Special guest: Melinda Wenner Moyer This podcast will focus on how to raise kids who don’t act like jerks—who aren’t racist, sexist, rude bullies and instead show up in this world as empathetic, kind good people. Melinda Wenner Moyer, who writes for Scientific American and The New York Times, offers her insights from assessing thousands of research studies on kids on this latest episode of How to Talk to Kids about Anything.
Special guest: Ibram X. Kendi Many of us, in the past, have been taught that we should not see color—not to mention color– when looking at the people around us, in our community, in our schools or in the various towns, cities, states and countries. But is parenting in this “colorblind” way really the method of irradicating racism? There are great tragedies involving black and brown people- discrimination that they must contend with everyday—so pretending that color doesn’t matter isn’t helping—because it does matter- how people look at race and treat people across races must be discussed in order to erase racism. Through empathy, critical thinking, asking key questions and allowing for uncomfortable conversations to happen, we not only teach kids how to NOT be racist- but how to be antiracist—actively pursuing a community and a world where racist structures are challenged, mistakes are admitted and new paths are forged so that true equality can be achieved. How do we raise an antiracist? How do we engage in these critical conversations? For that, we turn to my next guest, Dr. Ibram X. Kendi.
Kristin Russo – When a child or teen comes out to their parents as gay, parents are often left with many unanswered questions fueled by fear, lack of knowledge or concerns about the wellbeing of their child. The conversations that need to take place are not as much about you answering questions for your child but about your child answering questions for you. Your child has likely been navigating the coming-out process for quite some time, now, you will be faced with decisions about how you will react to the information. How will you share this information with others? How can you best support your child? What if you fear for their safety? What’s the deal with pronouns? You might also grapple with how your child’s sexuality fits in with your faith, your previous hopes and dreams for them and your relationship. Well, it doesn’t make sense to stick our heads in the sand. It’s time to learn the answers for everyday questions and concerns when you are a parent, aunt/uncle, teacher, grandparents of loved one of a kid who is gay. For guidance on this topic we have Kristin Russo on the show today.
Kristin Russo is a writer, speaker, educator and consultant with a focus on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) issues. She is also co-host & producer of Buffering the Vampire Slayer alongside musician Jenny Owen Youngs, which was named one of the top 30 podcasts of the decade by Paste Magazine. She has a great book with co-author Dan Owens called This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids. You can find her at kristinnoeline.com
Special Guest: Dr. Ken Ginsburg
This podcast helps parents and educators discover how to build resilience in teens. As young people are working to gain more independence, they make more mistakes and must learn how to recover. Sometime they need to learn how to get back up after a big fall while other times they must learn how to move forward after small, everyday blunders. How can we help kids learn how to believe in themselves, their own skills, their own sense of control and adaptability while also knowing we are here when they really need us? We talk about the 7 Cs of resilience with Dr. Ken Ginsberg and receive some beautiful tips and scripts that help us know the dos and don’ts while raising teens who thrive no matter what twists and turns they encounter.
Special guest: Cathy Cassani Adams. This podcast will focus on how we can stay curious about ourselves and ensure that we are growing and learning so that we can encourage our children to do the same. There are many areas of life that are being questioned and evolving right now- from questions about race, gender, sex and identity. How can we engage in conversations with our kids about these topics that engages curiosity instead of fear? Dr. Robyn Silverman interviews Cathy Cassani Adams for answers and insight.
Special Guest: Dr. Charles Fay
As parents, we have heard that the days are long and the years are short. The days can be filled with mistakes, sibling rivalry, tantrums, boundary testing, bedtime battles and tough discussions—and even as they are interspersed with fun, excitement, pride, connection and love, as parents, it’s normal to feel frustrated at times and want tools to help make the days go a bit more smoothly. The truth is, we DO only have a relatively short time to help raise our children to become responsible, capable and confident before they head out the door as adults. To put it in perspective, Dr. Laura Markham told us on one of the three episodes of How to Talk to Kids about Anything that she did with us that we only have 900 weeks with our kids before they turn 18 so be fully present when you are with them— and Vicki Hoefle reminds us with a similar sentiment, “parent the child who will be 24 in a hot second. Parenting is not about what happens for you between the ages of 0 and 18, Parenting is what happens for our children between the ages of 18 and 80.” Let that sink in for a bit there. So, how do we parent our children, knowing that we don’t have a lot of time to, in fact, parent them, but the time we spend is so important. Our next guest will tell us that it’s about parenting with love and logic and getting children to behave from the inside out.
Special guest: Abbie Goldberg, Ph.D. This podcast will focus on the range of different types of families there are—especially families that were built through adoption and families that are headed up by two-dads or two-moms or a range of others who love them (grandparents, single parents). What makes a family? It’s about process not structure—it’s who loves and takes care of you, not their gender or biology! Thank you to Professor Abbie Goldberg, recognized scholar, speaker and author, for all her amazing eye-opening information.
School shootings, traumatic weather events, local fires and acts of terror– When the world is struck with a catastrophic event, it is natural to want to shield our children from the effects of it. We want to keep their innocence in tact- allowing them to grow up carefree and unfettered—feeling safe and calm wherever they go. We might wonder, if we just don’t talk about it- could our children remain in their happy little bubble for the time being?
The problem is—we live in a world where children receive messages about traumatic events from many different avenues- it’s not just the news that we can easily turn off—or even the 24/7 access to the internet that provides a play by play as negative stories develop. It’s also that different families have different rules about such access- with multiple kids of various ages in their homes who are permitted to have more access- so that might mean you send your blithely innocent child to school, ignorant of the scary events that might have occurred, only to have them bombarded with the news from a more informed (perhaps not accurately so) child on the bus—or from a group of kids in class.
Knowing that something has happened but not having anyone to explain it in age-appropriate terms and how it relates to our specific children can be frightening to anyone. We all need context, assurance and our own concerns addressed by someone we trust—our kids actually need information to feel safe and– as a parent or educator who knows the child, you are the perfect person to have this conversation with them. I’ve talked about this on national TV shows and in written press but I thought it was important to talk about it on my podcast—especially through the lens of anxiety as many kids have trouble dealing with such large-scale events.
My next guest tells us that since you know your child best, “it’s important to manage the conversation (Or, shall we say, tailor it) based on who they are, what they already know, and what it means for them.”
Karen Young has been on our podcast before- talking about anxiety. In fact, her podcast episode is in the top 5 most downloaded episodes of How to Talk to Kids about Anything, of all time. She is back today to discuss with me how we can talk to kids about traumatic world events. Karen 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.
Special guest: Rebecca Rolland, Ed.D
Science has shown that the best way to help our children become independent, confident, kind, empathetic and happy is by talking with them! Thank goodness this is true since we’ve been discussing talking with kids about all kinds of topics since 2017 on this podcast. However, so often, parents , educators and caregivers are at a loss and have trouble communicating with children. Conversations can feel trivial, forced or strained- or worse, can drum up and become marked by constant conflict and butting heads. So how can we get in the habit of having meaningful conversations with kids of all ages? How do we spark curiosity, foster empathy and encourage kids to embrace challenges through talking with kids? And given the need for much more understanding around issues of gender, race, sexuality and different family structures, how do we engage in discussions that can celebrate differences while also understanding and being empathic to how those differences might be treated in this world. For all of this, we have the pleasure of interacting with Rebecca Rolland today.