Camp Director, Mom, Author, and Speaker Audrey Monke and other youth development experts discuss summer camp, family life, raising thriving kids, and ideas for living more connected and happier lives.
[ENCORE] Ep. 121: The Power of Showing Up
37:37Dr. Tina Bryson and I talk about her phenomenal book, The Power of Showing Up.
[ENCORE] Ep. 124: Promoting Mental Health with Dr. Jess Shatkin
36:18Show notes & links available here. In this episode, I'm speaking with Dr. Jess Shatkin, about preventing mental illness and promoting health in children and adolescents. As a clinician, researcher and educator, Dr. Shatkin is one of the country's foremost experts in adolescent mental health, risk and resilience. Big Ideas Extensive research about mental health has led us to a good understanding of what we can do preventatively for young people. Dr. Shatkin offers practical strategies for parents and people working with kids to help prevent mental illness: Practice authoritative parenting: show love and support give clear guidelines set limits reinforce positively punish infrequently Other parenting styles, authoritarian, permissive or negligent parenting, produce more negative outcomes for children. Professionals need to understand and apply these authoritative parenting skills when working with kids. Kids themselves can learn these basic tools of behavioral modification, and it would go a long way toward helping them have better relationships, social awareness, and improved mental health. These behavioral modification tools are: positive reinforcement effective commands - brief directives not stated as questions and praise by labeling exactly what was done right active ignoring - ignore the behavior you don't like coupled with positive reinforcement for good behavior scheduling kids using reward programs limit setting consequences (such as time-outs for little kids) Global strategies to address these issues: We should support more teacher training in these areas. Early education should include teaching behavior modification, emotion regulation, emotion identification, and communication skills. Resilience education with college students has lowered anxiety, improved mood, and coping skills, lowered dysfunctional attitudes. Dr. Jess Shatkan's triumvirate of good health, three healthy habits that every parent can help their child to develop: Exercise When people exercise regularly, they feel better about themselves, they feel more competent and more empowered. Too many kids are not getting enough exercise. More physical activity leads to better concentration and overall health. Sleep Sleep is critical for managing stress and anxiety. When people don't sleep their brain patterns are disrupted causing worse decision making, higher rates of obesity, and less empathy. Nutrition Obesity is a huge problem, as over 35% of children are overweight. Parents need to provide healthy meals whenever possible, avoid fast food and pesticides and hormones in food. Schools and parents can teach the importance of good nutrition. Because excessive screen use is shown to have damaging effects on health and wellbeing, parents should enforce these screen rules: parents own the screen and the child uses it as a reward or opportunity. parents "friend" their kids on social media parents supervise and limit screen time screens should be in public spaces (not bedrooms) use a blue light blocking device when used in the evening to avoid sleep problems An environment like camp, which offers time away from screens, exercise, healthy food options, positive social interactions and well-trained counselors, promotes good mental health for our children. Quotes Jess: "Mental illness is growing in frequency, it's happening more commonly. The more we study it, the more we see it, the better our practitioners are trained, the more easily we pick it up, the more treatments we have, the better people do. But at the same time, we've learned so much now about mental health that there's a lot we can prevent." Jess: "Kids who have parents who are authoritative do much better in every way. They become better students. They're more likely to stay in school, less likely to have a premature pregnancy, less likely to get sexually transmitted infections, less likely to get involved in drugs, less likely to have accidents and injuries like automobile accidents. They are more likely to go to college. They're more likely to be healthy adults and not have depression and diabetes and all the rest. It's the amazing power of parenting." Jess: "I think that we should be teaching the skills that lead to this kind of approach, this sort of behavioral modification, in the earliest of years, that teachers could be using these skills in elementary schools and kids could be learning what these skills are in high school so that all their relationships are better." Jess: "So it's a mistake to ask your kids for things unless no is an acceptable answer. If you give them a choice, 'would you like to wear a sweater or jacket? It's cold tonight.' You get a choice, but it's not, 'do you want to put on something?' or 'do you want to brush your teeth?' or 'do you think it's time to do this or that?' Or 'how about cleaning your room buddy?' or those kinds of things." Jess: "Authoritative parenting can be taught through parent training--this is what I mean by prevention. We see a lot more mental illness amongst kids who drop out of school, amongst kids who have premature pregnancy, amongst kids who have accidents, injuries, and sexually transmitted infections. And these kinds of things will help us to manage the behavior of kids better so we don't get to that point." Audrey: "The camp counselor training that we do is a lot of this stuff that you're talking about. It's using positive words, ignoring things, pointing out the kid that's doing the thing right so that the other kids see that you noticed. It's all this basic stuff but most of them have not experienced it themselves before they've come to camp. And so they will tell us afterward that because of the training they got at camp, they're a better parent. They're great teachers." Audrey: "Some teachers don't know how to relate to kids. They go through their teacher training, they get their credentials, and they know all about physics or English, but they don't know what their kids need in order to feel belonging, connection to the teacher and a desire to learn what's being taught." Audrey: "I always say like connection before everything else. Connection before correction of course, but also just connection before learning. Your kid on the first day of school is sitting in that class of 30, and they're thinking, who's here am I gonna have any friends? Who's gonna be my partner at this science table? The teachers need to address that. Do a few team building activities like the ones we do at camp. It might take five minutes and then you have this connection and the kids are looking forward to going into that room and feeling part of this community. It's so fundamental. And the same with families. So I'm with you on that. I would love to see universal parent education." Jess: "When I go into schools and I say to parents, 'what do you want for your child by the time they graduate high school?' they never say 'be great at geometry' or 'be able to speak iambic pentameter.' What they say is, 'I want them to share. I want her to be a good citizen. I want him to do what he says he's going to do. I wanted to have good friends.' They never say anything about academics. Mostly its human qualities." Jess: "We spend a third of our lives asleep, yet nobody knows anything about sleep except for people who study sleep. And then there's a lot to know about sleep. Now you may not be able to make yourself a perfect sleeper by learning about sleep, but you can do a whole lot better than you're probably doing now. And it makes a big difference for people." Audrey: "I agree with you that the first thing is just parents understanding communication, how to relate to their child and have this authoritative style. But sleep is so critical and for parents too because when we don't get enough sleep, we are not good with anybody. So it's like everybody is sleep-deprived." Jess: "Increasingly we're recognizing that there really is an impact from screens. It impacts the brain, it impacts the way we perceive a threat, how anxious we feel. It affects our sleep in a big, big way, and when your sleep is affected, a lot of things are affected." Jess: "We can look deep into the brain now and we see the effect that being on screens is having on kids. We see less empathy and when the screens are taken away, they all of a sudden become more empathic." Jess: "Exercise helps our bodies in myriad ways, not the least of which is to sleep and burn calories effectively. You maintain a high metabolism, but also to improve your mood. We know that people who exercise regularly improve mood and we know that exercise works as well as psychotherapy for mild and moderate depression." Jess: "I always direct parents to do stuff with their kids. Go biking with your kid, take vigorous walks with your kid, go hiking with your kid. There's nothing better than family activity." Audrey: "I just think if there was one thing parents of young kids could do now is just keep the screens out for themselves too. It seems like that's a simple thing that actually if you're not on your screen as much, you're probably getting more exercise and more sleep." Jess: "There was an interesting study where they took middle school kids out in the woods for five days and they did school out in the woods and the kids had better eye contact at the end of those five days. They reported more empathy in the surveys that they completed. They were happier." Audrey: "It's true that when kids are at camp, they report that they feel happier and they feel like they have better friends in those two weeks at camp than all year because it's real connection without distraction. And they're outside, getting tons of exercise and a lot more sleep and nutritious food." Resources Dr. Jess P. Shatkin, MD, MPH, is a board-certified child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist, who leads the educational efforts of the NYU Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He sees patients each day, in addition to running all medical student, resident, and psychology training emanating from the department. In addition, Dr. Shatkin has developed the nation's largest undergraduate program in child/adolescent development at NYU, which teaches 100 courses to over 5,000 students each year. Finally, Dr. Shatkin studies adolescent risk, resilience, and the prevention of mental illness. He has written two books, over 100 scientific articles, and is a popular presenter at meetings and conferences worldwide. Dr.JessPShatkin.com Social media: @DrJessPShatkin Facebook Dr. Shatkin's radio show on Sirius XM Dr. Shatkin, Born to be Wild book Dr. Shatkin, Child & Adolescent Mental Health Alan Kazdin, Parent Management Training Book Cynthia Whitham, Win the Whining War Thomas Gordon, Parent Effectiveness Training Related Ep. 16 about Dr. Shatkin's book Born to be Wild: Why teens take risks and how we can help keep them safe. Ep. 111: Raising an Exceptional Child in a Conventional World Ep. 87: The Impact of Camp Experiences with Laurie Browne, Ph.D. 10 Reasons Great Parents Choose Summer Camp for Their Kids
[ENCORE] Ep. 127: The New Adolescence with Christine Carter, Ph.D.
43:42Visit Sunshine Parenting for Show Notes & Links. ENCORE NOTES: This incredible book came out just prior to the start of the pandemic. I was privileged to read an early copy and hear Christine speak about it in February, 2020. If you have (or will eventually have) an adolescent, I highly recommend this book. Things have changed since we were their age, and Christine offers her trademark, research-backed wisdom in this must-read. In this podcast episode, I'm joined by my friend Christine Carter, a sociologist working out of UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center and author of some of my favorite parenting books. We are talking about her newest book, The New Adolescence, Raising Happy and Successful Teens in an Age of Anxiety and Distractions. Big Ideas As your kids enter adolescence, parents should change their mindset from being their manager to being their coach. As they get older, kids need to be their own manager and take care of more things independently. Kids need less practical support and more emotional support. As their "life coach" you can help them to clarify what outcomes they want and be there for them, without being over-involved. 3 Core Skills Kid Need for the Digital Age: Focus Connection Rest Parents should try to model a life full of focus, connection and rest. The New Adolescence offers tips and talking points on some difficult topics such as sex, drinking alcohol, drugs, and money, and ways to discuss them with your child. The earlier kids start drinking alcohol, and the more they drinking in high school, the more likely it is that they will develop a substance abuse disorder. It is important to note that marijuana today has higher THC and less CBD than in years past and pot use in adolescence has proven to hinder brain development. Real-life social connections are a good antidote for depression, stress, and anxiety. Quotes Christine: "As parents, we haven't adapted to the massive changes (in our culture) and we're not continuing to adapt as things continue to change." Christine: "If we're used to doing everything for our kids and we find meaning and a sense of purpose in being somebody's chief of staff or manager, then it's hard. It's a loss of a role." Christine: "Kids need coaches to ask them to clarify what it is they want, what outcomes they are after and to help them to get those outcomes. You can be as emotionally supportive as you want but not over-involved." Audrey: "Our kids will have setbacks and make mistakes and sometimes get themselves into bad circumstances. These things are going to happen." Christine: "We can only do our best. I understand why parents are not engaging in some of these harder issues because it's hard to even understand what's going on." Audrey: "Your book is a great guidebook and it's a great start for people who are struggling. There's this balance that sometimes parents have a hard time finding, between letting your child grow up, gain more responsibility, more independence, trusting them, and changing your relationship." Audrey: "I think it's very simple to think about changing from being a manager to a coach. You're there for advice. You want them to come to you when they're struggling with something or need some help, but you are not going to, for instance, make their dentist appointment anymore. You share with them the phone number and make sure they know how often they need to go and that kind of thing." Christine: "We are living through an age of great distraction. At the same time, we're seeing a real change in the type of work these kids are going to be asked to do. Most of them will be paid to think...and focus." Christine: "They're not developing focus as a skill because they're multitasking all the time. They're constantly interrupted. They never learned to value focus or have the experience of doing deep work." Christine: "Focus is the superpower of the 21st century. That is the most important thing that they need for their success and happiness. We know that the sort of deep gratification and fulfillment comes from being able to persist in your long term goals. And that takes focus." Christine: "Building mastery takes focus. The things that are really gratifying to us, take focus. That's different from focusing for hours-on-end on a video game." Christine: "Connection is the most important predictor of happiness that we have. It's the most consistent finding we have in a hundred or so years of research. Our overall wellbeing is predicted consistently by both the breadth and depth of our real-life social connections." Christine: "This is a generation that is less connected, ironically, than previous generations. They spend less time with their friends." Christine: "The human nervous system evolved to be connected in person. We get a lot out of touch, even micro touches, like a pat on the shoulder, and eye contact. Our nervous system doesn't feel alone when it can make eye contact with somebody else." Christine: "When your nervous system feels like it's alone, as it does when you're alone in your room, but connecting with people over text or social media, it starts to feel stressed." Audrey: "If parents only do one thing, it's fostering the relationship with their kids and helping their kids foster those close face-to-face relationships." Christine: "When you look at the tsunami of mental illness that is coming toward us in terms of super high anxiety, depression, suicidality, it's explainable alone from a data standpoint--just by sleep depravation. When you control for sleep, all the problems start to go away." Christine: "Kids are the most under-slept teenagers we've ever seen. It's really affecting their mental health. They're under the impression that they need to stay up late, that it's more important to study than to sleep, that they're too busy to take breaks." Christine: "Our culture believes in busy-ness like it's a sign of your value, your productivity, your importance. And of course, none of that's true. It's completely limiting belief. But this is how we operate and our kids have picked up on this. They don't rest and it impairs their brain development." Audrey: "I'm better at what I do when I take breaks, if I get a good nights' sleep, if I have plenty of time to read, time with my friends, I'm better at everything else. Those rest breaks make me better." Audrey: "It's not that the screens are bad, there are lots of fun things that happen and connection, it's what it has replaced when kids are on them all the time." Christine: "If you have a kid who's struggling, they're not alone. You're not alone. It's really hard for all of us and there are a lot of resources out there." Christine: "We just have to engage. We just have to do our best. Once you have some more tools, you'll be able to do better. You'll see the quality of your relationship with your kids will change." About Christine [caption id="attachment_7187" align="alignright" width="243"] Photo Credit: Blake Farrington[/caption] Christine Carter, Ph.D., is a sociologist and the author of The New Adolescence: Raising Happy and Successful Teens in an Age of Anxiety and Distraction (2020), The Sweet Spot: How to Accomplish More by Doing Less (2017) and Raising Happiness (2011). A senior fellow at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, Carter draws on the latest scientific research in psychology, sociology, and neuroscience — and uses her own often hilarious real-world experiences — to give parenting, productivity and happiness advice. She lives with her husband, four teenagers, and dog Buster in Marin County, California. Resources Christine's free downloads are available on her website. Follow Christine of Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or LinkedIn Her books: Raising Happiness, The Sweet Spot, The New Adolescence Coaching resources Christine Carter's Blog Greater Good Magazine Related Ep. 1: Raising Happiness with Christine Carter Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents, Christine Carter, Ph.D. Ep. 41: Getting Comfortable with our Kids’ (and our own) Discomfort with Christine Carter The Sweet Spot: How to Find Your Groove at Home and Work, Christine Carter Ep. 123: Connection Comes First Ep. 93: Teaching Healthy Relationship Skills to Improve Lives Ep. 92: Creating Strong Relationships with Teens Connection Through Questions Ep. 2: 10 Friendship Skills Every Kid Needs
[ENCORE] Ep. 52: 9 Ways to Help Kids Process Summer Camp and Other Experiences
36:20In Episode 52, Sara Kuljis and I chat about ways to help our kids process experiences. The ideas work for post-summer camp debriefing but also for our kids' other adventures and experiences. Sara is a 20-year veteran camp director and parenting trainer who has great insights and ideas about parenting and counseling kids. Sara, with her husband Steve, owns and directs Yosemite Sierra Summer Camp, a Christian adventure camp for children ages 8 to 16 years old founded 45 years ago by Sara's parents Jim and Marna Slevcove. Together, the Kuljises also direct Emerald Cove Day Camp in San Juan Capistrano, a day camp that serves children from kindergarten through 4th grade. 9 Ways to Help Kids Process Experiences Plan time to rest/process. Listen to their stories. Look through photos together. Ask thoughtful questions: • What did you enjoy/love? • What was challenging? • When (not if!) you do it again, what will you do differently? Avoid "interviewing for pain" (Wendy Mogel). Bring home a ritual or tradition: • Flower Sundays • WOWs • Goodnight Song Continue with an interest that's been sparked (archery, guitar, etc.). Create a remembrance. Encourage kids to stay in touch with new friends. Books We Talked About Off the Clock, Laura Vanderkam Blessing of a Skinned Knee, Wendy Mogel Blessing of a B-, Wendy Mogel Like listening to Sara and Audrey chat? Here are our other podcast episodes! https://sunshine-parenting.com/2019/04/ep-85-grit-is-grown-outside-the-comfort-zone-pegtalk/ Ep. 3: Raising Resilient, Independent Kids Ep. 7: Family Pace & Space Ep. 23: Peaceful Mornings Ep. 28: Focusing on Our Kids' Strengths Ep. 37: How to Get Ready for Overnight Summer Camp Ep. 39: How to Handle Your Camper's Homesickness Ep. 57: The Importance of Adult Friendships Ep. 63: Growing Gratitude Ep. 77: Comparison is the Thief of (Parenting) Joy Ep. 82: Sibling Conflict, Pt. 1 Ep. 86: Conflict Resolution Skills for Siblings (and Everyone Else!)
[ENCORE] Ep. 144: Raising Happy, Durable Kids in the Digital Age
51:22Show Notes This week's discussion is with Jenifer Joy Madden, author of How to be a Durable Human. We participated in a conversation for Digital Wellness Day, and this episode is a recording of our conversation from that webinar. We discussed concepts from both of our books. Madden is a health and environmental journalist who is also a digital broadcaster and adjunct professor for Syracuse University in their DC Program. Madden is a child advocate who has volunteered her time to establish new walking and biking trails throughout northern Virginia. Madden is also the parent of three durable adults. Listen to Episode 30 if you'd like to hear my first interview with Jenifer about her book, How To Be a Durable Human: Revive and Thrive in the Digital Age Through the Power of Self-Design. And you can listen to our second chat here: Ep. 71: Growing Your Child's Bushy Broccoli Brain. Big Ideas Our kids need to be seen and heard especially during the pandemic. We still need routines even if we and/or our kids are having a hard time right now. When we “think outside the loop” we can create memorable moments for our families. It’s important for us to be “durable” and for us to help our kids become “durable” as well. Quotes Audrey: We have to be more intentional and in control of this digital world that is so much now a part of what we do. Audrey: During times of stress or challenge is where we build our resilience or our durability. Jenifer: Resilience has more to do with being knocked down and being able to get up again, but durability is to endure day to day and to actually maybe even grow in strength. Jenifer: Almost every expert agrees that we need to be rocks and models. And what I mean by that is that for children, we are their constant in all of this. Their lives have totally been upended as have ours, except we're the adults in the room. And so we have to be reassuring to them and we have to be steady and they have to lean on us. Jenifer: Especially when we're talking about technology, we have to be aware of how we're using our technology so it doesn't get in the way of them. Audrey: During meals is a good time for everybody to catch up and see each other. And then bedtimes are very important for that, too. Audrey: I think a lot of parents are feeling really frazzled just from the pressures of everything going on. And I just think that I know with my kids who are a little bit older, it's been really good for us to just be sharing. We share at dinner our highs and lows. And just to say, “You know what, today was a better day because this and this and this, and today I was just really feeling discouraged or down.” and being really open and honest with them that these are very real and normal feelings during this time to not feel like your best self every day. Jenifer: We have to know we're not superheroes. We can't be. We can't have our finger on every pulse at every moment. We almost have to lower the expectations for ourselves. Audrey: Just a simple activity that we can all do right now is just to make a really short list of just the little things in life that bring us some delight. Audrey: They always say at the end of our life, the things that you're going to miss most are just the real basic stuff, like having a cup of coffee with your spouse and chatting in the morning and smiling and talking with your kids and laughing over a funny joke around dinner. I mean it's those things that money can't buy. Jenifer: The experts are also saying that we need to validate their feelings, which is if they're moping around, rather than giving them a hard time, say, “I understand, I know what you're going through,” and they suggest you can say, “I’m here.” Audrey: It is great to have a really warm, close relationship with your kids, but it is not the same. We are not the same for them as what their peers and their friends do for them. Jenifer: The hug is like a muscle relaxant, tranquilizer, and love potion all rolled into one. Jenifer: Having screen-free bedrooms is a good idea. Audrey: We need to raise people who are able to make good decisions and promote their own good habits. Audrey: In order for your little microcosm of your home to function well, everybody needs to be pitching in. Audrey: The message of pro kindness and reaching out and having compassion for others is far more powerful in a way that we can appeal to their identity as a person. Jenifer: Once you get them going, their imaginations do take off. Audrey: When the kids are there all day, you really do need to strategize some ways to get them and encourage them to play either on their own or with their siblings without needing you there all the time. Jenifer: When they grow up and they want to go to medical school, they want to be a surgeon, they have to be able to handle a needle. So this is another reason to give them play-dough instead of a screen. Jenifer: We have to have this overview of giving our children some time to be bored and not be constantly entertained. So they actually start to think for themselves. Audrey: Doing things with our hands is to me kind of a good, relaxing thing too. Audrey: It's interesting that we are being drawn to these things that make us more durable. Jenifer: I think things might get even more confusing than they are now. And so we have to be checking in with ourselves about: Are we getting upset? Is there a way that I can back out of this and not be so upset? I think that using techniques such as deep breathing, removing yourself from the situation, placing your hands on a hard surface if that's the least you can do, close your eyes and take some deep breaths just to get yourself pulled back together because there are going to be challenges and we need to have quick strategies to figure out, “Wait a minute, I'm flying off the handle. I don't want to, I'm not going to.” and walk away. Audrey: What a great example we can set if we can manage to just take even one or two deep breaths before we respond. Jenifer: I know it's possible for you to be durable and keep that compassion and that intuition and creativity up front. Links How to be a Durable Human by Jenifer Joy Madden Digital Wellness Day Digital Wellness Collective Unplugged Family Interview with Coach Madlin of Unplugged Family and Jenifer Joy Madden Related Posts & Episodes Ep. 30: How to Raise a Durable Human with JJ Madden Ep. 116: Why We Need to Unplug to Connect with our Families 10 Lessons for Parents Raising Children in a Digital World Ep. 71: Growing Your Child's Bushy Broccoli Brain
Camp Secret #1: Connection Comes First (Happy Campers)
58:42Audio excerpt from Audrey Monke's book, HAPPY CAMPERS: 9 Summer Camp Secrets for Raising Kids Who Become Thriving Adults. Now available at Audible.
[ENCORE] Ep. 151: Dealing with Uncertainty & Building Resilience with Dr. Nicole Beurkens
34:26SHOW NOTES My guest this week is Dr. Nicole Beurkens. As a licensed clinical psychologist with advanced degrees in psychology, education, and nutrition, Dr. Nicole Beurkens is the world’s leading holistic child psychologist. She has dedicated her 22+ year career to providing parents with research-based strategies that get to the root of children’s attention, anxiety, mood, and behavior challenges so they can reach their highest potential. She runs a multi-disciplinary evaluation and treatment clinic and is a best-selling author, published researcher, award-winning therapist, and experienced mother of four. Big Ideas One of the best things we can do for our kids is stay grounded ourselves and model that for them. There is often not a “right” or “wrong” choice. It’s important to look at what is best for your family to help you decide. It’s important for kids to have independent time either by themselves or with their siblings. It’s helpful to pay attention to our coping skills and model healthy ones for our family that do not always involve screens. Quotes Dr. Nicole Beurkens: Parents and kids are now facing starting a year in a really different way. And just the uncertainty of that is generating a lot of anxiety and a lot of distress for kids. But I would say even more so for parents. I get asked all the time, “What do we do for the kids? What do we do for the kids?” And the reality of it is it's really how we're dealing with it as parents that sets the tone for how our kids deal with it. Dr. Nicole Beurkens: The first thing is to realize exactly what we're talking about—that the tone that we set as adults, as parents really makes the most difference. If we're able to manage our own emotions and behaviors around this in healthier ways, that really goes a long way to helping kids do that. Dr. Nicole Beurkens: We need to figure out how to keep ourselves more stable and more regulated. Dr. Nicole Beurkens: We need to find some time to ground ourselves and to help ourselves through the feelings and the things that are going on for us. Dr. Nicole Beurkens: It's super healthy and important for kids to have time when an adult is not structuring or generating and initiating activities. Dr. Nicole Beurkens: Please realize you can step back and take some time to do the work catch-up that you need to do, to sit down with a book and a cup of tea for a few minutes, if that is soothing to you, to go out and take that walk, to do the things that help keep you healthy—your kids can go navigate that time by themselves. Dr. Nicole Beurkens: Ultimately what happens is they start to find things to do. And that's really where an increase in creativity and self-generated activity and initiative comes from is when we allow them to have times where they have to figure it out either independently or with their siblings. Audrey Monke: I think part of it is that when both parents work outside the home, I think what they're used to is when the time that they are home, maybe it's dinner time or whatever, it's very concentrated family time. So I think this shift when your kids are always there, maybe that's an issue that people think, “Oh, it's supposed to always be this like full on work.” Dr. Nicole Beurkens: Screens do not always have to be an option for kids and shouldn't always be an option for kids. And in fact, they should have times during the day when they're not options and there's other things they need to do. Dr. Nicole Beurkens: It's so true that very often now for kids their default, if no one is engaging them in something, is just passive screen time kinds of things. So we need to be intentional about setting times and spaces where that's not happening and here's the secret to that: 100% expect they will not like that. And that is okay. It is totally okay. Dr. Nicole Beurkens: It's something I'm seeing in a lot of older teens and young adults now in my practice that they have not learned how to tolerate uncomfortable feelings, how to be with themselves and their own thoughts because their generation has just grown up sort of defaulting to using passive scrolling through social media or, you know, doing things online and on their devices as a way to kind of numb that. And while that works in the short term, it is not a good longterm strategy and it's not a strategy for helping kids grow up to be more resilient, to be emotionally and behaviorally regulated. Dr. Nicole Beurkens: Now you may be on the computer for many hours a day for work related things, but to even be intentional about things like device-free meal, times to be intentional about when I'm doing something with you, playing a game, taking a walk, doing some kind of play with you. I don't have my devices there. To be intentional about your children seeing you doing activities and things where you're taking a break from the devices where they're not part of the picture, seeing you doing things for yourself to relax and engage in self-care without resorting to devices. Those are really important models. And I think those are far more powerful than the things that we tell them about. Dr. Nicole Beurkens: That's the thing we've had conversations with the kids about. Okay, let's think about all the possible scenarios. And let's just kind of think through some plans for that. And I think that's really helpful strategy for parents and kids to be doing. Especially if you have kids at those milestone kinds of situations. Dr. Nicole Beurkens: I think what that does in thinking that through is it just brings that anxiety down because anxiety is all about uncertainty and about things that we can't control. And while we can't control those things, just by thinking through and making some plans and having like a Plan A, a Plan B a Plan C and even just talking through and anticipating how that will feel and how we'll respond to that. That's a really productive way of helping kids process and work through those emotions. Audrey Monke: I think all of us need to be flexible and that's in workplaces, in families, in schools, teachers, everyone, because like you said, everyone's kind of doing the best they can. Audrey Monke: We've all been talking about mindfulness and how important that is, but it's almost like we're being forced now to be aware and totally better with what is going on inside of us. I think when you slow down, all the stuff comes up. Dr. Nicole Beurkens: A lot of our typical coping strategies have been taken away because at least in the United States, a lot of the default coping is to stay busy. Dr. Nicole Beurkens: What are the silver linings here? Or what are some of the benefits? Dr. Nicole Beurkens: Nothing that's going to happen is all bad. Dr. Nicole Beurkens: As families and as parents, we can support each other and realize that there is no right or wrong, there are options. And you need to look at what is in the best interest of your family's health, wellness, wellbeing. Audrey Monke: Like you said, you can pivot if it seems like it's not working. Links Dr. Beurkens' Website with resources for parents and professionals Horizons Developmental Resource Center Better Behavior Show Podcast Life Will Get Better Book One Simple Thing More of, Less of, Same of (MO, LO, SO) One Simple Thing video series My Favorite Simon & Schuster Audio · THE POWER OF MOMENTS Audiobook Excerpt Creating moments during COVID (surprise camp blanket & jacket presentations):
[ENCORE] Ep. 159: "The Social Dilemma" with Jean Rogers
44:41SHOW NOTES Join Audrey's email subscriber community for resources and ideas for happier, more connected families. Jean Rogers is the Director of the Children’s Screen Time Action Network, where she leads a coalition of practitioners, educators, advocates, and parents who collaborate on practical methods to reduce children’s time on screens and digital devices, mitigate the dangers, and preserve childhood in the digital age. Jean is the host of Action Network Live!, a webcast bringing experts to parents on how screens impact all aspects of child development. She writes a weekly blog and speaks widely to parents, teachers and activists, empowering them to implement simple solutions to a complex 21st century parenting challenge. Jean earned Masters’ degrees in Education and Parenting Education at Wheelock College, where she took up the mantel of Susan Linn and Diane Levin, trailblazers in media literacy, play-based learning, and avoiding a commercialized childhood. Prior to working at the Action Network, Jean was a freelance marketing writer, illuminating products and services for nonprofit and business clients. She was also a music teacher, director of a large church school, and a college writing center consultant. Her greatest role is mother to 5 children. BIG IDEAS • The Social Dilemma is fantastic because it helps you understand that social media apps were designed for profit for the companies that designed, not for the benefit of the users (a good term because of the addictive nature of the apps). • If you have preteens or teens, we encourage you to have them watch The Social Dilemma with you. They'll understand more at the end, they'll maybe see themselves or their friends in it or their cousins. They'll understand it from the perspective of one of those ages. If you have young children, the film is really a cautionary tale. It's something that if you watch it now you can prevent some of these things from happening. • While we do have the children's online privacy and protection act, that has not translated into the regulations for social media that you would expect, and kids are still able to scroll. They're able to find things. • For our kids, it's so easy for them to believe everything that they see and for us to need to explain that not everything is real on the internet. Fake news and stories spread much faster than true ones. LINKS & RESOURCES • Where to connect with and find out more about Jean and the Children's Screen Time Action Network: Website Facebook Book: Kids Under Fire Action Network Live • Jean's interview with Audrey and Lenore Skenazy on Action Network Live. Happy Campers at Home: Navigating Summer with Children during COVID-19 from CCFC on Vimeo. • "The Social Dilemma" • Cyberwise • "The Great Hack" • Cal Newport • Digital Wellness Collective • Wait Until 8th • Turning Life On QUOTES • Audrey: "I had heard that a long time ago about Steve jobs, that his kids weren't allowed to have iPads." • Audrey: "These tools that have been created are starting to erode the social fabric of how society works." • Jean: "The Children’s screen Time Action Network is a project of Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood." • Jean: "Creating routines reduces stress." • Jean: "I think one of the things they say in the film is, it's not like a bolt of lightning that happens. All of a sudden your kids are converted to this world. It's a gradual change in their behavior. And so we don't want to wake up someday and not know our kids." • Jean: "There are studies that say, we learn a lot more. We absorb a lot more by reading the real book." • Jean: "You can't change it. That only the industry can change it, but you can change what's going on in your own home." IF YOU ENJOYED THIS EPISODE, YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE... Ep. 156: The Tech Solution with Dr. Shimi Kang Ep. 148: Connecting with Nature & Each Other During COVID with Ariella Rogge Ep. 144: Raising Happy, Durable Kids in the Digital Age Ep. 116: Why We Need to Unplug and Connect with our Families ONE SIMPLE THING This week's One Simple Thing is one from Happy Campers: 9 Summer Camp Secrets for Raising Kids Who Become Thriving Adults. MY FAVORITE Digital Minimalism, Cal Newport I think we’re only scratching the surface on the damage caused by our current technology habits. As I argued in Digital Minimalism, these tools are both powerful and indifferent to your best interests. Until you decide to adopt a minimalist ethos, and deploy technology intentionally to serve specific values you care about, the damage it inflicts will continue to accumulate. -Cal Newport, Do Smartphones Make Us Dumber? SUBSCRIBE TO SUNSHINE PARENTING THANKS FOR LISTENING! If you enjoyed this episode and know of others who would be encouraged by the ideas, please share! Leave a review for the Sunshine Parenting Podcast on iTunes! Reviews are very important for helping podcasts find their audiences, and I would love your support in helping people find Sunshine Parenting! Would you like to have access to bonus posts, resources and podcast episodes? Join me as a supporter on Patreon! Audrey
[ENCORE] Ep. 128: "America's Worst Mom" Lenore Skenazy talks about Letting our Kids Grow
38:59Show notes & links available here. In this episode, I'm talking to Lenore Skenazy about how letting her 9-year-old son ride the subway alone in New York City led to her being labeled the "World's Worst Mom" and sparked the Free-Range Kids movement. Her book, Free-Range Kids: How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children Without Going Nuts with Worry, along with the programs developed and promoted by Let Grow, counter the culture of overprotection. Big Ideas Over the last decade, Lenore has been fighting the societal belief that our children are "in constant danger from creeps, kidnapping, germs, grades, flashers, frustration, failure, baby snatchers, bugs, bullies, men, sleepovers and/or the perils of a non-organic grape." People feel so much fear for their kids' safety, even when there's no reason to be afraid. A free-range childhood means kids can go outside after school and play with their friends without it being a structured, supervised activity. There are 5 reasons why parents today are so much more afraid for their kids: Media -- news, films, and crime shows. Laws and fear of litigation. Experts in books and magazines that produce anxiety. Marketplace and safety products that capitalize on our fears. Technology that allows parents to monitor kids at all times. The Let Grow organization promotes two school initiatives: Let grow Project: Kids get a homework assignment to do something on their own, without their parents' help. This promotes independence, a sense of pride, competence, and confidence." Let Grow Play Club: Kids stay after school or arrive early for extended, unstructured playtime with other kids. The Let Grow movement is promoting Free-Range parenting laws in states around the country. The bills define 'neglect' as a blatant disregard for a child's safety and wellbeing. It's not letting a kid walk to school, come home with a latch key, or play outside. Quotes Lenore: "It's not like parents are crazy, it's that we are being fed so much fear from so many corners of our life and culture that it's almost impossible not to breathe it in. It's like pollution. You're just breathing it in and it gets into your body." Audrey: "I look to you as a hero because you were at the forefront when this crazy overparenting came into play." Lenore: "It feels so much less safe, even though statistically the crime rate is lower now than it has been in 25 years." Lenore: "Your brain works like Google. It takes in all this information and then when you ask, 'Is it safe for my kids to walk to the bus stop today?' up pops the pictures or stories you've heard about, whether it was from 30 years ago or a Law & Order episode yesterday. Those stories are so easy to recall but they're not the most relevant results...so we start making our decisions based not on any kind of statistical reality, not on any kind of reality at all, but on the basis of all these terrible stories that have been shoved into us as we've been growing up." Lenore: "The media is certainly an enormous reason that we are so much more afraid than our parents who weren't as saturated with these fears as we were." Lenore: "We live in a litigious society. When you start thinking like a lawyer, which we all do, nothing seems safe enough...So you take something that is extremely safe and it is rewritten through the lawyer brain as potentially dangerous and you see everything through the lens of risk." Audrey: "People perceive camp or especially letting your child go to camp as being so risky and dangerous. But what's amazing is that statistically, summer camps are far safer than people's backyards." Audrey: "I think parents feel like when someone's not under their exact, very close supervision, there's this fear. You really want to trust other people with your kids, but there is always a risk." Lenore: "(Technology) gives us this level of omniscience that is actually very oppressive to parents because it feels like you have to know literally every breath your child is taking." Lenore: "It's as if our child is in such danger that we better be on high alert all the time or something terrible will happen and it's all our fault. That's why I feel sorry for parents raising kids in this era. The pressure to know everything and be aware of everything and worry about everything is at a breaking point." Audrey: "I think it has actually gotten worse than what you were talking about back 12 or 13 years ago when you first wrote Free-Range Kids." Lenore: "Let Grow, rather than working on changing minds, is focused on changing behavior. And the behavior we're thinking about is extremely similar to what happens when parents send their kids off to camp. We are trying to give kids a smidgen of independence and when they get that they're less anxious afterward and the parents are less anxious, everybody is allowed to grow." Lenore: "Until you see that they can do something on their own, you don't even know if it's going to work, this great experiment with the people you love the most. But when you see that they're blossoming, they can handle it, it's just a remarkable transformation. And you don't go backward...You watch them and your heart fills." Lenore: "The Let Grow project is just a way to make it easy to let go because everyone's doing it. Either everyone in the class or the school or the or the school district. So you're not the crazy mom. So there are other kids doing it, other parents doing it." Audrey: "Because we're in a time where people look askance at the child or two siblings walking to a park to play. It's too bad. But being able to say, 'Oh this is an assignment from school.' You almost have to give your kids the words they need in order to defend themselves doing something that they are perfectly capable of doing and giving parents the permission to let their children do this." Audrey: "If you and all of your friends at school are all letting your kids do this stuff, you're going to start talking about that. The community will start understanding--it is genius." Lenore: "Kids have been so stunted, in a way. When there is always around somebody who's saying, 'Let me handle that for you.' We say, always helping kids isn't always helping them. And so, going to a store and talking to strangers, well, it's a store full of people. And I guess they're strangers, but they're just people. They're not criminals. And they just felt so much better about themselves and better about the world that they were making more friends. That was a, a bonus that I didn't expect." Audrey: "People think, 'Oh well my child's not ready for such and such.' But the thing is, the way you get ready for things is practicing. And if we don't let them practice, then are they ever going to feel competent and confident and capable." Audrey: "I'm always encouraging parents to just have kids do little things like making dinner or handling the checkout at the store. If you're not comfortable sending them on your own yet, let your child do the talking and handing them the card and running it through the thing or putting in your phone number and just let them try it in front of you until you feel confident." Lenore: "It's not just fun for kids to do things for their parents, it's also telling them that their parents trust, believe in and need them. Those things feel so great. It's great to know that your parents don't think you're so endangered or incompetent that you can't do things on your own." Audrey: "One of the reasons so many adolescents feel so bad is because they feel unneeded. When we are doing everything for them and not letting them start doing for themselves or helping others then they don't feel needed or valued, or necessary to a household, or to a school or a community. That's a terrible feeling." Lenore: "When you rise to the occasion on the playground and there are little kids there and you're the grownup, cause you're a fifth grader or a fourth grader, it is a great feeling. It's not just the leadership, it is the kindness that you get into yourself and realize this is fun. They didn't even realize what they were enjoying was empathy." Lenore: "I think camp is one of the last bastions of childhood freedom. And I think kids who are lucky enough to have it, whether it's day camp or overnight camp, they should take advantage and parents should take advantage too, because, as you said, the parents feel a lot more relaxed when they finally get to take their eyes off their kids for summer. Summer should be a time of freedom." About Lenore Skenazy After her column "Why I Let My 9-Year-Old Ride the Subway Alone" landed her on every talk show from The Today Show to Dr. Phil, Lenore Skenazy got labeled “America’s Worst Mom.” Nice. She turned around and founded “Free-Range Kids,” the movement that says kids are NOT in constant danger. That grew into “Let Grow,” a non-partisan nonprofit working to make it easy, normal and legal to give kids back some independence. To that end, Lenore has lectured all over (Microsoft, DreamWorks, Sydney Opera House...) and been profiled everywhere from The New York Times to The New Yorker to The Daily Show. A journalist herself, she spent 14 years at the New York Daily News and has written for everyone from The Wall Street Journal to Mad Magazine. Yep. Mad! Her reality show “World’s Worst Mom,” airs on Discovery Life (from time to time, late at night, in re-runs). Last year, Utah became the first state to pass a "Free-Range Parenting Law," guaranteeing parents the right to let their kids do things like walk to school or play at the park without a security detail. Links Website: Let Grow: Future-Proofing Our Kids & Our Country Let Grow Project (for schools) FREE-RANGE KIDS has become a national movement, sparked by the incredible response to Lenore Skenazy's piece about allowing her 9-year-old ride the subway alone in NYC. Parent groups argued about it, bloggers blogged, spouses became uncivil with each other, and the media jumped all over it. A lot of parents today, Skenazy says, see no difference between letting their kids walk to school and letting them walk through a firing range. Any risk is seen as too much risk. But if you try to prevent every possible danger or difficulty in your child's everyday life, that child never gets a chance to grow up. We parents have to realize that the greatest risk of all just might be trying to raise a child who never encounters choice or independence. Interviews with Lenore Skenazy https://vimeo.com/56107897 Jonathan Haidt, The Coddling of the American Mind Jonathan Haidt and Lenore Skenazy co-authored "The Fragile Generation," Peter Gray, Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life Free-Range Kids: Giving Our Children the Freedom we had without Going Nuts with Worry, Lenore Skenazy Related Ep. 60: The Importance of Outdoor, Child-Directed Free Play with Andy Pritikin Ep. 65: Raising Engaged, Happy Kids with Mary Hofstedt Ep. 78: The Danish Way of Parenting (Part 2) Ep. 87: The Impact of Camp Experiences with Laurie Browne, Ph.D. American Camp Association The Camp Impact Study
[ENCORE] Ep. 85: Grit is Grown Outside the Comfort Zone (PEGtalk)
41:53Today’s show, Episode 85, was recorded live at Pegasus School in Huntington Beach as part of their PEGtalks parent education series. I’m with my frequent guest, Sara Kuljis, the owner and director of Yosemite Sierra Summer Camp and Emerald Cove Day Camp. We talked about my book, Happy Campers and we discussed Camp Secret #5,… The post Ep. 85: Grit is Grown Outside the Comfort Zone (PEGtalk) appeared first on Sunshine Parenting.