Archive for February, 2019

What Parents & Caregivers Need to Know About Apps, Games, and Screen Time


As a follow up to a Coffee with the Counselor event at Swain this week, here are several links that parents and caregivers may find helpful as they are learning about and helping their kids navigate top apps, social media sites, age-inappropriate content and video games:


The Truth About Research on Screentime

Heavy Screentime Rewires Young Brains for Better and Worse

Electronic Screen Syndrome: An Unrecognized Disorder

17 Apps & Websites Kids are Heading to After Facebook

15 Dangerous Apps Every Parent Should Know About

The 12 Apps that Every Parent of a Teen Should Know About

6 Teen “Hookup” Apps Parents Should Know About

Fortnite Game Review from Common Sense Media

What Parents Need to Know About Fortnite

What is the Momo Challenge?

Talking to Your 8-12 Year Old About Pornography

Why Banning Social Media is Not the Best Answer for Kids


Information on Workshops for Students:


What Difference Does Quality Time Make?


The importance of positive relationships in a young person’s life can never be overstated.  Through warm, supportive, and trusting relationships with adults—from parents and caregivers to teachers and coaches—kids gain the inner strength they need to overcome problems and to bounce back from life’s challenges.  What’s more, caring, consistent relationships offer the structure and support kids need to make lasting changes in their behavior.  When a child perceives that the adults in his life are truly invested in his well-being and interested in his experiences, he is more willing to talk about what is going on in his life and more likely to be open to adult feedback.

The good news when it comes to nurturing positive relationships with young people, is that the most meaningful connections adults make with kids are usually based on the simplest of gestures.  A proud smile, a word of reassurance, a bit of your undivided attention, a thoughtful response, an opportunity to practice a new skill, a hug just when it is needed most; all of these supportive behaviors are at once free and priceless.  Each of them communicates to a young person that they have worth and value.  Every kindness builds the relationship between the adult and child.

If building positive relationships between adults and kids is so fundamentally simple, why do so many young people feel alienated, isolated and alone?

Please check out the full post here, on Psychology Today.


Check out Signe’s newest book, Parenting the Challenging Child, due out on or about March 1.  Pre-order today!

Don’t Rush Childhood


Childhood is precious.  Don’t rush it.


Is it Rude, Is it Mean, or Is It Bullying?


Originally written in 2012, in response to a real-life encounter with a worried parent, my article on Is it Rude, Is it Mean or Is it Bullying? is one of my most-read posts and has resonated with parents, professionals, and kids alike, who share the common experience of struggling for how to properly define unwanted behavior without catastrophizing the event(s).

From this original post, I have had the opportunity to speak with audiences all over the United States through workshops and trainings and to consult with administrators and educators on best practices in managing bullying in schools.  Here are a few of the resources now available to help bring these critical distinctions between rude, mean, and bullying behavior to life:


Assessment Tool for those who receive reports of Bullying

Fun Activity & Answer Sheet for Students

8 Keys to End Bullying Activity Book for Kids & Tweens

Bullying Prevention & Digital Citizenship Workshops

How to Respond to Passive Aggressive Emails


A few months ago, Business Insider reporter, Rachel Premack, asked me to provide tips for how to respond to  commonly used passive-aggressive phrases used in workplace emails.  While the phrases she sites, from a survey done by Adobe,  can sometimes be typed without passive-aggressive intent, it is helpful to be aware of certain red-flag phrases that may signal hidden agendas, simmering resentments, and sugarcoated hostility.


Please check out my full response, posted here on Psychology Today.




Addressing Bullying in School

In this week’s Classroom Q&A, Education Week’s Larry Ferlazzo asks:

How can teachers and administrators best address bullying in school?

Here’s my response, based on material from my book, 8 Keys to End Bullying: Strategies for Parents & Schools.


The good news is that “big” solutions to the problem of bullying (such as tedious policy implementation, time-consuming investigations, and cumbersome documentation) are eclipsed each and every day by the small but powerful ways that educators communicate to students that their dignity is paramount and their safety will be prioritized. The hopeful news is that while there is no single cure-all to cruelty, there are all kinds of simple, focused, quick, and accessible strategies that administrators and teachers can use to bring an end to bullying in their schools and classrooms. Best news yet: Most of these bullying prevention strategies simultaneously build more positive relationships between students and staff.

What follows are 8 small (in terms of daily time commitment) yet big (in terms of their effectiveness) strategies teachers and administrators can use to address bullying in schools:


1. Understand the differences between “rude,” “mean,” and “bullying” behavior . Intervene accordingly.

2. Recognize the warning signs of a child who is being bullied. Reach out to young people who bully others. Insist that all young people are worthy of help and guidance from a caring adult.

3. Prioritize positive relationships between staff and students. When young people feel connected to adults, they are less likely to bully others and more likely to report incidents of bullying.

4. Create cultures of kindness in your school. Compassion, kindness, and empathy are the antidotes to cruelty, social exclusion, and bullying.

5. Reject the “kids will be kids” mentality. Bullying is never just a “rite of passage” for young people; it is an abuse of power. Kids need adult help in order to restore healthy power balances among peers.

6. Bullying tends to happen in the places and spaces where adults are absent. Increase adult presence in social spaces including hallways, locker rooms, recess, and the bus. Eat lunch with kids. Simply “being there” can significantly reduce the incidence of bullying in schools.

7. Make bullying prevention an everyday activity;not just a once-and-done assembly or week-long poster contest. Integrate bullying-prevention activities into daily routines, such as morning meetings, advisories, buddy systems, lunchtime seating arrangements, and more.

8. Establish a partnership with parents about bullying-prevention practices. Work with families to create guidelines for their kids’ social-media use and set shared standards for how kids must treat each other online.


For more responses to Larry Ferlazzo’s question, please visit the entire post on Education Week.

For more information and training opportunities, click here.

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LSCI Certification Training: Aug 5-8, 2019


It may be snowing outside of my window, but I am looking ahead to summer and happy to announce an LSCI training opportunity in August in eastern Pennsylvania:

LSCI Certification Training

DATES: August 5-8, 2019

LOCATION: The Swain School, 1100 S. 24th St., Allentown, PA 18103

COSTS: $495/pp before July 15, 2019; $525/pp between July 16-31, 2019



Life Space Crisis Intervention is an international training and certification program offering professionals advanced skills for turning problem situations into learning opportunities for young people with self-defeating patterns of behavior.  For full course information, please visit
Participants will experience:
— Instructor-led teaching and modeling of intervention skills
— Real-life video sequences
— Structured and small group activities
— Realistic role-play activities
— Demonstration of skills requirement in order to earn certification
Learn what to do with young people who:
* Act out in stress, sparking explosive and endless power struggles
* Make poor decisions based on distorted perceptions & thoughts
* Have the right intentions but lack the social skills to be successful
* Are purposefully aggressive with little conscience
* Act in impulsive ways due to feelings of shame and inadequacy
* Become entangled in destructive peer relationships
Certification in the skills of LSCI does not expire. 
Text:  Long, N., Fecser, F. and Wood, M. (1991).  Life Space Crisis Intervention: Talking with Students in Conflict.  Austin, TX: ProED, Inc.
If you have any questions prior to registration, please email

To register, click here or cut and paste the link below:




NEW BOOK RELEASE: Parenting the Challenging Child


The LSCI Institute is extremely excited to announce that after more than three decades of helping professionals work with some of the most challenging children, we now bring our brain-based, trauma-informed, kid-centered approach to the unique needs of parents and caregivers.

Parenting the Challenging Child: The 4-Step Way to Turn Problem Situations Into Learning Opportunities provides readers with:

* Specific skills for building more positive relationships with kids
* Proven strategies for de-escalating stressful situations
* A reliable 4-step framework for turning common problem situations into lasting learning opportunities

This solution-focused book equips readers with new skills to identify and change six problematic patterns of behavior in young people. Even more importantly, readers will learn about how simple changes in the way they interact with loved ones during a problem situation can significantly improve the parent-child relationship and their kids’ future behaviors.


In addition to the Parenting the Challenging Child textbook (now available for pre-order at a reduced rate), the LSCI Institute will offer both a 2-hour and a full-day training option. Biological parents and caregivers, foster care & adoptive parents, and professionals working in therapeutic foster care and adoption services will all benefit from these live training opportunities offered by certified LSCI Senior Trainers.

Click here to learn more.


Celebrate Kindness Week Activities


One of the most effective ways to prevent bullying in schools is to build school culture through positive activities focused on Kindness.


And soooooooo, we are CELEBRATING KINDNESS this week school-wide!   With spirited, silly dress days, a door decorating contest, and other simple but meaningful activities to help keep kids’ minds on kindness all week long, our goal is to show all students that little acts of kindness can make a big difference for others.


Here’s some of the fun we’re having on Day 1, where our CRAZY FOR KINDNESS theme of the day means crazy socks and/or crazy hair!


Bullying Prevention Lessons for 5th Grade


Stopping bullying starts with teaching my 5th grade students how to recognize and differentiate types of bullying. Knowing key behaviors of each type of bullying empowers kids to understand what they are dealing with, so that they can best respond.








Activity instructions and extras can be found here:


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