Parenting these days can be very reactionary. We have lots of pressure and little time and often many feelings of not being enough, constantly striving, competing with others and overall disconnection. We have big reactions or, perhaps we might say, our big reactions have us. But what if we practiced more aware parenting? What if we become more in touch with our own senses, our mental state, our bodies and our relationship to ourselves and to others and how our awareness could affect our parenting and our lives? When we become aware and reflective of our reactions and what is indeed feeding these reactions, we can become more receptive, calm, balanced, compassionate and positive in the way we parent our kids and more balanced in our own wellbeing. And imagine what we can teach our kids—by showing awareness and practicing awareness, we can then teach them to the do the same in their own lives. Is there a way to cultivate this awareness? Is there a way to teach our kids to practice awareness as children and teenagers? For these questions and more, we turn to our guest today, Dr. Dan Siegel.
Devorah Heitner, PhD is the author of Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World and the founder of Raising Digital Natives. She passionately believes in the power of mentoring kids in creating a positive tech culture and she is delighted to be raising her own digital native. She’s also super cool and actually has an article out about some things to consider if your child wants to be a youtube star in the Washington Post—and we’re going to dig right and flesh out the information so we know how to have this discussion about fame, social media and what to look out for if your child brings the idea of putting videos up on social media to your attention—best to be prepared, right?
Family rules. Something every family needs but likely has not formally discussed or written down. Think about it– does your family have known, documented family rules?
Rules make the household “work.” They keep things safe and fair for everyone. With rules, kids know what is to be expected and can rise to the occasion. Of course, without known rules, it’s very hard to enforce them, use them for guidance or for each family member to know when they’ve crossed the line.
As I’m getting ready to release my very first Family Action Blueprint (forthcoming) package that centers on family rule development and discussion, I certainly have tons of ideas!
Below is an example of 10 rules to get you thinking of what you’d like to post on your fridge and discuss in your family meeting. However, I encourage you to ask your children to contribute to the family rules as I’ve continued to learn that when working with young people; if you say it, it can be ignored or challenged, if they say it, it becomes the gospel truth.
You can ask directly; Read more
Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson is welcomed back to the show– who you will remember from our show on how to talk to kids about food allergies. Bridging the digital divide between doctors and patients, Dr. Swanson, Chief of Digital Innovation at Seattle Children’s Hospital has blazed a trail of patient education using her voice through a variety of different channels in traditional and social media. Through her blog, podcast , social media channels and her parenting book she translates science and parenting information to the public. Swanson also regularly partners with reporters in traditional print, online, and television media and makes weekly TV appearances in Seattle with NBC affiliate, KING5 News. She hopes to transform the paternalistic approach to messaging into an empowered, patient-centered one where peers learn from each other and from expert advice online. Check her out at http://seattlemamadoc.seattlechildrens.org/
It was 1996, my Freshman year of college, when I came face-to-face with a truth that still follows me today- one unifying concern that almost all girls and women seem to share is that they want to change something about their bodies. I still remember when it happened, as it came as a surprise to me. One of my friends asked me if my thighs touched. This gifted young woman, with big brown eyes, a sharp brain and warm heart worried that how close her thighs were to the other cancelled out her talents, intelligence and overall value.
It stuck with me. I spoke to countless other women and teens along the way who felt similarly. Despite the strengths they had to offer, they felt that “looks” were more important than their other attributes.
In graduate school, I studies body image. In fact, I wrote a qualifying paper and my 167-page dissertation on the topic. As it turns out, even research tells us that despite all that women and girls have to offer this world, 96% of girls and women want to change something about their bodies.
I completed my book, Good Girls Don’t Get Fat: How Weight Obsession is Messing Up Our Girls & How We Can Help Them Thrive Despite It, based on my dissertation work, in 2009 with my newborn baby girl, Tallie, strapped to my chest. The book was published in 2010. It’s 2018– and the issue is just as prevalent today as it was then. But of course, my own mothering love and worry for my now 9-year-old daughter and her beautiful friends, sheds a much more personal light to this prevalent problem.
So, how can we help our girls thrive? Read more
Imagine being stuck in a world that doesn’t really “get” who you are. You’re different and in many cases, people see these differences as bad and something that needs to be fixed. My next guest, Deborah Reber, has spoke to us before about neurodiversity- and is back to talk more specifically about what she refers to as “differently wired” kids. We are talking about the one in five children with ADHD, dyslexia, Asperger’s, giftedness, anxiety, sensory processing disorder, and other neurodifferences. One in five—20% of children are neurodiverse and they have many challenges they must face. And along with these kids, come the parents who love them but arean’t quite sure how to best help their kids but will try just about anything. They try to find the right school, teachers, therapists, medications, as well as the right parenting group and friends who will support them. It’s hard to know how to handle it all- but Debbie Reber is here to help.
Dr. Gail Dines is a Professor Emerita of sociology and women’s studies at Wheelock College in Boston. She is the author of numerous books and articles, and her latest book, Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality, has been translated into five languages. Dr Dines is the founding president of the Non-profit, Culture Reframed. Dedicated to building resilience and resistance in children and youth to the harms of a hypersexualized and pornified society, Culture Reframed develops cutting-edge educational programs that promote healthy development, relationships, and sexuality. Dr. Dines is an internationally known speaker and consultant to governmental bodies here and abroad.
Dannielle Miller is a best-selling Author, Teen Educator and Media Commentator In 2003 she founded Australia’s leading provider of in-school workshops for teen girls, Enlighten Education. More recently, she launched a program for boys, Goodfellas. She has written for several online and print publications and has a bi-weekly column in Australia’s most read newspaper, The Daily Telegraph. She has written five books for parents and teen girls, including a best-selling title on raising happy, confident teen girls, The Butterfly Effect. Dannielle is a popular speaker at youth and education conferences and forums internationally.
I was interviewed for Nightline this week regarding a story about a young girl, LilTay, her controversial videos, the adults who are profiting off of her negative reputation and her very popular Instagram account.
I think this is a story of a young child who is being used and fed a script to garner attention and gain money. She is the puppet and the adults in her life are pulling the strings. While others might say she is making her own choices, she is 9 years old—and while she is fully equipped to make some choices in her life- pursuing music over gymnastics or art—who she wants to be friends with- what she wants to wear, when the stakes are so high, the persona is so public and the footprint so big—we need some strong adult influence here—if it’s positive, then great things can happen but if it’s negative or not in the best interests of the child, it certainly can do more harm than good.
Is this detrimental?
I believe that a negative reputation can have a profound effect on a young, developing girl. Children are shaped by their connections and by their experiences. Her experiences are being shaped by the adults in her life and by what they are having her do and say. What happens down the line when she is 13, 15, 20 or 30—and she wants to go a different path? Her managers have created such a large footprint that it will be difficult for her to shake this contrived reputation if she would like to do so.
Her reputation proceeds her knowing who she is– the key adults in her life are helping to create a reputation that Taylor will need to fit herself into for the rest of her life.
Is a 9-year-old equipped to make these decisions?
Children don’t yet have a fully developed pre-frontal cortex that allows us to make decisions based on different factors. In other words, children’s brains are not fully developed—that’s why we have parents, teachers and coaches to help guide the way.
Who is accountable?
An online reputation that embraces such a negative persona, even if it’s orchestrated (why I think it’s orchestrated), can have a negative effect on how others see you. At his point, people are asking her where her parents are—as they are accountable now– but eventually, they will be holding her accountable.
What is our responsibility as parents?
It’s our responsibility as parents to help guide our children to become the best versions of themselves—to become kind, contributing citizens who use their gifts to inspire and help others. My concern is that this negative persona actually takes away from her gifts—it says “look at me” instead of hear my music or my message. It is really up to us as parents, leaders and educators, to help our young people though connection, conversation and example, to highlight their gifts, develop their character and contribute something positive to this world.
Why are likes and comments so important to the kids who use social media?
We know that many young people look to social media to gain attention—likes and comments become validation for their existence and that can become addictive. It feels good to be seen and heard—even if it’s not for the right things.
What kind of effect can all those negative comments have on this young girl?
A young child does not have the capacity to simply turn a blind eye to nasty, lewd or threatening comments. They can reek havoc on her developing self esteem, self worth and sense of self. The internet is not a bubble. She, with the help of the adults in her life, is creating controversy and backlash. Her brand will continue to garner negative attention which will be hard to shake as she grows.
What do YOU think of this situation? Full Nightline video here. Do you find these videos problematic or entertaining? Knowing that most people will only see the videos in which she curses, uses offensive racist terminology, flashes money around and talks smack about everyone in her path– are the adults in her life setting her up for positive stardom or a negative reputation that is problematic and harmful?
Karen Young has worked as a psychologist in private practice and in educational settings. She founded the popular website, Hey Sigmund, which attracts millions of readers each year. Karen is a sought-after speaker, both at home in Australia and internationally. She is the author of ‘Hey Warrior’, a book for kids to help them understand anxiety and find their ‘brave’. The book has now been translated into a number of languages—and we couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome her to How to Talk to Kids about Anything