Thursday, November 29, 2012

7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens

This week in classroom guidance 8th grade students are discussing the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. provides the following review and synopsis.

Being a teenager is both wonderful and challenging. In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, author Sean Covey applies the timeless principles of the 7 Habits to teens and the tough issues and life-changing decisions they face. In an entertaining style, Covey provides a step-by-step guide to help teens improve self-image, build friendships, resist peer pressure, achieve their goals, get along with their parents, and much more. In addition, this book is stuffed with cartoons, clever ideas, great quotes, and incredible stories about real teens from all over the world. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens will engage teenagers unlike any other book.
An indispensable book for teens, as well as parents, grandparents, and any adult who influences young people, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens is destined to become the last word on surviving and thriving as a teen and beyond.
For teens, life is not a playground, it's a jungle. And, being the parent of a teenager isn't any walk in the park, either. In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, author Sean Covey attempts to provide "a compass to help teens and their parents navigate the problems they encounter daily."
How will they deal with peer pressure? Motivation? Success or lack thereof? The life of a teenager is full of tough issues and life-changing decisions. As a parent, you are responsible to help them learn the principles and ethics that will help them to reach their goals and live a successful life.
While it's all well and good to tell kids how to live their lives, "teens watch what you do more than they listen to what you say," Covey says. So practice what you preach. Your example can be very influential.
Covey himself has done well by following a parent's example. His dad, Stephen Covey, wrote the book The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, which sold over 15 million copies. Sean's a chip off the old block, and no slacker. His own book has rung in a more than respectable 2 million copies sold. Here are his seven habits, and some ideas for helping your teen understand and apply them:
Be Proactive
Being proactive is the key to unlocking the other habits. Help your teen take control and responsibility for her life. Proactive people understand that they are responsible for their own happiness or unhappiness. They don't blame others for their own actions or feelings.
Begin With the End in Mind
If teens aren't clear about where they want to end up in life, about their values, goals, and what they stand for, they will wander, waste time, and be tossed to and fro by the opinions of others. Help your teen create a personal mission statement which will act as a road map and direct and guide his decision-making process.
Put First Things First
This habit helps teens prioritize and manage their time so that they focus on and complete the most important things in their lives. Putting first things first also means learning to overcome fears and being strong during difficult times. It's living life according to what matters most.
Think Win-Win
Teens can learn to foster the belief that it is possible to create an atmosphere of win-win in every relationship. This habit encourages the idea that in any given discussion or situation both parties can arrive at a mutually beneficial solution. Your teen will learn to celebrate the accomplishments of others instead of being threatened by them.
Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
Because most people don't listen very well, one of the great frustrations in life is that many don't feel understood. This habit will ensure your teen learns the most important communication skill there is: active listening.
Synergy is achieved when two or more people work together to create something better than either could alone. Through this habit, teens learn it doesn't have to be "your way" or "my way" but rather a better way, a higher way. Synergy allows teens to value differences and better appreciate others.
Sharpen the Saw
Teens should never get too busy living to take time to renew themselves. When a teen "sharpens the saw" she is keeping her personal self sharp so that she can better deal with life. It means regularly renewing and strengthening the four key dimensions of life – body, brain, heart, and soul.

Friday, November 16, 2012

What is Cyber Bullying?

The National Crime Prevention Council's definition of cyber-bullying is "when the Internet, cell phones or other devices are used to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person.”  This is a growing problem on social media websites such as Facebook, You Tube, MySpace, Twitter, or Instagram.  Offenses from student to student, or student to adult committed electronically can have the same consequence as bullying done in person.

Monday, November 12, 2012

What is Bullying and What Do We Do About It?

Bullying is something we hear and read a lot about, but the term is used very loosely.  What exactly is bullying and what steps do we take as a middle school to address the issue once we are made aware?

Bullying Defined

At its essence bullying is when one or more people repeatedly harm, harass, intimidate, or exclude others. Bullying is also one-sided.

 Bullying Accusation Process

1.     Once a report of bullying has been made, the counselors are asked to speak with the students involved to determine if bullying is truly taking place.  In instances where charges of bullying are the result of a two-sided disagreement, mediation is done and conflict management strategies are discussed.

2.     If bullying is happening, the counselors review the consequences of what will happen if the problem continues in an effort to change behavior.  Four out of five times this resolves the situation.  Counselors also periodically check in with the student being bullied to make sure the problem is resolved.  Records are kept to see repeat offenders and patterns of behavior.

3.     If the bully continues, the appropriate grade level administrator is involved.  Administrators determine the appropriate consequence based on the severity of offense, previous behaviors, and actions taken up to this point.

Bullying Consequences
  1. In-School Suspension
  2. Out of School Suspension
  3. Expulsion
Bullying Bystander Strategies

1.     Distract the person who is teasing or bullying someone else.
2.     Support the person who is being teased or bullied privately.
3.     Discourage teasing or bullying behavior by not joining in.
4.     Support the person who is being teased or bullied openly.
5.     Report bullying behavior to an adult for help and support.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Hidden Lives of Middle Schoolers

Not Much Just Chillin': The Hidden Lives of Middle Schoolers tells the stories of a number of children at a suburban middle school in Columbia, Maryland.  Washington Post education reporter Linda Perlstein spent a year observing the lives both at home and at school of these eleven- to thirteen-year-olds, and manages to convey their rapidly changing thoughts and feelings.  Some of them come from two-parent families where they receive a great deal of encouragement along with pressure to succeed.  Other children come from homes with divorced parents and less consistent nurturing.  They live in a materialistic culture and they experience a wide variety of temptations and images, often making them want to behave like high school students.  It is common these days to hear of middle school students engaging in sexual activity, drinking, taking drugs, and even getting pregnant, and most adults find such reports disturbing.  So Perlstein's attempt to shed light on what leads these children to act so differently from middle school students of previous generations deserves attention. 

Reprinted from