Special guest: Jessica Alexander. Denmark has been voted as having the happiest people in the world by the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) almost every year since 1973. That’s more than 40 years of happiness! It begs the question—is it the parenting? I mean, is there a Danish Way of parenting? It turns out, there is, and while the Danish Way of parenting is not the only reason Danes are the happiest, it does play a very important role—and the success of it all seems to be tied to the ways they educate children far beyond academics—focusing on play, empathy and social skills. It’s important to delve into it, I hope you would agree, since happy kids tend to grow up to be happy adults who raise happy kids—and the seasons go ‘round and round again. And while in the United States and in other areas of the world, we are seeing an increase of anti-depressants, suicides among young people and mental health diagnoses, as well as a great deal of competition between parents and we have a lot to learn from the Danes. Best-selling Author, Journalist, Danish Parenting Expert & Cultural Researcher, Jessica Alexander’s book “The Danish Way of Parenting: What the Happiest People in the World Know about Raising Confident Capable Kids” has been published in over 25 countries. Her work has been featured in TIME, The Wall Street Journal, Salon, Huffington Post, NPR, NY Times, and many more. She regularly does talks and workshops for parents, schools and organizations like Google, The Women’s Network of the United Nations, The World Parenting Forum and many more. She has also worked as a spokesperson for LEGO on the Power of play.
Special guest: Mona Delahooke, PhD. A kindergartener whose father pinches her on the arm at night- once for every time her teacher wrote the girl’s name on the behavior chart at school that day.
A three year old in foster care who was found sitting in a car by the side of the road with his mother, who was passed out at the wheel. His daycare-center teacher sends him to a time out room for challenging behaviors.
A ten year old is diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder. His teachers say he is chronically disruptive, always seeking attention, His problematic behaviors began after his family relocated to a new state.
My next guest says that we are too quick to look at behaviors as attempts to annoy and disrupt—rather than what they truly represent- observable responses to our internal and external experiences. And here’s the problem with that- When we fail to recognize that many behaviors represent the body’s response to stress, not intentional misbehavior, we expend effort on techniques designed to help children logically connect their thoughts, emotions and behaviors and change them—when they simply can’t yet. Instead, we need to see the behavior that is problematic and confusing and NOT ask ourselves how do we get rid of it? But rather, what is this telling us about the child? The answer will then guide us to coming up with the best approach to help that individual child thrive.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D. is a clinical child psychologist with a passion for supporting families and children. She has worked widely with multidisciplinary teams in the areas of trauma, developmental and emotional differences for 25 years. She is a senior faculty member of the Profectum Foundation and is a trainer and consultant to schools and agencies including the Los Angeles Department of Mental Health. Her blog, The Visible Parent, and book, Social & Emotional Development in Early Intervention (2017) explore the latest translational applications of neuroscience to social and emotional development. She is also the author of Beyond Behaviors: Using Brain Science and Compassion to Understand and Solve Children’s Behavioral Challenges.
Special guest: Alfie Kohn.
Many parenting books offer countless tips for dealing with kids when they misbehave in the eyes of their parents—refusing to go to bed, rejecting the vegetables they’ve been told to eat, talking back, yelling in the restaurant, badgering their sibling or resisting doing the tasks it takes to get to school on time. But the way parents cope with these challenging behaviors might be backfiring even if they work in the short term. My next guest asks many thought-provoking questions in his book, Unconditional Parenting- but two seem to be at the forefront. First; “What are your long-term objectives for your children?” and second, given those long term goals, which are likely for your child to be some version of a kind, independent, confident, competent, happy and fulfilled person—are the ways in which you are parenting lending themselves to creating that type of person IN the long run—or not? It’s time to take a hard look at some of the parenting practices that have become so common that they are accepted as the acceptable norm- time outs, positive re-enforcement, consequences, withdrawal of attention, punishment—and start taking a hard look at UNCONDITIONAL parenting- a parenting philosophy and practice in which parental love and attention is not in a push-pull relationship with how our children behave. On top of that, UNCONDITIONAL parenting puts to rest the notion that children are trying to make trouble—and instead, assumesthe best of the child and looks at the child as a whole person not a compilation of good and bad behaviors.Alfie Kohn is the author of 14 books on education, parenting, and human behavior, including PUNISHED BY REWARDS (1993), THE SCHOOLS OUR CHILDREN DESERVE (1999), UNCONDITIONAL PARENTING (2005), THE HOMEWORK MYTH (2006), and THE MYTH OF THE SPOILED CHILD (2014). He has appeared twice on “Oprah,” as well as on “The Today Show” and many other TV and radio programs. His articles include: “Five Reasons to Stop Saying ‘Good Job!’”, “How Not to Teach Values,” and “Atrocious Advice from ‘Supernanny.’ ” Kohn works with educators and parents across the country and speaks regularly at national conferences. He lives (actually) in the Boston area and (virtually) at www.alfiekohn.org.
Special guest: Cindy Goldrich.
Cindy Goldrich is a mental health counselor, certified ADHD Clinical Service Provider, and teacher trainer. As an ADHD Specialist, She supports parents, educators and other professionals to address the impact of ADHD & Executive Functioning on learning, motivation, and behavior.
She is a recognized Keynote speaker and provides Professional Development for school districts and other professional organizations worldwide addressing how ADHD and executive function challenges affect children and how to help boost behavior and performance in school and at home.
Cindy is the author of 8 Keys for Parenting Children with ADHD, a book recognized for providing parents, educators, and therapists with a practical, easy-to-read guide for addressing challenging kids and ADHD, Executive Function, and Behavior in the Classroom (expected printing Aug. 2019). Cindy is the creator of the workshop series “Calm and Connected: Parenting Children with ADHD©” designed to teach parents and caregivers how to manage and support their children’s unique needs successfully.