Handling Extreme Emotions & Social Situations

Jean Paul Sartre, in plays like “No Exit,” and novels like Nausea, masterfully showed what happens when emotions run awry or we are faced with limiting social relations. He thought the way around these issues was through social revolution and a collectivized society.  But there are far less drastic solutions to social and emotional problems.

H. Gardner and T Hatch, in their famous article, “Multiple Intelligences Go to School,” laid the groundwork for the development, not just of the intelligence needed for success in a technological society, but for one where social relationships and emotions rule. We are in such a society. Many schools now explicitly teach social-emotional learning (SEL), and find that it creates a positive learning environment that results in an average 11% increase in academic achievement. Skills involved include recognizing emotions in self and others, regulating and managing strong emotions, recognizing strengths and areas of need, listening and communicating accurately, sensing one’s own emotions, respecting others and self and appreciating differences, approaching others and building positive relationships, resisting negative peer pressure, conflict resolution, and negotiating skills. SEL has replaced character education, and is helpful in bullying prevention, violence prevention, drug/alcohol prevention, and anger management.
What can you do to help your student develop SEL skills? First, practice them yourself. A fifteen-minute drill a day will enhance your ability to recognize your child’s emotional needs, and thus help him or her develop ways of satisfying them. This is crucial, not just to help them fit in, but to help them know when they should stand their ground, fight, or negotiate. When the alternative from conflict is to back off, these skills will help them distinguish surrender from peace making.
Raise them to be adults, and they will be adults.
Dr. Fred Young



I was told by my grandmother how the Sears catalog in the mail was one of the events that everyone in her town looked forward to with great glee.  They could actually buy things!  Yay!  Now, there’s a department store almost anywhere, and yes, Virginia, there is an Internet.  You can always get what you want.

The same thing goes for services, like tutoring.

Everyone will, at some point, need a tutor unless you’re one of those rare people who get skills and knowledge immediately.  I know I’m not. I have a PhD, have published in prestigious journals, and have won awards for my teaching.  But physically, I was an uncoordinated disaster.  That is, until I got one on one training in kenpo karate from a world class trainer. Similarly, you, or your son or daughter, might be a champion athlete, but are hopeless at math.  And you know that math skills are essential in our society.  Without them, you might as well pack it in and start living in a cave.

I had clients, a star basketball athlete and a star baseball player (played for the minor leagues), both like that. Yet, without math success, they might not even have been allowed on the team.

If that happens, they feel like a failure, their team loses, the school loses, and guess who feels responsible for that?  The parent, of course.

But, I hear you cry, there are no tutors around.  Well, that wouldn’t be true; it’s just that there aren’t any good tutors around.

Well, we have the internet!  With Skype, or video conferencing, you can have a tutor from far away as close as your computer.  Isn’t that great?

You should, of course, use the same criteria in selecting the tutor as if he were physically present.  How many years has he been tutoring, does he have advanced degrees?  A Master’s?  A Doctorate? Does he have testimonials?  Does he teach to your student’s (or to your) learning style?  Does he know how to meet your student’s special needs?  If the answer is yes, then he is as close as the nearest laptop.

Dr. Fred Young

How to Prevent Summer Brain Rot

You know it’s true; your brilliant, academically successful student’s brain turns to mush over the summer.  It’s now slightly past mid-summer, and already the ads are there for “back to school.”  Well, yes, clothes, pens, pencils, new computers, and, of course, the latest fashions, are important, but so much more important is fine tuning your student’s brain.  (Not to mention that it gets them out of your hair for a few minutes a day, and, if you do it right, far less costly than that wardrobe they just “have to have.”)

The first big thing is assessment.  You can incorporate that into daily activities.  Worried about their math skills?  See how well they perform household tasks that involve math (like cooking).  See if they are still interested in reading.  (Haven’t come up with a summer reading program?  It’s not too late.)

Then you get them involved in learning.  Make the learning relevant; activate prior knowledge. If you want them to learn more about the Bible, go back to the parts you looked at last year.  Have them elaborate on their daily activities.  Come up with an information processing model and stick with it.

Above all, have fun!

Dr. Fred Young, the Learning Doctor