Special Guest: Catherine Pearlman Catherine Pearlman is the founder of The Family Coach and the author of Ignore It!: How Selectively Looking the Other Way Can Decrease Behavioral Problems and Increase Parenting Satisfaction. Catherine writes the nationally syndicated Dear Family Coach column and her work has appeared in US News, Parent.com, CNN.com, Good Housekeeping and more. She’s a licensed clinical social worker, an assistant professor at Brandman University and a mom of two kids and a dog. She’s a New Yorker living in southern California.
Dear Sweet friend,
How do you make sense of a senseless act?
When 17 people, students and staff, are killed in and around their school, a place typically regarded as a safe haven for those who attend, how can we explain it to children? How do we explain it to ourselves?
I’ve written several articles on how to talk to kids when bad things happen (like here and here). But we’ve gotten to a point when there is much more to the discussion that dealing with the aftermath, don’t you think? I would imagine you would agree, we need to turn our attention to what’s going on with our children these days that is laying the groundwork for such tragedies to occur.We need to turn our attention to what’s going on with our #children these days that is laying the groundwork for such tragedies to occur. #ParklandSchoolShooting Click To Tweet
- Mental Instability and the need for help: It’s easy for people to point to a killer and simply say, “he is mentally disturbed.” And yes, there are clearly mental issues happening here–chemical imbalances that need to be addressed. But what does this really tell us? What we need to take in is the fact that many people who have mental issues were once children or teens who needed help. Perhaps they needed counseling, medication or more. This is not something people can wish away- mental illness must be considered and treated appropriately when we see it.
- Lack of empathy: I interviewed internationally adored, educational psychologist, Dr. Michele Borba, for my most recent podcast and she talks a great deal about the lack of empathy as a precursor for future violence. When we can’t put ourselves in someone else’s position and feel how they feel in that moment, our behavior can become cruel and unfeeling. What does this tell us? It says that we must make working on empathy and other key powerful words with children a priority. Helping children identify their own feelings, read the faces and body language of others, predict future actions based on their behaviors and repair damage done is vital. We can’t only attend to academics. Character and whole-heartedness must be on our daily agenda too.
- Isolation and a need for a mentor: When I present to parents, educators or other adults who work with children, I often talk about the youth development research. One sobering statistic from a study done with Search Institute said that the majority of young people feel that they don’t have at least 3 adults to turn to in a time of need or challenge. What’s more is that many young people don’t feel that adults understand them or that adults can give them bad advice or leave them scrambling on their own when the advice doesn’t work. We need to help make things better, not worse. What does this tell us? It means that young people need us. They need us to take an interest, to listen, if asked for- they might need advice, but ultimately, they need someone to care for the long haul. Let’s be one of the three.
- Seen for their faults: In today’s society, people often feel scrutinized for how they don’t measure up. They “compare and despair” as my podcast guest, Debbie Reber said, which can only serve to make them feel like they can never be enough. One of the issues I often discuss in my presentation Be a Strength Finder, Not a Fault Finder is that often our labels (whether self-imposed or given by others) can define us and lock us into a negative state of being. “I am ugly…I am lazy…I am stupid…I am a bad kid…I will never amount to anything” – these become repeated mantras that don’t only play with our minds but guide our actions. They become self-fulfilling prophecies. So what does this tell us? It says that while we need to provide guidance and corrections for our children, we also must illuminate their strengths. We need to tell them of the gifts we see in them and in others—and hold a mirror up to them so that they can see themselves for what they bring to the table. When we lead with strengths, they guide us forward. When we lead with faults, they hold us back.
We are shocked, or tragically, perhaps not as shocked now, when school shootings occur. In the moment, it is so jarring and we feel like there is nothing we can do. Thoughts and prayers are lovely but they don’t address the issues. The actions we must take are ones that happen in the years before the shooting. And that means, let’s start on it now.
- Get children mental help when they need it.
- Do social skills training with kids who are lacking in empathy.
- Be a mentor or help find a mentor for children who can use some guidance.
- See children for their strengths, not simply for what they lack.
These are small things that make a big difference. And lord knows, we need a difference right now.
Special Guest: Dr. Michele Borba More than one out of every five students report being bullied, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics (2016). One third of students who reported being bullied at school indicate that they were bullied at least once or twice a month during the school year. The reason for this bullying? Physical appearance, race/ethnicity, gender, disability, religion, and sexual orientation, just to name the top few. There is no doubt that we have a problem and our schools, parents and children need solutions. So what do we do? And is there a way to stop bullying before it starts? We’ve talked with a few experts on social aggression in the history of How to Talk to Kids about Anything- Rosalind Wiseman, Carrie Goldman and most recently, Katie Hurley who looked at social aggression specifically in girls. Today, we are going to focus on preventative solutions to this pervasive issue- namely, what my guest and good friend, Michele Borba, is calling the 6Rs of bully prevention.
Special Guest: Dawn Huebner, PhD Do your children or young teens get nervous? Scared? Jittery? Uneasy? Agitated? Stressed out? Well, everyone gets worried sometimes. Some people are able to move through worry fairly easily while others find that worry can get in their way. Does that happen to your kids? In certain situations, it can happen to mine. Some kids worry about school, tests, or where they’re going to sit at lunch. Others worry about bugs or thunder storms, bad dreams or being away from their parents. As an adult, sometimes our kids’ worries seem strange or illogical and we can get frustrated or overwhelmed, annoyed or even worried about their worry. We need some tips and scripts to help our kids tame those jitters- especially when we aren’t there to help the, Well, we are in luck- my next guest is going to help us talk to kids and help kids understand and outsmart worry.
Hello Sweet friend,
I hope you are doing well on this last day of January! It’s amazing how time flies by—we are already 1/12 of the way through the year!
So the other day, I took my family roller-skating at the same roller rink I used to go to as a kid. Other than being full of nostalgia as the same disco ball hung from the middle of the ceiling and remnants of the light up board that used to direct us to “all skate” or “couples only,” I was also a little bit anxious. This was my son’s first time roller skating and he can sometimes have an ugly tape inside his head telling him he can’t do something even before he starts. Do you have anyone in your life that gets that?
He asked me to go out on the floor with him so he could hold my hand. As a parent, this can get a bit dicey. You want your child to feel comfortable but not reliant. We don’t want to feed the “I can’t” monster or the “only if you help me” monster. We went out onto the floor together, and we held hands. I held his and he held mine. As he got his bearings, we went very slow so I was sure he was moving his own feet and I wasn’t pulling him along. After a few times around, I let him hold my hand but I wasn’t actively holding his. Then we progressed to him only holding my finger, using his own balance and momentum to take the lead and pull me along a little. So when the moment came when my daughter said; “You’re doing great Noah, now all you have to do is let go!” He did. And off he went. Shaky at times but completely on his own.
It can be hard to let go. But even before that, it can be hard to slowly transition from taking the lead to allowing your child to do so. And yet, this is one of the key ways that they gain confidence. Self-reliance and taking healthy risks allow a child to learn to trust him or herself. To get up when they fall. And they will. And though it’s hard, we will grin and bear it as they gain the grit to bear it themselves.
I love exploring how to gain confidence and when I keynote on this topic, talk about the many barriers that get in our way and how we can push through. We want every child to lead their life knowing; “I am capable, I can do it and I will do it.” Don’t you agree?
For more on this topic, I have three recommendations.
1. My newest podcast episode on How to Talk to Kids about Anything is with Sue Atkins where we talk about how to raise confident, happy, resilient children. Sue has such a warm and welcoming way about herself- and lots of hands-on tips.
2. One of my most popular podcasts is on “The Gift of Failure” with Jessica Lahey. She talks at length about how we step back and allow our child to take the lead even though s/he may falter. After all, this is how they learn to succeed.
3. For those raising girls or working with girls, a recent podcast with Katie Hurley, author of the just-released No More Mean Girls (wonderful reviews and tools- recommended!), details how we can raise strong, confident, compassionate girls that defy the mean culture we hear about so often.
Can we raise children who are confident and resilient? I think we can. But as Sue Atkins says on yesterday’s podcast; “Confidence is an inside job.” Our children need to develop confidence from what they do rather than what we do for them.
Wishing you a great week, sweet friend.
Special Guest: Sue Atkins Each one of us, as a parent, teacher, coach or mentor wants to help raise and inspire kids who are happy, well-adjusted, confident and resilient. But, in today’s world, it’s not always easy! The messages we receive as parents and educators can get confusing and don’t always know the right thing to do. We hear; “make sure to encourage your child—but don’t give too much praise or it will backfire!” “Let your child fail—but balance it with pointing out strengths and successes—and for goodness sake don’t tie in achievement with self esteem!” “Give your child responsibilities—but don’t forget to allow them to have free time and play too!” So much to balance. So much to remember. And still, of course, we all have our bad days when we throw up our hands and wonder if we are getting any of it right. Who hasn’t been there? So to discuss and tease through how we can raise happy, confident, resilient kids- we have Sue Atkins on the show today
Special Guest: Katie Hurley
Katie Hurley, LCSW, has been on our show before in a popular episode on stress and children- and she is back to talk about young girls and relational aggression in the elementary school years. Katie 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 and the forthcoming No More Mean Girls, and 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.
Special Guest: Carrie Goldman
Carrie Goldman has written for everything from The New York Times, CNN, Psychology Today, Huffington Post, and more. She has made appearances on NPR, BBC, MSNBC, CNN, along with countless other media outlets. Carrie writes one of the nation’s premier adoption blogs, Portrait of an Adoption, which has followers in more than 45 countries. Her acclaimed children’s chapter book, Jazzy’s Quest: Adopted and Amazing, came out in June of 2015, and the sequel, Jazzy’s Quest: What Matters Most, came out in November of 2016. In addition to her adoption expertise, she is also the award-winning author of Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher, and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear (Harper Collins) which we discussed in a previous podcast episode. Bullied has received a National Parenting Publication Award and a Mom’s Choice Award, both at the gold medal level, for excellence in educational skills and tools. You can find more out about our fabulous guest, Carrie Goldman at CarrieGoldmanAuthor.com
Special Guest: Devorah Heitner
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.
Special Guest: Debbie Reber
Debbie Reber is a New York Times bestselling author and the founder of TiLT Parenting, a website, top podcast, and social media company for parents who are raising differently wired children. Her next book, Differently Wired: Raising an Exceptional Child in a Conventional World, comes out in June 2018. She currently lives with her son and husband in the Netherlands. Check her out at http://www.tiltparenting.com