Monday, November 24, 2014

Three Ways a Grateful Heart is Good for You

Three Ways a Grateful Heart is Good for You

You've got to accentuate the positive! Counting your blessings is more than just a good idea, it actually helps you feel better. Here are three reasons a grateful heart is a good for you:

1. Your mind can only think of one thing at a time.  Positive or negative.  You choose. Which do you prefer. (Hint: if you choose positive, the negative is automatically cancelled out!)

2.  When you focus on gratitude or thankfulness, your mind will start looking for more of it.  The more you do it, the better you become at it.  Sheer brilliance!

3.  Whatever you pay attention to, you get more of.  Like attracts like. Focus on the good, and more good will come.

We all have frustrations and aggravating things going on in our lives.  So, when we say focus on the good, we are acknowledging that things aren't perfect, we're just choosing what to pay attention to. That's very empowering.

Teach Your Children Well

One of the best ways we know to teach your children all of the above is by doing it yourself!  You can also "talk out loud" about the above concepts and help your kids see the mental process behind "thinking positive", as well as provide family activities (such as those listed below) to help your kids become more grateful.

Want a few simple ways to help your gratitude grow?

Gratitude Journal Start a gratitude journal for your entire family.  Leave it sitting on the counter with plenty of colored markers or pencils and let everyone have at it, as the mood strikes.

Thankful Tree Get a fallen branch off a tree and use it to create an indoor "thankful tree".  Punch a hole in small squares of paper, thread a colorful ribbon through each one and leave in a basket by your "tree".  Allow family members to fill them out with things for which they are thankful and hang on the tree.  Collect and save them through the years.

Thankful Tablecloth My grandmother started a tradition long ago with a cloth tablecloth and a permanent marker. She invited everyone to sign their name, what they were thankful for and the year. She only brought it out on Thanksgiving, but you can use yours whenever your family gathers!

How does your family try to keep an attitude of gratitude?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Grieving Teens: When to Get Professional Help

Grieving Teens: When to Get Professional Help

There are many reactions grieving teens experience that are considered within the normal realm of grief responses, as we spoke about in this article.  Now we turn our attention to symptoms to be aware of and what to look for when deciding if your teen needs outside help for grief.  We’ll also share the important red flags that require immediate intervention.  These are issues for which you shouldn’t wait to get help.

Here are symptoms to monitor:

Sleep Difficulties


Low self-esteem

Chronic Depression

Academic failure/Indifference to school

Withdrawing from relationships with family and friends

Grief can look a lot like the items on the list above. Teens may experience any of the above symptoms even when not grieving, which can make things a little tricky.  Generally, if the issues are caused by grief, you will see them begin to resolve over time.  Early grief is trying for everyone.

If you notice your teen having any of the above issues and the symptoms don’t resolve within a few months (six months is generally the time-frame experts recommend for these issues to resolve after the loss), it is advised to seek professional help. 

When to Act Immediately/Red Flag Behaviors

If a teen is engaging in the following risk-taking behaviors, those issues should be addressed as soon as they become apparent:

Drug Use

Alcohol Use

Sexual Activity

Physical Violence

Reckless Driving

These behaviors are not just a “phase” and they can lead to life-changing complications if left unchecked.

Where to Get Help

There are a few places you can look for help, or use as a starting point for a referral, if needed:

School counselor


Hospice Program

Clinical Social Workers


To help a teen who is having a particularly hard time with his or her loss, explore the full spectrum of helping services in your community. School counselors, church groups and private therapists are appropriate resources for some young people, while others may just need a little more time and attention from caring adults like you. When in doubt, err on the side of caution and seek the input of a professional.  The important thing is that you help the grieving teen find safe and nurturing emotional outlets at this difficult time.

For more help with grieving teens, 
find our exclusive resource HERE!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

When Kids and Teens Grieve: Remembering a Parent

When Kids and Teens Grieve: Remembering a Deceased Parent

I’ve been called upon to assist grieving children and teens for more than two decades.  It is never easy, and always humbling.  I have learned more from them about the power of the human spirit, resiliency and determination than they have ever learned from me. 
Whether a parent dies of a long drawn out illness, a sudden accident, suicide or murder (and I’ve been tasked with helping kids/teens with all of the aforementioned), grief drains us physically, emotionally and psychologically.  It is an exhausting process, and one with no time limit.  It’s easy to imagine how challenging grief is for kids and teens, given their lack of life experiences, limited coping skills and their very real need for a parent who has passed away. In the midst of grief and finding a “new” normal, it’s important to offer kids and teens an opportunity to find ways to memorialize their loved parent.

Ideas for Remembering a Deceased Parent

Due to developmental differences, we've broken this down into ideas for younger kids and teens.

Younger Kids:

Create a memory garden.  Allow the child to select the types of flowers to memorialize the parent.  Did the parent have a favorite flower or flowers that the child wants to include in the garden?  Is there a particular flower that reminds the child of the parent? Let the child take the lead. Ask lots of questions. Encourage the child to sketch out a plan for the garden (you will likely have to help determine how large the area will be and where it will be located).  Live in a small space or apartment with no yard? No worries. Stick to a potted plant or terrarium!

Create a handmade book about the parent. Allow the child to be as creative as possible. Create with your own paper and when finished, either staple it together, use a paper punch and yarn or ribbon, or consider sending the book away to be bound! The child may wish to work on a little each day, or make the entire book at once.  Let it be his or her choice!

Create a collage or scrapbook dedicated to the parent. Gather scrapbook materials, such as the book, markers, embellishments and plenty of pictures of the parent and the child with the parent.  Allow the child to create away.  This will likely be a project that takes a while.  No rush!

Create a memory box.  Decorate an old shoebox and add trinkets and odds and ends that remind the child of the parent.  Maybe an old watch, pictures, or other keepsakes that the child can hold, think about and look at when he or she is missing the deceased parent.


Donate a bench in the parent’s memory.  Make it a golf bench in the parent’s name at the local golf course, if the parent was an avid golfer. Or donate a park bench to the local playground, if that was more reflective of where the parent may have spent time.

Establish a scholarship in the parent’s name. Make it reflective of something the parent did for a living, or a dream they had of doing.  If the parent always dreamed of learning how to pilot a plane, award the scholarship to somebody planning on going into the field of aviation.  If the parent was a fabulous cook, consider awarding the scholarship to somebody studying culinary arts.  Let the teen think about and come up with a fitting scholarship.  Wondering how to raise money for the scholarship?  Why not organize an annual fun walk/run in the parent’s name, with all proceeds going towards the scholarship?

Donate books in the parent’s name.  Donate books on a subject the parent loved to the local library.  On a book plate, have the parent’s name engraved.

Create a memory garden. See above. It’s the same idea as with the younger child, only you can allow the teen more freedom.  Encourage the teen to do some research about the flowers…perennials vs. annuals, which flowers grow best in your locale, etc.  Does the teen wish to add any fun or funky, personalized memento of the parent, such as a stepping stone that represents the parent?  Let the sky be the limit.

For Kidlutions' exclusive resources that help with grief: Go HERE for children and HERE for teens.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Grieving Teens and Their Unique Needs

Grieving Teens Have Unique Needs

Being a teenager is difficult enough.  Add to it the stress of grieving a loss and things can become overwhelming. A bereaved teen has a whole new layer of stress added upon whatever stressors were already present: grades, sports, jobs, friendships, relationships and more.

Developmental Differences in Grief

Because of their developmental phase, teens have a completely different experience from both childhood grief and adult grief. Teens understand much more about the permanence of the loss than do children, but they do not yet possess the coping skills of an adult.

Developmentally, teens are trying to establish their own identity, seeking independence from their parents and identifying more with peers than with family.  Anything that makes teens stand apart from or appear “different” than their peers is something most teens will avoid.  Grief and bereavement are something that can make a teen feel “different”.  For many, a loss in the teen years may represent a first-time grief experience.

Peers May Not Be Able to Help

Strong peer affiliation is an important part of the teen years.  It is normal and expected that teens seek most of their support from peers, yet their own-aged cohort generally has limited experience with grief.  The people teens lean on most and rely on for assistance and guidance, may struggle to offer care to their teen friend due to lack of experience with bereavement themselves. 

The Struggle is Real

So, what can you do? You may know that your teen’s peer group has difficulty supporting him, and you also know your teen has been resistant to talking to you.  Should you get outside help?  Is it really necessary? You may wonder if and when a teen needs extra support to deal with grief. 

It can be a tough call, but when in doubt, we say err on the side of caution.  A qualified and licenses mental health person can assess your teen and let you know if services are needed.

Stay Tuned...

In our next post, we’ll be covering symptoms to be aware of and what you should look for when deciding if your teen needs outside help for grief.  We’ll also share the important red flags that require immediate intervention, and issues for which you shouldn’t wait to get help. 

If you are looking for resources to help grieving teens, 
our newest release is now available.
Scroll down to learn more.
Our clinician's pack is being released first,
with individual units for home use
available if you contact me directly
at compcounseling at sbcglobal dot net.


Go HERE to learn more!

Our Complete Clinician's Combo Set 
is available to provide for any teen
clients experiencing the loss of a mother or father.

See the areas covered below:


Included is the BONUS MANUAL (below), which
gives you alternative, creative ways to use these 
workbooks in groups, to use in paperless settings, etc.

An Exclusive Mini-Workbook

The only thing mini about this workbook is it's size (it folds in half, lengthwise).
This workbook boasts 30 pages of prompts to help kids deal with 
multiple types of losses (from death, break-ups and more).

Find it all HERE!

Workbooks for Grieving Teens

This product is an instant download.

Grieving Teens Have Unique Needs

Grieving teens stand apart from grieving children and grieving adults.  Their unique needs come about due to their developmental status.  We've talked a bit about that in our recent article, which you can find HERE.

We've been busy for some time, creating teen-worthy grief workbooks that help with parental loss. One of our very first products was a grief workbook for children, which remains a top-seller to this day.  Since I've worked with many grieving teens, I thought it time to bring it all together in a resource that could serve teens in other settings, other cities and other countries. It's been a long time coming and I'm so proud to share this with the world.

Complete Clinician's Combo Set

Our Complete Clinician's Combo Set is available exclusively at Kidlutions.  This set is available at a deeply discounted price from purchasing each workbook separately.  The covers are full color, and the inside prompts, quotes and thoughts are done in black and white for ease of printing. You'll get close to 240 pages...PLUS...a BONUS MANUAL with creative ways to use your workbooks...PLUS...a mini-workbook (still in production, but will automatically be emailed to you within a one week period, after final edits are complete).  

Here's What You Get:

Included in this set is:
The Entire Collection for Teen Guys

The Entire Collection for Teen Girls

with creative ways to use the workbooks
in groups and paperless settings...
that's right, you don't even have to print
these to use them.  We'll show you how!

Valued at $20.00


An Exclusive Mini-Workbook
to help with any loss!

Valued at $20.00

The only thing "mini" about this workbook is its size (it folds in half, lengthwise).
This workbook boasts 30 pages of prompts to help kids deal with 
multiple types of losses (from death, break-ups and more).

Total Package Value is $200.00

All of this will retail for $160.00
for the complete set.

However, as an 
you can get the FULL package, 
including BONUSES,
 now for
JUST $80.00
for a limited time!

                                          Add to Cart

The whole enchilada for the cost of two workbooks.

It's like buying two and getting two free...
not to mention the bonuses!

Your Time is Valuable...We KNOW!

As a clinician, you know your time is valuable.  You want resources that make a difference and get at the heart of your client's issues, without spending a small fortune and robbing you of  your precious personal time. You'll get your money back after using just one of these workbooks one time. The value is evident.

The clinician's workbooks are licensed for you to use with as many therapists at one site 
as you would like, with as many clients as you would like. If you plan on using these
resources at multiple sites, however, we ask that you contact us at HERE for special pricing to obtain a license for your other sites.  At just $20.00 per extra site, we know it's a bargain. Our wish is to make this affordable to agencies that span large geographical regions with multiple sites.  

Don't Just Take Our Word for It!
Why Should You Trust Us?

Kidlutions has been in business for close to 20 years and online for eight years.  We are respected and recognized worldwide as a provider of resources and services from the early childhood arena through the teen years.  We have worked hard to gain your trust and keep it.  We wouldn't compromise on that.  

Grief is one of our specialties and we have contributed to books, magazines and online venues about grieving children and teens for decades.  We have provided trainings about grief and loss and youth to schools, hospice programs and more. The founder of Kidlutions and creator of these workbooks, Wendy Young, secured a grant in the past that provided resources and services to grieving children and teens in 18 school districts in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.  Her ideas on grief were featured in Healing Magazine and Chicken Soup for the Caregiver's Soul. Her workbook for grieving children, "How Long Does the Sad Last?" has helped thousands of children around the world.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Problem Solving Printable: Talkin' Turkey

Find this printable HERE!

Helping Kids Become Problem Solvers 

Helping kids become problem-solvers, especially when it comes to social skills, is something best done when the child is calm, cool and collected and can think of appropriate ways to resolve the issue at hand.  As with any skill, teaching social-emotional tools is best done by repetition. 
Our FREE printable is from our Talkin' Turkey workbook.  The printable can be used with younger or older kids. They can be invited to write or draw about a way they can solve a problem. Provide support and encouragement, as needed.

Talkin' Turkey 

Talkin' Turkey means two different sides come together to talk over a situation and resolve it.  When kids are having a difficult time socially, they can learn to "Talk Turkey".  It's a cute and memorable way to drive home this important social convention.  The printable above is just one of the many pages of ideas and activities we have in store for you in our newest resource: Talkin' Turkey: A Conflict Resolution Unit for the Early Years.

Find the complete resource,
at the best price 


How do you help kids solve conflict?

Conflict Resolution for Kids: Talkin' Turkey

40% OFF NOW!

Conflict Resolution for Kids 

Helping kids learn how to resolve conflict is a major life skill.  When we start teaching it in the early years, kids far much better across the lifespan. Research in emotional intelligence shows us this crucial social skill assists children in all areas of their lives, including academic pursuits.  

Want a Smarter Kid? Teach Him How to Get Along with Others 

With the push for teaching kids the ABCs, reading and math, we sometimes overlook the crucial area of social-emotional intelligence.  Make no mistake, helping our kids deal with disappointment, sadness, anger and feelings of all sorts, goes a long, long way towards their overall success in life.

Kidlutions is your proud partner from early childhood through the teen years in helping you bring these ideas to life in memorable, fun and meaningful ways, to drive these concepts home and help even the youngest of children begin to build pathways in the brain that lead to success in all facets of their lives.

Talkin' Turkey: Not Just for Thanksgiving

Looking for a way to start teaching conflict resolution in the early years?  We've got you covered! Our "Talkin' Turkey" resource is chock full of ideas and activities to do just that.

Just $6.00 (40% OFF NOW!)

Add to Cart

Here's what you get:

What's Inside:

Complete directions to introduce the concept and carry out the activities.


Problem Solving Ideas and Worksheets
Versions for Older and Younger Kids

A Craftivity

Wishbone Worksheet
Versions for Older and Younger Kids

5 Ways to Extend the Learning
Awesome Ways to S~T~R~E~T~C~H this resource!

Full color on the cover and posters
Black & white inside pages to save on ink.
(All may be printed in grayscale, if you prefer.)

Conflict Buster for Early Childhood

Help kids start learning these skills today for a calmer home or classroom!

$6.00 NOW on SALE

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When it comes to conflict resolution:
Trust the Turkey!

May be used year round!

Get yours now!

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JUST $6.00

                                               Add to Cart

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Stop Sibling Rivalry: 8 Strategies that Work


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Self-Esteem for Teens in Difficult Times

Self-Esteem for Teens in Difficult Times

Being a teen is tough enough. Add to it some tough times, like having a break-up, failing a core class, school drama, relocation or having your parents divorce and it can be double-trouble for your self-esteem.

When some of life’s biggest bummers take place, we tend to take the blame and feel that we are somehow personally responsible for all the negative things that happen around us.  When we’re thinking our best, we may realize this is untrue, but it's harder during times of struggle to feel good about ourselves!

Here are some simple strategies to put into play to give your self-esteem a boost during trying times:

1.     Be Hopeful. The power of your mind is incredible. Did you know that if you're in a situation that you truly believe is hopeless, your chances of changing that situation are drastically impaired? If you believe things can and will get better, your chances of improving the situation (or at least how you feel about it) are greatest. That’s the best reason we can think of to keep looking up, keep believing and keep holding out for the best. ALWAYS!

      Being hopeful doesn't mean things will go back to the way they were.  It doesn't that you'll get back together with a love interest, find out you got 93% correct on the test rather than 23%, that your parents will reunite or that the school drama will disappear with the snap of your fingers. No. That's not what being hopeful is about. Being hopeful means you can see beyond what is happening in the here and now, and recognize things won't always feel as tough as they do in one particular moment. 

Believing that things will improve will also help you feel more confident about yourself. You'll feel more positive heading into the right direction, and your self-esteem will increase.

2.     Accentuate the Positive. Negative things happen in everyone’s life, even though you may not see that from afar. You may think some people get all the breaks, while unfortunate events continue to intrude into your life. That’s really not the case. It’s a fact: nobody’s life if perfect! Remind yourself of that when you think you’re the “only one” with troubles.  It’s just not so.

You’ve likely heard the saying "Things could be worse." Try to focus your attention onto what you have that is good. Whether it's great friends, caring parents or teachers, a roof over your head or food in your stomach; focus on what is positive and special in your life. Go ahead…list what’s working in your life!

3.     De-stress with “You Time”. When things aren’t going according to your plan, it can be very stressful. This clearly doesn’t help you feel good about yourself. More than likely, you're not taking any time out for the most important person in your life: you.

Allow yourself some time to relax and regroup. It makes a huge difference! Make the time to do something that you thoroughly enjoy doing. It can be alone or with family or a trusted friend - whatever relaxes you the most.

Read a book, take a bubble bath, draw, or dance around the house to your favorite music. Anything that can relieve some of that stress you're feeling will make a big difference.

Life sometimes presents us with difficult situations with which we're not prepared to deal. During these times, pay really close attention to your thoughts.  Move away from the negative and towards the positive. Your self-esteem will be strengthened, along with your belief in a better outcome.

In Summary 

Three things lead to feeling better about your situation and yourself, even in difficult times.

  1. What you believe about things getting better.
  2. What you choose to focus on and think about. Always choose the positive.
  3. How you take care of and treat yourself.

The Best News of All

The best news of all is that while you cannot control all of the events that happen in your life, you can control all three of the things that can help you feel better! It feels better just knowing that, doesn’t it?

What do you think?

Tell us below in the comments.

Need more resources that help teens?  Check out 

and, to help tweens and teens with over-the-top feelings, try our resource for therapists and counselors to use with tweens, teens or adults: 

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