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The Family Center: enrichment programs for families and professionals

Assertiveness Skills for Children and Teens

Ask the Experts by Vita Venditti

Q. How can I get my child to stand up for himself? I’ve observed that he often allows his friends to have the upper hand. I am worried he may give into peer pressure when the issue is alcohol or drugs.

A. One of the reasons children succumb to peer pressure is because they do not have the power to stand up for themselves. As a parent, you can play a critical role in the development of assertiveness skills in your children.

Learning “refusal skills&...

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Retirees: Who Are You? And What Are You Going To Do?

Ask the Experts by Mary Anne Lushe

Q. I'll be retiring this October and I don't even know how to think about the future, or what to do with the rest of my life. Where do I begin?

A. The desire to take a path less traveled, to do something we've always longed to do, or to go more deeply into our own being, comes up for many of us in mid-life and beyond.

When we prepare to retire or a spouse does, we will often be asked what you plan to do, with the assumption that some interest will take up your ...

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Teens: Who Are You? And What Are You Going To Do?

Ask the Experts by Mary Anne Lushe

Q. I'm going to be a junior next year. How can I get my parents to stop asking me, "What do you plan to study in college or do after you graduate?" 

A. How many of us have entertained ourselves with the quirky, charming and outrageous answers that very small children give when asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" It's not so entertaining for teens - faced with major decisions - when they are asked the same things. Parents and other adults ...

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Pave a Summer Path for Success in School

Ask the Experts by Michael Richman

Q. How can families pave a summer path for success in school?

A. All young people experience learning losses when they do not engage in educational activities during the summer. According to the National Summer Learning Association, “Research spanning 100 years show us that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of the summer and most students lose about two months ...

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Senior Driving Safety

Ask the Experts by Sharon Maier

Q. My mom is 85 in great health except for a little memory loss. I just got home from driving with her to church and am glad to be out of the car. While we didn’t go on any major streets, my mom seemed frazzled and once on the main road back home she changed lanes and cut off a driver. What should I do?

A. The first thing to do is to begin having conversations about driving. Driving is an emotional topic because it represents independence. Since you saw ...

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How Early Music Education Impacts Young Children and Beyond

Ask the Experts by Melissa Sharp and Nancy Takis

Q. My three-year-old loves to sing and listen to music. Is she too young to enroll in a music class?

A. As Early Childhood educators prepare for a career in teaching, they learn the importance of incorporating music into the classroom. Music education is not only a graduation requirement for a degree in Early Childhood; it is also integrated into the State of Michigan Licensing Rules for Child Care Centers.

The value of music exposure during ...

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Building Resilience in Children

Ask the Experts by Maureen McKinley Light, LMSW

Q: As a parent, I want to be able to help my children to be resilient, be able to recover quickly from setbacks they encounter in their daily lives. How can I help them develop this trait?

A: I recently spoke about resilience in childhood in the closing presentation of the Bullying Series for The Family Center. I chose to focus upon resilience as a desirable trait in general.

As I pointed out, there will be many parents who are concerned that ...

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Dog bites are "Ruff"!

Ask the Experts by Ed Lazar 

Q: The weather is nice again and I worry about my children approaching dogs that our neighbors let wander in our community. What are some safe tips that I might be able to share with them?

A. Of course, we and our neighbors get outside more, especially to walk our dogs. Fido likes the nice weather too. To be kind to man and beast alike, we need to be a bit cautious while we are out and about.

It seems grim to note that as many as 1 million people each year ...

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Building Blocks for High Academic Achievement

Ask the Experts by Detroit Waldorf School

Q: If my child is not reading or writing by the time they are in preschool, will they be able to attain high academic achievement?

In our nationwide effort to reinforce the future success of our educated workforce and nation, we tend to teach our young students too much, too fast, and we, in turn, miss the opportunity to provide them with a strong foundation of knowledge that's rich with tools and techniques, not just facts and statistics.

Detroit Waldorf ...

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Dyslexia Fixes: Let the Buyer Beware

Ask the Experts by Ann Laciura

Q: I’ve noticed some on-line advertisements claiming that dyslexia is a vision problem and can be treated with a special pair of glasses. Is there anything to this?

A: Generations ago, one theory about the nature of dyslexia was that it had something to do with vision. However, science has debunked that as hokum. Researchers at Yale and elsewhere have done functional brain scans, comparing a dyslexic brain with an ordinary brain. They have concluded that ...

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Eight Reasons to "Age at Home"

Ask the Experts by Mary Ellen Brayton

Q: My 82 year old father lives alone and is fiercely independent but he's finding it more difficult to handle everything at home. We are not sure if he should still be driving, cooking, and if he's actually taking his medications on a regular basis. It's a touchy topic with him, but we are starting to see a decline in his abilities.

A: "I don't need help" is a typical response when a family member suggests calling someone for assistance.

As tough as it may ...

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What is this 'ABA' I keep hearing about?

Ask the Experts by Veronica McAtee & Lori Warner

Q: My son was just diagnosed with autism, and the team recommended he receive "ABA therapy." But I don't even know what that means, or where I can get it.

A: ABA stands for Applied Behavior Analysis, which studies how we learn and how we can change behaviors.

We break down complex skills like having a conversation or getting dressed into smaller, more manageable pieces, and use a system of prompts and rewards to motivate learners. ABA treatment ...

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Encouraging Reading Skills in Children

Ask the Experts by Michael Richman

Q. What can parents do to encourage kids to read more and improve their skills as they get older?

A. Reading comprehension skills are crucial to academic achievement. Children will be expected to read vast amounts during their academic careers and will need to continue to develop this skill from their early school years and further.

Reading for pleasure is also important for children. Reading fiction helps students develop healthy imaginations which encourage ...

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