Sexual harassment begins in the hallways of middle school

The Harvey Weinstein saga might hopefully shine a light on a problem much closer to home: the issue of teen girls being sexually harassed at school. Adolescent girls get groped primarily in the hallways and classrooms at school, but girls also experience guys grinding on them on the dance floor at mixers and any place where they are not supervised. Sexual harassment is so common that many girls I … [Read more...]

Are soldiers and 1st responders our finest heroes? Perhaps not

The recent controversial kneel-downs by athletes at professional sporting events during the national anthem typically ends up in a discussion about respecting the flag and the heroes who have died fighting for it. Often athletes and first responders are thrown into the mix of heroes we should be honoring. But what about the women and men who wield pens, books, whistles, scalpels, and listening … [Read more...]

Is it time to do away with homework?

Every kid complains of excessive homework, but these days many parents have joined the chorus of “More may not be better”. We’ve all become slaves to the prevailing notion that the primary focus of childhood should be getting top grades, taking AP classes, and building your college résumé while ignoring skills like social-emotional intelligence, critical thinking, and the arts. Grade school has … [Read more...]

Homework, chores, routines: Top 4 tips on how to not mess up the school year

The 1st day of school is upon us once again, bursting with tears from kids and whoops of joy from parents. Parents and kids will be faced with the daunting task of addressing agreements about school year routines including  homework, chores, and schedules. The following are my top four ways to get the year off on the right foot. Family meetings: Have a family meeting to decide together, as a … [Read more...]

Sitting alone at lunch: the saddest girls I know

The saddest girls I know are worried every morning before they go to school. Will anybody greet me at my locker? Will anyone pick me for the project? Most importantly, will I have anyone to sit with at lunch? It breaks my heart to hear girls talk about sitting alone at lunch each day. Ellie, 17, finally stood up to the Queen Bee in her friend group, resulting in the whole group ditching her. … [Read more...]

Stop treating struggling teen girls like they are broken

It is often reported that anxiety and depression in children, and girls in particular, is on the rise. Girls today feel more stressed out and overwhelmed than ever before. Is this an exaggeration, and if not, what’s going on? Research says that women are 60% more likely than men to experience an anxiety disorder over their lifetime with the average age of onset at 11 years. By … [Read more...]

Girls feel helpless to stop sexual harassment at school

Donald Trump’s “locker room” comments reported on the news the past few weeks reminds me of another issue that affects teenage girls every day: being groped in the hallways of school. Early adolescents who go to mixers experience guys grinding on them on the dance floor, hidden by the large crowd of dancers. Sexual harassment is so common that many girls I have talked to have become numb to … [Read more...]

Can cooperative learning bring out the best in your children?

Which do you think is more effective: cooperation or competition? Despite our culture’s leanings towards competition, hundreds of studies over the past century have shown that collaboration and cooperative learning bring out the best in individuals and groups. Research has demonstrated that competition tends to bring out the “beast in us”, whether you are talking about students, professional … [Read more...]

3 ways to enhance children’s social emotional learning

Social emotional learning is critical for children’s development, and yet receives insufficient attention in our schools and homes. This knowledge includes the following key life skills: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. SEL research has documented numerous benefits: improved academic achievement, increased kindness, sharing, … [Read more...]

Why an overemphasis on grades kills motivation for students

We need to get over our obsession with straight A’s and focus on more important endeavors. More than 35 years of scientific investigation suggests that an overemphasis on intellect or talent leaves people vulnerable to failure, fearful of challenges and unwilling to remedy their shortcomings. In my experience, an overemphasis on grades produces similar results along with unnecessary stress and a … [Read more...]