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Your Parenting Mojo - Respectful, research-based parenting ideas to help kids thrive
24 minutes | Jan 23, 2023
Q&A #1: Should I let my child hit me, or a pillow? (& Anti-Racist Panel Recruitment)
This episode kicks off a series of new episodes that I'm very excited about, which is based on listeners' questions. My goal is to produce shorter episodes that cut across the research base to help you answer the questions that are on your mind about your child's behavior and development. Our first question comes from Dee in New Zealand, who wants to know: should she should do what her preschooler is asking and buy a pair of inflatable boxing gloves so he can hit her when he's feeling angry. Or would hitting a pillow be a better option? If you'd like to submit your own question, you can record a video of yourself asking it in two minutes or less, upload it to a platform like Drive or Dropbox, and send a link to it at email@example.com. Alternatively you can go to the homepage and click the button to record your question for an audio-only option. Other episodes referenced in this episode: Episode 159, Supporting girls' relationships with Dr. Marnina Gonick Jump to highlights (02:18) Parent Dee’s question about her child (04:02) The six things going on in the question (06:19) The Catharsis Theory (07:18) Pointing out the difference in terminology about anger and aggression (09:38) Most of the research has studied cognitive behavioral therapy as a treatment for anger and aggression (11:22) The difference between adults and children in navigating situations (13:10) Anger in girls and boys (14:42) Addressing the difficult behavior instead of the reason for the behavior (16:00) The importance of self-regulation in managing feelings of anger (17:06) Most of us didn’t have great role models for how to cope with anger (22:23) Things to do to help a child regulate their feelings [accordion] [accordion-item title="Click here to read the full transcript"] Jen Lumanlan 00:10 Hello and welcome to the Your Parenting Mojo podcast. And today I'm launching the first in a series of new episodes called Q&A. And my goal here is to take short questions from listeners and turn them into concise episodes that you can listen to for quick answers. When you have a specific question and you just want to know the answer to that question. I realize that it takes me a couple of weeks to research an average episode, and it takes you all a fairly long time to listen to it as well. And I know that while some folks really want to go in deep on learning about a specific topic, very often you just...
52 minutes | Jan 9, 2023
175: I’ll be me; can you be you?
In this most personal episode I've ever created, I'll share with you how my autism self-diagnosis has helped me to understand the experiences I've had in ways that bring a great deal more clarity and insight than I've had up to now. In addition to hearing from me, you'll hear the actual voicemail the therapist who has been helping me left to explain the results of my autism screeners, as well as conversations with friends about things that are hard in our friendships. You'll hear from listeners who find things I do on podcast episodes to be hurtful and judgmental and also relatable and approachable, and sometimes it's the same things I do that prompts both the 'positive' and 'negative' reactions. And you'll hear from a listener in my membership community who has been on a similar journey to understand how her ADHD diagnosis wasn't really about her as much as it was about her reactions to the ways her family interacted with her - they encouraged creativity and expression in her artwork, but never never never ever related to emotional expression. My goal with this episode is to help you draw together threads in your own life in a way that maybe you haven't been able to do until now so you can understand yourself better, and make requests to help you meet your needs, and maybe change the situations you're in so you can be in them with more ease and authenticity. And I also hope it helps you to see how your child's struggles are a reflection of their needs, and of whether those needs are being met. Just as you didn't need fixing when you were a child (and neither did I, despite all the people who tried to fix me), your child doesn't need fixing either. Instead, we can use the struggles to better understand our needs and our child's needs, and work toward meeting them both. To investigate screeners that Dr. A. has available for free on her website, visit https://spectrumservicesnyc.com/resources/ Jump to highlights (02:52) My book is coming out on August 2023 (03:29) The ‘emotional intimacy’ between content creators and audiences (05:50) I looked at my racial privilege through a series of podcast episodes (06:09) I’ve also been exploring my recent autism self-diagnosis through the podcast (06:57) Dr. Andalibian’s voicemail telling me about the results of my autism screeners (10:30) I’ve always had a hard time fitting in (11:29) My entire teenage years were marked by a huge withdrawal from everything and everyone (12:33) School was miserable as well because I was good at learning but couldn’t figure out how to make friends (13:04) Gemma describes what she remembers about me (15:38) The librarian created the Library Monitor position for me (16:30) Sarah explains how we met (20:08) Sarah pointed out that there is much less ambiguity in our relationship than in many of her relationships (22:50) I was surprised to hear that Sarah found the absence of ambiguity to be a helpful part of our friendship (24:13) An example of when I’ve misstepped and didn’t know how to fix it (26:43) A listener and I chat about imposter syndrome back in 2020
67 minutes | Dec 19, 2022
174: Support for Neurodivergent Parents with Dr. Rahimeh Andalibian & Sara Goodrich
Most of the resources related to parenting and neurodiversity are geared toward helping neurodivergent children, not neurodivergent parents, so this episode aims to help close that gap. Whether you (or your partner, if you have one) have a diagnosis or you see yourself (or them) struggling but can't quite figure out why, this episode may help. Autism and ADHD are diagnosed at wildly differing rates in girls and boys (in large part because boys' symptoms often turn outward while girls' symptoms turn inward), which means that girls are very often undiagnosed and unsupported well into adulthood. Dr. A. may help you to identify neurodivergence in yourself or your partner, and then connect you to resources to support you on your journey. Find more about Dr. A's practice at SpectrumServicesNYC.com I also very much appreciated Dr. A's memoir The Rose Hotel (affiliate link) about her experiences in Iran during the revolution, and later in the U.K. and the U.S. Jump to highlights (00:03) Introduction to this episode. (03:07) What kind of patterns do you see in couples where one partner is known to be neurodivergent? (07:28) It’s often the female-identifying partner who is the one who identifies the issue. (11:46) What are some of the red flags for neurodivergent partners? (16:05) Men tend to flood four times as fast as their female partners when they are in an argument. (21:43) How do I support my partner in being a successful parent and also find more balance in terms of what they bring to the family? (25:38) What do we do with this knowledge that we have? (30:31) Dealing with conflict between the couple. (32:46) What do you think of the idea of trauma as a factor in ADHD? (36:12) Diagnosis of ADHD is multi-directional –. (41:56) Mental health is still stigmatized and getting a diagnosis could backfire on you. (42:31) What is a diagnosis and how does it help? (47:44) The different types of ADHD. (53:03) Social calendaring and extracurricular activities. (54:46) Time blocking is a better approach for ADHD. (01:01:45) Strengths of people with ADHD. References Blair, R.J.R. (2005). Responding to the emotions of others: Dissociating forms of empathy through the study of typical and psychiatric populations. Consciousness and Cognition 14(4), 698-718. Bostock-Ling, J.S. (2017, December). Life satisfaction of neurotypical women in intimate relationships with a partner who has Asperger’s Syndrome: An exploratory study. Unpublished Master’s thesis: The University of Sydney. Chronis-Tuscano, A., & Stein, M.A. (2012). Pharmapsychotherapy for parents with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Impact on maternal ADHD and parenting. CNS Drugs 26(9), 725-732. Chronis-Tuscano, A., O’Brien, K.A., Johnston, C., Jones, H.A., Clarke, T.L., Raggi, V.L., Rooney, M.E., Diaz, Y., Pian, J., & Seymour, K.E. (2011). The relation between...
69 minutes | Dec 5, 2022
173: Why we shouldn’t read the “Your X-Year-Old Child” books any more
Have you ever seen recommendations for the books called Your One Year Old, Your Two Year Old, and so on, by Louise Bates Ames? Every few weeks I see parents posting in online communities asking about some aspect of their child’s behavior that is confusing or annoying to them, and somebody responds: “You should read the Louise Bates Ames books!” This usually comes with the caveat that the reader will have to disregard all the 'outdated gender stuff,' but that the information on child development is still highly relevant. In this episode I dig deep into the research on which these books are based. While the books were mostly published in the 1980s, they're based on research done in the 1930s to 1950s. I argue that far from just 'stripping out the outdated gender stuff,' we need to look much deeper at the cultural context that the information in these books fits within - because it turns out that not only were the researchers not measuring 'normal,' 'average' child development, but that they were training children to respond to situations in a certain way, based on ideas about a person's role in society that may not fit with our views at all. And if this is the case, why should we use these books as a guide to our children's development? Other episodes RIE Science of RIE Toilet learning Parenting Beyond Pink and Blue NVC Jump to highlights (02:41) An open invitation to check out the new book that will be released in August 2023. (04:59) Why these child psych books from the 1980s are all over parenting Facebook groups today (06:01) The Gesell philosophy of human behavior (08:48) Who is Louise Bates (10:32) Who is Arnold Gesell (11:28) How the children were selected to participate in the experiment (14:28) How our view of childhood had undergone a massive shift in the previous 100 years (16:09) What’s it like to have a child involved in the study (19:35) Some of the significant milestones provided by researchers
60 minutes | Nov 21, 2022
172: You Are Not A Sh*tty Parent with Carla Naumburg
Are you a shitty parent? Or do you ever think you might be? Parenting today is so hard, and there are so many models of 'perfect parenting' available on social media that we can compare ourselves against that provide 'evidence' that we're not doing it right. Things can get even more difficult when we believe in respectful parenting, because we have a model for what we know we want parenting to be like - and every time we fall short of that ideal, the voice is there: "You don't know what you're doing." "You'll never be able to do it right." "You're a shitty parent." My guest today, Carla Naumburg, is the author of the bestselling book How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t With Your Kids, which was conveniently released just before a global pandemic started when we suddenly all started losing our shit with our kids. Now she's back with a new book: You Are Not A Sh*tty Parent which helps us to understand: Where these stories about ourselves come from How we can stop believing these stories Ways to treat both ourselves and our children with more compassion Carla was kind enough to send an advance copy of the book to a member of my community who said that she would read a sentence in it and think: “But you don’t know me; I actually AM a shitty parent!” ...and then in the next sentence it was almost like Carla had read her mind and was prepared to address the member's precise concern. So if you ever feel anxious about your ability to parent in a way that's aligned with your values and think it's all about your failures, Carla has ideas to help. Please note that some swearing is inevitable when you're talking about Carla's books but apart from that the conversation was remarkably restrained on the language front! Carla Naumburg's Books You Are Not A Sh*tty Parent Affiliate link to How to Stop Losing Your Shit With Your Kids (Affiliate links) References Yarnell, L.M., Stafford, R.E., Neff, K.D., Reilly, E.D., Knox, M.C., & Mullarkey, M. (2015). Meta-analysis of gender differences in self-compassion. Self and Identity 14(5), 499-520.
61 minutes | Nov 7, 2022
171: How Good People Can Create A More Just Future with Dr. Dolly Chugh
Did you read Little House on the Prairie when you were a child? I didn't, but I know it's a common American rite of passage. My guest in this new episode, Dr. Dolly Chugh, got entirely immersed in the story with her two young daughters - so much so that they took a vacation to the places depicted in the story, and her daughters danced around in prairie dresses. Dr. Chugh didn't realized until afterward that there was something missing from both Little House on the Prairie and from her family's exploration of the Midwest: settlers didn't arrive to find unoccupied land ready for farming; the government actively removed Native Americans from the land so it could be occupied by 'settlers.' Dr. Chugh studies issues related to race as a professor, and yet she completely missed this aspect of our country's history. In her new book, A More Just Future, Dr. Chugh asks why so-called Good People act in ways that are counter to their beliefs because we don't have all the information we need, or we prioritize some information over others. In our conversation we discussed this research, and what we can all do to take actions that are aligned with our values - even when we're new to working on social justice issues. Affiliate link to A more just future: Reckoning with our past and driving social change by Dr. Dolly Chugh: https://amzn.to/3D8adV7 Shownotes: (09:13) 3 ways that we tend to perceive ourselves. (12:02) People who are trying to avoid a loss are more likely to make less ethical choices than people trying to make a game. (14:35) Kahneman and Tversky's work that says how you frame something can have meaningful consequences, even if the thing you're framing is exactly the same. (15:06) So that’s all the research of Framing says, and the gain versus loss piece of it says that you can have identical situations. But what the research, Molly Curran and I have shown us that if you frame it as a loss, people are more likely to cheat. (28:51) James Loewen has done some, some deep analyses of textbooks where he's, you know, God bless him spent two years he took like the 20 most popular history textbooks used in American high schools. References Blunt, A., & Pychyl, T.A. (2005). Project systems of procrastinators: A personal project-analytic and action control perspective. Personality and Individual Differences 38(8), 1771-1780. Fee, R.L., & Tangney, J.P. (2000). Procrastination: A means of avoiding shame or guilt? Journal of social behavior and personality 15(5), 167-184. Gilbert, D.T., Wilson, T.D., Pinel, E.C., Blumberg, S.J., & Wheatley, T.P. (1998). Immune neglect: A source of durability bias in affective forecasting. Personality and Social Psychology 75(3), 617-638. Kim, K., del Carmen Triana, M., Chung, K., & Oh, N. (2015). When do employees cyberloaf? An interactionist perspective examining personality, justice, and empowerment. Human Resource Management 55(6), 1041-1058. Sirois, F.M., Melia-Gordon, M.L., & Pychyl, T.A. (2003). “I’ll look after my health, later”: An investigation of procrastination and health. Personality and Individual Differences 35(5), 1167-1184. Sirois, F.M., & Pychyl, T. (2013). Procrastination and the priority of short-term mood regulation: Consequences for future self. Social and Personality Psychology Compass 7(2), 115-127. Wohl, M.J.A., Pychyl, T.A., & Bennett, S.H. (2010). I forgive myself, now I can study: how...
52 minutes | Oct 24, 2022
170: How to stop procrastinating with Dr. Fuschia Sirois
Our culture says that people procrastinate because they're disorganized and lazy. After all, how hard can it really be to do a task you've committed to doing, and one that you even know will benefit you?! But I learned through this episode that procrastination isn't about disorganization or laziness at all - it's much more about managing how we feel about tasks - and we can learn how to do this more effectively. Those of us who don't struggle with procrastination can also do quite a bit to support the folks who do, to make it easier for them to get stuck in and be successful at the task. Learn more about navigating your own procrastination and supporting your child in doing this as they get old enough for it to become relevant to them in this episode. Amazon affiliate link to Procrastination: What it is, why it's a problem, and what you can do about it by Fuschia Sirois: https://amzn.to/3Tl9WTH Jump to highlights 02:04 - Definition of Procrastination 03:19 - The 2 kinds of Procrastination and the difference between the two 04:07 - How common is procrastination? 08:03 - The interconnections between Procrastination and people's health 11:04 - How can Procrastination be linked to stress? 18:01 - Bed time Procrastination and its implication to people's health 21:25 - Link then between people's emotional states and procrastination 25:42 - The connections between perfectionism and procrastination 29:45 - What is active procrastination and is it a good thing? 33:20 - Interaction between procrastination and shame 40:42 - What can we do to manage our emotions and take on tasks that are important and valuable to us 42:34 - How can forgiveness and self compassion affect Procrastination 45:36 - What is paper doll diagram? 48:48 . Can children procrastinateand at what age does procrastination start to show up? 50:42 - Healthy ways of managing negative emotions References Anderson, J.H. (2016). Structured nonprocrastination: Scaffolding efforts to resist the temptation to reconstrue unwarranted delay. In F. Sirois and T. Pychyl, (Eds.)., Procrastination, Health, and Well-Being (p.43-63). Academic Press. Blunt, A., & Pychyl, T.A. (2005). Project systems of procrastinators: A personal project-analytic and action control perspective. Personality and Individual Differences 38(8), 1771-1780. Fee, R.L., & Tangney, J.P. (2000). Procrastination: A means of avoiding shame or guilt? Journal of social behavior and personality 15(5), 167-184. Gilbert, D.T., Wilson, T.D., Pinel, E.C., Blumberg, S.J., & Wheatley, T.P. (1998). Immune neglect: A source of durability bias in affective forecasting. Personality and Social Psychology 75(3), 617-638. Giguere, B., Sirois, F.M., & Vaswani, M. (2016). Delaying things and feeling bad about it? A norm-based approach to procrastination. In F. Sirois and T. Pychyl, (Eds.)., Procrastination, Health, and Well-Being (p.189-212). Academic Press. Kim, K., del Carmen Triana, M., Chung, K., & Oh, N. (2015). When do employees cyberloaf? An interactionist perspective examining personality, justice, and empowerment. Human Resource Management 55(6), 1041-1058. Kroense, F.M.,Nauts, S., Kamphorst, M.A., Anderson, J.H., & de Ridder, D.T.D. (2016). Bedtime procrastination: A behavioral perspective on sleep insufficiency. In F. Sirois and T. Pychyl, (Eds.)., Procrastination, Health, and Well-Being (p.93-119). Academic Press. Pychyl, T.A., & Sirois, F.M. (2016). Procrastination, emotion regulation, and well-being. In F. Sirois and T. Pychyl, (Eds.)., Procrastination, Health, and Well-Being (p.163-188). Academic Press. Sirois, F.M., Melia-Gordon, M.L., & Pychyl, T.A. (2003)....
50 minutes | Oct 10, 2022
169: How to take care of yourself first with Liann Jensen
Liann did not have an easy entry into motherhood. Her first child’s birth was pretty traumatic; it was followed by a miscarriage and then very quickly by another pregnancy. And then by COVID. She was already overwhelmed and then everyone was isolated…and suddenly Liann had a whole lot of anger that she hadn’t seen before. She didn’t think things could be more difficult than they were in the immediate postpartum period…and then they were. Her toddler, Hewitt, resented the new baby: Liann would be sitting on the couch nursing the baby and Hewitt is rolling on the floor shouting “NO BABY! NO BABY!” Transitions weren’t a problem before, but now they couldn’t make it out the door to go anywhere. Liann doesn’t deny that she was looking for a quick fix. She wanted Hewitt’s difficult behavior to stop, so she could stop feeling so freaking angry. She listened to a few of my podcast episodes and realized that she had no self-compassion. She saw that she could be compassionate toward other people in her life, but she was unable to extend that compassion to herself (and I know she’s not alone here: this is incredibly common among the parents I work with). Every time one of her children had a meltdown it felt like a personal attack on her worth as a person. It wasn’t a linear path for Liann to see things differently; she initially doubted that the new tools she was learning would be useful. She was out on a hike with them when they started whining and she realized they were tired and hungry…and so was she…but how did that help? Then she started to believe that things could be different; that there could be another way. She stopped taking everything so personally, which created space for her to be able to see what her children were asking for, instead of seeing their expression of needs as an attack on her for not having anticipated and met them already. And she also started to understand her own needs, and how she could meet these in ways that might seem unconventional, and that wouldn’t work for everyone, but they worked for her. And that’s the important thing: it doesn’t matter whether the solution they came up with would work for anyone else, just like the solutions that will work for you and your child might not work for anyone else. What matters is that they work for the two of you. Hear what the solution was that worked for Liann and her son after he’d been demanding that she put him to bed and nobody else - as well as how she’s learned to ask for and accept help from friends, and how she’s no longer fazed by a baby who has covered every inch of themselves and their crib with poop. Liann experienced a number of non-cognitive shifts as she went through the Taming Your Triggers workshop, which is where you don’t just believe something different to be true in your head, but that you take it on in your entire body as well. At that point you no longer have to constantly remind yourself about what you’re supposed to do in difficult moments, because the knowledge isn’t just in your head - it’s in your body as well. Then it becomes part of the fabric of how you live your life with your child. We can’t know when and how these will happen, but I will say that almost everyone I’ve seen really apply themselves in...
38 minutes | Oct 3, 2022
168: Feeling Triggered by Current Events
I know it can be really difficult to navigate all the events happening in the world today. It seems like things are falling apart, with wars, climate change-caused drought and wildfires in some areas and flooding in others, with hunger not following far behind. And things aren’t any better on the political front either. When difficult things happen out there in the world, they spill over into our relationships with our children. We suddenly find ourselves snapping at them far more easily than usual. The things they do that are normally mildly irritating now push us to the limit, and we end up reacting to them in ways that we don’t like. In this episode we discuss the reasons why you feel emotionally yanked around by things that are happening out there in the wider world, as well as by the ways these things are discussed online and in our families as well. We look at the tools you can use to regulate your emotions when this happens…but also that regulating your emotions and then voting to express your feelings about how the world should be isn’t going to make a meaningful difference. We learn tools you can use instead to create a sense of autonomy, which reduces stress and also change the circumstances themselves so they are less triggering in the future. If you know you need support with your triggered feelings, whether these are related to: Events that are going in in the wider world Seeing discussion of those events online or hearing about them from family members or friends Traumatic events that you experienced in your childhood Events in your childhood that you don’t think of as traumatic, and yet left marks on you Difficulties you’re having now …the Taming Your Triggers workshop will help. In the workshop you’ll learn what are the real causes of your triggered feelings (which really aren’t about your child’s behavior), and you’ll get support in taking on these ideas deeply so they aren’t just things you have to remember, but that you actually believe and live. The difficult things that happened to us happened in relationships with other people, and so we heal most effectively through relationships with other people as well. We’ll support you in an amazing community of parents who are all on this journey alongside you, and you’ll also get the opportunity to pair up with one of them so you can hold each other (gently!) accountable to keep going through the workshop even when things get hard, and to deepen your learning as you go. Click the image below to learn more and sign up: Episodes mentioned in this episode No Self, No Problem Mutual Aid Jump to highlights (00:08) Societal factors that make us feel triggered (03:15) The Yerkes-Dodson law describes...
58 minutes | Sep 26, 2022
167: Healing and Helping with Mutual Aid with Dean Spade
In this conversation with Dean Spade we resolve a long-running challenge in my understanding: when we talked with Dr. john powell on the topic of Othering and Belonging a couple of years ago we discussed how volunteering promotes othering, because it perpetuates the idea that the volunteer is a person with resources to give, and the recipient has little in the way of useful knowledge or resources of their own. Dr. powell agreed, but we didn’t have time to discuss what to do instead. In this episode we finally punch out that lingering hanging chad of knowledge and talk with Dean Spade about the concept of mutual aid, which is the topic of his book: Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity in This Crisis (And The Next). In this conversation we discuss: What is mutual aid, and how it’s more effective than volunteering How we heal in community with others from the effects that benign-seeming systems like capitalism have on us Ways to find and get involved in mutual aid projects As Dean and I talked, I also realized how applicable these ideas are to the work I do with parents in the Taming Your Triggers workshop. It’s not surprising that parents feel triggered by their child’s behavior when you consider the trauma that we’ve experienced. Even if you had ‘good parents,’ they still raised you to succeed within a system that told you to hide unacceptable parts of yourself so you could be ‘successful’ - which means getting good grades, going to college, getting a good job, buying a house, and raising a family. And we’re supposed to do all of this by ourselves, without relying on others - because then we’ll need to buy more stuff along the journey. Our culture uses shame to enforce these rules and keep us in line - that’s why we feel a sense of wrong-ness when we do something that isn’t socially acceptable - like asking for help, for example. Because these traumas happened in community, they’re most effectively healed in community as well - just as these two parents did when they built on each other’s knowledge in the workshop earlier this year (screenshot shared with permission): If you want to jump-start your ability to actually apply that knowledge in your interactions with your children by learning in community with others, then Taming Your Triggers will help you. Click the image below to learn more! Dr. Dean Spade's Book Mutual...
45 minutes | Sep 12, 2022
166: Learning to trust your child – and yourself
Claire had used respectful parenting methods since her children were babies, so child-led learning seemed like a natural fit for her. She protected her toddler’s free play time and involved her in household chores and nature walks. Claire attended school as a child (just like I did!); she even enjoyed elementary school. By high school she didn’t see the relevance between what she was being taught and the things she was interested in - by that time her biggest lessons came from extracurricular art classes with mostly retired classmates at an art school, and from a theater production which she and other students put on entirely by themselves - getting advice from teachers, but messing up and fixing their mistakes by themselves. It was the art classes and theater experiences that shaped the kind of learning that Claire wanted for her child, so she got herself pretty worked up over the idea of her oldest daughter attending public school. It was actually joining my Learning Membership that helped her see that if she did need to put her daughter in school someday, they would still be able to find ways to support her at home. Whichever way that turned out, she and her daughter would be OK. And in the meantime, her daughter had transitioned from the simpler questions of two to the more complex, involved questions of three. Her new sibling was born, and her writing explorations proceeded in parallel with figuring out her place in the newly expanded family: suddenly she’s highly motivated to write a sign saying: NO BABIES ALLOWED. Not only has Claire seen her child’s learning develop, but she’s also seeing her own growth as a person and as a parent. Having arrived at the decision to homeschool from a place of fear and defensiveness, which she would have to justify to her extended family who are teachers, she now feels confident that homeschooling is the right fit for her family right now - even though that may change in the future. And - more importantly - she has reimagined her role in the homeschooling relationship. She now knows she doesn’t need to high-tail it for the library the moment her daughter expresses an interest in a new subject - she can sit back and observe and see what her daughter is really learning…and then go to the library if that’s the most appropriate thing to do. Claire is becoming her daughter’s guide on the side who takes cues from her learner, rather than the sage on the stage who takes advantage of every Teachable Moment to impart a lesson. Now Claire feels much more relaxed about her daughter’s learning, because she trusts her daughter - and she trusts herself. Claire had spent a lot of her own early years feeling uncomfortable, and searching for belonging. She figured that if she just pushed herself harder, and beat herself up when things went wrong, that eventually she would be good enough. That she would finally stop feeling ashamed of herself, and fit in. Now she sees that you can’t teach a child to be compassionate. The way our children learn compassion is by seeing us being compassionate with them - and with ourselves. So Claire is reparenting...
52 minutes | Aug 26, 2022
165: How grit helps (and how it doesn’t)
At the beginning of our stay at a friend’s house in Oregon six weeks ago, my eight-year-old daughter Carys had biked a flat mile on a mountain biking trail; when we got to a very slight incline she made it 20 feet further and then it all fell apart. She whined; she cried; she refused to go on. Later in the day, after we had both calmed down, we discussed the idea of Doing Hard Things, and we ultimately both agreed that we wanted to improve our mountain biking skills this summer. She has done both a beginner and an intermediate level bike camp since then and her skills have dramatically improved! We did the Trail of Refusal the weekend after the beginner camp and she made it all the way around the loop, and the only complaining was because our riding companions weren’t going fast enough! (I’ve also been riding a lot - selling my old bike for a good price enabled the purchase of a new, much lighter one and I’m now significantly faster than I was. I may need a skills camp myself next time we’re in town…) Professor Angela Duckworth discusses Doing Hard Things in her work on grittiness. A few days ago Listener Jamie, who helped me to prepare to talk with Alfie Kohn several years ago and who co-interviewed Dr. Mona Delahooke with me, sent me an article from The Atlantic that had just popped up in her newsfeed called The Case Against Grit and said “You said the same thing ages ago!”. I was pretty sure I did say that, but I decided to check it out. Looking back at something I wrote four years ago has the potential to be pretty scary - my ideas have evolved a lot since then. Does this episode still ring true? Did I miss major issues? I discuss these ideas in a preview to this re-released episode. And if you: Want your child to be gritty enough to succeed at what they set their minds to, but you’ve no idea how to teach this, or even whether you can or should teach it’; Know that an intrinsic love of learning is so important, but don’t know how to help your child to develop it; Worry that you can’t effectively support your child’s learning because you aren’t an expert and don’t have a teaching credential… …then the FREE You Are Your Child’s Best Teacher workshop will help. We’re getting underway now, so hop on over and register to get started. Just click the banner below! Jump to highlights (03:29) How Grit is intimately connected to WHITE supremacy (04:31) Characteristics of WHITE supremacy in the concept of Grit (05:45) Teaching grittiness seems to be about passing along cultural ideas that we might not agree with (07:55) Raising children with a broad skill set and a self-identified passion are those who have encouraged rather than pushed their children in many interests rather than just one. (11:03) Invitation to join the Supporting Your Child’s Learning Membership and You Are Your Child’s Best Teacher workshop (12:20) Understanding what is Grit scale (15:30) Is grit about perseverance and passion (17:15) What it takes to be Grit (22:01) Using effort to overcome potential deficiencies in talent (25:27) Issues in measuring the Grit scale to students in schools (27:09) How could we give students from poor backgrounds a better advantage in school (28:24) Children experience at least two responses to stress (30:01) Understanding the issues of grit in famously successful people (32:21) The 7 virtues of grit (33:42) One of the major purposes of school is to pass on society’s culture and values to the next generation (35:09) The 4 key beliefs that cause a student to persevere more in the classroom...
48 minutes | Aug 21, 2022
164: Supporting Neurodivergent Children with Dr. Hanna Bertilsdotter-Rosqvist
Parents have been asking me for episodes on neurodivergence for a while now so I’m hoping this episode will become the start of a mini-series. In this first conversation I talk with Dr. Hanna Bertilsdotter-Rosqvist, co-author of the new book Neurodiveristy Studies: A New Critical Paradigm. We look at this topic through the lens of autism, and I share some information I found to be pretty surprising when, out of curiosity, I took the Autism Spectrum Quotient screening online. We discuss ways that schools, workplaces, and the wider world could better accommodate neurodivergent people, both so neurodivergent people can live the fullest expression of themselves, and also so everyone can benefit from their ideas, experience, and expertise. While this episode uses autism as a lens through which to discuss neurodiversity, the ideas in it can be applied to other types of neurodiversity including Asperger’s syndrome, dyslexia, dyscalculia, ADHD, synesthesia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and Tourette syndrome. I also see neurodiversity as much more broad than the typical way this term is used, which tends to be used to mean “a person with a disorder that makes them not as good as a normal person.” I see us all as neurodiverse, each with our own unique combination of talents and struggles, so we should support children in learning in the way that’s uniquely suited to them. If you’d like to learn how to do this, come and join my FREE You Are Your Child’s Best Teacher workshop, which is coming up between August 29 and September 9. Enrollment is open right now - just click the banner below! Dr. Hanna Bertilsdotter-Rosqvist's Book Neurodiversity Studies: A New Critical Paradigm (Routledge Advances in Sociology) (Affiliate link). References: Bertilsdotter-Rosqvist, H., Chown, N., and Stenning, A. (2020). Neurodiversity studies: A new critical paradigm. London: Routledge. Bertilsdotter Rosqvist, H. (2019). Knowing what to do: Exploring meanings of development and peer support aimed at people with autism. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 23(2), 174-187. Bertilsdotter-Rosqvist, H. B., & Brownlow, C. (2015). “What’s the point of having friends?”: Reformulating Notions of the Meaning of Friends and Friendship among Autistic People. Disability Studies Quarterly, 35(4). Bertilsdotter-Rosqvist, H. (2013). Doing adulthood through parenthood: Notions of parenthood among people with cognitive disabilities. Alter 7(1), 56-68. Bertilsdotter-Rosqvist, H. (2012). Practice, practice: notions of adaptation and normality among adults with Asperger syndrome. Disability Studies Quarterly, 32(2). Bertilsdotter Rosqvist, H., Brownlow, C., & O'Dell, L. (2015). ‘An Association for All’—Notions of the Meaning of Autistic Self‐Advocacy Politics within a Parent‐Dominated Autistic Movement. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 25(3), 219-231. Brownlow, C., Bertilsdotter Rosqvist, H., & O'Dell, L. (2015). Exploring the potential for social networking among people with autism: Challenging dominant ideas of ‘friendship’. Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research, 17(2), 188-193. Egner, J.E. (2019). “The disability rights community was never mine”: Neuroqueer disidentification. Gender & Society...
51 minutes | Aug 15, 2022
163: Should children vote? with Dr. John Wall
Every once in a while a blog post about ‘childism’ makes the rounds on social media, which is described as being a “prejudice against young people” that’s on par with sexism, racism, and homophobia. But the Director of the Childism Institute, Dr. John Wall, argues that that definition implies children are simply victims of whatever adults throw at them - when actually they are active agents who create meaning for themselves. Dr. Wall’s most recent book is called Give Children The Vote - when I picked it up, I have to admit that I rolled my eyes. I was prepared to remain skeptical…and was surprised to find that by the end of the book, the idea of children’s suffrage actually made a whole lot of sense. Changing our minds…changing the world A big part of what happened to me as I researched this episode was that I changed my ideas about two things I’d long assumed to be true: that we need to protect children from adults who look down at them, and that children shouldn’t be able to vote. As you’ll hear in the episode, my daughter was actually part of this process on the voting topic - we talked about whether she thought she should be able to vote, and she demonstrated the major capabilities that Dr. Wall said children need to be able to vote responsibly. So often we get stuck in a rut of imagining that the way we see the world is The Right Way, and if our child doesn’t see it that way then it’s because they aren’t yet mature enough to know how the world really works. But what if we could see that the ways children view the world - in fact, the ways we used to view the world before we were taught that rational arguments supersede all other kinds of knowledge - as something that actually has value? Not only does it have value, but it might create insights into the challenges we face - from the small ones in our daily lives to the really big ones like what we’ll do about climate change and how we’ll address really big social problems. Our children need us to see and value their creativity, because there are so many other places in the world that don’t value it - and that will squash it out of them pretty quickly. If you’d like to learn how to support your own child’s intrinsic creativity and love of learning, I invite you to join me in the FREE You Are Your Child’s Best Teacher workshop that starts Monday August 29th. You’ll get: A set of five emails over two weeks (including a holiday weekend in the U.S., allowing you extra time with your children to see the methods in action!); All your questions answered in a private pop-up Facebook group; The new ideas, tools, and mindset hacks you’ll need to transform the way you see your child’s learning, and how you support it. Dr. John Wall's Book Give Children the Vote: On Democratizing Democracy (Affiliate link). References: Abebe, T., & Biswas, T. (2021). Rights in education: outlines for a decolonial, childist reimagination of the future – commentary to Ansell and colleagues. Fennia 199(1), 118-128. Barajas, S....
59 minutes | Aug 1, 2022
162: Supporting children through grief with Katie Lear
This episode builds on our conversation with Dr. Atle Dyregrov on the topic of talking with children about death, where we focused mainly on death as a general concept and navigating the first few days after the death. Grief therapist Katie Lear has a new book called A Parent's Guide to Managing Childhood Grief and focuses on the much longer period of mourning that follows the death of someone close to a child. We look at: The four 'tasks' of mourning that most people (including children) move through Activities we can do in each task to help children navigate their feelings effectively long the process usually takes Signs that a child is engaged in 'complicated grief' and needs more support Where and how to find that support Resources mentioned in the show Katie's website The book A Parent's Guide to Managing Childhood Grief Selma Fraiberg's book The Magic Years: Understanding and Handling the Problems of Early Childhood The Dougy Center(resources and referrals to grief therapists) Books Katie recommends for reading with young children When Dinosaurs Die Ida Always The Endless Story The Dead Bird Goodbye Mousie Jump to highlights (03:13) Important topics in Katie Lear’s book, A Parent's Guide to Managing Childhood Grief (04:43) Understanding what grief looks like in children and in adult (07:38) The four tasks that children need to work through during the grieving process (11:39) Useful activities in supporting children in the first stages of grief (14:03) Katie recommends picture books about death that are written in a way that children can understand and that help normalize the feelings associated with the grieving process (15:49) Should we tell our children the truth about a parent's death? (17:45) Feelings a child experiences when someone close to them dies (18:54) How does displaying a parent's grief to their child affect their behavior (21:24) Understanding our child’s commotion or acting out when they’re in the grieving process (24:11) What is Magical Thinking and how it’s connected to a child’s development (29:16) How Magical Thinking works in adults who are grieving (30:24) What is the environment like for children who are adjusting after a loved one has gone (32:01) Family bonding activities...
47 minutes | Jul 18, 2022
161: New masculinites for older boys with Dr. Michael Kehler & Caroline Brunet
We've covered a number of episodes in the past that feed into this one, including Raising Emotionally Healthy Boys with Dr. Judy Chu (which focused on boys' understanding of masculinity in the preschool years), and Playing to Win with Dr. Hilary Levy Friedman (which looked at the lessons children learn from sports...which aren't really related to the sports themselves...). And of course there are the two episodes on patriarchy; the interview with Dr. Carol Gilligan, as well as my conversation with listener Brian Stout about what we learned during the interview. A few weeks ago listener Caroline and I interviewed Dr. Marnina Gonick on the topic of girls' relationships, which stemmed from the question 'why are middle/high school-aged girls so mean to each other?' but became much broader in scope as we looked at the cultural factors shaping girls' relationships. At the end of that conversation I asked Dr. Gonick if she knew anyone who was doing work similar to hers but looking at boys' relationships, and she did! In today's conversation Caroline returns to co-interview Dr. Michael Kehler, who is Research Professor in Masculinities Studies at the Weklund School of Education at the University of Calgary. We discuss how masculinity isn't something that boys are; it's something they do, how the traditional interpretation of masculinity hurts our boys and girls, and what parents can do to support boys in engaging in alternative masculinities that allow them to feel more whole as people. Dr. Michael Kehler's book Boys’ Bodies: Speaking the Unspoken - Affiliate link Jump to highlights (03:31) What does it mean to be a boy (05:17) There is a type of masculinity that is perceived to be the most masculine (06:21) The problem with the phrase “Boys will be boys” (08:24) Understanding Masculine and Feminine binary (10:09) How much influence do gender stereotypes or gender norms around masculinity have on boys' relationships, particularly at school? (16:27) How mental and physical affection have shown up in boys' and men's relationships (21:37) Why do boys and men feel pressure to conform to traditional masculine norms? (23:38) Ways that girls regulated men's roles in society (27:49) How can gender diversity be supported (30:25) Boys seem to need action-based learning, rather than docile literacy-based tasks (33:54) The importance of disrupting thinking in supporting boys in their resistance to the norms of masculinity (40:07) Do boys desire close male-to-male friendships? (42:29) Power of discomfort as a learning opportunity References: Anderson, E., Adams, A., & Rivers, I. (2012). “I kiss them because I love them”: The emergence of heterosexual men kissing in British institutes of education. Archives of Sexual Behavior 41(2), 421-430. Anderson, E. (2008). “I used to think women were weak”: Orthodox masculinity, gender segregation, and sport. Sociological Forum 23(2), 257-280. Burns, J., & Kehler, M. (2014). Boys, bodies, and negotiated school...
45 minutes | Jul 4, 2022
160: Wanting What’s Best with Sarah Jaffe
There are lots of books available now on how to talk with children about issues related to race, but Sarah W. Jaffe noticed a gap: there weren't any books geared toward non-academic audiences talking about how the choices that predominantly well-off, predominantly White parents make impact other people. From childcare choices to school to college, at every step of the way we make decisions that reflect Wanting What's Best for our own child, but very often these decisions are rooted in the fear of our child falling behind in some way, and when we try to elevate our own child we often do it at the expense of others. Sarah's book uncovers the ideas that underlie the seemingly innocuous decisions we make so we can ensure that our choices are really aligned with our values. It also provides a great counterpoint to the book that I'm in the process of writing, which will be on the ways we either pass on or disrupt the tools of White supremacy, patriarchy, and capitalism to our own children through the daily interactions we have with them that don't seem to be about anything related to these topics. Publication date September 2023: stay tuned! Click here to order Sarah W. Jaffe's book Wanting What's Best: Parenting, Privilege, and Building a Just World (affiliate link). Shownotes: (02:37) How our child should engage in the world. (03:57) Learn why our fears affects how we raise our children. (05:58) The importance of racism, patriarchy and capitalism conversation in our child. (07:42) The inadequacies in the system and issues with childcare wages during the 1960s. (10:07) Why is our Social Security System being unfair and unjust to farm laborers and domestic workers. (11:45) How should we deal with the childcare systems as privileged parents. (13:20) The ideal factors in choosing a daycare arrangement between public schools and private ones. (14:19) Is it a good idea to take the funds from one school and give it to the other schools. (17:17) How racial makeup of a school does play a big part in the perception of WHITE parents when choosing a school. (18:57) The good benefits of exposing our kids to a school with a diverse student body. (19:43) The challenges we experienced as parents while working against racism. (23:05) Anti-racist work practices that we can start now. (25:29) The real picture of how colleges and universities consider students seeking financial aid. (31:42) Should we consider it a parenting failure if our child didn't attend college. (33:21) What it means to be a good activist. (35:56) How does social change start in volunteerism. (38:26) Money talks with our child. (40:17) Every...
49 minutes | Jun 20, 2022
159: Supporting Girls’ Relationships with Dr. Marnina Gonick
I've been wanting to do this episode for a loooong time. We covered episodes a long time ago on how children form social groups, and what happens when they exclude each other from play, but I wanted to do an episode exploring this issue related to slightly older girls, and from a cultural perspective. There are a lot of books and articles out there on the concept of mean girls and I wanted to understand more about that. Why are girls 'mean' to each other? Is it really a choice they're making...or is it a choice in response to a complex set of demands that we put on them about what it means to be female in our culture? I had a really hard time finding anyone who was doing current research on the topic, and I mentioned this on a group coaching call in the Parenting Membership. A member, Caroline, said: “I know someone who can speak to this!” Caroline had explored girls’ relationships in young adult literature for her master’s thesis, and knew Dr. Marnina Gonick’s work. Caroline introduced us, Dr. Gonick agreed to talk, and we all had a great conversation about girls’ role in our culture, how they are affected by it, and how they are agents of change as well. Dr. Gonick is Canada Research Chair in Gender and also holds a joint appointment in Education and Women’s Studies at Mount St. Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. She has written two books on the topic of girls’ relationships as well as a whole host of peer-reviewed articles. Dr. Gonick also introduced me to an expert on boys’ relationships and we’re currently working to schedule an interview in a few weeks so there should be more to come on that soon! Dr. Marnina Gonick’s Books: Young Femininity: Girlhood, Power and Social Change 2004th Edition Between Femininities: Ambivalence, Identity, and the Education of Girls (SUNY series, Second Thoughts: New Theoretical Formations) (Affiliate links). Jump to highlights: (03:36) How changes in cultural norms influence our understanding of what it means to be a girl. (05:27) The way in which a change in behavior can help us understand the experiences of girls in general. (06:36) What does the school curriculum say about girls that causes them to be disadvantaged in schools. (08:35) How damaging it is for girls to be victims in a patriarchal society. (10:25) Why our social systems aren't necessarily organized around girls' well-being (12:50) The concept of girl power can be seen as either working for or...
49 minutes | Jun 6, 2022
158: Deconstructing Developmental Psychology with Dr. Erica Burman
I read a lot of textbooks on parenting for my Master’s in Psychology (Child Development), I’ve read tens of thousands of peer-reviewed papers on the topic, and part of the reason it’s hard work is that you can’t ever take things at face value. In her now classic book Deconstructing Developmental Psychology, Dr. Erica Burman explodes a number of our ideas about child development by calling our attention to what’s really going on in an interaction, rather than what we think is going on. For example, there’s a classic study where researchers put a baby on a solid surface which changed to glass, which had a design underneath implying that there was a ‘cliff edge’ that the baby would fall off if it went onto the glass. Researchers designed the experiment to find out what babies could understand about depth perception, but perhaps what they were actually testing was the extent to which the mother’s encouragement or lack of encouragement (and it was always the mother) could entice the baby across the ‘gap.’ These kinds of confounds exist throughout the research base, and because we’re not taught to look below the surface it can be easy to accept the results at face value. Dr. Burman specializes in looking below the surface so we can examine: what are we really trying to understand here? And in doing this, are we reinforcing the same old ideas about ‘success’ that aren’t really serving us now, never mind our children in the future? Dr. Erica Burman’s Book: Deconstructing Developmental Psychology 3rd Edition Developments: Child, Image, Nation (Affiliate links). Jump to highlights: (01:12) The contribution of Professor Erica Burman to psychology. (03:05) First studies about Childhood Development. (04:26) How general philosophical questions are linked in child studies. (07:42) Childhood as a distinct social category. (09:10) The Concept of Human Interiority and Childhood. (10:17) Our hopes, fears, and fantasies about childhood reflect our ideas about our lost selves. (13:23) How the study of child development shifted when behaviorism came into play. (16:28) We assume psychology is connected with child development. (18:27) Importance of Democratic Parenting in our society. (19:57) Developmental researchers oppressed working mothers and middle-class mothers. (22:23) Impacts of authoritarian regimes in our parenting. (27:19) Using visual cliff as an experiment in understanding depth perception in children. (29:06) A child is functioning within a dynamic system of people and objects and everything around it. (31:02) Mother’s appear as...
39 minutes | May 20, 2022
157: How to find your village
For the first time, in this episode I bow out and and let listeners Jenny and Emma take over, who wanted to share how they’ve been supporting each other over the last few months. They started from pretty different points: Emma wasn’t having parenting struggles, but often over-communicated with her husband and he would stonewall in response, agreeing to whatever she asked so she would stop talking. Then he would resist later, and she couldn’t understand why…because he had agreed, right? Jenny’s sleep had been disturbed by her child for more than four years…she was exhausted, and had no idea how to deal with her rage-filled kindergartener who would hit her whenever he was upset. Neither of them had much confidence that being on a Zoom call together for 40 minutes a week would help them. Emma and her husband now communicate in a way that meets both of their needs, and can navigate the challenges that come up with their preschooler. Jenny is sleeping! And she has learned how deep listening and true empathy help her son to feel really heard…and incidents that used to lead to 45 minute meltdowns that would disrupt the rest of the day are now over in 10 minutes, and are actually connecting for them. Jenny and Emma did all this with a bit of information from me…but mostly by being fully present for each other in a small ‘village’ of parents, inside the slightly larger village of the Parenting Membership. If you want help to break down the changes you want to make into tiny manageable steps and be held (gently!) accountable for taking them (or adjusting course if needed…), we’d love to have you join the three of us plus a group of likeminded parents in the membership. Get the information you need and the support to actually implement it, all in what members call “the least judgmental corner of the internet.” Click the image below to learn more and sign up! Jump to highlights: (01:00) Jenny and Emma came up with the idea to record an episode for the podcast to talk about how their parenting has changed over the last year. (01:55) Emma wasn’t having major problems, but wanted to be prepared for the challenges that may happen down the road. (02:36) Jenny was struggling because she hadn’t had a full night’s sleep in 4 ½ years…and now prioritizes herself through the support of Emma and the members of the ACTion group. (03:55) An open Invitation to join the Parenting Membership. (04:45) Because Emma is a high achiever, she imagined parenthood to be a breeze. (06:57) Jenny believed that if you are prepared and serene, and you bring this calm energy to your pregnancy, you will have an easy child. (08:24) The lack of understanding of our values is what causes us to be conflicted about becoming parents. (12:00) Our child’s big feelings are their way of letting us know that they are not okay. (14:30) It's great to have a community who we can trust, and who will support and respect our values (16:30) The ACTion group conversation once a week gives parents a foundation to parent more intentionally (18:26) Emma used the problem-solving method to find a solution for her child's resistance during nail cutting by trying to hypothesize her child’s feelings. (20:17) Needs can be met when you remove the ‘shoulds.’ (25:31)
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