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We all want our kids to grow up being kind and courteous.  In this episode I talk with Teresa Ramirez, a motivational speaker and Kindness Koach.  Listen to lots of fun ideas on how to promote kindness inside and outside your home.  Here's some of the ideas we talk about!- Model it INSIDE your home Use Family Meetings to talk about how to be kind to each other Come up with a list of ideas from putting sweet notes in lunch boxes to doing surprise chores for some oneMake a meal for everyone, Give an extra long hug, pick some flowers for someonePlan a "date" with one of your family members including taking care of the plans and making all the food- Model it OUTSIDE your homeHelp neighbors, hold doors open, help someone with packages at a store, pick up garbage a a parkDo service projects together - help at a fundraiser,  work at a food pantry,Send letters or draw pictures to friends who are shut-in Visit a senior centerWrite fun and cheerful messages with sidewalk chalk outside your homeHave a lemonade stand to raise funds for a charity or causeTo get to Teresa's Facebook Page and order your FREE BUBBLES OF JOY!:  JOURNEY IN KINDNESS To read the full article from Happy Family Happy You:  38 ACTS OF KINDNESS
This is the first podcast in a series relating to getting our kids to learn manners which are fundamental to their becoming responsible, respectful adults.  Starting with Life Lessons early has the biggest impact but in this series of podcasts, whether you have a toddler or a teen, it's worth investing in their future through manners.Here are the basics of what's covered in this podcast:1 - Start young!  The earlier the better.  Using "baby sign language" if you have a very little one.  2- With Older Kids Set Family Rules around Manners.  Use a Family Meeting to talk about how important manners and and that you're going to start with focusing on the use of "please" in your home. 3 - Practice!  It takes lots and lots of practice to get your kids to use please but you need to do it OVER and OVER again.  When they don't ask with a "please" just ask them again.  4 - Expect more from older kids.  Once they have the basics of using "please" have them incorporate "may I please" instead of just "please can I have".5 - Role Play!  Enjoy some of the learning with your kids by setting up fun events that you can practice and exaggerate what you're doing.  Maybe a special candlelit dinner once a month?  Maybe a Game Night where you exaggerate asking for dice or cards using "please".6 - Model What you Want.  You as the adult are constantly watched by your kids.  Make sure you're using "please" appropriately.7 - Leverage the Please Request.  Your kids WANT something from you.  Use this as "currency" that is so valuable to them that they're willing to use "please" to get it.  Follow through with it even if they're sassy.  Don't get distracted if they are snarky!TRANSCRIPT AVAILABLE HEREEmail Mary at Sign up for Mary's newsletter at: NEWSLETTER
In this episode I interview Liz Bayardelle author of Clean Your Plate! 13 Things that Good Parents Say that Ruin Kids’ Lives.   This book covers all sorts of unintended consequences that good parents say regularly like Get Straight As, Don’t Hit, Sit Still, Don’t Be a Quitter and many more.   She goes into detail in all these areas and has wonderful ideas about how to combat our natural tendencies to push our kids in ways that might backfire.   We talk specifically about the impact of parents choosing to say GET STRAIGHT A'S often sends our kids looking for extrinsic motivators like money, extra computer time or other external rewards.  These rewards often work in the short run but can put a damper on intrinsic motivators that allow our children to own their own success.  In order for our kids to have their own internal motivations there are four key factors:Autonomy - this is where they "own" the ideas, doing things because they're invested in them and not doing them for other peopleCompetence - that kids believe they are capable of a skillRelatedness - kids are social and if they can see how what they are doing relates to other people they want to be with or emulate they can motivate themselves to push past the work at handPurpose - the task at hand relates to some other passion or goal they are trying to achieveBy encouraging a GROWTH MINDSET we can move away from nurturing kids who aren't fulfilling their potential to growing kids who WANT to achieve goals and move forward.  Get a copy of Liz's book here!CLEAN YOUR PLATE! 13 Things Good Parents Say That Ruin Kids' LivesAs always, email Mary at or join her Facebook Group: Parenting Decoded 2021 to hear from Mary more. 
Some of us struggle with trying to figure out if our kids are addicted to screens.  In this episode Emily Cherkin, The Screentime Consultant, and I discuss what causes screen addictions and what resources might help to determine if our kids are addicted.  We also go over different levels of intervention in overcoming screen issues in our homes.  Emily is launching a new course for parents that will help train parents week by week to get their arms around the issue.  With parenting practices and live one-on-one coaching and support from other parents you will be able to make changes to support new behaviors that will set a balance between screens and life.  The Screentime ConsultantWe also discuss resources for more extreme screen addictions.  Links to those resources - Washington based treatment and therapy center to treat screen addiction.  Residential treatment program is available. Restart's link to their assessment quiz:  TAKE ADDICTION - Online resources for anyone who games but special courses for parents.  Links to therapy centers and therapists world-wide.If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me:
In this episode enjoy hearing from Emily Cherkin, The Screentime Consultant, as we talk about strategies to deal with kids and screen time use in our homes.  Emily works with families all the time to help put "tech intentional" ideas into homes.  Listen for ideas on how to set clear and reasonable limits in a way that can be integrated into your home, one step at a time. Emily can be found at: can learn about her new course on Becoming a Tech-Intentional Parent. Emily has also generously offered to all our listeners access to her e-book resource for free!Mastering Screen TimeIf you have any questions feel free to contact me at
Siblings who hate each other is unfortunately all too common an issue for parents to ignore.  In this podcast we explore what a parent can do with their kids who aren't getting along, who are unbearably mean to each other.  Our kids fighting all the time can be:1 - draining for the ENTIRE family2 - full of opportunities to learn some life lessons about getting alongIn order to help stop the energy drain and actually learn those lessons that will help later in life we cover  three possible solutions to try:1 - Use FAMILY MEETINGS to help set boundaries and Family Rules of Respect2 - Set up SPECIAL TIME to make sure your parent connection is secure and each of the siblings feel listened to and heard.3 - Use LOVE LANGUAGES to help the entire family understand what motivates each person in a language that speaks to their inner being where love and acceptance is florishingThere are a few other resources mentioned in this podcast that can give you further examples and information:Episode #9: Sibling Rivalry - What to DoEpisode #10:  Punishment vs. Consequences: What's the Most Effective Discipline?Episode #17: Creating Calm with Family MeetingsEpisode #33: Loving Your Family Using Love LanguagesPint-Sized Treasure's article: “What to Do When Your Kids Hate Each Other” Mary's Energy Drain Idea ListTRANSCRIPT IN BLOG HEREIf you have questions,  please email me
Setting limits for our kids can be such a challenge.  We set them, they ignore or break them.  Ugh!  In this episode learn how to set better boundaries that we can stick by so that our kids know that we mean what we say.Learn to say:1 - "AND WHAT DID I SAY"Using this phrase helps stop the whining and begging that gets so annoying that we often times give in just to quiet our kids down.2 - Set consequences for whining and complaining when our kids try to push our boundaries in directions we don't want them to go.  Use ENERGY DRAINs if you are wondering what to use.We review why our boundaries fail and what good boundaries look like:1. Clearly define the boundaries to our kids2. Make the boundaries positive3. Have consequences4. Be consistent5. Be reasonable6. Be calm and lovingHere are some useful links for you:EPISODE 20: Creating Calm with Boundaries and Limits (Transcript)EPISODE 20: Creating Calm with Boundaries and Limits (Podcast)ENERGY DRAIN IDEA LISTFor a full transcript of this podcast see my blog:TRANSCRIPTIf you have questions please email me at
In this podcast learn how to deal with disrespect in your home by teaching and modeling respect while keeping calm.  The truth is, disrespectful behavior is one of the inappropriate ways kids, especially teenagers but not limited to teens, try to solve their problems. Kids can feel powerless in the face of rules and expectations and talking back and showing disrespect is one way they try to take some power back. If they can drag you into an argument, that’s even better: Now you’re arguing about respect instead of focusing on their curfew or their homework or cleaning up their toys!Listen in on how to tame the disrespect monster:1. Avoid the Fight in the Moment 2. Use Family Meetings 3. Don’t Take Everything Personally or Overreact4. Model respect5. Don’t Take Our Child’s Side6. Don’t Demand Respect7. Respect Their Choices8. Use Restitution FULL TRANSCRIPT ON MARY'S BLOG
Life isn’t fair it never has been.  How we deal with life is what matters.  In this episode learn how you can nurture an understanding of fairness in your child's life as well as ideas on how you can respond to unfairness.We want our kids to be able to:Let them know it's ok to express their emotions when life is unfairEncourage them to give praise to others when things aren't fairHelp them continue with life when things aren't fairHave them lead by Example, using grace and humility, when unfairness hits themSupport them learning from the opportunity when fairness happensFor a full transcript look here:  TRANSCRIPT
In this podcast I cover a few things.  First, what do bad teachers look like?  How do they behave? Next, what can you do about it as a parent and, lastly, what can your child do about making it through the year in once piece having learned what they need to. Three types of bad teachers:Fluffy - ones that are nice but don't teach the materialBoring - ones that put you to sleep they are so uninspiringMean - ones that yell and are just plain mean; they might have favorites in the class and spend all their time with them; they might get mad at kids who don't understandIn the podcast I go over a step-by-step approach on what to do.  Read the transcript listed below if you'd like more details. 1 - Wait and See while doing research2 - Communicate with the schoolStart with meeting the teacher and discussing the issuesIf needed, escalate to a combo meeting with the principal and the teacherIf your lone parent concerns aren't addressed then gather together a group of parents to go collectively to meet with the administration3 - Teach your child ways to cope with the bad teacherencourage them to approach the teacher and ask for helpaugment their learning in whatever way makes sense - online, tutors, study groupsbe there!  empathize! love them through itJulie Plagens at Mom Remade's article: TRANSCRIPT HERE
In this episode I talk with Dr. Weisinger about their approach of transforming harmful parental pressure into healthy pressure.    He has just released a new book with Dr. Christopher Thurber, The Unlikely Art of Parental Pressure: A Positive Approach to Pushing Your Child to Be Their Best Self. This book provides a roadmap for parents to engage in healthy pressure with our kids, ways that will help them grow and succeed instead of stifle and crush them.  We, as parents, often struggle with kids who we think aren’t trying their hardest and we want to push harder.  We know they can do more.   It’s a natural instinct to push but in today’s world it seems like we can go too far and wind up doing more harm than good.  Send me an email at or join my Facebook Group, Parenting Decoded 2021.
Do you have a kid who is always seeking attention?  They are pulling on you, saying “Mommy, mommy, watch me!”  Or maybe they try to one up anyone just to make themselves look bigger or better than others.  Maybe they’ll even make things up to do that?In this episode you'll learn why your kids are acting that way and how to bring new skills into the mix so you can work with them in a positive way so they go from annoying to adorable.  Take a listen!Send me email at if you have any questions!FULL TRANSCRIPT HERE
In this episode Mary interviews author Elaine Taylor-Kraus from ImpactParents about her new book: The Essential Guide to Raising Complex Kids with ADHD, Anxiety and MoreThis guide gives all parents a guide in how to best help their children overcome their challenges in healthy, loving and practical ways.  Whether or not you have a child who has been diagnosed with ADHD, anxiety, Asperger’s, any other executive function issues or you’re just worried that your child is out of step with their peers, please listen in for some great advice on how her book can help you in your journey. Personally, I think we all have complex kids and can learn from Elaine’s wisdom.  She also discusses her parenting class that is a combination of online learning and coaching sessions called Sanity School that is a great compliment to her new book.  
In this episode learn how to get to the heart of your child and teach them how to apologize. Learn how to:1 - Wait till the emotion has passed2 - Brainstorm with your child to encourage ideas of how the apology can work for them3 - If their hearts won't melt then allow consequences of their poor decision to not apologize guide them to make better choices. Did your parents ever force you to apologize? Did it really make you feel sorry? I’m guessing that, like me, you probably just felt worse, felt embarrassed and it made you even more mad at whatever/whomever caused you to be rude in the first place. Apologies are really important, however; what we want is for the heart of our kid to change, to have them understand that their behavior was unacceptable and caused hurt in another human being.  In this podcast are some ideas that might be more effective at changing your child's heart instead of just forcing them through the motions of an insincere “I’m sorry.” See TRANSCRIPT HERE. 
In this episode we’ll talk about how to get our older kids, teens and tweens, to experience the bigger picture stuff and expose them to some of the messiness of life in a loving, supportive environment where they might even mess up some.  Everything from chores they should know how to do on their own to handling money, cars and how to get a part time job.  I’ll talk about planning vacations in addition to how to handle routine paperwork and cooking.  It’s sort of a laundry list of items I think any parent should consider when training your kids for the future.   Here's a list of topics that are covered:LaundryCookingCleaning HouseYard workPaintingMoney Filling out formsGetting a part-time jobKeeping track of timeVacation planningCar driving, care and maintenanceSEE FULL TRANSCRIPT HEREIf you have questions, email Mary at
Understanding how a person perceives love is essential for knowing how to communicate  love to them.  In this interview I'm so happy to have Bec and Holly who have a podcast called ILoveYouTooMuchToArgue  to explain what Love Languages are and how to use them in your family.  Five Love Languages are:Acts of ServiceGiftsWords of AffirmationPhysical TouchTake the free online quiz!Find Holly and Bec anywhere you listen to podcasts and you can contact them at or on their Instagram page - @ILoveYouTooMuchtoArguePodcast
In this podcast I interview Richard Carpriola an expert in addiction counseling with over 20 years of experience.  He's the author of The Addicted Child: A Parent's Guide to Adolescent Substance Abuse.I found the book and talking with Richard really useful in learning about the different substances – marijuana, alcohol, vaping, inhalants and more, and what signs to look for in determining addiction and where to turn if you need help. Leave a review and let me know what you think!Leave me a review or email me at
Do you have kids who are always running to the car and saying: “I’m first!”?  Or maybe they argue over who mom or dad reads to first at night?  How about who gets to sit where at the dinner table?  Or who does dad pour the catsup on French fries first?  I know my boys would have a battle each time we got into an elevator over who gets to push the buttons.  It’s exhausting, isn’t it?  You might even say it “drains your energy” if you’re a Love and Logic parent.    In this podcast I want to help you turn that constant bickering into an opportunity for modeling cooperation and fairness.  You'll learn to use a problem solving method with your kids that allows everyone to have a say in how things that were once competitions can become fair and equitable situations.  You'll learn: Step 1 - how to set up a Family MeetingStep 2 - how to start the Family MeetingStep 3 - How to brainstorm ideas of what possible solutions there could beStep 4 - How to select which idea you'll experiment with firstStep 5 - Run the experimentStep 6 - Review the results and revise ideas for another round of experimentsStep 7 - Celebrate a win!By modeling these problem solving steps together as a family your children will learn that it's possible to come up with solutions and that the best solutions take time and effort to come to.  SEE FULL TRANSCRIPT HERE
Parents are often baffled by their kids not listening and totally ignoring them.  In this seminar which was taped during a Zoom presentation, parents learn that how we talk to our kids and when we talk to them has a huge impact on their ability to listen to us. In this talk you'll learn not only WHEN to communicate but about these techniques to be more impactful when you do:How to go "brain dead" when our kids are emotionalHow to use loving limits to state what you're willing to doHow giving choices can activate your kid's brain while sharing control about things you don't really mind sharingHow letting our kids solve their own problems instead of hovering and telling them what to do can allow our kids to feel supported and listened toIf you'd like to watch the YouTube video,  here's a link for that:  YouTube LinkIf you have questions, email me at
This is special podcast recording of a seminar at Prospect High School meant for all of you who are having a tough time communicating with your teens.  I also have a YouTube version from Evergreen High School that includes all my PowerPoint slides that you can find on my Parenting Decoded YouTube Channel.  Whether you prefer podcasts or YouTube I want get you as much help as I can in supporting your teen.  In this seminar I go over how we currently talk to our teens, what that might be communicating to them and finally ideas on how we can break through to our teens using good choices, setting loving limits, and allowing them to solve their own problems. I’ll show you how to come alongside your teen in a loving and empathetic way that allows them to own their lives and lets us be a helpful consultant instead of an interfering helicopter or drill sergeant.  YOUTUBE Communicating with TeensIf you have an organization who’d benefit from hearing this presentation either on Zoom or in person, please contact me.  I’d love to reach more folks and it’s seminars like these that seem to reach the most parents.  If you have questions, please contact me at 
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