Laura Saunders, PsyD

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Recent Articles

Bulletproof Backpacks for Kids?

Parents Buying Bulletproof Backpacks for Children: Why It’s a Bad Idea

Back-to-school shopping is in full swing for pens, highlighters and notebooks, but some parents are picking up backpacks that come with bulletproof inserts in an effort to protect their children against school shootings. While the pricey backpacks – available at many retail outlets – are only able to block bullets...

Teens, Makeup and Self-Esteem

How Parents Can Help Teens Build Self-Esteem

Related: Kids, Social Media and Body Image How Anyone Can Build Self-Esteem Healthwise contributed to this report.  Dr. Laura Saunders is a child and adolescent psychologist at Hartford Hospital’s Institute of Living.


Youth Suicide: Here Are Some Signs For Parents

Youth suicide is a growing health concern. In fact, it’s the second-leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 15 and 24 according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. During World Suicide Prevention Week, we discuss how to address this issue with child psychologist Dr....


Countdown To School: How Students (And Parents) Can Adjust Psychologically

Everyone needs time to adjust to summer’s end and the start of school — teacher, parents and especially kids. Child psychologist Dr. Laura Saunders from Hartford Hospital’s Institute of Living has your guide for making that transition as smooth as possible – and what to do if the adjustment isn’t...


Serenity Now: How To Avoid A Holiday Meltdown? Watch This.

The holidays are on, and so is the pressure to make your list, make your way to the mall, fulfill the gift wishes of everyone on your list (that includes hot and often elusive toys such as Hatchimals, Oonies and Fingerlings) and execute the perfect end-of-year celebrations for you and...


Conversations Crucial in Avoiding Suicide

That was the overarching message recently when a team of experts from Hartford HealthCare’s Behavioral Health Network (BHN) hosted a public showing of an episode of the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” in which a teenaged girl commits suicide, leaving behind 13 tapes detailing the way people in her life...


Parents: How To Explain Hollywood Sex Scandal To Your Kids

Talking about sex with your own kids is never easy. Talking with them about the accusations of sexual misconduct against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, comedian Louis C.K. or U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore and others can be downright intimidating. But it’s an opportunity – another in the many “teachable” moments...


What Your Children Need After Learning About Las Vegas Massacre

How can anyone feel safe when the person who carried out the worst mass shooting in American history Sunday during a country music festival in Las Vegas is an 64-year-old millionaire resident of a retirement community with no criminal record? “It’s becoming more predominant and that’s scary for all of...


NFL Protest: ‘Mom, What Does ‘Taking A Knee’ Mean?’

The latest hot social media trend — NFL players and other athletes “taking a knee” during the national anthem in a show of solidarity after recent comments by President Trump — has parents scrambling on what to tell their kids. How do parents espouse family values while at the same...


Finding The Strengths Of ‘13 Reasons Why’

The Netflix original series “13 Reasons Why,” based on a young-adult novel of the same name, has captured the attention of adolescents and adults alike since its release on March 31. Many have criticized the series for glamorizing suicide and risking an increase in copycat suicides. But is there anything...


Gender Identity: An Expert Weighs In

The topic of gender identity has made headlines – and controversy – around the world as individuals and organizations work to redefine traditional gender roles. Dr. Laura Saunders is a child and adolescent psychologist at Hartford Hospital’s Institute of Living, and a nationally renowned authority on the topic of gender...


What To Say To Your Child About England Concert Bombing

What should your young children know about the suicide bombing Monday night in Manchester, England, that killed 22 people and injured at least 119 at a concert by pop artist Ariana Grande attended by thousands of teens? “As a father myself, this is a critical issue,” says Jim O’Dea, PhD, vice...


A Warning To Parents On Blue Whale Challenge Suicide ‘Game’ For Teens

Most people have heard of Russian Roulette. But now a lesser-known game emanating from Russia is a new threat to children and teens across the globe – including Connecticut. The Blue Whale Challenge has come ashore, becoming popular enough that some school districts in Connecticut are addressing it, sending letters...


It’s Over? Now How Do We Elect To Handle The Presidential Fallout?

The big, fat, crooked, rigged, ugly, lyin’, dumb, bloody, biased, low-energy, unfit presidential election is finally over. Donald J. Trump (surprise!) is the president-elect. Where’s the nearest walk-in clinic? America needs a couple of aspirins, at least, after the Trump-Clinton headache that reverberated with inflammatory rhetoric, false charges and contempt...


Threats To Children From An Unlikely Source: Clowns

Message to clowns posting social media threats to Connecticut schools: A new law, effect Oct. 1, elevates charges for such threats to a felony. The bizarre clown phenomenon, with people in several states dressed as clowns scaring schoolchildren, reached Connecticut as police arrested six teenagers this week for posting online...