Dr John Mayer

1

July

2013

0

Dr John Mayer

Troubled Teens-The Fix and Parenting-The Fix

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21

May

2013

0

Dr John Mayer

Test Time Tips

Test Taking Strategies

 

Tips you can give your child on taking the test:

 

  •  During the test when you come to an unusually hard problem, skip it

and move on to the next one. Sometimes working more problems

gives you a brainstorm on how to solve the one you skip. Finish the

test and go back to the ones you skipped.

 

  • If you are taking a multiple-choice test, try eliminating the obviously

wrong choices by putting a line through those answers. The correct

answer will remain.

 

  •  On fill-in-the-blank or short answer tests, if the answer does not pop

in your head right away, write down what you remember as possible

answers. Then proceed as if it was a multiple choice test.

 

  •  On essay tests, read the question carefully, then on scrap paper write

down all the facts you want to use to answer the question completely.

Then put those facts into short, well-written sentences that answer the

question.

 

  •  Most teachers respond well to giving them more than what they asked

for on essay tests, as long as you are not writing down nonsense. Most

students get poor grades in these tests by being too short or too fast in

answering essay questions.

 

Tips on what to do after your child takes a test:

  •  Once you get your results back, go over those items you didn’t do

well on and understand, truly understand what you missed.

  •  Similarly, look over a past test(s) to get a flavor for what to expect.
  •  Save all your tests results and corrected homework until the end of the term. Review them often and make sure you understand what you missed. If your child is not doing well in a subject and keeps telling you that they have no homework in that subject, then make sure they are going over the missed items on old tests and homework assignments to the point of understanding.
  •  Ask your teacher if you can re-work missed homework or test items and re-submit them for extra credit. Maybe even the final exam!! At the very least this leaves an impression on the teacher that you are a serious student.

17

May

2013

0

Dr John Mayer

Calm Test Anxiety

Calm Test Taking Anxiety/Stress

Tips for test taking anxiety:

  •  Before a test have your student tell you what they are worried about.
  •  Practice the Visualization exercise explained in the Test Preparation Memo which steps the student through the experience of taking the test-this is great grounding.
  •  Before a test, have your student write down their worries on a piece of paper. Address these fears-BUT DON”T LECTURE. Soothingly, calmly show them how these fears are not going to happen.        To help with their fears- point out how well prepared they are and also to remind them that this is not the first test they have taken. They know what to expect and what it feels like.
  •  Teach them PERSPECTIVE-No matter how dreadful the test time seems, it is one hour in your life-No matter what happens it will be over in an hour!
  •  Teach them that moments before the test it’s great to close your eyes concentrate on a focal point and become centered.
  •  Here too remember nutrition and sleep beforehand. Growling stomachs just increase nervousness.

Our worst fears come from the unknown and the more we can make the test taking experience a ‘known experience’ for the student, with known tools to cope, the less fear a test will create.

More at:     www.TroubledTeens-TheFix.com

Listen to me discuss this on the Radio at: www.Webtalkradio.net

The Show is: Troubled Teens: The Fix

 

Test Preparation Tips

Dr. Mayer’s Memo

May, 2013

Test Preparation Strategies

Visualization: Step your child through what the experience of taking a test will be like. How they will feel, what the test will look like (Have them look at examples of old tests from that same teacher or ask the teacher in detail what will the test look like-most teachers will do that for the students. Make sure your child asks these questions and gets details. Then you can better prepare them.) Step them through visualizing being in the classroom, how it will feel taking the test, what distractions there will be, try to think of every detail you can on what will happen during the test.

 

Practice Tests: A few days prior to a test, during homework time, set up a mock test. Create questions like the ones they will be getting on the real test and give your child the same amount of time to answer the questions as they will be getting on test day. Do this a few times for them, and then show them how they can do this themselves as great test preparation.

 

More Tips:

  •   Don’t Cram. Begin test preparation two days before a chapter test and

a full week before a Final Exam or semester exam.

  •   Study from your notes and highlighting, do not re-read the entire

subject matter the night before a test.

  •   Look over the highlights that you created like we taught you. Look over the teacher’s class notes and as you look them over, highlight them just like you did book chapters.
  •  Review over and over your highlighted facts and concepts.
  •   Some students find it very helpful to use ‘index cards’ to study. Take the highlighted items you created from your textbook and the class notes  and put them on 3×5 index or ‘flash’ cards. As the test day approaches you will have a deck of these index cards and you can look them over and over again before the test to keep the material in the forefront of your mind.
  •  For math, nothing is better test preparation than working problems repeatedly. The key to math is practice and doing problems is the best practice. If you’re homework is 5 problems, do 10.
  •   Make sure you really understand the materials and are not just memorizing. Ask yourself why this is important or why does this work this way.
  •  If you don’t understand how and why of the material, ask for help from your parents or another student.
  •   The most recent studies on test preparation suggest that a great technique to add to all these techniques for test preparation is to instruct your student to do the following: When they are reading the material for the first time, stop after reading and take time to write down what they had just read. Then, review these notes several times prior to the test day. Include this with these other tips.
  •  Get good rest and good nutrition before a test.

 

This and more at: www.DrJohnMayer.com and www.TroubledTeens-TheFix.com

24

April

2013

0

Dr John Mayer

Parent & Teen Guide on Proms/Dances/Grad Parties/Parties!

Prom Guidelines for Parents

Two incontrovertible facts should guide parents’ actions toward Proms:

Fact #1: Young people do not know how to “do” a prom unless they are shown. So many parents don’t help with this event, they simply allow the teen’s to handle everything on their own—this is not being a good or cool parent—kids have never done this before even if they went to someone else’s prom last year.

Fact #2: It is WRONG—DANGEROUS—ILLEGAL to allow your underage children and other’s underage children to behave illegally and immorally either in your home or with your knowledge outside of your home.(Note: The new spirit of the courts is to make parents responsible for their children’s behavior!) This is not a time to give “kids” permission to act like adult, unless they earned it.

HOT Tips:

Help with plans.
Know the schedule of events-This isn’t just any date!
Talk with the date’s parents.
Talk with Limo drivers. So they know you are involved.
Cell phones are now your best friend. You can contact your teen throughout the night.

What to do for your teen:

• Don’t just take pictures. Help with the event. Eagerly help with flowers, tux, and restaurant reservations. This has the great side-effect of including you in on what’s happening.
• Talk to your teen before the event. Tell positive stories about your time. It’s never too late for this! Your stories should be real and not meant to impress them. Your aim is to teach and share.
• Don’t try and be a COOL PARENT. By this time you either are one or not. Being cool is not obtained by letting your child and their friends drink or act sexual. (How sad is your life if you have to strain to get this acclaim from your teen and their friends–grow up.)
• Talk with the other parents involved. And certainly with the date’s parents. Even if it is to say hello and let them know you exist.
• Help with the planning. Sure that’s time out of your life and work, but again, if you’re involved then you know what’s going on and you’re more in control. Help arrange ‘after Prom’ events.
• HAVE CONTROL OVER THE EVENT. After all, you are probably paying for it, so you have a right to say how your money is spent.
• SET RULES—IF APPROPRIATE. If your teen has been a “knucklehead” all year (or since 12) then all of the sudden they are not waking up boy/girl scouts on Prom day. If you can’t trust them—then don’t— and set a curfew and other rules. Give only a set amount of money or don’t give out credit cards to those teens that haven’t deserved it. Conversely, be generous if they have earned it! This is a great time to reward them for good behavior.
• Do not support negative behaviors: Hotels, drinking/drugs, sexual acting out. Remember parents are now being held legally (criminally) responsible.
• WATCH YOUR MOUTH! Talk positively—don’t tease or be sarcastic (Dads!)—no put downs of the date, the event, the school, etc. This should be a fun, memorable event, not a stage for you to look good or be a comedian. It’s your child’s event.

This should be a fun, memorable event for parents as much as for teens!

Presented by: Dr. John E. Mayer. “National acclaim for helping teens and families”

www.DrJohnMayer.com www.TroubledTeens-The Fix.com
Prom Guidelines for Teens

This should be a FUN, MEMORABLE, ONCE-IN-A-LFETIME EVENT !

You have one chance at this—don’t blow it!

Drinking and drugs blur and may erase the memories you will have from this great event.

How sad is it if you feel like you have to GET HIGH to have fun at THIS event. You’re all dressed up, spent a ton of money, looking awesome, have a great date, this is all you should need to feel good. If not, you’re in trouble in life or, as your friends may say, you’re a loser!

Let your parents have fun too!

Sorry, this night is exciting and memories for them too. Put yourself in their shoes. They are proud of you and want to show you off. Relax, let them fuss a bit and act silly. It’s no reflection on you.

Establish Parent Rules by talking to them beforehand. They won’t know something is embarrassing to you unless you tell them. Example: “Dad, only 50 pictures, pleeee…ase!”

You will have fewer hassles from your parents if you: “Let them into the planning” and let them know what’s going on. My golden rule: Keep your parents off your back. You do this by including them.

Be in Control!

Don’t let others ruin YOUR and your date’s night.
Young ladies: You don’t OWE your date physical favors because he has spent a lot of money, showed you a lot of attention, blah, blah, blah…
Young Men: A real man makes no such demands on a woman. This is not the goal of the night.
Don’t be pushed into anything. (Even by your date!) This is your night. It is not your responsibility to entertain your friends. They might not be having a good time, that’s their business. This is your night!

Be Smart!

You know what is right and wrong—don’t make a decision that can ruin your life.

Remember this is a school event, even if off school grounds, your actions could spoil graduation and/or lead to other consequences from school. Not to mention from the law and/or physical harm. Arrests, car accidents, STD’s, broken bones and broken minds don’t disappear the next morning.

Historically, the Prom was a celebration that you have become an adult. Act like it. My golden rule #2:
Act like an adult-get treated like an adult.
Act like a child-get treated like a child.
OH, A NOTE ABOUT CELL PHONES~~NOTHING IS MORE RUDE TO YOUR DATE THAN TEXTING, TWITTERING, OR EMAILING SOMEONE ELSE WHILE YOU ARE WITH THEM. KEEP THE CELLPHONE IN YOUR POCKET OR PURSE.
Have the most wonderful time of your life!

www.DrJohnMayer.com www.TRoubledTeens-TheFix.com

24

April

2013

0

Dr John Mayer

School Counselors–More!

School Counselors—More
My last issue on school counselors was well received and I had more to add so here goes.
Counselors are trained professionals.
Treat the counselors as the professionals they are! Long gone are the days, which were
my early days of consulting to schools, when the counselors were populated by sports
coaches who wanted time to go over game tapes, retired teachers, teachers who couldn’t
control a classroom, etc. Today’s counselors are specifically trained for the role and add
to the school.
Use counselors-Built in resources.
Tap into the counselors’ resources! It amazes me how much school time and resources
are wasted on outside resources coming into schools when there is a department of
professionals who know your students better, the environment of the school better and
tapping into them is great support for their integration into the school. Look to them 1st
for such needs. Maybe the outside resource should just be used to guide/structure/give
direction to their professional knowledge.
Develop outside resources-as resources
Speaking of using outside resources, encourage your counselors to develop a list of
resources including therapeutic resources, counselors, therapists, and experts in various
areas. But a word of caution here for the counselors, building such a list of resources
shouldn’t be done casually. Too often I have seen such referral lists compiled based on
such parameters as: convenience/location/gender/language/cost/marketing. Now all those
parameters can go into a resource list, BUT I would add: proven competence/
accessibility & accountability to the school/ commitment/rapport (Including social
skills!)/professionalism/experience/training/education/specialty/parent & student
feedback/RESULTS.
Don’t Handicap the counselors.
I pointed out in the last issue how embarrassing the environment of some counseling
offices are~run down~no privacy~no soundproofing~paint chipping~smells~ but, there
are other ways we handicap the counselors. Faculty uninformed of how to use the
services~Lack of integration with the discipline office~Restricting student access to
counselors~and so on. Think how you may be blocking these pros from their work.
Counselors Make Your Case.
Counselors: scrape and claw to get in front of the faculty to educate them on what you
can and can’t do FOR THEM. Try sending out periodic emails to the faculty on your
services~how about including case examples (anonymous) and also resources for the
classroom??

24

April

2013

0

Dr John Mayer

School Counselors

School Counselors
A recent incident in the Chicagoland area has prompted me to write in support and appeal
for school counselors.
The Incident:
A public high school counselor and girls basketball coach in the suburban area of
Chicago was dismissed from his job upon the publication (self-published) of a book on
relationships. (sic) The book was sexist, chauvinistic, crude, prejudice, and in my
opinion, ignorant. What was shocking to me was that this individual, with these views on
human behavior, was allowed to influence the lives of young people and as a counselor
no less. Was no one watching the hen house? (Excuse the pun, but I can’t resist in light of
the nature of this ‘book’ he wrote.) Were his superiors reprimanded for not supervising
this man? Was he ever supervised? (A whole other discussion.)
I have been consulting with school counselors for 30 years and there is not a more noble
group of educators and care givers around. The demands placed on those who staff
counseling departments are enormous and typically with the least amount of support of
any department in a school. I find this paradoxical given that the social and behavioral
needs of our students are geometrically increasing every year. Strengthening our
counseling departments should be a top priority for prevention efforts. What better way
to prevent school violence than to have a strong, vibrant school counseling program
Further, in private schools, what a better way to attract and keep students than to
broadcast the excellence of your counseling department. The counseling department
should be the crown jewel of the school. After all, the local public school teaches read’n,
write’n and rithmetic’ too, but here’s what we do better. Think about it.
Pass this memo to parents, let’s get parents to rally around our counseling departments.
Maybe push legislators to provide funds for counseling departments. WE DON’T NEED
MORE ANTI-DRUG OR ANTI-BULLYING POSTERS IN OUR SCHOOLS. WE
NEED MORE GREAT, QUALIFIED COUNSELORS for today’s student’s needs!
Make this a priority for fundraising—maybe a school angel can donate to bolster the
counseling department? Got a better cause?
And, as long as we’re at it. Take a look at the physical condition of your counseling
department. How inviting is it when it is relegated to the dingy most neglected part of the
school? Again, money better spent than some ineffective prevention dog and pony show
that we love to throw money at. Make the counseling department LOOK inviting, safe,
confidential, welcoming for students to bring their concerns. Let’s look professional.
Kids pick up on the symbolism of offices falling apart, no supplies, walls so thin you can
hear the conversations two offices away. No wonder kids are teeming with emotion
inside the school. They have nowhere to go once there.

24

April

2013

0

Dr John Mayer

School Counselors
A recent incident in the Chicagoland area has prompted me to write in support and appeal
for school counselors.
The Incident:
A public high school counselor and girls basketball coach in the suburban area of
Chicago was dismissed from his job upon the publication (self-published) of a book on
relationships. (sic) The book was sexist, chauvinistic, crude, prejudice, and in my
opinion, ignorant. What was shocking to me was that this individual, with these views on
human behavior, was allowed to influence the lives of young people and as a counselor
no less. Was no one watching the hen house? (Excuse the pun, but I can’t resist in light of
the nature of this ‘book’ he wrote.) Were his superiors reprimanded for not supervising
this man? Was he ever supervised? (A whole other discussion.)
I have been consulting with school counselors for 30 years and there is not a more noble
group of educators and care givers around. The demands placed on those who staff
counseling departments are enormous and typically with the least amount of support of
any department in a school. I find this paradoxical given that the social and behavioral
needs of our students are geometrically increasing every year. Strengthening our
counseling departments should be a top priority for prevention efforts. What better way
to prevent school violence than to have a strong, vibrant school counseling program
Further, in private schools, what a better way to attract and keep students than to
broadcast the excellence of your counseling department. The counseling department
should be the crown jewel of the school. After all, the local public school teaches read’n,
write’n and rithmetic’ too, but here’s what we do better. Think about it.
Pass this memo to parents, let’s get parents to rally around our counseling departments.
Maybe push legislators to provide funds for counseling departments. WE DON’T NEED
MORE ANTI-DRUG OR ANTI-BULLYING POSTERS IN OUR SCHOOLS. WE
NEED MORE GREAT, QUALIFIED COUNSELORS for today’s student’s needs!
Make this a priority for fundraising—maybe a school angel can donate to bolster the
counseling department? Got a better cause?
And, as long as we’re at it. Take a look at the physical condition of your counseling
department. How inviting is it when it is relegated to the dingy most neglected part of the
school? Again, money better spent than some ineffective prevention dog and pony show
that we love to throw money at. Make the counseling department LOOK inviting, safe,
confidential, welcoming for students to bring their concerns. Let’s look professional.
Kids pick up on the symbolism of offices falling apart, no supplies, walls so thin you can
hear the conversations two offices away. No wonder kids are teeming with emotion
inside the school. They have nowhere to go once there.

5

February

2013

0

Dr John Mayer

Mayer’s Memo Vol.25 No.8-Drug Testing

Drug Testing
Benefits and Misconceptions
This is a topic I am surprised I haven’t Memo’d about before. There are many misconceptions about drug testing students and I hope I can help muddle through some of these.
First, let me go on record to say I am an advocate of testing suspected young people. As readers will know, I am a strong supporter of making young people responsible. Additionally, drug testing is a way to let them know we are watching over them. Hey, that’s just good parenting/schooling, a message of safety for all kids.
Which brings me to one of the first misconceptions. Many schools and parents are using drug testing like reacting to the ups and downs of daily Edline postings. They will test a student and Bam! They must be a drug addict, so let’s rush them off to some form of treatment. Schools, would you advise a parent to buy tutoring for a consistently ‘B’ average student just because they failed a mid-term exam?? No, you would discover what was the cause of this failure and take steps to remediate. And, of course you would be monitoring this student on how they do on their next test. Take the same approach to drug testing. Investigate the reasons, put the child on notice/watch, give consequences, get professional advice if you are alarmed.
Which brings me to professional advice. (Do you hear the creaky lid of Pandora’s Box opening up?) Be careful here. Rushing off to the local drug treatment center should be thought out carefully. What do you think their existence is based on? Yep, getting clients. At one school I consult to, 25 out of 25 students referred for a drug evaluation at this well known facility were required to enter into one of their ‘treatment programs’ and at great cost to the families. Now, if the Center of Disease Control statistics say that, at the highest, 20% of our youth have a substance abuse problem, 25/25 just doesn’t make sense. (I can talk about semantics in a later Memo.) Look for a trusted, respected, and OBJECTIVE professional source to do an unbiased assessment of the potential problem.
A school I consult to does it right. They were one of the first schools in the country to mandate drug testing for every student at the school. They still conduct this testing to this day. (Here! Here!) But, if a student tests positive for an illegal substance, the school then sends the student to an impartial psychologist as a gatekeeper to assess whether the student and family should take the next step of getting some professional help. This psychologist donates their time for these evaluations so that the objectivity is maintained. In other words the psychologist can be completely fair because they are not getting paid, so they have no pressure to fill quotas or have other hidden agendas. (See my comments on treatment centers above.) This program is very successful in really helping students on the right path. And, by the way, of the students sent to the impartial psychologist in the last two years, 15% were recommended for further treatment. Right in line with the CDC statistics. Interesting, heh?
In sum, a positive drug test is not an end all and be all, it is an indication that the student needs a further behavioral evaluation and to be observed. It’s not a diagnosis or label.
Last note for this Memo: Teenage Drinking, our #1 drug problem in youth, it is a myth to think we can play cops and robbers with our students in schools over drinking. Alcohol doesn’t stay in the blood stream (About 3 detectable hours.) long enough to reliably test for it, so unless you are catching the teen right in the act, there is not much we can do on the testing of alcohol. Now, it does happen that we do catch teens coming to school after drinking or at school events, etc. But, our most reliable indicators for teenage drinking are social/behavioral/familial signs of a problem. Maybe I should write about these signs next time.

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