ACT—Adults and Children Together—Raising Safe Kids

We are a program of the American Psychological Association and it's Public Interest Directorate. This blog is for parent group facilitators to share their ideas and experiences in working with the ACT Raising Safe Kids Program. It is a place to post information, ask questions, share research findings, offer suggestions as well as dialog with other ACT Certified Parent Group Leaders.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Peaceful Families blog by our Kelly Champion

Please follow Kelly Champion's blog as well.

"Please share as you find appropriate and I would love to hear comments. It is tough to keep up and your voice would help" -Kelly

Monday, March 7, 2011

Facilitator Training: March 22-23, 9am-4pm

Registration for the APA-ACT's Facilitator Training is still open!

The ACT Raising Safe Kids program is a community-based violence prevention program that teaches and discusses topics such as positive discipline,conflict resolution, exposure to media violence, and child development. With violence becoming an unnecessarily rampant aspect of our society, the ACT Raising Safe Kids program helps parents and caretakers prevent violence in their children's lives.

Training to lead these parent groups of the RSK program is available for professionals working with families with young children. The next two-day training will take place at the Brandeis University campus on March 22 & 23 from 9AM-4PM.

For more information, please contact the ACT Northeast Regional Training Center at 781.736.2200.

Monday, October 18, 2010

ACT Facilitator Training Workshop: Parents Raising Safe Kids

On Wednesday & Thursday, November 3-4, 2010 from 8:30am- 4pm on the Brandeis campus, ACT-NE is hosting a training workshop for certifying facilitators into our ACT program. For more information, please contact or call 781-736-2200, also visit our site at

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

ACT-NE Regional Retreat

On Wednesday, September 29, 2010, the ACT-NE Regional Center will be hosting the ACT-NE Regional Retreat Facilitator Training Workshop.
The workshop will take place at Brandeis University's Hassenfeld Conference Room in Waltham, M.A. from 10am- 3pm.

For more information, please contact the Lemberg Children's Center at (781) 736-2200, or visit

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Is it harmful for children to play with toys that are associated with aggression like toy knives, swords or guns?

Here are answers that Diane Levin gave me years ago about this topic – violent toys – and was included in a document we had years ago, “Frequently Asked Questions.” I hope this can help add some more information about the topic…

Is it harmful for children to play with toys that are associated with aggression like toy knives, swords or guns?

Many parents and teachers worry when children bring toy guns or other toy weapons into their play. There is no simple answer. Children use their play to work out, express, and master their experiences in the family, school, neighborhood, and with the media and if they see real or pretend violence and weapons, they may bring that to their play. Weapons play is also one way children try to meet their need to feel strong and powerful. Not all weapons play is the same and it is important to look at the nature of the play to figure out if it is harmful or not to children. For play to have a positive effect it needs to be controlled by the child, show creativity and imagination, and change over time. That is what happened to weapons play and other play decades ago, when children were playing cops and robbers. But it has dramatically changed in the past decade with children being increasingly exposed to guns and fighting in the news, TV programs, movies, video and computer games, and to “toys of violence” marketed through TV programs and movies. Play has become mostly imitative, - the play with violence often imitates TV scripts, and children often have little opportunity to use creativity and imagination to work out their own ideas about situations. This kind of weapons play can be harmful to children and may contribute to the development of aggressive behaviors.

What should adults do if children spontaneously use their fingers or an object to represent a weapon?

Don't panic! Make sure everyone is safe. Then, watch the weapons play to learn more about what the children are struggling to understand, and what may be worrying them. Look at how creative and imaginative or imitative and repetitive the play seems to be, whether it changes over time, whether it stays focused primarily on violence. Try to keep channels of communication open with children both during and after the play. Help them come up with ways to extend the play, for instance, with more open-ended toys and props such as rescue vehicles and medical equipment or simple discussions about what could happen next. Ask questions about the play without making children feel guilty. Try to follow the children's lead in the roles that you take rather than taking over the play. If the play gets scary or dangerous, gently intervene and redirect it. For example, ask children, "How could people help each other?" Or provide alternative toys. Stop the play if your efforts are failing to keep them safe. Once the play is over talk to children about it. Reassure them about their safety. Answer questions simply. Clear up confusions. Talk about alternatives to the harmful lessons children may be learning about violence, for instance, by asking if there is another way the characters could have solved their problem besides fighting or what would they do in "real life" if they had such a problem.

Train-the-Trainer Workshop at Brandeis University

February 26-27, 2010 (8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.)

Held at Brandeis University (see directions below,) the two-day workshop will feature interactive discussions, small and large groupwork, and topic presentations. Issues and topics we will address include child development, discipline techniques, parenting, conflict resolution, media violence, and violence within communities and families. The workshop gives participants the ability and tools needed to hold parent workshops within their own community.

Registration Information:

Our registration fee of $120.00 includes breakfast and lunch for both days and ACT kit materials.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Workshops and Parent Groups!

Updates on Upcoming Events at Lemberg Children's Center (ACT-NE Regional Center):

Our next Facilitator Workshop (for those who want to be trained to do Parent Groups) will take place on Tues and Wed Nov. 3-4, from 8:30am to 4:30pm. Breakfast, Lunch, and ACT Kit Materials are included in the $140 registration fee.
If interested, please email: or call 781-736-2200.

A future date for a Facilitator Workshop after the on in November has been decided for Dec. 4-5 (Fri-Sat).

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Why Do You Think Parents Don't Complete RSK?

I know drop out is a problem for all parenting programs, and the current economic situation complicates things, but I would like to ask if you know why 5 people didn't complete the series. How many classes have most parents attended? When do they drop out?

My best regards.

Julia M. Silva | Director, Violence Prevention Office Public Interest Directorate
American Psychological Association
750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242
Tel: (202) 336-5817 Fax: (202) 336-5723

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Welcome to all ACT Facilitators

ACT northeast saw the light...we don't need separate blogs for each region! This blog is now for all ACT Parent Group Facilitators. Please share your ideas, your experiences, your questions, and the good bits of data you've read. Let's think and work together. Let's set a mission to find ways for parents to develop support groups that will keep positive parenting and violence prevention information alive in their homes and hearts for years. Start now with reading, postings and ADDING your thoughts!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Hello from Western MA

Thanks Howie, Amanda, Karen & Sylvia for developing this Northeast ACT blog. What a great idea!

We are currently more than half-way through a Parents Raising Safe Kids group. We have 8 consistent participants, including two couples. The group meets weekly in an empty classroom here at the early childhood program. Childcare is held in a separate part of the room, with two paraprofessionals from our program. This is the first time we have held childcare in the same room and have actually found it to be beneficial. There are several very young children who are able to separate to play as long as parents are in sight, but wouldn't have separated if childcare was in a different room.

This has been a wonderful group. The parents have really bonded as a group and attendance has been excellent. They have been very receptive to the ACT materials.

Keep up the good word everyone, and I look forward to reading the blog regularly!

Mary Huth
Westfield Public Schools
Westfieldl, MA


Sunday, April 5, 2009

ACT training

Claudia and I trained 22 members of our community in the Parents Raising Safe Kids program on April 1 &2. The training went very well. There are definite plans for some of the attendees to take the program to their agencies and offer the series to their clients. The response was overwhelmingly positive.

Friday, March 27, 2009


The blog is an awesome idea. For some reason your intro is repeated on the blog on the left and right of the screen. Other than that this is an awesome idea and maybe something we can offer the midwest group! Great work!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Culture and a Case

I'd like to ask you're thoughts on how to work with a parent who has some resistance. Here is a case :
A client of mine insists that her cultural way is to tell children what they should be doing. Not doing so might jeopardize her success in raising children who listen and are disciplined.

Several questions are raised. 1) Is this really a cultural communication and if so should it be accepted as necessary to maintain the heritage? 2) Does this excuse come from the difficulty in learning positive parenting skills which require more creativity and humor? 3) Would trying to have her identify with the child by asking her to think about her reactions to her parent when she was between five and eight facilitate her motivation to change her ways?