Kindness Matters

This blog post was written by Dr. Polly A. Peterson, PhD, MSW, Head of School at
Chase Collegiate School in Waterbury, CT. The Kingsbury Center is sharing Dr. Peterson’s thoughts as our Center has long believed that Kindness is Transformational!

Kindness matters in life. From time to time, parents will ask me, “Does your school teach the value of kindness?” It is a good question. Who is responsible for making sure that kindness is taught? Because kindness matters!

KINDNESS sculpture

Kingsbury community’s Kindness sculpture.

Research by Dr. Sara Konrath at the University of Michigan suggests that in the past 30 years, self-reported concern for others — a kindness barometer if you will — has been steadily declining. Konrath’s study shows that right now, compassion and empathy are at their lowest point in more than 30 years. Continue reading

Book Review: Diary of a Social Detective by Jeffrey E. Jessum, Ph.D.

Social DetectiveMiddle school is a challenging time of life for most students. They often feel uncomfortable in their own skin as their bodies and brains mature and they also have become more aware of being the focus of attention. If they aren’t constantly looking in the mirror, they are checking to see if someone else is watching them. For students with social communication issues or Autism Spectrum Disorder, this transition can be particularly confusing and painful. Suddenly, social interactions are way more complex and these kids are bewildered at the same time they would like a little social support to smooth their path. They often desire friends but have difficulty recognizing signals from others and getting the social context right. Continue reading

How to Raise a Compassionate Child

ellenEvery great culture values kindness and acts of compassion. Loving your neighbor, being kind, cherishing each individual for her unique gifts are all behaviors and attitudes most parents want to see in their children. Sometimes it’s easier to donate some canned foods or even go on a volunteer trip to another country than it is to be kind to the people right next to us.

How can we as parents help our children be compassionate? Here are six steps that parents can take. Continue reading

Book Review: A Disease Called Childhood

photoOver the past 30 years or so, ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) has grown from an inglorious collection of symptoms into a household name. Approximately 11 percent of children and 15 percent of adolescents in the United States are diagnosed with ADHD. Each American child is 6 times more likely to receive the diagnosis than a child in France and 60 times more likely than a child in Finland. In her recently published book, A Disease Called Childhood, psychologist Marilyn Wedge set out to find out why ADHD became an “American epidemic.” She concludes with a decisive stance against the medicalization of childhood behavior, rampant prescription of stimulants classified as addictive and widespread misrepresentation of research in the name of ADHD. Continue reading

When a Grandparent Is Ill: 8 Little Steps to Make it Easier on the Kids (and You)

ellenBy Ellen Iscoe, Ph.D.

You may realize it gradually or find out through a dreaded call in the middle of the night. Your mother or father is ill, no longer the healthy family member you and your children are accustomed to. With all the emotions you may experience and details you might need to attend to, you also have to consider how to help your child cope with the fact that Grandpa or Grandma is sick. Here are some things to keep in mind to help your child get accustomed to this unwelcome bit of news. Continue reading

Helping High School Seniors Cope with College Rejection

It’s a time of anticipation for high school seniors everywhere. With the support of their parents, they have toiled over ways to jam the essence of their lives into a single page statement, visited schools, imagined themselves as college students, and walked through the gauntlet that is standardized testing. For some, the anticipation is nothing more than a waiting game; nothing to worry about. For others, it seems as though their entire lives are held to an appraisal of pass or fail, accepted or denied. Continue reading