As we discuss conversations on this podcast— key conversations we must have with our children about tough topics— sex, death, divorce, porn, failure, ADHD, bullying— discussions where emotions can run high, agendas can cloud openness and listening and true presence— fear can make us shy away from saying what truly needs to be said, or heard or understood. What if there was a step that we needed to take before we had these all important conversations— a step that acknowledged the importance of dignity for each person— to hold another person’s dignity as precious and valuable while also knowing that our own would be kept in tact as well. How might that affect these key conversations we have with our partners, with our children, with teachers, instructors, coaches— people who touch our lives and help to shape how they evolve. And what if we focused on dignity as a fundamental part of raising our children to become leaders— showing and discussing how we can lead with dignity and create a culture that brings out the best in people? For these questions and more, we turn to our distinguished guest, Dr. Donna Hicks.
Special Guest: Janine Halloran, M.A., LMHC All children and teens get stressed, anxious and angry sometimes. This is normal. Being able to positively deal with stress, anxiety and anger are important skills to learn so they can be employed at home, in school or other learning environments, and when in frustrating situations with friends and peers. But not all kids learn these strategies naturally. They need a trusted adult to help them learn how to self soothe, calm down, balance their energy and emotions, and process challenging feelings. How can we help our children and teens learn these coping strategies? For that, we turn to Janine Halloran.
In her 2016 Ted Talk, Julie Lythcott-Haims started off by saying, “there’s a certain style of parenting these days that is kind of messing up kids, impeding their chances to develop into themselves. There’s a certain style of parenting these days that’s getting in the way. I guess what I’m saying is, we spend a lot of time being very concerned about parents who aren’t involved enough in the lives of their kids and their education or their upbringing, and rightly so. But at the other end of the spectrum, there’s a lot of harm going on there as well, where parenting feel a kid can’t be successful unless the parent is protecting and preventing at every turn and hovering over every happening and micromanaging every moment, and steering their kid towards some small subset of colleges and careers….our kids end up leading a kind of check-listed childhood, she goes on to say, such that, she warns that once they end up at the end of high school they are breathless—of course—they have spent so much time having been obsessed with grades and activities—becoming what they are supposed to be rather than exploring who they may want to become. What interests them. And knowing, with their own brains and experimenting with their own grit and their own skills—to develop into a self-sufficient, resilient adult. So it begs the question—what can we do to break free from the overparenting trap that says we must be on our children every minute prodding and directing, being our child’s concierge, as Julie Lythcott-Haims labels, and instead, preparing our children to become successful adults who can stand on their own two feet.
All children, regardless of their genetics, are at some risk for substance abuse. According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, teen drug addiction is the nation’s largest preventable and costly health problem. Despite the existence of proven preventive strategies, nine out of ten adults with substance use disorder report they began drinking and taking drugs before age eighteen. Some room to grow that particularly refer to us, in relation to this podcast; According to Columbia University’s Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA), between 75-87% of parents talk at least a little about nicotine, alcohol, and marijuana, but just 50-60% talk about other drugs such as heroin, amphetamines and abuse of prescription medications—so we can make a difference with bringing this topic to the forefront. What do we say? What can we do to help create a supportive, open environment where substance abuse and the stressors surrounding it are not hidden in a closet where drinking and drug use can be triggered and take hold? For this conversation, we have Jessica Lahey on, who has been with us before when talking about failure—and this time, on addiction and addiction inoculation.