Sticks and stones may break my bones

(1-minute read)

A few months ago, my very good neighbor and dear friend encouraged me to become a TorahMate. I finally joined and it has really paid its dividends. My TorahMate is a lovely young lady from Dallas, Texas, who is also a therapist! She wanted to learn the weekly Parsha (Torah portion) and I discovered the sefer (book) Psyched for Torah by Rabbi Dr. Mordechai Schiffman that shares wonderful psychological insights related to the parsha. Each week, we learn some more brilliant insights that apply to our work.

This week’s Parsha message reminds us all why we keep working on social skills, emotional awareness, and emotional attunement in our children and students. Although it happens often that children hurt each other physically and emotionally at home and in school, it needs to be stopped, and children need to be taught to recognize how their behavior impacts others’ emotions and self-esteem. The effects are lifelong: low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, mental illness, and poor health.

Of course, it starts from the top. Parents, teachers, Rabbis, educators, and professionals have to be very careful not to say hurtful and derogatory things to kids even when they frustrate us. And if we slip, we need to quickly apologize and work harder on ourselves so that it doesn’t recur. We are our children’s model! (Once again, I’m also talking to myself… I admit. I’m a work in progress.)

Here are some reds and greens that I often teach my students when I do social skills groups.

insulting vs. complimenting

rejecting vs. accepting

excluding vs. including

hurtful vs. being considerate

rolling your eyes vs. pleasant face

smirking vs. pleasant mouth

putting someone down vs. encouraging others

hitting vs. calm hands

kicking vs. calm feet

And of course, we repeatedly talk about how the reds and the greens make others feel when we do them.

Do you want more ideas for using positive strategies to change behavior? Not sure how to teach the Reds and Greens? Watch the video clips using the links above. Each video is super clear, and gives you great ideas that you can implement immediately.

Have a positive week!


Dr. Devora

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