Jen Lumanlan always thought infancy would be the hardest part of parenting. Now she has a toddler and finds a whole new set of tools are needed, there are hundreds of books to read, and academic research to uncover that would otherwise never see the light of day. Join her on her journey to get a Masters in Psychology focusing on Child Development, as she researches topics of interest to parents of toddlers and preschoolers from all angles, and suggests tools parents can use to help kids thrive - and make their own lives a bit easier in the process. Like Janet Lansbury's respectful approach to parenting? Appreciate the value of scientific research, but don't have time to read it all? Then you'll love Your Parenting Mojo. More information and references for each show are at www.YourParentingMojo.com. Subscribe there and get a free newsletter compiling relevant research on the weeks I don't publish a podcast episode!
162: Supporting children through grief with Katie Lear
This episode builds on our https://www.yourparentingmojocom/death (conversation with Dr. Atle Dyregrov on the topic of talking with children about death), where we focused mainly on death as a general concept and navigating the first few days after the death. Grief therapist Katie Lear has a new book called A Parent's Guide to Managing Childhood Grief and focuses on the much longer period of mourning that follows the death of someone close to a child.
We look at:
The four 'tasks' of mourning that most people (including children) move through
Activities we can do in each task to help children navigate their feelings effectively
long the process usually takes
Signs that a child is engaged in 'complicated grief' and needs more support
Where and how to find that support
Resources mentioned in the show
https://www.katielear.com/ (Katie's website)
https://amzn.to/3IZL8Np (The book A Parent's Guide to Managing Childhood Grief)
https://amzn.to/3PMusef (Selma Fraiberg's book The Magic Years: Understanding and Handling the Problems of Early Childhood)
https://www.dougy.org/ (The Dougy Center)(resources and referrals to grief therapists)
Books Katie recommends for reading with young children
https://amzn.to/3aWKfsm (When Dinosaurs Die)
https://amzn.to/3b643cy (Ida Always)
https://amzn.to/3RWDzer (The Endless Story)
https://amzn.to/3PJVdju (The Dead Bird)
https://amzn.to/3Otfngs (Goodbye Mousie)
161: New masculinites for older boys with Dr. Michael Kehler & Caroline Brunet
We've covered a number of episodes in the past that feed into this one, including https://www.yourparentingmojo.com/healthyboys (Raising Emotionally Healthy Boys with Dr. Judy Chu) (which focused on boys' understanding of masculinity in the preschool years), and https://yourparentingmojo.com/sports/ (Playing to Win with Dr. Hilary Levy Friedman) (which looked at the lessons children learn from sports...which aren't really related to the sports themselves...).
And of course there are the two episodes on patriarchy; https://yourparentingmojo.com/patriarchy/ (the interview with Dr. Carol Gilligan), as well as https://yourparentingmojo.com/parentingpatriarchy/ (my conversation with listener Brian Stout about what we learned during the interview).
A few weeks ago https://yourparentingmojo.com/captivate-podcast/youngfemininity/ (listener Caroline and I interviewed Dr. Marnina Gonick on the topic of girls' relationships), which stemmed from the question 'why are middle/high school-aged girls so mean to each other?' but became much broader in scope as we looked at the cultural factors shaping girls' relationships. At the end of that conversation I asked Dr. Gonick if she knew anyone who was doing work similar to hers but looking at boys' relationships, and she did!
In today's conversation Caroline returns to co-interview Dr. Michael Kehler, who is Research Professor in Masculinities Studies at the Weklund School of Education at the University of Calgary. We discuss how masculinity isn't something that boys are; it's something they do, how the traditional interpretation of masculinity hurts our boys and girls, and what parents can do to support boys in engaging in alternative masculinities that allow them to feel more whole as people.
160: Wanting What’s Best with Sarah Jaffe
There are lots of books available now on how to talk with children about issues related to race, but Sarah W. Jaffe noticed a gap: there weren't any books geared toward non-academic audiences talking about how the choices that predominantly well-off, predominantly White parents make impact other people. From childcare choices to school to college, at every step of the way we make decisions that reflect Wanting What's Best for our own child, but very often these decisions are rooted in the fear of our child falling behind in some way, and when we try to elevate our own child we often do it at the expense of others.
Sarah's book uncovers the ideas that underlie the seemingly innocuous decisions we make so we can ensure that our choices are really aligned with our values. It also provides a great counterpoint to the book that I'm in the process of writing, which will be on the ways we either pass on or disrupt the tools of White supremacy, patriarchy, and capitalism to our own children through the daily interactions we have with them that don't seem to be about anything related to these topics. Publication date September 2023: stay tuned!
Click here to order Sarah W. Jaffe's book https://www.amazon.com/Wanting-Whats-Best-Parenting-Privilege/dp/164160767X?crid=15ZVQXNCBK0HLandkeywords=wanting+what%27s+bestandqid=1656710123andsprefix=wanting+what%27s+best,aps,122andsr=8-1andlinkCode=sl1andtag=yourparent0e9-20andlinkId=3f09296002c357a6b949e20d0afee823andlanguage=en_USandref_=as_li_ss_tl (Wanting What's Best: Parenting, Privilege, and Building a Just World) (affiliate link).
(02:37) How our child should engage in the world.
(03:57) Learn why our fears affects how we raise our children.
(05:58) The importance of racism, patriarchy and capitalism conversation in our child.
(07:42) The inadequacies in the system and issues with childcare wages during the 1960s.
(10:07) Why is our Social Security System being unfair and unjust to farm laborers and domestic workers.
(11:45) How should we deal with the childcare systems as privileged parents.
(13:20) The ideal factors in choosing a daycare arrangement between public schools and private ones.
(14:19) Is it a good idea to take the funds from one school and give it to the other schools.
(17:17) How racial makeup of a school does play a big part in the perception of WHITE parents when choosing a school.
(18:57) The good benefits of exposing our kids to a school with a diverse student body.
(19:43) The challenges we experienced as parents while working against racism.
(23:05) Anti-racist work practices that we can start now.
(25:29) The real picture of how colleges and universities consider students seeking financial aid.
(31:42) Should we consider it a parenting failure if our child didn't attend college.
(33:21) What it means to be a good activist.
(35:56) How does social change start in volunteerism.
(38:26) Money talks with our child.
(40:17) Every part of how we live is infused with capitalism.
(42:20) How would advocating for other children's rights in the same manner that we advocate for our own children make a better future generation.
159: Supporting Girls’ Relationships with Dr. Marnina Gonick
I've been wanting to do this episode for a loooong time. We covered episodes a long time ago on https://yourparentingmojo.com/captivate-podcast/socialgroups/ (how children form social groups), and https://yourparentingmojo.com/captivate-podcast/socialexclusion/ (what happens when they exclude each other from play), but I wanted to do an episode exploring this issue related to slightly older girls, and from a cultural perspective. There are a lot of books and articles out there on the concept of mean girls and I wanted to understand more about that. Why are girls 'mean' to each other? Is it really a choice they're making...or is it a choice in response to a complex set of demands that we put on them about what it means to be female in our culture?
I had a really hard time finding anyone who was doing current research on the topic, and I mentioned this on a group coaching call in the Parenting Membership. A member, Caroline, said: “I know someone who can speak to this!”
Caroline had explored girls’ relationships in young adult literature for her master’s thesis, and knew Dr. Marnina Gonick’s work. Caroline introduced us, Dr. Gonick agreed to talk, and we all had a great conversation about girls’ role in our culture, how they are affected by it, and how they are agents of change as well. Dr. Gonick is Canada Research Chair in Gender and also holds a joint appointment in Education and Women’s Studies at Mount St. Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. She has written two books on the topic of girls’ relationships as well as a whole host of peer-reviewed articles.
Dr. Gonick also introduced me to an expert on boys’ relationships and we’re currently working to schedule an interview in a few weeks so there should be more to come on that soon!
Dr. Marnina Gonick’s Books:
https://amzn.to/3nVGOVG (Young Femininity: Girlhood, Power and Social Change 2004th Edition)
https://amzn.to/3yzUhao (Between Femininities: Ambivalence, Identity, and the Education of Girls (SUNY series, Second Thoughts: New Theoretical Formations)) (Affiliate links).
Jump to highlights:
(03:36) How changes in cultural norms influence our understanding of what it means to be a girl.
(05:27) The way in which a change in behavior can help us understand the experiences of girls in general.
(06:36) What does the school curriculum say about girls that causes them to be disadvantaged in schools.
(08:35) How damaging it is for girls to be victims in a patriarchal society.
(10:25) Why our social systems aren't necessarily organized around girls' well-being
(12:50) The concept of girl power can be seen as either working for or against females.
(14:46) The Social Barriers to Girl Power.
(16:44) Criticisms of the movie "Mean Girls" and how they relate to the topic of empowering women in general.
(18:34) The relational aggressiveness between boys and girls.
(21:45) Why school cultures play a significant influence in bullying.
(24:19) Finding acceptable ways for girls to show their relational aggression.
(26:17) Factors that influences a child to become racist and disrespectful.
(28:07) A growing number of institutions and businesses have taken an interest in the girl power movement.
(31:34) Girls' ways of discovering their sense of identity/sexuality.
(35:16) Different notions of sexiness in girls.
(39:28) How heterosexuality highlights femininity.
(41:24) Girls are going to be mean to each other human nature makes it inevitable.
(43:37) How important is it to understand our feelings and the feelings of our children.
Aapola, S., Gonick, M., and Harris, A. (2005). Young femininity: Girlhood, power, and social change. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan
Bethune, J., and Gonick, M. (2017). Schooling the mean girl: A critical discourse analysis of teacher resource materials. Gender and Education 29(3), 389-404.
158: Deconstructing Developmental Psychology with Dr. Erica Burman
I read a lot of textbooks on parenting for my Master's in Psychology (Child Development), I've read tens of thousands of peer-reviewed papers on the topic, and part of the reason it's hard work is that you can't ever take things at face value.
In her now classic book Deconstructing Developmental Psychology, Dr. Erica Burman explodes a number of our ideas about child development by calling our attention to what's really going on in an interaction, rather than what we think is going on.
For example, there's a classic study where researchers put a baby on a solid surface which changed to glass, which had a design underneath implying that there was a 'cliff edge' that the baby would fall off if it went onto the glass. Researchers designed the experiment to find out what babies could understand about depth perception, but perhaps what they were actually testing was the extent to which the mother's encouragement or lack of encouragement (and it was always the mother) could entice the baby across the 'gap.'
These kinds of confounds exist throughout the research base, and because we're not taught to look below the surface it can be easy to accept the results at face value. Dr. Burman specializes in looking below the surface so we can examine: what are we really trying to understand here? And in doing this, are we reinforcing the same old ideas about 'success' that aren't really serving us now, never mind our children in the future?
Dr. Erica Burman's Book:
https://amzn.to/3uGQpmR (Deconstructing Developmental Psychology 3rd Edition)
https://amzn.to/3uHaEkp (Developments: Child, Image, Nation ) (Affiliate links).
Jump to highlights:
(01:12) The contribution of Professor Erica Burman to psychology.
(03:05) First studies about Childhood Development.
(04:26) How general philosophical questions are linked in child studies.
(07:42) Childhood as a distinct social category.
(09:10) The Concept of Human Interiority and Childhood.
(10:17) Our hopes, fears, and fantasies about childhood reflect our ideas about our lost selves.
(13:23) How the study of child development shifted when behaviorism came into play.
(16:28) We assume psychology is connected with child development.
(18:27) Importance of Democratic Parenting in our society.
(19:57) Developmental researchers oppressed working mothers and middle-class mothers.
(22:23) Impacts of authoritarian regimes in our parenting.
(27:19) Using visual cliff as an experiment in understanding depth perception in children.
(29:06) A child is functioning within a dynamic system of people and objects and everything around it.
(31:02) Mother's appear as the sort of a presumed natural environment to children.
(33:11) Nuclear family performs ideological functions for Capitalism.
(37:00) Whether or not spanking should be banned.
(38:09) The ways environments inhibit certain behaviors.
(39:19) How welfare policies have affected families.
(42:27) Discussing the important discourses in parenting's social and political issues in the book DDP.
Read Full Transcript
Hi, I'm Emma, and I'm listening from the UK we all want our children to lead fulfilled lives. But we're surrounded by conflicting information and clickbait headlines that leave us wondering what to do as parents. The Your Parenting Mojo podcast is still scientific research on parenting and child development into tools parents can actually use everyday in their real lives with their real children. If you'd like to be notified when new episodes are released, and get a free infographic on the 13 reasons your child isn't listening to you and what to do about each one, just head on over to YourParentingmojo.com/subscribe, and pretty soon you're going to get tired of hearing my voice read this intro so come and record one yourself at YourParentingmojo.com/recordtheintro
Jen Lumanlan 00:45
157: How to find your village
For the first time, in this episode I bow out and and let listeners Jenny and Emma take over, who wanted to share how they’ve been supporting each other over the last few months.
They started from pretty different points: Emma wasn’t having parenting struggles, but often over-communicated with her husband and he would stonewall in response, agreeing to whatever she asked so she would stop talking. Then he would resist later, and she couldn’t understand why…because he had agreed, right?
Jenny’s sleep had been disturbed by her child for more than four years…she was exhausted, and had no idea how to deal with her rage-filled kindergartener who would hit her whenever he was upset.
Neither of them had much confidence that being on a Zoom call together for 40 minutes a week would help them.
Emma and her husband now communicate in a way that meets both of their needs, and can navigate the challenges that come up with their preschooler.
Jenny is sleeping! And she has learned how deep listening and true empathy help her son to feel really heard…and incidents that used to lead to 45 minute meltdowns that would disrupt the rest of the day are now over in 10 minutes, and are actually connecting for them.
Jenny and Emma did all this with a bit of information from me…but mostly by being fully present for each other in a small ‘village’ of parents, inside the slightly larger village of the Parenting Membership.
If you want help to break down the changes you want to make into tiny manageable steps and be held (gently!) accountable for taking them (or adjusting course if needed…), we’d love to have you join the three of us plus a group of likeminded parents in the membership.
Get the information you need and the support to actually implement it, all in what members call “the least judgmental corner of the internet.”
Click the image below to learn more and sign up!
Jump to highlights:
(01:00) Jenny and Emma came up with the idea to record an episode for the podcast to talk about how their parenting has changed over the last year.
(01:55) Emma wasn’t having major problems, but wanted to be prepared for the challenges that may happen down the road.
(02:36) Jenny was struggling because she hadn’t had a full night’s sleep in 4 ½ years…and now prioritizes herself through the support of Emma and the members of the ACTion group.
(03:55) An open Invitation to join the Parenting Membership.
(04:45) Because Emma is a high achiever, she imagined parenthood to be a breeze.
(06:57) Jenny believed that if you are prepared and serene, and you bring this calm energy to your pregnancy, you will have an easy child.
(08:24) The lack of understanding of our values is what causes us to be conflicted about becoming parents.
(12:00) Our child’s big feelings are their way of letting us know that they are not okay.
(14:30) It's great to have a community who we can trust, and who will support and respect our values
(16:30) The ACTion group conversation once a week gives parents a foundation to parent more intentionally
(18:26) Emma used the problem-solving method to find a solution for her child's resistance during nail cutting by trying to hypothesize her child’s feelings.
(20:17) Needs can be met when you remove the ‘shoulds.’
(25:31) Jenny’s parenting has been a lot less tense over the past year and a half, which was a wonderful surprise.
(30:48) Jenny saw big changes when she used a deep listening technique with her son during an episode of intense anger and frustration, which ended the episode much more quickly than usual!
(37:25) It's life-changing to see a profound change in our children and ourselves when both of our needs are fulfilled.
Read Full Transcript
Hi, I'm Emma, and I'm...
I’m a toddler teacher and a passionate student of RIE, and I love the way Jen approaches difficult subjects and digs into the research as well. I studied Feminisr Studies in undergrad and deeply appreciate her dedication to parenting in an anti-oppressive, anti-racist, feminist way. The only qualm I have is that sometimes Jen talks so fast that it feels a little frenetic listening, and sometimes I turn to Janet Lansbury when I’m wanting a more mellow podcast. I love both podcasts though!
Excellent Content, Delivery Needs Work
Some of the best content of parenting podcasts. Love the evidence-based discussions, and the guests are always very thoughtful and inspiring, and the host asks excellent, challenging questions.
That said, the host needs to either invest in a better microphone or slow her delivery for scripted episodes. Her breaths are so sharp and loud between sentences with her fast-paced delivery it’s a bit distracting.
Lots of straightforward, easy to understand advice any parents can use.