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Monday, October 22, 2018

Dr. John Medina presented a program based on his Brain Rules

On October 17th, the Glenbard Parent Series hosted a health expo and program with John Medina, based on his books "Attack of the Teenage Brain" and "Brain Rules: Principles for Thriving."

John Medina and Melissa Calfo

Glenbard South parent Melissa Calfo shared this takeaway:
"It's important for parents to understand the teen brain and understand executive function (impulse/self-control). Teens stomping to their rooms and slamming the door is normal adolescent behavior. What works to improve thinking skills and mood is aerobic exercise, sleep and getting your stress under control. Emotional stability in the home is also key. Dr. Medina shared the science behind these facts, facts that apply to us all."

You will always learn at a GPS event.  Please check out Dr. John Medina's web site and many books for more information as well as parent summary notes, below.

Resources for Dr. John Medina

Brain Rules/John Medina web site HERE

Brain Rules/John Medina You Tube Videos HERE

Parent Notes on Dr. John Medina's presentation to GPS on Oct. 17

Jay Giedd - main researcher on Teen Brain Behavior
Michael Posner - main lead on Executive Function
                             - average age the brain finally matures - 24 years
                             - mental time travel - ability to evaluate levels of risk of a potential scenario and make action decisions accordingly
Average initial onset of mental health disorders - 14.1 years of age

It takes 96 hours (4 days) for the body to fully recover from an all nighter.
Average adult needs at least 8 hours of sleep
Average teen needs at least 9.5 hours of sleep

executive function lowers when in need of sleep, as does mood (crankiness)
Blue effect - the glow of devices tricks the brain into thinking it is daylight.
Need to disconnect from screen time at least 2 hours prior to bed.

Brain Rule: Aerobic exercise (NOT strength training) specifically boosts Executive
Function and buffers against negative effects of stress
150 minutes for 7 days = adequate, moderate aerobic exercise
(30 minutes, 5 days per week)

 Tangney - SCS (self control scale), Executive Function Scale

Mindfulness Training - 8 week Training will boost Executive Function

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Parents share takeaways from 3 GPS programs at October 1 events

The Glenbard Parent Series hosted several events on October 1.  If you couldn’t make to this GPS free FAFSA completion event, don’t worry. You can attend the October 13 free event at Glenbard East, details at GlenbardGPS.org

Patrick Donohue and Jamila Clark
Glenbard South parent Jamila Clark shared the following takeaway from Patrick Donohue's presentation Five Things Successful Students Do: "The path to success is a series of ups and downs, and the parents' role is to remind kids that failings are just stops along the way. Expect three crises per school year. When things do go wrong ask, what happened? What can we learn from it? And what is the way forward?  Focus on the things we can control - attitude and effort. Students should complete 25 minutes of school work followed by 5 minutes of downtime, and encourage kids to read at least 20 minutes a day on non-school homework.  Praise effort not ability."
Lilia Medina (left) & Sara Espinosa

Glenbard East parent Lilia Medina attended the Bilingual Parent Advisory Committee (B-PAC) and
GPS-Spanish program on financial aid with Sara Espinosa of the Illinois Student Assistance Committee and shared this takeaway: "College is expensive and we need to understand the financial aid package offered by each college to determine the best fit for the family."

Carol Hart
Glenbard West parent Carol Hart shared the following takeaway from the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) Completion Assistance Workshop: "Having the ability to get one-on-one help filling for Federal Student Aid - something every senior needs to complete -- was extremely useful, as it is the form that the federal government, states, colleges and other organization use to award financial aid.
GPS will host an additional FAFSA completion workshop at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, at Glenbard East. Learn more here.

More on Pat Donohue
Parents can help their children on the path to success by helping them realize that, rather than being linear, the path forward is a series of ups and downs. At the down points, parents’ key role is to remind kids that failings are  just stops along the way on a growth trajectory, rather than the endpoint. Parents are here to buffer kids’ tendency to feel things are worse than they actually are—failing is an event while being a failure is an identity to avoid. So, when things do go wrong, 3 questions need to be asked: What happened? What can we learn from it? And What is the way forward? Parents and kids should expect about three crises per school year and take them in stride when they happen. Let’s all focus on the things we CAN control—attitude and effort. In terms of school work, employ the Pomodoro technique that encourages 25 minutes of work followed by 5 minutes of downtime, and let’s encourage our kids to read at least 20 minutes a day on non-school work. The difference it makes in a lifetime cannot be underestimated!!

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) web site HERE

U.S. Department of Education Parent's Guide to FAFSA  HERE

Patrick Donohue's web site HERE

The Pomodoro Technique by Francesco Cirillo web site HERE

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Raising Empathetic Children

The Family Institute at Northwestern University shares tips here for raising empathetic children and sites  former GPS speaker Dr Alfie Kohl. Learn more on this topic when we hear from Dr. Tina Payne Bryson on Sept 25 and 26.

September/October 2018
Pro-social Children
It ought to be easier to raise pro-social children — kids who are helpful and kind and empathic — since the impulse toward pro-social behavior is something we’re born with. Yet so many youngsters seem to miss the mark. Two aspects of how we raise our children may be getting in the way.

First, competition permeates our society and our children's lives — not only on the athletic field, but in the classroom, in after-school activities and at home among siblings. We ask, "How was the test?" and they sense we’re wondering how they compare to their classmates. We shout from the sidelines at their soccer games, urging them to play hard, to win. "If children have been trained to see other people as potential rivals, obstacles to their own success," according to well-known educator Alfie Kohn, "they're less disposed to care about anyone's well-being other than their own."1 Too much emphasis on competition teaches youth to envy winners and dismiss losers as somehow unworthy — undeserving of empathy or caring.

Second, we live in a culture of dangling carrots tempting us to reach for the bigger home, the fancier vacation, the newer car. Similarly, we dangle carrots in front of our children, incentivizing them on the front end to engage in pro-social behavior — "If I see you sharing your toys, I'll give you an extra treat this afternoon" — or offering rewards or praise on the back end. But research has shown that reinforcing pro-social behavior leads children to think of acts of kindness not as something intrinsically worth doing but as a way of gaining our approval and achieving a reward. Studies have shown how children of parents who dangle carrots — who routinely use material incentives — tend to lose interest in the behavior and focus instead on the prize.2 This seems particularly true when a child is naturally inclined toward the desired behavior in the first place.

Are children by nature inclined toward helpfulness and caring? Infant and toddler studies answer that question with a resounding yes. Babies cry empathically at the sound of other babies in distress; at 16 months they're drawn to animated characters who help rather than characters who obstruct. Both the emphasis on competition and the dangling of rewards seem to dampen the pro-social impulse that naturally seeks expression from the earliest years of life.

2 Fabes RA, Fulse J, Eisenberg N, et al. 1989. "Effects of rewards on children's prosocial motivation: A socialization study." Developmental Psychology 25: 509-515.
Interested in seeing more Tips of the Month and other resources written by researchers, educators and therapists at The Family Institute?

Monday, September 17, 2018

GPS event on Conquering the Challenges of College Costs

Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services Jeff Feucht,
 Frank Palmasani and Jeff Kernagis

On Sept. 15, the Glenbard Parent Series: (GPS) Navigating Healthy Families hosted a financial aid seminar with Frank Palmasani, author of "Right College: Right Price" leading a discussion in a program titled the Challenge of College Costs.

Glenbard West parent Jeff Kernagis shared the following takeaway: "Frank Palmasani suggested parents stay in close contact with college representatives to build credibility and a resume - it may make a difference in the financial package the school will offer.  Don't be alarmed by the sticker price of the university; costs are often flexible.

Handouts (download)

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Failing at screen rules? Read this

Former GPS speaker, filmmaker Delaney Ruston MD ( Screenagers the movie) shares her screen rule strategies for parents of teens & note her shout out here to another GPS favorite  Dr. Laura Kastner  on her update of "Getting to Calm".

Are you failing with screen rules? You are not alone. As parents, we are up against a technology revolution that is so strong that it can genuinely overpower all aspects of our lives, including our parenting lives.

I often talk with and receive emails from parents who are incredibly frustrated by their inability to set limits for their teens that actually get followed. When kids are younger than around 11—and this varies of course—we have a lot more facility and success at setting limits. The parents from whom I hear the loudest cries of desperation are those with teens. I can relate because I have two and I still have my share of struggles. Here is an example of an email that I received from a father last week:

“I'm trying to limit my son's video game time to 6 hours a day ... Since it's the summer and we're not home, he's probably online for 10 hours a day, yes, 10 hours ... It seems too hard to deal with so we just leave things as they are, yet it eats at me every day.” —Steve W.

If you feel beyond frustrated at trying to set rules, I have some suggestions that I hope will help you or someone you know that you can pass this along to:

First, these 3 things are helpful to keep in mind:

1. We all have 3 very essential needs as humans—a sense of autonomy, connection to others, and competency. Screen time can undoubtedly scratch all three of these itches for teens— think raising one’s game (competency) and socializing online (connection). Meanwhile, when we want to set limits on their screen time, they feel like their autonomy is being threatened and thus it is not surprising limits can elicit such strong reactions.

2. Repeat to yourself the words “not yet.” When your teen is not interested in getting exercise, exploring the outdoors, reading books, volunteering … all the things we want our teens to do, say to yourself “they’re not interested YET.” Remember they will become interested in many things that they are currently dismissing right now.

3. It is so important that our teens know that we love them unconditionally. We don’t always love their behaviors, but we do love them unconditionally.

Now, for some suggestions:

Read this book—One of my favorite adolescent specialist and author, Laura Kastner, Ph.D., who is in Screenagers, just updated her fantastic book, Getting To Calm, to include advice on screen time. Read this book, and you will thank me many times over.

Baby steps—Maybe the goal with your teen for this last month of summer is to step back from trying to make certain limits happen and to focus instead on a baby step goal. For example, asking your teen,  “Hey, what if we focus on arguing less and just work together to find one small time we are without screens--maybe 10 minutes in the car or…..? ”

Excessive but accountable—You might ask them to pick a number of hours they would like to be on screens per day just for these last weeks of summer. Then, whatever number they choose, it is on the condition that they are accountable to that number. They will need to agree to do check-ins with you every few days or to tell you the time they have spent each day. Consider asking them to use an app like Moment to keep track of the time spent on their phone and video games. This approach often shows teens how much harder it is to limit their time than they had expected even when they are picking the number of hours.

Work on you—It feels cliché, but the only real control we have is working on ourselves, but this is how we get better at recognizing what our teens do to trigger us and learning ways to handle it skillfully. For example, you might really want to talk to your teen at the very moment they are disrespectful or inappropriate, but you know that conversation doesn’t generally go well in the heat of the moment. So, instead go outside and mark down the date and the time, write something in a journal, take a breath, and then plan to bring up the situation later. When you do bring it up later, try to use “I” statements such as “I feel XYZ when you do XYZ.” This is a much more effective way of getting your teen to talk with you rather than if you said something like ”When you do XYZ, it really is disrespectful.”

Join them—If the screen time issue has become too toxic, you might just want to abandon talking about it for a while. Instead, dive into in-depth empathy exploration by asking to let you do something fun on screens with them like playing a video game. After a few times, maybe you will have cleared out some of your anger, and you’ll have more capacity to say something like “Wow, I can really see why you love these games so much” and then see where this take things.

Reverse it—When you find yourself in a good moment with your teen, see if you can engage him or her in a short role reversing exercise. Ask something like this “Can you humor me for a moment—I am going to play you, and can you play me?” (Let’s assume for a minute they say yes). Then, you start playing as if you are them, “Look dad (or mom) I love my phone/computer time, and I want to be on it at least X numbers of hours a day.” Then hopefully they will engage back as if they were you. Try to keep it lighthearted.

Back Peddle—(A technique from Dr. Kastner) Consider starting a conversation like this: “Hey, I want to talk with you about screen time, and given our past conversations, I realize that no matter what I do it’s really tricky. If I don’t try to talk about screen time I feel pretty crappy as a dad because I really think my job as a dad is to make sure you have lots of different experiences and opportunities, and if I do bring up anything you might feel judged or angry. Is there a way that we can discuss this that might make it go better?”

Get involved—I know how much this has helped me. When I feel stuck in my own personal and family life, I have redoubled my advocacy efforts. When I take my foot off the gas pedal at home and apply it to a related but outside cause (such as mental health advocacy), I start to feel so much better. Here is something you could consider, checking out our initiative to address cell phones in school at AwayForTheDay.org. 

Outside Help—Set up a visit with a person who can mediate a talk with you and your teen, or maybe even the whole family using some of the techniques in this blog. Consider a grandparent, a counselor, a college advisor, a person the family admires that has grown kids and is a skillful mediator, or a leader from a religious center. The ideal situation is with a trained counselor, but they can be expensive and hard to find (particularly if school is out and you can’t see a school counselor).

If you find TTTs helpful, please help us to spread the word by sharing it with others. Tens of thousands of people get our TTT, but for this revolution, we hope that we can reach thousands, even millions more.

We encourage you to go to our website and read through some of the hundreds of past Tech Talk Tuesdays blog posts covering dozens of topics full information and tips. Feel free to share this newsletter with your community and encourage them to sign up for our Tech Talk Tuesday.

If you are interested in seeing Screenagers, you can find event listings on our site. Or, join the thousands of people have hosted a screening in their community to help spark change.

Stay in touch with the Screenagers community on Facebook, Twitter and at  www.screenagersmovie.com. 


Delaney Ruston, MD
Screenagers' Filmmaker

Monday, July 2, 2018

Chicago Parent Magazine and Summer Reading List

Chicago Parent Magazine just posted its suggested summer reading list of eight  "great non-fiction books about parenting". Take a closer look and you will see that four of those authors are scheduled to be a part of the Glenbard Parent Series for the 2018-19 school year.

For details on these events visit glenbardgps.org or click on the brochure icon at the right.

Explore the entire GPS summer reading list and check one book or more out at your local library. Then circle your calendar and join us for these important author events.

The four authors/books/appearance dates are:

The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control over Their Lives by William Stixrud, Ph.D., and Ned Johnson (November 14, noon at Marquardt Adminstation Center and 7pm at Glenbard West)
No More Mean Girls: The Secret to Raising Strong, Confident, and Compassionate Girls by Katie Hurley (March 13, 9:30am and noon at Marquardt Administration Center and 7pm at Glenbard North)
Enough As She Is: How to Help Girls Move Beyond Impossible Standards of Success to Live Healthy, Happy, and Fulfilling Lives by Rachel Simmons (January 29, 7pm at COD McAninch Arts Center and January 30, noon at Marquardt Administration Center
The Good News About Bad Behavior: Why Kids Are Less Disciplined Than Ever—And What To Do About It by Katherine Reynolds Lewis (February 12 9:30am at Marquardt Administration Center and 7pm at Glenbard West)

Chicago Parent

8 new parenting books to add to your summer reading list

June 20, 2018
Summer reading lists are pretty common for high school and even middle school students. But what about parents? There are some great non-fiction books about parenting that have been published recently. Pick one of these books up the next time you head to the library with your little ones and know that you’ll be getting useful information and be setting a good example of reading in front of your kids. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Summer fun with the brain in mind

Everyday our knowledge of the teen brain expands.  Recent studies show "Risky behavior is a normal part of development and reflects a biologically driven need for exploration – a process aimed at acquiring experience and preparing teens for the complex decisions they will need to make as adults"  Next year's GPS line up brings you that latest research in ways that can be put to use immediately in your family. Circle your calendar now and please join us . Click on our 2018-2019 brochure at the right to view our event schedule, or visit us at www.glenbardgps.org for details.

Eutopia Magazine June 27 Summer fun with the brain in mind..
"Conflicts over curfews, friends, boundaries, and activities (among other subjects) always appear and sometimes magnify in the heat of summer. If a disagreement or conflict looms between parents and adolescents, and neither seems able to find a solution, go to your teen! There’s nothing more satisfying than being sought after for advice. Directly and indirectly, you enlist the help of your adolescent’s higher-level thought processes when you ask, “What can I do to resolve this?” or “Help me find a better plan that we all agree upon.” He or she begins to feel valued and appreciated, moving from the brain’s fight response into a “responder” response"

This and more from Eutopia Magazine, a great resource for parents and educators, below

View Online
JUNE 27, 2018
A cohesive team doesn't just happen.
Credit: ©iStock/jacoblund

Building a Positive Staff Culture Takes Work

If schools want a strong collegial atmosphere, they need to foster it intentionally—both across the school and on smaller scales.

Play is important.

Summer Fun With the Brain in Mind

Summer brain-based games for parents to play with their kids to activate the joys of learning, decision making, and questioning.

Math anxiety develops as early as kindergarten.
Credit: ©Twenty20/@darby

Recognizing and Alleviating Math Anxiety

Math anxiety affects almost half of elementary school students. Spot the symptoms and use these strategies to counteract it.

An empathy-building activity
Credit: George Lucas Educational Foundation

60-Second Strategy: Snowball Toss

A quick, fun classroom activity fosters open dialogue while releasing pent-up energy.

Preparing students with disabilities for life after school
Credit: ©Shutterstock/LStockStudio

Prioritizing Agency for Students With Disabilities

When students with disabilities develop self-advocacy and self-determination, they can engage more effectively in their education.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Summer Reading List -- Books by upcoming 2018-2019 GPS Speakers

Our students have their summer reading and here are summer reading suggestions for adults. Please join us in the next school year when we welcome these authors (and many others) as part of GPS 2018-2019.  We are very excited to share the title of our community read to kick off the Glenbard Parent Series. Please join us.  Details on our upcoming events can be found on GlenbardGPS.org

First Class Support for College Students on the Autism Spectrum by Dr. Michael Duggan
Right College, Right Price by Frank Palmasani
The Yes Brain by Dr. Tina Payne Bryson
Adolescents and their Facebook Narratives: A Digital Coming of Age by Dr Jill Walsh
No Drama Discipline by Dr. Tina Payne Bryson
Red Zone Fathering 48 Plays Great Fathers Make by Patrick Donohue
Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home and School by Dr. John     Medina
Thirty Million Words: Building a Child’s Brain by Dr. Dana Suskind
Conquering the SAT by Ned Johnson
Odd Girl Out by Rachel Simmons
The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control over Their     Lives by Ned Johnson and Dr. William Stixrud
Fostering Resilient Learners:  Strategies for Creating a Trauma Sensitive Classroom by Dr. Pete Hall
Enough As She Is: How to Help Girls Move Beyond Impossible Standards of Success to Live     Healthy, Happy, and Fulfilling Lives by Rachel Simmons
Self-Injury: Simple Answers to Complex Problems by Dr. Jason Washburn
The Good News About Bad Behavior: Why Kids are Less Disciplined Than Ever and What to   do About It by Katherine Reynolds Lewis
Even on Your Worst Day You Can Be a Student’s Best Hope by Manny Scott
The Behavior Code by Jessica Minahan
The Happy Kid Handbook: How to Raise Joyful Children in a Stressful World by Katie Hurley
Smart Change: Five Tools to Create New and Sustainable Habits in Yourself and Others by Dr. Art Markman
Smart Thinking: Three Essential Keys to Solve Problems, Innovate and Get Things Done by Dr. Art Markman

Glenbard Common Read: The Things They Carried  
with Tim O’Brien  August 22, 2018 at 7pm Glenbard West

The Glenbard Parent Series has selected the critically acclaimed novel, The Things They Carried  by author Tim O’Brien  as the 2018 GPS Community-Wide Read.

Students, parents and community members alike are invited to become acquainted with this distinguished piece of American literature that fictionalizes Pulitzer Prize finalist O'Brien's experiences surrounding the Vietnam War. Here is a compelling book that displays intense sensitivity and insight into courage and fear.This international award winning novel has been translated in twenty languages and was selected in Amazon's list of 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Matt Quinn, Rosecrance speaks on Vaping and E-Cigarettes

The Glenbard Parent Series hosted Matt Quinn from Rosecrance Health Network at a presentation on May 1, 2018, Everything You Need to Know About Vaping.

Takeaways from this program

Matt Quinn
"Be wary of the misconception that vaping (today’s lingo for e-cigarettes) is safe. The term vaping and its association with the word vapor tricks us into thinking that the practice must be benign. "It’s just vapor, like the steam of a humidifier, right?” Wrong! Vaping is anything but benign. Vaping is the cigarette industry’s current marketing scheme to introduce tobacco and nicotine to teenagers and young adults. Why else would they design vaping devices that look like a flash drive, can be easily slipped into a pocket and hid from parents/guardians, and hold cartridges and liquid that are flavored like mango, cookies and cream, and mint? The cartridges/liquid DO contain nicotine (and in some cases marijuana) and a host of other toxic chemicals, not to mention an automatic, tissue-damaging immune response in the body of the user. The FDA needs to step up and start regulating vaping, and we need to warn our teens and young adults and be part of the movement against this risky growing trend."

 - Molly Hoerster, Glenbard West parent

"Vaping is likely more harmful than most teens realize. There are still many carcinogenic chemicals contained in the aerosol emitted from a vaping device, even though it isn't smoke. The immune system reacts in a very similar fashion to this aerosol versus smoke, causing damage to healthy lung tissue. Research has also identified damage to brain growth in teens using either nicotine or marijuana vapes. The tobacco companies are again targeting teens with flavoring agents because they know that they need to get them hooked to create lifelong customers."

-  Christine Drake, Glenbard South parent

Resource Links

JUULing: Disturbing new vaping trend among youth by Aaron Weiner, Ph.D./Edward-Elmhurst Health

E-Cigarette fact sheet from the Surgeon General 

Talk with Your Teen About E-cigarettes:  A Tip Sheet for Parents from the Surgeon General

Rosecrance Teen substance abuse services web site

Rosecrance Information Sheets/links

PSA: Juulers Against Juuling (YouTube)

Rosecrance Drug Fact Sheet:  Vaping