Gill Ruidant: The Power of Adversity @TEDxLeuven

gill ruidant "reinventing happiness" in leuven - 2houses

Gill Ruidant, the CEO and Founder of, performing his speech on “The Power of Adversity” at the TEDxLeuven conference on the theme “Reinvent Happiness”.

Gill’s Presentation by TEDxLeuven

“Gill is the founder of 2houses, a web platform that helps divorced parents to communicate and get organized for what they make them happy: their kids. Gill is an entrepreneur in heart, passionate about creating and getting things real. Through his own experiences of life, Gill will tell us how adversity can generate energy and creativity. Obstacles reveal opportunities. Gill manages to point them out, jump on them and make a good use of these occasions. What a good feeling to achieve his own dreams and make the world a little bit better… human beings a little bit happier! Is it not where our own happiness is?”


Photo ©brunodelepierre 






20 Blogs with Caring Ways to Boost Your Child’s Self-Esteem

child's self-esteem - 2houses

Having high self-esteem is something that everyone needs, but something that is not necessarily easy to come by. Children especially need help developing high self-esteem, because low self-esteem can manifest into problems such as depression, eating disorders and, in extreme cases, even suicide. As a parent, one of your many jobs relating to your child is to help build up your child’s self-esteem. It’s important to really listen to your child and value what he is saying. You also want to avoid criticizing or belittling your child, as this can lay the groundwork for low self-esteem. Teach by example; by showing your child that you have strong self-esteem you can pave the way for him to follow in your footsteps. These 20 blog articles will give you the tools you need to help improve your child’s self-esteem.


Showing pride in your child’s accomplishments will help him feel pride in himself. Listen and respect your child when he’s talking to you, just as you would want him to respect you when you are talking. Empower your child by giving him choices and letting him run with whatever he chooses.  These five blog posts will explain different techniques that can help you improve your child’s self-esteem.


When a child has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) he may feel like there is something wrong with him when he compares himself to his peers.  As a parent, it’s important that you help your child see his ADHD in a positive way. This is another opportunity to lead by example. Learn more about how to improve the self-esteem of children with ADHD through these five posts.

  • Enhancing Self-Esteem of Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder It’s not unusual for a child with ADHD to compare himself to his classmates. These comparisons can make him feel poorly, so it’s important to learn what you can do to change those feelings.
  • Best Sports for Kids with ADHD Excelling in sports can improve your child’s self-esteem, as noted in this post.
  • Kids and ADHD Often kids with ADHD feel that they are broken; the important task for the parent is to turn ADHD into a strength instead of a defect.
  • 10 Ways Pets Improve Your Health Taking care of a pet will help a child with ADHD to be more responsible, and the love of the pet will improve his self-esteem.
  • Your Brain is a Ferrari Help your child understand that his brain is a gift. When he understands that, he will be better able to work with it, allowing him to go much farther in life.

Social Skills

Children with low self-esteem often isolate themselves, which makes the situation worse. Because of this, it’s important that you help your child improve his social skills and make some friends.  Having friends will give him a better outlook on life, which will help his self-esteem improve. For more tips like these, look at these five blog posts.


The teenage years are formative years that can be very difficult for teenagers to navigate through. Teens are often unkind to each other, and your self-esteem can suffer when you are the one being ignored or talked.  As a parent, it’s important that you keep the lines of communication open with your teen. Try not to judge when your teen tells you what is going on with her.  Take a look at these five blog articles to read more about what you can do to help improve your teenager’s self-esteem.

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Is Divorce Bad for Children?

divorce is bad for children - 2houses

Many of the 1.5 million children in the U.S. whose parents divorce every year feel as if their worlds are falling apart. Divorcing parents are usually very concerned about the welfare of their children during this troublesome process. Some parents are so worried that they remain in unhappy marriages, believing it will protect their offspring from the trauma of divorce. Yet parents who split have reasons for hope. Researchers have found that only a relatively small percentage of children experience serious problems in the wake of divorce or, later, as adults. In this column, we discuss these findings as well as factors that may protect children from the potentially harmful effects of divorce.

Rapid Recovery

Divorce affects most children in the short run, but research suggests that kids recover rapidly after the initial blow. In a 2002 study psychologist E. Mavis Hetherington of the University of Virginia and her then graduate student Anne Mitchell Elmore found that many children experience short-term negative effects from divorce, especially anxiety, anger, shock and disbelief. These reactions typically diminish or disappear by the end of the second year. Only a minority of kids suffer longer.

Most children of divorce also do well in the longer term. In a quantitative review of the literature in 2001, sociologist Paul R. Amato, then at Pennsylvania State University, examined the possible effects on children several years after a divorce. The studies compared children of married parents with those who experienced divorce at different ages. The investigators followed these kids into later childhood, adolescence or the teenage years, assessing their academic achievement, emotional and behavior problems, delinquency, self-concept and social relationships. On average, the studies found only very small differences on all these measures between children of divorced parents and those from intact families, suggesting that the vast majority of children endure divorce well.

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Mini-guide: Ten rules for healthy co-parenting

mini-guide from 2houses, 10 rules to make the divorce better

2houses has published a small guidebook in which we specify 10 important rules for handling the situation of co-parenting. It’s a set of guidelines and recommendations that may be helpful for separated parents who are looking for some educated advice. Its contents have already been approved and encouraged by many professionals. We invite you to download it & read it again and again 🙂

To read and download the guide, you may go to this address:

We look forward your comments 😉

Big Buck Bunny – Short movie

big buck bunny - 2houses


The plot follows a day of the life of Big Buck Bunny when he meets three bullying rodents, Frank (the leader of the rodents), Rinky and Gamera. The rodents amuse themselves by harassing helpless creatures of the forest by throwing fruits, nuts and rocks at them. After the deaths of two of Bunny’s favorite butterflies, and an offensive attack on Bunny himself, Bunny sets aside his gentle nature and orchestrates a complex plan to avenge the two butterflies.


What to do when your child hates school

normal for a child to hate school - 2houses

If your child hates school it is probably not his fault, nor that of his teacher, but rather it can be evidence that his brain is functioning appropriately. Healthy brains protect their owners from perceived threat. School today is stressful, often threatening, as a result of the high-stakes standardized testing that challenges students, teachers, and school administrators. There is so much information mandated as required “knowledge” for these tests (that determine federal funding), that for many children school seems more like a feedlot, force-feeding them facts without adequate time or resources to make them interesting or relevant.

Overstuffed Curriculum

Without the projects, group activities, to say nothing of the elimination of art, music, P.E., and often elementary school science, social studies, and even recess, why should a child want to be there? These classes and many enjoyable activities have been sacrificed so there is more time for the two subjects that are evaluated on those tests-math and English. Fortunately there are many wonderful, creative, and dedicated teachers, consultants, and administrators on the front line every day doing all they can to engage their students, without whom I cannot imagine how much worse things would be for the children in their charge.

The problem is worst when the district is required to stick to a rigid “teacher proof” curriculum that dictates tedious days of worksheets and nights of more of the same brain stuffing. In these cases the best teachers have less opportunity to use their skills to create the joyful, memorable learning experiences children need. The penalty for all of us is that the dropout rate has never been higher. For a child in high school now, it is more likely that his or her parents will have graduated than it is that the student will graduate high school. When surveyed as to the reason for the dropping out the overwhelming cry is BOREDOM. When asked what constitutes boredom, the two major responses are, “The material isn’t interesting” and “What we are taught has no relevance to me.

From my perspective as a neurologist and classroom teacher, I see the blank faces, “acting out”, and zoning out and know that these are not the children’s choices. The brain evolved as an organ to promote survival of the animal and the species. Its first priority is to avoid danger. Our attention is hard-wired to alert to signals of potential danger. The most primitive parts of the brain are those that determine what gets our attention and what information gets priority entry into the brain. This attention system is essentially the same in humans as in other mammals. When the brain experiences stress that attention system is on autopilot seeking the potential threat that might be causing the emotional disturbance, and ignoring other sensory information such as lessons. Stress goes up with boredom and frustration in humans and animals. Animals restrained or understimulated “misbehave” with aggressive, destructive, and even self-mutilating behavior. The stress causes their brains to attend only to imagined or real threat. In that state behavior is no longer influenced by the higher, thinking brain. Stress takes control of the neural pathways that determine where information is processed and where behavior is controlled.

The same responses take place in the human brain. If children are stressed by boring lessons that have little personal relevance and by the frustration of not keeping up with the overloaded curriculum, their brains do what they are programmed to do. Input is diverted away from the thinking higher brain (the prefrontal cortex) and sent to the lower, reactive brain. In this situation, in humans as in animals, the involuntary behavioral reactions are essentially limited to three responses: Fight, Flight, or Freeze.

The reason I left my neurology practice and became a teacher was because I had a profound increase in the children referred to my practice because their teachers felt they might have attention or other neurological disorders causing them to “act out” or “zone out” in class. When I observed the joyless force-feeding of facts by teachers who were given the impossible task of cramming test material into these young brains, my heart went out both the students and their teachers. I joined their ranks, and made correlations between the neuroscience research about stress, attention, behavior, and memory, as I spent the past ten years in my classrooms and implementing strategies to promote the neuroscience of joyful learning.