Sunshine Parenting

Sep 18 2020 32 mins 65

Camp Director, Mom, Author, and Speaker Audrey Monke and other youth development experts discuss summer camp, family life, raising thriving kids, and ideas for living more connected and happier lives.

Ep. 126: Connecting with our Daughters
Feb 07 2020 31 mins  
In this episode, I'm joined by my good friend and longtime camp industry colleague, Brooke Cheley-Klebe. Both of us have three daughters, so we've had a lot of discussion over the years about raising girls. In this episode, Brooke and I talk about how she stays close to her daughters, currently ages 14, 11, and 7. She has many insights both as a mom and from her 25 years working with campers and staff at Cheley Colorado Camps. Parenting girls today is more challenging than ever. We can all use new ideas and insights, and Brooke has some simple strategies to stay close to her girls. Parents and caregivers can help their daughters become thriving adults by focusing on our connection and relationship with our daughters. Show up in those little moments, such as having breakfast together, bedtime, driving in the car. Make eye contact, and connect. Rituals--especially around bedtime--are important anchors in your relationship with your children. Help girls understand that they're enough just the way they are. It's more important to be authentic than perfect. Teach them about practicing a growth mindset and model positive self-talk. In conversations, connect with fun questions that focus on their thoughts and feelings rather than their achievements, like grades and scores. Practices like meditation, setting intentions, being present and expressing gratitude, help to create an environment where kids, especially our daughters, thrive. Find hobbies, fun things to do so that our kids can see us enjoying life.

Ep. 120: Family Traditions & Rituals
Dec 27 2019 24 mins  
In this episode, Sara Kuljis and I discuss the importance of family rituals and traditions. It's one of the topics that we wanted to cover with parents in our Raise Thriving Kids Workshop that we had in September. Big Ideas Family Rituals and traditions are important because they: help build a sense of shared identity and deep belonging. help us organize and make sense of an ever-changing world. help teach and impact faith and family values. They may remind us of our cultural backgrounds. provide safe spaces and anchors in an ever-changing world. help us cope with trauma and loss. produce amazing memories, the silly and the sacred. Talk to your kids about what traditions are important to them and let them come up with their own. Quotes Sara: "It has been remarkable to watch how important, year after year, the daily rituals and traditions of summer camp are to our campers and to our staff. I dove in and did quite a bit of research on this and was struck by how profoundly shaping rituals and traditions are in our family cultures." Sara: "In our fast-paced world, where people travel for work, where families are going in different directions more often, where we don't necessarily live by extended family, many of the rituals and traditions are falling by the wayside. Kids have fewer of these anchor points than they used to back in the day." Sara: "There are things that stay the same when lots of other things are changing and it really does give us a sense of structure and stability and addresses our longing for simpler things and things you can count on. I think that's very important to kids, especially as they're growing, changing schools, maybe moving homes. Maybe family dynamics are changing, but I can count on tradition." Audrey: "People like that security of know that things are as they were. Kids need structure, they need to know when bedtime is, but they equally need the ritual of being tucked in and having someone say prayers with them or say goodnight to them or whatever the tradition is in your family." Sara: "Children want boundaries. They want a frame around the picture. As they are figuring out how to live life, they really crave discipline. So structure and traditions add to that and it creates a sense of safety and knowing what to expect." Audrey: "You almost don't realize some of the practices that you do or don't do that are traditions. It is anything that you do that is part of your family's life. So many of our rituals are communicating our values." Sara: "There are a lot of life skills, really practical stuff, that are embedded in traditions that are helpful for our kids. Traditions provide us safe spaces and anchors in an ever-changing world. The more change, the more rituals and traditions we need." Audrey: "When things are tumultuous, you just want these touchstones of things that are still going to happen, that you can depend on still being there, regardless of what else has changed." Sara: "I urge you to look back and think about the rituals built into your family. What are the memories that came out of that? What glue to bond a family and help you get through some of the bumpy times." Audrey: "Sometimes when you're in it, you don't realize that those are traditions. If there's something that you do as a family that's really fun or memorable, why not repeat it each year?" Sara: "As you think of the traditions in your own family, sometimes it feels like a lot of pressure. The big things are awesome but sometimes it's just the daily flow of life things that provide even more anchoring." Audrey: "Returning to camp itself, or to the vacation places where your family likes to go, year after year, will help to bring calm back to the storm of life." Audrey: "Rituals and traditions are just something that can be going on all year, every day or every weekend or whatever, Friday night, movie night, a Saturday morning hike -- it could be anything." Resources Find out about our next Raise Thriving Kids Workshop 100 Family Memories 5 Simple Year-End Reflection Activities Related If you liked this podcast episode, listen to: Ep. 7: Family Pace and Space with Sara Kuljis Ep. 23: Peaceful Mornings with Sara Kuljis Ep. 63: Growing Gratitude with Sara Kuljis Ep. 70: Parent on Purpose with Amy Carney

Ep. 119: Year-End Reflection Activities
Dec 20 2019 33 mins  
This episode is a live recording of my chat with Sara Kuljis about some of our favorite year-end reflection activities. Joining Sara and me for this episode is Kate Rader, one of the participants from our Raise Thriving Kids Workshop. Kate is a stay-at-home mom to 3 adventure-seeking and fun-loving kiddos, Lauren and Caroline, identical twins who are 13 and Jack, age 10, wife to her college sweetheart Jeff and curious lover of books, podcasts, and conversations about intentional parenting and living. [caption id="attachment_6803" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Kate Rader and family[/caption] Here's what Kate had to say about our workshop: "It was just so wonderful to be in a room with people who care enough to be intentional about the choices they're making for their families and what they want for their families because it's a work in progress--and we're all working together." Big Ideas In addition to parenting books, podcasts, and coaching, workshops are a great resource for parents. Just as most people need continual training and education in their careers, parents can also take the time to learn and connect with others in order to feel invigorated. It is helpful to share what is working and to discuss best practices for strengthening family bonds. We talk a lot about the importance of self-care and modeling a balanced life for our kids. Today we discuss the ideas I shared in my recent post, 5 Simple Year-End Reflections: Create a Reverse Bucket List. Look back over your life and make a list of the cool things you've already done. 100 Family Memories - brainstorm and make a list of what happened in your family this year. Pick a Quote-of-the-Year. Find a quote that resonates with you, or something motivational, looking back or looking ahead, a quote you want to live by. Select One Word that you want to guide you in the new year. Be authentic and make it a word that is uniquely yours. Remember your Favorite Books or resources from the past year. Take time to let the new things that you have learned (in books, podcasts, workshops) to percolate and apply the concepts or practices to your life. Pick one or two of these ideas that resonate with you. You can do an activity on your own or engage the whole family. Make the delivery of the idea fun and light. Allow people to be silly. Getting the family together over the holidays, expressing gratitude, and setting intentions together are my favorite ways to bring in the new year. Quotes Sara: "Sometimes parenting intentionally feels counter-cultural. When we're swimming upstream, to have fishies to swim with is so confidence building. It's reassuring, it's empowering. I've loved all the parents we have gotten to work with through this project because it has fueled me." Kate: "The regular accountability is equally as important to me as the one-day workshop. Whether it's via podcasts, recorded conversations, or live conversations, getting together at Starbucks, or whatever it might be, that's really beneficial in maintaining the kind of wonderful feelings that we got coming out of the workshop." Kate: "If we're going to develop a true family culture, we need to be intentional about spending time together as a family. And that time is harder and harder to come by." Kate: "Just being together, away, experiencing some new adventures has been a neat way for us to firm up our family culture and values and make memories together. That's been a key take away for me." Kate: "It's not about those grand gestures. It's about the thoughtful, meaningful moments where people take the time to appreciate their relationships." Audrey: "Even if you're not a person who gives affirmations, I really don't think there's a person in this world who wouldn't mind getting a nice note saying something that someone likes about them." Audrey: "Sometimes parents start thinking that their relationship with their child is supposed to be like a normal, reciprocal relationship. Expecting that you pour into this child and they're going to pour back to you, is not how parenting works. However, I'm seeing that once they're adults you may get more of the reciprocity than when they were kids. I get very filled up now by my adult children when they give me affirmations or send me a nice message--it's really great." Audrey: "You keep encouraging, even if you don't think it means something because I think it really is landing somewhere." Audrey: "Another activity could be taking a year's worth of fun texts, cards, and nice messages and putting them somewhere like in a scrapbook just as a great boost." Sara: "I love the idea of sitting down with the whole family and saying, 'let's look way back' because there is a chance that something that I didn't consider very bucket-y might have been really significant to my kids. I think it will remind us that it has been a rich life of experiences." Audrey: "I would challenge you to focus on yourself for your own reverse bucket list. Sometimes it's good to just think about for your own self-awareness and self-worth and knowing that you're enough just the way you are. I would suggest that the bucket list idea is more of a personal thing because it is recognizing the goals you've already achieved and the cool things that you've done, whereas the 100 Family Memories would be the things you're grateful for." Audrey: "The goal is to try to remember (as many as) 100 things so you get down to some of the minutiae and those are some of the funny, random, individual things that happened. It's been a really fun practice." Kate: "I think when you allow each family member to share their treasured memories from the year, it gives us insight into their personalities and their level of value and priorities, as well." Audrey: "I like spending time at the end of the year, really thinking through what my one word is, thinking about what was good this year and what is it that I want to take into the new year and feel more of, or do more of--I love the process." Audrey: "Determine the kind of person you want to be in the next year. Identify the characteristics of that best self. When you're being your best self, what does that look like? It has guided me a lot because once I pick a word, I then seek out resources and ideas to help me live that word better." Kate: "It's a neat way to put the focus on how you're going to spend your time, your energy, your reading, and research--all that good stuff. When it is meaningful, it really does carry you through the year and it gives purpose to how you're spending your time." Audrey: "It really hit me that my best contribution to my family, to the world, comes when I focus and take the time to do some research, reading, writing, thoughtful time, which is not a normal part of life anymore. You have to actually build in focus." Audrey: "There are so many new ideas and things you can do, but to really move the needle, all you need to do is just one. I am challenging myself this year to slow down on the consumption of new information and instead get out the books I've read, look at my highlights and just recap." Related Posts & Podcasts 5 Simple Year-End Reflection Activities Learning to Enjoy the Little Things 100 Family Memories #oneword My One Word for 2019: Focus Ep. 68 12 Parenting Tips for Happier, More Connected Families Ep. 105 Live Above the Noise with Rob Reiher Resources Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist How to Raise An Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success by Julie Lythcott-Haims One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp Finding Fred Podcast

Ep. 117: Raising Good Humans
Dec 06 2019 34 mins  
Show notes & links available here. In this episode, I'm chatting with mindfulness expert Hunter Clarke-Fields, author of Raising Good Humans: A Mindful Guide to Breaking the Cycle of Reactive Parenting and Raising Kind, Confident Kids, is my guest on for Episode 117. We talk about the importance of modeling positive responses to difficult situations and using tools like mindfulness and meditation to be a less reactive parent. Hunter's blog, podcast, and other resources can be found at Big Ideas Raising Good Humans is a book that offers tools and ideas for parents on: how to regulate your stress response how to become less reactive how to respond in order to get more cooperation from your children There are 2 main parts of the book: The Inner Work mindfulness, unhooking from negative thoughts, meditation learning about your own triggers how to manage difficult feelings and model problem solving self-compassion. The Outer Work -- Skillful Communication Mindfulness is the intentional ability to stay in the present moment with a sense of kindness and curiosity. The benefits of a meditation practice are reduced anxiety and depression, better sleep, more feelings of wellbeing and being less reactive. Our own childhood impacts so much of who we are and how we parent our kids. Parents can acknowledge that most kids have a different pace. Being patient with them can help circumvent conflict. Use the "Friend Filter" by speaking to your child as respectfully as you would a friend or a friend's child. Quotes Audrey: "In this day and age, with all the inputs we have, and how most parents are struggling with the overwhelm, anxiety rush and can't turn it off--this is why your message is so needed right now." Hunter: "There are basically these two wings that you need to fly. One is this wonderful advice out there in the parenting world, what to say and how to communicate. But that goes out the window when you're losing it because you can't access it. You literally can't access that part of your brain, the prefrontal cortex where your verbal empathetic ability is, so there is also inner work that goes along with it." Hunter: "There's a word in the mindfulness tradition called 'noble failure' because we all fail at being able to control our monkey mind. But that's okay. That's not how you judge your practice. You judge your practice and how it helps you by how it makes you feel and how you're able to be present in the other parts of your life." Hunter: "We're at our worst in parenting when we're just reacting in anger. We have to have a way to calm it down. We have to build the muscle to calm or be able to be less reactive in peaceful times. This is a muscle you're building. Just like you're not going to read about tennis and then go out and play the world grand slam." Audrey: "In our family, we talk about our highs and lows. Let's make sure we are not just sharing the good stuff, or sharing only the positive feelings, because we've got to get those bad things out, too. Even when you're a generally positive, upbeat person, there are always hard things." Hunter: "We expect our kids to turn things around and have this awareness when we don't have it ourselves. The ability to look at and understand our feelings is so practical. If you only show your kids a veneer of perfection, 'I'm always positive' and 'I'm always calm' -- that's just not true. Nobody is like that. Even the Dalai Lama gets mad sometimes." Hunter: "We can give lip service that 'It's okay for you to have these feelings,' but then we don't allow ourselves permission to be angry, frustrated, or sad. We hide that away rather than acknowledging that within ourselves. That piece of acknowledgment is really crucial to all this work." Hunter: "If you go into a situation where you're feeling upset or when you're starting to get annoyed, when you can say these things out loud and just label those (emotions), it actually provides a lot of relief to the stress and tension of a moment." Audrey: "I think its really important for us as parents to be real with each other and make sure that we all know that we have these moments. Just working on having fewer of the bad moments feels so good." Hunter: "The second part of the book is about how to be helpful, how to speak in such a skillful way that your child wants to cooperate with you--from the inside out--because they care about you, rather than because you're using power over them and making them." Hunter: "There is this idea we have that its the norm for adolescents to rebel. I really think that it's not true. Actually, adolescents rebel against the kind of destructive communication and parenting habits that we have. Culturally, we're not very skillful." Hunter: "We are in the soup of a very unskillful culture where we are constantly ordering and threatening our kids. Some of these things feel like they work in the short term, but in the long term they actually make kids less likely to want to cooperate with you." Hunter: "There are natural consequences to some things that happen and we definitely hold boundaries, but there are ways to speak and ways to communicate and interact that create a more loving, cooperative relationship." Audrey: "Even as adults, we respond better to being told we get to do something fun or have some kind of privilege because we did our task or met a goal." Hunter: "If you had a friend staying with you, or even if you were talking to one of your friend's children, someone who's a little more removed from you, how would you ask that person? How would you make the request to that person? Putting on this filter can help us look at our own language." Audrey: "We are often frustrated that they're not immediately doing something, but that's more our problem. If you want your kids to be sitting down for dinner, tell them five minutes before you actually need to sit down." Hunter: "That's why self-compassion is so important. We're not robots. We're not going to get it right. We're not going to be perfect all the time. We're going to be aware for a little while of what we're not doing right--and that doesn't feel good--but it's part of the learning process." Audrey: "Not only do we need to think about how we talk to our kids, like we are talking to a friend, but also how we talk to ourselves. We get so disappointed in ourselves when we're trying to do new things. But any new habit or communication style is going to take time." Audrey: "We don't need to get overwhelmed with all of it. Even if you apply just one of your ideas, it would move the needle on raising the connection and peacefulness in the home." Resources Calm App ABOUT HUNTER Hunter Clarke-Fields is a mindfulness mentor, host of the Mindful Mama podcast, creator of the Mindful Parenting membership, and author of the brand new book (12/19), Raising Good Humans: A Mindful Guide to Breaking the Cycle of Reactive Parenting and Raising Kind, Confident Kids. She helps parents bring more calm into their daily lives and cooperation in their families. Hunter has over twenty years of experience in meditation and yoga practices and has taught mindfulness to thousands worldwide. She is the mother of two active daughters, who challenge her every day to hone her craft! Learn more about Hunter at Contact Hunter: [email protected] Raising Good Humans Book Page: Raising Good Humans Facebook Page: Hunter Clarke-Fields, Mindful Mama Mentor Instagram: Mindful Mama Mentor Twitter: HClarkeFields LinkedIn: Hunter Clarke-Fields The Mindful Mama Podcast Related If you enjoyed listening to this podcast, check out: Learning to Breathe Ep. 103: How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t with Kids Ep. 80: The Emotionally Healthy Child with Maureen Healy Ep. 97: Parenting the Challenging Child with Signe Whitson Ep. 92: Creating Strong Relationships with Teens How to Have a Closer Family in 5 Minutes a Day

Ep.115: Giving Kids Meaningful Compliments
Nov 22 2019 33 mins  
In this episode, Sara Kuljis is back to talk about giving kids meaningful compliments and focusing on our kids' strengths. We recently hosted our Raise Thriving Kids workshop in Newport Beach where we spent the day discussing positive parenting tools. Since then, we've received a lot of positive feedback, especially on the topic of Level 3 Affirmations. Big Ideas Part of camp staff training involves teaching them to more regularly and more deeply affirm real character traits that matter in the campers. The children are able to go home knowing that they have this "gold" within them. They divided the affirmations, or compliments, into 3 levels. Level 1 affirmations are words that convey worth, value, and importance in one's possessions or one's physical appearance. Examples: "You have beautiful hair." "That's a really cool new skateboard." These are compliments on things (physical traits or material possessions) that a child doesn't have a lot of control over and it can create a sense of insecurity. Level 2 affirmations are words that convey worth, value, and importance lies in one's performance or accomplishments. Examples: "You fixed your hair so cute today" and "You were amazing at the skate park today." Level 3 affirmations are words that convey worth, value, and importance in one's efforts, character, in one's very being. Examples: "I appreciate the time you took to do your friend's hair. I admire that about you" or "I admire how hard you've been working to improve your skating skills. You've been out there every day. I appreciate your grit and determination." Level 3 traits are more likely to develop and grow in our children when they are acknowledged and praised. Quotes Audrey: "There's nothing wrong with level one affirmations and in fact, you feel good when someone comments. But there are levels up from that." Sara: "Parents hover in level two a lot. At camp and at school, we often emphasize that skill they learned and it's awesome to affirm that in a child. But our kids are buried by the sense that they have to outperform and they have to accomplish way beyond what any reasonable expectation is." Sara: "When affirmations get stuck at level two, where we value and shine a light on the importance--almost exclusively--of accomplishments and performance, we are doing our kids a great disservice." Audrey: "This is probably how most of us were raised and often results in having really high expectations for ourselves that can get to a destructive level called 'perfectionism,' where we feel like no matter what we do, it's never enough." Audrey: "We all have this fundamental need to be valued. We want people to notice us and value us and sometimes we think we are being valued for what we do, or what we accomplish." Audrey: "It's not what we do or what we have that makes us a valuable, important person." Sara: "Praise the process that your child went through to accomplish something. If I'm looking at the process, I'm looking at determination, perseverance, grit, inclusivity, kindness--all of the really deep character traits we're all hoping our kids have." Audrey: "If our teachers and coaches focus on when they see someone demonstrating one of those traits that we want to build up in our kids, like kindness or generosity or patience, and point it out, that's going to grow it. It's really important for parents to do it. But when kids hear those kinds of affirmations from another adult, it's really powerful." Audrey: "There's a lot of overlap here in mining for strengths and really taking the time to notice our kids and who they are and what makes them tick because kids right from the beginning show their stripes." Sara: "For parents, it's loving the child you have, not wishing for the child you don't." Audrey: "Bringing to the surface and naming some of those character traits for our kids is so helpful because they are the ones they are going to use to do great things. Whatever those great things are, they'll use those traits. They'll use their kindness, their energy, their gift for seeing what's going on or for organizing events or for including people. They're going use those skills everywhere in their lives, but not if they're not called out. We need to name them." Audrey: "What better way to show our gratitude for another human being than by giving them a level three affirmation." Related Posts/Podcasts Ep. 63: Growing Gratitude with Sara Kuljis Ep. 114: Precursors to Gratitude A Grateful Family is a Happy Family: 5 Gratitude Practices Ep. 77: Comparison is the Thief of (Parenting) Joy Ep. 75: Begin with the (Parenting) End in Mind

Ep. 114: Precursors to Gratitude
Nov 15 2019 33 mins  
What comes before gratitude in our children? In this episode, Sara and I discuss how we can prepare our kids to become grateful people. Sara and I talked about gratitude last year in this episode about Growing Gratitude. Big Ideas As the Thanksgiving holiday nears, it is important to remember that we can cultivate a heart of gratitude all year long. Good manners are important but employing these "precursors" to gratitude can help instill our family values in a deeper and more meaningful way. Precursors to growing gratitude: Avoid over-giving, as it can lead to entitlement. When we earn what we have, we value it more. Cultivate empathy. When kids realize that there is a cost (money, time, energy or thought) associated with everything they have, they are more grateful. Model gratefulness. When kids hear their parents thanking each other, showing respect and demonstrating gratitude, they are more likely to adopt the same habit. Be exposed to seeing how most of the world lives or not always having daily comforts. A vacation from things like big meals and hot showers, such as in camping situations or while traveling, can help us to realize a greater appreciation for all we have. Quotes Audrey: "You can't just start saying thank you or start doing gratitude practices and suddenly become this grateful person. There are precursors to gratitude." Sara: "When our kids are little, one of the first things we teach them is to say please and thank you. As my kids grew, I wanted their thank yous to come from inside them, not from me reminding them." Sara: "It's my work to do as a parent to set these things up and to cultivate these habits in myself and in my home so that when it's time for our kids to build the muscle of gratitude, it fits in. It's kind of super-powered and more authentic." Audrey: "Practicing kindness and practicing gratitude is good because you build the muscle." Audrey: "The depth is what we're talking about. It's almost like a mindset, a way of thinking about things and remembering the impact of what we do." Sara: "As parents, we so long to meet (our kids') needs well, but we also feel compelled to meet all their wants. By 'needs' I mean shelter, love, food, medical care, sleep, all the things we need to thrive. But then we get on this hamster wheel of, 'well, they better have the newest iPhone, or best kind of tennis shoes, or the tutor everyone else is going to,' and we can over-give. We can over-meet their wants to a place where they develop an entitlement." Sara: "We've really got to guard our choices. We're developing grown-ups eventually who can work and earn something, who can long for something, who can have an appreciation because they had to wait or they had to grow into it." Audrey: "The expression 'delayed gratification' has 'grateful' in it." Audrey: "It's just kind of balancing. Are we giving in a good way? Are we overdoing it? It's the 'over-giving'. It's not to not-give to our kids, it's to give in a way that we're thinking through, is it the right amount?" Audrey: "You have to do things. You have to gain competence to earn confidence. You can't make someone confident. It has to take some time. It comes from learning that it's okay to make mistakes, you're not going to be good at everything the first, second, third, even 20th time." Sara: "When we help kids understand 'what did it cost that other human to provide this to me,' it naturally grows gratitude in them." Audrey: "Young kids are made to be self-focused. That's normal developmentally. Anything we can do to get them out of their head helps. I do think empathy is such a key thing." Sara: "I think sometimes our kids hear us being critical of things or dissatisfied with things more often than they hear us being grateful. Make thanking each other, thanking your spouse for something that he or she did, a really normal thing." Sara: "If our kids never see us being grateful, how will they suddenly become grateful people?" Audrey: "If you're only living in the bubble of your neighbor, which likely is safe, or you're own home, which likely has electricity and your kids have their own beds and running water, I think that we can get almost desensitized." Audrey: "We can just set our kids up, get that soil ready to really build their gratitude muscles." Sara: "Whenever we do something in the daily flow of life, it just becomes part of who we are as a family. Finding a habit or a ritual (not just around the Thanksgiving table--although that's awesome!) where we get to name something that we're grateful for, or practice thanking another person for something, done daily or weekly makes things stick." Audrey: "When we adults practice this ourselves it goes a long way in setting our kids up to be more grateful." Resources/Related Posts Three Good Things A Grateful Family is a Happy Family: 5 Gratitude Practices Ep. 63: Growing Gratitude with Sara Kuljis Gratitude Revisited 5 Ways to Create a Happy Thanksgiving

Ep. 113: Generation Mindful with Suzanne Tucker
Nov 08 2019 29 mins  
In this episode, I'm speaking with Suzanne Tucker of Generation Mindful, a website dedicated to helping kids learn how to regulate their emotions. Big Ideas While working as a physical therapist, Suzanne realized there was much more going on in people's wellbeing than just the physical body. The whole health approach to healing and wellness is what led her to start Generation Mindful. Parents and educators love the science of positive discipline but struggle to apply the science of connection practically in their everyday lives. Generation Mindful offers evidence-based tools and toys that make connection a habit in homes and schools. They nurture emotional intelligence via play and positive discipline. Generation Mindful helps people overcome perfectionism, feelings of inadequacy, and promote connection. Their mission is to raise an emotionally healthy world. Generation Mindful tools and toys can be found in 70 countries and their community is in nearly 100 countries around the world. Quotes Suzanne: "If you're looking to get on the superhighway of spiritual growth, just jump on it because you're going to find it in Parenthood." Suzanne: "Parenting makes life apparent." Suzanne: "It was that love of whole health and learning about ourselves and being on a spiritual journey myself that brought me into doing empowerment-based education with families." Suzanne: "We've got to make it easy. We've got to make it fun. We've got to get this evidence-based brain science into everyday life because people feel 'not enough' and it's not right." Audrey: "Instead of punishing someone for being dysregulated and needing to calm down, making it a thing that 'hey--we all have these moments. Let's find a way to just create a space where we can just feel good.'" Audrey: "Adults, we need this, too, the candle that smells good, the book we really like, that calms us down, and a cup of tea." Suzanne: "It's not just about education and support (because we need both of those.) What I found in my work is that children are concrete learners and so are adults. We are very much supported when we open a box--it's concrete." Suzanne: "It's really about embodying wisdom. It's about creating this community that inspires you and is there to hold your hand online. We've got all these online supports, the blog, a private community for anyone who goes through our six-week self-paced course." Suzanne: "It really starts from the inside out. And we're about supporting and inspiring you into what we think of as a mind shift into self-awareness first, 'connect before you correct' and just seeing misbehavior as an unmet need, without the guilt, and training ourselves out of shame as a motivator and guilt as a filter." Suzanne: "We are all about creating habits because habits lift us up. Habits just happen...We want to connect, but if it's not a habit, it's not happening." Suzanne: "It's really about the brain science of honoring emotions as sacred and integrating." Audrey: "Name it to tame it. We all talk about that." Suzanne: "Just by labeling the things that happened in the day and which mood group would I associate them with, is like the middle brain doing pushups. The hippocampus, that really important part of the brain that helps with emotional regulation, is going down, doing the pushups and it's training that part of the brain that wants to react. It's actually laying the neural synapsis so it can learn to respond." Suzanne: "Once we get over our fear we're empowered to show up powerfully with what is. Then we can source the tools and support to just be where we are and meet the child where they are." Audrey: "You see the kids' behavior is just like the tip of the iceberg and all those things going on underneath; it's like the behavior is just kind of a clue. Be curious. They aren't trying to ruin your day or be terrible. They're communicating something that they're having difficulty articulating." Suzanne: "Where is the source of emotional intelligence in relationships? It's in pausing to look in each other's eye, to listen, to share. It is so simple, yet how hard it is in everyday modern life to carve out a sweet little five minutes to talk about things that matter?" Resources Time-In ToolKit Snuggle Buddies and My Feeling Calendar Dr. Dan Siegel Free Positive Parenting Class from Generation Mindful (ENTER PASSWORD: FreeAccessClassOne) Related Posts/Podcasts If you liked this episode of the podcast, listen to or read: Ep. 110: Keep Calm & Parent On 10 Ways to Teach Kids to Calm Down Ep. 103: How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t with Your Kids Ep. 97: Parenting the Challenging Child The Whole-Brain Child: Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture your Child’s Developing Mind, Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson Ep. 95: Raising a “Yes Brain” Child with Tina Payne Bryson

Ep. 112: Helping Teens Exposed to Trauma
Nov 01 2019 38 mins  
In this episode, I'm talking with Dr. Ruth Gerson, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at NYU's Langone Medical Center, about helping teens who have been exposed to trauma. Trauma is, by definition, when an experience feels so threatening to one's safety and well-being that it overwhelms one's ability to cope. Human beings, especially children, are amazingly resilient. Not only can we humans survive terrible things, but often we commit incredible acts of strength and heroism in the face of adversity, such as the soldier who carries a wounded friend out of battle despite her own wounds, or a father who rescues his children from a raging fire. But just because we survive something does not mean we are not marked by the experience. -Ruth Gerson, M.D., Beyond PTSD Ruth's book, which she co-authored with Patrick Hepple, is Beyond PTSD, Helping and Healing Teens Exposed to Trauma. Ruth is a colleague of Dr. Jess Shatkin, who I interviewed back in Episode 16 about his book, Born to be Wild: Why Teens Take Risks, and How We Can Help Keep Them Safe. Both Ruth's book and our conversation have opened my eyes to the prevalence of trauma and the importance of helping teens who have been exposed to trauma. Trauma can manifest in many different and unexpected ways. In most cases, our kids aren't even aware that it is past trauma that is causing them to feel or behave in certain ways. Big Ideas Certain traumatic experiences are just too much for our brains and our bodies to take in. The structure of Dr. Gerson's book is set up so that you can read sections related to different behavioral issues, such as self-injury, risky behavior, substance use, school refusal, aggression, and many other topics. Trauma-informed care for kids is necessary for anyone who works with youth today. The goal of this book is to help people know how to look for, talk about, and find kids the right help following trauma. Some of the factors affecting kids response to trauma are: their developmental and emotional age/maturity level the context and support of their environment their previous experiences Behavior is communication. Watch out for any significant changes in a child, such as: temperament sleep and eating patterns showing an increased amount of anxiety or fear When a child discloses something that is difficult for them to share, make sure to give an appropriate response and not expressions of disbelief. Help the child to feel heard and safe. Quotes Audrey: "Oftentimes, we're very focused on teens' problematic behaviors when really the underlying thing that really needs to be addressed is something else and that is just how they're coping with this trauma." Ruth: "A kid who experiences trauma over and over is going to be much more sensitive to something happening. It's kind of counter-intuitive and it's actually something that kids often say is they feel like, well I should be used to this or it shouldn't affect me anymore. And so it's a real point of education that we try to give to kids that just because you've been going through something forever, it doesn't make it easier." Ruth: "But traumatic experiences, or things that push us beyond that (comfort zone) line and having that happen over and over again, are really detrimental. Not something that you can learn to grow from without help." Audrey: "Even in adults, trauma can manifest decades later which is why I think it's so important, the work you're doing to help earlier when kids are having these symptoms." Ruth: "I really encourage parents to trust their instincts. Parents know their kids better than anyone. We know their ins and outs. We know their tiniest habits. We know the littlest ticks and their littlest, funny tells that let us know what kind of mood they're in or whatever. So I really encourage parents to trust their gut." Ruth: "You have to be able to take that step back and try to think from the kid's perspective what might be going on that would make them behave in this way. And that's hard because it does require putting aside how difficult that behavior is for you, the parent, to be on the receiving end of it. Just like it's really hard to be with a baby who won't stop crying. But the only way to solve the underlying problem is to try to step back from our own emotional reactions and try to take the kid's perspective." Ruth: "We can still encourage our kids to be able to do the things that they need to do to be successful socially and to be successful in school and then as professionals. But if we just tell them to do it without understanding why they're struggling, we're not going to be successful." Ruth: "There's a lot of shame and a lot of silence around trauma. So kids don't know that it's not their fault. They don't know that it's something that happens unfortunately to a lot of people and that they can speak up about may, can get help for it. And so they don't talk about it and they don't ask for what they need because of that shame and that pain that keeps them silent." Ruth: "Because trauma can be such trigger for shame, particularly with things like sexual trauma or suicide, kids are made to feel like it was their fault. Kids take that initial reaction of disbelief as disbelief, right? They don't believe me. They don't think it's really happening. I should never talk about this again. And it can be really damaging." Audrey: "Kids can be very resilient and work through things and we can help them with that by just being supportive and being caring, regardless of how awful it is." Audrey: "When you can stay calm and not let them get to you, you're more effective with them. And I think in a lot of ways I feel like it's easier to do with other people's children than with your own." About Dr. Ruth Gerson Dr. Gerson is board certified in both general and child and adolescent psychiatry. Dr. Gerson received her bachelor of arts in Biochemistry at Harvard University and received her medical degree at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. She completed her internship and general psychiatry training at the Cambridge Health Alliance-Harvard Medical School residency program where she served administrative chief resident. Dr. Gerson completed her child and adolescent psychiatry training at the Child Study Center at NYULMC and Bellevue Hospital Center. She also completed a public psychiatry fellowship at NYULMC. Contact Dr. Gerson. Books Related Posts & Podcasts Ep. 111: Raising an Exceptional Child in a Conventional World Ep. 16: Born to be Wild with Dr. Jess Shatkin 7 Ways to Help Kids Through their Teen Years Helping Kids Through Their Low Point Ep. 97: Parenting the Challenging Child Ep. 100: Teens’ Advice for Raising Responsible, Independent Kids Ep. 110: Keep Calm & Parent On

Ep. 56: Off the Clock with Laura Vanderkam
Oct 28 2019 30 mins  
In Episode 56, I'm chatting with Laura Vanderkam about her book Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done. Laura is the best-selling author of several time management and productivity books including 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time, and What the Most Successful People do Before Breakfast. Laura also co-hosts the Best of Both Worlds podcast with Sarah Hart-Unger. They discuss work/life balance, career development, parenting, time management, productivity, and making time for fun.Laura lives outside Philadelphia with her husband and four children, and blogs at When I read Off the Clock in August, I shared my thoughts about it here. I am thrilled that I also had the opportunity to interview Laura for my podcast and ask her questions including her advice for how to overcome the hurdles I faced trying to track my time. Big Ideas Time and how we perceive it We all have the same amount of time but spend it differently. How we think about time changes how we perceive it. When we walk around saying "I'm so busy", are we? Which moments become your story? Data study on time perception 900 people tracked their time and reported how they felt about it. What things are a good use of time? Evaluating your time How to effectively track your time? Doesn't have to be exact! Getting a general sense of where time goes. Data helps us see where our time goes. Looking at time in weeks versus days. Effortful versus effortless fun Effortless fun is easy and ends up being the bulk of our leisure time. Effortful fun is more memorable. Putting in work to have fun. Quotes " You find people who are doing amazing things professionally as well as personally but they all have the same amount of time we do". -Audrey Monke "Time is all about how we perceive it. We all have the same amount of time. It all moves at the same rate. But that’s not really the way we think about". -Laura Vanderkam "When we walk around with the story “I’m so busy” we will constantly look for moments that show that". - Laura Vanderkam "You want more time doing stuff you enjoy. Nobody wants more time in a traffic jam or boring meeting". - Laura Vanderkam "Your fun can take some work but you will be so happy you did it" - Laura Vanderkam Find Laura Laura's TED Talk, How to Gain Control of Your Free Time: Laura Vanderkam's Website Best of Both World Podcast Laura's Other Books: 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think LEARN MORE I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make The Most of Their Time LEARN MORE What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast LEARN MORE

Ep. 111: Raising an Exceptional Child in a Conventional World
Oct 25 2019 33 mins  
In this episode, I'm talking to Debbie Reber, creator of TiLT Parenting, the host of the TiLT Parenting Podcast, and the author of Differently Wired: Raising and Exceptional Child in a Conventional World. While this book was written mainly for parents that need extra support, I think it will resonate with all parents of all kids. Big Ideas Every child deserves to be understood and accepted for who they are. We are all wired differently. Some differences are more visible than others. Each kid needs different tools to thrive in life and we can help them figure out what they need for their individual journey. When parents and children communicate their needs and explain their differences to others, people are more understanding and accepting. 3 Key Take-Aways: Find a community and resources Find the right kind of support (parent coach, couples counselor, online communities) Embrace and accept kids' strengths; teach them to articulate their needs. Gifted kids also have special needs that can be addressed and supported in schools and at home. As a parent, set aside what you think your child's (social, academic, physical) life should look like, and respect your child's own timeline. Quotes Audrey: "Sometimes people are just kind of under the radar. Maybe they aren't diagnosed with something, but their parents just sort of know that they don't move through life the same way that other people do." Debbie: "Many of the kids in my community may not have a formal diagnosis but a lot of them are extra sensitive, have heightened anxiety and are more tuned in and the world is an intense place for them." Debbie: "I wanted to cast a wide net and include any sort of narrow atypicality because there are so many of us. But when we stay in our little buckets, we don't get to tap into the collective and recognize the power in our numbers and why things really do need to change." Audrey: "Sometimes our biggest challenges become our biggest gifts." Audrey: "You did this journey together with your son, learning how to help him navigate the world and then how to help you navigate the world as a parent. You figured out how to embrace your son and all of his strengths and his uniqueness and help him become his best self. And you helped him be able to articulate to the world who he is and what he needs." Audrey: "I've always loved delving into all the personality type inventories that just help us learn how the way we see the world or react to things is different from other people and being a little more empathetic and understanding of that as opposed to thinking it's wrong." Debbie: "We're really looking at this person as an individual human on their own incredible journey. I think it can be really hard when we're just kind of on this treadmill of life, doing what everybody else is doing. Take a conscious step back and say, 'wait a minute--who is this kid and what do they need to do to really thrive?'" Debbie: "It's not easy to take that pause and to really shift your focus." Audrey: "Even for people with different interests, the concept that there is one path is so flawed. Kids who aren't academically inclined or school isn't their thing are left feeling like they don't fit in. Often, it beats them down to the point where they don't have the opportunity to explore their interests." Audrey: "The impact of not letting kids be who they really are and exploring that is coming out in the rise of mental health disorders, substance abuse, and suicide among adolescents and young adults. All of these things can be traced back to the same idea that if you don't fit into some prescribed thing, the world is hard." Audrey: "We all have a lot of parental shame, insecurity, guilt, worry and often loneliness when we are kind of embarrassed by our kids' behavior or confused or just don't get it." Debbie: "There's a lot of judging in parenting. It's pervasive and it's really harmful. It hurts us and when people are judging it is triggering their own insecurities. I think it's so important to find safe spaces to connect and to share." Debbie: "It's important to get clear and remember what the core goal is and that is to support these kids in becoming who they are." Debbie: "One of the ways we can bolster our foundation is to surround ourselves with people who fully support our family. When we do this, we relax, our kids relax, and we all get to go about our business from a place of confidence. Community changes everything. It lifts us up. It deepens our well of resources. It fuels our bravery. It allows us to be our authentic selves. It reminds me that we and our children are not alone. It's time we ditched the doubters, skeptics, and those will never get it and instead surround ourselves with our people." (Differently Wired, pg. 217) Debbie: "Part of the process is for us to speak openly, without fear or shame or worry. That's part of the accepting process of knowing that there is no one way to be normal." Debbie: "I imagine we are going to create a more accepting society if we stop shaming certain behaviors, ostracizing people, or making them feel like they're aberrations when really it's just a different way of being." Debbie: "One of the biggest gifts we can give a kid is the opportunity to truly know themselves and understand how their brain works and what's going on and then how to advocate for themselves, how to speak up." Debbie: "When people understand, it changes everything. People are afraid of what they don't understand. In a society that puts so much weight on conforming and fitting in, when we don't understand something, we tend to make up stories about it or push it aside." Audrey: "For more typically-wired kids, it teaches them super important character traits like kindness, empathy, and compassion." Debbie: "As parents, we can really spin out and get concerned if what we're seeing in our own family isn't matching our idea of what this should look like. Every child is on their own timeline. Everyone is growing in strengths and may have some lagging skills but they even out eventually. If we can keep our eye on the goal to raise a responsible human being who knows themselves, who understands what they need and has the tools to reach their potential, that's what we're going for." Resources The Miracle Morning Learn more about Debbie Reber and TiLT Parenting: TiLT Parenting on Facebook TiLT Together Facebook Group TiLT Instagram Related Posts/Podcasts If you liked this episode, listen to Ep. 104: Know and Love Yourself AND Your Kids 4 Ways to Focus on our Kids' Strengths Ep. 71: Growing Your Child’s “Bushy Broccoli Brain” Ep. 30: How to Raise a Durable Human with JJ Madden 10 Friendship Skills Every Kid Needs

Ep. 110: Keep Calm & Parent On
Oct 18 2019 19 mins  
I've had such an incredible time this fall meeting with parents, teachers, and kids in person to talk about some of the strategies I write about in my book, Happy Campers. One topic that comes up regularly is the importance of learning to keep ourselves calm and model calm down strategies for our kids, as well as helping our kids figure out their own calm down strategies. In this episode, I am sharing my ideas and tips on Big Ideas Synonyms & Antonyms for Calm For most of us, our level of calm seems to depend on our personality. Learning to self-regulate and manage anger can really have lasting positive effects. Flipping Our Lids Hand Brain Model - Daniel Siegel What's Your Favorite Calm Down Strategy? Breathing Learning to Breathe Deep Breathing (Web MD) Most people take short, shallow breaths into their chest. It can make you feel anxious and zap your energy. With this technique, you'll learn how to take bigger breaths, all the way into your belly. • Get comfortable. You can lie on your back in bed or on the floor with a pillow under your head and knees. Or you can sit in a chair with your shoulders, head, and neck supported against the back of the chair. • Breathe in through your nose. Let your belly fill with air. • Breathe out through your nose. • Place one hand on your belly. Place the other hand on your chest. • As you breathe in, feel your belly rise. As you breathe out, feel your belly lower. The hand on your belly should move more than the one that's on your chest. • Take three more full, deep breaths. Breathe fully into your belly as it rises and falls with your breath. Box Breathing (Medical News Today) Box breathing is a simple technique that a person can do anywhere, including at a work desk or in a cafe. Before starting, people should sit with their back supported in a comfortable chair and their feet on the floor. Close your eyes. Breathe in through your nose while counting to four slowly. Feel the air enter your lungs. Hold your breath inside while counting slowly to four. Try not to clamp your mouth or nose shut. Simply avoid inhaling or exhaling for 4 seconds. Begin to slowly exhale for 4 seconds. Repeat steps 1 to 3 at least three times. Ideally, repeat the three steps for 4 minutes, or until calm returns. If someone finds the technique challenging to begin with, they can try counting to three instead of four. Once someone is used to the technique, they may choose to count to five or six. Breathing Beads Five Finger Breathing Exercising 5 Tips to Start Running Run Happy Creating a Special Calm-Down Retreat Space ("Chill Spot" or "Recombobulation Area") with a Favorite Calming Activity Some items you might want in your calm-down space: Coloring or drawing supplies Craft supplies (beading, knitting, crocheting, needle point, etc.) A puzzle Meditation or Prayer Book Journal or journaling paper Candle Music (with or without headphones) Musical Instrument (if you play) Listening to Some Soothing Music Take some deep breaths Learning to BreatheGood Things Come to Those Who Breathe Piano Relaxation (Spotify) Relaxing Classical (Spotify) Accessing a Different, More Positive Emotion Gratitude Laugh/Humor My "Funny Stuff" Board on Pinterest (Warning: My kids say this stuff is only funny to me.) Asking for a Hug Loosening up Quotes Audrey: "It's important to be self-aware and know what our personality and setpoint is ... 8.m4a Audrey: "When our kids see us ...9.m4a

Ep. 109: Parenting Challenges Q & A
Oct 11 2019 46 mins  
In this episode, I am speaking live with parents from Wayne Highlands School District and Superintendent Greg Frigoletto at Lakeside Elementary. We discuss my book, Happy Campers: 9 Summer Camp Secrets for Raising Kids Who Become Thriving Adults, and my key parenting tips and takeaways from lessons learned at camp. I spent the first week of October in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin speaking with teachers, parents, and camp professionals. You read about these events and see more pictures in this post. Big Ideas Parents need to have a growth mindset when thinking about their parenting skills. Lessons we learn at camp are: how to relate to kids how to make sure kids feel connected how to handle different behavioral issues as they come up It helps parents to "begin with the end in mind" (Dr. Stephen R. Covey) when deciding where they can make a more of an effort with their kids. Connection is crucial. Begin a daily habit of checking in one-on-one with kids and let children take the lead when they have thoughts to share. Independent kids become the kind of adults that people enjoy working with. Allow kids to find solutions to their problems and issues as they arise. Respond with, "Tell me your decision and I'll tell you why its the right one." This statement shows kids that you believe in their abilities. A habit of "purposeful positivity" and optimism promotes resilience. Allowing kids to be themselves and focusing on their strengths, instead of their weaknesses, brings out the best in them. We discuss positive tactics for dealing with common issues parents face, such as: whining fighting picky eaters kids who don't listen making transitions; routines and structure stressed-out teens gossiping Sometimes ignoring bad behaviors is the best approach. It's important to talk with your kids about the rules and have real conversations about your values so that they understand the "why" behind your expectations. Quotes Audrey: "What I'd really like the subtitle of my talk to be is, 'All I really need to know about parenting, I learned at summer camp.' Sometimes, as parents, we tend to overcomplicate things." Audrey: "To me, a growth mindset is just remembering that we can all do little things to get better and so can our kids. I think sometimes it's really simple, small things that do make a big difference. You have to keep evolving anyway because kids change and each kid is different so just being open to thinking about the little things you can do is really important." Audrey: "Kids need at least five positive messages for every one critical or feedback message." Audrey: "Most of the world does not go to camp. This is true, but many of the things that we do at camp can help the rest of the world. That's what my book is about: how to create that camp like growth and setting at home." Audrey: "Instead of feeling overwhelmed that there are so many things you have to do, just think about one thing at a time and make sure that one thing is on the path towards your end goal." Audrey: "If there's just one thing that you can do, give your children or your child your full attention for at least a couple of minutes every day." Audrey: "We can be so distracted that we forget to actually look in someone's eyes and say, 'What's going on? How are you doing? What can I help you with today?' A one-on-one check-in is not 'How much homework do you have? What time is practice?' or those kinds of logistical questions." Audrey: "One of the things we enjoy about the people we work with are self-starters who figure out how to solve problems. It's a really important trait for adulthood." Audrey: "I think when we are so fearful, we hold our kids back so much that they don't get the chance to show us all they can do." Audrey: "Reframe your child's negative characteristics or weaknesses into more of a strength. You can have a more positive mindset even about negative situations that come up." Audrey: "We can really change what our kids believe about themselves, their dreams, their lives, just by how positive we are about things and optimistic." Audrey: "Oftentimes things that we think of as weaknesses can be reframed as how they're going to serve them...A lot of differently-wired people do amazing things. In fact, the world really needs people who think and do things differently. Those are often the people who have the best innovations. We don't want to stamp them down by trying to make them conform." Audrey: "Sometimes ignoring things is good as long as you're doing the positive, full attention for good things. They can't be ignored for everything. They need attention. They need connection." Audrey: "I love the whole village idea. If you have extended family, good friends, teachers, coaches, these other people pouring into our kids' lives are really important." Greg: "To have parents to rely on to talk through things is a great asset for kids. Minus you, there is a great struggle that they might not be able to overcome. In a stressed world, you being there for them and having them know that you are is really important." Audrey: "Identify them as their best self. Instead of telling them not to do things, it's more helpful to help them to focus on where they want to be and who they want to be." Audrey: "Remember that kids save their worst behavior for their parents. If they're getting good reports from teachers and everyone else, you're doing just fine." Audrey: "We need to have real conversations with them so that we can feel confident that they will be able to problem-solve, that they will be able to make their own good decisions. If we don't give them that opportunity, they never get a chance to try it out." Audrey: "One of the best ways that you can raise kids who become thriving adults is showing them what that looks like. Make sure you spend time with your friends and figure out a way to do your hobbies each week. That offers your kids a great model of what it looks like to be a thriving adult." Related Podcast/Posts If you enjoyed this discussion, listen/read: Ep. 100: Teens' Advice for Raising Responsible, Independent Kids Ep. 68: 12 Parenting Tips for Happier, More Connected Families Ep. 54: Parenting Tips from Summer Camp to Raise Healthy Kids with Dr. Jim Sears 10 Parenting Tips from Camp Counselors Questions for Connection Links Discussed Sunshine Parenting Book Hub How to Raise an Adult, Julie Lythcott-Haims Yes Brain, Tina Payne Bryson, PhD Anatomy of Trust, Brené Brown B.R.A.V.I.N.G: The Seven Elements of Trust

Ep. 108: Simple Acts of Giving Back with Natalie Silverstein
Oct 04 2019 36 mins  
In episode 108, I'm chatting with Natalie Silverstein about her new book, Simple Acts: The Busy Family's Guide to Giving Back. We talk about the importance of instilling the value of service and acts of kindness. She shares how she created a resource of volunteer opportunities for parents and children in her community and what led to her writing this book for families. It is full of ways to make time in your family's busy life for service and suggestions for making service part of your family's culture. Big Ideas Doing service, acts of kindness, helping others is a wonderful way to grow empathy, compassion, and open-mindedness in young children. Studies show that people who volunteer with their families as children are more likely to do so as an adult. Studies also show that volunteering makes you happier and healthier. There are many ways to give back which don't require scheduling, spending a lot of money, or volunteering formally. It can be incorporated into the things families are already doing: playdates, holidays, vacations, etc. Involve your kids when deciding who to help, how to serve, and which charities to support. You can follow their lead and they will be more invested. When we make service a priority, we find the time to make it happen. There are people in need all year long, not just during the holidays. Social media can be a helpful tool for people to promote positive messages and acts of kindness. It can also be a way to get family and friends involved in service. Quotes Natalie: "All of these life skills that kids get a camp are values that parents want to demonstrate and model at home." Natalie: "I do believe that this work begins at home with very young children. Anything we can do to incorporate these acts of kindness into camp life, into extracurricular activities, and most importantly, into our weekends in our free time, is really so important." Natalie: "It creates a foundation, a moral base for kids, from which they grow." Natalie: "Everybody has a laundry list of extracurricular activities and tutoring and sports and ballet and instruments and all of these things. We don't necessarily prioritize taking time out to say 'no' to some of those things and 'yes' to service and acts of kindness and volunteering together." Audrey: "It's a partnership. It starts at home and then you try to find places like schools, religious organizations, and camps, that also support and reinforce those values that you're trying to teach your kids. Audrey: "We can't do it alone. If we're all trying together to promote these things, it works so much better and our kids turn out a lot better, too." Audrey: "As individuals, we all have different things that bring us flow. I think just like regular work, our volunteering should also be something that's in our wheelhouse, things we enjoy doing." Natalie: "We are all moving through our days, interacting with other human beings. Teach your child to make eye contact with the person behind the counter, hold the door, thank the postman. There are things you can be doing at every moment, almost every day." Natalie: "This is not rocket science. I think the theme of my book is you don't have to change the world to change the world. You don't have to fly to Africa and build a school to make an impact on someone else's life." Natalie: "Give (your children) the opportunity and don't make it negotiable. Say, 'This is what we do. This is how our family operates. Find the thing that really speaks to you and then let's find a way for you to give back in that realm.' It just builds on itself for kids." Natalie: "Instead of saying you don't have time for something, change it and say it's not a priority and then see how that feels." Natalie: "We want to model our values. We want to live our values, perform service and acts of kindness, and just treat people the right way out in the world." Natalie: "These are all things that people can be doing if they're mindful of it. It needs to be intentional. Just like everything in parenting. We need to be thinking about what it is that we can show our kids every day as we walk through our lives that this is how we care about others because we hope that they care about us in the same way." Audrey: "If you find something that you really enjoy doing, then you'll keep doing it and it will bring you a lot of joy, too." Natalie: "You're helping others in the community, doing something substantive. But you're also creating really nice warm family memories and I think those are the things that people remember as adults." Natalie: "There are so many little things that kids can be doing You just have to keep your mind open to it and your heart open to it." Natalie: "You don't have to go out and do this huge, enormous, time-consuming, expensive thing. It's just the little things and they're like drops in a bucket. They add up and they fill the cup of your child's emerging character. It makes a difference in who they are." Natalie: "It's about mindfulness and keeping an open heart and an open mind and really just reminding your children to think outside of themselves." Natalie: "If we can get young people on social media channels to turn the narrative around such that we are putting up instead of putting down--promote the good and spread the good--that can be very powerful." Natalie: "If I'm hosting a play date and these kids are already drawing or painting or making cookies, that can have a service or kindness element built into it. Then even better, go for a walk in the community and deliver those cookies to the local firehouse. This is all part of making it social, making it fun, doing it with other people." Audrey: "It's just so important. We need to counter the negative. Cyberbullying is at an all-time high. If we can just get our kids to flip this and be more focused on what good they can do, then that would make this a kinder world." Natalie: "All of these life skills we learn are tiny drops in the bucket of a child's developing character. If you're not modeling this behavior, if you are screaming at the person behind the counter or the other driver in the car, the way you show your child how you hold the door, how you greet the postal worker by name, it's really powerful. By showing kids 'how we do it in our house', it sticks. It just sticks." About Natalie Natalie Silverstein is an author, volunteer and passionate advocate for family service. After a 15-year career in hospital administration, managed care and healthcare consulting, she now works as a freelance writer and editor with a particular focus on the non-profit sector and community service. Her first book, Simple Acts: The Busy Family’s Guide to Giving Back, was published by Gryphon House on April 1, 2019. In September 2013, Natalie launched the first local affiliate of Doing Good Together (, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit with the mission of helping parents raise kids who care and contribute. As the New York area coordinator, she curates a free monthly e-mail listing of family-friendly service opportunities that are distributed to thousands of subscribers. Natalie is a frequent writer, speaker, and consultant on the topic of family and youth service, presenting to parents, educators, and children across New York City. She is also a contributor to parenting blogs,, and Along with her husband, she is the co-founder of The Silverstein Foundation for Parkinson’s with GBA(,a nonprofit focused on finding a cure for Parkinson’s Disease in GBA mutation carriers, and serves as Executive Director and a member of the Board of Directors. Natalie earned an undergraduate degree in health policy and administration from Providence College and a master’s degree in public health from Yale University. Links Doing Good Together #CampKindnessDay Simple Acts Facebook Page Related Posts & Podcasts Ep. 46: #CampKindnessDay with Tom Rosenberg Why My Family is Celebrating World Kindness Day Focusing on Kindness

Ep. 107: How College Makes or Breaks Us with Paul Tough
Sep 27 2019 26 mins  
In episode 107, I'm talking with Paul Tough about his latest book, The Years That Matter Most: How college makes or breaks us, a powerful mind-changing inquiry into higher education in the United States. We talk about the state of higher education today and how can we help more young Americans achieve success. Big Ideas Paul Tough's book examines the relationship between higher education and social mobility in the United States today and explores these questions: Does college still work? Is our system of high education fair? How can we help more young Americans achieve success? In the past, higher education was the great engine of social mobility but that relationship has broken down. Today it is viewed by many as an obstacle to social mobility. The most selective institutions, with the biggest endowments and budgets, almost exclusively educate affluent students, while low-income students mostly go to less selective community colleges and regional public universities that spend much less on each student and have much lower graduation rates. Studies show that some institutions spend as little as $4,000 a year per student compared to $150,000 or more on each student at elite, selective colleges. More money per student is spent in public high schools than in most public colleges. In the wealthiest zip codes, more students receive testing accommodations for learning differences than students from less affluent zip codes, which seems like one more advantage for the people who need them the least. While colleges strive to differentiate themselves by their facilities, endowments, and many other attributes, the ethical character of the institution should also be considered. Higher education is not a consumer good, it is a collective good. Tough proposes 3 solutions: Institutional change -- the level of admissions at private institutions needs to change. There should be pressure on them to admit more low-income students. Families should consider the global implication of their decisions and allow the culture to shift away from 'what's better for me' in the short-term to 'what's better for society' in the long-term. Public institutions need more funding and investment so that they can accommodate more low-income students and so that tuition rates don't continue to rise. Although the College Board has tried to change public opinion, they continue to be a force for inequity. The fact remains, the more money you have, the higher your test scores. Standardized test scores need to be given less weight. Test-optional institutions found that they were able to admit more low-income, first-generation students who graduate and succeed at the same rate as other students. Quotes Paul: "I think we have set up this system and there's no one villain that's responsible for the system. We all made it. It has inequities baked into and they're getting worse. It's clear now that there's this kind of stratification of institutions of higher education." Paul: "We've heard a lot about how high tuition is at those private institutions, but the reality is that those institutions are losing money on each student. They spend more on each student than they bring in. That's because they believe it's going to pay off in the future when those alumni become rich donors." Paul: "What is most remarkable to me about those numbers is that we pay for kids all the way through high school and then when they get to this more complicated, sophisticated, essential training for them to get ready for the workplace, we suddenly say, you can get by on a quarter as much as we were spending on you last year." Audrey: "Our kids have gone to very good schools, and they chose them, but we weren't willing to jump through the hoops that we saw other people doing in order to get their kids into those (elite) schools. I was very put off by a lot of the ways other families dealt with things, especially around test prep." Paul: "The overall fact that I think is so critical is that in reality, those students who are admitted to the most selective institutions are, as adults, making the most money." Paul: "The reality is if you are a student at Stanford, if you work at Stanford, if you're part of that world, you are taking part in a system that is making the country more unfair. That's not just a Stanford thing. That's a reality at any of the similarly selective institutions." Paul: "This generation of young people thinks about ethics, morality, and justice a lot and they should." Paul: "The way they talk about race, identity, climate--it's inspiring. This is a generation that is putting ethics, and figuring out how to do the right thing, at the top of their priority list." Paul: "When we look at higher education, we've been trained to see it as something that is a consumer good. If your kids benefit, then my kids fail. If my kids benefit, your kids lose out. That is not the way we used to think about higher education. It was a collective good." Paul: "Considering the ethical quality of the system you're working in, and the system that you are applying to, is a really important consideration and I wouldn't be surprised if more and more young people start thinking about it." Audrey: "We need high performing students at all the universities because that makes it more equitable. So if you're a super bright kid, you can actually benefit some of these larger public institutions in different states by getting some more brains there." Paul: "In the fifties and sixties, students were choosing their colleges just based mostly on geography and as a result colleges were more like high schools. There was a mix of different performers--A students, B students, and C students--but then something changed. Those high performing students started to cluster together at just a few institutions." Paul: "The algorithm that has been drummed into those students' heads is you just have to go to the most exclusive, most selective institution that will admit you. That worldview has created this stratification that is now so common in higher education." Audrey: "Our kids are going to public institutions, not in our own state, which is crazy when you think about it. That is what a lot of families I know do because their kids can't get into the same schools that we went to when we were going to college." Paul: "When we took that public funding away from the institutions in our own states, one solution they had was to begin admitting more out-of-state students because in-state tuition is less than out-of-state just doesn't have the same kind of alignment between the mission (of public education) and the reality as I think it used to." Paul: "The reality is that nothing's changed in terms of the relationship between the SAT and our class structure. Test scores on the SAT correlate highly with family income: the more money you have, the more likely you are to get a high test score." Paul: "I think we need to be honest about the relationship between family income and SAT scores. Institutions need to find some way to take a more reasonable view of what those tests can do. We've given them way too much importance in our system." Audrey: "I agree, they don't really predict anything. I've been working more on kids' social skills and character development because those things end up making kids more successful in their jobs and roles, wherever they went to college or whatever they majored in." Paul: "You can sympathize with an admissions officer...All of this other stuff that we know is much more important in terms of evaluating a child and their potential is harder to put numbers on, harder to compare, whereas those numbers (test scores) just seem so tempting, so scientific. They look so nice." Audrey: "This competitive thing just goes on at every level, whether it's the kids applying or the schools trying to have the highest averages, entering SAT and all that stuff." Audrey: "I do think we need some major overhaul. Hopefully, 'varsity blues' and some of these things in your book will get us back on track so that our higher education system is doing what it's supposed to be doing for our country." More from Paul Tough "Working on this book was a remarkable experience: It took me six years to complete, and I reported in twenty-one states. The best part was getting to meet and hear the stories of so many remarkable young people — from the South Bronx to the affluent suburbs of D.C. to the Appalachian foothills of North Carolina — all of them trying to figure out how best to negotiate a path through the sometimes-treacherous landscape of American higher education. In the book, I tell their stories — sometimes joyful, sometimes heart-rending, sometimes infuriating — and I do my best to place those stories into a larger context. I talked to dozens of economists and sociologists and educators who helped me understand why our system of colleges and universities functions the way it does — and why it so often seems unbalanced and unfair." -Paul Tough PBS News Hour: Admissions scandal highlights 'disconnect' between colleges' message and action Amazon: The Years That Matter Most: How College Makes or Breaks Us Paul Tough on Facebook Paul Tough on Twitter Paul's Speaking Engagements NYT Book Review Related Podcasts & Posts If you liked this podcast episode, listen to: Ep. 79: Thoughts on the College Admissions Scandal Ep. 34: Advice on College, Transferring, and How to Support Your Kids with Their Decisions Ep. 21 Advice for the College Application and Selection Process Read Conversations before College: WHO you are matters more than WHERE you go Don't miss my Happier in Hollywood Podcast: Ep. 123 Happy Camper at Work

Ep. 106: Motherhood So White with Nefertiti Austin
Sep 20 2019 44 mins  
In this episode, I’m chatting with author Nefertiti Austin about her latest book, Motherhood So White: A Memoir of Race, Gender, and Parenting in America. We talk about her journey to adoption as a single Black woman and some of the issues faced by mothers of color and adoptive mothers. When she couldn’t find any books on the topic while going through the adoption process, she decided to write her own. Big Ideas Fostered and adopted kids need to be given age-appropriate information from caregivers about their situations. Good communication is critical to helping kids understand what is going on around them. It’s important to never talk badly about a child’s biological parents, no matter the situation. Allow kids to try new things and leave the door open for them to pursue their interests. The term ‘crack babies’ is a misnomer; there is no evidence to support the idea that children exposed to substances in utero can’t thrive in a healthy, stable home environment. People should not be afraid to adopt a child who might be born addicted. Single mothers need to find positive male role models for their children. They can find support from men in the community through sports, church, friendships, and extended family. The Anti-Bias Education that has emerged in recent years is hopefully moving the needle, but the best way to help communities overcome racial prejudices and discrimination is for more families to connect with people who are different from them. If you are adopting a child of a different race, do your homework, understand their culture, and make friends with people of their race. It’s important to respect cultural differences. Quotes Nefertiti: “I always wanted a family, wanted to be married and have children but as I got older, what was really important to me was helping a child in need.” Audrey: “it seems like because of your experience, you understand that adopted kids need a lot of talking to and explaining about their situation.” Nefertiti: “When I became a mom, I made a point to talk about adoption with my kids when they were very young. I started using the word ‘adoption’ and reading books to them so that it was really normalized.” Nefertiti: “I make a point to let them know that I’m so happy that they chose me, that I love them, and this is just the best place for all of us.” Nefertiti: “Your ‘parents’ are the people who provide a home for you, feed you, love you, help you with your homework, and help you kind of get on in the world.” Audrey: “One of the reasons people choose adoption is to give kids the opportunity to have the family that all children deserve.” Nefertiti: “I was looking for words, for information, for contexts to be able to share with people and it wasn’t there I had to create it for myself.” Nefertiti: “The child’s trajectory turned on the environment; that seemed to be the biggest thing that was going to either help a child thrive or not.” Nefertiti: “When you take a look at those families where drugs, violence, or neglect play a central role in a child’s life, if you remove those barriers and put them in a stable, loving household, then it is 180 degrees from what they first thought.” Audrey: “You really had a plan to have a community in place to support your family. You had role models--men, aunts and uncles, and miscellaneous people--creating a support network.” Nefertiti: “Any woman who is going to have a child of the opposite sex, whether you give birth or not, that child needs his community." Audrey: “I think reading to kids and having them develop a love of reading is just so important because it opens up the world to them, whatever they decide to be interested in, they can then go out and find it.” Audrey: “I really appreciate that you wrote this book because I think it’s not only going to be helpful for the people who are in your same circumstances, black mothers, adopting as single women, but also in the general adoption community.” Nefertiti: “If a child can go to a loving, stable home, a home where the parents have really thought about what that’s going to mean (being in a mixed family), then they should go there.” Nefertiti: “The best way to move the needle is through interpersonal relations. You can read anything, but you have an emotional distance from it. It doesn’t impact you and it’s hard to see your own bias. It’s hard to see your own privilege. It requires people sitting down with one another and listening to stories about each other.” Nefertiti: “My book isn’t specifically for black mothers. There really is something for everyone. It’s important that all mothers come together—period. There is a racial hierarchy in motherhood and that needs to go away.” Nefertiti: “I think moms have a lot of power and our voices collectively could make a huge difference. If we could come together and really support each other, our kids would feel a lot better about themselves, who they’re friends with and be less suspicious of the ‘other’.” Audrey: “You can’t ‘other’ people you are friends with.” Resources/Books Mentioned Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption Angie Thomas’ On The Come Upand The Hate U Give About Nefertiti [caption id="attachment_6387" align="alignright" width="438"]Nefertiti Austin[/caption] Author and memoirist, Nefertiti Austin writes about the erasure of diverse voices in motherhood. Her work around this topic has been short-listed for literary awards and appeared in the “Huffington Post”, MUTHA, “The Establishment”,,, “Adoptive Families” magazine, PBS SoCal’s “To Foster Change” and PBS Parents. She was the subject of an article on race and adoption in “The Atlantic” and appeared on “HuffPost Live” and “One Bad Mother”, where she shared her journey to adoption as a single Black woman. Nefertiti’s expertise stems from firsthand experience and degrees in U.S. History and African-American Studies. Nefertiti is a former Certified PS-MAPP Trainer, where she co-led classes for participants wanting to attain a license to foster and/or adopt children from the foster care system. An alumna of Breadloaf Writers’ Conference and VONA, her first two novels, Eternity and Abandon, helped usher in the Black Romance genre in the mid-1990s. Contact Nefertiti If you enjoyed this podcast, listen to: Episode 55: Raising Kids who Love to Read with Anne Driscoll Episode 61: National Adoption Awareness Month Episode 93: Teaching Healthy Relationship Skills to Improve Lives Three Strategies for Raising Kids Who Become Thriving Adults

Ep. 103: How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t with Your Kids
Aug 30 2019 39 mins  
In Episode 103, I'm chatting with Carla Naumberg, a writer, speaker, clinical social worker, and parenting coach. She's the author of three parenting books, including the one that we discuss in this podcast episode, How To Stop Losing Your S*** With Your Kids: A practical guide to becoming a calmer, happier parent. BIG IDEAS Mindful parenting allows you to have stronger relationships with your children and enjoy parenting more. The strategies you use to remain calm with your kids will work with everyone else as well. Parents often feel deep, overwhelming shame about the way they explode at their kids and this often gets in the way of their ability to parent in the way they want to. When parents become triggered, it's the fight or flight response of their nervous system being activated. Parents need the time to exercise, to get some quiet time alone, and to do some fun things. This will make them less likely to yell at their kids. Parents need support. Parents should realize that it's necessary to take care of themselves, and they are worthy of doing that. QUOTES Carla: "The whole point of mindful parenting is so that we can have a stronger relationship with our children and enjoy parenting more." Audrey: "All of these strategies that you share here also work with siblings, aging parents, spouses, co-workers. In general, the same strategies that help you to stay calm and respond more the way you want to with your kids, also help with everyone else." Carla: "So many parents feel a deep shame about the way they explode with their kids. The shame, for some parents, is really overwhelming and it's paralyzing. And it gets in the way of their ability to parent the way they want to." Carla: "Everyone talks about kids pushing our buttons, or your buttons being pushed. I love that because it's a great metaphor for what's going on in our bodies and our nervous systems when we are 'triggered'. I define 'triggered' as anything that makes us more likely to lose our temper with our kids. So when we are triggered, we are in some kind of a heightened state and it's really about our nervous system and this fight or flight reaction that we have. Even when it's a kid who we on some level know can't really hurt us, there is something about their behavior that is threatening to us on an emotional level, on a psychological level, and maybe even on a physical level." Carla: "The goal here is to not get our kids to stop pushing our buttons. That would be a nice goal but it's not realistic. So the goal of the book, and what I talk about, is how can we make our buttons smaller and dimmer and less sensitive, so that when the kid comes around with their finger out, looking for something to push, it's not going to be us." Carla: "Getting time away from your kids, getting quiet time, getting time to do something fun is important. But a big one that I think most parents aren't even aware of is this idea that I bring up of single-tasking, which is doing one thing at a time. What I think many parents don't realize is that any time we're multi-tasking, or trying to do multiple things at once, we're actually triggering ourselves." Carla: " The way to get better at this is to think of it as a practice. And by practice, I mean something that when you start out you're really not very good at it, and then the more you do it, you actually get better at it. The idea is to notice when our mind is wandering and then to make a conscious decision to bring it back to this thing we're doing. That's going to put you in a much better position to notice when you're about to lose your temper. And so when you notice that, you can make a choice to do something other than yelling at your kids." Carla: "We don't get the support we need and there's no shame in asking for support and help. So, in the book, I want to break it down for people. What kind of support do we need? Really, I get very specific and concrete about the kinds of support we need, what it looks like, and how to find it. And how it can make parenting so much easier." Carla: "I think that the amount of stress and tension that we carry, and this need to manage every aspect of our kids' lives, and that it all has to be perfect, absolutely contributes to the extent to which we lose our temper with our children." Carla: "I think it's really important to start to shift our mindset so that we are worthy of taking care of ourselves. Even if for no other reason than we will be yelling at our kids less often." Related Podcasts/Posts Ep. 97: Parenting the Challenging Child Ep. 89: The Power of Connection to Build Good Men 10 Ways to Teach Kids to Calm Down Book Summary Ever lose it with your kid? If so, you’re definitely not alone. Parenting is stressful, children are insane, and you’re only human. Carla Naumburg, PhD, a clinical social worker, was so at a loss with her daughters that she found herself Googling “how to stop yelling at my kids” during a particularly grueling evening. That moment led to this book—a short, empathic, insight-packed, and tip-filled program for how to manage your triggers, stop the meltdowns, and become a calmer, happier parent with calmer, happier kids. How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t with Your Kids not only explains why we explode at our children but also teaches us everything we need to know to decrease stress and increase patience, even in the most challenging family moments. Based on recent research and evidence-based practices, and written in the warm, funny, instantly relatable tone of a parent who’s been there, the book guides even the most harried parents toward a new way of engaging with their children. Readers will come away feeling less ashamed and more empowered to get their sh*t together, instead of losing it. About Carla Carla Naumburg, PhD, is a writer, speaker, and clinical social worker. She is the author of three parenting books: How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t With Your Kids (Workman, 2019), Ready, Set, Breathe: Practicing Mindfulness with Your Children for Fewer Meltdowns and a More Peaceful Family (New Harbinger, 2015), and Parenting in the Present Moment: How to Stay Focused on What Really Matters (Parallax, 2014). Carla has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, CNN, and Mindful Magazine, among other places. Carla is a sought-after public speaker, and she lives outside of Boston with her husband, daughters, and two totally insane cats. Links Carla's Website: Instagram: @carlanaumburg Facebook: Carla Naumburg, PhD Twitter: @swmama Newsletter:

Ep. 101: Entitlemania with Richard Watts
Aug 16 2019 35 mins  
"Giving too much is oftentimes an affliction of the wealthy, but taking away the struggle is a problem with everybody." -Richard Watts "Palm trees, in that process of growing, what's actually happening in the wind is they're actually cracking and they're breaking. And when the skin breaks, they scar. And when they scar, they become stronger. And as they get older and older, they get to the point where they have so much scarring that they can withstand almost any storm. And what we do with our kids, it's almost like taking a palm tree indoors. We want to grow them and nurture them in a greenhouse..." -Richard Watts Entitlemania: How Not to Spoil Your Kids, and What to Do if You Have Back in April, when Sara Kuljis and I spoke at Pegasus School, parents there told me about Richard Watts, who had spoken at the school earlier in the year. We were introduced, and he then sent me a copy of his book Entitlemania. In this episode, we talk about the book and Richard's ideas about what to do and what not to do when it comes to passing along your family business, planning for your estate, and giving your kids big gifts. BIG IDEAS Certain difficulties and issues go along with being very wealthy. When people get very wealthy they tend to become isolated and suspicious because the people around them usually have an ulterior motive in getting to know them. By insulating your kids and buying their way out of failure, you're not allowing them to learn about long-term staying power, how to manage themselves or to discover their passion. It seems that everybody at all income levels, in this generation of parents, wants to take away the problems from their kids, hold them close, and make sure that they don't ever get hurt. By getting things wrong, kids learn how to get things right. Taking over the family business can place a child on a path of a career choice that's not being found or directed by that child, and, as a result, they will lack passion. It's not healthy to bring your kids into your estate planning too early because it takes away the incentive for them to go forward and do their own thing. It's important to ensure that however you give your kids money, you don't change their current lifestyle. QUOTES Richard: "The entitlement issue brings on two different components. One, giving too much, and two, taking away the struggle. Giving too much is oftentimes an affliction of the wealthy, but taking away the struggle is a problem with everybody." Audrey: "It's so true that in nature we have a great example of what we need to do for our kids, which is to allow them to get blown around a little when they're small, more and more as they get older, and help them, be there for them, but not stop them from bending and going through those difficult, challenging circumstances." Richard: "By getting it wrong, they will learn to get it right. Richard: "The reason that I generally believe that family businesses create conflict is that it starts a child on a path of a career choice and a passion that's not being found or directed by the child. And oftentimes, it causes a lot of family disharmony." Richard: "You can never outrun someone who's being fueled by passion. Never. The person with a passion can live it all day long, they can sleep it all night long, they can get up in the morning and do it, but they're so passionate because they built it and they own it, that they go 100%. Well, when you do that kind of a job, it's oftentimes very difficult for a child to follow and not feel like they have this unspoken criticism of never measuring up to what Mom and Dad did." Richard: "If I were doing it the right way, I would have the daughter go and work for a competitor, and say, 'Here, go get a job over there, and look around and spend two to three years working there and see if you like it, without having the nepotism of everyone knowing that you had the right last name, and so everyone's going to treat you special. You need to go over there and learn the hard way. And then, if you really like it, let's talk'." Richard: "I believe that it's not good to bring your kids in at early stages to your wealth, to your estate planning, because the truth is that it's part of giving too much. It's part of ensuring their future and it takes away the opportunities for them to go out and to have the incentive to go forward and do their own thing. When they know there's a safety net, they tend not to grapple with their own future quite as seriously." Richard: "'How much is too much to give our kids?' is the wrong question. The right question is, 'How little is too little?' So I tell my clients to begin by giving them nothing." Richard: "I tell my clients that I would rather see them secure their kids' future than to spoil their future. And securing might mean giving them money so that if they have hospital problems, and medical problems, and children that have got deficits, education that you want to pay for, for your grandkids--all of those things are really great ways to secure their future. And you can do that with simple trusts." Richard: "My overview is that you just need to make sure that however you give them the money, you don't change their current lifestyle. You don't want them to start buying material things. You want to just ensure the wellbeing of their future." Richard: "In giving our kids all the things we didn't have, we forget to give them what we did have." About Richard Richard Watts is the founder and president of Family Business office, a legal and consulting firm in Orange County, California. He is a published author of “Fables of Fortune: What Rich People Have That You Don’t Want,” and “Entitlemania: How Not to Spoil Your Kids, and What to Do If You Have.” Richard writes for and contributes to numerous publications including Newsweek, Forbes, CNBC, Variety Magazine, and The Washington Times, among others. And has appeared on Fox Nation, NPR, NBC, and CBS. Richard speaks internationally on the effects of wealth on parenting and the American family. Variety Magazine calls Richard, “one of the nation’s leading experts on the issues of child entitlement and family wealth. Resources/Related Episodes If you liked this episode, listen to Ep.100: Teen's Advice for Raising Responsible, Independent Kids Ep. 59: 5 Ways to Help Kids Thrive During their School Years and Beyond with Pam Roy Ep. 11: The Opposite of Spoiled with Ron Leiber How Doing Less Made Me a Better Parent 7 Ways to Help Kids Through their Teen Years

Ep. 100: Teens' Advice for Raising Responsible, Independent Kids
Aug 09 2019 33 mins  
In Episode 100, I'm chatting with an amazing group of young adults ages 16 and 17 who participated in a month-long junior counselor program. They share their thoughts on ways parents can raise thriving, independent and responsible young adults. BIG IDEAS To help kids learn, gain confidence and independence, there are things parents should be letting their kids do early on, such as: traveling alone, navigating the airport, even flying by themselves packing bags, getting their own school stuff together doing their own laundry cooking (especially holiday meals), managing their time Establish expectations and a level of trust with your teen. Using technology to track your kids can cause unnecessary stress. Camp is a great break for parents because they don’t track their kids. They know they’re safe and so they can relax. Talk ahead of time about safe, comfortable ways to communicate with your teen while they are out so that you can be there to help when needed. Trust first. Trust that your child is responsible until they prove you wrong. QUOTES Audrey: "When parents are there (kids) just kind of default to letting them do it all because they’re so used to doing it. It's easy for parents to just drag (kids) along. But parents can start putting kids in charge, even when they’re there, and they can start that really young.” Audrey: “When you think about college and who you want in your dorm, you want people who’ve had experience taking care of themselves a little bit and living in a shared space.” Audrey: “When kids are going to preschool and you’re helping them get their lunchbox ready, that is appropriate. But I think sometimes it just keeps going a little too long. You could switch over to just saying, ‘Okay not that you’re in (whatever grade) you get to start being in charge of remembering your own lunch’ and that kind of thing.” Audrey: “If someone else packs your backpack for you every day, at what point do you figure out what you need and how to do it yourself?” Audrey: “Being aware that you have things to learn is the starting point. A lot of it is your responsibility to figure out. So, if your parents empower you like, ‘Hey—what are the things you want to learn this year?’ that is a big deal." Audrey: “It’s kind of interesting how focused we are on academic stuff, but we neglect to learn some things that are part of being an independent person like being able to take care of your belongings, your laundry, your feeding, all that stuff.” Teens: “Kids love to cook, too. Instead of saying, ‘No, can I just get this done?’ allow them to do little tasks like mixing the brownie mix, cracking the eggs. Encouraging that at a young age spikes interest and eventually, you don’t even realize that you already learned how to scramble eggs or make a quesadilla.” Teens: “I wish my parents gave me more responsibility and made me feel like they trusted me. My parents do track me wherever I go, check all my social media, look at my phone and I have no privacy. That makes me feel like I’m not trusted or like I don’t have as much of my own life. If they gave me more freedom, I feel like it could be better.” Audrey: “The problem is that you can’t prove to someone that you can do something until you’re given the opportunity to try it.” Audrey: “We’re living in a time where parents are very fear-based. They’re so worried that something terrible is going to happen and we believe that if we know where you are, something terrible is not going to happen. But it’s kind of weird because just knowing where someone is doesn’t mean that or really make the difference.” Audrey: “If something’s not going well, I want my kids to come to me and ask for advice if they need me to help but I don’t want my kids to be thinking that I’m going to take care of it for them.” Audrey: “Anything that someone else if doing for you means that there is no motivation to figure it out for yourself. If you know someone else is going to take care of it, why would you start?” Teens: “If you establish expectations and your kids know that you’re there if needed but also what is expected of them and if you want your kids to do those things, then there’s a level of trust that exists that is necessary for a healthy relationship.” Audrey: “I think it’s causing a lot of stress for parents because now they think they’re supposed to be checking their kids’ everything, every day. That is like a whole other job.” Audrey: “There's so much dangerous stuff happening on college campuses and kids go from like the kind of things that we're all talking about to basically being unsupervised 100% of the time. And for a lot of kids it leads to just bad decisions because they haven't had much practice. Because if you've been so closely monitored, you haven't had any practice making decisions.” RELATED: Ep. 92: Creating Strong Relationships with Teens Ep. 27: Raising Teens who Thrive with Stephen Wallace LINKS: Audrey's website Audrey's email: [email protected] I wrote the book, Happy Campers, 9 Summer Camp Secrets for Raising Kids Who Become Thriving Adults, because I really wanted to share with parents and teachers some of the simple strategies that we use at summer camp to create these really amazing experiences for our campers, where they grow in their confidence, social skills, and happiness, over just a few weeks at camp. You can find out all about Happy Campers on my website at If you're interested in joining a group conversation, seeing videos and additional resources related to Happy Campers, there's lots more information about my summer read-along on my website, in the Book Hub.

Ep. 99: The Myth of the Perfect Girl with Ana Homayoun
Aug 02 2019 34 mins  
The Myth of the Perfect Girl In Episode 99, I talk with Ana Homayoun, a nationally recognized counselor and consultant specializing in positive strategies for junior high and high school students. Ana was previously on the podcast (Ep. 45) talking about her book Social Media Wellness: Helping Tweens and Teens Thrive in an Unbalanced Digital World (Corwin Teaching Essentials). I feel equally as enthusiastic about her book, The Myth of the Perfect Girl: Helping Our Daughters Find Authentic Success and Happiness in School and Life, and that's the book we talk about in this episode. We cover a few of the topics from the book, including why girls tend to think they have to be perfect, why girls are especially sensitive to and influenced by the expectations of others, and ways we can encourage our daughters to seek their own path and their own interests in life. Big Ideas Ana and her team at Green Ivy Educational Consulting want kids to develop into thoughtful, resilient, and interesting young people. And to take those skills to college and beyond. It's important for kids to find a sense of joy and fulfillment, and also a sense of purpose and meaning in their daily work, both inside and outside of the classroom. There's a lot around the culture of perfectionism that doesn't go away when we get older. We all need to reflect and get to know what's important to us, and what our own values are, to be the most powerful that we can be within our own minds. Girls often struggle to figure out what brings them a personal sense of purpose, joy, and fulfillment, in their quest to achieve external standards of perfection. Kids need to have some time off. Children need to understand whether what they are doing is energizing or draining. Summer camp offers kids a change in schedule, and an opportunity to learn things in a different environment. Parents should focus on having compassion, empathy, and understanding around social media use, and also around their child being a middle-schooler or a high-schooler in general. Parents need to understand and accept unconditionally who their kids are. Spiritual wellness is important, as well as social, emotional, and physical wellness. Quotes Ana: "So much around the culture of perfectionism doesn't go away when we get older." Ana: "We see the research that says anxiety and depression, particularly among teen girls, are increasing. I think part of it is if we back up and figure out why are we not having the conversation around purpose and meaning earlier? So that kids can explore and build their own blueprint, rather than what I call 'borrow someone else's'. In the book, I call it 'filling the box' rather than 'building your own'. What it means really, is that you're constantly looking at what everyone else is doing, rather than figuring out 'what's important to me. What are my values? How are my daily habits reflecting those values or moving me closer, or away from those values?' " Ana: "Parents need to help their kids identify what energizes them and what drains them. And to look at their behaviors accordingly. A mistake we make around social media and technology is that we always tell kids what they should be doing. But we don't even look at our own modeling around it." Ana: "Instead of coming from a place of anger and frustration, parents should really focus on having compassion, empathy, and understanding, not just around social media use, but really around being a middle-schooler or a high-schooler in general. Because the combination of going through puberty, and having excessive academic and extra-curricular and athletic expectations, is a never-ending 'nothing is ever good enough.' " Ana: "The number one thing that middle-school and high-school girls can benefit from is parents who assess their own house, socially. Even if you feel so secure as an adult, there is that twinge of challenge when you watch your child struggle socially." Ana: "Understand who your child is and accept them for who they are. Really understanding and accepting your daughter as who she is, and allowing her to develop into her sense of self; unconditional acceptance is also really important." Ana: "A lot of times kids put stress on themselves, and pressure on themselves, because they see what everybody else is doing." Ana: "Make sure that your child has multiple outlets, or what I call 'clusters of connection'." Ana: "A lot of people don't fully realize all the media that girls are consuming when they look at reality television and the relationships and how they're portrayed on reality television. So helping them evaluate, 'what is it that I'm consuming?' 'What is it that's coming into my life?' And, 'what are the things that you need to do to feel emotionally based and secure so that you can promote physical wellness around nutrition, exercise, and place?' " Ana: "Spiritual wellness is important, as well as social, emotional, and physical wellness." About Ana When Ana Homayoun was a senior in college, she had a professor ask her what qualities she wanted in a career. “I want to write, I want to travel, and I want to help people,” she said without missing the beat. Two decades later, she does all of the above. Ana Homayoun is an author, educator, and coach who helps teens and young adults grow into resilient, thoughtful, and engaged young people. She is the founder of the Silicon Valley-based Green Ivy Educational Consulting, and travels around the world speaking at schools and conferences. Her work has been featured in the NYTimes, Chicago Tribune, SF Chronicle, ABC News, and USA Today, among others, and she is a frequent guest on NPR. Her first book, That Crumpled Paper Was Due Last Week quickly became a classic for those who deal with disorganization and distractions. Her second book, The Myth of the Perfect Girl highlights the modern day dilemmas of today’s teen girls and young adult women, and was heralded by one college student as being the book “that discusses what everyone is dealing with but no one is talking about.” Her latest book, Social Media Wellness, caused her to spend far more hours than she would like to admit using Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. Green Ivy Consulting For nearly two decades, Ana Homayoun’s work has focused on helping teenagers and young adults develop their own blueprints for success. Her prescriptive solutions promote better executive functioning skills, effectively address the culture of teen perfectionism, and provide practical real-life advice on how to promote social media wellness in an always-on digital world. Her authentic wisdom and sensible perspective is real, relevant, and adored by parents, educators and teens around the world. Ana works with middle school and high school students on organization, time management, and finding purpose. She and her team help students figure out their own goals and the daily habits they need to practice in order to achieve those goals. She helps make the college admissions process an empowering rather than a stressful experience. I'm looking forward to my son (starting his senior year in August) working with Ana and her team at Green Ivy on his college application process. They help students organize the process so that they do 2-4 hours of work on applications per week (2-3 tasks), maximize sleep, wellness, and free time, and are done with applications by early December. Sounds great to me! Resources & Related Posts Ana's Website Free Download about The Myth of the Perfect Girl (on Ana's Book Page) Ep. 45: Social Media Wellness with Ana Homayoun Ep. 73: Under Pressure with Lisa Damour Ep. 43: The Gift of Failure with Jessica Lahey Ep. 28: Focusing on Our Kids' Strengths 4 Ways to Focus on Kids' Strengths The Wisdom of High School Girls Raising Girls 7 Ways to Help Your Daughter Become a Thriving Adult Helpful Books for Raising Daughters Enjoy Your Teen Daughter The Anatomy of Trust by Brene Brown (Audrey mentioned in this episode.) Book Trailer for Myth of the Perfect Girl Ana's Books That Crumpled Paper Was Due Last Week: Helping Disorganized and Distracted Boys Succeed in School and Life Social Media Wellness: Helping Tweens and Teens Thrive in an Unbalanced Digital World (Corwin Teaching Essentials) Listen to Ep. 45: Social Media Wellness with Ana Homayoun

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