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.
Special guest: Michael Reichert, PhD. We’ve talked quite a bit about girls on this show—and how many things are changing for girls due to the momentum of the women’s movement. But what about the boys? How do you raise boys to become great men? How do we raise boys to feel connected to himself and feel connected to others? For many of our sons, while the world of girls seems to be expanding, the world of boys seems often to be contracting—restricting who boys can be in society’s where masculinity and all its attributes, fits in one tightly guarded box—the man box. Our next guest feels that this is a loss- it’s a loss for us and it’s a loss for the boys. He asks; what can be done to ameliorate the loses of boyhood? How can we protect the boys in our care from threats built into boyhood? How can we ensure that our sons are well prepared for and well launched to manhood? The answer has to do with connection—something that our boys are losing—and at an early age. And our guest feels that we have an opportunity, right now, to change things around and help boys do boyhood right.
Michael Reichert writes, in his new book, “How to Raise a Boy” that boys are really in need of something that seems to counter the toughness and the independence touted by the man box—and that is “a relationship in which a boy can tell that he matters … A young man’s self confidence is not accidental or serendipitous but derives from experiences of being accurately understood, loved, and supported.”
Michael Reichert is an applied and research psychologist who has immersed himself in clinical, research, and consultation experiences that have afforded a deep understanding of the conditions that allow a child to flourish in natural contexts: families, schools and communities. He has created and run programs in both inner city communities and in some of the most affluent suburban communities in the world. He founded and continues to lead The Center for the Study of Boys’ and Girls’ Lives a research collaborative at the University of Pennsylvania and has conducted a series of global studies on effective practices in boys’ education. Since 1984, Dr. Reichert has maintained a clinical practice outside Philadelphia, PA., specializing in work with boys, men and their families and continues to serve as the supervising psychologist at a nearby boys’ school. He has published numerous articles and several books, including Reaching Boys, Teaching Boys: Lessons About What Works—and Why, I Can Learn From You: Boys as Relational Learners, and the just-released How to Raise a Boy: The Power of Connection to Build Good Men.
Special guest: Seth Perler. What is executive functioning and what does it have to do with our children’s success in school and life? My next guest explains that Executive Function is what it takes to get stuff done (such as homework, writing a paper or cleaning a room, etc.). In other words, it’s the ability to “execute” complex tasks and see that those tasks go all the way through to completion. Some kids have a knack for organizational tasks, scheduling and pacing themselves—while others struggle. If your child struggles with school-related tasks like homework, staying focused on a project until it’s completed, organizational skills, time management—or perhaps become avoidant, resistant, forgetful or overwhelmed when it comes to getting school-related tasks completed– they probably struggle with Executive Function. So, what can we do? How can we help our kids who struggle in this area? And what do we want to avoid doing, so we don’t make things worse? My next guest has these answers and more.
Seth Perler helps students who struggle with school, homework, grades, resistance, overwhelm, motivation, underachievement, organization, focus, study skills and time management.
He helps complicated, misunderstood, outside-the-box, neurodiverse learners turn it around in a baffling system so they can launch a successful future. His blog, sethperler.com, gives game-changing answers in a sea of misguided educational fluff.
Traditional academic interventions don’t often get to the root of a child’s problems and they’re often based on misinformation or outdated paradigms. Consequently, your child’s patterns get worse each year, leading to pervasive difficulties transitioning into adulthood.
Parents often feel helpless, watching their child drown in school, as they spin their wheels trying to help. Parents are desperate for tools that are 1) practical, and 2) that account for a child’s unique needs. It’s all about Executive Function, which is Seth’s specialty.
Special guest: Dr. William Stixrud. Are we raising an anxious generation? Many would agree that we are. The causes of the uptick in anxiety among children has started to be discussed—even within our podcast- we have talked with Jessica Lahey and our obsession with grades and our focus on avoiding failure at all costs. We have talked with Julie Lythcott Haims about the bubble-wrapping of our children that leaves them unprepared for a life that we deliver them to at the age of 18—a life in which they don’t have the skills, yes, but also where they don’t have the resilience or the confidence to take it on. In The Self-Driven Child, authors William Stixrud and Ned Johnson continue this conversation—focusing specifically on the ways that children today are being denied a sense of controlling their own lives—doing what they find meaningful, and succeeding or failing on their own, and on their own terms. While screen time and technology certainly are part of the problem, the real issues lie with us—the parents and the teachers—who have their hearts in the right place but are nevertheless, taking the opportunities away from children that would allow them to grow stronger, more confident, more autonomous, more competent– and more themselves.
William R. Stixrud, Ph.D., is a clinical neuropsychologist, frequent lecturer, presenter, author and founder of The Stixrud Group. He is a member of the teaching faculty at Children’s National Medical Center and an assistant professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine. Additionally, Dr. Stixrud is the author, with Ned Johnson, of the nationally bestselling book, The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives. You will also see him featured for his expertise in publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Times of London, The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News and World Report, Time Magazine, Scientific American, Business Week, Barron’s, and, New York Magazine. And—fun fact- Dr. Stixrud also happens to be a musician who plays in a band!
Special guest: Dr. Julie Kinn.Military families face many unique challenges- from long family separations and shifted responsibilities in the household to frequent moving, injuries and sadly, sometimes, grief and loss. That means that being a child in a military family means a great deal of adjustment to frequent change as well as a host of undulating emotions that come from deployment, reunions, the unknowns and the new normal. How do we talk to military kids about the unique challenges that they face? And how do we answer the questions from kids who are not military families about how to support and understand their military friends who may not always be on sure footing. Dr. Julie Kinn is a licensed clinical psychologist with over 15 years of experience researching and implementing health technology. At the Department of Defense and the Defense Health Agency, Kinn oversees the development and implementation of health technology for the military and veteran communities. She also initiated the Military Health Podcast program and produces/hosts three Department of defense OD podcasts: “A Better Night’s Sleep”, “The Military Meditation Coach”, and “Next Generation Behavioral Health”. Dr. Kinn, through the Department Of Defense, is responsible for two mobile apps with Sesame Street– Sesame Street’s Big Moving Adventure and Breathe, Think, Do. Big Moving Adventure was made to help kids cope with moving in the general sense, but was made specifically to help the children of military families who have to move constantly. Dr. Kinn’s overall mission is to promote behavioral health for veterans and their families which includes promoting behavioral health in their communities as well.
Special guests: Joanna Faber & Julie King. What do you do with a little kid who won’t brush his teeth? Screams in his car seat? Pinches the baby? Refuses to eat her vegetables? Throws books at the library and runs rampant in the restaurant? We’ve all been there. How many of us have seen the parent with the child at the supermarket who is throwing one big tantrum in the cereal aisle because s/he won’t buy the super sugar rainbowloops that he had to– HAD TO– have? How many of us have BEEN that parent with that child? No judgment- we are here to discuss it and get some strategies and scripts to all parents who have ever had some trouble with their young kids.
Many of you who are hungry for parenting and teaching knowledge probably know the blockbuster best-selling book, How to Listen So Kids will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. It’s a staple on my shelf. Well, Adele Faber has a daughter, Joanna Faber who not only grew up being the recipient of all the strategies Faber and Mazlish described in their mega-bestseller, but also wrote a follow up book with her childhood best friend, Julie King that takes a similar structure, using common challenges of young children and provides tool after tool to help anyone with children ages 2-7.
Joanna Faber and Julie King are the authors of How To Talk So Little Kids Will Listen: A Survival Guide to Life with Children Ages 2-7 (Scribner 2017). The book has been ranked #1 as a best-seller on Amazon, and is being translated into 17 languages world-wide. Joanna and Julie created the soon-to-be-released app Pocket Parent, a companion to their book, as well as the app Parenting Hero. Joanna and Julie lead workshops online and in person, consult privately and give lectures in the U.S. and internationally. Visit them at HowToTalkSoLittleKidsWillListen.com or on Facebook.
When a high school football team won a game 91-0, a parent from the losing team filed a complaint against the coach, claiming it was bullying. Was it? I sat down with the amazing folks at Good Morning America to discuss.
What is bullying? Most of us know that bullying is a conflict that consists of at least two or three participants:
- The Bully: the person initiating the aggression
- The Bullied (the Victim): the person on the receiving end of the aggression
- The Bystander (the Onlooker): the person (usually people) standing by and watching the aggression
Bullying used to be thought of as the physical acts of the biggest school yard boy who pummeled the weak kid on the playground, stuffed him into a locker, forced others to do his school work or stole their lunch money.
Now, bullying is defined as: Harassment, intimidation, or bullying is defined as any gesture, act (written, verbal, or physical), or electronic communication (i.e. through phone, computer, pager), that is perceived to be motivated by any actual or perceived characteristic (i.e. race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, distinguishing characteristic), that disrupts or interferes with school (on or off school property) or compromises the rights of other students.
But would we know bullying when we see it? How do we know the difference between bullying and what is considered normal social conflict? Let’s put it plainly.
Here’s how I explain bullying on Good Morning America:
A: AGGRESSIVE: Is it aggressive? Bullying feels like an attack.
B: BALANCE of power: Is the balance of power unequal? Bullying involves uneven power such that age, popularity. size, ability, clout and special needs can play a role.
C: CONSISTENT: Is this happening often or only once? Bullying involves a pattern of consistent incidents.
D: DELIBERATE: Is there an intention to harm, hurt or provoke? Bullying is intentional not accidental.
While social conflict and intense (uneven) sports competition can feel brutal, this, in my opinion is not bullying. The other team was attacking the ball, the plays and the win– but not the other team. There was an imbalance of skill and power, to be sure– but this was one game and nobody was deliberately trying to hurt or harm the other team’s feelings or moral. Nobody says this is easy– but we can’t call it bullying. Doing so plays down what bullying really is– and the kids who truly need the help.