Posts

How to Talk About Racism, Adoption and Parenting a Black Boy in America with Nefertiti Austin

Nefertiti Austin – Each year, thousands of Americans choose to go through the adoption process to build their families. Those who know me, know that my 2 children were both adopted by my husband and myself and also happen to be full blood siblings. Just a little bit over 12 years ago, we began the adoption process and went through the many feelings that come with adoption, and for us, an open adoption, with our children’s birth family. We did it again just 16 months after my daughter was born with my son. Every adoption is deeply personal and different depending on who is involved and the decisions that the many people involve make or has to make in order to ensure that the process ends with a well-cared for, loved child. It’s not a cookie-cutter process. Adoption is just a piece of what we are going to discuss today- because there is a very important layer of discussion that my next guest brings to light as well and that is, race and gender as it relates to fostering, adopting and parenting in America. She puts high beams on the question; “what are the challenges that single black women must face when fostering, adopting and parenting in America? And a secondary question that we will also explore which is, how can we raise black boys in America understanding the racism and stereotypes that seem to be weaved into the fabric of American culture?

We remember the past stories of young black boys senselessly killed such as Trayvon Martin—but then hear recent accounts of young black men killed because they were jogging in a white neighborhood or a woman calling the cops on a black man watching birds in Central Park because he requested that she leash her dog. How does a mother parent a black boy in an America that assumes that black boys are doing the wrong thing even when they are doing the right thing? Or, where my next guest writes, “where a hoodie plus a black male is synonymous with danger?” This is an important topic for everyone. If changes are going to be made when it comes to racism, the foster-care system, hyper-masculinity, sexism and how black boys are raised and regarded in today’s culture, we have got to talk about it and set some intentions to make the changes in our ow lives- in the way we raise our children and the way we see other children in America. For this, I am excited to have a conversation with Nefertiti Austin.

How to Prepare Kids to Thrive in a Rapidly Changing World with Madeline Levine, PhD

Madeline Levine, PhD – The pandemic is still going strong and the date to open many states is being pushed out further and further. A few states are starting to open here and there but many parents still feel a lot of anxiety around going back to “normal” even as COVID-19 has claimed over a quarter of a million lives across the world, nearly 100, 000 of them in the US. What’s going on is impacting young children, older children and yes, parents too. Of course, parents too! There are questions of financial issues, emotional issues, mental issues, loneliness, fear, frustration and how we are all going to cope with the day to day as the day to day morphs into months and months. It puts a lot on our shoulders. Let’s not bury it. Let’s discuss it. Time to shine a light on what’s really going on behind closed doors. For this discussion, I’m interviewing Graeme Seabrook.
Graeme Seabrook, The Mom for Moms, is a coach and writer who has been guiding and supporting mothers as they discover and reclaim themselves since 2014. She has worked with over 2500 moms since 2014 and in between clients she reads about moms, writes about moms, speaks about moms, learns from moms, and is a mom of two herself!  Her work springs from the truth that embracing your humanity is a mother’s deepest calling and the very best thing you can do for your family.Madeline Levine, Phd – We live in an uncertain world. Modern times from politics to illness to how the economy functions, racial and gender bias and even the opening and closings of schools and camps has taught us that. Nobody can perfectly predict what is to happen from year to year, month to month and even from day to day. The world we know can feel disturbing and unfamiliar, at times. In the wake of what feels increasingly threatening and unpredictable to parents, moms and dads are pushing their kids to excel, swooping in to rescue them from struggle if it gives them an extra edge, and leaving the kids unprepared, fragile and reliant on others when they are faced with challenges and adversity. And I can’t forget to mention, the stress and anxiety, exhaustion, overwhelm and distress that come in heaping portions when kids wake up facing a future that they have not been prepared for or they feel ill-equipped to cope with, it not exactly a recipe for success. Of course, we too, as parents are stressed out as we compare ourselves incessantly with the Jones’s who are leading their perfect lives on Facebook and Instagram while we worry about what school our children will attend, which extra sport or activity they can take to round out their resume and when in the world they will learn another language to make themselves more marketable. But, my next guest tells us, there is hope. We are learning what skills our children really need in order to succeed- and they have to do less with learning to code and taking AP history and more to do with adaptability, mental agility, curiosity, collaboration, tolerance for failure, resilience, and optimism. Most important, my next guest provides the day-to-day solutions parents can use to raise kids who are prepared, enthusiastic, and ready to face an unknown future with confidence and optimism.

Madeline Levine, Ph.D. is a psychologist with over 35 years of experience as a clinician, consultant, educator and author. Her New York Times bestseller, The Price of Privilege, explores the reasons why teenagers from affluent families are experiencing epidemic rates of emotional problems.  Her follow up book, Teach Your Children Well, also a New York Times bestseller, tackles our current narrow definition of success – how it unnecessarily stresses academically talented kids and marginalizes many more whose talents and interests are less amenable to measurement.  Her current book, Ready or Not, focuses on how to best prepare our children and ourselves for an uncertain and rapidly changing world. Her books have been translated into multiple languages. Dr. Levine is highly sought after as a lecturer and keynote speaker for parents, educators and business leaders both nationally and internationally. Currently she spends most of her time speaking to parents, educators, students and business leaders as well as consulting with major corporations and high net worth individuals.Dr. Levine and her husband of 40 years, Lee Schwartz, M.D., live in San Francisco are the incredibly proud parents of three adult sons and a newly minted granddaughter.

How to Show Up for Our Children with Tina Payne Bryson, PhD

Special Guest: Tina Payne Bryson, PhD
Parenting encapsulates so many different aspects of care when it comes to a child. We receive messages about paying attention to how children are doing in school, with friends, what they are eating, how much they are playing, how hard they are working, if they are reading enough, sleeping enough, getting outside enough and much, much more. And while all of this is important—what do you think is the most important thing that a parent can do to make the biggest difference in the long run? The research tells us, it’s all about showing up. In fact, studies show that the best predictors for how any child turns out in terms of happiness, academic success, leadership skills and strong relationships is whether at least one key adult in the life of a child has consistently and predictably shown up for them physical AND emotionally. So today, we are going to hone in on exactly how we can show up for the children in our lives so that they can thrive. For this conversation, we have invited best-selling author, Tina Payne Bryson, 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 Get Children to Behave from the Inside Out with Dr. Charles Fay

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.

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 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