Marjie Longshore, founder of the Family Leadership Center in Yarmouth, with her two children, Barrett and Louisa. Courtesy / Family Leadership Center

YARMOUTH — While parenting can be rewarding, it can also be difficult, frustrating and confusing.

That’s partly why the Greely Parent-Teacher Organization has turned to Marjie Longshore, founder of the Family Leadership Center in Yarmouth, to lend her expertise.

Longshore will give a special presentation at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19 at Greely High School, located at 303 Main St. in Cumberland Center, where she’ll share her strategies and best practices for how to be an “encouraging and respectful” parent.

Michelle Zimmerman, co-chair of the PTO, said this week that Longshore was invited because one of the goals of the group’s ongoing Parent University program is to “provide relevant topics of interest that support families and the issues that they face.”

Zimmerman said “parenting is a topic of (particular) interest to the SAD 51 community,” which serves the towns of Cumberland and North Yarmouth.

Longshore read her first parenting book at the age of 9 and has always had an interest in helping people become the best parents they can be, according to the Family Leadership Center website.


The Harvard-educated former teacher started the center several years ago because, she said, “with today’s rapidly changing culture, the authoritarian parenting strategies that many of us were raised with just aren’t as effective anymore … and our parenting methods need to catch up.”

Longshore’s goal with the nonprofit center, which offers parenting classes, workshops and other specialty programs, is to help parents raise “… children (capable of living) optimistic, flexible and resilient lives.”

She said raising “resilient, responsible children” includes teaching personal responsibility and an ability to listen well and share ideas respectfully. While long-term success is important, she said her coaching techniques are also designed to help reduce everyday family strife.

Some of the biggest challenges families are facing today, Longshore said, include the rise of severe anxiety in children and setting reasonable limits around screen time.

“The limit-setting tools that we (share) in our programs can be a huge help and relief for many families. Ending the battles and enjoying each other more is an awesome outcome,” Longshore said.

She said the four core needs that every child has are “to know that you belong, you can contribute and make a difference, you count – your voice matters, and you have the courage to handle whatever life brings.”

She said her classes aren’t “about a cookie-cutter form of right or perfect parenting. Each family has its own special and unique style … (and) that’s one of the things that I find really exciting and inspiring. Hearing all of the cool ways that parents take the ideas (I give them) and make them real, in their own way. It’s never the same.”

In addition to being a classroom teacher, Longshore has also been a curriculum designer and educational consultant. But it was as a teacher that she saw “first hand the impact of what happens at home and how that can really set a child up to succeed in school and their community.”

There are a wide variety of parenting support groups and resources available across Maine, which can be accessed through an online search. Many are also specialized, including a focus on children with special needs.

While she enjoyed being a teacher, Longshore said this week that “my favorite job is working with parents, (helping to create) a family that works well together and plays well together.”

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