Renowned professor, researcher, and author John Sommers-Flanagan, Ph.D., teams up with parenting, child, and intimate relationship expert Sara Polanchek, Ed.D., to bring you the Practically Perfect Parenting Podcast. Children do not come with instruction manuals, and this bi-weekly podcast tackles some of the biggest issues parents face, with humor and wit. Brought to you by The Charles Engelhard Foundation, and the National Parenting Education Network, this podcast pairs cutting edge research and proven technique, to help make you a practically perfect parent.
Inspiring Cooperation in Your Children
Photo Courtesy of Dudley Dana
In this fantastic new episode of the Practically Perfect Parenting Podcast, John tries to inspire Sara to be more cooperative. You can guess how well that works. As the usual Sara-John dynamics fly, you’ll learn about three situations that tend to elicit children’s defiance, how children’s styles may make them more or less cooperative, general principles of inspiring cooperation in children, and specific techniques you can try out with your children. You’ll also hear Sara ask John, “Is it wrong for me to stalk my children?” and Sara will share her feedback to John about whether he should brag or not. In the stunning conclusion, you’ll find out John’s uncensored thoughts on free range parenting and whether or not he recommends that you read, “Free Range Kids” by Lenore Skenazy.
The Practically Perfect Parenting Podcast (PPPP) is brought to you in part by the Charles Engelhard Foundation and the National Parenting Education Network . . . but you should be aware that the views expressed on this and every episode of the PPPP do not necessarily reflect the views of our sponsors, our listeners, or anyone other than Sara Polanchek and John Sommers-Flanagan.
The PPPP provides general educational information designed to promote positive parenting practices, but this podcast should not be considered your final source of professional advice. If you have questions about specific parenting or care taking scenarios, we recommend that you meet with a professional who can help you address the unique situations that you’re facing in your life.
When John mentions the title of this episode of the Practically Perfect Parenting Podcast, Sara emits the sophisticated professional response of “Eewww gross.” Don’t worry. Things get better from there, because you get to hear a wide range of strategies for teaching children about healthy relationships, including Sara’s super-secret and bizarrely named strategy called “the spinach in the muffins technique.” You also get to hear several inappropriate self-disclosures, unfair accusations (as in when Sara says John just wants to reminisce about his Teen Love experiences), the Romeo and Juliet effect, and how much Sara’s teenage boys look forward to her talking with them about sexuality and intimacy. In the end, we agree that healthy relationships are the number one predictor of happiness and offer fantastic resources like the Dibble Institute https://www.dibbleinstitute.org/ and the CDC’s Teen Dating Violence webpage: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/teen-dating-violence.html.
The Practically Perfect Parenting Podcast (PPPP) is brought to you in part by the Charles Engelhard Foundation and the National Parenting Education Network . . . but you should also be aware that the views expressed on this and every episode of the PPPP do not necessarily reflect the views of our sponsors, our listeners, or anyone other than Sara Polanchek and John Sommers-Flanagan. . . and, of course, sometimes we’re not even certain that we agree with what we just said.
The PPPP provides general educational information designed to promote positive parenting practices, but this podcast should not be considered a source of professional advice. If you have questions about specific parenting or caretaking scenarios, we recommend that you seek professional services with someone who can help you address the unique situations that you’re facing in your life.
Helping Children Deal with Fear and Anxiety
John begins this episode feeling nervous, mostly because he has unrealistic expectations about wishing to solve everyone’s anxiety problems with one podcast episode. Fortunately, because Sara is a genius, she immediately helps John feel better about his unrealistic expectations . . . although Sara also immediately makes it so John regrets calling her a genius. As the podcast continues, Sara also shows that she’s not only a genius, but that she is also a neurotic mom who has instilled bizarre fears in her children. (Actually, Sara’s children’s former fear of sharks in the University of Montana pool weren’t really her fault, but because John is writing up this summary of the podcast, John is getting back at Sara for gloating about being a genius.) At this point, rather than continue to make myself (John) sound good and my co-host (Sara) sound neurotic, I should just say that you should listen to this podcast to learn common childhood fears and strategies for helping children face their fears.
This podcast is brought to you by the Charles Engelhard Foundation and NPEN.org
Why Kids Lie and What to Do About It
When it comes to boastful lying, there’s no better example than Penelope, one of Kristen Wiig’s characters on SNL. Penelope is incessantly popping up here and there, basically lying her ass off. The purpose of Penelope’s lies appear relatively straightforward. She seems to be insecure on the inside, therefore, she boasts and brags about her amazing accomplishments, constantly “one-upping” anything that anyone else says.
On second thought, maybe there’s another fictional-nonfiction character who does her one better in the lying department, but let’s not go there.
This Practically Perfect Parenting podcast on lying focuses on two key issues: (1) Why children lie . . . and (2) How parents can handle their children’s lying in ways that encourage honesty.
Sara and John review many different motivations for lying. These include, but are not limited to Penelope’s ego-boosting motivation. For parents, it can be helpful to understand the goals of your children’s lies. Obviously (or maybe not so obviously), if your children lie because they’re afraid to admit they did something wrong, then using harsh punishment with your children may make them even more afraid to tell you the truth and more inclined to lie and more likely to become even better liars.
Not surprisingly, in this episode, John tells a few lies. You’ll have to listen to see how Sara handles him.
Two brothers, ages 7 and 9, were arguing over an imaginary cookie. In a dramatic turn of events, the older brother brought the invisible cookie to his lips, and took an imaginary bite. Immediately, the younger brother fell to his knees, crying and wailing over the loss of this imagined—yet highly coveted and presumably scrumptious—cookie. In this Practically Perfect Parenting Podcast episode, Dr. John and Dr. Sara attempt to unravel the mysteries of sibling rivalry and discuss how it can serve an important purpose. They remind listeners that, although an understandable fantasy, eliminating conflict is not a reasonable goal. Instead, by accepting a certain amount of sibling rivalry, parents can help children adopt life-long conflict management skills.
Like the Dead Sea Scrolls, this podcast was thought to be lost forever. Then, somehow the universe returned it to us. As a lost, but freshly rediscovered relic, it includes massive secrets that are about to be unleashed on society. The good news is that you could be the first of your friends and families to hear this secret, life-enhancing message. Listen carefully. Listen closely. Listen with purpose. This podcast will transform your life.