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For some children and some adults the size of their reaction is too big in comparison to the size of the problem. This causes many problems in their family, school, work and social life. Family meetings are a great place to talk about the range of problems. 


You can use this problem scale as an example: 

#1 Problem:  Very Small Problem

"My pencil broke."

#2 Problem: Small Problem

"This chicken for dinner is different than the one I liked before."

#3 Problem: Medium problem

"Kids are not following the rules."

#4 Problem: Big problem

"I missed my bus!" or "Someone is teasing me."

#5 Problem: Emergency! 

"I am hurt!" or "I am lost!" or "I am in danger!"


One way to make this fun is to play a game. Name a problem and ask your children what number they think it is. On the problem scale of 1-5 how would they rate this problem? By playing this game you are teaching your kids how to properly identify a problem and ensure that their reaction is matching the problem. As a result, parents and family members may learn that what feels hard for one child may differ from another child.


There are many breathing and meditation apps for children, teens and adults. Guided meditations range from 1 minute to 30 minutes and can be accessed from your phone when needed. A favorite among kids is the BREATHE app which you can do with them to calm down and to relax. A favorite among teens is HEADSPACE. 



It is very helpful to teach kids about thought bubbles and speaking bubbles. Often times, many young kids, tweens and teens say what they are thinking. They do not take into account the impact of their words. As adults we edit our thoughts and choose what to say. Parents can help kids identify when something should remain as a thought or should be said. An example of when to use a thought bubble rather than a speaking bubble is when you and your child see someone who may be considered to look different. For instance, you encounter someone in a wheelchair. Your child’s thought bubble may be “I wonder what happened to them?“ Instead of asking that, we can teach them to say “Nice to meet you”!


Talking about a thought bubble versus a speaking bubble will help your children learn to think before speaking.



  1. Try the guided meditation apps on BREATHE or HEADSPACE.

  2. Make a problem scale and go over it with your family during family meeting. Put a copy of the problem scale on your refrigerator.

  3. Draw a picture with your child to illustrate a thought bubble and a speaking bubble.

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