Episodes
Confused and dismayed, a parent asks Janet for help with a bedtime pattern that has developed with her 3-year-old. Her daughter keeps changing her mind about being tucked in. Unable to please her child either way, this mom leaves the room, which causes her daughter to explode. Upset by the outburst of emotion, she soon returns. “As soon as I go back she calms down, gets in bed, and lets me tuck her in and leave the room without a fuss.” This mom is worried that she is encouraging her daughter...
Published 10/21/20
A parent wants to get out of a cycle of bribing her 3.5-year old and writes to Janet for help. “It seems that in order to get him to do anything, I have to offer a reward, treat, or special outing.” If these strategies don’t work, she says, she will threaten to take something away. This mom admits that she is a people pleaser, so when she does set a boundary, she feels guilty about it. She worries that she’s teaching this to her son. “I don’t want him to feel guilty about his feelings or his...
Published 10/13/20
In response to a parent's question about her toddler's aggressive impulses toward her newborn sister, Janet suggests strategies for encouraging our children -- beginning in infancy-- to communicate their innermost thoughts, feelings and needs. This parent and her husband have followed Janet’s advice on siblings and believe they are “doing a decent job supporting them both – keeping our baby safe while acknowledging our toddler’s feelings.” And when their toddler acts aggressively, both...
Published 10/08/20
A parent is distressed that his son says he doesn’t like, or is afraid of Black people, a sentiment that is abhorrent to him. "Worst of all," the dad writes, "he will say this when he sees Black neighbors." The dad realizes that his strong reactions may be making matters worse, but his son's statements are striking a particularly sensitive nerve. "If this were literally anything else I would just minimize my responses to it and acknowledge the feeling.” This parent feels at a loss and is...
Published 09/22/20
A parent writes that her 5-year old has never recovered from the arrival of her younger brother (now 3.5 yrs). “Since he was born, she has subjected him to physical violence and verbal taunting.” She describes her daughter as bright and strong-willed, and her son as gentle, loving and forgiving. She says she has tried everything to help her daughter manage her emotions more appropriately, including psychologists, but the behavior persists no matter what she says or does. “It breaks my heart.”...
Published 09/08/20
A parent writes that she’s overwhelmed by her two girls constantly demanding her attention, following her around their home and calling “Mommy! Mommy!” even if they are in the same room. “It’s driving me mad,” she writes. “It’s like a dripping tap. It is getting to the point where I just want to scream.” This mom notices that the girls don’t have this dynamic with their father. In fact, even if he is sitting beside them and she is in another room, they still call to her. Understandably, she...
Published 08/25/20
Rosalia Rivera, an abuse prevention specialist and consent educator, joins Janet to outline how parents and caregivers can help prevent sexual abuse by educating the children in their lives about body safety, boundaries and consent. Rosalia is the mother of three young children and is herself a child sexual abuse survivor. She hosts the podcast “AboutConsent” and is the founder of Consent Parenting, an online platform that offers courses, workshops, a support group, and a plan of action for...
Published 08/12/20
Two families reach out to Janet for help because they are struggling to get work done at home. Separating from their young children causes whining, crying and tantrums, which in turn interrupts and frustrates the parents. One parent writes: ”My son has significant tantrums about why daddy has to work… I really can’t take the tantrums anymore every time he sees or hears him.” With so many parents at home these days trying to navigate this dynamic, Janet offers 3 suggestions for how they can...
Published 08/05/20
A parent hopes to encourage her 21-month old’s self-directed play by sitting with her in her play area observing, “ready to respond if she engages with me.” Lately, she says, her daughter has been asking for help with tasks she can do by herself, and also actively directing both she and her husband to perform various roles. “She wants us to play, and she will watch.” This mom feels this dynamic may be stifling self-direction, so she’s wondering if Janet has any suggestions how she can...
Published 07/22/20
Dr. Jennifer Eberhart, author of the best-selling book “Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do,” joins Janet to discuss how racial bias develops in the brain and creates disparities in our neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, and the criminal justice system. As the mother of three sons, Jennifer has also witnessed the effects of bias in real time. She and Janet explore some of the steps parents can take to combat the development of bias in their...
Published 07/15/20
A frustrated parent writes that her almost 7-year-old will not accept no for an answer. When she wants something, she will whine and ask repeatedly to get her way. Her daughter is so relentless that this mom eventually loses her patience. She ends up screaming, and her daughter ends up crying. “I must be addressing the situation wrong at the first ask,” she admits. “I just don’t understand how she doesn’t get no means no.” This mom is hoping Janet can help her end this constant battle with...
Published 07/01/20
A parent describes the stress her family has been experiencing over the past several months and believes her 4.5 year old son has been particularly affected. “He was in Montessori and becoming very independent. Little by little, we’ve seen a huge regression in his behavior.” She describes a number of issues where she sees her son regressing, including hitting, kicking and throwing things; disrespecting her body with unwanted touching; and an unwillingness to wipe himself after using the...
Published 06/24/20
Kristen Coggins is a respiratory therapist, a positive discipline educator, a mom, and a Black woman, so she is very much in the eye of the current storm with a first-person perspective of the history unfolding around us. Janet and Krissy discuss the positive steps parents can take right now toward raising empathetic, anti-racist children, starting with the hard work of self-reflection with compassion. As Krissy writes: “Being able to appreciate the full humanity of another person is fostered...
Published 06/10/20
A stressed parent’s email prompted Janet to offer a phone consultation to address some of the common issues facing many parents who are now working at home. This mom says in her email that she has tried (and failed) to provide structure to the day to include uninterrupted one-on-one time with each child, periods where both she and her husband can concentrate on their work, and attempts at self-care. But it hasn’t worked. She also feels envious of parents who say that they are enjoying or even...
Published 06/02/20
The parent of a 4-year-old who describes her child as strong-willed and social is concerned that she and her husband did not set boundaries early enough, and they are now paying for it. She admits that for most of her boy's young life she was reluctant to enforce boundaries so as not to upset him. Now when she tries to do so, his reaction is explosive. She asks how they can communicate with their son “without the hitting and kicking… Is it hopeless? Is it too late for him? Is it too late for...
Published 05/19/20
Janet welcomes early childhood educator Tom (“Teacher Tom”) Hobson who shares his optimism and insights about our children’s abilities to learn, grow and flourish outside of a classroom setting. Both Tom and Janet have always asserted that the most valuable education a preschooler receives is organic and self-motivated. They believe that time spent interacting authentically with parents is always precious and can become the most memorable and positive experiences in our young children’s...
Published 05/12/20
Psychologist, author and TED Talk superstar Susan David joins Janet to discuss how parents can nurture their children’s capacity to process difficult emotions, thoughts, and experiences. “Discomfort is the price of admission to a meaningful life,” she says, but we can help our children develop resilience and a capability to navigate uncomfortable emotions so they're no longer scary. Susan offers advice how parents can instill confidence and a sense of well-being. The process begins with...
Published 04/28/20
Even in the best of times, caring for children is a balancing act that is never mastered. The ground shifts constantly, and we adapt accordingly, doing our very best to provide care, love, support and encouragement within the daily rhythms of our lives. Our children are acutely aware of change or disruption, and they look to us for stability and leadership. In fact, they insist upon it. If we falter, they’ll reflect it in their behaviors. That’s a lot of pressure! In this episode, Janet...
Published 04/20/20
“Life in lockdown” is heightening a parent's struggles with her 3-year-old's uncooperative, defiant behavior, and this mom's patience is wearing thin. When she tries to correct her daughter’s behavior, or if she asks for her cooperation with calm and reason, she ends up repeating herself again and again and raising her voice. This escalation makes her feel exhausted, guilty and like a failure. She writes: “I lost my confidence as a parent somewhere, and I need to get it together, but I don’t...
Published 04/07/20
Janet consults with a military mom of a 3-year old daughter who is trying to decide whether to accept a lengthy deployment. She wants to understand the effects it may have on her daughter and steps she can take to maintain their strong relationship. Her husband is also active-duty and travels regularly, but he is about to be deployed for several months, so she’s hoping Janet has some suggestions how to manage this extended separation as well as the transition when he comes back into their...
Published 04/01/20
Acclaimed early childhood educator and play-master Lisa Griffen-Murphy joins Janet to encourage parents to release themselves from the pressure of making play and learning happen for their kids. Lisa shares from her vast experience facilitating children's play in every environment imaginable. She offers specific, open-ended ideas for inspiring learning through play and assures parents that their kids know instinctively what they’re doing. Thanks to Ritual Essential Vitamins for sponsoring...
Published 03/25/20
In these rapidly changing, unsettling times, as families are hunkering down and lives are put on hold, Janet is joined by author and therapist Susan Stiffelman to answer a parent’s concerns about discussing current events with her 4-year old. She describes her daughter as inquisitive, sensitive, and a child who tends to ask a lot of questions, and she wants to be as honest as possible without alarming her. “I want to use language that is appropriate and that she can understand, but also have...
Published 03/20/20
A parent describes her 4-year-old son as energetic, independent and strong-willed. While she appreciates her son’s enthusiasm, she struggles to reign him in and finds herself yelling, "You're not listening!" She says they often take nature walks with friends and he inevitably runs ahead at an unsafe distance. She feels overwhelmed, especially when they are out with other parents “that have high expectations for behavior." She hopes Janet can offer a way to help her son listen, but “without...
Published 03/10/20
Is it okay to show emotion to our kids? Is it helpful? Too unsettling? A parent has questions for Janet about modeling self-regulation and healthy emotional expression to children. She writes: “These feel like life skills that are harder to explain to your child but can be shown in practice.” So, this mom wants to be authentic, but she also wonders if exposing her own human vulnerabilities through crying or anger would be too disturbing. "I would really value your thoughts to help unravel...
Published 03/03/20