New Approach to Student Discipline

New Approach to Student Discipline

Happy Summer Everyone!  I apologize for taking so long to post a new training resource.  Those of you who I see often know that the last two months have been a bit hectic for me.  But, life should be getting back to normal here soon, so I will be updating the blog with more regularity.  I stumbled across this article on my Facebook feed and loved it.  Despite the fact that it’s discussing discipline in school, it can be applied to discipline at home so easily.  The fact of the matter is, when kids react with anger, aggression and sometimes even violence to something, there is something deeper going on.  When we respond to that escalation with an escalation of our own, there’s no turning back, and no way that our kiddos can learn a better way of doing things.  The way this alternative school has chosen to approach discipline has stunning results, and is based in the science of toxic stress and the brain (something we talk about ALL the time).  Give it a read, and let me know what you think of how this school is using a new approach to affect behavior!

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Extreme Behavior and Associated Mental Health Issues

Hello all! Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve found a good post to send you. This is the first part of a four part series, and I’ll be posting the other three parts in the upcoming weeks. So many of our kids have significant mental health issues, beyond developmentally normal distress. Take a watch and let me know what you think! The future sessions will talk about Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Conduct Disorder, and Mood Disorders.

Growing Up Online

Watch Growing Up Online on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

Please click on the above link to watch Frontline’s show on teens and the internet. Although this video isn’t specifically about foster children, I think it’s important that we remember how different life is for kids and teens than it was before the dawn of the internet. Teens are used to having instant access to communication and information at all times. They live a life where they feel compelled to share every moment of their lives and to have every moment scrutinized by everyone they know. They are also usually much more technology savvy than we are and can get into more trouble than they had bargained for. Additionally, teens are wired to take risks, and not think about the consequences. What issues does this video raise for you and the kids in your home?

The Adolescent Brain

The Adolescent Brain

Good morning everyone!  This article is offered through the Annie E Casey Foundation, which is a national foundation that promotes child welfare and social justice for children.  Click on the link above (the words in blue, The Adolescent Brain) to read it.  It’s a little bit of a heavy read, so take your time with it, but the underlying theme is important.  Neuroplasticity is a concept that is gaining a lot of popularity lately.  The term refers to the idea that the brain can adapt to a number of traumas or life events by altering connections within itself.  You might hear about a person with a traumatic brain injury who was able to regain use of his or her limbs even though the part of the brain that helps those limbs function was damaged.  This is neuroplasticity (or brain plasticity).  This is an important concept with our kids in care.  Even though they may not have had physical injury to their brains, recent research shows that psychological stress and trauma also has physical effects on kids’ brains.  Kids’ brains are still growing and developing, so it is a particularly good time to help their brains create new connections to repair the wounds from their past.  This article gives specific recommendations, as well as specific ways that you can implement these recommendations in your home with your kids.  Which ones sound the best to you?  I’d love to hear if you’ve tried any of these in your homes and if you’ve found any of them effective!  Remember, if you want credit for the trainings you do on this blog, you need to leave me a little comment, so I know that you’ve done it!

Behavioral Challenges in Foster Care

http://www.dshs.wa.gov/ca/fosterparents/videobehavechallenges.asp

I LOVE this video. Not so much because it’s the best quality, or super exciting to watch but because of what this guy is saying. Many of you know that I’m in graduate school right now, studying to be a mental health counselor. What this video is teaching is exactly what I’m learning in my classes, which makes sense to me. You, as foster parents, are the best counselors that kids in your homes can have. Their therapists (if they even have them) only see them for an hour a week, at most. But you guys have a much more long lasting and profound effect on these kiddos.

The video is not embedded in this post, so you’ll have to click on the link to view it. Please do. It’s totally worth it.

A couple points I think are super important that are touched on: The four basic psychological needs that he talks about are based off of a theory of psychotherapy called Reality Therapy, so know that what he’s teaching is supported by years of research. He talks about taking the kids’ behavior personally. We often learn or think the opposite in this field. “You can’t take what this kid says personally, he doesn’t mean it.” Well, what are we teaching our kids if we think that they don’t mean what they say?? Kids need to know that they’re important and we take them seriously and they have an effect on our lives! Can you imagine what it would feel like if everyone in your life said, “I can’t take what you say personally. You don’t mean it.” How frustrating!!

He covers a LOT more in this video. I LOVE IT! Which of his topics made you think, or do you think you’ll apply in your home?

Connected to Facebook!

It’s hump day Wednesday, all of you fantastic foster parents!  This blog should now be associated with our WhimSpire Facebook page, so if you don’t want to sign in to the blog, you should be able to see the posts on Facebook.  If you don’t “like” us already on Facebook, head on over and find us and like us!  Spread the word about foster care to your Facebook friends and acquaintances!  Also, please start commenting and getting training credits.  We would love to see this program become a success!