Screenagers Panel - Fusion Academy

Fusion Academy is a revolutionary approach encompassing one on one instruction for middle school and high school students.

I have had the pleasure to meet and chat ongoing with a number of Fusion Academy very friendly and caring staff.

Elizabeth Edwards, who is the director of outreach  for the Upper West side and Park Avenue location and Coryn, Director of curriculum, asked me to be part of a panel discussion post the screening of the documentary “Screenagers.”

I'm thrilled to share that the documentary parallels my Technology chapter in my book, What Do You Expect? She's A Teenager! The difference is seeing it in Technicolor. It impacts with quite a wallop.

What was interesting was the Kaiser family foundation survey found that girls spend an average of 90 minutes a day on social media while boys spend about 40 minutes per day. Boys spend an average of 90 minutes a day playing video games while girls spend an average of 40 minutes per day on video games. I recall my son now 34 years old spending a great deal of time on his Game Boy and other portable video games, my daughter, 27,as a girl did as well but not with the same intensity as her brother.

This has ramped up since the phenomenon of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat with live video.

Video games have gotten even more engaging and distracting while groups of kids play and compete online.

The other phenomenal is the increased usage of smart phones, iPhones etc.. I can attest to the addictive quality of such an easily accessible portable medium. I have found myself excited at times over the increased followers and likes.

I'm an adult! Can you imagine a tween and teens relationship and need to be liked? This was clearly documented.

A Sunday evening 60 Minutes program described the addictive quality as deliberate “brain hacking” with the increased level of dopamine that gives us a high. It's all about profit, a moneymaking industry, that is not necessarily thinking about our best interests!

The producer and creator, Dr Delaney Ruston finds herself in a bit of a dilemma with her 14-year-old daughter who desperately wants an iPhone and her 16-year-old son.

Tessa intelligently states to her mom, “all the kids have have an iPhone. I won't be on it all the time, she assures her mom. Drlaney is not so easily convinced. Wow, was that relatable!

What I love seeing was Tessa’s Mom and Dad’s machinations to figure out how to help their daughter achieve balance between her connection to media and her face-to-face connection with her family and friends.

The same holds true with your tween and teenagers relationship to their video games. It's all about finding the balance.

During a break I chatted with a family, a mom, her 14-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter. When I asked could she relate to what she saw, she said YES and specifically said “I normally ask my son to get off the video and my daughter to not constantly use her phone. I didn't realize that I would have to explain why!

I was so appreciative that she shared that. I think she had, after viewing the documentary, more of a sense of the addictive quality.

Her son and daughter were lovely teenagers that were very open about their usage of social media, daughter,  as well as video games, son.  We spoke about finding the balance and as adults, What is it that our children are seeing us do?  I smiled and said as role models we need to “Walk our Talk” before we can have a potentially positive seed growing impact on our curious kids.

Our kids watch us like hawks!

The panel consisted of me, James and addiction specialist, a 13-year-old male Fusion student and his mom and Elizabeth Edwards.

The sweetest interaction I had that evening was from a tall smart animated 8 year old girl that I was sitting next to who was intently watching the documentary and listening to me with rapt attention. I could see the seed planting and the flower blooming in her brain and mind!

I spoke to the group about focusing on your child's health safety and welfare. If it's interfering with their sleep, if there's an impact on their grades, if you notice that your child is spending more time inside their rooms, their caves, and not connecting in real face to face time with their family and friends, then there is cause for concern!

I brought two of my books and at the end I asked the little girl to pick a number from 1 to 10. She picked 5 and I said that's it, you won the book its yours! She was so excited!

The teenager on the panel also guessed the right number as well.

It was a stimulating night with lots of food for thought at the Fusion Academy.


Social Media Guidelines Created by Tweens/Teens

I so look forward to this Tuesday Jan. 31st 2017 to meet the students of the Hebrew Academy Day School from the Reformed Temple of Rockland County, Nyack N.Y.

Our subject matter, an interactive workshop on


In anticipation I have a few thoughts besides what I’ll cover on the PowerPoint, roleplaying and guided relaxation. Do kids have unspoken guidelines to posting? How much is too much? Where do they draw the line?

Honestly who doesn’t like, “likes” or “follows” on instagram and responses to snapchats? Many adults get “hooked in” on Facebook and Instagram. It’s alI about having a Brand and Visibility. I have observed that in myself. So can you imagine how concretely being “liked” could drive your tween and teen? Some postings are cool and innocent while other posts are darn right hurtful mean spirited and spells outright bullying.

For females finding out about a party you’re not invited to via instagram or falling in on the party via snap is so wounding. “I thought they were my friends? Why wasn’t I invited?”

Sexting and posting lewd pictures thinking they’ll disappear? Funny how you can even take a quick screenshot of a snap.

Though the Pew Study claims kids are online constantly 24% of the time, believe me that’s a low report. Kids are very private and downright sneaky around their parents. Mom and Dad you may have their Instagram account but there is Finsta, a fake account that they post all sorts of stuff not meant for your eyes.

So kids can monitor each other and do so some degree if that’s how their group works. My thrust is always about instilling self and other kindness and empathy for one another. Are my words Kind, Useful and True. Instilling the capacity to reflect, to play a scenario out via role playing absolutely helps teens and adults see the bigger picture.



ON 11-29-2016 I met with some lovely Moms and Dads all congregants from the Reformed Temple of Rockland County, NY. I was thrilled to share my Power Point geared to educators and parents. When we spoke of the hormonal changes, specifically how boys separate, pull in, become more private, and girls circle around, pull back, but don’t quite separate, I got some knowing nods and groans! Peers become so much more central to their teens lives for affirmation, validation, attention and help!

How to maintain a connection with your kids, while they’re pulling away?

I introduced the concept of Aerial Parenting, from my book, What Do You Expect? She’s A Teenager! Rising above, coming from a place of love, seeing the bigger picture, their teen’s life on a timeline, that teens years are phaze driven, not forever. There was a sigh of relief. But what about now, how to get through and be their rock, their North Star, a facilitator to run by all of their concerns, questions, issues, especially what they’re doing online?

Briefly, learning and being a very “intune finger on your kids pulse” parent, with your child/teen and the pop culture trends, spares your child/teen of some over the top risky behavior. We spoke about Internet premature exposure to porn at the age of 11, cyberbullying, teens setting up fake accounts, sexting, oral sex, when to sound your parental alert to specific emotional behavior changes, their acting out of control.

I reiterated and reassured the Moms and Dads, When in doubt be full of faith and hope! Teen years are not forever, it’s phaze driven. I raised two delicious very launched young adult children, a daughter now 27 and a married son now 34!

My Positive Aerial Life Coaching tips/strategies for ongoing conversations with your Teen:

  • *Trust your gut and teach your teen to trust their gut
  • *Make your child/teen part of the solution
  • *Be invitational, flexible, patient, kind
  • *Come from a place of love and concern
  • *Let them talk
  • *Answer their Why?
  • *Affirm, Validate, Reinforce their mattering to you
  • *Build Confidence, Resilience, Faith in themselves
  • * Learn from Making mis-takes, try again till you understand
  • *Listen and Learn from each other
  • *Focus on their Health, Safety, and Welfare
  • * Age Appropriate Expectations with Age Appropriate Limits and Boundaries

The questions were great especially navigating power struggles, trust and understanding their teens needs for space. I loved to hear how some of the teens were very close to their parents, reassuring for me.

One Dad made a comment about his teens being very close and open with strong parental internet supervision in a family communal space.

Great, I said. I love hearing that. But what about their friends? How can you be a 24/7 cop? Ergo the strong need for ongoing conversations, which I believe was happening in this family.

I can’t wait to give “YOUR HORMONES TEENS AND SOCIAL MEDIA”  WORKSHOP to the students at the Reformed Temple of Rockland County Tuesday January 31, 2017.


I had the thrill of “there are no coincidences” within the frame of 2 weeks. I just did a gig for parents and educators on HORMONES TEENS SOCIAL MEDIA, and my favorite gynecologist, Dr. Miriam Greene’s producer Lori Parker called me to do a Radio segment on the THOSE TURBULENT TEEN years! Really, OMG! What a great platform for my book, What Do You Expect? She’s A Teenager! A Hope and Happiness Guide for Moms with daughters ages 11-19 Sourcebooks. Miriam is a pisser, a great conversationalist, funny as heck!!! We spoke so much about raising daughters in a very complex and overstimulating social climate. Her daughters are grown and one recently married. My daughter Samara, age 27, is very launched in her life. The live show was for moms dealing with daughters going through puberty. It look place at the main lobby at NYU Langone!

So what’s a parent to do she asked?

I said, Be a snoop! Check out your teens social media. However be prepared that there are ways to get around you! I mentioned Finsta, a fake account your teen can set up ONLY FOR for their peers. Here you are following them in Instagram, unaware of what they’re really up to!

Miriam said OY….

We spoke about the specific physical changes for boys and girls and those turbulent hormones, estrogen and testosterone that shift your sweet little girl and boy away from you and closer to their peers. Remember what it was like for you as a teen?

I gave some tips before some really excellent live Call Ins from Moms and Dads


Especially if they see their teen acting out of character or behaving in a way that calls attention to themselves, moody, depressed, crying jags, dropping grades, enraged, combative, drinking, drugs, other self harmful behavior

Parents need to BE ACCESSIBLE, OPEN, FLEXIBLE, BE THEIR TEENS BRAIN TRUST. Life insurance for their teens guarding and protecting them from strong risky behavior. Their pre-frontal cortex is not quite developed until mid-20’s, their amygdala, the seat of strong emotions, is in charge! Parents are their children’s and TEENS FIRST ROLE MODEL, NORTH STAR OF GOOD JUDGEMENT

Parents have UNCOMFORTABLE TALKS-SEX, DRUGS, ALCOHOL. It’s all about Anticipation, Preparation, Protection, Prevention


Miriam must have mentioned my book title, who I am and where to buy it at least 6 times throughout the hour. I was so grateful for this impactful USA platform! Miriam is the best!!!

Then came some fabulous calls from parents!

There was Lots of coaching and advice in a light hearted way between Miriam and I to some smart savvy curious parents who wanted to be more aware.

One Mom asked, “My daughter is 13 and she has a boy who is a friend, age 13. They are not really dating, but I see them outside holding hands, while walking the dog. It’s all very innocent,” she said.

I’m paraphrasing “Is there cause for concern?”

I said, maybe not right now, however have the uncomfortable talk about hormonal urges that sets the stage for experimentation. It’s starts with a kiss.I didn’t want to alarm this lovely Mom, but it gave me the opportunity to talk about sexual contact and how fast it can move to Oral Sex.

I shared a cute vignette with Miriam and the Mom spoken to me by a lovely physician. “My son at age 13 was approached by a girl at a football game, asking him, “Do you want a BJ?” He paused and said, “I have to ask my Mom!” He was very close to his Mom who chuckled and used this as a wonderful entry into talking about romance, your first time, make it special, not casual and self and other respect and consideration. As well as for future use of running by “My Mom,” as a way to say a soft”No Thanks” etc., Now that was a TRANSFORMATIVE TEACHING MOMENT this Mom got and continues to get lots of mileage on!

There were so many calls. Yay!!!  Suffice it to say I’LL BE BACK for more


Aerial. Mindful. Parenting your Child Teen Young Adult with Joy, Blessings and Pride

As a Teen and Parenting Expert and Author of What Do You Expect? She’s A Teenager!, one of my passion projects was to learn from my children Samara, now 26 and Todd now 33. As a Family Psychotherapist, I always found that children have so much to teach. Just staying tuned into them, their distinctive personality, strenths and weaknesses, my being a caring, warm and kind facilitator enabled them to become strong, capable and confident in their own skin. Lots of unconditional love, and blessing them verbally for their brave and courageous attempts to deal with the unknown, their fears, served to make them who they are today. My daughter Samara, 26, has become a heartfelt writer of her blog ISRAEL BEING SAMARA, while living and teaching English in Israel for a 10 month period to elementary and middle school students. She’s has worked long and hard on herself to get to a place of having faith in herself, living her dream and adventure. Todd is 33 today, married to a lovely woman, Nisha and they are creating a good life filled with love and having each others backs.

I can truly say to myself, “job well done” and feel lots of pride internally that I spontaneously express to three heartfelt, soulful, humanitarian adults very launched into their lives.

Dylan's Candy Bar Event: Entrepreneur Mothers Role Modeling For Their Daughters

This had to be one of the most exhilarating evenings I have spent since the publication of my book, What Do You Expect? She's a Teenager!

On July 26th at Dylans Candy Bar in Manhattan well over 50 entrepreneurs who are Moms and their daughters were buzzing around me for a signed copy of my book. So moving to have my daughter Samara, Nisha, my daughter in law (who is more like a daughter) and Nisha's sister Priya there, who BTW taped Joya Dass's interview with me on her trusty iPhone!

I adore the South Asian Indian community of strong women who encourage their daughters to be their best selves and to work at their passions. These moms are very focused and loving role models of respect and compassion. My book is all about the vital connection between Mom and her precious daughter(s).

Thank you Joya Dass, Founder of Lady Drinks Events, for breathing new life into my book.

Blankies, Special Objects To Soothe Our Children for a Life Time

Blankies and lovies serve a crucial purpose, easing stress as children come into their own.

Preference for a transitional object actually mirrors a growing ability for your children to form attachments to people.

Traditionally, special stuffed animals and blankies has helped to put the salve on separation anxiety typically felt by children separating from their Mommy, Daddy and caretaker.

These “transitional objects” help to calm, soothe and become a means of the child learning how to self soothe.

My good friends daughter, Sadie, has a very special blankie that she travels with to every destination. One side is called “Baby Blankie” the other side is called “Mommy Blankie.” Sadie and her blankie have been with each other from her infancy to the present. She talks to it as is it alive and believe you me it feels alive, like a friend to Sadie. I was talking just the other day to both sides of her blankie. How sweet for Sadie and I to have a conversation to literally both sides of Sadie. I could see how she is comforted and soothed as she ventures forth into her life, moving now from her 4’s, pre-school to her 5’s and kindergarden.

Dr. Barbara Howard, a developmental-behavioral pediatrician at John Hopkins suggested that as many as 25% of young women going off to college take along something identifiable as a transitional object.

The challenges of separation and the consolations and complexities of attachment are not developmentally confined to the first few years of life. I feel there is no shame in bringing some scraps of an old receiving blanket, a treasured stuffed animal to help our college gal navigate the challenges of separation and normal separation anxiety stirred up by new challenges and changes. The blankie creates more of a “gentle separation” so much more manageable.

I just purchased a small blankie for a favorite college gal and bought a few extras for my “Tackling Temper Tantrums with Humor for Parents with children ages 1–5,” for my Elmo, Cookie and Lamb Chop Puppets. Hey, they need some soothing too. :)