December 2009 Archives

Look for the following workshops in the upcoming Bronx Community College spring catalog for Continuing and Professional Studies (catalog).

Parenting in the 21st Century


This is a series of ten 3-hour workshops that will offer valuable parenting skills. During each workshop we will match your child's development and readiness to techniques that have been  proven to work. Workshops include:


How to communicate better with your child - 3/15/10

How to have a family meeting - 3/22/10

How to approach chores and allowance - 4/12/10

How to raise a child who handles stress well - 4/19/10

How to communicate with your child's teacher - 4/26/10

How to best parent your special needs child - 5/3/10

How to be a good father - 5/17/10

How to implement consequences instead of punishment - 5/24/10

How to handle the challenges of separation and divorce for children - 6/7/10

How to develop a positive family system that exemplifies your value system - 6/14/10

What is a School Psychologist?

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I have worked as a certified school psychologist for the past twenty years, yet I realize that many people still don't know what that means: what indeed is a "school" psychologist?

To paraphrase the words of the National Association of School Psychologists ( we are people who:
  • help children and parents find success in academic, social, and emotional arenas;
  • provide counseling, instruction, and mentoring for emotional issues;
  • use assessments tools for psychoeducational testing that identify learning needs and point toward strategies for success;
  • promote achievement through research-based strategies for success for students and their families;
  • promote wellness and resilience through appropriate social and emotional education;
  • work with teachers and administrators to improve school climate and teacher effectiveness;
  • enhance understanding and acceptance of diversity among cultures and social groups. 
Check out your child's school psychologist: that person can be a valuable resource for you and your family! Also check out for ideas about how I might be a resource for you as well.

Blessings on you and yours...

In peace,

John Scardina
Certified School Psychologist
Parent Educator/Coach

What makes a "family" anyway?

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As the holiday season is upon us, we can reflect on the various constellations that comprise our family system. Because of the great social fluidity these days - with multiple levels of relatedness - we can find ourselves pondering just who is "in" or "out" of the family at any given time.

I find that "family" is best defined by those we love. In the spirit of generosity may we find the ability to extend our love to those around us, even when past history and present turmoil make this a challenge.

In this challenging time for family dynamics might we attempt to follow the Four Agreements of Don Miguel Ruiz in his Toltec Wisdom for the Spiritual Warrior (see ):

1. Be Impeccable with your Word

2. Don't Take Anything Personally

3. Don't Make Assumptions

4. Always Do Your Best

I have great respect for these guidelines: they are simple statements that can change our lives.

Blessings on us all as we go forward in our lives.

In peace,

John Scardina
Certified School Psychologist
Parent Coach
When your bright and inquisitive child struggles in school, many times the issue at hand involves what we call executive  functioning skills:  skills which allow us to guide/direct/manage what we think/feel/do. We often talk of eight discrete areas:
  • inhibit
  • shift
  • emotional control
  • initiate
  • working memory
  • plan/organize
  • organization of materials
  • monitor.
Some thoughts about these skills:

 Executive functioning develops in the prefrontal lobes of the cerebrum, which do not seem to fully mature until age 24. (So the auto insurance companies had it right: rates don't go down for young drivers until age 25!)


Executive functioning can be a major issue for ADHD individuals but can exist apart from an ADHD diagnosis.


Very bright individuals with executive functioning issues will not test for "learning disabilities" but will struggle with production in school.


Effective parenting and teaching allow the adult to "be the prefrontal lobe" for children some of the time while developing these functions through explicit activities.

For a detailed treatment of executive functioning go to my web site - www. - and click on the keyword "executive functioning" on the Services: School page.

Blessings on your day!

In peace,

John Scardina

Certified School Psychologist/Parent Coach

Free Seminar on City Island

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Holiday Stress/Holiday Joy

Simple Ideas for Parents to Create Healthy Family Celebrations

A FREE Parent Presentation by John Scardina

John Scardina is a certified school psychologist and parent educator with over three decades of experience working with children. He is delighted to be living and working on City Island.

WHEN: 7:30 PM

            Monday, Dec. 14th

WHERE: City Island



             190 Fordham Street

             City Island, NY 10464

QUESTIONS: call 718-885-9305 or e-mail  


Remember  Horton hatching the egg in the Doctor Seuss classic? What a wonderful story of perseverance and integrity for children and adults alike!

Parenting is full of opportunities for us to say things we might not really mean or intend to pursue:

...if you go out that door, young lady, you are grounded for life!
...I will throw that computer right out the window if you don't get off right now!
...that's the last time I will make dinner for you, you ungrateful child!

and so on, and so on...

Let's try to take a moment, in the midst of our parenting challenges, to think about what we say. Our children soon learn that we will not follow through on our threats, and thus we are left with a touch of theatrics and no real substance in our words. If you cannot come up with something right away, simple use my mother's best line:

"I'll deal with you later..."

and take your time to come up with an appropriate response.Then make sure you follow through on your words: your children will notice right away, believe me!

Parenting is perhaps the hardest and the most rewarding work we will ever do. Keeping in touch with one another and sharing our ideas will only help us in this important endeavor.

Blessings on you and yours...

In peace,
John Scardina
Parent Educator/Coach
Certified School Psychologist

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from December 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

November 2009 is the previous archive.

January 2010 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.