Welcome to The Parent Practice Podcast, the show for anyone who cares for and about children. We know you want your children to be happy, confident and successful and that you do your best to be a good parent. Sometimes you probably beat yourself up for not being good enough. Good parenting can be simple if you know how. We can support you here by exploring a range of topics to enable you to feel calmer and happier and to help you get that parenting manual you wish you'd had from the beginning.
We are your hosts, Melissa Hood and Elaine Halligan. We’re passionate about positive parenting. We’ve developed expertise built up over many years of working with families. In this podcast we interview a whole range of different people in differing fields from authors, to therapists, to clinicians. They all have fascinating insights into this messy world of raising and educating kids.
We share our experiences of raising our families. Between us we have 5 now-adult children and one and a half grandchildren and we walk the talk every day using these skills with our families.
In the interests of celebrating perfect imperfection in every episode you’ll hear from our guests about one of their own low parenting moments and their top tips for raising happy, confident and successful children.
The Upsides of Enforced Slowness in Lockdown with Carl Honoré
If you’re feeling really over the whole pandemic thing this episode will lift your spirits.
The Covid-19 pandemic has certainly changed our lives. We’ve been forced to accept changes to the way we live in order to try to control the disease, some of which have been inconvenient, to say the least. Some families have found the enforced lockdown extremely difficult and for some isolation has really affected their mental wellbeing. But it hasn’t been all bad.
Carl Honoré has written extensively about the benefits of slowing down –he calls it embracing our ‘inner tortoise’ - and recently he has been musing about how Covid might be just the force that compels us to slow down with all the benefits that brings us and our families.
Listen to this episode with Carl if you want to learn:
What the detrimental effects are on us of the busy way we live our lives and what are the prices we pay, the things we sacrifice, for our ‘roadrunner’ lives, the biggest of which are human connection and opportunities for self-reflection How the cult of productivity has grown up in pursuit of the perfect CV but as a consequence children lose may the ability to think and be creative How attentiveness, presence, joy, good health and love can be lost in the rush from one activity to another How your children can really enjoy activities if they winnow down to a few that they really love. Top tip: you’ll know your child is really passionate about an activity if they talk about it even when they’re not doing it How ‘buffer moments’ between activities are essential for processing and building memories How to create conversation time in which you really get to know your child and indeed yourself What some of the lessons of Covid might be, what aspects of lockdown do we want to retain and what do we want to be different when we go back to ‘normal’ How productivity can be increased when people have more autonomy How important it is to remember what we value and what we’ve learnt from our pandemic experience. Memory is impacted by living life too fast so Carl encourages us to write down our thoughts about this to avoid forgetting when life speeds up again, maybe in the form of a family mission statement You’ll enjoy his very simple top tip for raising children to slow down and be adults who have more balance in their lives.
If you want to get in touch with Carl check out the links below:
Juliet Richards - Navigating Anxiety
We are all aware that anxiety is a growing problem amongst our littlies, our tweens and our teens, and a recent Bristol University Longitudinal study ( ALPSAC) has identified that anxiety amongst our young people, children and teenagers has risen over the past 3 months of the pandemic from 13% to 24% during the crisis. So this podcast helps parents understand it and most importantly gives some top tips re what can be done to manage anxiety, reduce stress and how to respond to it.
Our guest today is Juliet Richards, who has been part of the facilitation team here at The Parent Practice since 2008, after taking our Positive Parenting Course in 2004 and then the Train the Trainer course in 2008. She’s also a school governor and is the safeguarding lead in a private girls school in London.
After her training with The Parent Practice, she realised what an impact the techniques and ideas were going to have on her family and others. Creating a positive atmosphere, and seeing how she could help them behave well and find their way in the world, was very different to feeling her responsibility was simply to keep them out of trouble. As her sons have grown, the parenting skills have continued to enable her to feel that she is on the same side as her boys and her and her husband are able to actively pass on the values that they feel are important
She leads our HARMONY AT HOME 6 week course and Zoom webinars on a variety of topics and is an adept facilitator with a clear, empathetic and humorous style.
In this episode we look at how to spot anxiety, how to understand it and most importantly how to teach your children to deal with it
Listen to this episode with Juliet if you want to learn:
How challenging it is to parent, and how easy it is to feel isolated and scared when you as a parent may be anxious. How parents can empower their children by starting to understand themselves and equipping themselves with positive parenting skills What anxiety is? What is developmentally normal? How to deal with anxiety and know when to intervene and not escalate and catastrophise and heighten the situation. The idea that prevention is better than cure The importance of modelling and how contagious anxiety is How important it is for schools to support parents by delivering parenting workshops on topics such as anxiety How our brain works in terms of the ‘Worry Brain’ and the ‘Smart Brain’ as defined by Tamar Chansky The importance of being an emotion coach for our kids and enabling them to talk to us about their fears and worries How useful a worry box can be for children to download their negative thoughts and how to set up chatty time on the sofa as a daily ritual to allow children to worry openly The importance of teaching your children calming techniques as part of everyday life Juliet shares huge vulnerability with one of her low parenting moments where she says to her boys, she no longer wants to be their Mummy and she shares that the greatest gift we can give our children is to look after ourselves and our own happiness.
If you are interested in doing a 6 week Harmony at Home course or a webinar on anxiety or booking a school workshop, check out the links below
Harmony at Home Course and Webinars with The Parent Practice
School workshop to support parents
Alicia Eaton -First Aid for your Child’s Mind
Tamar Chansky - Freeing your Child from Anxiety
Lawrence Cohen - The Opposite of Worry
Place to be -https://www.place2be.org.uk/
Young Minds - https://youngminds.org.uk/
Child Mind institute -https://childmind.org/
Anxiety UK -https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/
Louise Treherne - Helping Children Cope with the Return to School
Some of you will have children who have already returned to school, albeit part time, and some of you will have children who will be returning for the first time in September, so this episode has relevance for everybody whatever transition you are going through. Some children are terribly excited about going back and some are quite apprehensive. And parents may have mixed feelings too.
Our guest today is Louise Treherne who is Head of Character Education at ‘Role Models’, an organisation which supports children to be resilient and creative problem solvers.
Louise has a degree in Psychology, 12 years’ experience as a teacher and 5 years as a Senior Deputy Head at a London Prep school. She now works as a qualified coach working 1:1 with adults, teenagers and children to help them move forward with specific goals, explore limiting beliefs and develop their direction and confidence.
‘Role Models’ has a programme of life skill courses for children age 5-11. Louise has developed this programme with new and exciting ways to help children explore the four key areas of resilience, leadership, creative problem solving and collaboration, in order to be the best version of themselves and reach their potential.
In this episode we look at how to manage children’s worries, what modelling parents need to do, and how to help your child focus on positive conversations, talking about what’s in or out of one’s control. We talk about the importance of the ‘soft skills’ for children and also for ourselves as adults have to cope with transition too. We all have feelings about returning to school that we may need support with.
Listen to this episode with Louise if you want to learn:
What ‘character education’ is (as defined by the Department for Education) Why parents should focus on positive conversations about going back to school and not project adult feelings onto the children while allowing children to express any anxieties they may have. (Emotion coaching will be a familiar skill for regular Parent Practice Podcast listeners) Talk to children about what they can control and what they can’t and put their energy into the former About the worry box and how that can help children, and adults, to compartmentalise their worries and preserve energy for other things How vital adult support (from parents and teachers) is for children right now to look after their mental health(especially 5-11 year olds because they are developing crucial skills in this age group) About what might be difficult for children to cope with on return to school, including socialising, and how we can prepare them for that: How allowing an adjustment period might be what your child needs Acknowledging feelings of overwhelm and anxiety about separation from family, and having simple strategies like a note in the lunch box or have a matching drawing on both parent and child’s wrist that each can look at Helping your child Identify 3 things to talk to friends about Reminding them that communication is just as much about listening as speaking –preparing some questions might be helpful Developing rituals of connection on their return home at the end of the day Using love-bombing How Role Models workshops for children can help them build resilience, leadership, creative problem solving and collaboration through experiential learning techniques, including helping a child really develop a growth mindset around challenging problems How it helps to teach children to identify what learning zones they are in for different activities, about neuroplasticity and about the power of their thoughts in shaping their feelings and their actions How to help children feel they have more control over their own lives How helpful it can be to put structure and routines back in place sometime before school goes back, including practicing the school route which mi
Michele Borba - Raising empathetic children in an all-about-me world
There is no doubt that in this era of the Covid-19 pandemic there has been a huge amount of uncertainty and with that some anxiety. You may be feeling some anxiety yourself and perhaps your children are too. Well, the antidote to stress is empathy and our guest today has many, many ideas about how you can build empathy in your children.
Dr. Michele Borba is an educational psychologist and former classroom teacher who is recognised globally as a parenting, bullying and character expert whose aim is to strengthen children’s empathy and resilience, and break the cycle of youth violence. She is an in-demand speaker who has delivered keynotes and workshops to over 1,000,000 participants and written 24 books translated into 14 languages as well as appearing frequently in broadcast and print media. We’ll put a list of Dr Borba’s books in our show notes rather than list them all here but the one that introduced me to her work, her latest, is Unselfie, Why empathetic kids succeed in our all about me world. I loved that this work is firmly grounded in science but also has many, many practical ideas about how parents can raise kids to be empathetic. Dr Borba has been writing another book during lockdown Thrivers, the surprising reasons why some kids struggle and others shine. I can’t wait to read it She is also a parent of 3 now adult sons.
Listen to this episode with Dr Michele if you want to learn:
About the 3 factors present in a person’s upbringing that lead to a person developing altruism How an 8 month old baby can teach children a thing or two about empathy. About today’s empathy deficit and how that has arisen. Yes, technology does play a part. But there are a number of reasons including the way we parent. Ouch! About the extraordinary outcomes when parents take active steps to teach children empathy and kindness That empathy is not just an innate quality that we are either born with or not, but it is something that can be cultivated even from an incredibly young age How empathy can be the antidote to stress, both your children’s and your own and how learning emotional regulation can help in times of uncertainty About how empathy is made up of habits. You can encourage emotional literacy and help your child develop a moral identity. Family mission statements can help a child to define themselves as a caring person. So can praise provided it is used to identify moments of caring in your child’s behaviour, since what we notice in our children is the behaviour we prioritise How parents can encourage children to understand others’ perspectives through role play, theatre, film and literature. Encouraging children to read widely through family reading rituals will help them develop empathy How some aspects of conventional discipline methods (yelling, time out, spanking) get in the way of a child developing empathy. (For more detail see our positive discipline module in our six week course) And her top tip for raising children to be kind and tolerant adults who will create a better future for us all. It’s a very simple idea. And her idea for encouraging hope in difficult times is inspiring.
If you want to get in touch with Dr Michele check out the links below:
For a full list of Michele’s books see https://micheleborba.com/books/ and look out for her new book next year ‘Thrivers’
Ted talk -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVTiplEG91s&feature=emb_logo
Alex Webb - Understanding self for future happiness and success
Alex Webb is an experienced coach and facilitator, working with young people on an individual basis and in teams to become resilient leaders. Alex focuses on behaviour change, self-awareness and the understanding of self. Her belief is that if you understand yourself, you can then understand others, allowing you to adapt your behaviour to improve relationships. Her business is called Flying Start and she has been working with The Princes Trust to help young adults with leadership skills and confidence in their Future Leaders Programme. They help young people understand the future of work and how they can be flexible and thereby gain confidence.
Listen to this episode with Alex if you want to learn:
What behaviour preferences are and how being able to make different behavioural choices increases our flexibility -leaving your comfort zone is easier in a safe environment How understanding yourself can help you to understand others How Colour-me profiling (a psychometric tool using colour to show behavioural preferences) can help you understand yourself and how you relate to others, including other members of the family How understanding behaviour preferences of others in the family can help you to realise the value they bring and to cultivate empathy as well as self-compassion How frustrations can arise from similar or different behavioural styles in work colleagues or family members How profiling that focuses on behaviours rather than personality types allows for more adaptability and more choice about how we’re showing up in different contexts About the C-me profiling, how it relates to extroversion/introversion and how it helps people understand their strengths and preferences, but also why an individual might struggle in certain situations, like lockdown! How understanding your child’s behavioural preferences allows you to do bespoke parenting for the children you’ve got How older children understanding their own behavioural preferences, and particularly their ‘native genius’ allows them to make better choices for their academic options and careers Alex shares stories from her own life with her sons that highlight how understanding everybody’s behavioural preferences avoids conflict. She talks about Surprising Uplifting Moments from lockdown and like many parents has loved having time together as a family and to focus on self-care. Family Horrible Histories were a highlight! Alex also shares with us her number one tip for raising children with different needs and different ways of hearing things and understanding things.
Alex is offering a webinar for listeners of this podcast. Get in touch via the links below.
C-Me website www.colour-profiling.com
C-Me are actually running a family offer at the moment, especially during lockdown, focusing specifically on family dynamics. You can each run a C-Me report based on how you behave at home and then use these to start a conversation about how you have different needs, strengths and focus. The cost is £50 for a family of 4 or £15 each so if you are a family of 5 it will be £65.
Dr Laura Markham -We need to talk about racism
You may have been provoked by the recent death of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer in Minnesota or by similar events in the UK and Australia, and elsewhere, to think really hard about racism. Were you galvanised into taking part in a protest against racism and against police brutality? Are you wondering how to bring up your children not only to not be racist themselves but to be outraged by discrimination on the basis of skin colour and to speak out against it? If you want to raise children who are going to be kinder, more tolerant adults who will create a better future for all this is the episode for you.
Listen to this episode with Dr Laura Markham if you want to learn:
Why it matters to talk to children about race if you are living in a society where your skin colour matches the skin colour of the dominant culture and what our responsibility is if we want our children to grow up in a non-racist culture How we can celebrate difference between people at the same time as recognising our common humanity How you can talk to even quite young children about racism and police brutality without scaring them How you can spark great conversations with kids by tapping into their already keen sense of what is fair and by talking about how people feel when the subject of unkindness Why ‘colour-blindness’ should not be our goal and how that invalidates the experience of someone suffering discrimination and how seeing race is not the problem but making judgments about a person because of racial characteristics would be How important it is to develop your own self-awareness and your reactions to people of different races and be aware of the modelling you provide to your child How using questions, rather than telling your child what to think, is such an effective way to stimulate your child’s thinking How you can talk to even young children about white advantage Why reprimanding children for making comments you’re not happy with is not the best way to teach them How to engage older children with these issues and to empower them to feel they can effect change themselves, by taking part in peaceful protests to demand change or to write letters How you can influence children’s thinking by what they’re exposed to in their everyday environment through the toys they play with, the films they watch and the books they read as well as the people they spend time with How to move beyond feelings of shame and awkwardness or guilt about historical or current racism to educate yourself and your child for a different future. Acknowledging pain is the key to opening up for positive action How to give children messages of hope And her top tip for raising children to be respectful, fair adults who can create a better future for all of us.
If you want to get in touch with Dr Laura check out the links below: