Friday, December 9, 2016

GPS event helped parent learn new social media trends

The Glenbard Parent Series: (GPS) Navigating Healthy Families presented Tweens,Teens and the Tech Trends of Today with Liz Repking on Thursday, December 8 at the Community Consolidated School District 93 in Bloomingdale

Liz Repking and Lynn Dugan
Glenbard West parent Lynn Dugan shared the following takeaway:  "I hope to teach my teens to make good decisions regarding social media and cyberspace in general but the landscape is challenging because it is ever-changing. Of course, we need to model good online behavior and help kids understand 'What goes online stays online.' This presentation gave me a chance to learn new things (have you heard of Kik?) and equipped me for the important dialogue I want to continue with my kids."

View the presentation on the Glenbard Parent Series YouTube Channel here

Liz Repking's Cyber Safety Consulting web site here

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Strategies for Improving Executive Function Skills to Plan, Organize, and Problem Solve for School Success with Sarah Ward

The Glenbard Parent Series: (GPS) Navigating Healthy Families presented Strategies for Improving Executive Function Skills to Plan, Organize, and Problem Solve for School Success with Sarah Ward on Tuesday, December 6 at Glenbard South.  

Sarah Ward spoke to a packed house of students and parents at the GPS  Dec. 6.  Two students share their take aways:

Glenbard South Senior-
Thank you GPS for bringing in a speaker who confirmed what I have been trying to convince my father of- forever.  Listening to music helps me drown out the other distractions when doing homework. So great to have my dad now understand, since he heard it from an expert. Nice!!

Glenbrd West Junior-

What a helpful program for all students. So glad I attended. I will now " plan backward to execute forward".  This won't be my last GPS.

Glenbard North parent Cindy Allston shared the following take-away:  

"It was fascinating to hear that kids with Executive Functioning Deficits have time blindness and are unable to see the future.  We need to help them become a future stretcher to actually visualize the passage of time, so they can plan and go toward that future/project completion. Consider shading in "time to work" on a wall clock to actually make time visible, was one helpful strategy.  And always plan backward to execute forward."


Friday, November 18, 2016

GPS event with Julie Lythcott-Haims "How to Raise an Adult" - takeaways and resources

On Nov. 16 and 17, former Stanford University dean Julie Lythcott-Haims presented Glenbard Parent Series programs based on her best-selling book, "How to Raise an Adult:  Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kids for Success."

Glenbard East parent Ruth Vitale (left)
with  Julie Lythcott-Haims and
Glenbard West Principal Peter Monaghan 
Glenbard East parent Ruth Vitale shared the following takeaway: "When we over-parent, it sends a message to our kids, `You can't do this without me.' It also deprives them of the opportunity to feel good about their own accomplishments (which can lead to depression) and learn important life skills like self-efficacy. Our job as parents is to teach our children to become problem-solvers and to ultimately put ourselves out of a job."

Paul Gordon, Glen Ellyn School District 41 superintendent, attended the presentation on Nov. 17 and shared this takeaway: "We have to increasingly and deliberately put opportunities for our students' independence before them.  Parents succeed when we have raised our children to successful adulthood."


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Our Friends at The Family Institute at Northwestern University shares with Family Tip on Emotions



Naming Emotions

Your daughter comes home in tears. She can barely choke out words to describe the mean things some girls said to her on the school bus. You listen to her story and try to comfort her. If you're really skilled, you'll offer her attunement (Are You Okay? March, 2014).

After a couple months practicing for his first driver's license, your son fails the behind-the-wheel test at the motor vehicle department. On the way home, you sense his distress as he complains about the unfair examiner and how he deserved to pass. You try to comfort him.

Recent research suggests that there's something else -- something enormously helpful -- that you can do that may reduce the intensity and duration of a child's distress: coach your kids to identify and name the specific emotions they're feeling during moments of emotional pain.

Studies have found that when people identify and specifically name their emotions, they are "less likely to be overwhelmed in stressful situations."i That's because when we use precise labels for our feelings, we understand more about what's happening to us emotionally, which then can lead to identifying a smart (and healthy) course of action. Clearly labeled emotions become easier to regulate ("I'm sad" rather than "I feel bad," or "I'm disappointed" rather than "I'm really bummed out"). Once we know the feeling we're dealing with, we can tailor our response to it rather than just fall back on the customary habits we rely on in order to feel better (especially unhealthy habits like erupting into anger, turning to alcohol, bottling up the pain, bingeing on food, etc.)

People skilled at naming their feelings have been found to drink 40% less alcohol when stressedii, and are 20% to 50% less likely to retaliate with verbal or physical aggression against someone who has hurt them.iii Impressive evidence exists that teaching school-aged children to expand their understanding and use of precise emotion words improves both their social behavior as well as their academic performance.iv

If we're going to teach our kids to speak the language of emotions, we're going to need to speak the language ourselves. It doesn't require a huge lexicon; angry, sad, hurt, afraid, upset, disappointed, discouraged, guilty, and ashamed are the basics. Incorporate those words into your vocabulary, and when your kids are distressed, coach them to do the same.

i Kashdan, T.B., L.F. Barrett, P.E., McKnight. "Unpacking emotion differentiation: transforming unpleasant experience by perceiving emotion differentiation." Current Directions in Psychological Science, February 2015 vol. 24 no. 1, pp.10-16. doi: 10.1177/0963721414550708.

ii Kashdan, T. B., P. Ferssizidis, R.L. Collins, & M. Muraven. "Emotion differentiation as resilience against excessive alcohol use: An ecological momentary assessment in underage social drinkers." Psychological Science, 21, 2010. 1341-1347.

iii Pond, R. S., T.B. Kashdan, C.N. Dewall,  A.A. Savostyanova, N.M. Lambert, & F.D. Fincham. "Emotion differentiation buffers aggressive behavior in angered people: A daily diary analysis." Emotion, 12, 2012. 326-337.

iv Brackett, M. A., S.E. Rivers, M.R. Reyes, & P. Salovey. "Enhancing academic performance and social and emotional competence with the RULER feeling words curriculum." Learning and Individual Differences, 22, 2012, 218-224.


Monday, October 24, 2016

Patrick Donohue: Study Skills Now, Life Skills Forever: The Tools to Help Your Child Achieve - GPS Oct 17 event

K Parmar, a Glenbard North parent, offers this takeaway from GPS Oct 17 event featuring Patrick Donohue:

Pat's 5 Things Good Students Do--it's unfortunate when students do not have a good understanding on how their course grade is structured and what matters to the teacher, because this can literally make or break their grade for the semester no knowing what their overall grade consists of especially if teachers use categories. I was also impressed with the Pomodoro Timing and his Rewrite Shorty Notes techniques, and it's something I will have my children try to implement as part of their study skills.

As a parent, it's important when our children hit that bottom of the curve as Pat stated, that we take time to support and encourage our children to continue to face it, work hard, be persistent, be present, and give their all even when the outcome is unknown. It's important to help our children realize that they are going to be successful and the outcome is likely to be positive when they've prepared in this manner.

As parents, it's also important fir us to keep "failing"and "failure" separate and help our children understand the differences between the two as we encourage a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset.

And my final takeaway from tonight: Besides the 5 things good students do to be successful in academics, much of Pat's presentation was on how to parent in an encouraging and supportive manner so that our children are motivated to be successful, and to develop and sustain a growth mindset throughout their lives, not just in academics in high school and college!

Dr. David Yeager Speaks at GPS events on October 10 and 11

As we know, to achieve, we need more than inborn ability—we need the right mindset. Dr David Yeager a leading expert in grit, performance, and the growth mindset: the belief that we can change and make progress, spoke to parents and school staff on Oct 10 and 11. He studies the ways students feel like they belong and are respected; that their work is relevant and purposeful; and that they can overcome setbacks and continue to improve.

David Yeager is an experimental development psychologist in the department of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. In his academic research, he examines the causes of and solutions to adolescent learning such as academic achievement, stress, cheating, trust, and bullying. He focuses on adolescence as a place where there is great opportunity (and risk) for young people’s trajectories.

In May 2014, he was the subject of a major New York Times Magazine article (“Who Gets to Graduate?”) by Paul Tough (a former GPS speaker).  He has co-authored work on grit with Angela Duckworth and on growth mindset with his collaborator (and another former GPS speaker)  Carol Dweck. Dr. Yeager recently chaired a national summit on mindset interventions at the White House. His work appears regularly in places like The New York Times, The Atlantic, Scientific American, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and beyond.

Check out some of his most recent articles here

New York Times article: Teaching Teenagers to Cope With Social Stress

New York Times article: Can Teenage Defiance Be Manipulated for Good?

Dr. Yeager is interested in understanding the processes shaping adolescent development to create positive or negative trajectories for youth.  He is also interested in learning how to influence these psychological processes, so as to improve educational outcomes for all young people and transform their lives for the better. Yeager's research shows we need to change our perceptions about failure. To be challenged is to grow skills for today and tomorrow. We need to do all we can to instill a growth mindset and not a fixed mindset. Check out the book Mindset by David's mentor Carol Dweck.

Other resources for David Yeager:

Presentation Notes, GPS event - David Yeager on Motivating Teens

Mindset Scholars Network

David Yeager, University of Texas, Austin

Friday, September 30, 2016

Devorah Heitner on her book "Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in the Digital Age"

 The Glenbard Parent Series hosted Devorah Heitner in a presentation based on her book Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in the Digital Age on Sept. 28 at Glenbard West.

Glendale Heights Police Office Michele Cahill appreciated the suggestion that even if parents don't know how a device operates they can be more explicit about teaching kids what to do rather than what not to do. We as adults may not always have the technology "expertise" but we do have the knowledge base and life experience to offer ground rules, and support. 

When kids say "You don’t know what I’m going through” a good response is “You’re right, I haven’t lived through that, but I have lived through conflict and resolved it." When on the phone adults should consider explaining to their kids what they are dong. Its a chance to offer guidance-which in the teen years means listening more than speaking.

Glenbard East parent Don Westerholm appreciated that we need to mentor rather then monitor and also model good technology behaviors A true mentor  is interested in what their mentee(child) can do (with technology) and shows interest. Ask questions; ask the child to help you with your privacy settings; watch them engage in their favorite technology outlets (e.g., your child may be famous in their World of Warcraft circle or YouTube channel, and you might not even know it!)

Web site for Raising Digital Natives

Parent Notes from "Screenwise" with Devorah Heitner

Monday, September 26, 2016

Temple Grandin speaks on "Different... Not Less" at GPS September 21 event

What an honor to host Temple Grandin at the GPS on Sept 21 with  almost 2500 participants in attendance!

Dr Temple Grandin explained the need for different kinds of minds  and reminded us to  get away from labels and  focus on improving outcomes.

She shared common sense career advise for people on the spectrum- create a portfolio, and consider the trades she also reminded us of the need to stench our students to expose them to real world experiences.

Take Away 
"As a school psychologist, Dr. Grandins advice to "stretch"  young people's minds and not get stuck on labels in order to promote students' self development resonated with my overall professioanl goals. I plan on having her advice present as a springboard to thinking outside the box when working with multi needs students and families. "

-- Mariana Proske, Ed.S., NCSP

Video of Temple Grandin GPS event

If you would like to see Temple Grandin's presentation Different Not Less/Different Kinds of Minds: the Autistic Brain, you may watch video of her Glenbard Parent Series presentation here.


Monday, September 19, 2016

Conquering the Challenges of College Costs with Frank Palmasani

The Glenbard Parent Series: (GPS) Navigating Healthy Families presented Conquering the Challenges of College Costs with Frank Palmasani on Saturday, Sept. 17. Glenbard West parent Kimberly Dikker shared the following take away:

"This was a valuable program filled with important information, great examples and access to free websites to guide you through the entire paying-for-college process.  As a senior parent I appreciated learning about the earlier deadline for this year's FAFSA."
Links to the handouts from the Financial Aid Seminar:

Event Details

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Dr. Laura Koehler on Coping Strategies to Regulate Anxiety

Glenbard North school counselor Julie Shannon (left) attended the GPS program with Dr Laura Koehler (right) entitled Coping Strategies to Regulate Anxiety: An Introduction to Distress Tolerance on September 15

"This was a great workshop from a knowledgeable presenter who shared both useful and practical tips. Dr Koehler suggested in order to regulate your emotions, you should take the opposite action of your emotion. If you have fear, do what you're afraid of.  Or, if you're angry, do something nice for someone. If you're sad, get active. Validate the negative and move forward."

View the power point and video here:

Presentation Slides from this event Dr. Laura Koehler 9/15/16 pdf

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Author Rebecca Skloot speaks at Glenbard Family Read

A packed Glenbard West auditorium of students, parents and staff from throughout the area had the pleasure of hearing insight and inspiration from Rebecca Skloot author of The  Immortal Life of Henrieta  Lacks last  week.  

Parent, librarian share GPS takeaways

Glenbard South Librarian
Diane Mankowski 

On Aug. 25, the Glenbard Parent Series hosted author Rebecca Skloot in a presentation based on her award-winning book and Glenbard Family Read “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.” Glenbard South Librarian Diane Mankowski shared the following takeaway: “Rebecca Skloot inspired students to be curious, ask questions of experts and when writing to "show" the story by sharing details without judgment. Always be aware of the "what!?", and then follow through to get the answer. For those of us who work with young people she reminded us that you never know how the things you say will impact others.”

Glenbard South parent Jennifer Bair 
and her daughter Sophie

Glenbard South parent Jennifer Bair said, “We loved hearing the background and updates on this amazing story and hearing about Skloot's relationship with the Lacks family. It was interesting to hear about how her awareness of their experience changed her for the better. The author's journey from a troubled start in high school to finding her path as a science writer was fascinating, inspiring and helpful.”


GPS is off to a great start for the 2016-17 school year. Circle your calendar now and join us.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The conversation about sexual assault is not just for those of college age. This article urges parents and schools to start early and often. Lean more here.

NPR Social Tools
While most college students go through courses aimed at preventing campus sexual assault, advocates say it's too little, too late. Some are pushing for similar efforts as early as elementary school.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Mark your calendar for these great upcoming events

Starting off the year strong with seven speakers in August and September, including nationally renown Temple Grandin, Rebecca Skloot and Nicole Detling.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A tip from the Family Institute at Northwestern on College Drinking

As our college freshmen prepare for the transition to higher education, the Family Institute at Northwestern weighs in on college drinking - "most at risk are incoming freshmen, student athletes, and those involved in fraternities and sororities".  But the good news is that drinking behavior can be influenced by parents".   

With 16 as the average age teens start drinking, this tip of the month offers useful talking points for all parents.


JULY 2016

College Drinking
Tell your college-age sons and daughters that more than 1,800 college students die from alcohol-related accidents each year, and nearly 600,000 are injured while drunk.i Tell them that over half a million are assaulted by another student under the influence, and 97,000 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.ii

"College drinking is sometimes still viewed as a harmless rite of passage," says one researcher in the field of campus behavior. "That's particularly dangerous given that research shows this age group is much more impulsive even when alcohol's not involved."iii Most at risk are incoming freshmen, student athletes, and those involved in fraternities and sororities.

The good news is that drinking behavior can be influenced by parents. In one study, those graduating high school seniors and college freshmen who believed that their parents knew and cared about their drinking drank less -- and less often -- than those who thought their parents didn't know or care about their alcohol use.iv Another study found that parental monitoring, parental attitudes toward drinking, and parent-child communication all impacted students' alcohol consumption.v Students whose parents raised the topic of alcohol throughout the college years -- not just prior to freshman year -- drank significantly less than classmates whose parents never raised the

Parents who want to be particularly proactive might also:
  • Pose questions that get youngsters thinking (while you listen rather than preach): How can you stay safe at a party with alcohol flowing? What will you do if a drunk friend gets behind the wheel and expects you to climb aboard? How will you decide how much alcohol is enough? How will you handle a roommate who drinks to excess? Do you know your school's rules and consequences for alcohol violations?
  • Let them know that the norm on campuses is moderate -- not abusive -- drinking, so that they don't imagine the only way to fit in is by getting drunk.
  • Acknowledge the force of peer pressure, and how simply holding a glass in their hand -- whether it contains tonic or soda or sparkling water with a slice of lime -- might mollify classmates who want everyone to get plastered along with them.
  • Suggest that adding ice to drinks will dilute alcohol's potency and reduce the likelihood of intoxication.
  • Designate a responsible driver in advance if there's going to be a need for transportation.

With 16 the average age teens start drinking, why wait until the approach of college to begin these conversations?

i Hingson, Ralph W., et al. "Magnitude of and trends in alcohol-related mortality and morbidity among U.S. college students ages 18-24, 1998-2005. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 2009 Jul; (16): 12-20.
ii ibid.
iii Dr. James Murphy, quoted in Monitor on Psychology, American Psychological Association, October 2013.
iv Wetherill, R. Fromme, K. "The effects of perceived awareness and caring, family motives and social motives on alcohol use by high school and first semester college students." Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 2007,21, 147-154.
v Turrisi, Robert et al. (2013). "Examining the role of parents in college student alcohol etiology and prevention." In: Interventions for addiction: Comprehensive addictive behaviors and disorders. Elsevier Inc., San Diego: Academic Press, pp. 865-873.
vi Doumas, Diana M., et al. "A randomized trial evaluating a parent based intervention to reduce college drinking." Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, July 2013, 45:1, 31-37.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Sharing a timely blog post from Liz Repking, Cyber Security Consulting

Is Pokemon Go Safe for Kids?

It is an understatement to say that Pokemon Go is popular. It is off the charts crazy! My children are regularly exiting the house saying “Going to find some Pokemon. Be back soon.” Additionally, I have received numerous texts and emails asking things like “What is Pokemon Go?” “Is Pokemon Go safe for my kids?” and “What should I be concerned about with Pokemon Go?” All great questions. So here is a quick tutorial for you.
What is Pokemon Go?
Pokemon Go is a free-to-play location-based augmented reality mobile game developed by Niantic. It was released worldwide on July 6, 2016 for both iOS and Android devices. Augmented reality means a view of reality is modified by the computer. When someone is looking for a character in Pokemon Go, he views his surroundings via the device’s camera, the reality, and imposes a digital image of a Pokemon characterI into the reality. The user can then capture the character by launching the Pokeball at the character. According to Survey Monkey, this is the ‘biggest mobile game in US history’.
What are the upsides of Pokemon Go?
Like most apps, there are some great benefits to this widely popular game.
  1. It gets kids outside and moving. Before I realized what was happening, my 17 year old son kept leaving the house in 15 minute increments. I asked him what he was doing, and he would tell me that he was going for a walk. The child has never voluntarily gone for a walk! I was immediately suspicious. My mind wandered to places that I did not want it to go. That same day, I noticed 2 boys outside my house on bikes, stopped on the sidewalk for about 2 minutes, staring at their phones. I asked my son what he thought about these two boys. He smiled and said that they were probably hunting for Pokemon! I laughed and he fessed up to his ‘walks’.
  2. It gives kids another way to socialize. My sons have spent time with their friends hunting Pokemon. Clearly, there is trouble galore that 15 and 17 year olds can easily find on a boring summer night. Pokemon has given kids a purpose to hanging out together. Additionally, I see kids of different ages playing together. We have a 4 year old neighbor who comes to our door multiple times a day looking to play with my oldest son. The other day, my son took the neighbor out to find Pokemon! They were gone for over an hour in the neighborhood. It was a thing of beauty to see these two boys, who are 13 years apart, sharing an activity that brought them both an hour of entertainment and fun.
  3. It’s free! During the summer, I feel like a human ATM machine. There is a lot of time to fill and so many things that kids want to do cost money. This is not only a free app to download from both the App Store and Google Play, but it is free for the kids to go out and explore. Depending on the age of the child, the child may hop on a bike, a scooter or simply walk the neighborhood to play.
  4. Poke Stops can be educational. Poke Stops are places where players can collect valuable rewards. Poke Stops are placed in important areas connecting them to historic places or land marks. Take the opportunity to go with your Pokemon Trainer and teach them about the location.
What are the downsides of Pokemon Go?
  1. It’s still a screen! Have we taken a few steps back in the battle to have conversation when doing simple things like riding in the car? I find myself asking my children to put the phone down and talk to me. The common response is “But Mom, I can catch some more Pokemon as we drive.” I know I am not alone in this increased addiction to technology and social media. A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook, when speaking of his son: “His nose is in the phone continuously with Pokemon Go!” The question remains, do we wave the screen limits because the game is getting them out of the house, moving, and being social or do we recognize that kids have found another addictive online game?
  2. Predators go where kids are hanging out. There are a lot of kids roaming neighborhoods looking for Pokemon. Most are completely absorbed in the game and aren’t paying attention to their surroundings. As they congregate in common areas, they may feel a false sense of camaraderie with strangers they meet who are also ‘hunting Pokemon’.  Additionally, people can place a lure in a real-life location. The lure will attract Pokemon to a specific location and will be in effect at that location for 30 minutes. Predators use lures to make a specific more attractive to kids hunting for Pokemon. Talk to your kids about strangers, the people they meet while playing, and then take the time to go with them on the hunt.
  3. Like most online games, there are In-App purchases available. As described, players can ‘enhance their Pokemon GO experience’ by purchasing certain items and features. Make sure that you have In-App purchases disabled on your child’s device.
  4. Be aware of data usage and battery drain when playing. Depending on what part of the game is being used, data usage can range from 2MB to 8MB of use per hour. This usage can be reduced if your Pokemon Trainer, i.e. your child, plays in areas that have Wi-Fi. Also, make sure that the apps and updates to the app are only downloaded when the device is on Wi-Fi. Similarly, the game can quickly drain the device’s battery. There is a battery saver mode that can be enabled. Open up the Pokemon Go app, and then tap on the “Setting” button on the top-right corner of the screen. Scroll down the menu until you see ‘Battery Saver’. Tap it to select it (a tick will appear), and then you can turn your phone upside down, which will dim the screen. This will save precious battery life. Turning off sound effects, music and vibration will also help keep the battery from draining too fast.
Most importantly, take time to talk to your children about both the fun things they can do with Pokemon Go as well as the things that they should be aware of as they enjoy the app. I went on one of my son’s ‘walks’ with him and asked him to show me how the app works. He was happy to have me go with him and loved showing me how it works. The obsession with it is enough to drive me crazy at times, but I also look at it as an opportunity to get involved with my kids and spend some time with them doing something they are enjoying.