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February 20th, 2013

Should We Care About the Bullies?

Should we care about the bullies, the ones who tease, shove, punch, ridicule, and mock other kids? We absolutely must care to understand the bullying dynamic, help the victims, bystanders and the bullies themselves.

Here’s what’s known about bullies:
• Bullies exhibit a repetitive pattern of aggression in their formative years. Power and dominance is their game, and sometimes it seems as if the bully is winning.
• Bullying is widespread and is the most common form of violence in young people. The AMA estimates that 3.7 million youths engage in moderate to severe bullying each year.
• Some kids who are popular or in leadership roles can start to take advantage of others. This can lead to bullying behavior, because peers reinforce the power plays. Of course it sends the wrong message to the bully in training.
• Research has documented that some bullies grow up in homes where power and aggressive acts are valued. These bullies in training learn to disregard other people’s feelings. It’s what they see at home. Not all bullies come from such homes however.
• Bullies don’t always pick on the weak. Sometimes bullying behavior involves a complex jockeying for position among peers. Other times kids who are picked on try out bullying behavior to protect them.
• Most kids experiment with bullying behavior at some point in their lives. It’s one way they learn about power, dominance and the kind of person they want to be. The good news is that the majority of children do not engage in a repetitive pattern of cruel and aggressive behavior, even though they may have tested the waters.

To stop the cycle of bullying, victims have to learn assertiveness and social skills, bystanders need courage to stop bullies, and bullies need to learn empathy and compassion. Helping the victim alone is not enough.

Here are other related articles:
Turn Sore Sports Into Good Sports
I Wish I Were Popular
Rumors: Building Confidence Helps Kids Handle Them

February 1st, 2013

Can You Be Too Good to Your Child?

Sometimes out of love and a genuine desire to help, parents may inadvertently prevent their children from developing the best adaptive skills needed for a healthy physical and psychological life. In medicine, a recent study has shown that many children with severe allergies were raised by parents who over-restrict the amount of dirt and germs in their environment. It appears that a little more exposure to everyday germs may be a healthier alternative.

In much the same way, many loving and well-meaning parents restrict the everyday emotional turmoil a child may experience. Some parents try to do whatever they can to make things easy and stress free for their children. But stress free does not build happiness. In fact, the best way to learn to deal with stress is by experiencing it. Parents can be most helpful to their children by allowing them to experience age-appropriate stress and learn effective problem-solving strategies to deal with disappointment, mistakes and change. Again, a little exposure to life’s ups and downs can be good in the long run.

To read more about parenting today see:
Does Frequently Rewarding Kids Build Their Confidence?
Facing Fears in A Way That’s Fun and Really Works
Discipline and Confidence in Kids