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Our creative team is always developing and discovering new tools and activities for children and teens to master the everyday emotional challenges of their lives. Check back often to see what's new and how you can help your child.

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July 30th, 2010

After The Divorce: Resilience Skills Help Children Adjust

As with most divorcing families, change and adaptation frequently continue for some time after the divorce. Even if the child sailed through the early stages of the divorce process, it does not mean that every change will be easy. A child can be thrown by many events such as meeting a parent’s new love interest, learning of a parent’s re-location, dealing with a significant modification in the visitation schedule, being informed of a parent’s plan to marry, hearing about a new baby in the family, or becoming part of a blended family. Many children have thought about these possibilities beforehand, and some become increasingly upset, anxious, or angry. They may think, Just because you got divorced, why do I have to keep dealing with this stuff? Children and teens coping with stress after divorce may feel that they are forced to deal with your decisions.

Nearly 85% of Americans who divorce will re-marry, half within three years, and a third in just one year. Half of children in the U.S. will experience a parent’s re-marriage before turning 18. Half of all re-marriages begin with cohabitation. About 60% of re-marriages end in re-divorce. Children coping with divorce have a lot to deal with rather quickly.

Regardless of what change your child is facing, it is still most important to protect the integrity of your relationship with the child. For example, your child may welcome a new step-parent or reject that person outright. Either way, a new love interest or blended family can feel threatening to the child. The child may be afraid of losing you. This feeling typically occurs if there is a new marriage, new baby, move to a new location, or visitation modification.

In addition to providing a secure and constant parental presence if you can, your child may benefit from developing resilience skills. Resilience helps children cope with change, which in turn assists them in managing emotional trauma. The Tool Kits for Kids Build Up Your Resilience Tool Kit was developed by experts who recognize that kids benefit from learning powerful emotional skills when dealing with conflict, childhood trauma, and crises – all common in post-divorce. The Tool Kit includes 20 comprehensive tools that help children and teens deal with change and loss, manage anger, handle anxious feelings, reduce negative thinking, and make hopeful and realistic plans for their future. All of these tools and more can be learned quickly in a way that makes sense to young people. Our Resilience Tool Kits are designed for kids in grades K-12 and have recently won two major parenting awards.

Read Earlier Post about this subject

July 28th, 2010

Resilience Skills Help Children Cope With Divorce

Parents worry about the impact of divorce on their children. The divorce process can be an emotional trauma for children, involving physical separation from one parent, legal proceedings, visitation and custody negotiations, monetary concerns, and sometimes moving and re-locating. Even after the divorce is completed, children coping with divorce are faced with new challenges, such as introduction of parent’s love interest, and perhaps a new marriage, blended family arrangements, or birth of a new sibling. Any or all of these can be tinged with pain, sadness, anger, or behavior problems for the children involved.

Every year, over one million more children in the United States will be dealing with stress as a result of divorce. At least 40% of all children will be part of a divorcing family before turning 18. Many parents are concerned about the short-term and long-term effects of divorce on their children. Overall, research shows many emotional, social, and academic problems in the early stages of divorce. There are mixed results about long-term effects regarding children and divorce. Research consistently indicates that high-stress divorces, dealing with conflict and frequent legal maneuverings result in a poor outcome for children.

A key factor in determining children’s favorable adjustment during and after divorce is resilience. Resilience helps young people bounce back from the worst of times. Resilient children accommodate to change and handle overwhelming feelings of grief, guilt, and anger. Fortunately, resilience skills can be learned.

There is a new and effective method for teaching resilience skills to children and teenagers. The Build Up Your Resilience Tool Kit for Kids helps young people in grades K-12 develop thinking and behaving skills to cope with the many changes and childhood trauma associated with divorce. Kids learn tools to manage feelings of over-responsibility, sadness, and anger – all very common reactions in divorce. There are also tools to help kids coping with divorce feel hopeful and confident about their future. Children who learn these resilience skills are able to manage the emotional difficulties of divorce and have fewer behavior problems than children who are not resilient.

The Build Up Your Resilience Tool Kit comes in two editions, one for elementary school children ages 5 to 11, and the other for high school and middle school teens, ages 11 to 18. Give your children skills, which will strengthen their resilience and help them adjust before, during, and after divorce.

July 23rd, 2010

What Does Popcorn Have to Do with Anxiety and Kids?

Worried thoughts that don’t stop, racing heartbeat, sleeping problems, nervous stomach, dread that something bad will happen, refusal to go away from home, fears that keep growing – these are just some of the descriptions of worry and anxiety in children. If you ever had any of these symptoms yourself, you know that anxiety is no fun at all. Kids and teens who have these reactions want them to stop immediately.

Children can learn smart and effective ways to manage their worry, fear, and anxiety. And popcorn has something to do with the remedy. The Popcorn Tool developed by experts is our signature tool in the Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit for Kids. All of the 20 anti-anxiety activities in our award-winning Tool Kit teach the strongest thinking and behaving strategies to stop worry and fear in their tracks.

Many kids in grades K-12 tell us that the Popcorn Tool is one of their favorites. This tool addresses the issue of probability. Worried children often keep thinking about situations that might happen, even when the chances of their worry actually occurring is very, very small. For instance, some children worry that their parents or other family members might become seriously ill, even though everyone is healthy. Other kids may worry about robberies in their home, even though they live in safe neighborhoods with safety precautions in place. Some kids and teens worry about failing in school, even though they try hard and generally do well. These worried thoughts can dominate a young person’s mind and interfere with learning, time with friends, sleeping, and having fun.

The Tool Kits for Kids Popcorn Tool is unforgettable. It squashes anxious thoughts about nearly impossible worries faster than eating a bag of popcorn!

July 14th, 2010

When Sleepaway Camp Doesn’t Work Out

Some parents will get that dreaded phone call from the Camp Director. It may go something like this, We’ve tried to work with your child and have spoken to you about the issues and difficulties we’ve been having. However, it is not working out and we think it is best for you to take your child out of camp. Please pick up your child tomorrow.

This kind of feedback can be a serious blow to a child as well as the parents. The camp’s decision is usually not an easy one to make. Sometimes the decision to remove a child from camp is in response to the child’s difficulty adjusting to camp or severe homesickness. Other times, the child is asked to leave because his or her behavior puts the child or other children in the bunk at risk. For example, a child may not follow directions, and leave activities unsupervised. Or a child may be verbally or physically threatening. Sometimes a child may be too sad or anxious, despite repeated attempts to provide emotional support.

When a child leaves camp prematurely, there can be a wide range of emotional responses. He or she may be sad, angry, regretful, relieved, or afraid of being in trouble with parents. The family first needs to get their bearings, and once the child is home safe and sound, talk about what happened in a calm, problem-solving manner.

Chances are that when asked to leave sleepaway camp, the child’s self-confidence may drop dramatically. You can help restore your kid’s self-esteem by helping to learn confidence skills. Confidence activities can help children face this rejection and remain steady and strong.

The Charge Up Your Confidence Tool Kit is a good place to start. Our award-winning Confidence Tool Kit teaches necessary tools to repair child confidence. The Tool Kit can also help you begin supportive and realistic conversations with your child about what went wrong. Despite the emotional wound of leaving camp early, a child needs to be able to face criticism calmly, learn from his or her mistakes, deal with self-criticism, survive embarrassment, and maintain a positive healthy self-image. All of these tools and many more are addressed in the Confidence Tool Kit, for children in grades K-12.

Some children may have been asked to leave camp due to anxiety or extreme homesickness. For these youngsters, try our nationally-recognized Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit for Kids, which teaches children skills to master their anxiety about being away from home.

The emotional trauma of leaving sleepaway camp unfinished is hard for children. You can help turn it into a learning, growing experience. Practicing confidence tools and worry-fighting tools is a smart way to get children on the road to feeling better and can help prepare them for the next summer.

July 8th, 2010

Accidents and Emotional Healing in Children

Kids are outdoors more often in the summer months. All kinds of unforeseen accidents can happen, ranging from sports injuries, car accidents, cooking accidents, to accidents at camp or on vacation. Families are often in an emergency mode when an accident takes place. They may have to go to the emergency room, see their child’s doctor, or provide home care.

Despite one’s best efforts, accidents happen.
Here are some important facts about childhood accidents in the U. S. Every year, the most common injuries are falls, accounting for more than 2 million emergency visits. Three and a half million children ages 14 and younger are treated for sports injuries. More than 775,000 of these youngsters are treated in the ER. Playground injuries hurt 200,000 children and 285,000 are treated for bicycle accidents. Car accidents account for 250,000 childhood injuries.

After the bone is set, stitches sewn, medication dispensed, medical tests completed, and reassuring words offered, the time for emotional healing begins. There may be physical pain associated with the accident, but the emotional pain is just as real and may take even longer to heal. After an accident, it is important to listen carefully and observe your child’s behavior. Do you notice any changes or concerns? For example, is your child crying more than usual? Is he or she afraid to participate in activities that were involved in the accident, such as driving in a car or playing on the playground?

If you do notice changes, your child will benefit from learning resilience skills. Resilience helps young people cope and recover from the emotional trauma of a physical injury. Our award-winning Build Up Your Resilience Tool Kit for Kids may provide the solution you and your child need at this difficult time. The Tool Kit teaches smart and reassuring strategies to conquer the spectrum of emotional responses when a child is injured. There are specific tools to deal with sadness, guilt, and anger – all common reactions when dealing with the stress of an accident. In addition, our Resilience Tool Kit includes activities for children and teens, to stop flashbacks, deal with bad dreams, think about their future in hopeful ways, and maintain a positive self-image.

The Resilience Tool Kit, developed by experts, comes in two editions, one for children 5-11, and the other for young people ages 11- 18. The childhood trauma of accidents can be eased by acquiring powerful coping strategies to help kids stay steady and strong.