DiscoverYour Parenting Mojo - Respectful, research-based parenting ideas to help kids thrive
Your Parenting Mojo - Respectful, research-based parenting ideas to help kids thrive
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Your Parenting Mojo - Respectful, research-based parenting ideas to help kids thrive

Author: Jen Lumanlan

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Jen Lumanlan always thought infancy would be the hardest part of parenting. Now she has a toddler and finds a whole new set of tools are needed, there are hundreds of books to read, and academic research to uncover that would otherwise never see the light of day. Join her on her journey to get a Masters in Psychology focusing on Child Development, as she researches topics of interest to parents of toddlers and preschoolers from all angles, and suggests tools parents can use to help kids thrive - and make their own lives a bit easier in the process. Like Janet Lansbury's respectful approach to parenting? Appreciate the value of scientific research, but don't have time to read it all? Then you'll love Your Parenting Mojo. More information and references for each show are at Subscribe there and get a free newsletter compiling relevant research on the weeks I don't publish a podcast episode!
116 Episodes
It seems pretty clear that we are in a societal 'liminal space' right now, which is a threshold between what we have known until now and what we will know in the future. We are also in a liminal space related to learning and education, as schools hastily try to move learning online (despite disparities in access to online learning systems), and we have an incredible opportunity to think through what we think children's learning should look like in the future. In today's episode we hear from Dr. Zak Stein, who has spent many years thinking about ways in which the education system in the United States could be reimagined to take advantage of virtual learning opportunities and 'learning labs,' which gather resources around learners instead of having learning take place in classrooms isolated from real-world experience.  Dr. Stein is a big-picture thinker, and it was really exciting to sit with him and envision the future of learning. To learn more about the memberships I mention in this episode, please visit ( [accordion] [accordion-item title="Click here to read the full transcript"] Jen  1:46 Hello, and welcome to the Your Parenting Mojo podcast. To put the show into context before we get going, I wrote the questions for this episode on the night of Friday, March 20, 2020. And we recorded it on Sunday, March 22, which is coincidentally my birthday and I took at least half a day off. Here in the California Bay Area, we've been ordered to stay home for everything except non-essential errands for five days now. And the shutdown has now been extended to cover one in five Americans, including the entire states of California, New York and Illinois. Now, I plan to reach out to our guests for the show in a few months’ time. But all of a sudden, on Friday night, I realized that I needed to talk with him now and that we need to hear from him today. And so our guest today is Dr. Zach Stein, whose book title tells you something of the breadth of scope of what we're going to discuss, it is called Education in a Time Between Worlds: Essays on the Future of Schools, Technology and Society. We will lay some groundwork so we have a common understanding of how some of our global systems work, and then we'll start to look at the role that education plays in the system. I think it's become really clear to us in the last couple of weeks that many of the systems that we've built are unsustainable, and for a long time, that word has been used to mean that they're bad for the environment. But I think that now we're seeing that they're actually not that good for us either. And so what will it take for us to do things differently? Well, first, we need to start imagining what kinds of systems we might want to see instead and how we and our children can both live within those and also shape those. So that's what we're going to think about in this episode. And we wrap up the show by thinking about some of the steps that we ourselves can take in the coming days and weeks to start to put this in motion. And it was really great to hear Dr. Stein share some surprising and very doable advice on this topic. One of the things that's become most clear to me over the years that I've been doing this work is that the way we raise our children may be the single thing that we do that will have the most impact on the world. We talked about it a bit in the episode on Patriarchy a few weeks ago with listener Brian Stout and Dr. Carol Gilligan. The idea that systems that privilege men's voices over women's voices seems so huge and so deeply ingrained in our culture and they just seem impossible to change. But if we personally see the role that we are playing in the current system, and we accept that with grace and humility, but at the same time, take steps to do things differently with our own children, then we can actually make change happen. And I really feel like...
In this episode we discuss how to cope with parents’ and children’s fear and anxiety related to the Coronavirus pandemic, how to keep the children busy so you can get some work done (without resorting to hours of screen time), and how to use the time that you are focused on them to develop your family relationships as well as their learning, rather than you driving each other nuts. To download a FREE sample routine to help you organize your days, and also join a FREE one-week workshop to give you the tools you need to cope with this situation, please go to ( Other episodes mentioned in this show Talk Sex Today ( Understanding the AAP’s new screen time guidelines ( Raising your child in a digital world ( Resources List of video conferencing companies offering free services ( Geocaching website ( Nature journaling videos with John Muir Laws ( [accordion] [accordion-item title="Click here to read the full transcript"] Hello, and welcome to the Your Parenting Mojo podcast!  I know that listeners who have been with me for a while know that an episode is going to be different when I dispense with the music at the beginning – I think the last time I did this was six months ago when I announced that I was taking a break from the show.  But have no fear; I’m not going anywhere – I just did it today to indicate that this is not a normal show because these are not normal times.  I’m recording this on March 15 2020, four days after the World Health Organization declared that the coronavirus outbreak is a pandemic, which means it is dispersed across a very wide geographic area and affects many individuals at the same time.  Many, many things have been canceled in the last few days – most schools are canceled for at least the next few weeks; big events are canceled or postponed, and we’re being advised to practice ‘social distancing’ by remaining six feet apart from other people. This all seems really big and super stressful and I’m not going to go into the details of much of the epidemiological information because frankly that isn’t my specialty.  But I also know that a lot of you are struggling with issues that very much do fall into my wheelhouse – things like “what on earth am I going to do with my kids for the next six weeks when we usually start to get on each other’s nerves on day six of a vacation,” and “will my child get behind on school work,” and “how am I going to still get my own WORK work done so I can get paid and keep us afloat while we’re all cooped up in this tiny space?” So in this episode I’m going to cover two main things – firstly, resources for you, because you may well be feeling quite anxious and approaching the end of your rope already and unsure how you’re going to make it through the coming weeks. Then we’ll talk about issues that affect your children while we’re going through this and how to answer your children’s questions about the virus and how to be thoughtful about screen time when it seems like there’s nothing else to do and also how to support their learning while they’re out of school. And because I know some of you are REALLY stressed out about this, I also want to let you know about a FREE one-week workshop that I’m running starting on March 23rd. It draws together elements of many of the paid workshops and memberships that I’ve built over the last few years into resources that you can use RIGHT NOW.  So for example, I’m in the middle of hosting a workshop on Taming Your Triggers, where...
A few weeks ago we talked with Dr. Brad Klontz ( about the 'money scripts' that we pass on to our children - perhaps unintentionally - if we fail to examine these and make conscious decisions about the messages we want to convey about money to our children. Today we continue our series on the intersection of parenting and money with a conversation with Dr. Allison Pugh, whose doctoral dissertation (and subsequent book, Longing and Belonging: Parents, Children, and Consumer Culture ( ) remain seminal works in this field even a decade after their publication. In this interview, we take the position that advertising to children is happening - so what do we do with that?  How do children make meaning out of the messages sent to them through our consumerist culture?  How do parents attempt to resist the effects of this culture, and how successful are they? In our next episode in this series we'll dig more deeply into the effects of advertising itself on children's brains, so stay tuned for that! [accordion] [accordion-item title="Click here to read the full transcript"] Jen  1:31 Hello and welcome to the Your Parenting Mojo podcast. Today's episode is part of a series that I'm doing on the Intersection of Childhood and Money. A while back now I interviewed New York Times columnist Ron Lieber, on his book The Opposite of Spoiled and we do use his approach to several topics related to money. But it seemed to me for a while now that there's a lot more to say on this. So more recently, I interviewed Dr. Brad Klontz on his concept of Money Scripts, which are the ideas about money that were passed on to us by our parents and that we will probably pass on to our children as well if we don't critically examine these and potentially make a conscious decision to choose a different path. Another avenue I've been wanting to explore is consumerism since I come from England, which is certainly becoming more Americanized than many other places, but where consumerism still doesn't have the same force that it does here in the US where buying things to express love or because you're feeling sad or just because you feel like it is pretty much considered a birthright. And I spent a lot of time looking for someone to talk with on this topic and finally found our guest today Dr. Allison Pugh. Dr. Pugh is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia whose teaching and research focuses on contemporary work and relationships, and particularly the intertwining of culture, emotions, intimacy and economic life. She's currently a fellow at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles while she writes a book about her research on the automation of work that's historically relied on relationships between people like the caring professions. She wrote the book Longing and Belonging: Parents, Children and Consumer Culture back in 2009, in which she studies how children and parents in both affluent and working class communities in the East Bay Area of California where I live, manage the commercialization of childhood. The book was named by contemporary sociology as one of the 12 most influential books on the family written since 2000 and received several awards. A decade later, it remains the seminal work on this topic. So I'm excited that Dr. Pugh is here today to talk with us and help us think through this important topic. Welcome, Dr. Pugh. Dr. Pugh 3:26 Thank you so much. Jen  3:28 All right, so I'd like to start by quoting a few of the very first sentences from the preface of your book. So you say “Ask them straight out and most upper income parents will tell you they don't buy much for their children because they have the ‘right values’. Meanwhile, low income parents will try to convince you they buy quite a bit because they are not ‘in trouble’. Go into their children's bedrooms, however, and you will find...
"Wait, whaaaat?" (I can hear you thinking this now, as you're reading the title for this episode.) When I think of patriarchy, I usually think of a powerful guy in a suit. He's always white. He probably works in government or maybe high up in a corporation. He's part of The System, which is just The Way Things Are Done - and he's never going to listen to me. There's really not much I can do to impact this system. And patriarchy isn't good for any of us. It's not difficult to see how it represses women and any non-straight, white, hetero-presenting male. But the research base is also pretty clear that it harms men as well, by denying them the opportunity to express any emotion other than anger, which is linked to all kinds of both mental and physical health problems. But it turns out that a big part of perpetuating the patriarchal system is how women interact with men, as well as how we raise our children. And, suddenly, changing the patriarchal system becomes something that I can directly impact - and so can you. Listener Brian Stout and I interview the preeminent scholar in this field, Why does patriarchy persist? ( In this episode we focus on the background information we need to understand what patriarchy is and how it impacts us, and in a future episode Brian and I return to discuss the implications of these ideas for the way we are raising our children. If you'd like to subscribe to Brian's newsletter, where he discusses issues related to Building a World of Belonging, you can do that here. ( [accordion] [accordion-item title="Click here to read the full transcript"] Jen:                                    00:01:26 (              Hello and welcome to the Your Parenting Mojo podcast. It's hard to know even where to begin on today's topic, which is patriarchy. Now, before you think to yourself, come on, Jen, aren't you overstepping your bounds a little bit here or maybe even am I listening to the right podcast? If you're seeing this topic as a bit of a non-sequitur with the kinds of issues that we normally discuss on the show related to parenting and child development, then I'd really encourage you to sit tight because this topic has everything to do with those things. I'm so honored that today we have an incredibly special guest to help us understand more about this topic and that's Dr. Carol Gilligan. I'm pretty sure there's a group of my listeners for whom Dr. Gilligan needs no introduction because they probably read and loved her work when they were in college, but for the rest of us, Dr. Gilligan received her Bachelor's Degree in English Literature from Swarthmore College, a Master’s in Clinical Psychology from Radcliffe College and a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Harvard University. Her 1982 book In a Different Voice is widely regarded as a landmark and following her research on women and girls development, she began to study young boys and their parents as well as the relationship between men and women. Dr. Gilligan taught at Harvard for more than 30 years and is now on the faculty at New York University where she co-teaches a seminar on resisting injustice. That was the impetus for her most recent book. This was coauthored with one of her students Naomi Snider, and it's called, Why Does Patriarchy Persist? Welcome Dr. Gilligan. Dr. Gilligan:                      00:02:47 (              Oh, thank you, Jen. My pleasure. Jen:                                    00:02:49...
Think about your parents. Now think about money. What kinds of ideas, images, and feelings come to mind? Do you recall any discussions about money - or were these hidden from you? Was there always enough to go around - or were you ever-conscious of its absence? What little incidents do you recall that ended up becoming defining 'money scripts' of your life? Perhaps it won't be a shock to learn that just as we learned how to raise children from our parents, we also learned how to think about money from them.  And as we will raise our children the way we were raised unless we choose a different path, we will also pass on our ideas about money - unless we decide differently. Today we hear from Dr. Brad Klontz, co-author of the book Mind over Money: Overcoming the Money Disorders That Threaten Our Financial Health ( , who helps us to think through the money scripts we want to pass on to our children - and how to adjust course if we decide we need to do this. Find more information from Dr. Klontz on his YouTube channel ( . [accordion] [accordion-item title="Click here to read the full transcript"] Jen:                                      01:36 (blank) Hello and welcome to the Your Parenting Mojo podcast. Today's episode kicks off what I'm hoping is at least going to be a miniseries on issues related to money and economic privilege, although I'm still in the process of figuring out exactly where we're going with this. So, quite a long time ago now, we talked with New York Times columnist, Ron Lieber about money and we got a high level overview of some of the problems we can face when we're thinking about how to talk with children about money. So, things like from what information to give at what age and what to do when your child nags you to buy something that they want at a store. But a friend recommended that I read the book that our guest today co-wrote with his father. His father is Dr.Ted Klontz and the book is called Mind over Money: Overcoming the Money Disorders That Threaten Our Financial Health. So our guests, Dr. Brad Klontz holds a Doctorate in Psychology. He's a certified financial planner. He co-founded the Financial Psychology Institute and he's an Associate Professor of Practice in Financial Psychology at Creighton University Heider College of Business. So, we're here today to take our conversation on money to the next level by thinking through how our own relationship with money will impact our children's relationship with money. Welcome, Dr. Klontz. Dr. Klontz:                         02:45 (blank) I'm so happy to be here and I'm really happy that hopefully I can get some parenting mojo and a conversation too. Jen:                                      02:5 (blank) 1 Do you have children? Dr. Klontz:                         02:5 (blank) 2                   I do. I have 2 children. Jen:                                      02:5 (blank) 3 How old are they? Dr. Klontz:                         02:5 (blank) 4 I've got a 6-year-old and a 2-year-old. Jen:                                      02:5 (blank) 7 Oh, okay. Dr. Klontz:                         02:5 (blank) 8 And it's sort of amazing what they're already reflecting back to me on what I'm sort of unconsciously teaching them around money. Jen:                                      03:03 (blank)                    I can imagine. Okay. So, you should know that it's perfectly fine to share personally learned lessons with us. Dr. Klontz:                         03:09 (blank) Okay, I'll do my best. Jen:                                      03:11 (blank) All right, cool. So, let's dive right in. I wonder if you can kind of get to the crux of your book, which I think is about this idea that you call money scripts. What is a money script?...
Listeners have been asking me for an episode on supporting anxious children for a loooooong time, but I was really struggling to find anyone who didn't take a behaviorist-based approach (where behaviors are reinforced using the parent's attention (or stickers) or the withdrawal of the parent's attention or other 'privileges.'). Long-time listeners will see that these approaches don't really fit with how we usually view behavior on the show, which is an expression of a need - if you just focus on extinguishing 'undesirable' behavior, you haven't really done anything about the child's need and - even worse - you've sent a message to the child that they can't express their true feelings and needs to you. Listener Jamie sent me a link a book called Beyond Behaviors ( written by today's guest, Dr. Mona Delahooke, and I immediately knew that Dr. Delahooke was the right person to guide us through this. Listener Jamie comes onto the show for the first time as well to co-interview Dr. Delahooke so we can really deeply understand our children's feelings and support them in meeting their true needs - and overcome their anxiety as well. Also a reminder that the Your Child's Learning Mojo membership closes to new members on January 31 2020 - click here to learn more! ( [accordion] [accordion-item title="Click here to read the full transcript"] Jen:                                      01:28 (blank) Hello and welcome to the Your Parenting Mojo podcast. Today, we're talking about a topic that parents have been asking me about for ages and that is how to support children who are experiencing anxiety. Now, it's not super hard to find research on anxiety and on treatments for anxiety, but the hard part is finding someone who doesn't just see anxiety as an unwanted behavior that we need to extinguish using reinforcements and who actually sees anxiety as a potential cause for behaviors like having a bad attitude or lacking impulse control that we might typically think of as bad behavior rather than being caused by anxiety. So, we have a special guest today who's going to help us move beyond this view of anxiety and that's Dr. Mona Delahooke. Dr. Delahooke is a licensed clinical psychologist with more than 30 years of experience caring for children in their families. She's a member of the American Psychological Association and holds the highest level of endorsement in the field of infant and toddler mental health in California, as a Reflective Practice Mentor. She has dedicated her career to promoting compassionate relationship-based neurodevelopmental interventions for children with developmental, behavioral, emotional and learning difficulties and has written a book called Beyond Behaviors: Using Brain Science and Compassion to Understand and Solve Children's Behavioral Challenges. Welcome Dr. Delahooke. Dr. Delahooke:                 02:43 (blank) Thank you so much. I'm so happy to be here. Jen:                                      02:45 (blank) Thank you. And we have another special guest here today as well. We've heard about her, we've heard her words and now we're going to hear her very own voice. Today, we have with us listener, Jamie. She's not listener Jamie to us. She's Jamie Ramirez in real life and she and her wife are the proud parents of now 11-month-old daughter Elliot. Jamie struggled with anxiety for a good deal of her life and has also read on this topic a lot. And she was the one who suggested that I read Dr. Delahooke’s book and so when Dr. Delahooke agreed to an interview, it was only natural to ask Jamie to join me as a co-interviewer and she enthusiastically agreed. Welcome Jamie. Jamie:                                 03:22 (blank) Hi. Jen:                                      03:23 (blank) Yey, you’re here. All right, so let's start kind of at
Dr. Rose defines a Dark Horse as someone who uses a variety of unusual strategies like understanding their 'micromotives' and not worrying about their overall destination and to focus instead on more immediate goals to create a fulfilled life. In his book he focuses on the paths adults have followed to become Dark Horses, which is almost invariably one of either: Child is successful in school, attends an elite university, achieves financial stability, realizes they feel unfilled, and switches direction mid-life Child flounders in school and barely graduates or doesn't graduate; gets married and has children or works a series of low-level jobs before discovering their path But I wondered: rather than following either of these (highly frustrating!) paths, could we instead support our children much earlier in life to discover how their passions can lead them toward a fulfilling life, rather than forcing them through a standardized system and then making them figure it out on their own later? Dr. Rose agreed that this would indeed be the preferable path, and we also talked about how to do this. Dark Horse: Achieving Success Through the Pursuit of Fulfillment can be purchased in your local bookstore or on Amazon ( . Click here to learn more about the Your Child's Learning Mojo membership ( , which will help you to support your child's intrinsic love of learning - a critical step for raising a Dark Horse. Here is Dr. Rose's interview on The Art of Manliness ( , where you can learn more about how his approach could help you as an adult to become more of a Dark Horse [accordion] [accordion-item title="Click here to read the full transcript"] Jen:                                      00:01:25 (blank) Hello and welcome to the Your Parenting Mojo podcast. Today's episode comes to us via a bit of a different route than they often do. A friend of mine actually heard our guests, Dr. Todd Rose on The Art of Manliness podcast and said, “Hey, you might want to listen to this because it sounds a lot like what you're trying to do with the way your daughter Carys learns”. And I listened to the episode and then I did something I've never done before. The message that I heard from Dr. Rose on the podcast made him feel like such a kindred spirit in terms of how we think about learning and work, that I reached out to him and asked him to talk with us even before I read his book. And rather than go over ground that's already been covered elsewhere, I'd really encourage you to go to this episode's page at to find a link to that episode on The Art of Manliness because there's so much there to help adults discover and follow their passions if you're feeling unfulfilled in the work that you do and that you might need some help charting a different course. Jen:                                      00:02:20 (blank) So, today we're going to look at the outcomes for what Dr. Rose calls dark horses, but we'll specifically focus on how we can support children in navigating their path to becoming a dark horse, which involves identifying your skills and true motivations and harnessing those to do work that you're truly passionate about. And on the related note, I wanted to let you know about a pilot program that I'm running that's open for signups right now. It's called Your Child's Learning Mojo and it will help parents to support their children's intrinsic motivation to learn. If your child is in the early preschool years right now, then you're probably inundated with their questions about the world, but research shows that by the early school years, children learn that their own questions aren't really valued anymore and what counts is whether they know the answers to questions that other people have...
[Taking a Break]

[Taking a Break]


I’m taking a hiatus from the show; in this episode I explain why and what you can do to help make sure it comes back strong in 2020! Here’s the form to complete if you’re interested in learning more about the yet-to-be-named pilot membership to support children’s interest-led learning at home: ( (
Do you ever feel ‘lost’ in your parenting?  Like you’ve read all the books (and even listened to the podcast episodes!) and you’ve agreed with them in principle, but somehow nothing ever seems to change? Your family feels directionless; you just muddle along having the same old fights with your partner about the same old things: Should you praise your child when they do what you ask, so they’ll do it again next time? Or punish them for disobeying you? Should you worry about (quality or quantity of) screen time? Does it matter if you and your partner have completely different parenting styles? In this episode I interviewed Kathryn, and discussed: The cultural differences between living in the U.K. and Canada (saying “please!” and certain differences in directness of humor) How to begin to approach differences in opinion about parenting with your spouse in a way that doesn’t get their back up, but instead focuses on your (and their) values The value of interacting with parents who are a little ahead of you and who can give you advice, as well as parents with younger children so you can see how far you’ve come and offer some support to them How to align your daily interactions with your child with your overall values The importance of bringing fun and playfulness to your parenting in a way that feels relaxed to you (and the positive impact this can have on your child) How to problem solve with a child in a way that encourages them to bring their own solutions to the table If you’re interested in learning more about the Finding Your Parenting Mojo membership, you can find all the info on it at ( – and also sign up for the FREE Top 5 Strategies to Tame Your Triggers webinar (scheduled for Wednesday September 30th at 11am PT) there as well. [accordion] [accordion-item title="Click here to read the full transcript"] Jen:                                      01:25 (blank) Hello and welcome to the Your Parenting Mojo podcast. We're doing something a little bit different on today's episode because I'm actually going to interview a listener, Kathryn. Kathryn is a Canadian living in London and she's married to an English husband and she has a daughter and a son. I connected with Kathryn to talk about the transformation that she's experienced in her parenting over the last 6 months or so. Kathryn's family was doing pretty well, although she was having some challenges knowing how to parent her spirited daughter and having a very different approach to doing this than her British husband who was raised with much more of a traditional British approach of not talking about feelings very much, which really contrasted pretty sharply with Kathryn's belief that the experience and the emotions should be validated and supported. These different approaches were causing some friction in her marriage and she felt like she didn't really have the tools to articulate why this issue and others like it were so important to her in a way that could invite her husband to share his perspective and feelings so they could work together to find a path forward in parenting their children. Jen:                                      02:25 (blank) Now, both Kathryn and her husband feel more at ease in their family because they know the decisions they're making are based on their values and not just on knee jerk reactions made in the moment when their daughter asked to do something and they might be feeling a bit stressed and as a result they've really become to embrace the joyful aspects of parenting as you'll hear in the conversation. Before we talked with Kathryn, I do have a question for you and that is, are you truly enjoying your family right now? Yes, families have their ups and downs and not every day is perfect and neither will it be, but more often than not, do you feel confident about how the little decisions you...
This is the third episode in our series on parental relationships – and the lack thereof…  We started with episode 35, which was called “All Joy and No Fun,” where we learned how children can be one of the greatest joys of a parent’s life – but that all the daily chores and struggles can get on top of us and make parenting – both in terms of our relationship with our child and our spouse – something that isn’t necessarily much fun in the moment.  And if you missed that episode you might want to go back and check it out, because I walked you through a research-based idea I’ve been using to increase the amount of fun I have while I’m hanging out with my daughter, who was a toddler when I recorded that episode. Then we took a turn for the worse in episode 36 and looked at the impact of divorce on children’s development, and we learned that it can have some negative impacts for some children, although the majority are pretty resilient and do make it through a divorce OK.  For the last episode in the long-delayed conclusion to this mini-series we’re going to take a look at what happens after divorce – things like single parenting and remarriage and stepfamilies, that can also have large impacts on children’s lives.  We’ll spend a good chunk of the show looking at things that stepfamilies can do to be more successful. (#) Hello and welcome to the Your Parenting Mojo podcast. This is the third episode in our series on parental relationships – and the lack thereof… We started with episode 35, which was called “All Joy and No Fun,” where we learned how children can be one of the greatest joys of a parent’s life – but that all the daily chores and struggles can get on top of us and make parenting – both in terms of our relationship with our child and our spouse - something that isn’t necessarily much fun in the moment. And if you missed that episode you might want to go back and check it out, because I walked you through a research-based idea I’ve been using to increase the amount of fun I have while I’m hanging out with my daughter, who was a toddler when I recorded that episode. Then we took a turn for the worse in episode 36 and looked at the impact of divorce on children’s development, and we learned that it can have some negative impacts for some children, although the majority are pretty resilient and do make it through a divorce OK. For the last episode in the long-delayed conclusion to this mini-series we’re going to take a look at what happens after divorce – things like single parenting and remarriage and stepfamilies, that can also have large impacts on children’s lives. We’ll spend a good chunk of the show looking at things that stepfamilies can do to be more successful. So let’s start with the things we don’t understand very well, and I have to say I was pretty surprised by this one. The vast majority of divorcing mothers gain custody of their children; somewhere north of 80%, and there is actually a ton of conflicting evidence on the benefits – or lack of benefits – of contact with the child’s father after the divorce. Some researchers have theorized that the traditional visitation pattern of spending every other weekend with the father “created intense dissatisfaction among children, and especially young boys.” They found that children in mother-custody families often expressed profound feelings of deprivation and loss regarding the loss of contact with their fathers, and that this stress is mirrored by distress in fathers, who recognize their own greatly diminished role in their children’s lives after the divorce. The so-called “father absence hypothesis” has been used to describe the difficulties that may be primarily experienced by boys: Boys need a regular, ongoing, positive relationship with their fathers in order to develop a valued sense of masculinity, internalize controls over behavior, achieve appropriate development of conscience, and perform up to their abilities...



I can hardly believe we made it to this point: the 100th episode of the Your Parenting Mojo podcast!  Join me for a special celebration of the show, featuring questions (from you!) and answers (from me!), clips of some of my favorite episodes, some fun at NPR interviewer Terry Gross’ expense, the occasional Monty Python reference, a story about how Carys got her name that you won’t want to miss, and a chance to win a free YEAR in the Finding Your Parenting Mojo membership which opens October 21… (
Is your child Highly Sensitive?  Does it sometimes feel as though you don’t understand them, and struggle to support them in the ways it seems they need to be supported?  Or does your child experience and process things more deeply than other children, but this is the first time you’re hearing about High Sensitivity? In this episode Dr. Michael Pluess helps us to understand how we can know whether our child is highly sensitive, and how to parent these children effectively so they can reach their full potential. (
A few months ago a listener in my own home town reached out because a potentially incendiary device had been found on the elementary school property, and many parents were demanding disaster drill training in response.  The listener wanted to know whether there is any research on whether these drills are actually effective in preparing children for these situations, and whether it’s possible that they might actually cause psychological damage. In this episode we review the (scant) evidence available on drills themselves, and also take a broader look at the kinds of measures used in schools in the name of keeping our children safe – but which may actually have the opposite from intended effect. (#) Jen: 01:21 Hello and welcome to the Your Parenting Mojo podcast. We have another serious topic to cover today and it's probably one that you don't want to listen to with children around. I received a question from listener Selena about 6 months ago saying that an incendiary device had been discovered on the grounds of the public school that my daughter would actually going to be attend if we weren't going to homeschool. And that some of the parents who were very worried and were demanding video surveillance and disaster preparedness drills and she wants to know whether there was any research available about the impacts of drills to prepare children for things like active shooters. And I wanted to know are these drills effective? And then when I started researching this issue, I went down a complete rabbit hole related to the effectiveness of other kinds of school security measures as well as bullying, as a potential cause of violence in schools. Jen: 02:08 And the kind of relational aggression that girls particularly to practice as well. So expect episodes on those topics soon in the coming months. But here to kick us off today on this mini series is Dr. Ben Fisher. He's Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at University of Louisville. Dr. Fisher’s research focuses on the intersection of education and criminal justice, but particular focus on school safety, security and discipline. He approaches this research from an interdisciplinary perspective with a focus on inequality that is grounded in his Ph.D. in community research and action from Vanderbilt University, which prepared him to work on this view from a social justice orientation. Welcome Dr. Fisher. Dr. Fisher: 02:46 Thank you. Glad to be here. Jen: 02:47 And so before we get going with our conversation today, I do want to just take a minute and acknowledge that we're recording this in the week after a gunman killed 22 people in Walmart in El Paso, Texas, and then another gunman killed 9 people outside a bar in Dayton, Ohio. So, it feels very raw to me to be discussing this today. We're going to talk today about the likelihood that a child will be killed in a school shooting. And despite the impression that we might get from the endless news cycles that keep these kinds of incidents top of mind when they happen, our chances of dying from many other causes are far, far greater than dying during a mass murder. But despite this, I do believe there are too many guns in our society and not enough control over who has access to them and what they do once they have them. Jen: 03:30 And I also think that these kinds of events are not the ultimate problems we need to deal with. Yes, we need to make it much more difficult to access guns. So, people who feel disaffected can't harm large numbers of people very easily and instituting tighter gun control in a country where so much of the political power is tied to the money provided by the gun lobby currently seems like a really insurmountable challenge. But in my mind, the far greater challenges, the one facing our families and schools where we need to address what is leading children and later adults to feel so disconnected from their families and communities, but the best tool...
Recently a listener posted a question in the Your Parenting Mojo Facebook group ( asking about research related to children who are assigned to one gender at birth, but later realize that this assigned gender doesn’t match the gender they experience. Another listener recommended Dr. Diane Ehrensaft’s book The Gender-Creative Child, and we are fortunate that Dr. Ehrensaft quickly agreed to speak. Listener Elizabeth co-interviews with me as we learn how to truly listen to our children when they tell us about their gender, and what we can do to help them navigate a world full of people who may know very little about – and even fear – children whose gender does not conform to expectations. While we didn’t get a chance to discuss it (too many other topics to cover!), you might also be interested to learn about the “They-by” movement ( , which advocates for allowing children to choose their own gender when they feel the time is right, rather than the parents assigning a gender at birth based on the child’s genetalia.   Here are some especially recommended resources: Human Rights Campaign’s Guide on supporting transgender children: ( Recommended books for children – for ALL children, not just those actively exploring their gender identity (note: these are affiliate links): 10,000 Dresses ( The Adventures of Tulip, Birthday Wish Fairy ( My Princess Boy ( The Paperbag Princess ( Mama, Mommy, and Me ( Daddy, Papa, and Me ( Who Are You? The Kid’s Guide to Gender Identity ( I am Jazz ( Julian is a Mermaid ( Introducing Teddy ( (#) Jen: 00:01:21 Hello and welcome to the Your Parenting Mojo podcast. Today, we're going to talk about a topic that originated from a question in the Your Parenting Mojo Facebook group. Now, sometimes I have questions on my list for a long time, but other times when someone expresses an interest in a topic, they also point me toward a place to start the research, which really does speed things up and that's actually what happened with this episode. So, listener Elizabeth asked if I'd done an episode on children's gender identity and some other listeners chimed in with potential resources, one of which was Dr. Diane Ehrensaft’s book, The Gender Creative Child. And after I read the book, I knew that Dr. Diane Ehrensaft was the right person to talk to about this topic. So, she's here with us today. Dr. Ehrensaft is a Developmental and Clinical Psychologist in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Director of Mental Health and founding member of the Child and Adolescent Gender Center, a partnership between the University of California, San Francisco and community agencies to provide comprehensive into disciplinary services and advocacy to gender conforming and transgender children and youth and their families. She's an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco and the chief psychologist at the UCSF Benioff Children's...
This is another of those topics I really wish I didn’t have to do.  In this interview with Dr. Jennie Noll of Pennsylvania State University, we discuss the impacts that sexual abuse can have on a child (even many years after the event itself!), and we talk extensively about what parents can do to prevent abuse from happening in the first place. If you want to be sure to remember this info, there’s a FREE one-page cheat sheet of the 5 key steps parents can take to prevent sexual abuse available below.   (#) Jen: 01:26 Hello and welcome to the Your Parenting Mojo podcast. We have a pretty serious topic to cover today and it's what I've been thinking about for a long time now. In 2016 the USA gymnastics sexual assault scandal broke and we learned that Dr. Larry Nassar had been sexually assaulting gymnast for years as he claimed to be providing them legitimate medical treatment. Now obviously there were failings at so many levels here. This was reported and ignored and covered up at many levels. But one thing that stuck in the back of my mind was an interview with gymnast Aly Raisman where she said she really thought this was what medical treatment was like and I want to be 100% clear that I'm not blaming Raisman or any other gymnast who had this awful experience, but I just couldn't get my head around how and why she didn't know she was being sexually abused. Jen: 02:11 I realized that it's at least partly because we live in a culture where we don't talk about this. We don't teach children to watch for warning signs and we don't look out for them ourselves as parents or we pretend we don't see them. We just stick our head in the sand. So today's episode is probably not one you want to listen to with children around because we're going to be very explicit and discussing sexual abuse and how to prevent it. I also want to give a shout out to listener Christine who helped me to think through some great questions to ask my guest today. I spent a really long time looking for someone to talk with us about this and finally found the right person. Dr. Jennie Noll is Professor of Human Development and Family Studies and Director of the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State University. Jen: 02:52 She earned her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology and Statistical Methodology from the University of Southern California. The reason I’m so interested to talk with her about this topic is because she has active research projects on two topics that are very important to us, the long-term health outcomes for victims of child sexual abuse and programs for the prevention of that abuse. Welcome Dr. Noll. Dr. Noll: 03:13 Thank you very much for the opportunity. Jen: 03:16 So before we get started, I actually also want to mention that I took the training that Dr. Noll studies and it's called Stewards of Children and it's published by an organization called Darkness to Light. I've created a free one page guide to preventing sexual abuse that you can download from this episode's page at So we're going to talk a lot more about the Stewards of Children program today I imagine. But I wonder if we can get started by looking at the mental health or the general health actually impacts of sexual abuse because I was really surprised to find out how many of these there are. Can you walk us through these and do we have any indication of how likely they are to occur in a child who is chronically abused for years versus one who experiences abuse that it's discovered or reported fairly quickly. Dr. Noll: 03:58 Yeah, very good. So what we've understood and this has been my work for the last 30 years, what we've understood really well as sort of the mental health and emotional health consequences of abuse. We have pretty good trauma informed treatments for mental health. These are things like persisting posttraumatic stress disorder, other anxiety disorders, depression, other
A couple of months ago, when I was interviewing listener Rose Hoberman for her Sharing Your Parenting Mojo episode ( , she casually mentioned after we got off air that her father in law – Dr. Benard Dreyer – is the immediate past president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and would I like her to make a connection? I almost coughed up my water as I said yes, please, I very much would like her to make a connection if he would be interested in answering listener questions about the AAP’s policies and work.  Dr. Dreyer gamely agreed to chat, and in this wide-ranging conversation we cover the AAP’s stance on sleep practices, screen time, discipline, respect among physicians, and what happens when the organization reverses itself… (#) Jen: 00:01:37 Hello and welcome to the Your Parenting Mojo podcast. Regular listeners might recall that I launched a new segment of the show a couple months back called Sharing Your Parenting Mojo where I interviewed listeners about what they've learned from the show and what parenting issues they’re still struggling with. My second interview for this segment was with listener Rose Hoberman and at the end of our conversation she just kinda casually threw out, “so, you know, my father in law is actually a past president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. So let me know if you'd like to interview him.” And I was kind of shell shocked for a minute and I just said, yes, if you could set that up for me as soon as you can, I'd really appreciate it. So here with us today is Dr. Benard Dreyer who's Director of the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics and also a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the Hassenfeld Children's Hospital, which is part of New York University Langone. Jen: 00:02:26 Dr. Dreyer works closely with children who have autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, language delays, genetic problems and behavioral difficulties in school. Dr. Dreyer received his M.D. from New York University and he held a variety of leadership positions within the AAP before serving as its president in 2016 and he continues to serve as its Medical Director for Policies. Dr. Dreyer has also hosted the SiriusXM Satellite Radio Show On Call For Kids, a two-hour show that has run two to three times a month since 2008, which is incredible coming from a podcast perspective. Welcome Dr. Dreyer. Dr. Dreyer: 00:03:02 Pleasure to be here. Jen: 00:03:03 So I solicited most of the questions from this interview from people who are subscribed to the show via my website and who get emails from me and they were able to email me back and send me their questions as well as those who are in the Your Parenting Mojo Facebook group. One thing that really stuck out to me as the questions started rolling in was the extent to which parents, at least in the US to some extent abroad, really like to know what the American Academy of Pediatrics says about a particular topic. And they might not always agree with the AAP’s position and they might even make a decision to ignore the AAP’s advice, but they always like to know what the AAP says before they do that. So the position that AAP takes really does carry a lot of weight. I wonder if you can walk us through what it's like to make one of these recommendations that are probably based on hundreds of studies with conflicting results and boil it down into something like no screen time for children under 18 months and no more than one hour a day for children ages two to five. How does that work? I guess starting at the beginning, how do you decide what studies to include? Dr. Dreyer: 00:04:06 Well, I think even before we decide what studies to include, there is the question of what topics should we have like policies or recommendations on. I think we choose topics based on what we think are the important issues for both pediatricians and practice where they're dealing with...
My guest on today’s episode in the Sharing Your Parenting Mojo series is Dovilė Šafranauskė, who joins us from Lithuania. Dovilė has discovered respectful parenting ( and her husband is on board, but many of the central tenets of RIE go very much against how children are raised in Lithuanian culture.  Dovilė wonders how she can work with her parents – who look after her children regularly – to help them feel more comfortable with RIE, as well as what to do with Aunty Mavis whom her toddler twins see a couple of times a year and who insists on a kiss as a greeting. And don’t forget that the Finding Your Parenting Mojo membership is currently accepting new members: Click here to learn more about the membership (   Dovilė is also a sensitive sleep coach with focus on following natural baby sleep paterns, advocating for gentle sleep interventions and finding tairored solutions that fit best with the needs of the whole family.  Her business is called Miego Pelytes, which means Sleep Mice in Lithuanian, and refers to her twin daughters. Click here to learn about Sleep Mice ( (
Today’s episode pulls together a lot of threads from previous shows, and will also give you some really concrete new tools using what’s called Nonviolent Communication to support you in your parenting.  It’s not like these are concepts that we’ve never discussed before, but sometimes hearing them in a different framework can be the key to making them ‘click’ for you. Our guest Christine King has been teaching these techniques to college students, teachers, and parents for over 17 years. And I’m releasing this particular interview today because these tools are ones we’re learning how to use in the free online workshop that I’m kicking off on Monday July 8th.  In the workshop we’re going to spend a couple of weeks learning why our children trigger us so much and how to stop being triggered, and how we can move beyond the power struggles we get caught up in with our children so we can have the kind of relationship with them where their true needs as people are respected and met – and so are ours. Click here to sign up for the free online workshop – it starts tomorrow! (   Things we discussed in the show: Christine’s game for kids can be found here ( Videos of Christine’s giraffe and jackal puppet shows are here ( List of feelings ( List of needs ( (note that neither of these lists claims to be comprehensive) Inbal Kashtan’s book Parenting From Your Heart ( The No-Fault Zone game ( Marshall Rosenberg’s book Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life (   (#) Jen: 00:01:43 Hello and welcome to the Your Parenting Mojo podcast. I'm so excited for today's episode because I think it really pulls together a lot of threads from previous shows and it will also give you some really concrete new tools to support you in your parenting. It’s not like these are concepts that we've never discussed before, but sometimes hearing them in a different framework can be the key to making them click for you. I'm releasing this particular interview today because these tools are ones we are learning how to use and the challenge that I'm kicking off on Monday, July 8th. In the challenge, we're going to spend a couple of weeks learning why our children trigger us so much and how to stop being triggered and how we can move beyond the power struggles we get caught up in with our children so we can have the kind of relationship with them where their true needs as people are respected and met and so our ours. Jen: 00:02:30 To help us with part of this, I'd like to introduce my guest, Christine King. Christine is a credential K12 teacher, mother of three and describes herself as a teacher and perpetual student. She says on her website that when she discovered the tool we're going to discuss today, which is called Nonviolent Communication or NVC “it seemed like my entire worldview fell into place my lifelong interest in politics and justice, self-transformation and mindfulness.” Christine is a center for nonviolent communication certified trainer and has been teaching NVC principles and strategies to children, college students, teachers and parents for over 17 years. Currently, she teaches NVC at San Quentin State Prison and at the University of California. Today, we're going to talk about how to bring NVC, which helps us to truly understand ourselves and our children to bring a new depth of relationship...
Today we talk with listener Seanna Mallon about her struggles to be mindful when responding to her two spirited young sons (and I can confirm from direct experience that they are indeed spirited – we actually had to re-record the episode after we simply couldn’t continue the first interview due to her children’s continual interruptions!). I share some basic tools for staying calm in difficult moments; for a deeper dive on this topic, do join the Tame Your Triggers workshop! Click here to join the Tame Your Triggers workshop ( Also, I wanted to let you know that the Finding Your Parenting Mojo membership (which hasn’t been open to new members since October 2018 and likely won’t reopen for at least six months) is now accepting new members!  If you love the ideas you hear about in the podcast but struggle to apply them in your real life with your real family, then this group is for you. We start by reducing the incidence of tantrums at your house, and once we’ve created a bit of breathing room for you we take a step back and get super clear on your parenting goals.  Then we learn how to Parent as a Team by getting on the same page with your co-parent on the topics that are really important – and learning when to just ‘let it go.’ Click here to learn more about the Finding Your Parenting Mojo membership ( I’m looking forward to meeting you in the group! (#) Jen: 02:00 Hello and welcome to the Sharing Your Parenting Mojo series of episodes where we turn the tables and talk with listeners about things that they have learned from the show and also things they're struggling with in their parenting and ways that they might be able to move forward. Today, we’re here with Seanna Mallon. Welcome Seanna. Seanna: 02:17 Hi, how are you? Jen: 02:18 Good, thank you. Thanks so much for being on the show. Can you tell us a little bit about you and your family? Seanna: 02:23 Yes. So me and my husband, we live in Long Island, New York. We have two boys. My older son is almost five and a half and my younger son is almost two. My husband has two jobs, a regular day job, 9-5 and he also owns his own business. So, he's gone 7 days a week working. Sometimes he doesn't get back until 8:30 or 9 and completely misses bedtime. So a lot of the parenting stuff has been left to me and I'm also working on my Ph.D. I have to finish writing my dissertation and that has kind of taken a back seat to all the parenting things. So, I'm hoping to get back into that. Jen: 03:14 So, you're not super busy then? Seanna: 03:18 No. Not at all. Jen: 03:19 What is this the subject of your dissertation? Seanna: 03:21 So my degree is in Atmospheric Science. I have a Bachelor's in Chemistry. So my focus is on air pollution and the interactions of particles in the atmosphere with the gas phase. Jen: 03:35 Oh, I understood everything until you said gas phase and then you lost me. Seanna: 03:43 It's technical. Jen: 03:44 Okay. Yes, I understand. So, I think you have spirited children in your home, is that right? Seanna: 03:50 I do. I have two spirited children and my husband and myself are also, we were spirited children and are still spirited adults. Jen: 04:01 And have you listened to the episode on Raising Your Spirited Child? Seanna: 04:05 I have. I've listened to it twice and I've also read the book and I love it. It was one of the most helpful books I have ever read. I've read a bunch of parenting books and I think this one is probably one of my favorites. Jen: 04:19 Yeah. It's really powerful, isn't it? To understand that there are tools that you can use to help you better empathize with and support children who need that little bit of extra support. Is there one tool that either that we discussed during the interview that you learned from the book...
We’ve done a LOT of episodes specifically for white parents by now: White privilege in parenting: What it is and what to do about it ( White privilege in schools ( Talking with children about race ( Teaching children about topics like slavery and the Civil Rights Movement ( Do I have privilege? ( In this episode we turn the tables: listener Dr. Elisa Celis joins me to interview Dr. Ciara Smalls Glover, ( whose work focuses on building the cultural strengths of youth of non-dominant cultures and their families.  We discuss the ways that culture is transferred to children through parenting, how parents of non-dominant cultures can teach their children about race and racism, and how to balance this with messages of racial pride.   Other topics mentioned in this episode: Click here to join the Tame Your Triggers workshop ( (starts July 8, 2019!) Click here to learn more about the Finding Your Parenting Mojo membership ( Click the button on the right with the microphone on it to leave me a voicemail for the 100th episode!>>> (#) Jen: 01:36 Hello and welcome to the Your Parenting Mojo podcast. Before we get started with today's episode, I just wanted to briefly remind you about a couple things I mentioned in our last episode. Firstly, I'm reopening the Finding Your Parenting Mojo membership group to new members in July. It's a group for parents who love listening to the podcast and are onboard with the ideas that I described in it, but who find there is a pretty big gap between hearing something on a podcast once and actually being able to implement the idea in their real lives with their real families. So if you join, each month you receive a PDF guide on the specific topic that we're covering that month. It isn't a massive amount of new reading, but rather it synthesizes the most important points and walks you through a series of exercises to think through how to apply the principles in a way that's relevant to your real family. Jen: 02:22 You have a group call with me in the first half of the month to help you overcome any initial problems. And then a second one towards the end of the month as you refine your approach and by the end of the month you haven't just read about some new thing you'd like to try, you’ve actually thought through how you’ll really implement it. You've tried it, maybe tripped up a bit and tried again and received support from me and all the other amazing parents in the group and you've actually started to see a shift in the way your family members interact with each other. So, you can find more about the group at Secondly, if you'd like to see how the group works, please do sign up for the free online Tame Your Triggers workshop that starts on July 8th, which will help you to understand why you feel triggered by your child's behavior and what you’re gonna do to avoid feeling triggered in the first place, and also manage your feelings better on the fewer occasions where they do still crop up. Jen: 03:11 I see so many parents in online forums looking for help with the frustration, anger they feel when their children do things that just push their parents buttons, but it turns out there's actually an enormous amount that we parents can do to avoid and manage these feelings rather than waiting for our children to grow out of these behaviors or trying to change the way our children behave. So, if you feel triggered by your children sometimes or perhaps quite a lot, then do head over to
Comments (5)

Jenn James

How do I receive the free parenting workbook mentioned in a comment above? My email is Thank you!

Jan 24th

Daniel Taylor

question; Why do parents think that remarriage is a good or positive experience for children? Also, it seems to me that it might be a good idea for adults to prioritize their children's experience, in family or development, instead of making their own desires paramount.

Dec 3rd
Reply (1)

tricia hoover

Hi my name is Tricia and I would love the free workbook! My email is Thank you!

Apr 23rd

Lee Millar

I enjoy this research based approach. I don't always agree with the presenter's opinion but she backs up her ideas with specific research and also summarizes opposing research as well. a very informative and lively discussion!

Feb 28th
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