Bullying… it’s Happening More than we Realize

How Do You Identify a Bully and a Victim?


  • Has high self-esteem and a low level of anxiety or stress (although for some bullies, it is the opposite and they have low self-esteems and a lack of confidence)
  • Is academically similar to peers (although, again, may be underachievers)
  • Dislikes being caught, but does not feel genuine guilt about his/her actions toward the victim
  • Is disrespectful of others (including authority figures, i.e. teachers)
  • Sees bullying as fun for it satisfies a need to dominate
  • Gets others (bystanders) to follow him/her. These bystanders do so to avoid being bullied themselves
  • Lacking in social skills, tendency towards impulsivity and a low frustration tolerance. Not good at problem solving.


  • Is vulnerable, isolated and often smaller physically
  • Is less confident, more anxious and has lower self-esteem
  • Has fewer friends and social support to rely on to come to his/her defense
  • Tends to not fight back
  • Tends to be quiet, shy and sensitive in temperament
  • Though this is not the norm, some victims tend to show irritating and inappropriate social behaviour. These children tend to have poor social skills

The Next Generation of Bullying Seminars

The Problem: People know bullying is a problem. People know they should do something to prevent bullying. Many don’t. As a result, many children are becoming victims of bullying. These children often develop anxiety and low self-esteem. They may try to avoid school and social interactions. Many victims experience schoolwork problems, depression and a change in behaviour. These children can experience severe long-lasting psychological harm that can impede their social, academic and emotional development.

History: The first generation of anti-bullying seminars taught people and educators how to define bullying, taught about the emotional effects of bullying and discussed what parents and schools can do if a child is being bullied or if a child is a bully.

So what went wrong? (1) Key conceptual parts that help people take effective action were left out. (2) The same solutions were offered to everybody. (3) Essential skills were not adequately developed. (4) Problem solving was not addressed. (5) The natural resistance people have to change was not considered.

The Solution: Before bullying even occurs, schools and childcare centers need to have prevention programs in place within the classroom. Our anti-bullying program covers the important material found in traditional bullying seminars and adds the missing pieces. The natural resistance to healthy change is considered, not ignored, so that participants can understand and overcome it.

Causes of Bullying

  • Family factors (i.e. modeling of aggressive behaviour at home)
  • Individual factors (i.e. development of social skills and self-esteem is lacking)
  • School factors (i.e. curricula and administrative policies and support

To book your workshop now, email Susan at or call at 416-512-6356.

Back to Workshops

Developing Positive Relationships with your Child

Techniques Parents Can Use to Develop and Maintain Positive Relationships with their Children

All children want and need their parents attention. The most welcome forms of attention are:

  • Making time for fun.
  • Encouragement.
  • Expressions of love.
  • Praise.

All of these foster the development of a positive relationships.

1. Taking Time To Enjoy Your Children:

Plan consistent, regular time periods to have fun and enjoy your child, e.g. read a story, play a game, doing a puzzle.

Tip: Find activities you both enjoy.

2. Encouragement:

“A child needs encouragement like a plant needs water ” by Rudolf Dreikurs.

There are four ways that you as a parent can encourage your children:

(a) Showing confidence

  • by giving a child responsibility, you are expressing to them that you have confidence in them.
  • ask your child’s opinion or advice, “what kind of cake do you think we should make?”
  • avoid the temptation to rescue when a task is difficult.
  • give encouraging phrases when the task is difficult, “keep trying, you can do it.”

(b) Build on a child’s strengths

  • acknowledge what he can do well.
  • concentrate on improvement not perfection.
  • give positive strokes with each step.

(c) Value the child

  • separate worth from accomplishment, e.g. “Losing doesn’t make a person a loser.”
  • separate worth from inappropriate behaviour, e.g. avoid bad boy comments-“No you’re not bad, but it’s not a good idea to colour on the walls.”
  • appreciate the child’s uniqueness, “we love you not your grades.”

(d) Stimulate independence

  • let the child do things for him or herself.
  • give your child opportunities to make choices.

3. Expressing Your Unconditional Love:

  • notes in lunches, special stickers.
  • any note- any opportunity, e.g. “beware of danger, I don’t want my beautiful boy to get hurt.”
  • all children hunger for love and need to be shown expressions of love.
  • hugs, pats, kisses, winks, “I love you,” “I adore you,” “I like you,” “You mean the world to me;” These expressions are what children need.
  • everyone has different ways of showing their love– some physical, verbal, or indirectly.
  • doesn’t matter how you show your love– as long as it is shown somehow.

4. Praise:

Praise is the most useful, positive, powerful reward you possess.

(a) Tell them specifically what you like about what they are doing– “Tommy I sure like the way you tidied up your room.”

(b) When you praise, stop what you are doing, be in close range, get eye contact, and if possible give him a pat or hug to increase impact. Notice the expression on your child’s face.

(c) Super Praise

  • Praise your child for behaving.
  • Praise your child in front of another adult.
  • The other adult praises the child as a result. Imagine the impact of this method.


Make it a habit to praise each child at least 3 times a day.

  • If your child is having a particularly difficult day, find something that was done right.
  • Don’t take good behaviour for granted.
  • Catch them being good and praise them.
  • “It’s wonderful to see you going to bed without a fuss. What a big girl you are!”
  • “What a great sister you are- you are playing with your brother gently.”

Other Important Areas That Influence Relationship Building:

1. Firm but caring limits- “Discipline with love.”

2. Practice good communication with your child:

  • Take the time to really listen to your child –
    give your full attention.
  • Listen for feelings and accept them whatever they are.
  • Use problem solving to assist them with their conflicts.

To book your workshop now, email Susan at susanl@familysupport.net or call at 416-512-6356.

Back to Workshops

Dealing with Stress and Anxiety

Kids Experience Stress Too!

Every day stress is natural and can increase our energy and motivation. Children and adults experience stress in the same way and can learn to manage it well. Chronic stress is a build up of stresses when the child feels vulnerable and unable to cope. Due to their daily hassles, children have “child-sized” everyday stresses.

Signs of Stress:

  • recurring headaches or tummy aches
  • not feeling well, rapid heart beat
  • sadness, panic, anger, frustration, crying
  • quieter than usual
  • trouble sleeping or relaxing
  • eating more often or finding it difficult to eat at all
  • not wanting to go to school
  • trouble getting along with friends and family
  • fear, crying
  • nervous

People Who Can Help:

  • Teachers
  • Principal
  • School Nurse
  • Social Worker
  • Psychologist
  • Family Doctor
  • Friends
  • Relatives

To book your workshop now, email Susan at susanl@familysupport.net or call at 416-512-6356.

Back to Workshops

How to Support your Child Through Separation and Divorce

What to Tell Your Child — and How:

  • Don’t leave your child in the dark about what is happening. Fear of the unknown is far more difficult to a child than the actual reality. Tell him/her as much of the truth as he/she is able to deal with, and answer any questions he/she may have, as simply and honestly as you can. It helps if you can have the cooperation of your former partner when you tell your child about the marriage breakdown.
  • Whatever you think about your former partner and his/her behaviour, before and after the marriage breakdown, avoid the temptation to criticize or insult him/her when discussing him/her with your child. Remember, it’s his/her other parent you are talking about. If you question his/her’s love and loyalty toward the other parent, then he/she could end up resenting you.
  • Don’t confuse your child by sending out contradictory signals about how you are feeling with regard to the situation. Make sure that what you say matches up to how you say it. For example, if you are upset and your child asks “why?”, don’t say “nothing.” This can only confuse and upset the child.
  • No matter who contributed the most to the breakdown of your marriage, try not to dwell on feelings of anger, guilt or revenge. Put the past behind you and concentrate on building a new and better life for yourself and your child.
  • Remember the best parts of your marriage and share them with your child. The past couldn’t have been all bad and it is important that your child knows the good times.
  • Don’t demand loyalty from your child to the point of excluding his/her other parent from the child’s thoughts and life. If you ask your child to choose between you, he/she may reject you both.
  • Even if you know that there is no chance of reconciliation with your former partner, don’t expect your child to accept the finality of your divorce/separation as soon as you do. Children often hide a secret hope that their parents will get back together.
  • Work on establishing a new relationship with your former partner. Anger between parents will be far more harmful to the child than the actual divorce/separation.
  • Do not label your single-parent home a “broken” home. The word broken implies that is an imperfect, deficient, wrong kind of home, which communicates to children that there is something bad about themselves since they live in such a home. Call it a “readjusted” home instead, one that allows for ongoing loving relationships between the children and your ex-spouse, even though your ex-spouse is no longer living with you. In Robert Frost’s words, home is “the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.”
  • Recognize that your children’s fundamental need for security after a divorce remains the same as it was during the time you were married. Your children, above else, need to feel that Mom and Dad will always provide them with the emotional and physical security they need to develop into confident, well adjusted adults. Their security does not depend on your income or the place you live, but on whether you and your ex-spouse demonstrate by your behaviour in your divorce that both of you are fully competent to cope with and get through the changes that come with divorce and separation.

To book your workshop now, email Susan at susanl@familysupport.net or call at 416-512-6356.

Back to Workshops

How to Communicate Positively with your Child

Effective Communication
(Involves Both Listening and Talking)

  • Purposeful conversation- talking with each other in order to understand what the other means.
  • Reflective listening responses which indicate you understand the child’s feelings.
  • I-messages…blame-free messages about your positive feelings and about things that bother you.
  • A nonjudmental attitude which respects the child.
  • Appropriate timing.
  • Restricting talk to friendly exchanges as much as possible.
  • Avoiding pressure, sarcasm, and ridicule.
  • Avoiding labeling.
  • Showing your faith and confidence in your child.

To book your workshop now, email Susan at susanl@familysupport.net or call at 416-512-6356.

Back to Workshops

Mealtime, Bedtime and Morning Routines

Bed Times! Bed Times! Bed Times!

Bedtimes can be a relaxing and fun time of the day, yet battles can often be frustrating and exhausting. The key to solving bedtime problems is to develop a routine and to stick to it. Here are some helpful hints:

  • Set a daily bedtime. Children respond to predictable routines.
  • Establish a routine before bedtime, including all the rituals (bathing, brushing teeth, story, drink).
  • Discuss the routine with your child so the order becomes established in your child’s mind.
  • Avoid taking short cuts. Allow enough time for the full routine.
  • Tell your child bedtime is approaching (“Johnnie, you have 10 more minutes until bedtime.”).
  • For some children, talking about the day’s events and plans for tomorrow often make ending the day easier.
  • Share some quiet time with your child prior to bedtime to help them wind down. Read a story together, or play a quiet game.
  • Use a night light, or soft music for reassurance.
  • Remember that sleep is essential!! Establishing a consistent bedtime routine will help make life a bit easier…

To book your workshop now, email Susan at susanl@familysupport.net or call at 416-512-6356.

Back to Workshops

Sibling Rivalry

How to Be Fair as a Parent

  • Do not take sides; rather show the kids how to work out the problem.
  • Validate your childs’ feelings. Acknowledge that the aggressor may need to express some frustrations.
  • Help your children channel their feelings into creative outlets, e.g. have a pillow fight to release hostile feelings.
  • Give children in fantasy what they do not have in reality, e.g. “You wish your sister could go away for awhile.”
  • Beware of putting your children into roles by labelling and stereotyping, e.g. “You are the responsible one!” or “You are so stubborn!” Exercise: See whether or not any of your children is playing a role, for whatever reason, and think about how you might free that child to become his most whole self.
  • Treat your children as individuals; do not compare.
  • Be willing to accept the fact that your children may not like each other; so do not put them in situations that may be difficult for them.
  • Focus on your childrens’ individual needs. Give time to your children in terms of need, e.g. do not worry about it being equal time.
  • Show your children how they are loved uniquely.
  • Do not give attention to the aggressor. Many times the aggressor is looking for attention, by responding to the aggressor first, you are inadvertently rewarding him/her for their negative behaviour.
  • Be careful of identifying too much with one child according to how you were raised; remember each child is unique.
  • Focus on a child’s abilities, not their disabilities.

To book your workshop now, email Susan at susanl@familysupport.net or call at 416-512-6356.

Back to Workshops


Natural & Logical Consequences

Natural and Logical consequences are effective methods of discipline because they allow children to make their own choices and experience the consequences of their choices either naturally or logically. The lessons they learn as a result of these consequences are more powerful than lectures, criticisms or meaningless punishments.

Natural Consequences are the experiences which follow naturally from what a child chooses to do or not to do.


  • The child who refuses to eat lunch, naturally gets hungry.
  • The natural consequence of leaving your coat out in the rain is a wet coat.

Logical Consequences are useful when natural consequences do not follow a child’s misbehaviour. These consequences must be meaningful and logically connected to the misbehaviour.


  • Child causes disturbance on shopping trip. A logical consequence would be for the parent and child to leave the store, or the child will not be taken on the next shopping trip.
  • Child doesn’t come to meal when called. A logical consequence would be not to feed again until regular snacktime or next meal. With preschooler, set timer. If not at table when timer goes off, not served.

Learning how to handle responsibility usually occurs through the opportunity to make choices and decisions. Parents can help children make appropriate choices by showing them that misbehaviour is one of the choices that brings with it logical consequences.

Examples of How to Give Choices

Either-Or Choices
“Jeff, either you play quietly here, or you may go to your room; it is your choice.” Going to his room is the logical consequence of not playing quietly.

When-Then Choices
“Susan, when you have made your bed, then you may go out and play.” The logical consequence of not making her bed, is to lose the privilege of playing outside.

Logical consequences are not the same as punishment. When a child is punished, it is usually done in an angry and rigid manner, leaving the child feeling guilty, confused, rebellious and revengeful.

To book your workshop now, email Susan at susanl@familysupport.net or call at 416-512-6356.

Back to Workshops

How to Communicate Effectively with Teenagers

How to Communicate Effectively with Teenagers

What Is Adolescence?

“Adolescence is unlike any other period in life. Above all, it is a time of transformation. It is not a single event, but a number of major changes coming within a relatively short period. These changes turn nice little children into intimidating adolescents.” “Get out of my life, but first could you drive me and Cheryl to the Mall?” By: Anthony E. Wolf, Ph.D.

The two main factors that shape teenagers are:

  1. The onset of sexuality
  2. Turning away from childhood and parents

The difference between teenage boys and teenage girls…

Teenage Boys:

Characteristics are the following…

  • spending a lot of time away from home
  • at home, spending a lot of time locked in their room with the radio on
  • very private- they do not like to talk to their parents (they especially avoid their mothers)- a lot of this has to do with their newly discovered sexual feelings which they wish to keep separate from their parents
  • typically (though not with everyone) boys do not engage in yelling matches with their parents- when they do, it’s usually very emotional and at times physical
  • boys become very good at doing nothing when they are home…it is not uncommon for them to spend all of their time either sleeping, listening to music, lying on the couch, watching TV, etc…
  • teenage boys tend to deal with their problems on their own
  • socially, boys are fairly accepting of their peers

Teenage Girls:

  • like boys, girls also like to separate themselves from their parents; but, they do it differently. Girls fight and oppose everything (usually in a loud, shrieking voice)
  • girls sneak around and can be prone to lying
  • teenage girls can have a better relationship with their father than with their mother
  • teenage girls are better at talking about their feelings
  • they tend to be disagreeing and criticizing
  • even though they fight, girls still use their parents for support and maintain more contact with their parents than teenage boys do

To book your workshop now, email Susan at susanl@familysupport.net or call at 416-512-6356.

Back to Workshops

How to Identify Children with High and Low Self-Esteem

How to Identify Children with High and Low Self-Esteem

Children with high self esteem……

  • Are willing to try new things
  • Have faith in their own abilities
  • Are willing to make decisions
  • Are willing take risks
  • Are independent
  • Feel confident
  • Have leadership qualities

Children with low self-esteem……

  • Feel unacceptable, incompetent and unlikeable
  • Are fearful of new interactions and new situations
  • Are shy or overly aggressive
  • Lack faith in their own abilities
  • Can be dependent on adults to do things for them
  • Lack autonomy
  • Can be immature
  • Follower

Some Common Effects of Low Self-Esteem:

  1. Lack of self-confidence- children have little confidence in their abilities.
  2. Poor performance- lack of self confidence may result in making little or no effort toward realizing projects or goals.
  3. Distorted view of self and others- children won’t give themselves credit for their accomplishments. They may think others look better in comparison. They may also believe that things just happen to them-they don’t make them happen.
  4. Unhappy personal life- negative people aren’t fun to be around. Children with low self-esteem find it hard to develop close relationships.

Some Factors that Influence Your Self-Esteem

  1. Relationships with your parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, etc… -experiences with family from birth right up to present.
  2. Relationships with childhood friends, and neighbours– experiences with clubs, sports, teams and hobbies.
  3. Relationships with classmates, teachers, administrators and counsellors– experiences with schoolwork, extracurricular activities, sports, discipline, etc…
  4. Relationships with members of different cultures, races and religions- experiences with standards and images created by others (i.e. the media).
  5. In general- positive experiences and fulfilling relationships help raise self-esteem. Negative experiences and troubled relationships tend to lower self-esteem. No single event or person can determine your level of self-esteem. It develops over time, constantly changing with experience.

To book your workshop now, email Susan at susanl@familysupport.net or call at 416-512-6356.

Back to Workshops