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Is It Possible to Teach Kids Empathy?


One of the most frequently asked questions in the world of behavior is this: Is it possible to teach kids empathy?

Is empathy a learned skill or a biological inheritance? Can the feeling of empathy be taught or is the behavior only imitated? Is it developed in the brain during formative years? Is there a point in development when it becomes impossible to grasp? Which area of the brain allows children to empathize? How can we...


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Why Our Public Response to Kids Who Self Harm is So Wrong


Up to one half of adults have engaged in self-harming behaviors at some point in their life.

Up to ONE HALF.

This result was found during an extensive study done by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) about ten years ago. Their study was headed by a medical doctor, two psychiatric professionals with doctorates, and a licensed clinical social worker. Their final numbers estimated that somewhere between one-third and one-half of all adults in the ...


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Teaching Kids Healthy Ways to Engage in Conflict Resolution


Conflict resolution is HARD for me. In early adulthood, I tackled conflict with enough gusto to knock down an entire friend group. As I grew and matured, however, I somehow swung toward the opposite end of the pendulum. I suddenly started to struggle with confronting people at all, even when it was really important, because I was afraid of being a bulldozer. Instead, I built a habit of shoving my frustrations and hurt feelings down into...


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Emotional Dysregulation in Children and Teens


What is emotional dysregulation? Is it a disorder? Is it common? What are the signs of it?

Emotional dysregulation isn't so much a disorder as it is a symptom. Being emotionally dysregulated means a person feels emotions more intensely than they should, feels them for longer than they should, feels them at inappropriate times, or responds to them in extreme ways. People who exhibit signs of emotional dysregulation often have severe mood swings or extreme emotional instability....


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Children With “Gifted” IQs Are More Likely to Have Depression, Anxiety, and Other Mood Disorders


When I was ten years old, I was placed into a program at school called "LEAP." I had no idea what it meant at the time, but I later found out it was designed for children who had IQs of at least 130.

If you feel impressed by that number, don't be. Having a high IQ doesn't guarantee success, happiness, or work ethic. In fact, I've struggled with all three of those things more than most...


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Are We Teaching Our Kids That Saying “Sorry” Erases The Pain They’ve Caused?


CRASH. That's the first sound I heard.

The next thing I heard was my oldest daughter screaming like she'd just been stabbed in the leg. Or maybe even the heart. It was blood-curdling.

I knew without running into the other room that her younger sister had destroyed one of her newly built Lego sets. And by the volume of the crash, my guess was was a big Lego set. I took a deep breath and laid my head...


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Are You Psychologically Abusive to Your Children Without Realizing It?


When most of us think about abuse to children, we tend to think about the extreme ends of it. We think about physical abuse that leaves bruises. We think about neglect so severe that children are covered in bugs and starving from malnourishment. We think about the way Cinderella's stepmother treated her. We think about sexual abuse.

Rarely do we associate our own parenting with the idea of abuse.

The truth is that abuse isn't just...


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Symptoms of Antisocial Personality Disorder in Children


Antisocial Personality Disorder probably isn't something you've heard of before. That's because most people associate people who have this disorder with the terms "psychopath" or "sociopath." Yes, when we talk about someone being a psychopath (think Ted Bundy), what we're actually talking about is Antisocial Personality Disorder.

Although psychopathy and sociopathy are not synonymous with Antisocial Personality Disorder, they all fall in the same category.

Contrary to what the name of APD might cause you to believe, however,...


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Is It Possible For Kids to be “Too Far Gone” to Improve?


Too many times over the past five years, I've heard educators say things like, "There's not much we can do for this kid. He's already (blank) years old so we might as well just spend our time helping kids who can actually benefit from our services."

While I get the sentiment behind not pouring resources down the drain, I can't help but recoil against the idea that teaching is a limited resource or that students are inanimate...


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Is Medication the Answer for My Child?


The idea of medicating children to treat brain disorders has been argued about for longer than most of us realize. Even before medication was an option, the idea of hospitalization was along with lobotomies, exorcisms, and bloodletting. For as long as humanity has struggled against mental illness, society has tried to find ways to either eradicate it or treat it.

Fortunately, we live in the days of less harmful treatment options. Unfortunately, however, we live...