271 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 • 327 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.

    265: Strategies for Young Autistic Learners, with Tara Phillips, SLP

    265: Strategies for Young Autistic Learners, with Tara Phillips, SLP

    In this episode, I’m joined by Tara Phillips, speech language pathologist and founder of Autism Little Learners. She shares some transformative tools and techniques which have significantly benefited her students, such as the use of visual supports and predictable routines.
    Together, Tara and I explore the importance of positive connections and a strengths-based approach in early education, practical tips for implementing adapted board books, and strategies to reduce anxiety for both children and parents.
    Whether you’re a parent, educator, or therapist, this episode is packed with resources and actionable advice to support the development of young autistic learners. Tune in to transform your approach and enrich your toolkit.

    • 36 min
    264: Handling Behavior Struggles with Dignity, with Wendy Snyder

    264: Handling Behavior Struggles with Dignity, with Wendy Snyder

    This time on Beautifully Complex, I'm exploring behavior struggles and conscious discipline with my guest, Wendy Snyder, a positive parenting educator and family life coach. We discuss how understanding behaviors as communication changes our perspective, helping us view challenges as signals of need and teaching opportunities.
    Join us as we dive into how creating a sense of belonging and safety at home allows our kids to thrive under our guidance. Wendy shares her expertise on managing our own triggers and approaching parenting with empathy and intention. Tune in for practical advice to help you be the parent your kids need.

    • 28 min
    263: Understood Explains IEPs from Understood.org

    263: Understood Explains IEPs from Understood.org

    The terms IEP and 504 plan may come up a lot when you’re looking into special education for your child. These school supports do some of the same things, but one can provide more services and the other is easier to get. And it’s important to know the differences in order to get your child the support they need. On this episode of Beautifully Complex, you will hear an episode of Understood Explains, where host Juliana Urtubey breaks down the differences between IEPs and 504 plans, and which one might be right for your child.

    • 15 min
    262: Emotional Support Animals, with Dan Maigler, LCSW

    262: Emotional Support Animals, with Dan Maigler, LCSW

    In this episode, I'm chatting with my guest Daniel Maigler, about the transformative roles of emotional support animals. Dan's insights as a social worker and mental health advisor for Paws for Patrick reveal how emotional support animals can aid those facing mental health challenges.
    Dan shares the poignant story behind Paws for Patrick, emphasizing the support ESAs can offer, especially to young people. Throughout this episode, he differentiates between therapy dogs, service animals, and emotional support animals, clarifying common misconceptions.
    From legalities to the non-requirement of training for ESAs, we're tackling the myths and discussing the urgency for more emotional support options in schools. For any listener interested in the healing potential of animals and understanding the process for obtaining an ESA, this episode provides clarity and heartfelt testimony.

    • 27 min
    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

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
327 Ratings

327 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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