Interview about Miley Cyrus: Dr. Robyn on the Dr. Drew Pinsky Show

I had the pleasure of being on Dr. Drew Pinsky‘s radio show the other day (April 29th) to talk about the Miley Cyrus issue and the impact on parents and tweens. For your convenience, I took out all the commercials and just left the actual discussion between Dr. Drew and me. I believe the interview was about 15 minutes long.

Enjoy!

click here to listen to the interview

A Quick Gratitude Post…

Greetings All,

I’d like to share a fabulous e-mail that we received about Gratitude Month and it’s effect on an instructor and school owner…Please forward us your best gratitude story for the month!

best,

Jason M. Silverman

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Hi Jason and Dr. Robyn,

I have a story for you! We did not actually celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week this year, but I did mention it to my classes on Monday and Tuesday. I recommended to the kids that this was a great time to show their gratitude to their favorite teachers with more than saying “Thank You.”

On Thursday, I received a small rose plant and a hand-made card (by an almost 5 year-old) that said “Dear Ma’am, Thank you for teaching us.” It was signed by all four members of the family that trains with us. Dad and older brother are advanced students, and mom and little brother are beginners. After the beginner class (while Dad and Big Bro were training) I noticed Mom and Little Bro working on an art project while they waited for the other two. Mom was telling the little guy how to spell “Dear Mr. Pete.” Then I heard her say “well… what do you like to do with him?” When I walked over on a break, he had written on another home-made card “Dear Mr. Pete. Thank you for playing with me.”

Thank you so much. I know what it meant to me to receive that hand-made card, and it’s so amazing that because of our program, at least two other teachers got the same smile. It never ceases to amaze me how much *I* learn from the Word of the Month program.

Cheers!

Kristin C. Quintana
Owner, Chief Instructor
Kuk Sool Won(tm) of Menlo Park

Bullying Video Game for Kids: Violence and Media

A portion of this article was posted on Dr. Robyn’s Powerful Parenting Blog as a service to Powerful Words Member Schools.

After writing about the prevalence of bullying in our schools yesterday and alluding to the violence in video games, I wanted to bring something to your attention. Here is an example of an enhanced, newly re-released addition of the “Bully” video game that came out last month. It focuses on bullying and violence in schools.

The One Side of the Argument

In the game, the main character, age 15, uses violence to deal with bullies in school. He is described by the makers as “Jimmy Hopkins, a teenager who’s been expelled from every school he’s ever attended.” The player gets points when Jimmy kisses girls, plays pranks on teachers and beats up his enemies. Believe me, I wish I was kidding.

Especially after several examples of YouTube videos showing bullying, a video game promoting violence in school is disturbing. While no guns are used or blood shed (thank goodness), it certainly isn’t a calm day at Bullworth academy.

This is the kind of media that makes parents believe that martial arts is bad for children– the main character in this game learns some of his moves in wrestling class. Those of you who teach grappling, wrestling and judo know that the aim is NOT to teach children and teens to fight.

The game has been suspended in Brazil and has received a lot of negative publicity in the US, Australia, and the UK.

While some gamers actually say that bullying is not glorified in “Bully,” what they are neglecting to acknowledge is that the game adds to the number of acts of violence that a child sees and virtually “experiences” during a typical day.

As we know from extensive research, the average person has viewed around 200,000 acts of violence by the time he reaches 18 years of age. In addition, research has shown that repeated exposure to violence in media can indeed make children and teens more violent and aggressive. It does have an effect on their brains, perhaps temporarily, and what may be the effects over time?

Children’s viewing of violent TV shows, their identification with aggressive same-sex TV characters, and their perceptions that TV violence is realistic are all linked to later aggression as young adults, for both males and females…Results show that men who were high TV-violence viewers as children were significantly more likely to have pushed, grabbed or shoved their spouses, to have responded to an insult by shoving a person, to have been convicted of a crime and to have committed a moving traffic violation. Such men, for example, had been convicted of crimes at over three times the rate of other men.

–Huesmann et al, University of Michigan

The Other Side of the Argument

With every point of view, there’s an opposite one. This topic certainly seems to ruffle some feathers.

The makers are quick to underscore the positive side of “Bully.” Namely, actions do have consequences. If you stay out past curfew, the screen will blur and you’ll become sleepy. Then you’ll pass out. If you skip a class, a group of adults will voice their disapproval. And the incentive for attending the twice a day classes? Your character may get an enhanced ability to flirt with girls or a great recipe to make stink bombs and other prank devices.

Oh, good.

Interestingly, the makers didn’t make a feature that allows the students to post their beatings up on YouTube.

Seriously though, old friends, Dr. Larry Kutner and Dr. Cheryl Olson of the Harvard Medical School Center for Mental Health and Media (and authors of Grand Theft Childhood), performed extensive research that actually supported the playing of video games like “Bully.” They found that that after several years of study that (1) the claims that violent games= violent children was unsupported; (2) Only kids who played over 15 hours of violent video games may be affected; (3) Kids who didn’t play video games at all might be at risk of having low social competency; (4) Kids who play video games have the ability to test new skills and make mistakes and correct them in a fantasy world. Check out this interview with them. (Thank you to Amy of Shaping Youth for the great link).

The big concern that playing violent video games will turn your child violent…there is absolutely no evidence of that…if you look at the violent crimes of teenagers over the last several years its gone down and down significantly and if you look at video game playing, it;s gone up and up significantly.

— Dr. Lawrence Kutner

Reaction

I have to admit, even after reading the research, I’m still unsettled about this– intuitively, I’m just not into the idea of children and teens playing violent games. How does it serve? It seems so counterintuitive that I just can’t endorse it. I mean, what ever happened to Monopoly and Operation? It sounds to me like we still have more research to do. And is it OK that kids who play video games for over 15 hours per week are, in fact, negatively affected? I don’t think so. What do you think?

My verdict?

Perhaps we should send next month’s Powerful Words curriculum to Bullworth academy? It looks like they need a little help in the area of compassion. I certainly stand behind that intervention.

Here’s to you,

Investing in Yourself – Success Lesson #1

Greetings All~

I just got off the phone with one of our Platinum Level Powerful Words Clients and I’m grinning from ear to ear because…well…she gets it. “What exactly does she get?” you ask. The conversation though brief, was very telling. She basically told me that she realized she had a “Marketing Weakness” that she needed to fix IMMEDIATELY if not sooner. She wanted to know exactly what I would do if I were her and wanted to fix this problem. My answer was simple, “You need somebody to show you EXACTLY what to do so that you can learn it and do it. It’s time to invest in yourself so you can enjoy the return in the near future!” and that’s actually Success Lesson #1.

Investing in your own Continuing Education

Before we dive into it though, I have to ask you the following questions (and be honest with your answers!):

1.) How do you view education – as an expense or as an investment?

2.) How often do you seek out an expert or a mentor to help you to build your own knowledge or expertise?

3.) What is the COST of not being educated?

The answers to the above questions can be very telling. As many of you know, both Dr. Robyn and I are ALWAYS participating in some form of continuing education to further our knowledge about something. It’s just the way we live – and it’s continually paying us back…in spades!

I personally view education and knowledge as one of the best investments you can make in yourself. I’ve never viewed it as an expense…and I never will. Now, I’m not saying to go out and invest in a course that will keep you from paying your rent this month, please don’t misunderstand me! You need to be able to chart out what you’re going to work on and then go after it. Many of our current Platinum Level clients actually started out as Silver Level Members…they got a taste of knowledge and wanted more…so they upgraded themselves to Gold Level…then they wanted more so they stepped up to Platinum Level. It’s only natural to want the highest level of knowledge you can get your hands on, isn’t it?

Here’s a quick story for you. I was recently at the Glazer / Kennedy Marketing Super Conference in Nashville, TN. If you look at the numbers, you might think I’m crazy. The fee for the seminar was about $2,000, my airfare was an additional $600, my hotel was about $750, and heaven only knows what I spent on food. That’s over $3,300! And ya know what? I easily got that value in information and knowledge within the first 30 minutes of the first workshop. I listened to Dan Kennedy, my marketing mentor share his experience about a mistake he made (that I will now avoid) that cost him close to $50,000. Wow. Talk about a good investment! My numbers tell me that I invested $3,300 to save $50,000 – and that was just in the first 1/2 hour! Another fine investment if I do say so myself 🙂

Dan Kennedy and Jason M. Silverman at the 2008 Marketing SuperConference!

So – when was the last time you invested in YOU? Are you becoming concerned about all the recent fears regarding the economy? I certainly hope you are comfortable with your ability to market effectively, as that’s going to be the difference between the schools that can weather this storm and the schools that go out of business.

Many people know that I recently finished cleaning up the recordings of my Best Year Ever tele-coaching intensive course and am considering making it available to those interested in it. During this course, I personally walked my students through the most effective ways to turn their website into an automatic marketing machine, the 3 step system for jump-starting their new student count, how to avoid underpricing your services, and a whole bunch more. If you’re interested in these recordings as well as the written transcriptions, please send me an e-mail and I’ll get you all of the details.

Investing in Yourself…don’t ignore this lesson. Remember, your business will only improve when YOU improve.

Here’s to Massive Improvement and Massive Success!

Best Regards,

Jason M. Silverman

Executive Director / Marketing Director

POWerful Words Character Development

10 Ways to Teach Teens to Show Gratitude: The First 5 Ways

10 Ways to Teach Your Teen Gratitude: The First 5 Ways

*This article was posted on Dr. Robyn’s Powerful Parenting Blog as a service to Powerful Words Family Schools. While this article is directed towards parents, as teachers and coaches, in the spirit of gratitude month, we can all learn something from it. Who doesn’t want to learn how to better understand and work with teens?

Is that what I deserve after helping you? What am I going to do with you?!”

You might hear this cry of frustration among parents of teens as they struggle with their child’s mood swings and opposition to authority. Caught between the desire to see their teens individuate and the longing for a time, only a few short years ago, when their teens used to need them, want them around, and perhaps even “worship” them a little, Mom and Dad might be dealing with their own growing pains.

“You’re ruining my life! Just leave me alone!”

On the other hand, these might just be the lines of their teens, who, with raging hormones and a natural desire to spend time with friends (and less time with you), are realizing that they’re too old to play yet are too young to decide how they’re going to run their life.

Adolescence is certainly a crazy time for both parents and teenagers. But it doesn’t have to be unpleasant. As adults, parents can think of ways to help their teens as they go through this important journey in their lives. It takes a lot of patience, determination, creativity, reflection…and yes, stress-management.

One way to make living with your teen more tolerable and enjoyable, is to help them develop a grateful outlook on life. As parents, we can’t demand that our teenagers be grateful of us or anyone else. However, we can’t simply accept an ungrateful attitude and a sense of entitlement from them either.

So what are we to do?

Here are the first 5 tips to help your teens keep the importance of gratitude in the forefront:

(1) Clarify the difference between rights and privileges. In today’s world of modern conveniences, we take many things for granted. We don’t realize that conveniences are privileges rather than our rights. For example, it’s the right of our children to be clothed, but it’s a privilege for them to wear designer jeans. It’s the right of our children to be educated, but it’s a privilege for them to have access to after-school programs and specialty classes. Our children don’t need to earn their rights but they do need to earn their privileges. Help your teens discover the blessings they have been given. This doesn’t mean lecturing– but a discussion of news stories that show people’s rights being violated or dinner conversation about stories teens who do not have many privileges will help to make this distinction more obvious.

(2) Be a model of gratitude. That means show it, recognize it, and appreciate it when you see it. When your teen demonstrates kind, thoughtful behavior, be sure to show gratitude. Don’t let sleeping dogs lie. Nothing feels better than being appreciated for the little things such as putting the plates in the sink without being asked or making the bed. Resist the temptation to say; “FINALLY, you did it– why don’t you do this all the time!” It will backfire. In addition, show gratitude for others, whether it’s a neighbor who brings in your mail or the store clerk that helps you with your groceries, when they help you or do something to make your life a little more convenient or worthwhile. Our own gratitude shows our teens that it’s important to be grateful even for both small and grand gestures.

(3) Keep a positive attitude and stop whining. It may sounds corny, but a grateful, positive outlook tends to make life, well, more positive. Every morning, find something for which to be grateful; the sun shining, the garden getting the rain it needed, the fact that your neighbor remembered to put his robe on before getting his paper. Notice something positive about your teen. Compliment him but don’t overpraise. This could be as simple as telling him how good he looks in his blue shirt or as significant as telling him how much you appreciate the hug he gives you ever morning.

(4) Acknowledge failure and frustration—both yours and your child’s. Owning one’s weakness is the first step to learning and improving. Adding humor to the situation when possible/appropriate will help lighten things too. Say- “Oops, I guess I messed up, sorry about that,” “I must have left my brain on my pillow this morning—I’ll go get it,” or “Everyone makes mistakes—we can be thankful that we have the ability to fix them.” Then, end the conversation with hope: “Thank goodness, there’s still tomorrow. We’ll do better next time.”

(5) Find the Good in the situation. Many situations which appear “bad,” often can result in something good. It may be tough, but try to be a “good-finder” and show your children how to do the same. For example, The Seemingly Bad: Your teen has to stay home on a Friday night and baby-sit her younger sibling. The Good? They find this movie on TV that was so funny that they had a blast watching it together. The Benefit? This will teach them to look for the good and not be so quick to complain.

Gratitude is a state of mind. It takes a conscious mindset and a willingness to stop and take notice of everything that makes life better, more convenient, and more fulfilling. Surround your teen with gratitude; grateful people, things to be grateful for, and models of gratitude and he’ll surely get the picture. Teens can seem like they’re not paying attention but in reality, they carry our voices and our examples everywhere they go. So go ahead. They’re watching and listening. And they want to talk to you.

Stay tuned for 10 Ways to Teach Your Teen Gratitude; Volume 2: The Next 5 Ways

Have a Powerful Week!

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Idol Gives Back: A Way to Teach Children Gratitude and Charity

*This article was posted in an altered form on Dr. Robyn’s Powerful Parenting Blog as a service to Powerful Words Schools and their participating families.

Sometimes, the media can be used for the power of good. Perhaps some of your children stayed up to watch “Idol Gives Back” last night, a star-studded charity show used as a vehicle to raise millions of dollars for several children’s charities around the world.

Since we’re focused on gratitude month in all Powerful Words family member schools, it’s important to find examples of giving and giving back. As you will see in the last week of this month’s curriculum, we will be talking about what charity and giving back has to do with gratitude. Questions such as; Can giving back feel as good as receiving? What does giving have to do with gratitude; and How do you feel inside when you give to someone and it’s appreciated? Will help the children tie gratitude to giving, not just receiving.

These questions, along with others, will help children, who are so often focused on “what’s in it for them” to focus on others who don’t have as much. This helps in several ways; (1) They recognize how blessed they are; (2) They see that while they may not have everything they want, they have what they need; (3) They can discuss the “people in need” that many are working to help and support across the world; (4) They can see powerful words such gratitude, charity, citizenship, and empathy in action; and (5) They can connect the power of giving to the powerful word, charity.

Idol Gives Back:

Charities: The Children’s Defense Fund, The Global Fund, Make It Right, Malaria No More, Save The Children, U.S. Programs and the Children’s Health Fund.

Celebrities: Annie Lennox, Celine Dion, Bono, Carrie Underwood, Brad Pitt, Robin Williams, Forest Whitaker, Billy Crystal, Dane Cook, Kiefer Sutherland, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Jennifer Connolly, Elliott Yamin, Fantasia and Amy Adams, Reese Witherspoon, Miley Cyrus, Mariah Carey, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Fergie, Chris Daughtry, John Legend, Snoop Dogg, Maroon 5, Heart and Gloria Estefan.

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If your students did watch some or all of Idol Gives Back, as many of them likely did, take the opportunity to talk to them about giving to charity and being grateful. Why do they think so many celebrities got involved? What stuck out for them? Tell them how you feel about giving to others and how you have giving of your time, effort, or money to assist others in need. How would they like to help? Perhaps they would like to give some of their money to charity (i.e. allowance or birthday money). Perhaps as one of their spring activities, they’d like to donate their time to a local charity. There are many things they can do, that don’t cost any money at all, that can really help others and fill the heart with gratitude.

In the spirit of gratitude, we thank you.

What we’re fighting against: 10 Ways to Help Teens Deal with Peer Pressure

This article was posted on Dr. Robyn’s Powerful Parenting Blog in an altered form as a service of Powerful Words for Powerful Words Member Schools.

After an extremely disturbing YouTube video surfaced showing 8 teens from Florida beating of another teen, parents are confused and horrified. The victim was treated for a concussion and numerous bruises and the attackers were arrested. As educators, coaches, and teachers, this is when our assistance is most needed– we can be part of the solution by helping teens and children build their character and make positive choices.

My initial assessment when I saw eight teens all working together to beat up another teen was that perhaps this was a result of negative peer pressure gone to the extreme. As positive role models, we can help to make sure that this kind of thing doesn’t happen with our students.

As we know, many teens and preteens tend to find themselves in a peer-pressured situation. Sometimes peer pressure can be positive—getting teens to raise their grades in school, take positive risks like trying out for a sport or play, and introduce themselves to new people.

Other times, peer pressure can have horrible effects on teens. Because teenagers want to be accepted and “get along” with others their own age, they tend to “go along” with the crowd even when it challenges their core values.

How can Powerful Parents and Powerful Words member schools help teens make good decisions even in the face of peer pressure? This is a place where you can shine.

(1) Start early: Begin a conversation about about making good choices with young children and talk about them often. Be sure that your students know your views about “acceptable” and “unacceptable” behavior. Are those behaviors always unacceptable or are their circumstances when they are OK? Are these behaviors OK for some people and not for others? Rules should be clear from the very beginning so that everyone is on the same page.

(2) Ask Questions: Sometimes the best thing you can do is ask questions. Again, start this early so that your students are used to it. “What would you do if…” “If your best friend was smoking, would you try it too?” “Do you know anyone who makes you feel…” When you ask questions and stay quiet, you often get more answers and make more progress than just telling your teens how you feel about certain behaviors.

(3) Role Play: It can be difficult to find the right words when you are actually in the peer pressured situation. Practicing with a trusted person before it actually happens can make it easier. Play the part of your student’s friend and help them work through what he would do or say. Do they want to make a joke? Just say no? Leave? Go get help? Role play different scenarios often until your students feel comfortable and at ease with their choices and their strategies.

(4) Talk about How to Buddy Up: There is strength in numbers. Encourage your teens to talk to a trusted friend about “buddying up” when peer pressure gets overwhelming. When teens know that their friends will be there to back them up and agree with their decisions, it can be a lot easier to make positive choices.

(5) Lay the Foundation of Character: Since teens and parents are using Powerful Words at home and through your schools, they are already way ahead of the game. Encourage them to “Drive the points home” when they leave your Powerful Words member school and ask the children how the word of the month applies to their lives. What decisions are they making each day that shows they are living according to the powerful word of the month? How does the family show it? How do friends show it? Words like compassion, acceptance, self discipline, confidence, respect, courage and trustworthiness, can certainly become a great springboard for a discussion of peer pressure, how to stay true to yourself, and how to treat others.

(6) Discuss “Spring Cleaning” in the Friend Closet: Teens grow and change. Sometimes that means that they no longer have the same interests and they are no longer heading in the same direction of some of their current friends. While it’s not OK to pick your students’ friends for them, sometimes friendships at this time of life can be confusing. When you hear them struggling with peer pressure, let them know that it’s OK to drift apart and make other friends who make them feel more comfortable.

(7) Model saying no: Show your students that it’s OK to speak your mind in an assertive and respectful way. Children need to see that their parents and role models are not “doormats.” When you show them that you can be assertive (yet not abusive or aggressive) and the result is positive, they will emulate you. If you show that you’re wishy-washy in pressured situations, they are more likely to imitate more passive “follower” behavior.

(8) Help your Children Avoid Potentially Dangerous Situations: When young people are not in situations where bad choices are being made, they are much less likely to make them. Choosing friends who share similar values, who don’t take part in controlled substances or inappropriate behavior and engage in positive after-school programs, will be some of your teen students’ best defenses. In addition, spending time in places, such as your academies, where it is positive and safe, will keep them from spending time in places that can be dangerous and negative.

(9) Foster Strong Self Worth and Confidence: Children and teens need to know that what they do “counts” for something. Praise your children for positive choices they make and recognize them for their efforts and their strength of character. Encourage them to give back to others (such as through community or charity work) so they build their sense of pride, gratitude, and citizenship. Help them to process critique so that it makes them stronger and assist them in peeling away useless criticism that stems from jealousy, closed-mindedness, or anger. Your academy can help hit this point home.

(10) Tell them that they can always count on trusted adults to help out: Help your students to realize that no matter what time of night or day, they should know that they can call on a trusted adult when they are in a bad situation, no acceptation. Have they identified that person? Is it their parent? Grandparent? Mentor? Sometimes teens find themselves at a friends house, surrounded by people or circumstances that make them feel unnerved or distressed, and they are unsure if they should call or who they should call because they wonder if they’ll get into trouble. Preteens and teens need to know that they always have someone and that they should not think twice about calling—because they will always come—even if it’s 2am.

Adults might feel that once their children round the corner to teenagerhood, they no longer have any impact. But they do. Teens carry their superheroes’ words, actions, and promises in their heads everywhere they go—even if they don’t admit it.

It’s not too late to start a discussion today. You might just be opening up one of the most meaningful and important conversations you and your teen students have ever had. Of course, you might meet some resistance—you might even see a few rolled eyes—but what Powerful educator backs down to a little challenge?

Here’s to you-