Fearless Parenting

Tammy Fisher, Ph.D. was named Washington State School Counselor of the Year in 2014. A former junior high teacher for 11 years, she has been a school counselor for the past twenty years, working with all levels: pre-K to high school. Parent, educator, counselor and researcher, Tammy has coached hundreds of adults with her books, columns, and published articles; supporting parents in managing the ongoing, ever-changing, challenges and joys of parenting children/students of all ages. In addition to her work at St. Thomas School, she is also a an adjunct professor in Counselor Education at Seattle Pacific University.

Highlights by Dr. Fisher (link to full outline inserted)

On Thursday, November 15, St. Thomas School and Open Window hosted speaker Jim Biscenius to speak to both parents and students about managing peer aggression and cruelty.  Not a fan of the word “bully” either, he taught 4-8th Graders and parents specific strategies to respond to social and peer cruelty.

Traveling over break? Take a minute to download the book talk presented to STS parents by authors Dr. Bill Stixrud and Ned Johnson, last Friday morning. You can listen to it like a podcast, as there are no visuals in the talk, simply deep wisdom for parenting. Bill and Ned spoke with a large room of parents on March 23rd, emphasizing research on how to support our children's ability to manage stress and empowering their own journey.

As you get deep into your holiday buying and planning, I wanted to remind you of a great resource which can inform gift purchases for your children in regard to games, movies, and other technical resources. Common Sense Media® is a non-profit organization that is sponsored by research-based organizations dedicated to supporting teachers, parents, students, and communities in making healthy and developmentally-appropriate choices in regards to digital consumerism.

Understanding a Growth Mindset

There is a significant growing body of research around the power of our mindset (growth or fixed) to influence how we perceive our own abilities and talents - as well as the abilities of others. Under the perspective of a growth mindset, we recognize that personality can change, intelligence can change, and abilities can change: with hard work and effort

Let's face it: We are all a bit socially challenged (but we all want relationship!)

Earlier last year I had a great opportunity (through the support of my school), to attend a riveting workshop by social thinking expert, Michelle Garcia Winner. This one-day training focused on the students (and adults) whom she calls Nuance Challenged Social Communicators (huh? what?). Wait. Don't stop reading yet. I promise to connect this to your own nuanced-world!

The phone rings, and caller I.D. says: ST. THOMAS SCHOOL. What happens first? Does your heart race? Excitement? Fear? Worry? Or is it the brain that kicks in first? What has my child done now? Is someone in trouble? Is my child sick? Is everyone safe? As I coach kids in understanding their feelings, practice problem-solving strategies and increase self-awareness, I often visit the idea that feelings are actually FED by our thoughts

Focusing on what is going right, what works best, and the ultimate power of our clarity in relationship

Where is the pedagogical "Best Practices" for parents? In most professional fields, there is a body of researched skills and approaches that are deemed "best." While many of these may change with demands of the client, business and technology, some factors are still stable. This idea is common in education – and as I coach parents in my weekend parent success group, I find that this really is the case for parenting, too. Best practices? Of course! What amazes me in each parent conversation is how many of those best practices we already do – or take for granted. And also how quick we are to be self-critical about the Not-So-Best Practice we fell into when we were yelling at a tantruming toddler or lecturing our teen.

What a wonderful reunion this past week has been. New faces, old faces, new stories, old memories. Back to school where everything old is new again. As St. Thomas School's counselor, I have the wonderful opportunity of teaching weekly in all grades (PreKindergarten to 8th), and working with the cross-divisions of grades: the strengths, the challenges, and the edgework that happens for every student. I will endeavor to write a short blog regularly, sharing articles, research, thought-provoking ideas, new books, and resources to support our shared mission of building capacity and potential in our students.