Counselor’s Corner

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Mrs. Rebecca Mayo-Cody Aspen Ridge Preparatory School Counselor

Mrs. Mayo-Cody has worked with children all her life, as a teacher’s aide, a licensed vocational nurse (LVN/LPN) and a school counselor. Born and raised in San Diego, she earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology, and her master’s degree in counseling at San Diego State University. Because of her love of travel, it took her a few extra years to complete college, but it was worth it! She speaks fluent Spanish and has visited many countries around the globe.

She and her husband have a son at EHS. When she is not working, she likes to spend active time with her family and friends – mountain biking, skiing, hiking and traveling. She also likes to relax, read, and do creative projects around the house.

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October 19, 2017 post
The Importance of Teaching Kids to be Grateful

Gratitude is a hot topic among researchers these days. Studies suggest that an attitude of gratitude correlates strongly with increased happiness, optimism and school success. It takes practice to cultivate a habit of gratitude, and may even go against our human nature. As a survival instinct, we humans seem to be hardwired to focus more on the negative than the positive. Anticipating a spear-wielding enemy ensured our longevity more than appreciating the warmth of the morning sun.  Our brains seem to be better at keeping us safe than happy. Focusing our attention on what we are grateful for is an exercise which helps redirect our minds to focus more on positive aspects of life, which over time becomes a way of life.

In November, our ARPS monthly student assembly will focus on the importance of gratitude. Students and teachers in some classrooms are currently discussing the importance of being thankful and keeping daily gratitude journals. Here are some suggestions you may want to try at home:

  • As a family, take turns talking about things you are grateful for on a regular basis. If your kids enjoy competition, offer kudos for the most creative, most unexpected, most numerous etc. Convenient times to discuss gratitude include:
  • When riding in the car
  • During meals
  • Before bed
  • First thing in the morning
  • Set an example for your kids by taking every opportunity to express gratitude. Talk about the things and people that you appreciate.
  • Remind your kids to express gratitude to others. It’s OK to ask them in a pleasant way, “Did you notice that I made you a nice lunch? What do you say?” Or “Go thank your coach for all his hard work.” Be patient; it may take thousands of repetitions. At 16 years old, my own son is now consistently remembering to thank me when I give him a ride, make him a meal etc.  Several times recently, he has told me how much he appreciates what I do for him. Yay for gratitude!

Here’s an interesting, short video on gratitude: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCV-mEsASLA

We are grateful for our Aspen Ridge families!

September 8th, 2017 post
Teaching Children the Skills
of Conflict Resolution
From Rebecca Mayo-Cody, Aspen Ridge Counselor
I read recently that couples who stay married generally don’t argue any less than couples who divorce. One difference is in how they argue, and whether or not they are able to resolve their inevitable conflicts. Whether we are married or single, the way we handle conflicts teaches our kids how to handle conflicts. Do we yell or retreat? Stonewall or try to work it out? Do we use humor or insults?
As a school counselor, one of my favorite things is facilitating conflict resolution between students. The rules of engagement are universal whether you’re a kindergartener or a grownup:
  • Be respectful (words, body language, and tone of voice) If you’re too upset, take time to calm down before trying to work it out.
  • Tell the truth.
  • Try your best to understand the other person’s thoughts and feelings. Repeat what you’ve heard to check for understanding.
When our kids come home from school upset because their feelings have been hurt, we have an opportunity to facilitate conflict resolution even when the other party is not there. Here is some wisdom I’ve gather from various sources:
  • Set the expectation that we speak respectfully about others. For example, “Instead of calling Johnny a jerk, I expect you to say that you’re angry with him.”
  • Stress the importance of honesty.
  • Listen without judgement.
  • Reflect back what you hear, “It sounds like you’re angry that Johnny wouldn’t play with you at recess.” or “I can tell that your feelings are hurt since the girls went to the pool yesterday and didn’t invite you.”
  • Set the expectation of empathy for the other person’s thoughts and feelings. “I wonder why Johnny reacted in anger, do you think his feelings were hurt too?” Or, “I wonder if you could have accidentally done something to cause him to feel left out?”
  • Help them make a plan to address the conflict or avoid future conflicts:
  • Walk away/ignore the behavior.
  • Ask an adult for help.
  • Talk with the other student about their feelings.
  • Avoid overreacting to their hurt feelings and emotional ups and downs.
If you see a disturbing pattern, ask the teacher or school counselor for their input and assistance. We can observe the students at recess and notice their interactions in class. We are happy to help guide them in managing conflicts.