Cover image of Your Parenting Mojo - Respectful, research-based parenting ideas to help kids thrive

Rank #107 in Kids & Family category

Kids & Family
Social Sciences

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

Updated 6 days ago

Rank #107 in Kids & Family category

Kids & Family
Social Sciences
Read more

It\’s like Janet Lansbury\’s \”Unruffled,\” plus a whole lot of scientific research

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It\’s like Janet Lansbury\’s \”Unruffled,\” plus a whole lot of scientific research

iTunes Ratings

236 Ratings
Average Ratings

Best Parenting Information EVER

By feathered aspen - Jun 09 2019
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I deeply appreciate Jen's tireless research and her academic approach. I come away from each episode feeling like I've engaged in a collegiate level discussion on parenting and child development. I also really appreciate her consistent acknowledgement of WEIRD demographics and bias in the studies she discusses and her thorough discussion of race and privilege - so good and so necessary! Along with Alfie Kohn and another podcast, Unruffled, the information that I've metabolized here have led me to adopt a parenting approach that is inspired by RIE and radically different than the models that I've inherited from the culture at large. Radically different in a way that is both challenging but also more philosophically and spiritually resonant with the type of parent/person/family I want to be and create. Thank you!

I'm obsessed with this podcast

By SeveriNishte - Jan 02 2018
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It's exactly what I need to feel informed and confident about my parenting choices!

iTunes Ratings

236 Ratings
Average Ratings

Best Parenting Information EVER

By feathered aspen - Jun 09 2019
Read more
I deeply appreciate Jen's tireless research and her academic approach. I come away from each episode feeling like I've engaged in a collegiate level discussion on parenting and child development. I also really appreciate her consistent acknowledgement of WEIRD demographics and bias in the studies she discusses and her thorough discussion of race and privilege - so good and so necessary! Along with Alfie Kohn and another podcast, Unruffled, the information that I've metabolized here have led me to adopt a parenting approach that is inspired by RIE and radically different than the models that I've inherited from the culture at large. Radically different in a way that is both challenging but also more philosophically and spiritually resonant with the type of parent/person/family I want to be and create. Thank you!

I'm obsessed with this podcast

By SeveriNishte - Jan 02 2018
Read more
It's exactly what I need to feel informed and confident about my parenting choices!
Cover image of Your Parenting Mojo - Respectful, research-based parenting ideas to help kids thrive

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

Updated 6 days ago

Rank #107 in Kids & Family category

Read more

It\’s like Janet Lansbury\’s \”Unruffled,\” plus a whole lot of scientific research

Rank #1: 022: How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen: Author Interview!

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Have you read the now-classic book How to Talk so Kids will Listen and Listen so Kids will Talk?  Ever wished there was a version that would help you with younger children who perhaps aren't quite ready for a detailed problem-solving session?

Well now there is!  Adele Faber is a co-author of the original book; Adele's daughter Joanna and Joanna's childhood friend Julie King have teamed up to write the new version of How to Talk so LITTLE Kids Will Listen, packed with examples of how real parents have used the information they've now been teaching for over 30 years.

Join me for a chat with Julie King as we work to understand the power of acknowledging children's feelings and some practical tools to help engage your younger children to cooperate with you.

Update 5/10/17: An eagle-eyed listener noticed that Julie mentioned her 10-year-old son wanting to sit on the front seat of her car, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children 12 and under should sit in the back seat.  Julie was recounting an episode that happened long before there were CDC recommendations on where children should sit in the car, so please don't take this as an 'OK' to put your 12-and-under child in the front seat.  Thanks!

Faber, J. & King, J. (2017). How to talk so little kids will listen. New York: Scribner.  (Affiliate link)
Read Full Transcript

Jen:                                      00:21 Welcome to the Your Parenting Mojo podcast. I'd like to welcome my guest today, Julie King, who is one half of the writing duo behind the new book, How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen, and if that title sounds familiar, it's because it's part of what seems to have become a family of books around the classic How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. Julie has been educating and supporting parents and professionals since 1995 and in addition to her work with individual parents and couples, she also leads How to Talk workshops and gives parent education presentations to schools, nonprofits, and parent groups. Julie received her AB from Princeton University and a JD from Yale Law School. She lives in the San Francisco Bay area and is the mother of three. Welcome Julie.

Julie:                                   01:13                   Thank you.

Jen:                                      01:14                   It actually does feel a little odd to welcome you when we're in your own home. Julie was kind enough to invite me to her home today to have this conversation. So thanks so much for taking the time.

Julie:                                   01:23                   Oh my pleasure.

Jen:                                      01:24                   So I wonder if you can tell me a little bit about the genesis of this book because it kind of runs in the family a bit, right?

Julie:                                   01:30                   Okay. So to tell you the whole story, I have to go back in time to when I was six months old.

Jen:                                      01:37                   This is going to be a long story!

Julie:                                   01:38                   I'm not going to go through all the details, I promise, but when my parents moved into the house that they still live in when I was born, right before I was born and my mother didn't know very many people in the neighborhood. I was six months old. She was looking out the kitchen window and she saw another mom with two little kids the same age as me and my brother and she invited that woman in. That was Adele favor and the two of them became very good friends. Joanna. Joanna was the baby and her brother Carl was the older boy and she and I went to nursery school together. Adele took these, what they call Child Guidance Workshops with Haim Ginott and used to call my mother daily and discuss what she was l...
Jan 19 2017
41 mins

Rank #2: 094: Using nonviolent communication to parent more peacefully

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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
Read Full Transcript

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 and ease to our family. Welcome, Christine.
Christine: 00:03:23 Thank you so much for inviting me to your program, Jen. I have listened to a few of your podcasts. I found them inspirational and educational and so I want to thank you for the work that you're doing in this world to promote more respectful and more conscious parenting.
Jen: 00:03:45 Oh, thank you. You've got a lot to live up to then, don't you?
Christine: 00:03:50 Yeah, that's right.
Jen: 00:03:51 So let's start by asking the question that everyone who's listening, who has never heard of NVC before is thinking,
Jul 07 2019
1 hour 5 mins

Rank #3: 055: Raising Your Spirited Child

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Is your child 'spirited'?  Even if they aren't spirited all the time, do they have spirited moments?  You know exactly what to do in those moments, right?


Well then we have a treat for you today.  Dr. Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, author of Raising Your Spirited Child, walks us through the ins and outs of her book on the same topic.  Best yet, we do the interview as a consult with a parent, Kathryn, who has read and loved the book, but struggled with implementing the ideas.

Warning: we spend quite a bit of time brainstorming very specific problems that Kathryn is having with her daughter.  You may not be having exactly the same problem with your child, but the brainstorming method we use is one you can do with a friend - take the approach with you to address your own problems, rather than the specific ideas.

Read more about Dr. Mary's books and other work on her website.

Kurcinka, M.S. (2015). Raising your spirited child (3rd Ed.). New York, NY: William Morrow. (Affiliate link)
Read Full Transcript

Jen:                                      00:39                   Hello and welcome to the Your Parenting Mojo podcast. I know we're going to help a lot of parents out today because we are here with Dr. Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, who wrote the book Raising Your Spirited Child, which I know is an absolute classic read for any parent of a spirited child. I read the book because a listener had requested an episode on it and what surprised me about it was that I don't think my daughter is particularly spirited, but I definitely saw elements of her behavior described in the book and what I took out of that was that probably pretty much any child can have spirited elements of their personality or even just spirited moments. And so both the book and this episode are really for anyone who raises a child and who has ever had a moment where they think, "why won't he or she just do what I ask."

Jen:                                      01:26                   So Dr. Mary has a bachelor's in early childhood education, a Master's in family social science, and a doctorate in education. She has written four books on various aspects of raising children, which have been translated into 23 languages. Her son and daughter are now fully fledged adults and she lives with her husband in Bozeman, Montana. Welcome Dr. Mary.

Kathryn:                             01:46                   Thank you.

Jen:                                      01:48                   And so when I mentioned in my fortnightly newsletter, which you can actually receive by subscribing to the show, that I was looking for a coat interviewer to help me interview Dr Mary and really dig into the ways to apply the wisdom in the book. I received a number of responses, but one really stuck out. Kathryn is based in London and she has a four year old daughter who we're going to call Jane in this episode and a son who's a little over a year old and we're going to call him George.

Jen:                                      02:14                   I asked Kathryn to help us with this interview because she'd actually read and love the book, but had been struggling with the application of some of the strategies. She's tried hard to support her spirited daughter as she grows and develops, but has found a particularly challenged in some areas since the birth of her son. So we're here today to really get into the book, but also go beyond the book and get the real lowdown on how to implement the strategies in the book when the first attempt has maybe been a little bit less than successful. Welcome Kathryn.

Kathryn:                             02:41                   Thank you.

Jen:                                      02:42                   All right. So Kathryn, let's start with you. I wonder if you could please describe your daughter and how she fits into your family dynamic and I know you'v...
Jan 12 2018
52 mins

Rank #4: 064: Compassion (and how to help your child develop it)

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"Social and Emotional Learning" is all the rage in school these days, along with claims that it can help children to manage their emotions, make responsible decisions, as well as improve academic outcomes.

But what if those programs don't go nearly far enough?

What if we could support our child in developing a sense of compassion that acts as a moral compass to not only display compassion toward others, but also to pursue those things in life that have been demonstrated - through research - to make us happy?  And what if we could do that by supporting them in reading cues they already feel in their own bodies, and that we ordinarily train out of them at a young age?

Dr. Brendan Ozawa-de Silva, Associate Director for the Emory University’s Center for Contemplative Science and Compassion-Based Ethics, tells us about his work to bring secular ethics, which he calls the cultivation of basic human values, into education and society

Learn more about Breandan's work here:
We also mentioned the Yale University course The Psychology of Wellbeing, which is available on Coursera here.

Desbordes, G., Negi, L.T., Pace, T.W.W., Wallace, B.A., Raison, C.L., & Schwartz, E.L. (2012). Effects of mindful-attention and compassion medication training on amygdala response to emotional stimuli in an ordinary, non-meditative state. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 6(1), 1-15.

Frey, K.S., Nolen, S.B., Edstrom, L.V., & Hirschstein, M.K. (2005). Effects of a school-based social-emotional competence program: Linking children’s goals, attributions, and behavior. Applied Developmental Psychology 26, 171-200.

Lantieri, L., & Nambiar, M. (2012). Cultivating the social, emotional, and inner lives of children and teachers. Reclaiming Children and Youth 21(2), 27-33.

Maloney, J.E., Lawlor, M.S., Schonert-Reichl, K.A., & Whitehead, J. (2016). A mindfulness-based social and emotional learning curriculum for school-aged children: The MindUP program. In K.A. Schoenert-Reichl & R.W. Roeser (Eds.), Handbook of mindfulness in education (pp.313-334). New York, NY: Springer.

Ozawa-de Silva, B., & Dodson-Lavelle, B. (2011). An education of heart and mind: Practical and theoretical issues in teaching cognitive-based compassion training to children. Practical Matters 4, 1-28.

Pace, T.W.W., Negi, L.T., Adame, D.D., Cole, S.P., Sivilli, T.I., Brown, T.D., Issa, M.J., & Raison, C.L. (2009). Effect of compassion meditation on neuroendocrine, innate immune and behavioral responses to psychosocial stress. Psychoneuroendocrinology 34, 87-98.

Rovelli, C. (2017). Reality is not what it seems: The journey to quantum gravity. New York, NY: Riverhead.
Read Full Transcript

Jen:                                      00:40                   Hello and welcome to today's episode of Your Parenting Mojo, which is on the topic of compassion. I actually need to thank Dr Tara Callahan, whom I interviewed way back in episode four of the show on encouraging creativity and artistic ability for bringing us this episode. She met today's guest Dr Brendan Ozawa-de Silva at a conference and was kind enough to put us in touch. Dr Ozawa-de Silva is the Associate Director for the Emory University Center for Contemplative Science and Compassion-Based Ethics, where he's responsible for Emory's Social, Emotional, and Ethical learning program, or SEE Learning; a worldwide kindergarten through twelfth grade educational curriculum based on compassion and secular ethics. He received his doctorates from Oxford and Emory universities as well as master's degrees from Boston and Oxford Universities; I think you've actually got more degrees than I do. His chief interests lies in bringing secular ethics, which he calls the cultivation of basic human values into education and society. I'm excited to learn more today about his work an...
May 20 2018
55 mins

Rank #5: 088: Setting loving – and effective! – limits

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The way we set limits has such profound implications for our parenting: it's the difference between parenting in a constant state of anxiety, and being truly calm and confident that you're making the right decisions as you move through your day.

If we set ineffective limits, our child never knows where we stand.  They push and push and push because they know we will allow it, then finally we blow up because they pushed us TOO FAR and they end up in tears (or angry) and we end up angry (or in tears, or both).

But doesn't setting limits mean being "harsh" or "punitive"?  Not at all!  When we set the right limits (by which I mean the right limits for your family), you can hold those limits effectively and the testing behavior will diminish dramatically.

The result?  More harmony at home.  Less uncertainty for you.  More confidence for your child.  Give it a try!
Other episodes mentioned in this episode

Why storytelling is so important for our children

Should we just Go Ahead and Heap Rewards on our Child?
Read Full Transcript

Hello and welcome to the Your Parenting Mojo podcast. Today we’re going to discuss a topic that virtually all parents find difficult at one point or another, and that’s setting and holding limits. What’s the purpose of setting limits? How do we know we’re setting one where we should be setting one? And how do we set them without getting into a big fight over something that ultimately turns out to not be that important? And can there really be cultural issues at play here? Why yes, of course! It’s parenting, after all… So we’ll look at all of these things today.
First, let’s examine our WEIRDNESS – or, how people in countries that aren’t Western, Educated, Industrial, Rich, and Democratic do things. The anthropological literature is replete with examples of how children’s behavior is controlled in other cultures, as well as historically in our own. Shame is one of the most common tactics used, as illustrated by this anecdote from a study of the Ngoni ethnic group in southern Africa that I think we mentioned in our episode on storytelling:
“A proverb might suddenly be dropped like a stone into a pond. The conversation rippled away into silence, and the boy or girl who had refused to share some peanuts or had been boasting began to wonder to himself: “Can that be for me? No? Yes? It is me. I am ashamed.” No one said anything but the shamed one took the first chance of slipping away to avoid further public notice. The use of proverbs [was] an effective at of making a child learn for himself and apply the lesson.”
Zinacantecan elders in Mexico critically discuss the child’s behavior while the child is present but otherwise don’t interact with the child; the child is expected to ‘overhear’ and modify their behavior. Shame is used in a variety of Asian cultures, from Bali to China to Japan to Taiwan. Parents in these cultures will tell others of the child’s misdeeds in front of the child, will ridicule, mock, and laugh at the child. Samoan children are reigned in with threats that animals will come and eat them, and the Kaoka elders on Guadalcanal warn that giants will take naughty boys and girls and carry them off to a cave, where the bodies are cooked and eaten.
Frightening Bible stories – as well as folk tales - have been used to control European children; in the 1800s children in England were taken to the gibbet to view rotting bodies hanging there while being told moral stories – and then they were whipped when they got home to make sure the lessons stuck.
And where stories, proverbs, and shame fail, corporal punishment picks up. The Mfantse in Ghana will even lightly cuff an infant for crying for no good reason, while parents in Samoa “believe in the unique efficacy of pain as a means of instruction, and the Rwala Bedu in Syria will spank small children with a stick and slash older children with a saber or dagger.
Apr 14 2019
45 mins

Rank #6: 046: How to potty train a child

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When should I start potty training?  What books should I read?  Can I do it in a day (or a week)?  Do I need stickers (for rewards)?  Does it have to be stressful?

I get these kinds of questions pretty often, and I'd resisted doing an episode on potty training because there are so many books on it already, and everyone has their opinion, and I really didn't want to wade into it.  But ya'll kept asking and my resolve has finally crumbled, so today we're going to talk all about what the research says, what the books say, and how there's essentially no correlation between the books and the research.  We'll review the "do it in a day!" methods and what makes them successful, and we'll also look at child-led methods.  You'll leave this episode with a clear picture of which is probably going to work best for you, and some concrete tools you can put to work (today, if you need to!) to start what I prefer to call the "toilet learning" process.
Other episodes references in this show
021: Talk Sex Today
009: Do you punish your child with rewards?
020: How do I get my child to do what I want them to do? (Unconditional parenting)
042: Manners
Au, S. &; Stavinoha, P.L. (2008). Stress-free potty training: A commonsense guide to finding the right approach for your child. New York, NY: AMACOM.
Barone, J.G., Jasutkar, N., & Schneider, D. (2009). Later toilet training is associated with urge incontinence in children. Journal of Pediatric Urology 5, 458-461.
Benjusuwantep, B., & Ruangdaraganon, N. (2011). Infant toilet training in Thailand: Starting and completion age and factors determining them. Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand 94(12), 1441-1446.

Blum, N.J., Taubman, B., & Nemeth, N. (2003). Relationship between age at initiation of toilet training and duration of training: A prospective study. Pediatrics 111(4), 810-814.
Butler, J.F. (The toilet training success of parents after reading Toilet Training In Less Than A Day. Behavior Therapy 7, 185-191.
Duong, T.H., Jansson, U-B., & Hellstrom, A-L. (2013). Vietnamese mothers’ experiences with potty training procedure for children from birth to 2 years of age. Journal of Pediatric Urology 9, 808-814.
Fertleman, C., & Cave, S. (2011). Potty training girls the easy way: A stress-free guide to helping your daughter learn quickly. Philadelphia, PA: Da Capo.
Fertleman, C. & Cave, S. (2009). Potty training boys the easy way: Helping your son learn quickly – even if he’s a late starter. Philadelphia, PA: Da Capo.
Gerber, M. (2002). Dear parent: Caring for infants with respect (2 nd Ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Resources for Infant Educarers.
Glowacki, J. (2015). Oh, crap! Potty training: Everything modern parents need to know to do it once and do it right. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.
Goode, E. (1999, January 12). Two experts do battle over potty training. The New York Times. Retrieved from: do-battle- over-potty- training.html
Gross-Loh, C. (2007). The diaper-free baby: The natural toilet training alternative. New York, NY: William Morrow.
Horn, I.B., Brenner, R., Rao, M., & Cheng, T.L. (2006). Beliefs about the appropriate age for initiating toilet training: Are there racial and socioeconomic differences? Journal of Pediatrics 149, 165-168.
Kaerts, N., Van Hal, G., Vermandel, A., & Wyndaele, J-J. (2012). Readiness signs used to define the proper moment to start toilet training: A review of the literature. Neurology and Urodynamics 31, 437-440.
Kimball, V. (2016). The perils and pitfalls of potty training. Pediatric Annals 45(6), 199-201.
Koc, I., Camurdan, A.D., Beyazova, U., Ilhan, M.N., & Sahin, F. (2008). Toilet training in Turkey: The factors that affect timing and duration in different sociocultural groups. Child: Care, Health and Development 34(4), 475-481.
Martin, J.A., King, D.R., Maccoby, E.E., & Jacklin, C.N. (1984). Secular trends and individual differences in toilet-trai...
Aug 27 2017
44 mins

Rank #7: 039: What to do when your toddler says "No, I don’t wanna…!"

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It’s no secret that I do some episodes of the podcast altruistically for you, dear listeners, because I’m not facing the situation that I’m studying – or at least not yet. (Eyebrows were raised in our house when I started researching the impact of divorce on children but luckily for me I don’t need that episode…yet…)

But today’s episode is for me, and you guys are just along for the ride. Because, friends, we are in the thick of what I now know to be called “oppositional defiance,” otherwise known as “Noooo! I don’t wanna [insert activity here]”. We'll discuss why toddlers are defiant, and lots of strategies we can use to deal with that defiance and even head it off at the pass. If your child has ever said "No!" to something you want them to do, this episode is for you!

Other episodes mentioned in this show

020: How do I get my child to do what I want them to do?

022: How to talk so little kids will listen (Author interview)

Dix, T., Stewart, A.D., Gershoff, E.T., & Day, W.T. (2007). Autonomy and children’s reactions to being controlled: Evidence that both compliance and defiance may be positive markers in early development. Child Development 78(4), 1204-1221.

Dunn, J., & Munn, P. (1986). Sibling quarrels and maternal intervention: Individual differences in understanding aggression. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 27, 583-595. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.1986.tb00184.x

Eyberg, S. M., Nelson, M. M., & Boggs, S. R. (2008). Evidence-based psychosocial treatments for children and adolescents with disruptive behavior. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 37, 215-237. doi: 10.1080/15374410701820117

Grolnick, W.S. (2012). The relations among parental power assertion, control, and structure. Human Development 55, 57-64. DOI: 10.1159/000338533

Grusec, J. E. (2012). Socialization and the role of power assertion. Human Development, 55, 52-56. doi: 10.1159/000337963

Kaler, S. R., & Kopp, C. B. (1990). Compliance and comprehension in very young toddlers. Child Development, 61, 1997-2003. doi: 10.2307/1130853

Knowles, S.J. (2014). The effectiveness of mother’s disciplinary reasoning in response to toddler noncompliance (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Oklahoma State University. Full copy available at:

Kuczynski, L. (1984). Socialization goals and mother-child interaction: Strategies for long-term and short-term compliance. Developmental Psychology 20(6), 1061-1073.

Langer, E., Blank, A., & Chanowitz, B. (1978). The mindlessness of Ostensibly Thoughtful Action: The Role of “Placebic” Information in Interpersonal Interaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 36(6), 635-642.
Read Full Transcript

Hello and welcome to the Your Parenting Mojo podcast.  Now it’s no secret that I do some episodes of the podcast altruistically for you, dear listeners, because I’m not facing the situation that I’m studying – or at least not yet.  (Eyebrows were raised in our house when I started researching the impact of divorce on children but luckily for me I don’t need that episode…yet…)

But today’s episode is for me, and you guys are just along for the ride.  Because, friends, we are in the thick of what I now know to be called “oppositional defiance,” otherwise known as “Noooo! I don’t wanna [insert activity here]”.  There’s actually an oppositional defiant disorder that’s described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is more commonly known as the DSM-5, because it’s in its fifth revision.  And I should say that the DSM is not infallible and is susceptible to societal trends – homosexuality was defined as a mental disorder in the DSM until 1973.  But right now Oppositional Defiant Disorder is in the DSM, and it’s defined as having four of a list of eight symptoms which fall into three ...
May 21 2017
33 mins

Rank #8: 002: Why doesn’t my toddler share?

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Imagine this: you’re with your toddler son or daughter at a playground on a Saturday afternoon so there are a lot of people around.  You’re sitting on a bench while your child plays in the sandpit where several others are playing as well.  You’re half paying attention while you catch up with some texts on your phone.  You hear a scream and when you look up you see a child you don’t know clutching tightly onto the spade your child had been playing with, and your child is about to burst into tears.

Or this: You’re at the playground on a Saturday afternoon and your child is in the sand pit, but when you hear the scream you look up to see your child holding the spade, and a child you don’t know has clearly just had it removed from his possession.

What do you do?

Assuming you want your children to learn how to share things, what's the best way to encourage that behavior?  What signs can you look for to understand whether they're developmentally ready?  Does praising a child who proactively shares something encourage her to do it again - or make her less likely to share in the future?  We'll answer all these questions and more.
References for this episode

Brownell, C., S. Iesue, S. Nichols, and M. Svetlova (2012). Mine or Yours? Development of Sharing in Toddlers in Relation to Ownership Understanding. Child Development 84:3 906-920.  Full article available at:

Crary, E. (2013). The secret of toddler sharing: Why sharing is hard and how to make it easier. Parenting Press, Seattle, WA.

Davis, L., and J. Keyser (1997).  Becoming the parent you want to be. Broadway Books, New York, NY.

Klein, T (2014). How toddlers thrive. Touchstone, New  York, NY.

Kohn (1993). Punished by rewards: The trouble with gold stars, incentive plans, As, praise, and other bribes. Houghton Mifflin, New York, NY.

Lancy, D. (2015). The anthropology of childhood: Cherubs, Chattel, Changelings. Second Edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England.

Warenken, F., K. Lohse, A. Melis, and M. Tomasello (2011). Young Children Share the Spoils After Collaboration. Psychological Science 22:2 267-273.  Abstract available at:
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Have you ever thought about how common the murder of children has been in societies we now call “Western” in the past, as well as societies all over the world today?

I recently read a book called The Anthropology of Childhood: Cherubs, Chattel, Changelings by David F. Lancy, and it’s a tour de force that describes attitudes to children across cultures today and in history.  Lancy describes how children in a variety of societies, from the Olmec to the Aztecs and the Greco-Romans, children were sacrificed to the Gods to bring rain, and to function as intermediaries between the divine and the human worlds.  In other cultures the infant is viewed as threatening in its own right or as a vessel or avatar for ghosts and evil spirits.  In Micronesia women might give birth to ghosts; deformed children who were thrown into the sea, burned or buried.  Cannibalism survives in the Korowai, New Guinea, where infanticide is not considered an immoral act because birth practices are repulsive and dangerous and a newborn is demonic rather than human.  Neglect may be even more frequent in the cross-cultural literature than deliberate killing, even if the end result is the same.  A study in Hungary found that mothers of high-risk infants breastfed them for shorter periods than normal infants, and also smiled less often at them and played with them less frequently.  They became pregnant more quickly following the birth of a high-risk infant – they had scaled back their investment in the high-risk infant and acted as if they didn’t expect it to survive.

Children have been and continue to be in many places regarded as property and material goods,
Aug 18 2016
17 mins

Rank #9: 009: Do you punish your child with rewards?

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I’ve never said the words “good job” to my toddler. I was lucky – I stumbled on Alfie Kohn’s book Punished by Rewards early enough that I was able to break the habit before my daughter had really done anything much that might be construed as requiring a “good job.”

I’m going to be absolutely transparent here and say that this episode draws very heavily on Alfie Kohn’s book Punished by Rewards, which – along with one of his other books, Unconditional Parenting, are a cornerstone of my approach to parenting. If you have time, you should absolutely buy the book and read it yourself. But assuming you don’t have the time for 300 pages of (really, very good) writing plus a hundred more of notes and references to explain why both physical and verbal rewards are just as harmful to your children as punishing them, this episode will help you to get to the crux of the issue much faster. I’ll also get into the research that Kohn draws on, as well as relevant research that’s been published since the book came out in 1993.

Kohn's thesis is that saying "good job" is really no different than punishing your child, since rewards are essentially the same thing - stimuli designed to elicit a response.  He argues that while this approach is actually quite effective in the short term, not only is it not effective in the long term but it doesn’t mesh well with the kinds of relationships that many of us think or say we want to have with our children.

Birch, LL., Marlin, D.W., & Rotter, J. (1984). Eating as the ‘means’ activity in a contingency: Effects on young children’s food preferences. Child Development 55, 432-439. Retrieved from:

Brummelman, E., Tomaes, S., Overbeek, G., Orobio de Castro, B., van den Hout, M.A., & Bushman, B.J. (2014). On feeding those hungry for praise: Person praise backfires in children with low self-esteem. Journal of Experimental Psychology 143(1), 9-14.

Condry, J. (1977). Enemies of exploration: Self-initiated versus other-initiated learning. Personality and Social Psychology 35(7), 459-477.

Dweck, C. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York: Ballantine.

Eisenberger, R. & Rhoades, L. (2001). Incremental effects of reward on creativity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 81(4), 728-741. DOI: 10.1037//0022-3514.81.4.728

Gottfried, A.E., Fleming, J.S., & Gottfried, A.W. (1994). Role of parental motivational practices in children’s academic intrinsic motivation and achievement. Journal of Educational Psychology 86(1), 104-113.

Gray, P. (2016). Children’s natural ways of educating themselves still work: Even for the three Rs. In D.C. Geary & D.B. Berch (Eds.), Evolutionary perspectives on child development and education (67-93). Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.

Jeffery, R.W., Drewnowski, A., Epstein, L.H., Stunkard, A.J., Wilson, G.T., Wing, R.R., & Hill, D.R. (2000). Long-term maintenance of weight loss: Current status. Health Psychology 19(1 Suppl.), 5-16. DOI: 10.1037//0278-6133.19.1(Suppl.).5

Kazdin, A.E. (1982). The token economy: A decade later. Applied Behavior Analysis 15, 431-445. Full article available at:

Kohn, A. (1993). Punished by Rewards. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. (Affiliate link)

Kohn, A. (2001). Five reasons to stop saying “Good Job!”. Retrieved from:

Pomerantz, E.M., & Kempner, S.G. (2013). Mother’s daily person and process praise: Implications for children’s theory of intelligence and motivation. Developmental Psychology 49(1), 2040-2046.

Rietzschel, E.F., Zacher, H., & Stroebe, W. (2016). A lifespan perspective on creativity and innovation at work. Work, Aging and Retirement 2(2), 105-129.

Schwartz, B. (1982). Reinforcement-induced behavioral stereotypy: How not to teach people to discover rules.
Oct 24 2016
23 mins

Rank #10: 069: Reducing the impact of intergenerational trauma

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Ever get red-hot angry at your child for no reason, or out of proportion to the incident that provoked it?  Have you wondered why this happens?

The way we were parented has a profound impact on us - it's pretty easy to 'fall into' parenting the way you were parented yourself unless you specifically examine your relationship with your parent(s) and how it impacts the way you parent your own child.  This can be great if you have a positive relationship with your parents, but for those of us with less-than-amazing relationships with our parents, trauma can impact more of our parenting that we might like.

Join me for a conversation with Dr. Rebecca Babcock-Fenerci from Stonehill College in Massachusetts, who researches the cognitive and interpersonal consequences of child maltreatment, with the goal of understanding factors that can increase risk for or protect against the transmission of abuse and neglect from parents to their children.

Even if you were not abused or neglected as a child, you may find that aspects of the way you were parented have left you with unresolved trauma that you could pass on to your child if it remains unaddressed.  Dr. Fenerci helps us to examine some of the ways we can recognize the impact of this trauma on ourselves, and reduce the possibility that we will transmit it to our child.


Auerhahn, N.C., & Laub, D. (1998). Intergenerational memory of the Holocaust. In Y. Danieli (Ed.), International handbook of multigenerational legacies of trauma (pp.21-41). New York, NY: Plenum.

Babcock, R.L., & DePrince, A.P. (2013). Factors contributing to ongoing intimate partner abuse: Childhood betrayal trauma and dependence on one’s perpetrator. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 28(7), 1385-1402.

Berthelot, N., Ensink, K., Bernazzani, O., Normandin, L., Fonagy, P., & Luyten, P. (2015). Intergenerational transmission of attachment in abused and neglected mothers: The role of trauma-specific reflective functioning. Infant Mental Health Journal 36(2), 200-212.

Cross, D., Vance, L.A., Kim, Y.J., Ruchard, A.L., Fox, N., Jovanovic, T., & Bradley, B. (2017). Trauma exposure, PTSD, and parenting in a community sample of low-income, predominantly African American mothers and children. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. Psychological Trauma 10(3), 327-335.

Dias, B.G., & Ressler, K.J. (2014). Parental olfactory experience influences behavior and neural structure in subsequent generations. Nature Neuroscience 17, 89-96.

Fenerci, R.L.B., & DePrince, A.P. (2018). Intergenerational transmission of trauma: Maternal trauma-related cognitions and toddler symptoms. Child Maltreatment 23(2), 126-136.

Fenerci, R.L.B., & DePrince, A.P. (2017). Shame and alienation related to child maltreatment: Links to symptoms across generations. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. Epub ahead of print. doi: 10.1037/tra0000332

Fenerci, R.L.B. & DePrince, A.P. (2016). Intergenerational transmission of trauma-related distress: Maternal betrayal trauma, parenting attitudes, and behaviors. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma 25(4), 382-399.

Kellerman, N.P.F. (2013). Epigentic transmission of Holocaust trauma: Can nightmares be inherited? Israel Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences 50(1), 33-39.

Nagata, D.K. (1998). Intergenerational effects of the Japanese American internment. In Y. Danieli (Ed.), International handbook of multigenerational legacies of trauma (pp.125-139). New York, NY: Plenum.

Oliver, J.E. (1993). Intergenerational transmission of child abuse: Rates, research, and clinical implications. American Journal of Psychiatry 150, 1315-1324.

Riva, M.A. (2017). Epigenetic signatures of early life adversities in animal models: A role for psychopathology vulnerability. European Psychiatry 415, S29.

Yehuda, R., Daskalakis, N.P., Bierer, L.M., Bader, H.N., Klengel, T., Holsboer, F., & Binder, E.B. (2016).
Jul 22 2018
57 mins

Rank #11: 095: Ask the American Academy of Pediatrics!

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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 present 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...
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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 issues and so we hear from them and also what factors or issues are v...
Jul 21 2019
1 hour 4 mins

Rank #12: 082: Regulating emotions: What, When, & How

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We've already covered emotion regulation a few times on the show: there were these older short episodes on Three Reasons Not to Say "You're OK!" and Modeling Emotion Regulation, as well as the more recent one on Dr. Stuart Shanker's book Self-Reg.

But I realized I'd never done the episode that should underlie all of these, which discusses what actually is emotion regulation and when (for crying out loud!) our children will be able to do it.  So we cover that in this episode, as well as some resources to help you support your child in developing this capability, the most important of which is Dr. John Gottman's book Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child [affiliate link].
Download your free workbook!

If you're in the thick of struggles with emotion regulation right now and you find yourself punishing or thinking about punishing your child for behavior that's driving you crazy, you should definitely download the How to Stop Punishing Your Child (And What to Do Instead) workbook that gives you strategies to help both of you cope better with stressful situations.  Just enter your name and email address below!
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Hello and welcome to the Your Parenting Mojo podcast. Today we’re going to talk about a topic that’s relevant to all of us at some point, and that’s emotion regulation. We’ve already covered this from a few angles; you might recall episodes on how children learn about emotion regulation through direct teaching and through modeling, as well as the more recent episode on Dr. Stuart Shanker’s book Self-Reg, which discusses the potential impact of environmental stressors on self-regulation. But I realized we’ve never done a background episode on what exactly is emotion regulation, when we can expect to see more of it, and what are some resources we can use to support our child in developing this capability, so we’re going to do that today.
Surprisingly, there is no single definition of what is an emotion. Most emotion theorists describe emotional behavior in terms of a chain of events, e.g.:
Stimulus in context > cognitive process > experienced feeling > behavior
Different theorists give different weight to physiological and cognitive processes, and the exact order in which the steps appear (e.g. whether the emotion includes the cognitive appraisal or follows it). Despite the fact that their brains aren’t as well-developed as ours, children still feel emotions in the same way that we do. Dr. John Gottman, who has studied and written about children’s emotion regulation, says that “we have inherited a tradition of discounting children’s feelings simply because children are smaller, less rational, less experienced, and less powerful than the adults around them.” When adults disregard children’s feelings – for example, when we do things like saying “there’s nothing to be afraid of” when they wake up with a nightmare or don’t want to go into a big loud party, the child begins to believe the adult’s judgement and stops trusting their own judgements about their own feelings. They begin to think “well I feel scared, but my trusted caregiver is telling me there’s nothing to be scared of so I must have mis-judged the situation,” when in fact, even adults can wake up scared from nightmares and can feel some trepidation when walking into a loud, crowded party. And it also turns out that understanding your own emotions and the emotions of those around you is critical to regulating those emotions – which is something we all want for our children!
What is emotion regulation?
Perhaps not surprisingly, there is no single definition of Emotion Regulation (ER) either. Some definitions include:
- Reflecting modulating and changing emotional states, managing emotion, responding and modulating behavioral expression of emotions, particularly the expression of emotions in socially acceptable ways;
- Monitoring, evaluating, and modifying emotional reactions,
Jan 21 2019
38 mins

Rank #13: 079: What is RIE?

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What is - WHAT?

Resources for Infant Educarers, or RIE (pronounced like Rye bread) is the parenting approach that we use with our daughter Carys which is grounded in respect for the child.  I've wanted to do an episode on this topic ever since I started the show but at first I didn't want you thinking I was all California-granola-hippie-crazy and stop listening.  Now I figure there are enough of you that have been listening for quite a while that you're willing to at least listen to this 'respect for children' idea.

Because it's no exaggeration to say that it has literally transformed my parenting, and underpins every interaction I have with my daughter.  I'm so proud of the relationship we have that's based in our respect for each other.
In this episode we'll cover a brief history of how RIE came into existence, Magda Gerber's eight qualities of a good parent, and how to encourage your child to play independently...

And I'll be honest and say that this is probably the first episode in the entire show which is not grounded in scientific research because I wanted to give you an overview of RIE first - and also discuss the parts of it we didn't/don't practice, before we devote an entire upcoming episode to what aspects of RIE are supported by scientific research - so stay tuned for that!

Gerber, M., & Johnson, A. (2002). Your self-confident baby: How to encourage your child’s natural abilities – from the very start. Nashville, TN: Turner.

Gerber, M. (2003). Dear Parent: Caring for infants with respect. Los Angeles, CA: Resources for Infant Educarers.

Karp, H. (2004). The ‘fourth trimester’: A framework and strategy for understanding and resolving colic. Retrieved from
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Hello and welcome to the Your Parenting Mojo podcast.

Today we’re going to talk about a topic that is near and dear to my heart, and that is what is known as Resources for Infant Educarers, which is abbreviated to RIE, which (for reasons I’ve never understood) is pronounced “Rye.”  Now I’m guessing that those of you listening to this right now are dividing yourselves into two groups: those of you in one group are saying “finally!” and those of you in the other are thinking “Resources for Infant – what???.”  So this episode will really be for those of you in the second group to learn about RIE, and those of you in the first can listen along and nod your heads and email me afterward if I got any of it wrong.  This will probably be the first episode in this entire show where we really don’t discuss much in the way of scientific research, because I actually have an entire episode lined up that delves into what aspects of RIE are supported by the literature, so we’re not going to do that here.  And I should also acknowledge that I’m going to tell you about the core principles of RIE but I’m also going to tell you about the parts of it that I didn’t or don’t practice, because I really don’t follow any approach dogmatically.

So where did RIE come from?  Well, I was surprised to learn that it actually originated in the work of Dr. Emmi Pikler, who worked in Austria and Hungary in the middle of the 20th Century.  She had seen that working class children who played on the street had lower rates of injuries than middle class children who played inside under a governess’ watchful eye.  She also studied with two doctors who focused on treating children as people, rather than just as an illness that needed to be fixed, and who believed in the importance of being outside, playing a lot, and following the child’s lead regarding food – so not forcing the child to eat even a single spoonful more than they wanted.

In 1930, Dr. Pickler married a high school math teacher who held progressive views, including that children should study at their own pace of development.  When they had a daughter, Anna, in 1931,
Dec 09 2018
32 mins

Rank #14: 003: Did you miss the boat on teaching your toddler how to read? (Me too!)

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So did you teach your toddler to read yet? And if not, why not?

I’m just kidding, of course.

I wanted to write this episode on encouraging literacy in middle to older toddlers, but the more I researched the more I found the issues go much further back than what you do in toddlerhood.

Then I found - and read! - a 45,000 word essay by Larry Sanger, who taught his baby son to read.  I'm not kidding.  Check out the link to the video on YouTube in the references.

My two-year-old can't read yet.  Did I miss the boat?  Would her learning outcomes have been better if I had taught her as a baby?

Is TV a good medium to teach reading and vocabulary?

What are some of the things parents of young toddlers can do to encourage reading readiness when the child is ready?

We talk about all this and more in episode 3, and there's more to come for older toddlers in a few episodes time.

American Academy of Pediatrics (2016). Media and Children. Accessed August 19th, 2016. Retrieved from:

Carlsson-Paige, N., G. Bywater McLaughlin, and J. Wolfsheimer Almon (2015). Reading instruction in kindergarten: Little to gain and much to lose. Available online at:

Christakis, D.A. (2008). The effects of infant media usage: What do we know and what should we learn? Acta Paediatrica 98, 8-16. Full article available at:

Federal Trade Commission (2014). Defendants settle FTC charges related to “Your Baby Can Read” program. Available online at:

Gray, P. (2010). Children teach themselves to read. Blog post on Psychology Today available at:

Gray, P. (2015). Early academic training produces long-term harm. Blog post on Psychology Today available at:

Harris, J., Golinkoff, R.M., & Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2011). Lessons from the crib for the classroom: How children really learn vocabulary. In S.B. Neuman & D.K. Dickinson (Eds.) Handbook of early literacy research Vol. 3. (49-65). New York: Guilford.

Hirsh-Pasek, K., Golinkoff, R.M., & Eyer, D. (2003). Einstein never used flash cards. Emmaus, PA: Rodale.

National Center for Education Statistics (2016). Status dropout rates. Available at:

Neuman, S., Kaefer, T., Pinkham, A., & Strouse, G.A. (2014). Can babies learn to read? A randomized trial of baby media. Journal of Educational Psychology 106(3), 815-830. Full article available at:

Sanger, L (2010). How and why I taught my toddler to read. Available online at:

Sanger, L. (2010). 3-year-old reading the Constitution – reading progress from age 2 to age 4. Available at:

WatchKnowLearn (2016). Reading Bear. Website available at:

Zimmerman, F.J., Christakis, D.A., & Meltzoff, A.N. (2007). Associations between media viewing and language development in children under age 2 years. Journal of Pediatrics 151, 364-368.
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So is your toddler reading yet?  And if not, why not?

I’m just kidding, of course.

I will say that this episode has been the hardest one yet t...
Sep 12 2016
16 mins

Rank #15: 050: How to raise emotionally healthy boys

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"Be a man."  "Boys don't cry."  "Don't be a sissy."

Boys hear these things all the time - from parents, from teachers, from friends and peers.  What does it do to their emotional lives when they crave close relationships but society tells them to keep emotional distance from others?

Join my guest Alan Turkus and me as we quiz Dr. Judy Chu, who lectures on this topic at Stanford and was featured in the (awesome!) documentary The Mask You Live In.

This episode is a must-listen if you're the parent of a boy, and may even help those of you with girls to understand more about why boys and men treat girls and women the way they do.

Don't have a boy?  Check out How To Raise A Girl With A Healthy Body Image.

Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development: Experiments by nature and design. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Chu, J. When boys become boys: Development, relationships, and masculinity.  New York, NY: NYU Press. (Affiliate link)

Maccoby, E.E. (1990). Gender and relationships: A developmental account. American Psychologist 45(4), 513-520.

Miedzian, M. (1991). Boys will be boys: Breaking the link between masculinity and violence. New York, NY: Doubleday.

Pollack, W. (1998). Real boys: Rescuing our sons from the myths of boyhood. New York, NY: Random House.
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Jen:                                      00:40                   Hello and welcome to the Your Parenting Mojo podcast. Regular listeners may remember that a few weeks ago, I interviewed Dr Renee Engeln who wrote the book Beauty Sick on the topic of raising girls with a healthy body image. Even though I don't have a son, I know a lot of you do, so in today's episode we're going to talk about some of the challenges associated with raising sons and how we can be better parents to sons, and specifically how fathers can be better parents to sons. So since I am not a father and don't have a son, I figured I'd better find someone who is both of those things. So today I welcome a co-interviewer, Alan. Alan grew up in New Jersey with a comfortable middle class family whose father was physically present and not physically abusive, but who had what Alan calls embarrassing spasms of anger that came with yelling and throwing things and when he wasn't angry, he was pretty emotionally absent, so Alan feels as though he didn't really have a great model for this whole fathering thing, but he wants to parent his own son differently and it started to take some steps in that direction, but he isn't really sure if it's enough or what else he should be doing. Welcome Alan.

Alan:                                   01:42                   Thank you.

Jen:                                      01:44                   And to help Alan and I figure all this out. I'm so excited that we're joined today by Dr Judy Chu. I first learned of her work on the documentary called The Mask You Live In, which you can rent on Amazon or on Netflix and I would highly encourage you to do that even if you're the parent of a girl because it really helped me to understand some of the reasons why boys and men treat girls and women the way they do. Dr Chu is featured in that film and when I looked her up, I saw she'd written a book called When Boys Become Boys, which I devoured as soon as I got it, and I knew she was the right person for us to talk with. She also teaches a course on boys psychosocial development at Stanford University. Her work aims to support boys healthy resistance against societal constraints that undermine their connections to themselves and others. Welcome Dr. Chu.

Dr. Chu:                              02:28                   Thank you. It's a pleasure to be here.

Jen:                                      02:31                   So Dr. Chu. I wonder if we could just start sort of in the weeds a little bit here about your research because a lot of the studies t...
Nov 05 2017
56 mins

Rank #16: 070: Why isn’t my child grateful?

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"I spent the whole morning painting and doing origami and felting projects with my daughter - and not only did she not say "thank you," but she refused to help clean up!" (I actually said this myself this morning:-))

"We took our son to Disneyland and went on every ride he wanted to go on except one, which was closed, and he spent the rest of the trip whining about how the whole trip was ruined because he didn't get to go on that one ride." (I hope I never have to say this one...I'm not sure I could make it through Disneyland in one piece.)
You might recall that we did an episode a while back on manners, and what the research says about teaching manners, and how what the research says about teaching manners comes from the assumption that manners MUST be explicitly taught – that your child will NOT learn to say “thank you” unless you tell your child “say thank you” every time someone gives them a gift.

We also talked about how parent educator Robin Einzig uses the concept of “modeling graciousness” and that if you treat other people graciously, when your child is ready, she will be gracious as well.  The problem here, of course, is that most people expect your child to display some kind of manners before they are developmentally ready to really understand the concept behind it.

But what really underlies manners?  Well, ideas like gratitude.  Because when we train children to say "thank you" before they are ready to do it themselves they might learn to recite the words at the appropriate time, but they aren't really experiencing gratitude.

Dr. Jonathan Tudge of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro tells us much more about this, and how we can scaffold our child's ability to experience gratitude, if we decide we might want to do that.

Dr. Tudge's book, Developing Gratitude in Children and Adolescents (co-edited with Dr. Lia B. L. Freitas) contains lots more academic research on this topic if you're interested.

Halberstadt, A.G., Langley, H.A., Hussong, A.M., Rothenberg, W.A., Coffman, J.L., Mokrova, I., & Costanzo, P.R. (2016). Parents’ understanding of gratitude in children: A thematic analysis. Early Childhood Research Quarterly 36, 439-451.

Kiang, l. Mendonca S., Liang, Y., Payir, A., O’Brien, L.T., Tudge, J.R.H., & Freitas, L.B.L. (2016). If children won lotteries: Materialism, gratitude, and imaginary windfall spending. Young Consumers 17(4), 408-418.

Mendonca, S.E., Mercon-Vargas, E.A., Payir, A., & Tudge, J.R.H. (2018). The development of gratitude in seven societies: Cross-cultural highlights. Cross-Cultural Research 52(1), 135-150.

Mercon-Vargas, E.A., Poelker, A.E., & Tudge, J.R.H. (2018). The development of the virtue of gratitude: Theoretical foundations and cross-cultural issues. Cross-Cultural Research 52(1), 3-18.

Mokrova, I.L., Mercon-Vargas, E.A., & Tudge, J.R.H. (2018). Wishes, gratitude, and spending preferences in Russian Children. Cross-Cultural Research 52(1), 102-116.

Nelson, J.A., Freitas, L.B.L., O’Brien, M., Calkins, S.D., Leerkes, E.M., & Marcovich, S. (2013). Preschool-aged children’s understanding of gratitude: Relations with emotion and mental state knowledge. British Journal of Developmental Psychology 31, 42056.

Tudge, J.R.H., & Freitas, L.B.L. (Eds.) (2018). Developing gratitude in children and adolescents. Cambridge, U.K: Cambridge University Press.

Wang, D., Wang, Y.C., & Tudge, J.R.H. (2015). Expressions of gratitude in children and adolescents: Insights from China and the United States. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 46(8), 1039-1058.
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Jen:                                      00:38                   Hello and welcome to today's episode of the Your Parenting Mojo podcast. You might recall that we did an episode a while back on manners and what the research says about teaching manners and how what the research says about teaching manners comes from...
Aug 06 2018
46 mins

Rank #17: 012: It’s not about the broccoli: Dr. Dina Rose

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Does your child eat any food under the long as it's cheese?  Do you find yourself worrying that you'll never get all the nutrients into her that she needs?  Dr. Dina Rose approaches eating from a sociologist's perspective, which is to say that It's Not About The Broccoli (which also happens to be the name of her book - so that's an affiliate link), it's about habits and relationships.  Join Dr. Rose as she counsels the parent who struggles with her almost four-year-old "highly spirited" son's eating habits.  There is hope for getting this child to eat something other than cheese, and Dr. Rose walks us through the steps to make it happen.

Not to be missed even if your child isn't (currently) a picky eater: every worm will turn, as they say, and you may find these strategies helpful to head off any pickiness that starts to emerge in the future.  And listen up for Dr. Rose's offer of a free 30 minute coaching session for parents!

And I will personally send a free copy of Dr. Rose's book to the first person who can identify the Monty Python reference in this episode...
Rose, D. (2014). It's not about the broccoli. New York: Perigee. (Affiliate link)

Rose, D. (2016). It's not about nutrition.  Retrieved from:
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Jen:                                      00:30                   Hello and welcome to the Your Parenting Mojo podcast. We have a pretty special episode lined up today called It's Not About The Broccoli. Regular listeners might recall the recent episode that we did called Help! My Children Won't Eat Vegetables where I reviewed the literature on getting children to eat healthy food and one of the books that I read for that episode referenced a book by Dina Rose called It's Not About The Broccoli, which I didn't get around to reading until after the episode was published, but I thought the book was so interesting and helpful and it's also really extensively referenced which all of you regular listeners know, is a primary indicator of how I judge the quality of books. And so I reached out to Dina and asked if she would agree to appear on the show and she's here with us today. Welcome Dina.

Dr. Rose:                            01:10                   Hi, I'm so glad to be here.

Jen:                                      01:11                   Thank you. Let me formally introduce you and give a bit of information about your background. So Dina has a Ph.D In sociology from Duke University and more than 20 years of experience in teaching and research for parents who want to feed their kids right. Dina leverages a unique combination of expertise as a sociologist and as a mother to help parents solve their kids eating problems by focusing on the root of their problem, eating habits, not nutrition. But Dina has also agreed to try something a bit different with us today rather than just having me ask all the questions she gamely offered to provide advice live to a parent who has been struggling with her child's eating habits. And that parent is here with us today. Welcome J.T. Taylor.

J.T.:                                      01:49                   Hi. Thanks so much for having me.

Jen:                                      01:50                   Thank you. So J.T. is a nonprofit consultant specializing in public health, behavioral health and LGBTQ equity. J.T. juggles work with raising two tiny humans with her wife. She has six month old Juno, who is toothless and thinks that food is a delightful if confusing toy and nearly four-year-old Felix who will eat anything - as long as it's cheese. Life with Felix comes with all the thrilling highs and lows of raising a spirited child. He is highly sensitive, strong willed and resistant to change and is also way too smart for his parents' good. J.T. is really excited to get the opportunity to hear some expert advice today.
Nov 14 2016
51 mins

Rank #18: 004: How to encourage creativity and artistic ability in young children – Interview with Dr. Tara Callaghan

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I'm so excited to welcome my first guest on the Your Parenting Mojo podcast: Professor Tara Callaghan of St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia.   Professor Callaghan has spent a great number of years studying the emergence of artistic ability in young children and she shares some of her insights with us.  This is a rather longer episode than usual so here are some places you might want to skip ahead to if you have specific interest:

3:55: The connection between individuality and creativity, especially in Western cultures

9:00: What is "symbolic representation" and why is the development of symbolic representation an important milestone for young children?

12:10: Is it helpful for parents to ask a child "What are you drawing?"

15:25: When do children understand symbols?

31:15: What can parents do to support children's development of symbolic representation in particular and artistic ability in general?

Brownlee, P. (2016). Magic Places. Good Egg Books: Thames, NZ (must be ordered directly from the publisher in New Zealand; see:

Callaghan, T.C., Rackozy, H., Behne, T., Moll, H, Lizkowski, U., Warneken, F., & Tomasello, (2011). Early social cognition in three cultural contexts. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 76(2), Serial Number 299.

Callaghan, T. & Corbit, J. (2015). The development of symbolic representation. In Vol. 2 (L. Liben & U. Muller, Vol. Eds.) of the 7th Edition (R. Lerner, Series Ed) of the Handbook of Child Psychology and Developmental Science (pp. 250-294). New York: Wiley.

Callaghan, T., & M. Rankin (2002). Emergence of graphic symbol functioning and the question of domain specificity: A longitudinal training study. Child Development, March/April 2002, 73:2, 359-376.

Callaghan, T., P. Rochat & J. Corbit (2012). Young children’s knowledge of the representational function of pictoral symbols: Development across the preschool years in three cultures.  Journal of Cognition and Development, 13:3, 320-353. Available at:,%20ROCHAT,%20&%20CORBIT,%202012.pdf

DeLoache, J. S., (2004).  Becoming symbol-minded. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 8, 66-70. Retrieved from:

Frith, C., & Frith, U. (2005). Theory of mind. Current Biology 15(17), R644.R645. Full article available at:

Ganea, P.A., M.A. Preissler, L. Butler, S. Carey, and J.S. DeLoache (2009). Toddlers’ referential understanding of pictures. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 104(3):283-295. Full article available at:

Golomb, C. (2003). The child’s creation of a pictoral world. London: Psychology Press.

Jolley, R.P. (2010). Children and pictures: Drawing and understanding. Wiley-Blackwell, Cichester, England.

Jolley, R. P. & S. Rose (2008). The relationship between production and comprehension of representational drawing. In Children’s understanding and production of pictures, drawings, and art (C. Milbrath & H.M. Trautner (Eds)). Boston, MA, Hogrefe Publishing.  Chapter available at:

Kellogg, R. (1970). Analyzing Children’s Art. Mayfield Publishing Company, Mountain View, CA.

Preissler, M.A., and P. Bloom. Two-year-olds use artist intention to understand drawings. Cognition 106:512-518. Full article available at:

Rochat, P. & T. Callaghan (2005). What drives symbolic development? The case of pictoral comprehension and production. In L. Namy (Ed.) Symbol use and symbolic representation. Mahwah, NJ,
Sep 18 2016
38 mins

Rank #19: 023: Is a Montessori preschool right for my child?

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It's that time of year: daycare and preschool tours start ramping up and parents have to try to figure out which is the right option for their child.  And many parents are overwhelmed by the options.  Montessori?  Waldorf?  Reggio Emilia?  How are they different?  Will my child be messed up if I pick the wrong one?

This episode is the first in a mini-series to help us think through the questions you might have as you explore the options that are available in your community.

Today we’re going to learn about Dr. Maria Montessori’s approach to early childhood education and what it’s like to have a child in a Montessori preschool with Mary Ellen Kordas, the President of the Board of Directors at the American Montessori Society.

Gray, P. (2011). The special value of children’s age-mixed play. American Journal of Play 3(4), 500-522. Full article available at:

Isaacs, B. (2012). Understanding the Montessori approach: Early years education in practice. New York, NY: Routledge.

Lillard, A.S. (2005). Montessori: The science behind the genius. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Lillard, P.P. (1996). Montessori today: A comprehensive approach to education from birth to adulthood. New York, NY: Schocken.

Louv, V. (2008). Last child in the woods: Saving our children from nature-deficit disorder. New York, NY: Algonquin.

Montessori, M. (1971). The Montessori Elementary Material (Trans. A. Livingston). Cambridge, MA: Robert Bentley, Inc.

Wentworth, R.A.L. (1999). Montessori for the new millennium. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
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Jen:                                      00:05                   Hello and welcome to today's episode of Your Parenting Mojo, which is called Is a Montessori Preschool Right for my child? I sort of skipped the whole preschool touring and decision making thing. It turned out we had a nanny at the time and I had planned to actually to work with her friend the somewhat long term, but she decided to work with a family with a younger child. So we found ourselves rather abruptly in need of care and I'd been doing a lot of research on the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education at the time. And we were actually lucky enough to find a daycare that had space for her on short notice. And so we just kind of went with that. But I know a lot of parents are able to plan ahead and spend a bit more time choosing between the different options that might be available to them. And so to help with that process, I wanted to do a little mini series of episodes where we learn about some of the options that might be available in your community and today we're going to learn about Dr Maria Montessori's approach to early childhood education and what it's like to have a child in a Montessori Preschool with Mary Ellen Cordis. Mary Ellen is the incoming President of the Board of Directors of the American Montessori Society and has over 40 years of experience as the head of a Montessori school in the San Francisco Bay Area, and as an advocacy champion of Montessori. Mary Ellen's school was the first accredited Montessori school in the state. Welcome Mary Ellen.

Mary Ellen:                        01:43                   Thank you very much. It's wonderful to be here.

Jen:                                      01:45                   Thank you. So I wonder if you could first start off and tell us a little bit about how you learned about Montessori and what about it called to you and how you went through that process of becoming a leader in the Montessori movement.

Mary Ellen:                        01:56                   If I'd only had you in my life, I may not have had to do all the research that I did, but this is exactly how I got involved is I had a three year old and I was looking around for what type of program I might enroll him in.
Jan 29 2017
42 mins

Rank #20: 074: Attachment: What it is, what it’s not, how to do it, and how to stop stressing about it

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Is attachment the same as bonding? 

Can I have a healthy attachment with my baby if I don't breastfeed?

Do I have to babywear to develop an attachment to my baby?

Will being apart from my baby disrupt our attachment relationship?

Is co-sleeping critical to attachment?
These are just a few of the questions that listeners wrote to me after I sent out a call for questions on Attachment.  This was such an enormous topic to cover that Dr. Arietta Slade and I did the best we could in the time we had, and we did indeed cover a lot of ground.

If you've ever been curious about the scientific evidence on how attachment forms, what are its benefits, and what it has NOT been shown to do, this is the episode for you.  We also cover reflective functioning, one of the central ways that the attachment relationship develops, and discuss how to improve our skills in this arena.

Ainsworth, M. D. S., Blehar, M. C., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978). Patterns of attachment: A psychological study of the strange situation. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Benoit, D. (2004). Infant-parent attachment: Definition, types, antecedents, measurement and outcome. Pediatric Child Health 9(8), 541-545.

Bowlby, J. (1973/1991). Attachment and Loss: Volume 2. Separation: Anxiety and anger. London, U.K.: Penguin.

Bowlby, J. (1971/1991). Attachment and Loss: Volume 1. Attachment. London, U.K.: Penguin.

Cassidy, J. (2008). The nature of the child’s ties. In J. Cassidy & P.R. Shaver (Eds.) Handbook of Attachment (pp.3-22). New York, NY: Guilford.

Greenspan, S.H. & Salmon, J. (2002). The four-thirds solution: Solving the childcare crisis in America today. Boston, MA: Da Capo [Note that Dr. Slade mis-remembered the title of this book as "The Three Fourths Solution"]

Hudson, N.W., & Fraley, R.C. (2018). Moving toward greater security: The effects of repeatedly priming attachment security and anxiety. Journal of Research in Personality 74, 147-157.

Jones, J.D., Brett, B.E., Ehrlich, K.B., Lejuez, C.W., & Cassidy, J. (2014). Maternal attachment style and responses to adolescents’ negative emotions: The mediating role of maternal emotion regulation. Parenting: Science and Practice 14, 235-257.

Julian, T.W., McKenry, P.C., & McKelvey, M.W. (1994). Cultural variations in parenting: Perceptions of Caucasian, African-American, Hispanic, and Asian-American parents. Family Relations 43(1), 30-37.

LeVine, R.A., & Levine, S. (2016). Do parents matter? Why Japanese babies sleep soundly, Mexican siblings don’t fight, and American families should just relax. New York, NY: PublicAffairs.

Marvin, R.S., & Britner, P.A. (2008). Normative Development: The ontogeny of attachment. In J. Cassidy & P.R. Shaver (Eds.) Handbook of Attachment (pp.269-294). New York, NY: Guilford.

Nicholson, B., & Parker, L. (2013). How did attachment parenting originate? Attached at the heart. Retrieved from:

Raby, K.L., Roisman, G.I., Labella, M.H., Martin, J., Fraley, R.C., & Simpson, J.A. (2018). The legacy of early abuse and neglect for social and academic competence from childhood to adulthood. Online first. Retrieved from

Sadler, L.S., Slade, A., & Mayes, L.C. (2006). Minding the Baby: A mentalization-based parenting Program. In J.G. Allen & P. Fonagy (Eds.), The handbook of mentalization-based treatment (pp.271-288). Chichester, U.K.: John Wiley & Sons.

Slade, A. (2014). Imagining fear: Attachment, threat, and psychic experience. Psychoanalytic Dialogues 24(3), 253-266.

Slade, A. (2005). Parental reflective functioning: An introduction. Attachment & Human Development 7(3), 269-281.

Slade, A., Sadler, L., Dios-Kenn, C.D., Webb, D., Currier-Ezepchick, J., & Mayes, L. (2005). Minding the Baby: A reflective parenting program. The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child 60,
Sep 30 2018
54 mins

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