267 episodes

Join parenting coach and mom-in-the-trenches, Penny Williams, as she helps parents, caregivers, and educators harness the realization that we are all beautifully complex and marvelously imperfect. Each week she delivers insights and actionable strategies on parenting and educating neurodivergent kids — those with ADHD, autism, anxiety, learning disabilities... Her approach to decoding behavior while honoring neurodiversity, and parenting the individual child you have will provide you with the tools to help you understand and transform behavior, reduce your own stress, increase parenting confidence, and create the joyful family life you crave. Penny has helped thousands of families worldwide to help their kids feel good so they can do good.

Beautifully Complex Penny Williams

    • Kids & Family
    • 4.7 • 325 Ratings

Join parenting coach and mom-in-the-trenches, Penny Williams, as she helps parents, caregivers, and educators harness the realization that we are all beautifully complex and marvelously imperfect. Each week she delivers insights and actionable strategies on parenting and educating neurodivergent kids — those with ADHD, autism, anxiety, learning disabilities... Her approach to decoding behavior while honoring neurodiversity, and parenting the individual child you have will provide you with the tools to help you understand and transform behavior, reduce your own stress, increase parenting confidence, and create the joyful family life you crave. Penny has helped thousands of families worldwide to help their kids feel good so they can do good.

    261: Extreme Language Around Emotions, with Penny Williams

    261: Extreme Language Around Emotions, with Penny Williams

    In this episode of Beautifully Complex, I tackle why our kids and teens might use extreme language to express their emotions. We're recognizing that expressions like "I hate you" or phrases that include aggression or violence often aren't literal but signal an inability to articulate complex emotions.
    I talk about the importance of distinguishing between different feelings and emphasize the role parents play in guiding their kids to understand and communicate their emotions more precisely. Through my experiences and the stories I share — like my child's alarming description of a recess incident — I highlight how easy it is to misunderstand our kids' emotional needs.
    We'll unpack essential skills like social emotional learning, interoception, and how to be the calm anchor for your kids. Listen in for practical strategies to improve your child’s emotional communication.

    • 15 min
    259: Insights on Bullying: Understanding Aggression, Building Resilience, with Brooks Gibbs, Ph.D.

    259: Insights on Bullying: Understanding Aggression, Building Resilience, with Brooks Gibbs, Ph.D.

    Brooks Gibbs, Ph.D. is joining me for a conversation on Insights on Bullying: Understanding Aggression, Building Resilience. His expertise in social psychology shines a light on the intricate dance between aggression and resilience — especially in the lives of our neurodivergent kids.
    In this episode, you'll hear stories close to my heart, including my son's journey through the world of teasing and the delicate balance of parenting a child who sees the world literally. Dr. Gibbs offers thought-provoking perspectives on empathy, teaching us about rational compassion and how it can be a game-changer in our parenting toolkit.
    We'll also discuss the provocative idea of the therapeutic role of horror and drama films in building mental flexibility, and Dr. Gibbs will introduce questions that can profoundly shift our approach to challenges. Moreover, we'll address the emotional challenges faced by individuals with autism and alexithymia, emphasizing the need for strong advocacy and support.
    As we dissect the shortcomings of traditional anti-bullying campaigns, Dr. Gibbs proposes a fresh focus on mental health and resilience. And I'll share my evolution from overprotective parenting to encouraging my child's growth in frustration tolerance and independence.

    • 29 min
    260: Navigating Life Challenges with Purpose and Progress (not perfection), with Shari Leid

    260: Navigating Life Challenges with Purpose and Progress (not perfection), with Shari Leid

    In this episode of Beautifully Complex, I have the pleasure of talking with Shari Leid of An Imperfectly Perfect Life. Together, we’re talking about purposeful living and parenting and celebrating gradual progress over the pursuit of perfection.
    Shari shares her deep insights on the value of recognizing and fostering the inherent strengths in our children. We confront societal expectations head-on, discussing the critical importance of valuing imperfections and the individuality of each journey. This episode is rich with reflection on the concepts of resilience and authenticity in the context of modern parenting.

    • 31 min
    258: What to Do When Your Kid Isn’t Listening, with Penny Williams

    258: What to Do When Your Kid Isn’t Listening, with Penny Williams

    Let's talk about what to do when your kid isn't listening. Remember, they might be processing your words in non-traditional ways, so it's important to find alternative approaches to help them focus, process, and follow through. From recognizing distractions to accommodating slow processing speeds, I offer practical advice to help parents navigate these complex situations, including how to engage them physically, provide written instructions, and be mindful of their individual needs. By understanding these hurdles and meeting your kid where they are, you can foster better communication and cooperation. Join me!

    • 16 min
    257: The Control Trap, with Penny Williams

    257: The Control Trap, with Penny Williams

    In this episode of Beautifully Complex, I explore the detrimental effects of trying to control kids, emphasizing the importance of a humanistic approach to behavior. After watching the recent documentary series on Netflix called "The Program," I was both horrified by the trauma that the “troubled teen industry” causes and inspired to talk about the much more helpful perspective science offers regarding behavior.
    I’ve identified 8 key elements that help us feel good so we can do good, and none of them have anything to do with control. Through personal experiences and impassioned insights, I shed light on the need to empower kids, especially those who are neurodivergent, and the damaging impact of not respecting their individuality and autonomy.
    Join me in understanding the importance of taking a humanistic approach to behavior and nurturing an environment that supports and values the uniqueness of every child.

    • 26 min
    256: Breaking Down Motivation: Helping Teens and Young Adults Find Their Path to Success, with Melanie McNally, Psy.D.

    256: Breaking Down Motivation: Helping Teens and Young Adults Find Their Path to Success, with Melanie McNally, Psy.D.

    In this episode of the Beautifully Complex podcast, I sit down with Dr. Melanie McNally, a clinical psychologist and brain coach who specializes in working with tweens, teens, and young adults. Together, we explore the struggles that many young adults face in finding motivation and direction. Dr. Melanie shares her expertise on helping young adults build their interpersonal skills and increase their motivation. She breaks down the components of motivation into three skill sets: drive, grit, and goals, offering valuable insights for parents navigating the complexities of raising motivated teens. We also delve into the challenges of this generation's unique landscape, touch on the impact of social media, and discuss the changing dynamics of adolescence and parenting. I found Dr. McNally's approach to be insightful and empowering, offering practical strategies for parents and young adults alike. If you're a parent navigating the complexities of raising neurodivergent teens and young adults, Dr. Melanie’s wisdom is sure to provide valuable guidance and support.

    • 28 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
325 Ratings

325 Ratings

beachin mama ,

Valuable Resource

My daughter was recently diagnosed with ADHD, and I’ve since been struggling with what she needs and how I can best support her. Beyond the initial diagnosis from her pediatrician, there are months long waitlists to see specialists and therapists. It’s a lonely place to be. But this podcast feels like the perfect mix of education and therapy for those of us living with or caring for someone with learning differences. From one mom to another, thank you!!

doctorTND ,

5-Star Review - Dr. Tay

I absolutely love this podcast because Penny’s energy is infectious and engaging. As a licensed child psychologist, this is a podcast I love tuning into to hear from others in the field. I have added this podcast to my mix!

Drakegrad4 ,

Great/practical information & examples.

I love listening to these short topics!! I just read/jotted down the last school episode. I’m trying to be more helpful & learn different ways I can help my Alex -7 years old. Ty Penny & guests

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