28. Avoiding TACOS with Nancy Willard
Episode 2827th September 2023 • Counselor Chat Podcast • Carol Miller, School Counselor
00:00:00 00:59:52

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Today we are talking with Nancy Willard, the director of Embrace Civility, a program designed to helps empower students to understand their behaviors, while creating positive school climates andunderstanding cultural competance. Nancy has degrees in special education and law, taught “at risk” children, practiced computer law, and was an educational technology and digital safety consultant. 

Nancy is here to share how to best handle situations when students are dysregulated. You’ll hear about what to avoid in these situations (otherwise known as TACOS) in order to promote a positive and safe learning environment. Nancy also gives some helpful calming strategies and coping mechanisms that you and your students can use when faced with triggering situations.

Plus, Nancy sheds light on the impact of trauma on the brain, the power of kindness, and the role of accountability in creating a harmonious community. All of these practical tips would be great to share with teachers in your school for supporting dysregulated children.

Topics Discussed:

  • The parts of the brain involved in the dysregulation process
  • The lifecycle of a triggering event leading to an outburst
  • What ‘TACOS’ stands for, and why we want to avoid it
  • How you can communicate with students when they are having an outburst
  • What to do after a student begins to calm down
  • The difference between reactive triggering and intentional misbehavior 
  • Implementing an accountability process if a student needs to remedy any harm done
  • Trigger prevention strategies to teach students
  • Seven “be positively powerful” strategies 

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with Nancy:

Nancy's Books:

Grab the Show Notes: Counselingessentials.org/podcast

Join Perks Counseling Club Membership and get the lessons, small group and individual counseling materials you need. Join now and get your first month free when you sign up for 3 months!

Connect with Carol:

Mentioned in this episode:

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Carol: You're listening to the Counselor Chat Podcast, a show for school counselors looking for easy to implement strategies, how to tips, collaboration, and a little spark of joy. I'm Carol Miller, your host. I'm a full time school counselor and the face behind counseling essentials. I'm all about creating simplified systems, data driven practices, and using creative approaches to age students. If you're looking for a little inspiration to help you make a big impact on student growth and success, you're in the right place, because we're better together.

Carol: Ready to chat?

Carol: Let's dive in.

Carol: And welcome everyone to the Counselor Chat Podcast. I'm your host, Carol, and with me today, I have Nancy Willard. Now, Nancy is a former special educator, and she's here with us today to talk about her project, the Civility Project. I think I have that right. Nancy, you want to jump in there?

shed on Cyberbullying back in:

Carol: Awesome. Great. So what I can do for everyone, too, just so that they know, is I will get those addresses from you, those web addresses, and I will link those into the show notes so that if people want to visit you and check everything out, that they are certainly free to.

Nancy: I would love that. And I'll give a special offer to anyone who comes over from you for the parent courses. I will give them a free coupon so they can review them.

Carol: Okay, awesome. Thank you.

Nancy: Yeah.

Carol: Well, we are really here today because I saw one of your posts in the Facebook group talking about your new Facebook group first Embracing Civility, and then you started talking about tacos, and not like, the tacos that you eat, but tacos. And I was really intrigued. So really what I'm hoping is that you can kind of explain tacos to everyone and really what school counselors can do to, I guess, embrace ability.

Nancy: Think about this as also how to talk with classified staff and teachers on how to deal with the issues of students who are dysregulating. So, first of all, we need to understand what parts of the brain are involved in this dysregulation process, and there are four. The amygdala and the hippocampus are both lower brain activities, and the AC cortex is the midbrain, and prefrontal cortex is the higher brain. The other thing that we need to understand is that neurons create synapses or neural pathways. And those neural pathways guide how we respond, our thinking, and our behaviors. In certain situations, our brain naturally focuses on bad things. The reason for that is survival. I mean, if a caveman didn't pay attention to signs of saber toothed tiger around, that would kind of be the end of a sad story. So the memories of those bad things are stored in the hippocampus, and that includes all situations that involve trauma and toxic stress. Those memories are just stuck in there. The typical responses are stored in the neural pathways, and those responses can also be when a student has experienced trauma or toxic stress. Those typical responses can include hyper, vigilance, and overreactivity. So we have to understand the role that these two parts of the brain play. Whenever there's a triggering event that triggering, what happens is and I'm not sure which responds first, the hippocampus or the amygdala. But they say the hippocampus says memory of past danger, and the amygdala says, I'm not safe. Now, this reaction can be profoundly fast. Think of the return veteran who has PTSD and how they respond to a loud noise. The hippocampus is saying, loud noise, danger. The amygdala is saying, I'm not safe. Boom. They've triggered. This is also what I think happens so frequently in school, is something little happens. Something, from our perspective, is minor. But because the student has these bad memories stored in their hippocampus, it causes them to feel unsafe, and it triggers their neural pathways to respond in their typical manner, which is getting upset. And the other thing that happens when the hippocampus and amygdala have responded is there's an increase in blood flow, increase in respiration, increase in cortisol, and increase in adrenaline. They are preparing. The body is preparing itself for fight or flight, and both the AC cortex and the prefrontal cortex are disconnected. Now, there's actually a biological reason for that related to that saber tooth tiger, and that is that the brain doesn't want to take the time to think things through if they've got to get away from that tiger. So what we need to understand is the wonderful process of neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the brain can change. We can help young people add more good memories to their hippocampus, which will reduce the potential that they are going to trigger. And we can help them create new neural pathways to support more positive thoughts and actions. And the term I like to use is social, emotional, growth mindset. Now, I love the work of Carol Dweck on mindset, but so much of that it really focuses on academic growth. I think we need to have a actually, I've named it separately. This is in my book. Engage students to embrace civility, social, emotional growth mindset. That means that just because I usually trigger and overreact, I have the ability to change. Now, I might not have figured that out yet. We love the word yet when we're talking about growth mindset, but I have the ability to change and grow.

Carol: Great. That's all our resiliency.

Nancy: Yeah, that is all resiliency. Okay. So the next thing we need to understand, and this is what all staff working with young people need to understand is that there's a life cycle of a triggering event that leads to an outburst. And I've seen various forms of this, the one that I include, and I've actually used various words in different books, so I maybe am not totally consistent, but is that you're calm. There's a trigger, the anxiety builds to an outburst, and then there's a decrease and regain calm again. So what the point that we really need to focus on is before and right after a student has triggered. If we can help them gain greater insight and greater skills to know how to respond, to predict that they are going to trigger or know how to respond immediately when they have triggered so that they can keep their AC cortex and their prefrontal cortex engaged, then we can essentially flatten the curve. We want to go calm, trigger regulate calm. So if they have triggered and if they're going into build, there is one thing and one priority only. They don't feel safe. The entire focus has to be on supporting this child to be safe. Now we get to Tacos. We got through the appetizers. Now we're at Tacos. Okay? Now, Taco is a term that I learned someplace online, and it's brilliant. And I have lost the citation, and I have searched and searched for it because I'd like to honor whoever came up with this brilliant idea, and I have been unable to find it. So Tacos is what we don't want. Tacos stands for T threat. If you don't calm down right now, you're going to be taken to the office. A is arguments C, and I can't remember what the original C was, but C could include criticism, coercion, or commands. So you have two choices calm down right now or someone will remove you from class. O is orders, lose control again and get your life in order. And S is shaming or sarcasm. You should be able to do better than that. What are you doing? All of those kinds of things. Now, any use of one of those elements of a Taco is going to create greater feelings of danger and lack of safety. So last year, there was such a need for substitutes, and I was doing a variety of things, but I had time to substitute. And so I signed up to substitute in a district. And I am sad to say I saw so many, way too many examples of Tacos, and this was from both teachers and classified aides. I saw a child who was Dysregulated, and the teacher had blocked her into the corner with some physical room pieces and was yelling at her to calm down. Another situation where a child had become dysregulated, threw some chairs down, was sitting under the desk, and the aide was standing up there. She was being calm, but she was saying, you have two choices. You can either anyway, it was basically not safe for the child and every single situation. Was a kid using or was the staff member engaging in one of the Tacos? So what do we need to do instead? I'm not letting you jump in and ask questions.

Carol: I'm listening. So I think it's really true. We have, I think, all these situations in schools where kids do become dysregulated and they do start having emotional meltdowns or maybe they are becoming unsafe to themselves or to others, and then the adult in the room just doesn't know how to respond in a way that helps to calm the student down.

Nancy: Right? There are three things that I want to see improved, and that's my goal through this podcast with you and with the course that I want to create. One is, how do you respond when they are just about to trigger or have triggered and it's blown if they're at outburst level? How can you respond in a way that communicates you are safe? That will allow them to calm down? The second is, what steps can you take in prevention so that the next time they trigger, they might not explode quite so much, they're able to better self regulate. And then the third is, what do you do in response? Do you punish them? So we need to talk about that also. Okay? So when a child is triggering, when it's building, or even in the outburst, your response has to communicate you are safe. And the very first thing that you have to do as the adult in the situation and trust me, I have failed in this. I haven't gotten this behavior consistent yet. But when you fail, you have to look back and say, oh, I didn't handle that very well. I learned what I shouldn't do. That is social, emotional growth, mindset, the failure. I failed. I need to evaluate why I failed and realize that I just haven't gotten everything down effectively yet. Okay, so the first thing that every adult has to do is realize they need to stay in control of their behavior. They need to have a calm body, supportive face, any movements, arm movements need to be slow and nonthreatening. It is exceptionally helpful to get down to the student's eye level and to maintain responsive eye contact with the student. Although if you've got a student who's on the spectrum, don't force eye contact but strive to maintain a calm, quiet, attentive focus and respect personal space. Don't click closer than 3ft and don't reach out to touch them.

Carol: Yeah, I think that's really important. There's so many kids that I know that when they're triggered like that they don't want somebody to put their arm around them or no.

Nancy: That is a saber tooth tiger putting his paw around my neck. We've got a kid who's not thinking their amygdala and hippocampus are under control. So the next thing is to really do some deep audible, slow, deep audible breathing, hoping that they will follow. Now don't give them the command. Remember, c is command. Don't give them the command. Breathe deeply. Now just model deep breathing and the initial responses should be responses that validate both their feelings and their reasons for their feelings. Or you may be in a situation where you need to inquire about the reasons for their feelings. And this is reflective listening. Reflective listening all the way. Now, I learned how to do reflective listening when I was at the University of Utah studying to be a teacher and I became a member of a volunteer corps. No, I became a member of a hotline where we responded to other students who were in distress. So we all learned how to do reflective listening and that is exactly what needs to happen in these situations. I realize you're upset, you look, name the emotion. I think this might be because name the reason or can you help me understand what you're feeling and why? And then the process is to stay in reflective listening mode until they are feeling that they're being heard and can calm down and may take a little time or a long time, but for as long as you're staying in that reflective listening mode, they are feeling heard and that's going to help them feel safe.

Carol: Right? I think one of the things too, especially for school counselors, is that this is usually why we're called into a classroom to come and deliver these exact things that you were just talking about, right? The model, the breathing to kind of get down at their level, to try to find the way to get the kiddo to just relax and to take those breaths and to use that reflective listening. I'm always mindset that I should not be the first one called that. The teacher is the one who has to really build that relationship first with that kid right in their class. It's how they respond. And I think moving forward, what they do at that moment can definitely change things that happen the next time around.

Nancy: The classified aides are the ones who are out on the playground when a kid's becoming Dysregulated or on a school bus. Well, they might not have sufficient time for a lot of reflective listening, but even every single staff person needs to understand how to handle an intervention with a child who's becoming dysregulated. And we've got to help them all understand what's going on in this kid's brain so that they don't start yelling at the kid and creating greater stress which is not going to calm this kid down. Every single person in the school needs to understand how to do this. And then it would also be probably helpful for a lot of the parents to learn what's happening and how to do this. After the child has gotten to a point of calmness where they can engage, then I suggest offering some kind of a calming activity. Fidget toy. Go to calming spot, read a book, look at their computer. They all have these little laptop computers now would you like to watch a fun video on the computer? And then after they've had a chance to calm a little more, it would really be helpful if somebody could come and take them for a walk. Because what they've got is a build up of cortisol and adrenaline, which is in their body and it's going to prevent them from truly calming and relaxing until they can get rid of that. And physical activity is the best way to do that.

Carol: Now Nancy, I have a question for you because I can just imagine if I said to my teachers, okay, it's great, you got to know they're calming down. Now let's give them a little activity to further reduce their anxiety. And if I was to say to them offer up a video, I could just hear them giving me a little lecture of how could I reward them with a video when they were just so awful.

Nancy: Yeah, okay.

Carol: How do you get around that?

Nancy: Yeah, really good. And I'm going to have to absolutely. I need to incorporate that in the training. And this gets to the third. How do you respond? They did not intentionally misbehave and we have to understand the difference between reactive triggering and intentional misbehavior. Now if they have engaged in intentional misbehavior, we do not want to reward them. But if they have reactively triggered they didn't plan this. They have calmed down enough to be able to engage in this activity. Okay. And I will discuss rewards. But they need to be able to do something more that will get them better relaxed and this is not a reward. This is a way to help them relax and then that needs to be also may need to be explained to the other students. Johnny just got really upset and Johnny needs a little more time to get relaxed and we want to have Johnny relax and join us for the next activity. Right. Don't you way this isn't a reward. This is just a way to help Johnny be able to relax a little.

Carol: Great.

Nancy: Now after they have combed is the time for some kind of an accountability process. Okay. If they triggered and caused harm to someone, then they should have an obligation to remedy the harm. So if they triggered and this is not punishment, this is a restorative practice, they are going to remedy the harm. So we talk with them and say, hey, you know what, you kind of disrupted the whole class. I know you didn't intend to do this, you reacted and triggered, but you did cause harm. So this is the important point. Even if they not the intentional, if you intentionally cause harm, you absolutely have to remedy the harm. But even if something just happened and you caused harm, you have an obligation to remedy that harm. Now, I have a recommendation on a remedy that will also help this student recover relationships with the other classmates. And this number two and might be positively powerful strategies is reach out to be kind. I also recommend this as a requirement for any student who's engaged in bullying and all of their hurtful supporters. If they have engaged in bullying, they should have not only require remedy of harm to any individual student they have harmed, or staff member they have harmed, they have an obligation of remedy of harm to the school community. So the remedy of harm that I recommend is that they have an obligation to reach out to be kind to.

Carol: Other students and how would they go about doing that?

Nancy: Okay, then the next step is you talk to them. How could you be kind to somebody else in this class? What are the things you can do that would be kind to them? Could you pick up a pencil? If their pencil has fallen, could you tell them what a great job they did on that answer? So you go through a whole bunch of things, a whole bunch of ways that this student can be kind and then you place an obligation on them. So for the next week to remedy the harm to our class, I want you to be kind to five people every day. And at the end of the day, you pay attention to who you are kind to. At the end of the day, we'll talk about the five people who you were kind to, what you did, how that made them feel and how it made you feel. Now, there's an important reason for this reach out to be kind consequence remedy of harm, and that is that there is research that shows that if kids consistently reach out to be kind to others, this increases their peer acceptance. And the kids who typically trigger generally have very low peer acceptance. And sometimes it is the responses they get from other students that causes them to trigger. So if we can increase their peer acceptance, we will reduce the situations that are causing them to trigger. And a consistent practice of reaching out to be kind to others can do that. There's research that documents that is that fun and creative.

Carol: Yeah, I know that at my school, and I'm just speaking from my experiences, we do the whole restitution type thing.

Carol: We call it making amends.

Carol: And in fact, I just have been going into my kindergarten first grade classes this past week, and we talking about what do we do if we hurt someone, whether maybe it was intentional or by accident, but what do we do? And so we talk about making amends and how we apologize. And then that next step to making an amends is more than just saying we're sorry. It's about doing something to back it up. And so I think going out and being kind to others is definitely a way to back that up.

Nancy: Yeah, it's exactly the same. However, from my perspective, not only is it if you have harmed an individual, you need to make amends. I call it remedy the harm, make amends, whatever. Not only if you did something that also caused a disruption at school or caused other students to feel bad because they saw you treating somebody else bad, you have an obligation to make amends to your classroom, to your community. And the way you do that is reaching out to be kind to others. And for teenagers, I also suggest the requirement that the reaching out to be kind to others is to others who are outside of your social group. And in my book, engage students to embrace civility. The last chapter is how do you do an accountability process that incorporates all of the requirements under civil rights regulations for responding to serious or persistent hurtful situations. That is essentially an accountability restorative process where they are required, they are talked with until they get to the point where they say, yeah, I did something that was wrong, accept personal responsibility for their wrongdoing. And this is not only the student who was hurtful, but every single one of their supporters who were present or supporting this. So yeah, I did this, it was wrong. These are the steps that I will take to make amends to the person who I harmed. And then the school imposes another step of making amends or remedying the harm. And that is this obligation of reaching out to be kind to others for a period of time that the principal, whoever else is responding, decides may be necessary to get this student on a path of kindness instead of being hurtful to get attention.

Carol: Right. So really, the whole I think process is to really maybe start if this is something that you're going to do in your school, is to really start with doing some training with your staff members of how to respond to that student, to really understand how to de escalate student behaviors. And from there, look at restorative approaches.

Nancy: Yeah, they don't need to be punished. They have triggered they didn't intentionally engage in this behavior. Punishment is hurtful because what punishment does is it destroys trust.

Carol: Right?

at's happening between around:

Carol: So my kids will tell you, I know all about being hangry.

Nancy: Yeah. Anyway, so understand what commonly triggers you so that if this happens, you know that you might trigger and then know what steps you can take so that even if you have triggered, you're not going to get all upset, you're not going to flip your lid. You're going to trigger, and then you're going to get yourself back to calm. Now, there are three things. Two or three at a younger age, I would only do two. Two things that they should immediately do and know that they should immediately do, and that is to take some deep breaths and to hold themselves tall. Now, I have kids practice feeling small and holding themselves tall. It's based on research by Amy Cuddy at the School of Business at Harvard. If you hold yourself tall, you feel more powerful, which means you're going to feel more safe.

Carol: Right. In my school, we call it the superhero pose.

Nancy: Yep.

Carol: So I will have them stand like superheroes, and it works.

Nancy: Absolutely. And I have a picture of a donkey. I'll have to see if I can send it to you, where what they do is they hold themselves totally tall, and so you hold yourself tall. The other example that's really great is the video from Frozen. Let it go. At the beginning, she is crushed over, feeling totally helpless. And then midway through, she holds herself up and feels tall and proud and takes care of things. So anyway, those two things, at an older level, they could also think, I can't control what happens, but I can control how I respond or if somebody's being hurtful to them, I'm not going to let that person cause me to lose my cool. They can do that, but I am going to be in control of how I feel about myself and how I respond. Okay, so then with the student, make a list of three to five actions they can take if they are feeling they're about to trigger. And these need to be actions that they can take without asking for permission. So I was in one classroom where the teacher had obviously helped a student know what to do when they were about to trigger. And the students were lining up to go to music or lunch or something like that, and there was a tussle in the line. And this student walked over to a corner, sat down, and started breathing deeply to calm himself. That was phenomenal teaching that I could see had occurred because I saw that this student knew what to do. So have three to five things that they can do. And for younger kids, you can even laminate this and put it on their desk. And so if they're starting to trigger, you say, hey, I see you're starting to get upset. Maybe you should use one of your calming strategies, what do you think you want to do? And have them point to what it is that they want to do. So what we're trying to do is get them strategies that they have come up with they agree would be really helpful for them. If they start to feel triggered now, this isn't going to work the first time. Maybe the second time, maybe third time it will work, maybe fourth time it won't. So that's where the social emotional growth mindset comes in. They trigger, it doesn't work, they become dysregulated again. That's where the intervention is, hey, it didn't work this time. Are there some things we can think about that might make it work better? Realize you're learning how to do this and you're not always going to be successful yet, but you're going to gain success. You will be able to do this. You just haven't been able to do it consistently yet. Got it. Okay. And then of course, when they are able to pull this off, that's the time for celebration. Look, when you see the kid who starts to trigger, calms down again, boom. Positive acknowledgement of what they were able to accomplish. Let her home to mom and dad or Grandma or whoever they're living with. Yeah. Today Johnny started to trigger and describe what the student did really great job, and really reinforce that as a positive.

Carol: Yeah, I think so many times we talk about growth mindset, but we. Don't really tie it into social emotional learning. So I love how we put those two together.

Nancy: Yeah, you look at everything on the Growth Mindset website and it's virtually all academic we have to have and I think the term social emotional growth mindset and tying that to neuroplasticity this is how we are changing how we feel and how we behave, especially if we're feeling upset.

Carol: Right. I can see myself using so much of this because I know that in my school, I go in and I teach my kids classes and I do teach them about the brain and flipping a lid. So my students know that terminology. They know that already. And like I said last week, we were talking about how to really make amends and what to do if you hit somebody or maybe you bumped into them by accident and how do you respond and how do you restore that. But we also talk about the why of emotions. Like why do we have emotions? Our emotions have these jobs and trying to explain that to them. But I think I'm going to be incorporating this whole growth mindset, social emotional growth Mindset into that for next year. We've already covered that this year, but I think I'm going to add that. So that's pretty good.

Nancy: Cool. We've got all of those. Some kids have those negative memories stored in their hippocampus and I've seen research where I've seen people say so many times because we focus on the bad and the bad gets stored and you have to have five goods to overcome every bad. I don't know what well, I actually did find some original research that maybe but anyway, there are some really effective strategies that we can use to help build greater empowerment and happiness and that's what's in my books. Be Positively Powerful and the Resilient When Things Get Tough is written at a level that fourth, 5th graders should be able to read it. But I had a good friend of mine who's a kindergarten teacher and she says I love this, I teach a lot of this stuff, I'm going to teach more. So this could be used as lessons and it fully integrates in just what you're talking about, you've already taught. So I have discovered seven have identified seven be positively Powerful Strategies And all seven of these can be exceptionally helpful. So the first one is make Positive Connections. And that is making sure that young people have positive connections with trusting adults, with the trusted adults and with good friends. And there are both ways that you can help them identify their trusted adults. And they need, especially when they become teenagers, they need some trusted adults who are outside of the family because the problem may be related to their relationships with parents as they are in process of pulling apart. So they need a safe, trusted adult outside of the family to talk to about this. Good friends. There's just recent research that came out that said the quality of our relationship with friends is fundamental to long lasting happiness and good health. The second be positively powerful strategy is reach out to be kind. And I've already talked about the incredible benefits of kindness. If we could get kids on a habit of reaching out to be kind once a day, five times a day, then our schools would be phenomenally happier places. The third is use your strengths. And I have two components in this. This can be just what have you done that you're proud of also for? I really like the work of the Via Institute on Character. They have identified 24 character strengths that are fundamental to good society throughout the world. And these are phenomenal. You could use them in informal social emotional learning. You focus on a strength, a new strength once a day, or one of these strengths for the entire week. And they also have surveys or assessments that teenagers and adults can complete to identify their strengths. And that actually would be a cool thing to do with school staff. What are your strengths?

Carol: So Nancy, if you don't mind, I'm going to have you send me all these links so that I can definitely put them in all the show notes.

Nancy: Absolutely. And then the second component of use your strengths is the social emotional growth mindset realizing that failure means you tried and now you're able to figure out what's not going to work and you haven't figured it out yet, but it will come. The fourth is focus on the good and that is paying attention to the good things that are happening. This is gratitude. And there is research that demonstrates that focusing on the good and feeling thankful will increase your happiness and well being. Hansen wrote a book hardwiring Happiness. If you focus every day on the good things that are happening, this creates neural pathways to support more good things happening. The fifth is remain calm. And there are two components of that. One is the routine practice of meditation and what that does is builds the neural pathways to remain calm. So we need to have the practice of meditation within schools. And my recommendation is that there be two ways that this occur. One is a period of calming meditation mindfulness. I think they came up with the term mindfulness because they thought meditation the eastern religion anyway. But a period of calming that is somewhat longer but also a transitions calming. So whenever kids come into a classroom at the secondary level or back into the classroom from recess or lunch or music, there is just a moment that they take to breathe deeply and maybe just a minute. And I've got a happiness meditation that I recommend which is all focused on the be positively powerful. So take a minute to breathe. And now I want you to think about a really great connection good time that you just had with somebody or recently had with somebody. Let's take another breath. I want you to think about how you were kind to somebody today and remember the smile on your face when you were kind to them and how good it made you feel. And let's take another breath and think about something that you've done recently that you're really proud of, that just made you feel so good that you were able to do this. And let's breathe again. And I want you to think about something that made you really happy. Maybe you saw a pink tree blooming today, or maybe a daffodil on your way to school, or maybe someone you really like said hi to you. What made you feel really good? Okay, I want you to sit tall in your seats and open your eyes and think to yourself, I've got it. I'm going to do great things. Okay. That incorporated most of my Be positively powerful strategies. That was strategy five. Strategy six is keep your personal power and we already talked about that as holding yourself tall. So there's two components to that also. One is holding yourself tall. It's your physical posture and remembering to hold yourself tall as you walk out of the room or come into a new situation. And the second is rational Emotive therapy or rational Emotive thinking that you can't control what's going to happen to you. You can control how you respond and how you think of yourself. And then the last one is think things through. It's a problem solving process, and that's the process that you use when you're talking with a child about how to not trigger and think things through is problem solving. So that's what you do when you're working with a child who has become disruptive, has a history of becoming disruptive. You're going to say, okay, what's the problem? Problem is you have a history of becoming disruptive. What's the solution or what's our goal? We want to find ways to support you so this doesn't happen. What are some strategies we can use and what might happen if you use each of those strategies? And then if you're just kind of trying to come up with a strategy for a situation. I suggested several strategies, but then you can pick the best strategy. And what you need to do is think about what might happen if you use each strategy. And then based on the possible consequence, you pick the best one and figure out what you're going to do and how to implement that strategy and realize that that might not work yet. Back to social emotional growth mindset and that you're going to maybe need to go through this process again. So those are my seven Be positively powerful strategies. I will give you a link to the chapter in my Engage Students to Embrace Civility, where I provide all of the research. I'm a research grinch. I really focus on the research and this issue is so important. I put that chapter online so there'll be a link to it and that contains the material that I'm going to put into online courses. But counselors can see how I'm discussing these things with those links. That's what I'm about. And those are my suggestions on how to avoid those tacos.

Carol: Awesome. So this, I think, was really insightful. You gave us so much information. I know I'm going to have to go through this episode again and listen to it again. And I hope our people that are listening, our counselors that are listening, will do the same thing. That's the great thing about having a podcast is you can listen to it more than once. But I think there's so many things that we can just use just remembering our kids are just reacting to a lot of times the trauma that they've experienced. Right. I think we need reminders from now and again because I think we get just so thrown into the trenches day after day after day where we're working with kids and sometimes we just feel so beat down or maybe we're feeling not supported or we just run out of ideas.

Nancy: Yeah. There's a foundational problem that's involved. It's the rules and punishment thinking.

Carol: Yeah, I think it's just a good reminder. But I also think hearing those tacos and what to avoid, I think that's really great. It's kind of sad that we have to think of tacos as not having the tacos versus I really like tacos. I don't know, you might need a new name for that or something. Because we want to eat the tacos. We want to consume them, not avoid them. But here we definitely want to avoid those tacos. Well, it's quirky. I think it lends itself to having a lighter conversation with people and letting them know like, hey, this is what we're going to do and we're going to really hone in on this restorative approach and we're going to find ways to work together to really de escalate situations and have our kids understand how their brain works and how we can really create such a peaceful, not only classroom environment, but school community as well.

Nancy: Yeah. And then hopefully greater mean. I listened to a presentation that was at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and was livecast and brilliant professor whose name I'm not going to remember, but he handles the Make Caring Common section at the Graduate School of Education and they have a dynamite relationship mapping tool. And he made the point that those students who engage in acts of service to others are happier.

Carol: Yeah, I think there's a lot of research that just goes into that, too, that really supports that concept that people that are kind, that do show gratitude and appreciation and kindness towards other really do lead more fulfilling lives.

Nancy: Absolutely. Not only more fulfilling lives, but healthier lives. They live longer, right? Yeah.

Carol: Well, Nancy, it has been really wonderful talking with you today, and I can't wait to put this all together. I know that we have a couple of little edits that we have to make because of technology is always a thing. But yeah, if you could send me all those links, I will make sure that I put them in the Show Notes. And thank you so much. I lost her words here, but thank you so much for sharing your stories and your advice and your knowledge with us. I really appreciate that.

Nancy: Well, I am thrilled to be one of your early podcastees, so I wish you absolutely great luck with your new podcast activities.

Carol: Oh, thank you so much.

Nancy: Yeah.

Carol: Okay, I'm going to end this call, and so we'll chat again soon. Thank you.

Nancy: Okay. Thank you so very much.

Carol: Thanks for listening to today's episode of Counselor Chat. All of the links I talked about can be found in the Show Notes and at Forward slash podcast. Be sure to hit, follow, or subscribe on your favorite podcast player. And if you would be so kind.

Carol: To leave a review, I'd really appreciate it. Want to connect?

Carol: Send me a DM on Facebook or Instagram at counseling essentials. Until next time. Can't wait till we chat. Bye for now.




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