Great Day Houston / Dr. Gail Gross Dr. Gail Gross on the Deborah Duncan Show May 12, 2015

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She Knows / Dr. Gail Gross Suicide contagion may be impacting your teen without you even realizing it May 8, 2015

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Teens are 5 times more likely to consider suicide if they know someone who did

Students and staff at a school in Canada are grieving this week after two students committed suicide just days apart. The story is heartbreaking but unfortunately not uncommon. A quick Google search yields several news stories of teens who have committed suicide in clusters. Suicide contagion is a major problem facing teens that deserves more attention from parents, teachers and the general public.

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Monsters & Critics / Dr. Gail Gross Do The Right Thing: Teaching Correct Behavior Will Keep Your Child Alive April 29, 2015

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The riots in Baltimore are still being processed by viewers who watched as gangster thugs and criminals, along with some very misguided young people, took to the streets in anger over the questionable death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray from a spinal and voice box injury while in Baltimore police custody. (more…)

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My Fox Houston / Dr. Gail Gross My Fox Houston April 29, 2015
Addiction.com / Dr. Gail Gross Hundreds Attend 10-Year-Old’s Birthday When Her Classmates Wouldn’t April 24, 2015

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When none of the girls in 10-year-old Mackenzie Moretter‘s class wanted to attend her party last Saturday, April 18th, about 400 kind-hearted strangers on Facebook did so. And the mayor of Shakopee, Minnesota, where Mackenzie lives, even declared April 18th ”Mackenzie Moretter Day” to celebrate the girl, who was born with a genetic disorder, Sotos syndrome, which causes developmental delays in speech and learning.

To date, Mackenzie has received an outpouring of support and birthday wishes via comments on her Facebook page, from as far away as Sri Lanka and India. Anyone wanting to support Mackenzie and help stop bullying can use the hashtag #BeKindAndCourageous. Not every child who is left out or bullied at school, though, is lucky enough to experience such an outpouring of support. And if your son or daughter is feeling social rejection as a kid or teen, it may put him or her at risk for other issues later. (more…)

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Daily Candid News / Dr. Gail Gross THE ISSUES BRUCE JENNER FACES AS A TRANSGENDER PARENT April 23, 2015

Bruce-Jenner-Tells-Diane-Sawyer-He-s-Worried-About-His-Family-Video-478849-2In the latest teaser for Diane Sawyer’s exclusive, two-hour interview with Bruce Jenner, he says that the highly anticipated chat is going to be “an emotional roller-coaster.”

“It’s going to be an emotional roller-coaster, but somehow I’m going to get through it,” the gender transitioning ex-Olympian says in the promo clip.

He adds: “I wanna know how this story ends, you know? How does my story end?”

The 65-year-old is right that many ups and down await him in this unique journey. Coming clean publicly is just one aspect, but there are many more emotional issues that will present themselves along the way. (more…)

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Care.com / Dr. Gail Gross Outdoor Learning Games for Preschoolers April 23, 2015

Girls Dance In The Park In CircleYour preschooler has the energy to run circles around you — children need to hop, skip and jump daily. Believe it or not, sometimes using her body helps your preschooler learn with her mind! Play helps kids develop muscles and shake out their sillies.

“Through learning games for preschoolers, your child learns about rules and how to follow them,” says child development expert Dr. Gail Gross, who has a two doctorates, in education and psychology. “She learns about instructions, teamwork, camaraderie, collaboration, competition and motivation as she pushes past her effort to win. With outdoor play, your preschooler also develops cognitively, by getting out and trying things, rather than simply hearing about them.”
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Care.com / Dr. Gail Gross 5 Active Educational Games for Kids April 22, 2015

Cute girl playing hopscotch outside

If you want your children to embrace learning, make learning more fun! Kids know sitting in a chair staring at flash cards doesn’t really fit the “fun” bill, but a game that combines a little learning with a lot of fun will get their attention. Educational games for kids make learning fun, so it’s easier to pay attention to the lesson.

For even more fun, invite other children to play along. According to Dr. Gail Gross, a nationally recognized psychologist, family-child behavioral specialist, author and educator, “Games are important because children, as social animals, will be culturalized — not only by the family but also through peer-group socialization. It also helps to develop a child’s psychomotor capacity and strengthen the muscles and bones.”
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Monsters & Critics / Dr. Gail Gross Why Pets Can Unlock A Child’s Unhappiness April 10, 2015

Pets  – and animals in general – can be very therapeutic for children. Studies have shown how pets can help lower blood pressure, speed up recovery time, and reduce stress and anxiety. We see this with troubled children, Autistic children or children with Asperger Syndrome and PTSD — when they are with animals they can immediately relate because they sense the animals are unconditional in their love and affection. – Dr. Gail Gross

 

Most everyone knows that having a pet decreases stress. It also soothes and strengthens abused people, especially children, so that their trauma is lessened and made manageable. Pets are simply good for the human soul.

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Dr. Gross in Wyoming

Dr. Gail Gross Ph.D., Ed.D., M.Ed., is a nationally recognized family and child development expert, author, and educator. Her positive and integrative approach to difficult issues helps families navigate today’s complex problems.

In her latest informative blog, she writes, “My very dear friend is a horse whisperer, who has helped many children with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) heal. One day while having lunch together, I asked her to explain to me why animals, and horses in particular, help children with PTSD recover. She explained to me that children of abuse and domestic violence, as well as children who have physical and emotional challenges, respond to horses (and other animals) because they intuitively recognize that they can trust them.”

Children who are emotionally injured and abused often face being emotionally and physically paralyzed and unable to express themselves. Dr. Gross writes, “These children are frozen, and yet, as they sit astride a big, powerful horse, they learn to trust once again, relax and surrender to the movement of their new ally. A horse neither judges nor criticizes, but loves unconditionally. And not only does he respond with nonverbal cues, such as sound, nuzzling, and picking up his ears, but he is also honest, and will not let your child get away with anything – no deception, no deceit.”

She adds, “When a horse carries your child, who feels small and powerless, his very movement relaxes your child and restores control through action. And when riding his horse, your child can find a safe place of unconditional acceptance and love with his best friend and therapist…his horse.”

The importance of human-animal bonds has been documented throughout history, across cultures, and in vast research.  The domestication and socialization of animals into human enclaves has been a steady coevolution based on a shared need for shelter, food, and protection. According to known archeological evidence, over 14,000 years ago, domestic wolves, ancestors of the dog, lived in settlements with humans. We need them, and they need us.

Dr. Gross says, “Pets give unconditional love. They are non-judgmental, and, especially for only children, lonely children, or children who have sibling rivalry or emotional distress, a pet gives them someone to talk to. A pet can comfort, give support, and listen to a child’s troubles without judgment or consequence. And, when playing, a pet can become your child’s partner and best buddy.”

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She also notes that pets can teach a child a proper way to channel frustrations and anger or fear on others. Pets can teach empathy, confidence and responsibility. “Animals can help socialize children and increase verbal skills. You’ve likely seen even little kids who are still learning to talk attempting to chatter away with pets. In this way, pets give not only social and emotional support but also cognitive language skill support to children. A pet’s simple presence provides verbal stimulus to help your child practice talking and socializing with another being.”

Original Article

Dr. Gail Gross

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Monsters & Critics / Dr. Gail Gross Unprepared to Fail: We’re Raising Kids Who Feel Entitled To Success April 10, 2015

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Unless of course, you’re being raised in America in 2015, in which case, just sit down and grab a glass because lemonade is on tap, in spite of a whole lot of un-squeezed lemons. But what happens when parents can’t design and control the playing field, and everyone can’t win a trophy?

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The un-rejected, who have not been afforded the opportunity to develop the coping skills that are required to process rejection in a healthy and appropriate way, are being built up so high that it’s a very long way down and an even harder road back up.

Corralling our competitive nature and removing the concept of winners and losers, and adjusting the rules so that everyone can win and feel special, is an unsustainable model with real-world consequences. However, we are now seeing with the millennials, our chickens, who we’ve protected from rain, sleet, hail and snow so they would run free and thrive, are coming home to roost…and due to their inability to deal with failure and rejection, they aren’t leaving anytime soon.

Instead of teaching our youth how to deal with failure and inevitable rejection and how to use these experiences as fodder for developing character and becoming strong, resilient, productive adults, we have created a flat world that is unrealistic. Understandably, our previously bubble-wrapped youth and their parents are left wondering why they are so devastated by the smallest rejections and are not bouncing back from failure.

Today’s millennials are being raised to feel entitled to the win and we reproach them for their entitlement, instead of seeing we built them to fail at failing. Some of the most successful people will tell you that they’ve failed numerous times and were rejected on countless occasions, and those failures and rejections taught them invaluable lessons and only served to heighten their resolve in attaining their goals. The reality check of rejection for the previously un-rejected is often too much for them to process because they have been sold a false premise for years that they are too good to fail.

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As college application results roll in, some students will be accepted and some will be rejected, as we recently heard about in the news with the student who rejected her rejection letter from Duke. Many of us have lived through this experience. However, the stakes rise when rejection has become a bad word in our culture and, as a result, parents and society as a whole are making it their raison d’ être, to do everything they can to protect kids and teens from it.
Bumper lanes at the bowling alley are an example of this excessive fortification –kids feel good in the moment, but years later, they still don’t know how to bowl. Well, the same thing is happening with rejection…our kids don’t know how to fail and it’s making them much more vulnerable to and unprepared for the inevitable rejections that come along with being in the real world.

Add to this equation the lack of privacy and all the cyber bullying that has arisen in the last decade, and there’s literally nowhere for kids to hide to nurse their wounds. It’s akin to the way celebrities feel when they get divorced and it’s all over the newspapers and magazines. Our kids have all been made into a version of celebrities, and they are lacking the coping skills required to deal with rejection and failure on its own, not to mention in the public eye of their classmates, friends and communities.

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Gail Gross Ph.D., Ed.D., a child psychologist and an expert on education, has spent years studying the entitlement issues that underlie our children’s ability to cope with failure and rejection and below, she offers some insights and advice to the entitled generation:

“What often looks like rejection is an immature response to a sense of entitlement. In today’s world of heightened information where local news is national news, parents often inhibit their adolescent children from testing themselves against their environment, which can lead to immaturity.

Dr. Gross’s Advice for Parents:

  • Parents must ‘step into their adult’ and parent.
  • Be what you want to see…model what it is to be an adult…under all circumstances, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
  • Partner with your children and teach them to know the rules… appropriate behavior for life situations.
  • Use my empathic process, a way to communicate with your children without defense.

Advice for Millenials:

  • Rejection is always a bruising, but if the bruise lingers you may need to speak to a professional to help identify why. Many times a rejection allows you to step back and reflect on what you really want and where you really want to be and then you can figure out how to get there.
  • Don’t defend against the rejection, but instead, allow yourself to experience it, in a sense, embrace the shadow and it will move you into a larger space.
  • Hold the tension of the rejection and allow yourself to sit with the feeling while doing inner work (i.e. journaling, meditating, walking, being alone, etc.). This will help you connect to the part of yourself that knows what’s best for you and how to get there.”

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Dr. Gail Gross

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/ Dr. Gail Gross Just How Much Should You Sacrifice to Make Your Relationship Work? April 3, 2015

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About a year ago, my husband Chris and I made one of the biggest decisions of our lives. We decided to leave our super-awesome (yet incredibly expensive) life in Brooklyn to move to a small beach town in Delaware. Yup, Delaware.

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The Doctor's / Dr. Gail Gross When Your Child Wets the Bed March 18, 2015

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The Doctors / Dr. Gail Gross The Doctors – Potty Shaming Segment March 17, 2015

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Washington Post / Dr. Gail Gross Narcissism in children has many causes, but it can be addressed March 13, 2015

A study released this week contends that parents who “overvalue” their children, teaching them that they are entitled to special treatment, are more likely to produce narcissistic children.

But psychologists know that narcissism in children can stem from a number of causes, including genetic and environmental ones. Though a narcissistic child may have parents who overvalue him, he can, on the other hand, be a child of abuse, both emotional and physical. A narcissistic child may employ tactics of superiority, self-love and inflation, when in reality he feels emotionally unstable and insecure.

At the core of narcissism is a form of sociopathy. So a narcissistic child may have heightened emotions, depression, criminal tendencies and an unrealistic sense of self. And because a narcissistic child overcompensates for feelings of inadequacy, he is profoundly invested in maintaining a persona of perfection and self-aggrandizement.

[How parents create narcissistic children]

Though a narcissistic child may have received parental messages that he is special, he also may have been punished by neglectful and abusive parents.

A parent of a narcissistic child may overcompensate for his own childhood’s narcissistic injuries, seeing the child as a reflection of himself. His self-worth becomes wrapped up in or projected onto the child. Or he might overcompensate for the guilt he feels, for disliking the child, by overprotecting him. According to Freud, “parents who over-evaluate are under a compulsion to ascribe every perfection to the child.”

The narcissistic child, therefore, develops a personality that must maintain his feeling of being special, having special talents and being entitled to special treatment. His need for attention and entitlement can lead to exaggerated emotional responses when those needs are not met. He is easily bruised emotionally and sensitive to any form of criticism, blame or shame. He is not empathetic and can become a bully, or act out in dangerous and aggressive ways.

[Seven ways to nip narcissism in the bud]

A narcissistic child also may have problems with intimacy. His lack of empathy and his need to be the center of attention impedes his capacity to relate to others, to see another’s point of view or to feel compassion. Unable to sustain a healthy social relationship, he may experience feelings of depression and anxiety and think about self-destruction.

But there is hope, because empathy can be taught. It requires psychotherapy, group therapy and family therapy. Narcissistic children respond especially well to group therapy, which creates an environment in which they are exposed, in a therapeutic manner, to other children like themselves.

Since the personality develops along with cognitive, social and language skills, it’s important to intervene therapeutically early and consistently, so that a narcissistic child can live a happy, self-confident and productive life. Wait too long and he will refuse therapy. His world view tells him that he must be right and perfect. He will be unable to see the perspective of others.

Gail Gross is a nationally recognized family, child development and human behavior expert, author and educator. She has hosted “Let’s Talk,” a nationally syndicated PBS program. Her books include “The Only Way Out is Through” and “How to Build Your Baby’s Brain.”

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Dr. Gail Gross

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Monsters & Critics / Dr. Gail Gross End of the Traditional Family Unit Doesn’t Mean Bad News for Kids January 29, 2015

The Oscar nominated film “Boyhood” reveals many things. One the surface, it’s a coming of age story with a young boy navigating childhood to adolescence and beyond. But more importantly, it underscores that a broken home does not equate to a poor environment for a child to grow and flourish.

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