You Ready For September???

I know...September and the START of school is one of the furthest things from your mind. Keep celebrating the end of this school year!

AND relax knowing that I am thinking, planning, preparing for September ;) 

My summers are usually filled with getting things ready to start the year off right. The past two summers I spent writing books - Love Your Family Again and Love Your Classroom Again. Not this summer. I am switching gears to create an amazing program this summer. I couldn't wait to share them both here we go.

For Educators Starting in September I am going to be providing weekly videos about behavior in the classroom! It will also designed for you to ask questions and share experiences. When you come home each day after teaching and wonder how to change the behavior in your classroom, you have a place to find the answer. I am designing it for student teachers, because teacher training programs have so much to fit in that behavior rarely is part of the curriculum. And it is a space for all educators, if you are a seasoned educator, come share your experiences and wisdom and questions. Lets face it we are all constantly learning!

You ready to join me?

It is a FREE Facebook group - Behavior and Beyond for Student Teachers. Easy to find, easy to join and easy to participate. Can you see the theme? My goal is to make behavior easy for educators. I will see you in the group!

Communication Differences: Conversation with My Dad

Happy Fathers Day!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, I know, its not Fathers Day yet. Perhaps this is the moment to celebrate all week. What do you say, shall we make it Fathers Week?

Then we can make it Mothers Week and Birthday Week and Last Day of School Week...

I do like this plan. You know me, always looking for more reasons to celebrate :)

So, whether you want to make it Fathers Week instead of Fathers Day, this week I have a great video for you. Just like I did a video with my mom for Mothers Day, I did a video with my dad. You might see where I get some of my silliness from when you watch.

It was so interesting to sit and talk with him about being a parent. Hearing the challenges he had and discussing some of the bumps that happened in my past. The biggest theme is communication.

My dad and I communicate very differently. Now we have a great relationship and find the ways around our communication differences, as a child that was not the case. There were many miscommunications that resulted in some bad behavior.

I know, its shocking that I had bad behavior but I did. I had more than my share of meltdowns as a child.

t was wonderful sitting down with my dad to share these stories and insights with you...enjoy!

School Shootings: 5 Ways to Prevent More Violence

This weekend I was meeting a friend for brunch. As I waited, I read. When he arrived, I closed the book and dove right into catching up on life. He paused, looked at the book and looked back at me.

I am reading Columbine, so I could understand his reaction, it is a heavy book. Though I did not expect the conversation that followed.

He looked at me and said, "Have I ever told you how deeply that impacted me?"

"No, we have not talked about it before." He proceeded to tell me how it was a pivotal moment in his life. It was the moment he dedicated his life to having an impact on the world. Truth was, he was heartbroken that he had not done enough to stop this tragedy. 

He was in his early twenties and yet believed in that moment that he should have created something that would have had a big enough impact that the ripple hit these two young boys. He lived on the other side of the country. He had no personal connection to the boys or school or town. Yet, it was personal.  

This got me thinking, is there something I could create that I had not yet to help stop school shootings? Was there more that I could be doing? That is when it hit me...

I have had countless conversations about what can be done. Listing the actions for parents over and over again, individually and workshops. Ways that we can each connect with young people to have an impact so that not one more child thinks to pick up a gun as a solution to any problem.

It's time to share that list with you. Here are the top 5 ways to prevent more violence. Actions that you can take today. Ways to connect that will benefit any child and will be impactful if they are questioning if violence is the answer for them. 

Anger Management and Emotional Intelligence: How to get your Kid to Face Emotions without Distruction

I think of myself as a rather articulate person. I have practiced being clear with my words and finding ways to express my thoughts so that others can hear me. It comes with the career :)

Yet, sometimes it all falls apart.

Last week I was on the phone with my assistant, talking about scheduling (its a big piece of my puzzle). I explained the logistics of a situation, she said, "Got it." Then a few minutes later, she called back with a question. I explained again, she said, "Got it." Then a few minutes later, she called again with another question, about the same thing.

I was soooo frustrated. My logical mind told me that I must not be speaking as clearly as I thought I was. My emotional mind was falling apart, all I wanted to do was throw my phone across the room and cry. 

I didn't. Luckily my logical mind won this battle and I explained again what I wanted. Thankfully! Afterwards I got up from my desk and took a 10 minute walk, that was all I had time for but I knew I needed to move and breath and step away from the situation. 

It was a simple situation and looking back I can't remember why I was so frustrated. I just know that I was. Have you been here? You know it is not a big deal but it feels like it is. Luckily at work, we can usually keep our cool. 

For some reason, at home, this type of situation plays out very differently. Often our emotional mind wins and we follow our emotions into places that we would all rather not speak about. 

Thankfully, June was brave enough to talk with me about her experiences. We may have focused more on how to teach her son how to manage his anger, but isn't it all the same :) The moments when emotions run high are when you need the best of the best of your parenting tools! June Angelides and I have a great conversation all about that in this weeks post. She is the mother of 3 and an amazing entrepreneur, founder of Mums in Technology. We talk mostly about her kids and how to teach them about emotions in a healthy way.

How to Talk with Your Child about Bullying

Its time for a heart to heart - to have the hard conversation. Last Friday there was another school shooting. It's too much! We need to come together and take the small steps that are needed to change this pattern.

I was in Upstate New York when I heard about it. At first I was glued to the news wondering what happened this time. After hearing the details for the fifth time, I realized it was time to get up and do something else. Listening over and over was not going to create a change.

I went to a nearby lake, sat down and start writing...trying to figure out what is it that I can do to create a change. The answer is this weeks video! 

Addressing the behavior, that is my speciality. So lets start here...with the behavior.
One of the low level behaviors that is often mentioned in relation to these incidents is bullying. Do you talk with your kids about bullying? 

One of the big reasons we don't talk with your kids about bullying is because we don't know how to have the conversation. We, as adults, are at a loss of words. If this is your situation, this video is for you. Three ways to have the conversation with your kids.

Watch this weeks video

ree simple steps to start the conversation. It is one concrete step that you can take towards changing this reality. When we all start having productive conversations about the hard issues with our children, things will change.

Let me know how the conversation goes for you!

Follow Your Gut: Insights from Dr. Marcie's Mom

Happy Mothers Day! How was your Mothers Day? Did your kids make you breakfast in bed? Did you have some time alone to have a cup of coffee and read a book? Did you get handmade cards from your kids that you will treasure?

My mom has been one of my biggest cheerleaders and I love celebrating her. As you can imagine, I don't wait until Mothers Day to celebrate her. I find as many reasons as I can to celebrate her!

This year, before we went out for Mothers Day is my substitute for making her breakfast in bed...I asked if she would share her parenting insights. After years of watching my videos, she is thrilled to be the star of one of them. 

Here is me and my mom chatting about parenting!

Don't we look alike?

Viral Challenges: What you Need to Know for Your Kids Safety

I was on a plane to California last Thursday to go to a business training. I love to learn and know that it is so important for me to learn, so that I can bring even more to you.

While I was in the air, I was ON the air! PIX 11 had interviewed me in advance for a piece about viral social media challenges. They also interviewed some high school students. The piece is amazing.

Social media is such a multi-dimensional conversation. There is no handbook for parents around it, since this is the first generation of children growing up with it. Make sure you are thinking about its influence on your children and keep talking to them about it.

PIX 11 Interviewed teens and myself about the most recent viral challenges. 

Negotiations and Sensory Processing: Parenting Help for Siblings

Growing up Lainie Donnell faced educational challenges. She worked hard to understand she learned best and overcame every obstacle. Now, she is an educational therapist and spends her days helping students master their own learning strategies. When she is not doing that, she is with her own 2 children. I hear they are amazing! 

Lainie and I sat down to discuss her children and career. Her two children are different and therefore need different parenting strategies.

Her daughter loves to negotiate everything. While this can be a great quality, it all depends on when it happens. Lainie asked how to teach her when it is time to debate and when it is time to follow through. A great question! Maybe a situation you can relate to?

Her son has sensory processing challenges. The first question was all about his potty training. Potty training can have such a big impact on your life, so I was so happy we were talking about it. A few small steps can lead to big changes! We talked generally about how to support his sensory needs in a behavioral way. Often time behavioral tools are not thought of when talking about the sensory system, yet, I find that they go hand in hand beautifully! 

At the end Lainie shares about her career. If you want to know more about educational therapy, tune in. Find out more about her work at

Violent Video Games: You have a decision to make!

Violent video games are one of the most popular activities for kids today. When they are not playing, they are watching someone else play them on YouTube or talking with their friends about the game or using it as the base for pretend play. 

I keep hearing that research shows no connection between violent video games and the increase in violence we are experiencing today. So, I looked at the research. I must say, I am confused. I found research saying that violent video games leads to increased aggressive behavior and decreased empathy. This sounds like a connection to me.

The APA (American Psychological Association) put together a task force last year to review the existing research. They "concluded that violent video game use is a risk factor for adverse outcomes, but found insufficient studies to examine any potential link between violent video game use and delinquency or criminal behavior".  

Two factors stood out to me. One was the length of time playing violent video games within the studies. They ranged from a few minutes, to a 20 minutes over a few days, to a few months. I did not find any study that measured hours of play for months at a time, which is the reality. The second factor is the age of the participants. Many of the studies had adults as participants. An adults response, reaction and understanding will be different than a child's. 

As a parent, this is personal.

You have to take all this information in and use it to make an individual decision for your family. The research can provide insights but the ultimately measure is your child's behavior.

How does your son or daughter behavior after playing violent video games? What is the behavior like if it is just 20 minutes of playing? How is their behavior after 2 hours? What happens when they play for 5 hours with a friend? What are your kids like when they don't play video games for an entire weekend? Pay attention. If you see changes in their behavior, factor that into your family technology rules.

Educate yourself about what your child is playing. Know the games your child is playing and how they work. Too many families I talk with don't know what their kids are doing during screen time. It is important that you stay informed. 

How do you do this? Once a week, take 10 minutes and watch them play video games. The best way to educate yourself is to be in the action, watch what they are doing and how they engage. This along with noticing their behavior after playing is powerful information when deciding what is best for your children and video games.

If you decide to make changes - go slow. It can be tempting to have your kids go cold turkey but that is like a crash diet. It might be powerful for a day or two but they don't last. Gradually decrease time played if you are looking to make a change. One small step at a time.

Want to hear more about this topic? Yesterday John Pattie, from WBAL New Radio 1090 aired a piece on just this topic. I was one of the experts he interviewed. Listen here.

Remember is that this is an ongoing decision. Video games are constantly evolving, as is your child's behavior. Each month re-evaluate the time spent on video games and the games played. Make a new rules when needed to ensure that your children grow up to be amazing adults!

Autism Awareness Month: Conversation about Parenting a child with Autism

Danielle Perrotta is the mother of 2 children. Her oldest is 7 years old and has Autism. 

I met Danielle (I know her as Dani) when we were in college, in Washington D.C. We both moved to New York City after graduation and that is really when we became friends. Two young women figuring out who we were and what we wanted to do with our lives. We both went into education and loved it!

Several years later, Dani was one of my first friends to move out of the city. She got married and moved to New Jersey. A beautiful home there! As with many friendships, the shifts in logistics led to shifts in the friendship. We talked occasionally and saw each other rarely.

As I graduated with my doctorate and started my private practice, Behavior and Beyond in the city. Dani was expanding her family, having 2 beautiful children. Dani's family went through ups and downs as they learned that her daughter has Autism. This also led to us reconnecting. 

Now, her daughter is now 7 years old, in a school that is perfect for her and has amazing support. Dani and I talk about behavior and special needs sometimes. We also chat about our careers - Dani was a 5th grade teacher for over 15 years and me, well, you know, behavior and families is my passion. Dani is a parent of a child with autism. She is also a teachers. She is also a mom of a 4 year old boy. She is also an artist. She is also....the list goes on and on. Her daughter is the same, yes she has Autism. She is also so many other things.

In the video, Dani and I talk about parenting challenges. She is open and transparent about being a parent of a child with Autism. One of the most touching moments to me of this conversation is the realization that some of the behavior questions she has are questions all parents have. Watch and see what happens....