119 episodes

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!

Your Parenting Mojo - Respectful, research-based parenting ideas to help kids thrive Jen Lumanlan

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    • 4.8, 281 Ratings

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!

    113: No Self, No Problem

    113: No Self, No Problem

    If you heard the recent episode on Parental Burnout, you'll know that our identities can become really confusing when we become parents, especially for women. On one hand, society tells us that we have to work hard and do well so we can Achieve The Dream. And on the other hand, we're told that a Good Mother sacrifices everything for her child - including her career. So what is a parent to do?

    This episode brings together a couple of strands of my life that have been existing in parallel for a few months now. A friend of mine introduced me to meditation as a tool that I might find useful to explore when I was struggling with some personal issues. Not only did I find it interesting, but I also found elements of it that helped me to make sense of the situation I was in in a way that I had not been able to do until that point.


    Like a lot of people, I had the common perception that meditation consists of sitting quietly on the floor cross-legged with thumb and pointing finger touching, saying ‘ommmm’ but when I looked into the research on mindfulness stress reduction that perception went away pretty fast. It had been shown in the scientific literature to be enormously helpful to people not just in reducing stress but also in reducing the severity of physical symptoms in the body that accompany stress.


    But I was still having a hard time reconciling the thousands of scientific research papers I’ve read over the years on how children’s brains develop and some of these new ideas I was learning related mindfulness. And so that is kind of how I discovered Dr. Chris Niebauer and his book No Self, No Problem. After reading it I was able to reconcile those two strands - the psychological research and mindfulness - and I want to share that with you. Along the way, we'll gain an understanding of the mind that may help us to overcome some of the challenges associated with Parental Burnout - so even if you're not officially (clinically) suffering from burnout, this episode could still help you to better reconcile the different aspects of your life and identity.



    Dienstbier, R.A. (1979). Attraction increases and decreases as a function of emotion-attribution and appropriate social cues. Motivation and Emotion 3(2), 201-218.

    Dutton, D.G., & Aron, A.P. (1974). Some evidence for heightened sexual attraction under conditions of high anxiety. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 30(4), 510-517.

    Kabat-Zinn, J. (2011). Some reflections on the origins of MBSR, skillful means, and the trouble with maps. Contemporaty Buddhism 12(1), 281-306.

    Mays, J.C., & Newman, A. (2020, April 8) Virus is twice as deadly for black and latino people than whites in N.C.Y. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/08/nyregion/coronavirus-race-deaths.html?searchResultPosition=3 (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/08/nyregion/coronavirus-race-deaths.html?searchResultPosition=3)

    Meston, C.M., & Frohlich, P.F. (2003). Love at first fright: Partner salience moderates roller-coaster-induced excitation transfer. Archives of Sexual Behavior 32(6).

    Niebauer, C. (2019). No self, no problem: How neuropsychology is catching up to Buddhism. San Antonio, TX: Heirophant

    • 1 hr 2 min
    112: How to Set up a Play Room

    112: How to Set up a Play Room

    One of the things people email me wanting to know about most often is "what does the research say about how to set up a play room? What toys should I buy that will have the greatest benefit for my child's learning and development?" I'd actually been putting off doing this episode for a while, in part because the research base on this topic is thin on the ground - but also because the idea just made me kind of uncomfortable. I mean, we've survived for tens of thousands of years without play rooms - or even dedicated toys, never mind the incredibly beautiful and expensive ones that are available now! - what could I really say about this? Well, now's the time. Perhaps it shouldn't surprise you that this episode is coming in the middle of our series on the intersection of money and parenting. I hope it offers you some reassurance about how to set up your own play room - if you choose to and are able to. And even more reassurance if you choose not to or can't.


    [accordion-item title="Click here to read the full transcript"]

    Hello, and welcome to the Your Parenting Mojo podcast. Today we’re covering a topic that listeners have been asking for for ages, which is How to Set Up a Play Room.

    And if you hear some trepidation in my voice, it’s because there’s a lot of it in me. And if you think it’s an incredible coincidence that this episode is coming hot on the heels of a couple of episodes exploring children and consumerism then…I’m sorry to say that this is not a coincidence. I was uncomfortable enough with the topic that I felt I really couldn’t do this episode without covering those other topics as well as a counterpoint.

    The main reason I’m uncomfortable is, of course, even having the wherewithal to ask the question “how do I set up a child’s play room” represents an absolutely enormous amount of privilege. It says that the person asking the question has so many resources that they can devote an entire room in their house to nothing but a child’s play, and on top of this, they have enough resources to equip the room with a sizeable proportion of whatever toys I suggest that the scientific literature says are necessary to bring about a positive outcome for their child.

    But when my listeners ask for something I do try my best to deliver. So here we go!

    While we’ve discussed the benefits of play on the show before in an interview with Dr. Stuart Brown, who is the Director of the National Institute for Play, we haven’t specifically looked at toys and play, or the role of parents in play. And it turns out that the concept of parents getting involved in children’s play, or directing children’s play, or providing materials for children’s play is something that’s pretty much unique to Western, Educated, Industrial, Rich, Democratic (or WEIRD) countries – plus Japan as well, and possibly China is heading in this direction too.

    For ethnographic evidence on this topic we look to our old friend Dr. David Lancy, who gathered hundreds of ethnographic studies on child development in his book The Anthropology of Childhood. Dr. Lancy reports that Sisala parents in Ghana regard an interest in children’s play as beneath their dignity. Even the face-to-face position where the baby is held facing the mother that is so common in Western cultures is very rare elsewhere. Western scholars consider talking to and playing with the infant essential to promote the bond between mother and infant, but this activity is rare in many cultures as well – the !Kung people who live on the western edge of the Kalahari Desert not only don’t play with their children but believe the practice may be harmful to the child’s development because children learn best without adult intervention. Gusii children in Kenya may try to get their mother to play or talk but will be ignored, because the mother believ

    • 43 min
    111: Parental Burn Out

    111: Parental Burn Out

    Do you often feel anxious or irritated, especially when you’re around your child? Do you often feel like you might snap, perhaps even threatening violence if they don’t do what you say? Are you so disconnected from them that you sometimes consider walking out and never coming back?

    If you have, it’s possible that you’re suffering from parental burnout. Listener Kelly reached out to me recently because she has been diagnosed with parental burnout and wanted to know what research is available on this topic, and on how to protect her two-year-old from its impacts. We did some searching around in the literature and it actually didn’t take long to turn up the preeminent researchers in the field who actually work as a team and one of whom – Dr. Moira Mikolajczak (https://uclouvain.be/fr/repertoires/moira.mikolajczak) , kindly agreed to talk with us.We learned about the warning signs to watch out for that indicate that you might be suffering from parental burnout, and what to do about it if you are. We ran a bit over time at the end of the episode and I wasn’t able to ask about whether self-compassion might be a useful tool for coping with parental burnout but Dr. Mikolajczak and I emailed afterward and she agreed that it is – I’m hoping to do an episode on self-compassion in the future.

    More information on Dr. Mikolajczak’s work on parental burnout can be found at https://en.burnoutparental.com/suis-je-en-burnout (https://en.burnoutparental.com/suis-je-en-burnout)

    If you need tools to help you in the short term, I’m running the Taming Your Triggers workshop starting Monday May 11. In the workshop you’ll learn the true sources of your triggers (hint: it’s not your child’s behavior!), how to feel triggered less often, and what to do when you do feel triggered, and how to repair your relationship with your child on the fewer occasions when it does still happen.

    Click here to learn more about and join the Taming Your Triggers workshop (https://yourparentingmojo.com/tamingyourtriggers/) .



    [accordion-item title="Click here to read the full transcript"]

    Jen 1:45

    So let's meet the people we're talking with today. First up is listener Kelly, who is enrolled in the Taming Your Triggers workshop and who reached out to us whether I'd be interested in doing this episode on Burnout since she's been experiencing it for several months. Kelly is a postdoctoral researcher in the health field in the Netherlands and wanted to know more about how her experience of burnout is impacting her daughter. After we found the leading researchers on this topic, Kelly graciously agreed to join me as a co-interviewer even though she's an introvert like me and is a little bit nervous about doing it. Welcome, Kelly.


    Kelly 2:14

    Hi. Thanks.


    Jen 2:16

    Thanks for being here. And so here with us today is Dr. Moïra Mikolajczak whose bio on her website firstly states that she's the mother of a daughter Louise and then secondly states that she's Professor of Psychology and Health at the Catholic University of Louvain, which is now known as UC Louvain in Louvain-la-Neuve. She is a renowned expert in the field of emotional intelligence and has published several reference books on this topic. In 2015, she began a research program on parental burnout in conjunction with UC Louvain professor, Isabelle Roskam. Together they have published their results in several scientific articles and in two books, one for parents and one for professionals and I've read the one for parents which is currently only available in French but should be translated soon. With their Ph.D. student Maria-Elena Brianda, they have also developed and validated the first targeted treatment for parental burnout. Welcome, Moïra.


    Moïra 3:06

    Thank you, Jen.


    Jen 3:07

    All right, so, I wonder if we could get s

    • 1 hr
    110: How to Dismantle Patriarchy Through Parenting

    110: How to Dismantle Patriarchy Through Parenting

    We began this mini-series a few weeks ago as listener Brian Stout and I co-interviewed Dr. Carol Gilligan as an introduction to the topic of patriarchy (https://yourparentingmojo.com/captivate-podcast/patriarchy/) , how it is present in every aspect of raising our children, and the negative impacts it has on our children's lives - both on boys and girls.

    The interview with Dr. Gilligan laid the groundwork for us, and in this episode Brian and I are back for a conversation about what we learned and what implications this has for the way we will raise our children. We discuss:

    - Why Brian, a cisgendered, heterosexual white male - an apparent beneficiary of patriarchal systems - is so interested in dismantling it

    - Some of the specific ways we parents perpetuate patriarchy through our parenting, even if we don't realize we're doing it!

    - Why 'masculine' qualities like logic are prized over 'feminine' qualities like understanding the physical experience of the body and recognizing emotions (and why it's ridiculous that these qualities are gendered in the first place)

    - How patriarchy hurts men (mentally, emotionally, and physically) as well as women

    - Brian's top four conclusions and actions to take to begin the work of dismantling patriarchy in our own families (and, by extension, in society more broadly)


    [accordion-item title="Click here to read the full transcript"]

    Jen:                                        01:25 (https://www.temi.com/editor/t/PVUClxb5Z7pirdSKNQwq4L4rqj8ScPjauY_XMaz1sf-50GNBUzpnV11rwec20jPqZzJxDBf2pOW_c0pgpy_JkZkYMYw?loadFrom=DocumentDeeplink&ts=85.91)                     Hello and welcome to the Your Parenting Mojo podcast. Today's episode is a followup that my guest today, Brian Stout and I did recently with Dr. Carol Gilligan on the topic of patriarchy and if you aren't very familiar with what this is and the role that it plays in our lives as parents then I definitely recommend that you go back and listen to that one before you listen to this episode. And I'm glad today that we have a bit more time in this interview for me to properly introduce my guest whose name is Brian Stout. And as with so many of the topics that we've covered related to privilege and social systems, patriarchy is kind of one of those things I might never have considered as relevant to parenting and child development if someone hadn't helped me to draw that connection. And the connection was drawn in a really roundabout way.

    Jen:                                        02:09 (https://www.temi.com/editor/t/PVUClxb5Z7pirdSKNQwq4L4rqj8ScPjauY_XMaz1sf-50GNBUzpnV11rwec20jPqZzJxDBf2pOW_c0pgpy_JkZkYMYw?loadFrom=DocumentDeeplink&ts=129.08)                     Brian actually first reached out to me because he had read a series of blog posts that I'd written on how to do a 10-day hike around Mont Blanc with my then 8-week-old daughter. And he wanted more information because he was planning to do a similar trip with his wife and daughter. And we've kept in touch on and off over the years. But it wasn't until recently that I learned a lot more about his work at the intersection of progressive philanthropy and social justice movements. And so Brian holds a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from Amherst College and a Master's in International Relations from Johns Hopkins and he has a background in...

    • 58 min
    109: Education in a time between worlds

    109: Education in a time between worlds

    It seems pretty clear that we are in a societal 'liminal space' right now, which is a threshold between what we have known until now and what we will know in the future.

    We are also in a liminal space related to learning and education, as schools hastily try to move learning online (despite disparities in access to online learning systems), and we have an incredible opportunity to think through what we think children's learning should look like in the future.

    In today's episode we hear from Dr. Zak Stein, who has spent many years thinking about ways in which the education system in the United States could be reimagined to take advantage of virtual learning opportunities and 'learning labs,' which gather resources around learners instead of having learning take place in classrooms isolated from real-world experience. Dr. Stein is a big-picture thinker, and it was really exciting to sit with him and envision the future of learning.

    To learn more about the memberships I mention in this episode, please visit yourparentingmojo.com/together (https://yourparentingmojo.com/together/)



    [accordion-item title="Click here to read the full transcript"]

    Jen 1:46

    Hello, and welcome to the Your Parenting Mojo podcast. To put the show into context before we get going, I wrote the questions for this episode on the night of Friday, March 20, 2020. And we recorded it on Sunday, March 22, which is coincidentally my birthday and I took at least half a day off. Here in the California Bay Area, we’ve been ordered to stay home for everything except non-essential errands for five days now. And the shutdown has now been extended to cover one in five Americans, including the entire states of California, New York and Illinois.

    Now, I plan to reach out to our guests for the show in a few months’ time. But all of a sudden, on Friday night, I realized that I needed to talk with him now and that we need to hear from him today. And so our guest today is Dr. Zach Stein, whose book title tells you something of the breadth of scope of what we’re going to discuss, it is called Education in a Time Between Worlds: Essays on the Future of Schools, Technology and Society.

    We will lay some groundwork so we have a common understanding of how some of our global systems work, and then we’ll start to look at the role that education plays in the system. I think it’s become really clear to us in the last couple of weeks that many of the systems that we’ve built are unsustainable, and for a long time, that word has been used to mean that they’re bad for the environment. But I think that now we’re seeing that they’re actually not that good for us either. And so what will it take for us to do things differently?

    Well, first, we need to start imagining what kinds of systems we might want to see instead and how we and our children can both live within those and also shape those. So that’s what we’re going to think about in this episode. And we wrap up the show by thinking about some of the steps that we ourselves can take in the coming days and weeks to start to put this in motion. And it was really great to hear Dr. Stein share some surprising and very doable advice on this topic.

    One of the things that’s become most clear to me over the years that I’ve been doing this work is that the way we raise our children may be the single thing that we do that will have the most impact on the world. We talked about it a bit in the episode on Patriarchy a few weeks ago with listener Brian Stout and Dr. Carol Gilligan. The idea that systems that privilege men’s voices over women’s voices seems so huge and so deeply ingrained in our culture and they just seem impossible to change. But if we personally see the role that we are playing in the current system, and we accept that with grace and humility, but at the same time,

    • 1 hr 1 min
    108: How to cope with the Coronavirus pandemic

    108: How to cope with the Coronavirus pandemic

    In this episode we discuss how to cope with parents’ and children’s fear and anxiety related to the Coronavirus pandemic, how to keep the children busy so you can get some work done (without resorting to hours of screen time), and how to use the time that you are focused on them to develop your family relationships as well as their learning, rather than you driving each other nuts.

    To download a FREE sample routine to help you organize your days, and also join a FREE one-week workshop to give you the tools you need to cope with this situation, please go to yourparentingmojo.com/coronavirus (https://yourparentingmojo.com/coronavirus/)

    Other episodes mentioned in this show

    Talk Sex Today (https://yourparentingmojo.com/captivate-podcast/talk-sex-today/)

    Understanding the AAP’s new screen time guidelines (https://yourparentingmojo.com/captivate-podcast/screen-time/)

    Raising your child in a digital world (https://yourparentingmojo.com/captivate-podcast/digital-world/)


    List of video conferencing companies offering free services (https://www.zdnet.com/article/video-conferencing-deals-coronavirus-spurs-offers-from-webex-google-and-others/)

    Geocaching website (https://www.geocaching.com/play)

    Nature journaling videos with John Muir Laws (https://www.youtube.com/user/JohnMuirLaws)


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    Hello, and welcome to the Your Parenting Mojo podcast!  I know that listeners who have been with me for a while know that an episode is going to be different when I dispense with the music at the beginning – I think the last time I did this was six months ago when I announced that I was taking a break from the show.  But have no fear; I’m not going anywhere – I just did it today to indicate that this is not a normal show because these are not normal times.  I’m recording this on March 15 2020, four days after the World Health Organization declared that the coronavirus outbreak is a pandemic, which means it is dispersed across a very wide geographic area and affects many individuals at the same time.  Many, many things have been canceled in the last few days – most schools are canceled for at least the next few weeks; big events are canceled or postponed, and we’re being advised to practice ‘social distancing’ by remaining six feet apart from other people.

    This all seems really big and super stressful and I’m not going to go into the details of much of the epidemiological information because frankly that isn’t my specialty.  But I also know that a lot of you are struggling with issues that very much do fall into my wheelhouse – things like “what on earth am I going to do with my kids for the next six weeks when we usually start to get on each other’s nerves on day six of a vacation,” and “will my child get behind on school work,” and “how am I going to still get my own WORK work done so I can get paid and keep us afloat while we’re all cooped up in this tiny space?”

    So in this episode I’m going to cover two main things – firstly, resources for you, because you may well be feeling quite anxious and approaching the end of your rope already and unsure how you’re going to make it through the coming weeks.

    Then we’ll talk about issues that affect your children while we’re going through this and how to answer your children’s questions about the virus and how to be thoughtful about screen time when it seems like there’s nothing else to do and also how to support their learning while they’re out of school.

    And because I know some of you are REALLY stressed out about this, I also want to let you know about a FREE one-week workshop that I’m running starting on March 23rd. It draws together elements of many of the paid workshops and memberships that I’ve built over the last few

    • 44 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
281 Ratings

281 Ratings

Jeff2013 ,

Good data but biased

I love the data and continue to watch because I can draw my own conclusions from the data. However, be careful because in some episodes there is a clear liberal or feminist bias.

Sasquatch54 ,

Love this podcast

Love this podcast

farm-her for life ,

Hits home time after time.

This podcast makes me wish my kids will never grow up so we can more fully embrace all the stages. It has elevated our parenting to a new level of enjoyment as we work through the ups and downs with better tools and mindset. What will we do when our kids outgrow Jen’s amazing age appropriate topics?! We’ll probably still listen! Thank you for all you do.

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