Archive for December, 2011

The Most Aggressive Defense of Teaching You’ll Ever Hear…by Taylor Mali

Wish I could have come up with this for all of the times that people have asked me why I used my Ivy League education to become a social worker…

Passive Aggressive Signs

A friend of mine just posted this photo of an actual sign taped to a light pole in his neighborhood.  How deliciously passive aggressive.  Must include this in my next Angry Smile training!


Scratching Beneath the Surface: Recognizing Common Psychological Defenses Used By Kids

Don’t let the title of my recent post in Psychology Today fool you; little kids are not the only ones who employ psychological defenses to guard against emotional pain.  Tweens, teens, and adults alike often go to great lengths to mask inner pain with defensive words and behaviors.

Parents, teachers, caregivers and friends who recognize common, defensive verbal façades are in the best position to support a child’s true feelings.  Please check out my recent post on to learn how to recognize four of the most common defenses used by kids.

From Perfection to Personal Bests: 7 Ways to Help a Gifted Child

You get the letter from school in the mail. A teacher has identified your child as potentially “gifted” and wants to send him or her for further testing and evaluation. Flash forward: the tests are completed, your child is a whiz, and enrichment classes will become a part of his regular school routine. What wonderful news!

It was in my family. Until all of a sudden, it wasn’t anymore. Instead of my seven-year old feeling enhanced self-confidence and pride in her intellectual and creative abilities, what I began to see was a newly anxious little girl who cried over imperfect scores on her handwriting test and wanted to give up books “forever” when she found out she placed second in her class’ monthly reading contest.

Does any of this sound familiar to you?  Please check out my post on for 7 essential strategies on how professionals, parents, and caregivers can nurture a “growth mindset” in their gifted child.

7 Skills Parents Can Teach Their Kids for Standing Up to Bullies

Click here to check out this article, posted on the website Parents Are Important, featuring 7 skills parents can teach their kids, for standing up to bullying.

Anything Boys Can Do, Girls Can Do…Fiercely!

Yesterday, my 8-year old daughter went to compete in her karate tournament. At the start of her event, I heard a Dad snickering to his young son about how easy it would be to beat the “little redheaded girl.” After her first three wins and as she sat preparing for the final round, I heard the same Dad, while munching on his words, warn his son how hard it was going to be to go up against that “tough redheaded girl.” 


In the words of William Shakespeare, “And though she be but little, she is fierce!”

A Stop to Bullying Starts with Changing a Mindset

“Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.”

When it comes to the damage that bullying can do to a young person’s self-esteem (not to mention desire to go to school, academic success, relationships at home, etc), this old adage has been proven untrue a million times over.

The article posted below talks about the importance of changing mindsets when it comes to the real and lasting damage that bullying can do. It also emphasizes the role of technology in bullying and how important it is that parents are aware of how their kids are using technology to impact others.

In Friendship & Other Weapons, I dedicate a chapter to teaching kids skills for the ethical use of technology and social media. The chapter is available for preview on Please check it out, along with this great article on changing mindsets:

Recognizing & Responding to Your Daughter’s Passive Aggressive Behavior


Amber had been giving her mother the silent treatment all week. She was angry about not being allowed to sleep over at a friend’s house. Late Thursday night, she left a note on her mother’s pillow, asking her mom to wash her uniform before Friday’s soccer game. When Amber returned home from school on Friday, in a rush to pack her gear, she looked all over for her uniform. She finally found it in the washer-perfectly clean, as per her request-but still soaking wet! Amber was late for her game and forced to ride the bench.


When all was un-said and done, Amber’s mother felt defeated. Having one-upped her daughter in the conflict, it was clear to her that she had lost by winning. As parents, most of us have been in situations where traveling the low road is irresistible and we become temporarily reckless in our driving. But anytime we mirror a child’s poor behavior instead of modeling a healthier way to behave, our victories add up to long-term relationship damage and lasting hostilities.


To read the rest of this post and find guidelines for how parents can maintain their calm in a passive aggressive storm and respond in ways that lay the groundwork for less conflictual relationships with their daughters, please visit my blog on Psychology Today.

Rachel Simmons Offers Parents Advice on Cell Phone and Social Media Limits


Rachel Simmons, bestselling author of Odd Girl Out and co-founder of the Girls Leadership Institute (GLI), offers great insights and advice for parents on how to walk the fine line between stalking their children’s technology usage and taking a totally hands-off approach.  Her advice on effective limit-setting–and why limits are so important socially and academically–is great:



Parenting the Passive Aggressive Child


So, my sweet eldest child just muttered something about “I hate you. You’re the meanest Mommy in the whole world” as I was leaving her room. (Apparently she didn’t agree when I told her that homework was her responsibility.) Guess passive aggression and indirect anger are no longer something I need to be concerned about with her… So much for this approach I had just mastered:


How do you approach passive aggressive behavior with your kids?

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