Opal School closed in 2021. You can continue to access these resources for free at teachingpreschoolpartners.org/resource-library/.

Getting to Calm

Earlier this week, NPR did a story that centered on the work of Laura Kastner and her book, Getting to Calm: Cool-Headed Strategies for Parenting Tweens and Teens. You can read or listen to the story here. I happened to be driving around as it came on the radio and it really caught my attention as both a parent and an educator… even through the improvisational musical score coming from my 3 year old in the back seat!

Laura S. Kastner, Ph.D., is a clinical associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington and maintains a private practice in Seattle. She is a nationally recognized expert on adolescent behavior, and lectures widely on the subject, including appearances on national television. She is associated with this Seattle-based parenting website

Kastner encourages parents to reflect on the (difficult) question: You may be right. But are you effective? Ah, now that really is the dilemma. How do we balance our attempts to guide our growing children towards what we believe to be good and right, with an informed understanding of developmental psychology, respect, caring, and all-around good timing? 

The NPR piece draws on the expertise of several doctors who concur with Kastner’s thesis– that knowing a little bit about the adolescent brain can go a long way towards helping parents (and teachers, too!) make good and effective judgements in their interactions with tweens and teens. I look forward to reading her book! Let us know what you think!