How to Talk to Kids about having meaningful conversations that matter with Celeste Headlee

Special Guest: Celeste Headlee

Celeste Headlee is the host of “On Second Thought” at Georgia Public Broadcasting in Atlanta and has been a host and correspondent for NPR and PRI since 2006. She is the author of the book, We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter (Harper Wave, September 19), a practical guide to the lost art of conversation. Celeste’s TEDx Talk sharing 10 ways to have a better conversation was listed as one of the most watched TED Talks in 2016 (CNBC) and named the #1 must-watch TED Talk by Glassdoor (with over 11 million total views to date.) 

Being able to have productive conversations is a skill—and it’s a skill, built on a series of other skills from being assertive to listening to ensuring that we were heard correctly and yes, that we have heard and understood correctly what others are saying. These days, with so much communication relying on electronic screens and emojis, the art of conversation may be at risk. And that’s a scary thought. To put ourselves in the frame of mind of taking in the importance of good conversation skills, just think of what happens when poor communication happens—people get the wrong idea, mistakes are made, feelings are hurt and stuff does not get done in the right way. And when conversation is clear and strong and good- progress is made, we feel understood and connected- truly, it can make all the difference.

What to do (and what not to do) to become mentally strong parents with Amy Morin, LCSW

Special Guest: Amy Morin

Amy Morin a psychotherapist and the international bestselling author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do. Her forthcoming book, 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do, goes on sale September 19. Amy also teaches at Northeastern University and she’s a regular contributor to Forbes, Inc., Verywell, and Psychology Today. Her advice has been featured by numerous media outlets including Oprah.com, Parents, Business Insider, Success Magazine, and Fox News and she stars in a RedBull TV show called Visions of Greatness. 

Mentally strong people have good habits, make informed choices and persevere even when the going gets tough. But what habits have mentally strong people dropped to make room for personal growth and meaningful gain? Many people have told Amy Morin, who authored the blockbuster “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do” (which you can hear about here LINK), that they wished they had learned these 13 things to avoid earlier in life—and how, as parents, could they be a better example to their kids? How could they actively instill positive habits (and avoid instilling negative habits) in their children that could compromise their mental strength? This podcast has the answers.

How the Four Tendencies of Personality Can Help Us Better Understand Our Kids with Gretchen Rubin

Special Guest: Gretchen Rubin

We all have different kinds of kids that we parent, teach or coach. Think about it. Some seem easy as pie and others drive you absolutely bonkers. You give one kid a responsibility or perhaps you help one kid set a goal- and he’s on it. Committed and ready to whatever it takes to follow through. He’s off and running and you don’t need to do anything to help him make it happen. Wow! What a great parent or teacher you must be! Then- you give another kid a responsibility or help him set a goal and he might question you for an hour about why he has to do it this way or that and every who, what, where, when and how it will be done as well. Still other kids may need regular accountability to ensure progress or maybe you even know a few that may resist moving forward no matter what you try. Have I described the kids in your life yet? Why in the world can setting expectations, giving responsibilities or helping kids set goals work so easily for some kids and seem like a lesson in futility for others? Turns out, you aren’t crazy—there’s a reason for this. It comes down to a person’s tendency. And you know what? You have them too.

Gretchen Rubin is the author of several books, including the blockbuster bestsellers Better Than Before and The Happiness Project. Perhaps you’ve seen her on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday or give her Ted Talk or give expert happiness advice on the Today Show or Good Morning America. She also has a very popular podcast that you may have heard—called Happier with Gretchen Rubin, where she discusses good habits and happiness with her sister Elizabeth Craft. Her new book, The Four Tendencies, reveals a personality framework she’s created that that explains that people fall into four types: Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels. And we are going to talk all about it today.

How to Talk to Kids about Impulsivity & ADHD with Dr. Dehra Harris

Special Guest: Dr. Dehra Harris
Children who are differently wired, and in particular, children with ADHD, can often feel like something is “wrong” with their brain. “Why can’t I pay attention?” “Why am I getting yelled at right now?” While there are some clear challenges that children with ADHD face in school and in some everyday activities, there are also many strengths that come with having ADHD. During this podcast, Dr. Dehra Harris talks about how we can better understand the challenges and strengths of having ADHD and how we can talk to children about their brain. Dr. Dehra also talks to us about some tips to best parent children with ADHD so that they thrive and we all have more success.

How to Talk to Kids about Stress Management with Lori Lite

Special Guest: Lori Lite

More and more, kids are feeling stressed out in today’s world. This is a topic that comes up often- and of course it does, between academics, sports, homework, performance, lack of free play, reduced recess, political unrest, overworked parents and more, kids are being pulled in many directions and so are parents. Stress is part of the landscape in many families. It’s a great privilege to be able to call on the parenting experts who study stress and stress management as a living to help us know what to do, how to stay calm and how to help our kids with stress management.

How to Talk to Kids about the Barcelona Terror Attack: Tips & Scripts Included

credit: CBS

Just as we are trying to make sense of the loss, heartache and anger of what happened in Charlottesville, we are faced, again, with another act of terror in Barcelona. While adults are reeling, our children will likely have concerns and questions about what has just occurred. Here are some tips, conversation starters and scripts you can use to help talk about this terrible incident with your kids:

  1. Be their first source: I know this is hard as we don’t always know what to say to our children when scary things happen. But information is best coming from a trusted source—and that trusted source is you. You know your child and know how to be sensitive to the way your child needs to receive it. These details may have already started to leak out so it’s best not to wait. While you can limit gruesome details based on age and maturity, you can provide the information your children need to know to feel cared for and safe.

    You can say: “Someone who has hate in their heart and is angry and confused about what is right, kind and fair, hurt a lot of people in Barcelona, a city in Spain, which is in Europe. A lot of people are very upset right now but the people in charge are doing everything they can to keep people safe.”

    2. Let them know about the helpers: When situations seem unsure, children need to know that the grown-ups are helping those in need. Kids become very nervous that they will be left on their own if something bad happens and some anxiety can be alleviated by being sure that someone is in charge of safety.

    You can say: “Authorities are working to keep people safe. The police have already found the person who caused the harm to the people in Barcelona. Medical staff, like doctors and nurses, are helping those who have been hurt.”

    3. Let them know they are safe and these incidents are very rare: While tragedy recently struck Charlottesville, this does not mean that fatal acts of hate and terror are happening all the time. What are the kids thinking right now? They are thinking about their own safety and the safety of those they love. My daughter asked, when we spoke about the sad and angering act of hate in Charlottesville, “Is this going to happen here?”

    You can say: “These kinds of incidents are extremely rare, my love, and the people in charge are doing everything they can to keep everyone safe.”

    4. Stay calm: You are human. It is normal and natural to feel angry, sad, shocked or even numb when senseless acts occur. As a parent, teacher or child mentor, being “there” for young people sometimes means keeping our emotions in check so that we don’t overwhelm or alarm our children. While you certainly don’t need to be stoic or aloof—and you can talk about your sad or angry feelings when terror attacks happen—the full gravity of your feelings should be reserved for other trusted adults in your life.

    You can say: “It makes me feel very sad and angry when I hear that someone who has hate in their heart hurts other people. It’s not right or fair. How do YOU feel about it?”

    5. Expect that questions may not all come out at once: Children often need time to process information—especially information that is upsetting, confusing or surprising. It’s normal for children to have questions about sensitive topics over time. It may go on for weeks—a question here and a question there—never lasting more than a minute or two. Other times you may have a few longer conversations. Children process tough topics in different ways. It’s OK if you don’t know the answer— you can always tell your children that you will look up the answer and get back to them when you know. It’s also completely OK to say “I don’t know” when the answer is not answerable. Be a source of comfort—and know when your child has had enough.

    You can say: “I’m happy to answer your questions. What do you want to know?” And “I’m really not sure of the answer to that question right now, but I will look it up and get you the answer.” Or “I wish I knew for sure that this kind of thing will never happen again. What I do know is that the person who did it was captured by the authorities and can no longer hurt anyone.”

    6. Remain open to dealing with fears and concerns: Don’t be surprised if fears and concerns seem illogical, disconnected and come at unusual times. You might be driving your child to school on a beautiful sunny day when your child pops a question about something that happened days or even weeks before. Your child may develop a temporary fear of the dark, loud noises, people in uniform or otherwise while trying to regain their footing. Be patient and open to talking, reassuring and even just “there” during these tough times. This is tough for everyone.

    You can say: “Is there something I can do to help you feel safer or more secure?” or “Would you like advice or would you prefer that I just listen?”

    7. Know that unusual conduct or feelings may arise: Sometimes frightening and unexpected news can make children act out different ways. These behaviors may surprise you. Some kids may become clingy or hyper while others may become withdrawn and quiet. Some may sleep more while others may sleep less. Still others may eat more while others may report that they aren’t hungry.

    You can say: “Would you like to talk about your feelings? I am always here to listen. Your emotions are all OK and what you feeling is normal when bad things happen. You can feel any way that you do

    8. Don’t stop living: It is natural to want to protect your family when bad things happen. You may be wishing that you want to construct a bubble for everyone you love to live in just to keep potential dangers out. I get it. I’m a parent too. But living in fear is no way to live. Instead, enjoy everyday. Love deeper. Hug longer. And remember, there is more good than bad in the world.

    You can say: “I am so grateful for you. And I’m thankful for all those who work around the clock to keep us safe and healthy. Would you like to talk about why you are grateful today? What have you been able to do today because there are wonderful people who help us stay safe?”

    (9) Focus on the good: And don’t forget to remind your children of the good in the world. There are everyday people doing wonderful things. We don’t always hear about them, but there are. There are people who are solving medical mysteries and there are people who are building schools and helping children in need.

    You can say: “There are kids, just like you, helping the new child at school, talking to the scared friend on the bus, standing up to someone who is being unkind and giving a hug to a friend who is feeling sad. You do many kind things to help others. What have you done to help someone today? How did someone else help you?”

    (10) Allow them to contribute: People often remind kids to look for the helpers in this world—and that is a wonderful strategy. But just as important is to allow your child to find a way to be helpful. Instead of blocking out the world, let us teach our children to become the kind of people that make this world a better place. Children thrive when they feel that they can contribute to their family, their community, their country and beyond. Encourage them to do that. They may even be able to help the people of Barcelona as the charities who are providing assistance emerge. By doing so, you will teach them that there is a lot more good in this world than there is evil. And, yes, they are a big part of that good. In other words, they don’t just need to look for the helpers, they can become them.

    You can say; “How can we be helpful to someone who is suffering today?”

    This is a tough time but let’s keep the path of communication open. It is a source of connection and love—and lord knows we need more of that right now.

Thinking of Barcelona and all those who are grieving losses due to hate or terror attacks right now.

xo

How to Talk to Kids about Bullying with Carrie Goldman

Special Guest: Carrie Goldman

Bullying is a hot topic these days- of course it is. Studies tell us that, more and more, bullying can have a lasting effect on a person’s mental health. Not to mention, we hear tragic stories about children feeling hopeless and helpless when they are being bullied- even some who have turned to hurting themselves or suicide because they don’t see anyway out. As a person who was bullied during my 5th grade year—I can relate to feeling so frustrated and upset and misunderstood and stuck, overwhelmed and targeted while I was being bullied- and I vowed that I would do whatever it took to help young people feel confident in their own skin, speak up when they see something is not right, and help the adults who love kids to know some tips and scripts to be helpful when a child is being bullied. You have heard the podcast with Rosalind Wiseman when we spoke abut creating a culture of dignity among young people- now we have one of my friends and colleagues, Carrie Goldman, on the show, to talk more about bullying, in particular.

How to Talk to Kids about Death & Dying with Joe Primo

Special Guest: Joe Primo

Having a conversation about death and dying is not typically a conversation people are excited to have with their kids. And yet, we all know it’s necessary. A friend of mine came over to me at a party the other day. She had just found out that her mother-in-law had stage 4 cancer. While dealing with her own whirlwind of emotions, knowing that I provide tips and scripts to have these tough conversations with kids, she asked me; “What do I tell the kids? What if they ask me if she’ll die? What do I say when she does?” The concept of dying can be scary, sad, confusing, angering and upsetting for many of us. Our own emotions, our concern about our children’s emotions- how they are going to take the news- how they are going to cope with life when someone they love dies- how might they grieve—what’s normal- these can make us worry about having the conversations in the first place. Not to mention, our confusion over what to say and how to say it can make this topic on how to talk to kids about death and dying- a real tough one.

How to Talk to Kids about Sex featuring Dina Alexander

Special Guest: Dina Alexander

So who wants more information about how to have THE talk with their kids. You know the one. THE SEX TALK! This is one of those conversations that often makes us all squirm in our seats and yet, gotta have it. And remember, while you may not be talking to your kids about sex yet, you’ll need to talk about it at some point—and likely sooner than later, no matter what your family values are and what you personally think your children should or shouldn’t be doing. And for those of you who have already been in the thick of it—perhaps you’ve already had a discussion about privacy, your child’s body or sex itself – remember, it’s never one big talk, but a series of little ones, so this podcast can help provide you with one, two or three extra nuggets you might not have thought of yet when the topic comes up again. And you know it will! It always does.

10 Powerful Conversation Starters: How to Talk to Kids about Resilience

From bullying to disasters to the scary happenings we see on the news, raising kids in today’s world can be challenging. It’s easy to see why teachers, parents, coaches and other adults in the lives of children want to shield children from all hardships. Of course, this isn’t possible and over-protecting children and keeping them from experiencing failure isn’t the answer to adversity. What is? Teaching resilience.

Resilience is the ability to “bounce back” from stress, challenge, trauma, failure and adversity. We see it when our kids pick themselves up after they fall and try again. We see it when they study harder, try out again, make the 3rd attempt, and solve problems on their own even though they could take the easy way out. I like to explain it this way:

Think about an elastic band. You can stretch it out, twist it, pull it– and what happens when you stop stretching it? It bounces back. Just like an elastic band, resilience allows us to “bounce back” when we are pulled, stretched, twisted and challenged. Now think of a rubber ball. What happens when you throw that rubber ball down at the floor or at the wall? It bounces back! Just like an elastic band or a rubber ball, resilience allows us to “bounce back” when life gets tough or challenging. We can be like that elastic band or that rubber ball! When life pushes us down…we bounce back up!

Feel free to use the 10 Conversation Starters to help you talk about resilience with the children in your life. The Powerful Word of the Month is resilience for July– but this is a word we can use all year long to help us through anything that pulls us out of our comfort zone or challenges our emotions, frustration level or even physical being. I’m thinking of you every step of the way- and come up onto Facebook so we can discuss all kinds of great topics on Facebook or request to be in the brand new; How to Talk to Kids about Anything private group!

Thank you for being part of our family!