• Do you ever fight with your partner? Do you ever fight with your partner about parenting? (Pretty much all of the couples I work with do both of those things.) And these arguments tend to follow a pretty well-defined formula:  Child misbehaves. Parent A gets overwhelmed, criticizes the child and snaps at Partner B for not doing more to help. Parent B and says that clearly Parent A's 'better parenting approach' isn't working, since the kids are still misbehaving - this is contempt. Parent A knows they don't want to parent the way they were raised, and also knows they aren't doing things totally in alignment with their values right now. Parent A has done a lot of work to try to heal themselves, but worries that it isn't happening fast enough to protect their children. And isn't it better than the bribing and punishing that Parent B is doing? They're being defensive. Parent B stonewalls - they are overwhelmed and shuts down, refusing to talk about the issue. Both partners walk away feeling frustrated, wonder how on earth it got to this point, and feel hopeless that it will ever improve.
     If your fights look like this, I'm here to let you know that there is hope! Last year I did Levels 1 and 2 (of 3 levels) of Gottman Method training. The Gottman Method is basically the only evidence-based framework for couple's therapy. Drs. John & Julie Gottman describe the main ways they see couples struggle in their communication, and named them the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse - you saw all of them in the example above.  How many of the Horsemen show up in your fights? (Criticism is almost always the first Horseman to arrive. Interrupt that, and you can communicate in entirely different ways.) If you wish there was a better way to communicate about these challenging issues with your partner so you could actually get on the same page and parent as a team, today's episode will show you how to do that.

  • Do you ever wish that you know the appropriate logical consequence to give your child (aged 1-10) for each different kind of misbehavior you see?  When your toddler empties the water out of the dog's bowl for the 10th time today... When your preschooler climbs on the table three minutes after you told them to get off it... When your kindergartener refuses to come to the table for dinner (and you know they're going to announce they're hungry in an hour)... When your elementary schooler won't get dressed in the morning (even though you know they are FULLY CAPABLE of doing it themselves) without 300 increasingly nagging, pleading, and begging 'reminders' from you...
     Wouldn't it be amazing to have the PERFECT logical consequence ready that would be appropriately proportioned to the misbehavior, and also just get your child to do the thing you're asking without you having to ask again??? But here's the thing about logical consequences: they essentially say to our child: "I don't care why you don't want to do this thing; I just want you to do it." If we saw one adult saying that to another adult, we would call it 'emotional abuse.' So why do we do it to our children? Because it seems like we don't have another option to get through the day. We actually have many other options; it's just hard to remember them all and which one to use in which circumstance. In today's episode, I'll tell you the three main reasons why setting limits is hard (and what to do about each of them). And if you want my complete framework for how to navigate misbehavior, with ALL FIVE of the tools we can use and guidelines on exactly WHEN to use each of them, sign up for the FREE Setting Loving (& Effective!) Limits workshop. We get started on the content on Wednesday April 24 but when you join early you can come and ask me your questions in our private community, get extra Live sessions, and extra chances to win cool prizes. Click the image below to learn more and sign up!   Other episodes mentioned:182: How to get frustrating behaviors to stop193: You don't have to believe everything you think200: Ask Alvin Anything Part 1Jump to Highlights:00:52 Introducing today’s topic02:32 Invitation to join the Setting Loving (& Effective!) Limits workshop11:08 The number 3 reason why setting limits is so hard12:58 The importance of respectful communication and mutual understanding in parent-child interactions, highlighting scenarios where setting limits may not always be the most effective solution25:04 The number 2 reason why it's hard to set limits26:02 Setting limits and respecting a child's autonomy, advocating for a collaborative approach to parenting28:41 The number 1 reason why we find it so hard to set limits29:12 The importance of understanding and meeting both children's and parents' needs to find effective solutions to behavioral challenges, emphasizing the negative consequences of ignoring or dismissing a child's needs41:44 Parent Cori challenges with her son's teeth brushing and the positive change brought about by understanding the child’s need for autonomy45:42 Three great resources (and they're all free!)

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  • Sometimes when listeners write to me, fun things happen! 🤪 Listener Diana replied to a recent email because she had listened to quite a lot of my episodes (although more of the earlier ones than the recent ones) and she was generally on board with my approach. But she was having a hard time! Despite doing a lot of things for her children, and trying to remain calm and 'unruffled' and show that she loves them unconditionally, but as pretty often when she asked them to do something they sometimes scream at her for offering to help, they attempt to boss her around, and they're inflexible and rude. So what's going on here? Have we (finally) met children for whom my approach simply does not work? Of course, as soon as I received Diana's email I wanted to talk with her. She gamely agreed to come on the podcast, although she did want to protect her privacy so there's no video for this episode. We talked through the kinds of situations she often finds herself in, and some of the reasons why her daughter, in particular, might be acting this way. It turned out that in her indecision, Diana was drifting into permissive parenting, which meant that her children didn't know her needs - because Diana didn't know her own needs. We identified quite a few practical things she could try to consider both her own and her children's needs, and there's also a message in the episode that Diana sent me a week after we talked, sharing how things were going....

  • It can be really hard to see what's happening in our struggles with our children. They refuse to go to bed at bedtime; we're at home alone all day with a baby who doesn't like being put down, and our older child who is now being aggressive, and there's no time for us to even take a shower, and maybe it seems like everyone around us is judging our parenting choices. In this very different episode you're going to hear from parents who are in exactly these kinds of situations, and who joined me for a group coaching call to talk through them. We worked through a role play with one parent, Meagan, and then we saw how the same process could apply to lots of other different kinds of situations. Several of the parents who joined the call were kind enough to record messages after the call letting me know how the experience was for them, and with their permission I've included these recordings in the episode as well. So if you're struggling to find your groove as a parent; if you're struggling to find yourself, this episode will help.And if you'd like to join coaching calls with me that are just like this one, I'd invite you to join the Setting Loving (& Effective!) Limits workshop that's coming up very soon. I will teach you how to set limits, but we'll also go waaaay beyond that to learn how to set fewer limits than you ever thought possible. You can enroll in the Setting Limits workshop with our Guided Path, receiving one email per day for 10 days starting Wednesday, April 24th (with the weekend off in the middle). It's completely free to get the content and access to our private online community, although the content does expire at the end of the workshop for the free version. For just $37 you can upgrade to the Full Experience, where you can revisit the content whenever you like, and also get five group coaching calls with me over the 10 days, and those calls will look very much like the call you're about to listen to or watch in this episode. Click the banner to learn more: 

  • I have to admit, I’m a bit scared to say it…The P-word…“Patriarchy.”(Phew! I did it!)I know some listeners find it hard to hear.I’ve spoken with more than one woman who has told me: “I sent your podcast to my husband but then he heard the word “Patriarchy” and it was all over.There’s some sadness there for me, for sure.Every time I talk about patriarchy I talk about how much it hurts me and those of us who identify as women – but I also talk about how much it hurts men as well. And that’s not just lip service: I truly believe that patriarchy has robbed men of a full emotional life.I was talking with a parent in the Parenting Membership recently who asked her husband if he ever felt truly seen and understood. He said ‘no,’ and ended the conversation. She cried as she told me: “I feel so sad for him that he doesn’t know that he could be seen and understood, so he doesn’t even realize he’s missing it.”We can know these things conceptually, and we can think that patriarchy kind of sucks, but maybe we think there’s not a lot we can do about it. After all, isn’t the man the one who really needs to change?Member Iris and I had had a conversation in the membership a couple of months before I was in Vancouver for the Parenting Beyond Power book tour, where she mentioned that she’d been thinking a lot about how patriarchy shows up in her life. We made plans to get together to record an episode while I was in town – and here it is!Iris and I discuss: The power and control that men held over women and girls as she grew up in the Philippines, including casting out female family members with out-of-wedlock pregnancies, while nothing happened to the men who got them pregnant (and lest we think this couldn't possibly happen where we live, men have very real power over women's pregnancies in the United States as well right now too...) How she sees herself catering to her husband’s needs - adjusting her daily schedule to his; eating what he wanted for dinner even if she preferred something different; perceiving that he expects her to do more than half of the household, even though neither of them works for income; Patriarchal messages that are being passed on to her daughter about the value of marriage, children, and meeting men’s needs.
    Even though she’s no longer in the Philippines, Iris still sees patriarchy in her relationship with her husband and daughter. She even sees how it hurts her husband, who is looked down upon in our culture because he doesn't present in a typically 'masculine' way.She shares the practices she’s using to pass on different messages to her daughter about a woman’s role in a family and in the world.But I don’t think we should only have these kinds of conversations with our daughters. We should also talk with our boys about their feelings, and encourage them to fully experience their pain, hurt, and joy, and teach them that it’s OK to care about other people and not be an island that feels no pain and never cries.

  •  Sara has always tried really hard to not just be a good parent, but a really good parent. The best parent. (When I coached her and her partner recently to create some content for the Parenting Membership that you'll hear more about in a few weeks, her partner said to her: You hold everyone else to a high standard. You hold yourself to a higher standard.) Sara put a lot of pressure on herself, and this was even harder because she she didn't have the most amazing parental role models. They often fought in front of Sara and her sibling (with insults and name calling a regular part of the mix), and they didn't repair afterward. The difficult communication between parents extended to the children as well - Sara started to fight back when she was spanked, which escalated to physical fights as she got older. If she tried to talk with her Mom about previous incidents then her Mom would make out that she was the victim, while her Dad would whiz her down to Baskin Robbins for ice cream to win back her love. Sara withdrew, stopped sharing anything with her parents and isolated herself in her room - devouring books and the all the things on the early days of the internet. So when she became a parent, it's not surprising she felt triggered! Conflict abounded! Conflict with her partner, and with her children - she knew how she WANTED to navigate it (in a way that modeled healthy conflict for her children), but how could she do that when she had no idea how? We talk about conflict in this episode, and we also talk about needs. It turns out that Sara had needs (who knew!) and when she started to identify and meet them, the magic happened. Spending time doing things for herself, to meet her need for creativity, created time to spend with her husband and children. ...

  •  Last year I hosted a panel event in Vancouver where four people who have been active in helping us to navigate toward an anti-racist, post-patriarchal, post-capitalist future came together to share their ideas in front of a live audience. It was a beautiful event (eventually we'll process the video of it to share with you!), and I really hit it off with Moms Against Racism Canada founder Kerry Cavers so we got together afterward to chat. This is a much more personal episode than many. I actually didn't know it was going to be an episode beforehand - I thought we were going to record something that would be mostly for Kerry to use to explain her work to potential funders. But when I realized what gold we had, I decided to release the video as an episode. I did realize that we were lacking in some specific take-home messages for listeners, so I asked whether Kerry would be willing to share some ideas for ways to take action on anti-racism with us. She has a lot going on at the moment so she wasn't able to record something for us, but she did put together a VERY comprehensive list of actions that I recorded at the end of the episode. I've also created a PDF of her ideas that you can print and refer back to more easily - click the button below to download it.  

  •  Listener Roberta submitted a question recently on YourParentingMojo.com/question: What does the research say are the decisions that really matter in parenting? That question immediately got my brain churning about what could be included, and how we would decide what to include, and how much of what's included could actually be research-based. The episode begins with a look at some of the major categories of factors that impact our children's development that we may not have as much control over, because we have to acknowledge these before we can look at what we do impact. Then I look at some of the things we do control but I think we can pretty safely stop worrying about them. The impact that each of these things has is likely to be so tiny as to individually meaningless. Finally, I count down my list of the top 5 things that I think impact children's development.

  • My mom died when I was 10, and for a while people in our small village would look at my sister and me as if we were 'special' in some weird way. By the time I was a young adult that was just one of a stew of difficult experiences I'd had, and I also realized: my stuff is not special. By that age, most people are carrying around some kind of trauma. But so what? Does it matter? If our mental health is good enough, does it help to wallow around in all the stuff that's in the past? In this episode we talk with Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, who has pioneered the connections between these kinds of Adverse Childhood Experiences and medical care for children, as well as Jackie Thu-Huong Wong, Executive Director of First 5 California. We'll learn: What is an Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE); How ACEs can influence not only our physical but our mental health as well; What we know about the protective effects of relationships with caring adults Dr. Burke Harris' opinions of the 'best' authoritative parenting style; A new feature in our episodes: mild, medium, and spicy options for parents who want to dip their toe into the water on this topic, or dive more deeply.
      Taming Your TriggersStill feeling uncertain about the impact of childhood experiences on your parenting journey? If you need more help, the Taming Your Triggers Workshop is here for you.Discover why you react strongly to your child's behavior, heal past hurts that trigger your feelings, and develop skills to understand and meet your needs-- AND your child's needs.Let's transform your parenting journey from frustration to confidence! Join the waitlist and we'll notify you as soon as we reopen.  Episode mentioned

    148: Is spanking a child really so bad?

     Jump to Highlights01:26 Introducing today’s topic and guests04:20 Clarifying the concept of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and their origin06:37 Discussing how Dr. Burke Harris’s research expanded the understanding of ACEs beyond family-focused indicators10:05
  • When Carys was about three, I forced a dropper of antibiotics into her mouth to just get her to take it, so she would start to feel better. We were both tired and hangry and I didn't see another path forward, when she was refusing something that I knew would help her. What other choice did I have? My husband did see another path when he arrived home later that evening, and before she went to bed she willingly took a full dose of the medicine. These kinds of situations come up often in parenting: where we're trying to get our child to do something, perhaps even for their own health and safety, and they refuse. It can seem like the only path forward is to force them against their will - after all, we are doing this for their own good, right? But what if there was another way to make these things happen that met your child's needs for autonomy over their own bodies, and also met your needs for peace and ease and harmony and protection of their health and safety? That's what we'll work through in today's episode. We'll look closely at the way consent is perceived in our culture, and how these messages are transmitted - in school, in peer groups, in movies and songs, and in our families. I'm also introducing a new element into podcast episodes to help you put the ideas in the episode into practice. At the end of the episode I offer three suggestions for things you could try in your relationship with your own child - organized into mild, medium, and spicy options so you can step in at the level that feels right to you. Trigger warning: I do discuss sexual assault in this episode. It might not be one you listen to with your children around, and if you have experienced sexual assault, please make sure you're well resourced if you do choose to listen. Setting Loving (& Effective!) LimitsAre there times when your child doesn’t listen?Do they stall, ignore you, refuse to do the things you ask…and then look you right in the eye while doing the thing you asked them NOT to do?Do you feel disrespected when your child does these things – but have no idea what to do about it because the one thing you KNOW is that you don’t want to treat your child the same way your parents treated you?If so, the FREE Setting Loving (& Effective!) Limits workshop will help. Click the banner to join the waitlist now:  Other episodes referenced079: What is RIE?084: The Science of RIEJump to Highlights00:54 Introducing today’s topic05:24 Getting consent from babies through non-verbal cues14:12 The existence of a rape culture that normalizes and trivializes sexual assault16:55 Understanding consent beyond the typical script of cisgender heterosexual relationships23:36 How distorted perceptions of feminism impact consent education27:05 The importance of discussing consent beyond sexual situations30:00 The lack of emphasis on consent in sex education standards and children's exposure to problematic portrayals of sex in media41:19 The importance of teaching consent from childhood to counter rape culture rooted in patriarchal norms45:49 Practical steps for parents to promote consent with their children49:18 Listener Cori's experience underscores the importance of understanding a child's needs, promoting autonomy, and building consent-based relationships from an early age56:02 The conclusion suggests three options for implementing the ideas discussed in the episode ReferencesBeres, M.A. (2021). From ignorance to...

  •  When I saw that our 200th episode was coming up, I knew I wanted to do something special to celebrate. Listeners called in with questions for me for our 100th episode, which was released in September 2019. The numbering is a bit fuzzy, I have to admit - we're actually well over 200 episodes because there have been an assortment of Sharing Your Parenting Mojo conversations with parents and other folks that use a different numbering system, but whatever. It's still a milestone😊 Back then, I was just getting into exploring big social justice issues on the podcast. Early in 2020 I did two episodes on how patriarchy affects our parenting, followed by an extended series on the intersection of race and parenting, and several episodes on advertising and consumerism. We learned a lot about sex, and I started what has become a series of 'deconstructed' episodes where I examine an idea that is usually assumed to be 'the way it is,' and find out that perhaps that isn't the way it is after all. I looked at: How most of what we think we know about attachment theory is probably wrong Authoritative isn't the best parenting 'style' The current...

  • Listener Rachel also reached out with some questions, and due to my book tour schedule it took us a little longer to get a call on the calendar, but eventually - on a day in Seattle when I also had a coaching call and two two-hour workshops based on the book - we made it happen. Rachel's questions go deeeep. She wanted to know: If there are ideas I logically know are the right ones to follow but I still have trouble doing it; How my parenting is evolving as Carys gets older (her own daughter is a year older than Carys); Whether I think my view of parenting is possible within the social and political systems in which we currently live.
     Parenting Beyond PowerDo you want to change the way you parent and make a positive impact on your family and the world?Parenting Beyond Power is your key to unlocking this transformative path.Embrace a fresh parenting approach, nurturing collaborative and harmonious connections with your children, all while contributing to a more inclusive and equitable world for all.So don't hesitate – start transforming your parenting journey today, and grab your copy of Parenting Beyond Power now to get started! Click the banner to learn more. Taming Your Triggers

  •  A couple of years ago I was watching a session of the Alliance for Self-Directed Education's online conference by unschooling advocate Idzie Desmerais. At some point she dropped a quote into her presentation that I jotted down but didn't think much of at the time: What if your ideas about politics were just your ideas about childhood, extrapolated? I returned to my notes some months later, having spent much of that time immersed in writing the first draft of the book, the quote almost took my breath away. There, right in front of me, was a single sentence that encapsulated so much of what I'd been thinking and writing about. On the surface, it may seem as though these topics are completely unrelated but they are actually intimately connected. We use politics set up systems that support the culture we want to live in. We create systems that make it harder to vote because we don't think everyone should be able to vote - especially if you aren't White, male, or at least middle...

  •  This is the first in a series of 'back to basics' episodes here on the show, where we'll look at the everyday challenges you're facing as a parent. (Have an idea for an episode? Share it on this thread in our free Facebook group [insert link], send us a max 2 minute video of you saying your question, or click here to record an audio message for me...) I'd wanted to do an episode on the use of reward & punishment systems in classrooms for a while, and when I mentioned this to my community manager Denise, she immediately started telling me all about the systems in her children's classrooms. So Denise sent me her questions, and we chatted through the research-based answers in this episode. To make it easier for you to start a conversation at your school about rewards and punishment systems, I've created a one page 'cheat sheet' for you to share with others. Just click the image below to download it! 

  •  Do you worry about the state of the Earth? Climate change perhaps above all else, but also resource extraction, air pollution, and the injustice that goes along with the ways the impacts of these things are distributed? You're not the only one. I know not everyone goes this far, but one of the reasons I waited so long to have a baby, almost didn't have a baby, and will only have one child is to reduce my impact on climate change. We all know we're supposed to fly less, drive less, and eat less meat. But how can those actions ever be enough, when (I read somewhere a long time ago) that there aren't enough resources on the planet for everyone to consume the resources that an unhoused person in the United States uses? In her new book Parenting on Earth: A Philosopher's Guide to Doing Right by Your Kids - and Everyone Else's (affiliate link), Dr. Elizabeth Cripps walks us through the moral arguments involved in taking action on these issues - as well as the ones we use to justify not taking action. 

  •  Hunter Clarke-Fields is back with us again! She's the author of Raising Good Humans, and now the new book Raising Good Humans Every Day (affiliate links). Why does the world need two books with such similar titles? Are they even different?! Yes, they are! Raising Good Humans Every Day is small! And short! And the chapters are short! Each one contains just one practice, described in a few pages. If you've got five minutes you can read a chapter and then put the idea into practice immediately. Use it, see some success, and get inspired for the next one. Short, simple, and sweet. Can't beat that!

  •  Do you ever feel triggered by your partner's behavior? (No? Just me? 😬) Many parents who join the Taming Your Triggers workshop sign up for help navigating their children's behavior...and then once they're inside they confess that their partner's behavior is even more triggering than their child's. As you might imagine, many of the participants in the Taming Your Triggers workshop are women. (Classic patriarchy at work: caregiving is women's work, and so is managing the emotional climate of the family, so why does a male partner in a cisgender, heterosexual relationship need to bother?) So I've been especially glad to see that more and more men are taking the workshop - and last time around we also had several couples participating together. Elizabeth and Marshall are physical therapists who travel and work to pay off their student loan debt. They had a three-year-old, and then became unexpectedly pregnant...

  •  In this short episode, I'm going to teach you a real, legit, bona fide magic trick. And unlike most magic tricks which rely on sleight of hand to convince you of something that has happened when it really hasn't, this one actually works. It helps you to see that things are not as bad as they seem, and that you can cope, even when things feel incredibly difficult and that you're failing as a parent. I asked four listeners to help me explain the concept to you, and how it has helped them, and one even went above and beyond and did a live demo for us! Then I walk you through it step by step, so you can use it when you need it later.  Taming Your TriggersIf you need help with your own big feelings about your child's behavior, join our Taming Your Triggers workshop. We’ll help you to:

  •  Polyvagal Theory is everywhere these days. Psychologists talk about it; parenting coaches talk about it; if you’re inthe mental health field you’re probably referring to polyvagal theory in some way. So one would assume that there’s lots of evidence for it, right? Well, maybe. Maybe not. In this episode I dig into the foundational principles of Polyvagal Theory and find that there's a lot less evidence supporting it than you might think, given how many places it's used. So what's going on? Is it legit? Should we be using a different theory to understand our experience instead? But all may not be lost! Maybe there are aspects of the theory that we can still use...the episode suggests a path forward on this.  Taming Your Triggers 

  • Parenting Beyond Power is officially available today! Come join a mini-celebration with me in this podcast episode, and TODAY on Zoom at 11am Pacific/2pm Eastern/8pm Central Europe, and in-person this weekend if you're in the Bay Area! Do you celebrate your achievements? I don't know about you, but I find it pretty difficult. I didn't celebrate getting into Berkeley or Yale, or graduating from either of those places either (in fact, I think I was in the car driving away from each of those places when the graduation ceremonies happened). I didn't celebrate getting U.S. citizenship, or have a baby shower, and Alvin and Carys buy or make me a birthday cake every year because they want to, but I don't really celebrate that either. I didn't celebrate signing a book deal two years ago, and when we rolled over 3 million downloads recently I asked someone on my team to make a quick social post...and that was it. So celebrating the book's launch feels...weird to me. But apparently people who write books do it, so I'm giving it a try - Jen style. I invited a listener, María José (MJ) Durán, to ask me whatever questions she had about the book and the writing process for a mini-celebration. (I did slip in a couple of questions for her as well,