Entries by Jason Silverman

How to talk to Kids about Empathy and Entitlement with Dr. Michele Borba (Re-Release!)

Special Guest: Dr. Michele Borba

What is needed to help kids succeed in today’s world? Goals? Commitment? Drive? Perhaps. But our next guest has an answer to that question that might surprise you: empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. It allows our hearts to go out to others, helps us to care deeply, help, uplift, connect and love. In a world that often seems to shout, “go big or go home,” “take no prisoners,” and “let’s take a selfie!” empathy seems to be getting crowded out of the child-raising conversation- and yet, empathy is vital to health, wealth, happiness, relationship satisfaction and resilience. It promotes kindness, reduces incidents of bullying and boosts critical thinking skills. Empathy, according to our next guest, is the core to everything that makes a society civilized, but above all, it makes out children better people. And who doesn’t want that? I am so excited to have my friend and colleague, Dr. Michele Borba, on the show today.

How to Talk to Kids about Climate Change and the Environment with Mary DeMocker

Special Guest Expert: Mary DeMocker I remember, as a child, learning that you turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth. You close the refrigerator quickly and turn off the lights when you leave the room—little things- and they needed to be taught because otherwise, I admit, I hadn’t thought much about leaving the tap on, standing in front of the open fridge for minutes figuring out what I wanted to eat or leaving on the lights in every conceivable room. I’ve needed to teach it to my kids too- but of course, they sometimes forget. Sometimes protecting the Earth isn’t the first thought that comes to mind when you’re standing in the shower, letting the hot water fall on your head and back. For some, climate change might feel distant- like something happening elsewhere but not right here at home. Although this seems to be changing a bit- many families, all over the world have found that climate change has begun to touch their lives. Deadlier wild fires, increasingly crazy weather, additional information of melting ice caps on the nightly news- information coming to us through news anchors as well as out of the mouths of younger and younger activists that are demanding awareness and action. My own children have quoted information from Weird But True books and nature documentaries about what’s going on with the polar bears and tropical forests. The truth is, we are all feeling the effects and we are all contributing to the effects of climate change– AND we are also able to help solve the problem. Of course, this means we must have the discussions that can bring about the change. It starts with opening our mouths and our hearts so that we can lay it all on the table. How do we give our children the facts about climate change- from discussions of fossil fuels to fluctuating animal habitats to sustainable and destructive energy sources so that they are in the know? And how can we, as families, alter how we live our lives, in small consistent ways, that will help create a healthier future for our loved ones? We need a climate revolution—and it starts at home, with us.

Our special guest today is Mary Democker. Mary DeMocker’s book, The Parents’ Guide to Climate Revolution: 100 Ways to Build a Fossil-Free Future, Raise Empowered Kids, and Still Get a Good Night’s Sleep is a finalist for the 2019 Oregon Book Award and has been featured on Yale Climate Connections and recommended on NPR and in The New York Times. Mary writes and speaks widely about parenting in a changing climate, helping parents, educators, clinicians, and young people find a positive role in the global transition to a clean energy future. She lives in Eugene, Oregon with her husband and sometimes her son, a freshman in college. His sister older graduated from college last year and is a teacher.

How to Talk to Kids about Saying No and People Pleasing with Susan Newman, PhD

Special Guest Expert: Susan Newman, PhD Do you or does your child have trouble saying “no?” Do you find yourself saying “yes” to your children when you really want to say “not today,” “I can’t swing it,” or just plain “no?” Does your child over-stretch or over-commit because s/he can’t seem to say no? Perhaps you or your child is what my next guest calls “a master of yes and a novice of no.” But is all this people-pleasing a problem? As you might have already guessed, of course it is. And- As it turns out, even though it might be difficult to say no, it’s vital that we learn how to do it for our own health, wellbeing and stress-levels—and also so that we are teaching our children how to do it too. Is it uncomfortable to say no? Sure, it can be. But constantly saying yes can cause anxiety, anger, stress, regret and feelings of powerlessness. We definitely don’t want that. For the many ways to say no and mean it, we turn to Susan Newman.

Social psychologist, Susan Newman is the author of 15 books in the parenting field. Her research examines such areas as building strong family bonds and raising only children as well as the difficulties of being working parent. She is a regular contributor to Psychology Today and U.S News & World Report.  She is the author of Little Things Long Remembered: Making Your Children Feel Special Every Day and The Book of NO: 365 Ways to Say It and Mean It—and Stop People-Pleasing Forever. You Follow her on Facebook at DrSusanNewman and sign up for her free Monthly Family Life Alert Newsletter on her website SusanNewmanPhD.com.

How to Talk to Kids about Big Feelings & Calming Down Strategies Featuring Dr. Lynne Kenney Re-Release

As a parent or a teacher, you might have had moments where children experience overwhelming feelings such as anger, anxiety or agitation leading to fitful moments, tantrums and melt-downs. Who hasn’t? Statistics tell us that 20% of young children have tantrums daily—this is normal. And as children get older, some still have trouble dealing with over-the-top feelings. And let’s be honest- at times these feelings don’t only challenge children—but they challenge us, as adults, as well. Today we are talking with Dr. Lynne Kenney about how to help children get calm on the spot and develop better tools and strategies for coping with BIG feelings.

Lynne Kenney, Psy.D., is a Harvard-trained psychologist, mother of two, an international educator, author and pediatric psychologist in Scottsdale, AZ. Dr. Kenney’s works include the Social-Emotional Literacy program Bloom Your Room™; Musical Thinking; Bloom: 50 things to say, think and do with anxious, angry and over-the-top-kids and 70 Play Activities For Better Thinking, Self-Regulation, Learning and Behavior all of which you can find through www.lynnekenney.com.

How to Help Kids Grieve When a Sibling Dies

Typically, our experts are best-selling authors and top experts who have studied a topic for many years as a researcher, writer, professional and adult. But sometimes, our best experts are the children themselves who are going through a unique situation that make it so only a small portion of people like them would understand.

Every once in a while, I will be putting in a special kid edition of How to Talk to Kids about Anything so that we get this “expert” “in-the-trenches” view of what it’s like to be on the other end of these conversations with insights on what kids really need, want and would ask for from us, as adults, if we would be open to it. And- we are open to it, aren’t we? So here we are with this first kids’ edition of the How to Talk to Kids about Anything podcast—and you’ll see why it’s so important that we ask a teen who is going through this journey to talk about her views, take-aways and tips—so the adults who find themselves in a helper role such as this, are prepared.

When people hear that one of my dearest friends suffered the loss of her 13-year-old son, Gavin, after his 16-month battle with Ewing’s Sarcoma, they often say something like; “no parent should experience the death of a child.” As a mother and a best friend, I agree. It is heart-wrenching and tragic and makes me cry in random moments as it just happened in August of this year. But there is a secondary loss that many don’t often consider to the same degree, and that is the loss of a sibling. My bestie’s amazing 15-year-old daughter, Jadyn, who I am fortunate enough to have in my life as who I refer to as my “adopted niece” and she refers to me as her Aunt, is also suffering. She is learning how to live, love and find joy in this new normal and moving forward without her brother by her side.

Studies tell us that when a sibling passes away during childhood or the teenage years, it can have a profound impact on surviving children. The development of independence, romantic relationships and even career paths can be stunted or affected, risk-taking can either be triggered or severely reined in. Acting out can take the place of excruciating sadness.

The death of a sibling has also been associated with increased diagnoses of mental disorders such as anxiety, depression and disordered eating for living brothers and sisters. So how can we, as key adults in the lives of children- teachers, coaches, parents, mentors, aunts and uncles- help and support children and teens when they’ve lost a sibling or a very close friend?

We have the privilege of speaking directly with Jadyn today on a special kid edition of the podcast—understanding that one unfortunate way you become an expert in the topic of child or teen sibling grief is to lose your brother and sister during childhood or adolescence. This is a sensitive topic- but an important one to discuss as our guest is very focused on wanting to help others who are going through a similar situation.

Jadyn is a 9th grader in the prestigious BETA program in Florida. She has been writing for years to help other teens like her. Jadyn is a high-school athlete, playing volleyball and soccer. She is known by those around her as a loving sister, daughter, and friend. She is the author of the poem, Empty Space, about her experience with grief and losing her brother.

I am so more than a little touched to have my beautiful “niece” on the show today so Welcome Jadyn to how to talk to kids about anything!

How to Talk to Kids about Depression, Conflict & Coping with Katie Hurley

Special guest: Katie Hurley

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, approximately one out of five teens has a mental health disorder, diagnosable by clinical methods, and nearly one-third show symptoms of depression. Now you might be thinking- well, many teens seem depressed to me, their moods and their emotions are all over the place! Stress is overwhelming! Yes, that can be true- symptoms of depression in adolescents aren’t always easy to identify because they often appear as normal adolescent behavior. But if we keep an eye open for consistent depressed behavior and indicators like, fatigue, changes in sleep patterns, changes in eating patterns, social withdrawal, and/or anger- these can serve as early warning signs that can allow us to get help for our teens as depression is absolutely treatable but NOT fixable on its own. Teens who have depression need therapy, support at home and yes, some also need medication. There’s no quick fix and thankfully, we have Katie Hurley here to explain how we know if our child needs help, what we and our teens can do at home to assist and what exercises and tools we can use to improve mood, self-esteem and motivation.

Katie Hurley, LCSW, is a child and adolescent psychotherapist, parenting expert, and writer. She is the founder of “Girls Can!” empowerment groups for girls between ages 5-11. Hurley is the author of The Happy Kid Handbook” “No More Mean Girls,” (both subjects we have interviewed Katie on previously on How to Talk to Kids about Anything) and her new workbook, The Depression Workbook for Teens, which is the #1 new release on Amazon for Teen and Young Adult Self Esteem and Self Reliance Issues. Her work can be found in The Washington Post, PBS Parents, and US News and World Report, among other places. She practices psychotherapy in the South Bay area of Los Angeles and earned her BA in psychology and women’s studies from Boston College and her MSW from the University of Pennsylvania. She splits her time between California and Connecticut with her husband and two children.

How to Help Kids Learn Friendship Skills and Avoid Social Isolation with Caroline Maguire

Special guest: Caroline Maguire

A child hangs back in gym class because he just knows he’ll be the last one picked. Another child monologues nonstop about dinosaurs on every playdate and still another talks nonstop throughout the movie even though everyone asks her to stop. They don’t get invited to birthday parties, are thought of too much or too little, & playdates often end poorly. Do you know any of these children? Every child struggles with something—and many have social challenges that, at their root, are issues with executive function and a need for social skills training. And while this may seem like just child’s play- those who know and love the children who struggle in the area of friendship know that it can be a very lonely place to be. The child often wants to have friends but isn’t picking up on social cues, the need to be flexible, and how to connect with same-age peers. They may ask, in one way or another, the heart-breaking question—Why Will No One Play With Me?

Caroline Maguire is a personal coach who works with children with ADHD and the families who support them. Caroline earned her ACCG (Advanced Level Certification) from the ADD Coach Academy and her PCC (Professional Certified Coach Certification) from the International Coach Federation (ICF). She also received a Master of Education from Lesley University. Her revolutionary coaching program and methodology helps teach executive function skills to children, teenagers, and young adults. She is a former coach for the Hallowell Center in Sudbury, MA. While with the Hallowell Center, Caroline was the main coach for children and teenagers. Caroline consults with schools and families internationally and has been co-leading social skills groups for over a decade. She is also the author of a NEW book called Why Will No One Play With Me? The Play Better Plan to Help Children of All Ages Make Friends & Thrive

How to Talk to Kids about the Connection between Kindness and Wellness with Kelli Harding, MD

Special guest: Kelli Harding, MD

We all hear medical stories of triumph and frustration—there are so many mysteries when it comes to health- why some people, who are biologically healthy, but feel ill—and some patients who are biologically ill, but feel healthy. Doctors have racked their brains for years- looking for patterns, problems, links that somehow explain why certain people get better quickly and others get sick quickly and don’t recover. And perhaps it might surprise you, as you will hear in the next interview—that how we feel is not necessarily about the dosage of medication or the brilliance of the doctor but about something simpler- something much more common and humane but something that isn’t always provided—and it comes down to the science of kindness, connection and human compassion. When we look at our children- and notice that some thrive and some continue to falter, it will be interesting to look through the lens of kindness, compassion and connection to see if this is any area that needs to be bolstered in the lives of the kids we know and love. The lives that are often stressed with go, go, go hours being shuttled from sports practices to music practice to hours of homework, where they spend a great deal of time in school where many might not feel seen and heard, where social media can make us feel more disconnected, envious and perfectionistic than ever– How could some shifts of the heart, in the time we spend, with who we spend it with–  make the difference in the wellness of our children and ourselves? For that, we turn to Dr. Kelli Harding.

Dr. Kelli Harding is an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. She is a diplomat of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, as well as boarded in the specialty of psychosomatic (mind-body) medicine. Kelli has spent much of her career in the emergency room at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and has appeared on Today, Good Morning America, NPR, The New York Times, Medscape, Oprah.com, and US News & World Report.  Kelli resides in NYC with her family. She also has a new book that just came out called The Rabbit Effect: Live Longer, Happier and Healthier with Groundbreaking Science of Kindness

How to Talk to Kids When Something Bad Happens in the World with Dawn Huebner, PhD

Special guest: Dawn Heubner, Ph.D

We all want our children to feel safe, secure and engaged in their lives. But when big, bad things happen in the world- from mass shootings to natural disasters to other tragedies detailed on the news and filtered through the adults at the restaurant, the neighbors on the street, the kids on the bus and friends at school- the world can feel a little less safe and secure for many of our children. How can we reserve our kids feelings of optimism, safety, security, strength and that inexplicable feeling that comes with a carefree childhood when scary things happen across the world, across the state or across the street? For this important topic, we turn a second time to past podcast guest, Dr. Dawn Huebner who you’ll remember from our discussion about worry and anxiety and how to help our kids when they worry too much—a great and helpful podcast episode that I urge you to listen to after this one.

Dr. Dawn Huebner is a Clinical Psychologist and Parent Coach specializing in the treatment of anxiety. She is the author of 9 books for children including the perennial best seller, What to Do When You Worry Too Much, and more recent, Outsmarting Worry. Dr. Huebner’s newest book, coming out THIS WEEK called Something Bad Happened, provides support for children learning about big bad things happening the world. Dr. Huebner has been featured on news and information outlets including the TODAY Show, CNN, Parent’s Magazine and more. She maintains a private practice in Exeter, NH.

How to Talk to Kids About Popularity with Mitch Prinstein, Ph.D

Special guest: Mitch Prinstein, Ph.D
Any mention of the word “popular” and many of us are transported to a time when popularity really seemed to matter. Who was on top, who was on bottom and who floated somewhere in the middle of the social hierarchy at school and among peer groups? Who was well-liked by many, who was revered by the masses and who was feared by most- you know, the kids who were popular by default because nobody really wanted to attempt to take on the views and power of that group of kids? Interestingly, popularity in our younger years, according to research, can predict how successful we are in our adulthood—but are we, as parents, supposed to help our children to become more popular, then? Actually, the definition of popularity needs to be fully understood to learn the answer to that- and the strategies and key conversations to help our children will follow. For that, we turn to our guest, Dr. Mitch Prinstein.

Mitch Prinstein, Ph.D. is a husband, a father, board certified in clinical child and adolescent psychology, and serves as the John Van Seters Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, and the Director of Clinical Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Mitch’s Peer Relations Lab has been conducting research on popularity and peer relations for almost 20 years—and has produced over 100 scientific works, including a slew of scientific journal articles, book chapters, a set of encyclopedias on adolescent development, and even a textbook on the field of clinical psychology. Mitch is deeply committed to science and training in clinical psychology and his research have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, the Los Angeles Times, CNN, U.S. News & World Report, Time magazine, New York magazine, Newsweek, Reuters, Family Circle, Real Simple, and elsewhere. He is also the author of the book; Popular: The Power of Likability in a Status-Obsessed World