Priorities-1


Overcoming Fear?

“No, the needles aren’t big at all…they’ll be the same  size or smaller than what you used before…”

A huge burden was lifted from my chest after hearing my doctor utter those words a few weeks ago. During the last 3 weeks of my first pregnancy I had to take insulin, but my fear of needles was so paralyzing that my husband (who also has a fear of shots) gave me my injections. I knew that going on insulin this pregnancy was probably inevitable , but since I had gone through it once, I was more at peace about it this time. Not happy, but at peace.

So, fast forward to my appointment a month ago when my doctor made the above statement…the peace wavered a bit, but still remained. From his office, I walked across the clinic to the pharmacy and I told myself to remain calm. I picked up the supplies I needed for the nurse training, headed over and waited to be called back. Once I got into a room, the nurse opened the brown paper bag, ripped a plastic bag open and poured a pile of syringes onto the table. SYRINGES. Syringes that had long, sharp needles. These were NOT the itty-bitty-self-injecting, pre-filled insulin pens I had used my first pregnancy. These were syringes and bottles of insulin that I had to fill myself…

I immediately froze in my chair and noticed (after what seemed like minutes but was probably only seconds) that I was sobbing uncontrollably. I couldn’t stop. Looking at me with what I can assume was pity on her face, the nurse said, “I’ll give you a few minutes to regain your composure…” and left the room, leaving the pile of syringes on the table. I stared at them, tried to control my sobbing, but failed. The nurse came back in and I pleaded with her to get me something different…anything different. “I’m sorry,” is all she said, “…this is what we use here.” She showed me how to fill the syringes with insulin in “only 4 easy steps!”

  1. Pull the syringe back and fill with a specific amount of air.
  2. Put the needle into the insulin bottle and pump the air in.
  3. Pull back syringe to fill with insulin.

She then instructed me to try. I was so paralyzed by my fear that it took me a good minute or two to actually pick up the syringe a do it myself. I was robotic in the way I accomplished the task, but it was sufficient to pass the nurse’s test.

I then walked to my car and spent 15 minutes weeping on the steering wheel before I drove home. I spent the rest of the evening crying off and on. 10pm came too fast that night. I was able to give myself the injection, but only after staring at it for about 10 minutes. I went to bed pretty soon after that so I could sleep instead of crying. It eventually did get a little better…the next evening took about 5 minutes and by the end of that first week, I stared the needle down for only about a minute before being able to give myself my shot.

I’ve learned a very valuable lesson about myself this past month. I hear so many people talk about overcoming their fears, but I realized that sometimes all you need to do is learn how to push them aside in order to accomplish what needs to get done. That first evening, I prayed and prayed and asked “why me, why again, why like this?”. I then remembered 2 verses I’d read sometime in the past. The first one was “For God did not give you a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7) and the second one, 1 Corinthians 10:13, says that God will not give you more than you can handle. I really held onto the self-disciple idea and the fact that I could handle this. I wrote the first verse on a sticky-note and put it on my bathroom mirror so I could read it every time I had to inject myself.

You see, sometimes pushing your fear aside is the best you can do-asking someone to overcome a fear is a big order. I don’t know if I’ll ever “get over” my fear of needles and shots. I hope that one day I can go in to my doctor, get a shot and walk out without any issue, but I don’t know if that will ever happen. For now, I’ve been able to push aside my fear for the sole purpose that I know it is for mine and Lore’s health that I give myself these shots. It’s not been easy, but every day and every moment my fear starts creeping back in and clouding my vision, I remember that I am and God is bigger than my fear and I push it aside once more, if only for the 2 minutes I need to fill my syringe and give myself a shot.

Misinformed about Diabetes

About 8% of Americans suffer from diabetes and this condition is the 7th leading cause of death in the US. 

“How unhealthy! If only these people would get their lives together and eat right, they wouldn’t have to be so unhealthy…”


How many times have we heard something like that? I know I hear it quite often and I even used to hold this sentiment myself. A huge contributor of ideas like the one above being spread around is the enormous misconception people have in regards to the different types of diabetes and their causes. I used to think that everyone who had diabetes was careless and lazy and didn’t care about their health and how it affected those around them. I never took the time to actually inform myself of the facts until I came face-to-face with diabetes myself. In 2010, I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy with my daughter, Sofie. I immediately became depressed and disgusted with myself because I thought that I had caused my condition. I didn’t know the facts of the matter and surprisingly, none of my healthcare providers took the time to explain how I had developed it. I believe that this is the case with so many Americans-we have not been properly educated about the types of diabetes nor have we taken the time to educate ourselves. This, sadly, causes lifetimes of pain for those who do suffer from this condition.

Take for instance Type 1 Diabetes which makes up for 5% of all cases. With T1 Diabetes, the body does not make insulin for itself and usually begins in early childhood. A friend of mine, “H”,  has a daughter, “K” who is almost 4 years old. K has Type 1 diabetes. She did nothing to provoke this. The gross amount of misinformation floating around the public is such a danger. I haven’t been able to find any research that indicates how many Americans are ignorant of the causes, warning signs, treatments or how/if Type 1, 2, or Gestational diabetes can be avoided/managed, but my guess is that it would be a high percentage. So back to my friend H…she also has a son in elementary school. A few weeks ago, his teacher told the whole class of young, impressionable minds that people get diabetes from eating junk food and being unhealthy. Little did she know that sitting there is H’s son who is now questioning what his 3-year old sister did to cause her own diabetes. This teacher’s misinformation not only made her prejudiced, but was now passed on to a room full of 8 year olds.

I know what it feels like to be judged for having diabetes. I have had Gestational Diabetes in both my pregnancies. When I first found out in my first pregnancy, as I mentioned before, I was shocked and horrified and thought that I had caused it. I too, was severely misinformed about the causes of GD and thought that I had done this to myself and my baby. I definitely had some of the risk factors–I was overweight and diabetes ran in my family–but this didn’t make it inevitable. I didn’t find out, until I had taken the time to educate myself after I had delivered Sofie, that GD was caused by hormones and there was nothing that I could do to avoid it. If I was going to have it…I was going to have it. This pregnancy, having GD is easier to deal with. I’m not happy about it, but neither am I depressed or blame myself. In between my pregnancies, I lost 50 pounds and have been living a much healthier lifestyle, but I still have it. I just really need to be careful for the rest of my life because now I am 7x more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes just because I had GD.

With the amount of misinformation out there causing people to be misunderstood, hold prejudices and be judged, it is so important to educate ourselves about this condition that is becoming ever so common in the US. If you ever find yourself holding a prejudice against anyone or anything (such as a medical condition), I beg you to take the time to educate yourself using non-biased sources. Additionally, if you are informed of the facts, please have the courage to stand up and correct the misunderstandings you hear around yourself. The more people who choose to stay correctly informed and not spread falsehoods will only help little girls like K have a future where she isn’t falsely blamed for causing her condition.


Only 3 weeks to go!

This morning we went grocery shopping, and Sofie, my 3 year old says, “Mami, I want to buy a present for Lore.” So on our way home, we swung by Target and she picked 2 cute baby toys for her soon-to-be-here baby sister. As we were checking out, I started pondering in my heart the generosity and selflessness of Sofie and how blessed our family is. How blessed we are to be adding to our family, blessed for the incredible love we have for each other, and blessed to have a little girl that is uber-excited to meet her little sister.

My due date is fast approaching. In fact, just yesterday I officially scheduled my c-section for March 21. Our new baby girl, Lore Celeste, will be here soon and just as when our Sofie arrived, our lives are about to drastically change. For about the first 7 months of my pregnancy it didn’t seem real…as if reality hadn’t sunk in yet. It wasn’t until a week and a half ago when I had a 3D ultrasound and I really saw her face for the first time that it struck me-we are having another little girl! Thats when the “nesting phase” started and things got real very fast…I wanted to get the apartment ready, we got her bed all set up, carseats partially ready (although they’re still sitting with the covers off in our living room), clothes organized, permanent sub plans prepared, etc…I was running full steam ahead!

Now that there’s only 3 weeks left until my due date, I’m as nervous as can be and just purely anxious. It’s definitely different than last time. Last time, I was all worried about having the “perfect birthing experience” and incredibly nervous about having our first child. Now, I just want to hold Lore in my arms and get to see Big Sister Sofie meet her. I want to see my amazing husband hold our newborn and and look into her eyes, and I want to be able to nuzzle her little face and say, “welcome to our family, little one.” I want to see our whole new family all together and rest in the peace that she’s finally here. Only 2 weeks and 6 more days!

To the man who gave my daughter candy…

Typically I would say “thank you” with an open and gracious heart for such a kind gesture. Usually, I would be reminding my daughter to demonstrate her own gratitude by saying “thank you”, but not this time. This time, the protective-momma-bear in me that has rarely surfaced is growling and itching to roar.

My daughter is extremely kind, loving, obedient, generous, and sweet-hearted. As most 3-year-olds, she sees only the best in others and does a good job of knowing right from wrong. While eating dinner at the community event last night, she asked me if she could have some of the Valentine’s conversation candy hearts that were in the middle of the table and I told her after she was finished eating, she could. After she finished, she asked again and I told her she could have 2. My precious little girl carefully spent a considerable amount of time choosing her candy hearts and ended up with a green one and pink one.

As we were getting up from the table, you—full of good intentions, I’m sure—told her, “Oh, go on Sweetie…take a big handful.” Annoyed at the fact that you didn’t bother to ask me first if that was okay but instead addressed my 3-year-old directly, I kindly responded to you, “No thank you, I already told her she could have only 2, which she already has.” Then, much to my pleasure, my 3-year-old looks up at you with her precious eyes and tells you, “No thank you” too! (parenting-WIN!)

Thinking that this awkward situation was over, I turned my back to throw away our plates and as I was turning back around, I see you stuffing my daughter’s tiny hands full of candy hearts and quickly walking away. Standing in shock and seeing her confused face at what just happened crushed me and I walk over to my baby girl who then APOLOGIZES to me and hands me all the candy that you just stuffed into her hands. Mind you…I didn’t ask her to do this…she did this on her own.

You see, my 3-year-old knew better than you and shouldn’t have to apologize for you. My heart broke as she apologized because she showed so much more maturity than you did with your “good intentions”. Your good intentions only served to teach my daughter that disobedience and sneakiness are okay. Your good intentions only served to undermine the sometimes difficult lessons of obedience that’s she’s managed to learn so far.

Now, I hate to jump to hypotheticals, but to make my final (and, yes, supremely more dramatic) point, I will. WHAT IF….what if I had other reasons, serious reasons for not allowing my daughter to have more than 2 candy hearts? What if there were medical reasons? You had no idea if my daughter could or could not have candy, yet you stuffed it into her open little hands unabashedly. I feel for my friend who has a toddler with Type 1 Diabetes—what if you had stuffed her hands full of candy hearts? Do you even understand the gravity of what you could have done? You don’t know my daughter, you don’t know me, and you had no idea what you were doing. You had absolutely no idea.

So yes, normally, I would be thanking you for your kindness toward my daughter, but not today. Normally, I would feel ashamed of myself for feeling frustrated with you because you were only full of good intentions. Not today, though. Today, I am saying “shame on you” for literally going behind my back as a parent and forcing my daughter—my precious 3-year-old baby girl—to show 10 times more maturity than you. Shame. On. You.


A Frustrated Mother

Doctor B: 10,981

A good friend of mine and fellow technology teacher, Jonathan Best (aka Doctor B), is a professional yo-yo artist and produces videos of his work quite often. Mr. Best not only uses his skills to wow our kids, but also takes his own time to teach our students this skill that aids in increased focus and self-discipline. Go check out his newest video that was shot in Vail, Colorado and keep tabs on him for more exciting content! I promise you…it’ll be worth it!


Why I’m choosing to have a C-section

I remember the first time I saw my precious baby girl very clearly even though I was in a drug induced state. My husband was with her and was watching as the nurses were checking her vitals and cleaning her off. I remember seeing her grab his thumb with her tiny, perfectly formed hand. I remember my husband bringing her over to me to let me see her right before they took her to the nursery and wheeled me away into recovery.

Sofie grabbing my husband's hand only minutes after being born

Sofie grabbing my husband’s hand only minutes after being born

You see, I had a c-section. That’s how my daughter was delivered. I know I say that as if it was some unspeakable way of having a baby, but that’s how I felt about it. I wanted a natural birth, no medication–the old school way–the “right” way. Because I had physicians in my family who were experts in women’s health, I had been convinced to birth in a traditional hospital instead of a birthing center. I was okay with this because I knew that if there were an emergency, all the medical care I would need would be right there. I’d had friends who’d had an emergency and had to be rushed from their birthing center to the hospital across town. That was scary and I didn’t want to do that.

I really wanted to have a natural child birthing experience. Several of my friends had birthed naturally and I’d heard their stories–how amazing it had been-tough but fulfilling, euphoric and such a bonding experience when the moment you felt the culmination of all your labor and the slimy wet newborn being laid on your chest. I wanted that–the way it was intended. I’d watched documentaries about C-sections and how harmful they can be-how they can have a hand in post-partum depression and how they may even affect the hormone levels of newborns, etc…I’d even done research on the U.S. cesarean section rate and the rate of the region I lived…it was astounding…almost 50%. I couldn’t believe it! Especially elective C-sections…who would ever choose to have surgery over a vaginal birth? I couldn’t comprehend it.

I did end up having a C-section and at the time, it was as if my worst nightmare was coming true. This is the  first time that I am truly at peace with what happened which is why, I believe, I can finally write about my own experience.

On Friday, November 5, 2010, I had an appointment with my OB and she told me that I was dilated 3cm. She then told me to go home, make sure my bags were packed, and get ready. Instead of going home, I went back to work, finished teaching, finished up my substitute plans and copies and let the principal know what was going on (this was happening 2 weeks early). After sharing the exciting news with my fellow teachers, I went home, packed, and waited! Saturday passed and nothing happened. Sunday came, I went to church and just felt so…strange. My body was totally up to something and I knew it…I was so uncomfortable. That night, I prepared to go into school and teach the next day although I was extremely tempted to call in. We went to sleep and at midnight I woke up to go to the bathroom (as usual). Suddenly, my water broke (I’ll spare you the details) and my husband and I excitedly drove the 15 minutes to the hospital. We got there, signed in, and waited.

Waiting to be admitted

Waiting to be admitted

The nurses sent me to the bathroom to change into a gown and sent my husband to who knows where. By then, my contractions were coming on so strong and I was vomiting from the pain that I couldn’t even dress myself. I finally got dressed, headed out and the nurses got me into a bed. After measuring me, the nurse scolded me for waiting so long to come to the hospital–I was almost fully dilated and ready to have this baby. I didn’t have the strength to tell her that we came right away.

I don’t remember how much time went by, but what I do remember is getting into a room, the nurses not allowing my husband in because they wanted to ask me questions like, “Do you feel safe at home? Do you feel like your baby will be safe when you take it home? Is your husband abusive?” and then being in so much pain I finally succumbed to an epidural. (Later, we realized that my pain was so intense because my contractions were causing damaged nerves from a high school sports injury to be pinched). They finally let my husband come in and some time later, my mom got there. After that, time sorta just blended together. I know the doctor arrived, I pushed and pushed with nothing really happening. Sofie would crown, even to the point we could see her full head of black hair, but never more than just the top of her head. I was getting so frustrated with myself because I couldn’t feel anything, yet I was supposed to push a baby out using legs I couldn’t move, without muscles I could control. After about 3-4 hours of this, the doctor told us the Sofie was in essence, stuck, and she wasn’t coming out even with my best efforts. She was fine at the moment and the situation wasn’t an emergency, but it could quickly spiral into one if her heart-rate dropped. I didn’t want a C-section. No, I desperately didn’t want a C-section. More powerful than my dread of having one was knowing that I wanted a healthy baby. Still, I was so emotional and exhausted, when my husband came over and talked to me about it, I just cried and told him to tell the doctor to do what was needed…what was best. Soon after, more medical staff came in and started prepping me for surgery. During my surgery, I could feel everything. I don’t know if I would say it was painful, but it was the most uncomfortable thing I have ever felt in my life. Imagine someone having their hands in your abdomen and pushing your organs all around…yea, I felt that. The only thing that kept me on the OR table was the fact that I was strapped down and the only thing that kept me sane was that I chanted in my head, “It’s not pain, it only pressure. It’s not pain, its only pressure” over and over again.

After I got to see Sofie, I was put in the recovery room. I remember feeling like I had been submerged in an ice bath and I was shivering uncontrollably. Nickie got me more blankets from the nurses and I finally fell asleep…I was so exhausted.

Sometime later, I awoke in my own hospital room. It was so amazing getting to really see Sofie for the first time without being under anesthesia. Getting to be there with my husband and holding our new baby together was completely euphoric. This tiny little human being that had been entrusted to us was snuggled in our arms. The next 2 days in the hospital went by so quickly and before I knew it, we were driving our little one back home. It was so exciting…having our little Sofie home with us.

I recovered very quickly from my C-section. We were out within 3 days, shopping for groceries and a rocking chair.  Grossing out my family by showing them my incision was even humorous. We eventually got into a rhythm at home with new little family and everything seemed so…right.

Mami & Sofie

Mami & Sofie

I guess the only thing that still bugged me was that I had a C-section. Nobody ever said anything to make me feel bad or like I did something wrong to cause it, but I always had a nagging feeling that there was something I could’ve done differently like exercised more or done yoga, or just pushed harder and longer during labor to have the natural birth I wanted. I had convinced myself that if I hadn’t gotten the epidural I would’ve been able to control more of my labor and thus would’ve avoided surgery. I never told anyone, but I really did blame and resent myself for my failure.

Now fast forward 2 1/2 years and I’m expecting our second daughter.

A baby sister is coming!

A baby sister is coming!

As only normal, the topic of birthing has come up again. At first, I was all gung-ho for trying the natural birth thing again. I was starting to “dream” again and looking into midwives that assist in deliveries at local hospitals. Now that we live in Denver, there are more healthcare choices and people seem to think differently about birthing up here.  Still, the nagging feeling that I might have to have a C-section kept tugging at my mind no matter how much I pushed it out. I did NOT want to have a C-section again. This was going to be my chance to deliver my way.

Then, about 2 months ago, it hit me…I was being incredibly selfish and even judgmental. I wasn’t thinking about the health or safety of my baby. I was only thinking about what I wanted without even considering how it would affect my family. The way I had started thinking about C-sections was so unhealthy to the point where I thought I had failed in some way. In reality, I was so fortunate to had been in a position where I could take advantage of modern medicine and not to have to worry about me or my baby dying. I had been so blessed to be in the hands of medical staff that could work efficiently and professionally and protect my life and the life of my baby. Slowly, I started feeling at peace that if I did have to have a C-section again, it would be alright. I realized that the way my baby came into this world has absolutely nothing to do with how I will bond with her. It has nothing to do with the fact that now, I have the most amazing relationship with my 3 year old precious daughter. I can have a C-section and it doesn’t have to have any negative impact on my life or my family in any way.

Now here comes the shocker and the conclusion to this seriously long post…I am now not only at peace with the possibility of having a C-section, but I am actually electing to have one this time. You’re probably thinking right now, “What?! This whole hatred toward C-sections and even your judgmental attitude toward women who have elective C-sections and now you’re electing to have one? This lady…”. 

Yep, I think the same thing sometimes.

I’ve come a long way in my attitude toward the whole issue. I know the research, I’ve seen the documentaries, and heck, I even have my own somewhat negative experience, but my reasons for having an elective C-section are deeply personal and have much to do with my family. You may or may not agree with them or not even care, but I’m totally at peace with my choice and my husband has been totally supportive with whatever I wanted. When I had my first C-section, I was stressed out, exhausted and completely afraid. This time around, I know what to expect and know that I don’t have to be worried. I can deal with the side affects and know how to mentally prepare for them. Also, because we live away from family and our closest friends live 30 minutes in the opposite direction of our hospital, I can now arrange to have Sofie stay with friends ahead of time instead of being in a mad rush when my water breaks (as we were last time) and not knowing what to do with my 3 year old while I’m trying to have a baby in the other room. There are still many unknowns (what if my water breaks before my scheduled C-section, will I change my mind, am I really ok with this), but I know that I have the full support of my husband and I am truly at peace with my choice. Like I said before, I’ve come a long way in my thinking and instead of constantly obsessing and stressing about my birthing experience being “perfect”, I am now simply looking forward to meeting our precious new baby girl once she gets here.

My Resolve to Make No Resolutions

I really don’t believe in the effectiveness of New Year’s resolutions anymore, probably because I’ve never been able to keep one. Having an abrupt start date for loosing weight, or going to the gym or reading my Bible more often or whatever is was just never worked out. I suck at keeping resolutions, therefore, I guess I’ve just resolved to never having resolutions.


With that being said, a new goal I have is to simply just write more often (it is NOT a resolution…okay!). This poses a big problem for me because Writing and I have a rocky relationship…sometimes I love it and sometimes I just can’t bring myself to write even one word. I guess my problem is that I think that my ideas aren’t good enough or not inspiring enough, so I talk myself out of even trying. I tell myself that there are other people that are more inherently interesting, lead more interesting lives and are definitely and supremely more able to write about their more interesting lives than I would ever be. I mean come on…some of my friends are geniuses (literally) or already have their Masters/Ph.D.’s, or are more experienced or have more blog followers, or are published…how could I ever measure up to them? I also worry waaaayyyy too much about what people think of me and so I worry that if anyone does read what I write, it will just be a big fat waste of his or her time. (BTW, I tend to use too many adjectives when I’m uncomfortable/nervous…) So….yea.

In addition to my goal of writing more this year, I guess should also try to care less about the criticisms other may/may not have of me and more about the good qualities I do have. Maybe I should also stop comparing myself to others…it’s advice I give my middle schoolers every day yet struggle with swallowing myself.

Well, here’s to me saying “whatever, I’ll give it a try…” and just going ahead with this whole writing thing. I have a few ideas for topics I’d like to write about—some  personal and some more topically driven (many of which have been inspired by posts from readers-so thanks!). If you’d like to stick around and read some of my random ramblings, then please, stop on by…but remember…I’ve warned you.

…and yes, I fully realize that goal and resolution are synonyms.


The Explosive Child

Growing up with foster children, living in and around “children’s homes” and working as a teacher have all exposed me to working and living with challenging children and teens. Some people have described these kids as being “difficult, willful, manipulative, attention-seeking, limit-testing, contrary, intransigent, [and] unmotivated” (Greene, 2010), but I challenge you to be a little open minded and read on…


I just finished reading (literally 1 hour ago) The Explosive Child by Ross Greene, Ph.D and am totally blown away by the insightfulness and understanding in which he writes about “Explosive” children and the people who live and interact with them daily. Greene characterizes explosive children not as the description in the previous paragraph, but as kids who lack the developmental capability to be flexible, tolerate frustration, and solve problems as other, more developmentally advanced children can. The simple theory is posed that all children will do well if they can. Just as some kids don’t do well in certain areas of mathematics/writing/science, etc… because they can’t (yet), explosive children don’t handle frustrations, aren’t flexible, and don’t solve problems well (as simple as they may seem to us) because they can’t (yet).

Without rewriting whole chapters here, I’ll briefly outline the “method” that
Greene poses. Instead of imposing your will onto an explosive child (you will/will not do X) or totally avoiding the situation, use the Collaborative Problem Solving strategy in which you and the child sit down when they are calm and able to think reasonably and identify each other’s concerns and try to come up with mutually satisfactory solutions.

This process is broken down into 3 steps:

1) The Empathy step: gather information from your kid to achieve the clearest possible understanding of his/her concern or perspective on a given un-solved problem

Adult: “I’ve noticed that you aren’t finishing your homework lately. What’s up?”
Child: “My homework is too hard.”
Adult: “So you’re saying that your homework is too hard…what part?”
Child: “The writing part is too hard. I write too slow and my teacher is making me write whole paragraphs. It takes too long and so I forget all my ideas so I’m not going to do it.”

2) The Define the Problem step: enter your concern or perspective into consideration

Adult: “So you’re telling me that you don’t want to do your homework because the writing part is too hard because it takes you a long time to write a paragraph and so you forget your ideas, so you’re not going to do it. My concern is that if you don’t do your writing homework, you’re going to fall behind in writing even more and it will only get harder.”

3) The Invitation step: lets the child know that solving the problem is something you’re doing with him/her rather and to him/her.

Adult: “How about we think of a way that you will be able to get your writing homework done faster and remember your ideas and still do it so that way you don’t fall behind any more.”
Child: “Well, what if I have you write my paragraphs for me?”
Adult: “That is a possible solution, but we tried that before and your teachers wanted you to write them yourself. Could we think of another idea?”
Child: “ Well, sometimes you use a tape recorder to help you remember your ideas for work. Maybe I could use it to record my ideas when I want to write paragraphs.”
Adult: “That sounds like a great idea. I don’t need it when I’m not at work, so you can use it for your homework. Why don’t we try this idea and see if it works. If it doesn’t, then we can talk about it again.”

Obviously there is more to being successful than what I wrote here…especially if the child or teen you are working with has difficulty having a rational conversation…reading the book is a valuable use of your precious time (took me about 3-4 hours) and I cannot wait to put this new way of working with explosive children into practice at my school. If you have an explosive child or if you work with even 1 explosive child, PLEASE, PLEASE read the book and apply the practice to your daily interactions with him/her. Your life and theirs will greatly improve and you will only be setting them up for success.

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