Strategies for Stress-Free Evenings at Home

Excerpt from an article in ADDitude magazine.

To avoid parent-child power struggles, make fewer verbal demands. Instead of telling your child what to do (which is often perceived as nagging), use a nonverbal cue. “Children with ADHD may lock into certain behaviors and lose focus, but parents can often redirect them with a simple nonverbal cue,” says Lynne Reeves Griffin, author of Negotiation Generation: Take Back Your Parental Authority Without Punishment! Griffin suggests handing your child a sharpened pencil or lightly tapping your finger on his worksheet when he is distracted. “When parents use nonverbal feedback, it helps children get focused quickly. This is encouraging to a child who is struggling,” Griffin says.

When your child does something that helps the evening go more smoothly, acknowledge his contribution. Children feel valued when their actions are appreciated. Using phrases like, “Thanks for your help” or “I appreciate your cooperation,” makes a child feel good about himself.

Read More

Read Negotiation Generation: Take Back Your Parental Authority Without Punishment (Penguin)

Top Secret Strategies for Negotiating with Your Kids

Excerpt from Parenting magazine article.

While life often feels like an assembly line of yes-no’s, a healthier approach may revolve less around imposing your will and more around a business-centric tactic: negotiating. What’s that, you say? Doesn’t negotiating mean you’re getting stepped on more often than Times Square? Nope. The key, says Lynne Griffin, author of Negotiation Generation, is to find the middle ground. “They have freedom within the fences, but you decide where the fences are put up. Too many fences built too high only creates a desire to jump them.”

Read More.

Read Negotiation Generation: Take Back Your Parental Authority Without Punishment (Penguin)

Proactive Parenting Series South of Boston ~ Beginning October 3rd

Parenting Series 2017 (1)

Forging Strong Parent-Professional Partnerships

Decades of research show that when families and schools partner together, children are better positioned to reach their greatest potential as learners and active members of the school community. There’s simply no doubt that parental involvement is directly linked to students with higher self-confidence and more positive attitudes toward school and learning. From better attendance and higher grades, to better homework completion rates and higher graduation rates, the most consistent predictor of high academic achievement and positive social adjustment for children is engaged parents.

When I collaborate with school staff and parents, I highlight the fundamental belief that all teachers and families want to work collaboratively to support the development of every child. Perhaps they simply lack sufficient skill to do so effortlessly. However, when skills are nurtured, a true partnership allows us to advance the eager reader and the math whiz beyond grade level, develop a child’s ability to organize and plan work effectively, strengthen language skills, and nurture social-emotional development—all critical outcomes of the early education years.  With a team approach, we are better able to understand how every child thinks and learns, capitalizing on his or her strengths and working together to support any challenges that may impact learning.

Here are some tips for focusing on partnership…IMG_3657

The Commitment to Parents-As-Partners–What Schools Can Do

Walk the talk. It isn’t enough to say the partnership is important. A true commitment is evident when parents are invited into the school for a variety of  child-specific as well as social events and activities.

Our information is your information. When a teacher makes observations or has assessment data about a child, parents are urged to contribute to the plan for education. Whether a child needs to be more challenged or his learning more supported, teachers engage parents in the conversation.

Be Flexible. Schools must demonstrate respect for the real work-family balance issues parents struggle with. Creating family-friendly ways for engagement should be a school-wide priority.

Build a Community of Learners. Schools are uniquely positioned to encourage parents to be lifelong learners. Through parent education, family support, and referral services, schools play a key role in helping parents see the benefit of growing and developing as their child’s best teacher.

Tips for Strengthening the Partnership–What Parents Can Do

Make connections early. There’s no telling when there will be a need to discuss a child’s academic, social-emotional, or behavioral learning. It’s always easier to be open and honest when a relationship has already been established.

Opt for face-to-face communication. Voice mail and email, while time-efficient, may lead to incomplete or contentious communication. Talking to teachers about your child is more likely to be successful when the communication is done in person and has been scheduled so both parent and teacher have had time to think through the main objectives.

Always keep your child at the center of your exchanges. Not every parent and teacher will have an affinity for each other. Yet when parents and teachers keep the child in front, and not between them, the child is sure to benefit.

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Crossover Fiction Gets Parents & Teens Talking

GirlSentAwayNumerous studies also confirm what every reader already knows—that the novel is an incomparable vehicle for the exploration of human social and emotional life. Literary critics and philosophers have long advanced the notion that one of fiction’s main jobs is to raise social consciousness.

Decades of research also show that when parents and teachers partner together around social-emotional learning, teens are better positioned to reach their greatest potential as healthy, active members of the community. There’s simply no doubt that this kind of involvement is directly linked to teens having higher self-confidence and more positive attitudes toward school and home. From better attendance, higher grades, and higher graduation rates, to increases in prosocial behavior and decreases in problem behaviors, the most consistent predictor of high academic achievement and positive social adjustment for teens is engaged parents and teachers.

The Power of Fiction to Teach

When teachers, parents and teens come together to deepen their understanding of our collective emotional lives—using fiction—they positively impact the development of the core competencies of social-emotional development, which include nurturing self and social awareness, developing relationship skills, and influencing responsible decision-making.

Despite biological predispositions to conditions like anxiety or depression, it is resiliency skills that help protect teens from various mental health conditions.  And if you or someone you care about has an existing mental health condition, then building resilience is crucial to improving one’s ability to cope.

Using a conversation-based approach to discuss fiction, teens are afforded a safe space to learn about preventive mental health and capitalize on personal strengths for building resilience and navigating complex social relationships.

Crossover Fiction Gets Parents and Teens Talking

Some within publishing deem a novel “crossover” when it is written for young adults but attracts a healthy adult audience. Others—mostly in the fields of public relations and marketing—consider a novel “crossover” when it is written for adults but young adults read and spread the word about it. Regardless of which direction interest first flows, crossover fiction serves a powerful purpose, which is to get parents and teens reading and talking about meaningful text together.

Participation in conversations using high interest fiction, allows parents, teachers, and teens to:

  • discuss risk and protective factors for mental illness
  • develop resiliency skills that promote emotional well-being
  • demonstrate perspective-taking and conflict management skills
  • express empathy toward others
  • practice interpersonal communication skills

Your Book Discussion Group

GSA-companion-cover copyDue to the sensitive nature of the types of books that can have the greatest impact on raising social awareness and reducing stigma, it’s important to prepare the environment, making it conducive to sharing and learning. Thoughtful, respectful conversation is more likely to occur if teachers and parents create emotional safety zones in advance of book discussions.

  • Create ground rules and goals, either by utilizing a planning committee or taking the first few minutes of each meeting to agree on participation expectations.
  • Consider coaching teens to co-lead the discussion with agreed upon ground rules and partnerships with parents and/or teachers.
  • At every meeting, ensure confidentiality and find ways to establish a sense of closeness among teens, teachers, and parents by aligning interests.
  • Choose books wisely by outlining group goals in advance and then selecting titles that support certain kinds of discussions.
  • Keep discussions focused on characters and their wants, needs, and choices. Revisit ground rules if conversations become too personal.
  • Extend the learning beyond the group by identifying activities that parents, teachers, and teens can engage in to keep conversations going.

The best fiction illuminates the human condition and gives readers much to reflect on and discuss. By harnessing the power of storytelling—informed by research on social-emotional learning and effective communication—teachers, parents, teens can engage in conversations about mental health and emotional well-being, with the goal of building empathy, nurturing perspective-taking, and strengthening resilience.

Titles to Consider:

Stories written for teens with crossover to adults:

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (Friendship, Diversity)

The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer (Mental illness, grief)

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin (Loss, loyalty)

Stories written for adults with crossover appeal to young adults:

Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart (Technology, Relationships)

Disgruntled by Asali Solomon (Belonging, Diversity)

Once Upon a River Bonnie Campbell (Independence, courage)

 

Let’s Talk About Adolescent Mental Health

HOST A PARENT/TEACHER/TEEN BOOK DISCUSSION

Recognized expert on family relationships, Lynne Griffin will facilitate a discussion of her new novel Girl Sent Away using the companion guide Let’sTalk About It: Adolescent Mental Health. The guide includes conversation starters, discussion questions, and additional books and films parents and teens can read and watch together to keep the lines of communication open, effective, and engaging.

SCHEDULE A PARENT OR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM

Tailored to meet your educational initiatives and to suit your parent, faculty, and student population, Lynne Griffin is available to assist you with:

  • strategic implementation of Let’s Talk About It: Adolescent Mental Health
  • curriculum mapping for social-emotional learning
  • coaching and program development for interpersonal leadership and communication
  • consultation for working with complex families.

ADOPT GIRL SENT AWAY INTO THE CURRICULUM

Lynne’s nonfiction guide, Let’s Talk About It: Adolescent Mental Healthprovides information and activities a school may use to positively impact adolescents’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes about emotional well-being. With a focus on curriculum integration, each literacy, health, and social-emotional learning module includes:

  • Overview & objectives
  • Essential questions
  • Activities/projects/assignments
  • Select STEAM mapping opportunities
  • Discussion questions related to the novel
  • Resources for further exploration

 Email Events [dot] LynneGriffin [dot] com today to discuss your program needs.

What is Crossover Fiction?

The magic pixie dust for how to reach lots and lots of readers may be elusive, but two things about book discoverability are indisputable: readers are always on the look out for good stories and writers are increasingly desperate to find their people. While the definition of crossover fiction within the industry is debatable—on this readers, writers, agents, editors, and publishers can agree—everyone wins when a novel has ageless appeal.

Some within publishing deem a novel “crossover” when it is written for children or young adults but attracts a healthy adult audience. The quintessential example being J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Others—mostly in the fields of public relations and marketing—consider a novel “crossover” when it is written for adults but young adults read and spread the word about it. Think—George R.R. Martin andGame of Thrones.

Two things about book discoverability are indisputable: readers are always on the look out for good stories and writers are increasingly desperate to find their people.

Many classic stories can be described as having crossed over either way. When I was coming into my own as a young adult reader, I loved (and still do) The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas and Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, both novels written for adults. And regardless of when you came to experience it, who among us isn’t still fascinated by the timeless Lewis Carroll novel written for children, Alice in Wonderland?

I don’t necessarily recommend that writers set out to write a novel with appeal to adult and young adult readers. What I have been known to harp on in the writing classes I teach, is to build story worlds where something is at risk for well-developed, authentic characters. What’s at stake can be subtle—yet still powerful—like in Alice McDermott’s masterpiece Someone. Or emotionally quiet but nonetheless impactful like in Ann Packer’s The Dive From Clausen’s Pier.

Stories need not contain a car chase or a gun going off to draw readers in or keep them reading. Tension in fiction is created in a variety of ways, but always includes compelling characters, fresh plot lines, spot on pacing, charged dialogue, and settings that support the central conflict of the story.

The kind of intense curiosity that keeps readers turning pages lends itself quite well to uncovering the holy grail of book marketing—word of mouth. Readers love nothing more than to share with other readers books that have changed their lives. And I don’t know a writer who isn’t in search of a broader readership. Still crossover fiction has yet another powerful purpose which is to get readers within families reading together.

Research shows that when parents read and discuss fiction with children of all ages, they positively impact the development of the core competencies of social-emotional development, which includes nurturing self and social awareness, developing relationship skills, and influencing responsible decision-making. Reading fiction impacts the development of empathy and resilience too, and it enhances readers’ ability to navigate complex social relationships. Can you think of a better way to parent our teens than to foster connections with each other through literature?

This post would not be complete if I didn’t share some wonderful crossover fiction for you to add to your Goodreads shelves. Below you’ll find recommendations for family stories I’ve enjoyed with crossover appeal.

Family stories written for teens with crossover to adults:

Family stories written for adults with crossover appeal to young adults:

Want more? Check out this terrific list by genre of fiction with crossover appeal from @bookaddictguide.

Girl Sent Away


GirlSentAway_cover
In Lynne Griffin’s new novel, Girl Sent Away, she takes on a topic that’s rarely discussed but which richly deserves our attention: the fear-based teenage boot camps that serve as a dark undercurrent to our domestic culture. In this book, Griffin explores that somber, frightening world, through the twinned journeys of a troubled teenage girl and her grieving father. This is a terrific and terrifying story, and one that should be told. Brava to Griffin for having the courage to do so. –Roxana Robinson, author of Cost and Sparta

Girl Sent Away is an emotional page turner that explores the ways in which grief can tear families apart and love can triumph. –Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Circle

From Kirkus Reviews:
With its young heroine and sensitive examination of adolescents in crisis, Girl Sent Away would do well to also find a teen audience.

This compelling novel takes us inside the lives of a girl and her father who fall prey to a horrific reality: a system of institutions that claims to treat trauma, but actually creates more of it. A must-read, especially for anyone whose life is touched by troubled teens. –Maia Szalavitz, author of Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids

Also coming in November is LET’S TALK ABOUT IT: ADOLESCENT MENTAL HEALTH, a companion guide for reading GIRL SENT AWAY. Collaborate with Lynne to engage your community of parents, teachers, and teens in this important dialogue about preventive mental health. To invite Lynne to speak at your school, organization, or book club, email events@LynneGriffin.com.

Adolescent Rebellion

Lynne talks about adolescent rebellion on Fox Morning News

The Story Behind Sea Escape

Entertainment Weekly says, “SEA ESCAPE is a multigenerational saga that will pluck the heartstrings.