Teasing vs. Bullying, and Why It's More Serious Today

By Robin Stein, LCSW, Director of Response

When I speak to parents and members of our community about bullying, I most often am asked the following question:  “What’s the big deal?  Bullying happened when we were kids and we all survived!”

Flashback some 35-40 years ago and yes, bullying happened – on the playground, walking home, on the school bus, in the locker room.  Some of us were teased (“four-eyes,” “uni-brow,” “brown-nose”).  And yes, teasing is quite different from bullying.  How so, you may ask?

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Connections: Relationships Rule in a New Manual for Early Childhood Professionals

Connections: A Relationship-Based Phase Model is a just-published manual for early childhood professionals—those who run preschools, Head Start programs and other activities for pre-schoolers  aged 2‒6 years old—promoting social and emotional health in young children.

The book is a product of the Virginia Frank Child Development Center (VFCDC) , a program of Jewish Child & Family Services that operates a therapeutic preschool, trains early childhood professionals and consults with schools and organizations that engage pre-schoolers. All of its authors—Joni Crounse, MA, M.Ed, Kathy Ham, LCSW, Joanne Kestenbaum, LCSW, Wendy Guyer, MA, LCSW, Linnet Mendez, LCPC and Laura Sheridan, MA, LCSW—work at the Center and helped to develop the “relationship based phase model.”

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The 12 Steps of the Days of Awe

By Rabbi Joe Ozarowski, Chaplain, Jewish Healing Network of Chicago

People actively working a Recovery Program already know the worth and power of the well-known 12 Steps.  But I have always believed that everyone should work a program – there is so much wisdom within these sensible steps that can help all people struggling with challenges.

At the Jewish Center for Addiction , we try to connect the spirituality and practices of Judaism to the Steps and addiction-recovery year round.  The Jewish Days of Awe, often known as the “High Holidays,” offer us the chance to reflect and integrate the Steps with the larger spiritual messages embedded in these special days. 

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Violence: How to Respond When It Feels Like It's Everywhere

By Eric Crabtree-Nelson, LCSW, Response

Violence.  It’s everywhere these days.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that we have a real violence problem here in the Chicago area.  Whether it’s the rampant street violence we hear about or live with every day, or whether it’s bullying behavior towards others that persists despite all of the attention and educational programs that have been put in place, violence is an everyday fact of life in our worlds.

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Online/Offline: 10 Techno Tips for Parents from Response

The good news is, we can do most anything more efficiently and connect with friends and family members 24/7 with the wonders of technology!  On the other hand, technology follows us everywhere; from brushing our teeth in the morning to turning in for the night.  There is, literally, no escape!  For tweens and teens, this sense of being attached to an “electronic leash” can have negative consequences, including bullying behavior, sexting, online dating, etc.  Know how to set reasonable boundaries around the use of technology in your family and you’ll be way ahead of the curve. 

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More than Baby Talk: Talking to Baby Helps with Brain Development

According to a recent study by the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) in Seattle, babies as young as seven months old are mentally working out the mechanics of how to form words with their mouths — well before they’re able to utter their first recognizable syllable. And, as ABC News reports,  that means speaking “parentese” to your baby can help with brain development.

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Youth Addiction Prevention: What Works?

By Dr. Beth Fishman, Manager of the Jewish Center for Addiction at JCFS

As the old adage goes, “the best defense is a good offense.”  That is no less true when talking about problematic drug use by young people.  So how do we build a strong offense to help the youth in our community resist the pressures and temptations to begin using drugs and alcohol?  For youth drug prevention, what works?

Here are four insights to get you and the burgeoning young adults in your life on the right track. 

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The Case for Handwriting vs. Typing

The debate about whether handwriting is obsolete (in favor of going straight to the keyboard) continues to bubble as technology becomes more ingrained in daily life at younger ages.  It's been a hot topic in the news, with articles in the New York Times , Good Morning America, and more.  But, aside from Johnny not being able to read Grandma's hand written letters, what other developmental implications are there if handwriting is foresaken?

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Body Image – 5 Ways to Strengthen How Your Kids View Themselves

By Ann Luban, Community Services Program Specialist

Body image isn’t the shape of our bodies; it’s how we view our bodies.  And negative body image can affect kids as young as four or five years old.  Parents and other adults play a central role in how kids of all ages view their bodies and view themselves overall.   It is critical that we act intentionally to support them in their development.

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