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Parents Corner

Stay tuned for excerpts and recommendations from featured PTSA Business Meeting speakers, book club recommendations, and helpful information and tools from the Parent Encouragement Program (PEP) on raising teenagers. 

Helping students stay organized

posted Aug 25, 2016, 7:10 PM by NBMS PTSA   [ updated Aug 25, 2016, 7:12 PM by Web Admin ]

Jackie Kelley, a professional organizer from spoke on September 23, 2014, about the importance of helping students feel organized.  Strategies to help them included using planners, whiteboards with scheduling information, creating a “landing area” for kids to put stuff when they come home, setting up a launching area for morning ease as they leave.  


Ms. Kelley talked about getting kids to buy into organizational plans.  Some students might work well with a portable file box where they keep mid and long range planning projects.  Also keeping magazine holders for information in subjects that’s cumulative – like language or math, so when they clean out their folders they have an easy place to find past information. 


Ideas for managing family time: family calendar, whiteboard, Google calendar (can also be for chores), The Time Timer which helps kids visualize the passing of time.  Also promoted idea of family meetings where the family can review upcoming events and help can be sought at that point.

How to help your kids live a happy, healthy life

posted Aug 25, 2016, 7:05 PM by NBMS PTSA   [ updated Sep 7, 2016, 9:25 AM by Web Admin ]

On February 11, 2014, featured speaker Dr. Stefanie Gilbert discussed “How to Help your Kids live a Happy, Healthy Life.”  Dr. Gilbert talked about how every stage of life has problems that we must deal with, so it’s important to teach children how to cope with problems in general.  When we keep things inside, we get sick.  To ensure mental well-being, we need to talk.  Establishing rapport sets the stage for later discussions.  It might be easier to discuss things when walking side by side or with the lights out – try different strategies if face to face discussions are difficult.  Try to get kids to open up and withhold judgment as much as you can.  Try to keep them talking instead of reacting instinctively/emotionally.


If your child and you have a good rapport, they can come to you when a difficult situation arises.  The goal is to allow your child to figure out what they really think – instill within them that they have the power to help and understand themselves. 

Treat yourself, and teach them to treat themselves as you would a friend.  See handout which discusses this.


Perfectionism – many children feel that in order to be loveable/worthwhile they have to be perfect.  This is an unattainable standard.  Adults realize this but kids often feel this.  It’s essential to base love on things other than achievements.  We want our kids to do well but they need to know we love them beyond their accomplishments (examples – we love them bc they’re kind, special, no one else like them, etc.).  Resist the urge to compare – kids are already doing this and it is an unending cycle with no good to come of it.  ‘This is your journey and no one else’s.”


Decrease negative self-talk.  Cultivate yourself as your own best friend and teach your kids to do same. 


Thoughts come before feelings – feelings don’t come from nowhere.  When they are upset, focus on the thoughts that got them there (usually after and event).  Get them to see that they have power over those thoughts.  They are in charge of their brain and can decide what to focus on and can think about how they can change things/problem solve for future. 


Half of mental health is genetic, the other half is learned/environmental...  cultivating attitude of gratitude can help mental health.

People who are depressed have lower levels of self-compassion/self-kindness.

Model good emotional responses and self-compassion to kids.  Show them you make mistakes.  Ask them how you could have done better.


posted Aug 12, 2016, 9:32 AM by NBMS PTSA   [ updated Sep 7, 2016, 9:27 AM by Web Admin ]

How to respond to cyberbullying and tips given by Sameer Hinduja at the NBMS parents workshop on 10/1/15. Go to for more information and tips.

In addition, this is another link to help parents and caregivers better understand the issues surrounding cyberbullying and how to help their children should they become victim.

Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings

posted Aug 11, 2016, 2:51 PM by NBMS PTSA   [ updated Aug 11, 2016, 2:52 PM by Web Admin ]

Tuesday, February 12th, 2017:  Parents of North Bethesda Middle School gathered to discuss ways that families, schools and communities can prepare children and teens to THRIVE during those challenging adolescent years.

The NBPTSA inaugurated its semi-annual book club with Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings by Kenneth Ginsburg. This fascinating book was the top choice of NBPTSA parents in a fall poll of potential publications. The book club discussion was coordinated by Marissa Brown, a NBMS parent and experienced facilitator.

There are several copies of the book available through the county library system.

The book also is available at Amazon, Barnes&Noble and iTunes.

Here is the publisher's description:

"Building Resilience in Children and Teens offers strategies to build seven crucial “Cs” — competence, confidence, connection, character, contribution, coping, and control — so they can excel in life and bounce back from challenges. The book describes how to raise authentically successful children who will be happy, hardworking, compassionate, creative, and innovative. Dr. Ginsburg reminds parents that our goal is to think in the present and prepare for the future, to remember that our real goal is to raise children to be successful 35-year-olds. It’s about more than immediate smiles or even good grades; it’s about raising kids to be emotionally and socially intelligent, to be able to recover from disappointment and forge ahead throughout their lives. The stable connection between caring adults and children is the key to the security that allows kids to creatively master challenges and reach their highest potential. This book offers concrete strategies to solidify those vital family connections."

"Resilience is also about confronting the overwhelming stress kids face today. This invaluable guide offers coping strategies for facing the stresses of academic performance, high achievement standards, media messages, peer pressure, and family tension. Young people too commonly survive stress by indulging in unhealthy behaviors or by giving up completely The suggested solutions offered here are aimed at building a repertoire of positive coping strategies. Kids who have these healthy strategies in place may be less likely to turn to those quick, easy, but dangerous fixes that adults fear. The book includes a guide for teens to create their own customized positive coping strategies."

"The second edition of this award-winning book continues to focus on parents, but now also offers wisdom about how schools and communities can best support families. It is updated throughout and entirely new chapters offer strategies on how best to: support military families, confront the negative portrayal of teens, prevent perfectionism and support authentic success. Finally, the book now guides parents how to recharge and rebound when their own resilience reaches its limits.


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