Archive | School Issues

Helping Your Child Develop a Plan for a Successful School Year

By: Dr. Jan Hittelman While most students strive for academic success, many struggle to consistently perform at a level commensurate with their potential. Each year, so many students start out strong, but as the school year progresses they hit a slump and may even struggle to pass their classes at the end of the school […]

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Why Recess May be the Most Important Part of the School Day

By: Dr. Jan Hittelman There’s a big difference between skills and abilities. While we are born with certain natural abilities, skills are learned and require practice to develop. It is important to remember that our children are not born with good social skills, but learn these skills through modeling and practice. There are numerous research […]

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Hot Under the Collar

8 Common Anxiety Symptoms and a Few Ways to Begin to Cool Off By Rachael Bonaiuto, LPC When you have anxiety, it’s easy to feel like others don’t understand what you’re going through. Anxiety itself can make you feel as though you’re suffering from symptoms, worries and concerns that are not only pronounced – they […]

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Structured Activity Rewards: Clinical Case Studies

When I first introduce the idea of using a type of behavior modification, parents often dismiss it by saying, “We’ve already tried that and it doesn’t work; what else have you got?”  This is because there are several common pitfalls that will effectively sabotage a behavior modification approach with children.  These pitfalls include: using an […]

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What I say before I even open my mouth:

The value and importance of understanding non-verbal communication By Rachael Bonaiuto, LPC ”The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” –Peter F. Drucker  Why Non-Verbal Communication? The World English Dictionary defines nonverbal communication as “those aspects of communication, such as gestures and facial expressions, that do not involve verbal communication but which […]

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Strategies for Parenting the Older Adolescent

Steering Versus Fueling By Dan Fox, LPC Let’s use the metaphor of life as a car.  If your daughter’s life was a car, when she’s little, it’s your job to steer.  We’ve got to keep them safe, provide a rational structure, help them when they are stuck emotionally or with one of life’s many challenges.  Still, […]

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Strategic Parenting for a Successful School Year

A new school year presents a new opportunity to develop a game plan for the academic year that yields positive results for your student(s) as well as your family. Quite often, a stressor for one family member tends to have an impact on everyone; a parent’s new job, a family member struggling with emotional challenges, […]

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Considering Medication for Your Child’s Psychological Issues

Q: Some parents I know seem in a rush to have their children go on medication for things like depression and hyperactivity. What should parents do before making the jump to medication? A: For psychological disorders, a thoughtful and accurate diagnosis is key to developing an effective treatment plan. What elementary child does not have […]

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Helping Your Teen Have a Successful Summer

Q; How can I help my adolescent have a fun, productive, and safe summer? A: Summers can be a unique challenge for parents of adolescents. On the one hand we want to honor their desire for making more of their own decisions regarding summer activities, as the shift to independence is a key developmental task […]

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Helping Your Child Transition from the Summer Back to School

By Dr. Jan Hittelman Q: After the summer break, what are some suggestions on transitioning my student from a more laid back summer schedule to a school routine and avoiding the chaos that comes with early weeks of school? A: Much like the calendar year, the school year also has a certain seasonality or flow. […]

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Importance of After School Activities

By Dr. Jan Hittelman After the school day has ended, it is estimated that 40 percent of young people’s time is often unstructured, unsupervised, and unproductive (Carnegie, 1992). Several studies have documented increases in a variety of at-risk behaviors for youth during the hours immediately after school, especially between 3:00 and 6:00 P.M. When youth participate […]

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Leading Teens to Counseling

By Dr. Jan Hittelman Q: How do I get my unwilling teenager to talk to someone, such as a therapist? Sign me, Concerned Mom A: The pivotal challenge in creating getting your teen to meet with a counselor is getting them to willingly attend the initial session. Who wouldn’t be uncomfortable with the prospect of […]

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Yawning Youth

 By Jan Hittelman Q: What is the optimal number of sleep hours for elementary middle and high school children? Does adequate sleep help children’s mental health and learning ability? Curtis Stringer, Southern Hills Dad A: Most experts agree that elementary age children need about 10 – 11 hours of sleep. Most middle and high school […]

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Teenage Wake Up Call

 By Jan Hittelman Over the last several years, this column has discussed the effects of sleep deprivation on high school students. Adolescents are usually sleep deprived for two reasons; increased metabolic rates that make it difficult for teens to get to sleep until 11pm on average and early start times for high school. Research indicates […]

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In Search of Treatment for Depression

 By Jan Hittelman Last month’s column focused on teen depression. A reader whose son has suffered from depression most of his life took exception to the following statement: “The good news is that depression is highly treatable. Talk therapy, medication or a combination of the two has been shown to be highly effective.” Her story […]

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Healthy Family Conflict

By Jan Hittelman While conflict can have a toxic affect on family functioning, it is a normal interpersonal occurrence in any relationship. The goal is not just to try and minimize it, but more importantly to develop and implement effective conflict resolution strategies for when it occurs. • Allow for a respectful exchange of opinions: […]

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ADHD: Effective Diagnosis and Treatment

By Jan Hittelman Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is estimated to affect 3-7% of school-age children. For many, these challenges continue into adulthood. There are three types of ADHD; “Predominantly Inattentive”, “Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive”, and a combination of the two (“Combined Type”). Over the years there have been valid concerns that many children are inaccurately diagnosed […]

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Exercise and the Brain

By Jan Hittelman Over the last 40 years, researchers have confirmed the many benefits of physical exercise as it relates to overall health. In the 1970’s we learned that regular exercise has a significant benefit in reducing the risk of heart disease. Subsequent studies expanded this finding to a wider range of physical health issues […]

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Protecting Your Child from Bullying

By Jan Hittelman Bullying is a problem that affects children around the world. It is typically defined as ongoing and repeated negative behavior towards another, usually someone who is more vulnerable emotionally and/or physically. Bullying can be verbal or nonverbal communication, physical contact, social exclusion, or noncompliance with another’s wishes. In recent years, schools have […]

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