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February 19, 2020
In a world where kids get big praise for hitting their developmental milestones ahead of schedule- he sat up before six months! She was talking in sentences before her second birthday!- there are still times and places to let kids be little. Letting kids be little means maybe they are wiggly worms when you'd like them to be sitting still. Letting kids be little means letting them come back and touch base with you, and then leave, and come back, and then leave, and come back. Letting kids be little means letting them still have those things that the world says they’re too big for. It means encouraging them to do and to have what they love, even if it isn't cool. Here’s how we try to let our kids be little, and how it has made our kids’ lives (and ours) more joyful. We find that we have the most fun in our families when we're the silliest-and when we let the kids be the littlest. Here are links to research and other writing we discuss in this episode: Dr. Ned Hallowell for Parents League: Protecting Childhood Meredith Ethington for Scary Mommy: I Finally Get What They Mean By ‘Let Them Be Little’ Dr. Perri Klass for The New York Times: Offering Kids a Taste of Alcohol Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
February 17, 2020
Each week Amy or Margaret answers a listener question. This week Margaret tackles the question, "Should I try to put a stop to my kids' constant potty talk?" Submit your question- we might answer yours next! questions@whatfreshhellpodcast.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
February 12, 2020
Every mom has struggles. Every mom has dark times. Too often, those are the times when we stop showing up in our lives, thinking that our problems make us less worthy. As psychologist Dr. Susan Silver explains, “Women often don't feel that they deserve help— or they think something is wrong with them, and that they've failed in some way, if they have to go to somebody else for help.” But our personal unsolvable crisis might be perceived by a friend as a challenge. And allowing ourselves to say "I stink at this a lot of the time" opens us up to a better, richer life experience than when we only share our carefully curated selves. There are risks to being authentic. The payoffs are worth it. Our guest is Kristina Kuzmic, author of the new book HOLD ON, BUT DON’T HOLD STILL: Hope and Humor from My Seriously Flawed Life. Kristina offers hard-won wisdom to all of us who have ever struggled to feel good enough, and her book is full both of hilarity and of serious wisdom about staying in community, even when our lives are messy. Here's how Kristina puts it: “We are not meant to walk through this life alone. Name any situation you want to improve, and I guarantee you you'll get there faster and more effectively if you reach out to others.” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
February 10, 2020
Each week Amy or Margaret answers a listener question. This week Amy tackles the question, "What can I do about a biter at my kid's daycare?" Submit your question- we might answer yours next! questions@whatfreshhellpodcast.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
February 5, 2020
We asked our listeners if there was a time in their lives when they had to make the hard or unconventional choice in order to do what was right for their kids. From potty-training to red-shirting to homeschooling to adoption, these are some of the times the moms in our tribe had to go with their guts. If there's anything we've learned as parents, it's that that "nagging feeling" is something that should usually be acknowledged. (That goes for when it's the doctor or teacher having that nagging feeling, too, even if we ourselves do not.) Whether it's with doctors, teachers, coaches, or well-meaning relatives, here's how to have the tough conversations and stand up for your kid. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
February 3, 2020
Each week Amy or Margaret answers a listener question. This week Margaret tackles the question, "How can I increase my child's self-esteem?" Submit your question- we might answer yours next! questions@whatfreshhellpodcast.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
January 29, 2020
We all fall into the trap of thinking that every day with our kids has to contain a “snowglobe moment,” a social-media-worthy image of perfect joy for our entire family. And even if part of us knows that’s not realistic, another part of us thinks that it’s all supposed to be fun. That there must be something wrong with us if we don’t love every single moment of our chaotic lives with little ones. But once we kick that shame to the curb, there really are ways to make our lives as parents more fun and lighthearted. Even on a regular Tuesday. In this episode, we discuss: How we can be lighthearted, even when things aren’t fun How we can have fun even when things aren’t easy How we can have fun even when our kids definitely aren’t Our basic takeaway: parenting definitely gets a little more fun as our kids get a little bit easier… and by “easier,” we mean “not throwing themselves into mortal danger every ninety seconds because they don’t know any better.” The first step to having more fun may simply be to wish that it were so. As motivational speaker Danielle LaPorte explains: “Knowing how you want to feel is the most potent form of clarity you can have.” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
January 27, 2020
Each week Amy or Margaret answers a listener question. This week Margaret tackles the question, "How can I get my daughter to do more for herself?" Submit your questions to: questions@whatfreshhellpodcast.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
January 22, 2020
There are these things that you just don't understand why anybody would do. But some people do them. We aren't about judgment at the What Fresh Hell podcast, but we do sometimes have to ask: what kind of monster? What kind of monster listens to videos on speaker? Or keeps the keyboard clicks on their phone? What kind of monster takes up two parking spots? Puts empty cereal boxes back in the cabinet? Gives small children toys with one hundred tiny pieces? We went to our Facebook page and we asked people to share what kind of monsters they were encountering on a daily basis. In this episode we explore quite a few. And here's a disclaimer: we may each have been one or more of these monsters before. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
January 20, 2020
Each week Amy or Margaret answers a listener question. This week Margaret tackles the question, "What should I do when my kid's friends are excluding him?" Submit your questions to: questions@whatfreshhellpodcast.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
January 15, 2020
Toddlers are the great equalizer: no matter how strong you think you are, the short fat dictator has what it takes to break you. If you're in the throes of toddlerhood, we salute you. Knowing that it won't last forever can help. Knowing that tantrums are a biological imperative also helps. Still, it's a good thing their adorable faces and fat little dimpled hands activate pleasure and reward regions in literally every human brain, cause they BETTER be cute, is what we're saying. In this episode, we commiserate and troubleshoot life with toddlers with guest Clint Edwards, author of Silence is a Scary Sound: And Other Stories on Living Through the Terrible Twos and Threes. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
January 13, 2020
Each week Amy or Margaret answers a listener's most pressing question. Today Amy answers the question, "How can I deal with this fussy baby?" Submit your parenting dilemmas to questions@whatfreshhellpodcast.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
January 8, 2020
The best way to handle our children’s anger is to equip them with the tools to handle it themselves. You don’t have to smother children's emotions in order to calm them down; as your kids get older, you really can't. But you don’t need to throw up your hands and accommodate their anger and everything that comes with it, either. We talk at length in this episode about an excellent book for kids on this topic: “What To Do When Your Temper Flares: A Kid’s Guide To Overcoming Problems With Anger.”by Dawn Huebner. The book is aimed at grade-schoolers, but there’s much to learn in here for kids of all ages (and their parents)!  Whether your kid is 4 or 14, this episode will help you stand outside their storms and get your calm house back a little sooner.  If you’d like a transcript of this episode, you can find it here: https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/2020/01/angermanagementtranscript/, And if you’d like to do a deep-dive on anger management for parents, check out our “Sometimes We Lose It” episode here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
January 6, 2020
Each week Margaret or Amy tackles a listener's most pressing question. This week Margaret answers the question, "How can I get my kids to care about things I think are important?" Submit your questions at questions@whatfreshhellpodcast.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
January 1, 2020
One of our very favorite things to say on this podcast, “back to one," is a term you'll hear dozens of times a day on any television or film set. It means resetting everything about a scene-- the cameras, the actors, the extras, the dollar bill that gets handed over, the coffee cup that gets picked up-- in order to do another take of that same scene. There's never any sense of disappointment or whose-fault-was-it judgment involved in doing a "back to one." It's just a reset so you can try it all again. We apply "back to one" to all areas of our parenting lives that need a reset, whether it's twice a month or once every ninety seconds (take that deep, cleansing breath). And as we look to a new decade, we're making this new year's goals "back to ones" as well. We're skipping the part where we feel bad that we didn't read all the books we said we would last year. We're just saying "back to one" and resetting that intention for the coming year. Here are what our listeners told us their "back to ones" for the new year are, plus a few of our own. We'll be resetting a lot, including what it means to have resolutions and goals for the new year in the first place. A reset is not a failure. It’s just what happens next. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
December 30, 2019
Each week Margaret or Amy tackles a listener's most pressing question. This week Amy answers the question, "How can we teach our three-year-old son that he has to share his toys wiht his soon-to-crawl baby sister?" Amy mentions this article by Sarah S. MacLaughlin for Zero to Three- it's full of great suggestions on this topic: http://https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/1964-helping-young-children-with-sharing Submit your questions at questions@whatfreshhellpodcast.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
December 23, 2019
Each week Amy or Margaret tackles a listener's most pressing question. This week Margaret answers, "How do I handle splitting time between my parents and my husband's parents at the holidays?" Submit your questions to info@whatfreshhellpodcast.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
December 18, 2019
Experts say happiness is often purer in the anticipation of an event. The reality can be a little more messy. And at no time of year is that sentiment more true than during the holiday season. We asked our listeners to tell us their holiday worsts, and in this episode we discuss them all, plus a few of our own. Hams glazed with norovirus! Toddlers sleeping in airports! And of course, everyone's favorite Yuletide treat: The Vomiting Christmas Baby! And yet those are the holidays we remember best. Which makes it (almost) all worth it. Think your holiday season has been a little crazy? Hold our eggnog. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
December 16, 2019
Each week Amy or Margaret tackles a listener's most pressing question. This week Amy answers the question, "How deal with the kids driving me crazy in the car at the end of a long day?" Send your questions for Margaret or Amy to questions@whatfreshhellpodcast.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
December 11, 2019
FOMO, or the “fear of missing out,” was a term coined around 2011 to describe the feeling you get when you see friends on social media posting about lives just a little more exciting than your own. Behavioral researcher Dan Ariely calls it "the worry that tugs at the corners of our minds, set off by the fear of regret." It's a feeling definitely made worse by the constant ability we all have to check in on what other people are doing. According to a 2016 survey, three-quarters of parents use Facebook; 61% of those parents check it several times a day. "We get online to check on what everyone else is doing on a wonderful summer afternoon," writer Susan Narjala explains, "and it takes about ten seconds to feel worse about ourselves and our lives." But even when we succeed in unplugging, FOMO can rear its head in real life. And once we become parents, the FOMO we feel on our kids' behalf-- the party invites that don't come, the Disney World vacations we can't afford right now-- can seriously interfere with our happiness. In this episode, we discuss when we've felt FOMO in our own lives, why we tend to feel more envious of our neighbor's house than, say, Beyoncé's, and how to stop the compare-and-despair when it all gets to be a little too much. Here are links to research and other writing on the topic that we discuss in this episode: Jason Goldman for Scientific American: Why Bronze Medalists Are Happier Than Silver Winners Susan Narjala for Motherly: Five Ways To FOMO-Proof Your Parenting Jenny Evans for Scary Mommy: We Have FOMO For Our Children, And We Need To Get Over It ASAP Jenna Wortham for The New York Times: Feel Like a Wallflower? Maybe It's Your Facebook Wall. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
December 11, 2019
FOMO, or the “fear of missing out,” was a term coined around 2011 to describe the feeling you get when you see friends on social media posting about lives just a little more exciting than your own. Behavioral researcher Dan Ariely calls it "the worry that tugs at the corners of our minds, set off by the fear of regret." It's a feeling definitely made worse by the constant ability we all have to check in on what other people are doing. According to a 2016 survey, three-quarters of parents use Facebook; 61% of those parents check it several times a day. "We get online to check on what everyone else is doing on a wonderful summer afternoon," writer Susan Narjala explains, "and it takes about ten seconds to feel worse about ourselves and our lives." But even when we succeed in unplugging, FOMO can rear its head in real life. And once we become parents, the FOMO we feel on our kids' behalf-- the party invites that don't come, the Disney World vacations we can't afford right now-- can seriously interfere with our happiness. In this episode, we discuss when we've felt FOMO in our own lives, why we tend to feel more envious of our neighbor's house than, say, Beyoncé's, and how to stop the compare-and-despair when it all gets to be a little too much. Here are links to research and other writing on the topic that we discuss in this episode: Jason Goldman for Scientific American: Why Bronze Medalists Are Happier Than Silver Winners Susan Narjala for Motherly: Five Ways To FOMO-Proof Your Parenting Jenny Evans for Scary Mommy: We Have FOMO For Our Children, And We Need To Get Over It ASAP Jenna Wortham for The New York Times: Feel Like a Wallflower? Maybe It's Your Facebook Wall. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
December 9, 2019
Each week Amy or Margaret tackles a listener's most pressing question. This week Margaret answers the question, "How can I get my newborn sleeping thought the night?" Send your questions for Margaret or Amy to questions@whatfreshhellpodcast.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
December 4, 2019
Do you respond to the idea of "practicing" gratitude with a heavy dose of nope? In this episode we discuss the science behind the gratitude>>happiness>>more gratitude>>more happiness loop. Studies have proven that regularly expressing gratitude actually changes the structures of our brains to make us healthier and happier, thanks to something called "positive recall bias." In other words, if you start looking out for yellow cars, you'll suddenly see them wherever you go. Wouldn't we all be better off living in a happier, yellowier-car world? And what if getting to that point was 1) not that hard and 2) kind of fun also? Our guest this week is Nancy Davis Kho, author of the new book The Thank-You Project: Cultivating Happiness One Letter of Gratitude at a Time. Nancy's book is a lovely meditation on gratitude, and also a how-to guide to starting your own thank-you-letter-writing project. We loved this book! If you'd like to hear more about raising grateful kids , we've got an episode for that too! Just click the link- or if you're not seeing a link, go to bit.ly/WFHgratefulkids. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
December 2, 2019
Each week Amy or Margaret answers a listener's most pressing parenting question.  Today Amy tackles the question, "Should I try to make my teen stop cursing??" Submit yours! questions@whatfreshhellpodcast.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
November 27, 2019
Whining is what experts call a “low-power strategy of dominance.” Kids do it because it’s what’s available to them. Since it drives parents bonkers, it’s remarkably effective. And it turns out whining really is as annoying as we think it is. A recent study tested whether adults (non-parents and parents both) were more distracted by whining than other sounds. The result? Everyone in the study, whether they had kids or not, found the sound of a whining toddler twice as distracting as the sound of a table saw screeching at full volume. As effective as this "auditory sensitivity" is, no wonder most humans between the ages of two and four learn to take full advantage. Still, there are things we can do to make the whining bother us less, which will make it less effective, which will make our kids do it less, and look who's got a strategy of dominance now? In this episode, we discuss the best ways to deal with whiners, and how to perhaps greet it with a bit more generosity. We might as well; we're probably stuck with it. As parenting specialist Bonnie Harris puts it: "Whining is as developmental and normal in a toddler’s life as discovering the pleasure of saying “no." Don’t think about teaching your child not to do it. Do think about ways you can help yourself deal with it calmly and perhaps shorten its duration." Here are links to research on whining that we discuss in this episode: Bonnie Harris for Christian Science Monitor: Five parenting tips to put a stop to your child's whining Dr. Guy Winch for Psychology Today: A Simple Trick to Get Your Kid to Stop Whining Erin Leyba for Motherly: It’s science: Kids whine for a (very good) reason Jonathan Allen for Reuters: Study: Child's whining one of life's most distracting sounds Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
November 25, 2019
Each week Amy or Margaret answers a listener's most pressing parenting question.  Today Margaret tackles the question, "Should I throw away the diapers to encourage my kiddo to commit to potty training?" Submit yours! questions@whatfreshhellpodcast.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
November 20, 2019
It's hard not to be a little nervous when your kid is the only one still crying at preschool dropoff. Or the only one still spelling everything wrong in third grade. Sometimes it turns out to be a late bloomer situation, nothing to worry about. Sometimes it's an early indicator of something your kid might struggle with for a long time. How do we move beyond our own stress about what our kids are and aren't doing like the rest of the bunch? How do we adjust our demands to meet what our kids are actually capable of? How do we set our parental expectations so that our kids will be motivated to try harder without feeling bad about themselves? It's a tricky balance, best summed up by parent coach Sarah Wayland: "If we never had expectations that were beyond our children’s current abilities, we wouldn’t teach them anything.... But I’m at my absolute worst as a parent when my expectations are far beyond my kids’ abilities." Here are links to research and other writing on the topic that we discuss in this episode: Joanna Faber: Manage Your Expectations, Not Your Child Terri Mauro for Very Well Family: Backward Chaining for Special-Needs Children Dr. Sarah C. Wayland for Guiding Exceptional Parents: Meet Your Kids Where They Are Elaine Taylor-Klaus for Impact ADHD: Shift Your Expectations to Manage Complex Kids Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
November 18, 2019
Each week Amy or Margaret answers a listener's most pressing parenting question.  Today Amy tackles the question, "How can I sort my kids' LEGOs to keep them useable but also safe for little sister" Submit yours! questions@whatfreshhellpodcast.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
November 13, 2019
We asked the listeners to tell us their extremely minor annoyances of motherhood-- the smaller and more seemingly inconsequential, the better, because it turns out those are things that really make us loco. From soggy bath toys, to pushing swings, to the toddler who spins around and offers the wrong arm to be put into the held-up coat sleeve, here are many of the teeny-tiny things that drive moms insane. Join the fun on our Facebook page! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
November 11, 2019
Each week Amy or Margaret answers a listener's most pressing parenting question.  Today Margaret tackles the question, "Should I quit the school's group chat?" Submit yours! questions@whatfreshhellpodcast.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
November 6, 2019
There are all kinds of reasons that kids lie, not the least of which being that it is sometimes quite clearly the assignment: "Tell Aunt Clara how much you love your new pencil case!" But sometimes kids lie a lot-- about seemingly inconsequential things-- and we're left wondering, as parents, how much it matters, and how to respond. In this episode we discuss when kids are developmentally ready to lie, all the reasons that your kids might try it, and what are and are not useful parental responses (we especially love Dr. Carol Brady's "truth check" idea). If your child's frequent lying is of concern, don't despair that your child is a Liar with a capital L, but do look more closely at what else might be going on. As Dr. Harold Koplowitz of the Child Mind Institute explains: "habitual lying is a symptom, not a diagnosis." Here are links to research and other writing on the topic that we discuss in this episode: Beth Arky for childmind.org: Why Kids Lie and What Parents Can Do About It Hollee Actman Becker for Parents: Lying Is a Sign of Healthy Development in Kids (Yes, Really!) Xiao Pan Ding et al for Hangzhou College of Preschool Education: Theory-of-Mind Training Causes Honest Young Children to Lie Harold S. Koplewicz, MD for childmind.org: When should you get help for a child who’s a habitual liar? Susan Pinker for Wall Street Journal: Children’s Lies Are a Sign of Cognitive Progress Jennifer Soong for WebMD: Lies, Truths, and Your Preschooler Zawn Villines for Good Therapy: Why Do Children Lie? Normal, Compulsive, and Pathological Lying in Kids Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
November 4, 2019
Each week Amy or Margaret answers a listener's most pressing parenting question.  Today Amy tackles the question, "How do I stop my toddler from hitting us?" Submit yours! questions@whatfreshhellpodcast.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
October 30, 2019
Anyone old enough to remember TV antennas and New Coke usually says that things were way better in the free-wheeling, simple-living, “don't come home till it's getting dark outside” days of our childhoods. But were they really? And what about for our parents? From maternity clothes to snow days to school nights to movie nights, in this episode we decide whether the things that loom largest in our lives as kids (and now as moms) are Better Then or Better Now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
October 28, 2019
Each week Amy or Margaret answers a listener's most pressing parenting question.  Today Margaret tackles the question, "What can I do about my three boys who are constantly destroying their bathroom?" Submit yours! questions@whatfreshhellpodcast.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
October 23, 2019
The "invisible workload" has become shorthand for the never-ending to-do list that moms keep in our heads-- because much of that work is invisible to the people we do it for, let alone the larger world. That work falls to us because moms tend to be the default parent, whatever our outside-the-home workload (or that of our spouses) might be. Are you the one who leaves work when the baby throws up at day care? Do you know which closet the wrapping paper is in- and if you're almost out? Is it your calendar that keeps track of when your kid has to bring the snack for soccer? Yup, us too. Most of us get majorly resentful about this invisible work. Some of us make lists of it all (to make it more visible). Those lists make us mad. Not very much changes. We start to think that this is just the way it has to be. But we don't have to fall for the old chestnut that women are just better at multitasking, and so we might as well keep doing it all. As professor of neurogenetics Dr. Pat Levitt explains: "I don't know of any research that shows women are better multitaskers than men. In fact, multitasking is bad for everyone because our brains are not built to deal with more than one complex thing at a time." This week's guest tells us how to effect actual change in our household distribution of labor by putting new systems in place that work for everyone. Eve Rodsky is author of the new book Fair Play: A Game-Changing Solution For When You Have Too Much To Do (And More Life To Live), and she's showing us all a path forward to create the relationships and households that we deserve. Don't miss this interview! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
October 21, 2019
Each week Amy or Margaret answers a listener's most pressing parenting question.  Today Amy tackles the question, "Should grade schoolers be allowed to date??" Submit yours! questions@whatfreshhellpodcast.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
October 16, 2019
No matter what ages our kids are, when they need rescuing, they look to Mom. And whether we rescue them or not, we’re left second-guessing whatever it is we just did.  Did you bring that forgotten lunch to school? Nice helicoptering, loser!  Did you leave your kid to figure out his own way home from baseball when it was getting dark? Really, how can you live with yourself?  In this episode, we talk about all the situations our kids have (and will) want rescuing from, and whether or not each requires our stepping in-- and how to know.  We discuss: why “natural consequences” for your forgetful kid doesn’t mean she’ll remember her cleats next time; the structures and scaffolding you can put in place so kids can start rescuing themselves; and why “muscle confusion” isn’t just for the gym. Basically, we think that if your kids blow it once in a while, you should go ahead and bring them the right shoes. But don’t forget to give your kids the gifts of solving their own problems once in a while.  As parenting expert Dr. Robin Berman explains: "If you want to have happy kids, you have to teach them to tolerate being unhappy." Here are links to research and other writing on the topic that we discuss in this episode: Dr. Robin Berman for Goop: The Misguided Desire of Wanting Our Kids to be Happy Carolyn Dalgiesh: The Sensory Child Gets Organized: Proven Systems for Rigid, Anxious, or Distracted Kids Dr. Sarah Sarkis for Hey Sigmund: ‘I Just Want Them to Be Okay’ – Why Rescuing Our Kids Can Get in Their Way Dr. Michael G. Thompson: When Should A Forgetful Nine-Year-Old Suffer Consequences? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
October 14, 2019
Each week Amy or Margaret answers a listener's most pressing parenting question. Today Margaret tackles the question, "When should my kids start sharing a room?"Submit yours! questions@whatfreshhellpodcast.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
October 9, 2019
Have you ever felt coerced into parenting in a way you usually wouldn’t because you were in public? Does the tsk-ing disapproval of Aunt Joan feel even worse than eyerolls from strangers? Do you discipline your kids differently in front of friends who might hold a tighter line, even if it's in your house? Do you ever give a "now you listen to me, young man" lecture to one of your kids primarily for the benefit of his or her siblings? For better and for worse, parenting with an audience means doing things differently. In this episode we discuss what to say to well-meaning (but still interfering) onlookers with front-row seats to your kid's tantrum without making What That Lady Must Think your primary focus. As parenting columnist Sarah Coyne reminds us, we should focus on strengthening our connections with our kids rather than pleasing the onlookers. Kids need consistent, reliable, trustworthy parents who don’t change their game plan based upon who’s acting as witness."Here are links to other writing on the topic that we discuss in this episode: Sarah Coyne for The Joplin Globe:  Parenting with an audience changes the rulesDr. Laura Markham for Aha! Parenting: 14 Tips for Parenting in PublicOdd Loves Company: Parenting For An AudienceLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
October 7, 2019
Each week Amy or Margaret answers a listener's most pressing parenting question. Today Amy tackles the question, "What do I do about my kids who won't stop fighting?"Submit yours! questions@whatfreshhellpodcast.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
October 2, 2019
What is it about the kid who throws sand that other kids find so irresistible? How do we keep our kids away from bad influences in their lives, especially as they get older? And why do parents sometimes peg exactly the wrong kids as good influences? In this episode we discuss what age groups are most susceptible to peer influence (good and bad), how to approach the parent of a suspected bad-influencer, and how to teach our kids to approach these situations on their own. As Timothy Verduin, a professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at NYU, explains: "If you want kids who are resilient, you can’t isolate them from social pathogens. Think about the long view, that you’re training them to handle less-than-ideal people and solve their own problems."Here are links to research and other writing on the topic that we discuss in this episode: Jennifer Bleyer for Real Simple: 9 Bad Influences on Your Child (or You)Diana Simeon for Your Teen Mag: When to Call Another Parent About Teenage Behavior ProblemsLaurence Steinberg and Kathryn C. Monahan, Developmental Psychology: Age Differences in Resistance to Peer InfluenceLaurence Steinberg, Temple University: Peer influence on risk taking, risk preference, and risky decision making in adolescence and adulthood: an experimental studyGeorge Packer for The Atlantic: When The Culture War Comes For The KidsLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
September 30, 2019
Each week Amy or Margaret answers a listener's most pressing parenting question. Today Margaret tackles the question, "Can I stop the flow of plastic toys coming in?"Submit yours! questions@whatfreshhellpodcast.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
September 25, 2019
We asked the members of our Facebook group for your "hot takes"- that is to say, the things you feel insanely strongly about while the rest of the world is seemingly indifferent. From athleisure to mayonnaise to french-fry consistency to the enduring fame of Coldplay, these are your extremely fervent hot takes and unpopular opinions. Should pizza ever, under any circumstances, be topped with pineapple? Should trophies for mere participation be forever banned? Was Dr. Seuss not that great of an actual writer? Here's what all of you really, really want the rest of us to know. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
September 23, 2019
Each week Amy or Margaret answers a listener's most pressing parenting question. Today Amy tackles the question, "When do you start letting kids have sleepovers?"Submit yours! questions@whatfreshhellpodcast.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
September 18, 2019
There are a lot of reasons that one of our kids might end up getting most of our attention. Some are positive: Sophia is the best 12-year-old pitcher in the state! Some are decidedly negative: another hospital stay. Some bandwidth-hogging choices are freely made; some are obligations.  Sometimes focusing on just one of our kids is temporary, and sometimes it's the sort of “new normal” that can radically reshape family dynamics.  In this episode, we talk about the times in our own parenting lives when one of our kids has taken up all (okay, 99%) of our bandwidth, and how to manage our other relationships- including with our partners- during the tough or crazy times.  In our experience, identifying and being honest about what’s taking up the bandwidth is the key to making sure everyone survives it. Here are links to the research on this topic that we discuss in this episode:  Leigh Anderson for Lifehacker: What to Do If Your Child's Behavior Is Ruining Your Relationship With Your PartnerCarson Crusaders Foundation Antoinette Deavin, Pete Greasley, Clare Dixon for Pediatrics: Children’s Perspectives on Living With a Sibling With a Chronic IllnessDean E. Murphy for NYT: Watching Them Watching MeLisa Rapaport for Reuters: Healthy kids with sick sibling may hide emotionsNicole Schwarz for imperfectfamilies.com: When The Siblings of a Difficult Child Feel IgnoredAndrew Sullivan for NYT: How Do You Raise a Prodigy?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
September 16, 2019
Each week Amy or Margaret answers a listener's most pressing parenting question. Today Margaret tackles the question, "What do I do with my child who hates taking baths?"Submit yours! questions@whatfreshhellpodcast.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
September 11, 2019
What should we as parents do when the well-meaning grandparents in our lives are overindulgent of their grandchildren? Or undermine our parenting choices? And what do we do with our own hurt feelings when our parents don't seem very interested in our kids at all? In this episode we talk about how to create a grandparent relationship that works for everyone. It's worth the effort. Take it from our friend Belinda Luscombe, who when it comes to navigating this relationship, reminds us of the ever-present upside: "Don't let the opportunity of getting to know your in-laws or parents in a different way pass you by."Here are links to some writing on the topic that we discuss in this episode: Susan Newman, Ph.D: Little Things Mean a Lot: Creating Happy Memories With Your GrandchildrenJaycee Dunn for Parents: What to Do About Uninvolved GrandparentsJo Piazza for Parents: From Toxic Mother to Loving Grandmother: How I Learned to Forgive My Mom After My Son Was BornLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
September 9, 2019
Each week Amy or Margaret answers a listener's most pressing parenting question. Today Amy tackles the question, "What do I do with my child who is terrified of bugs?"Submit yours! questions@whatfreshhellpodcast.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
September 4, 2019
Kids don't usually seek to lose their dependence on us as parents- and why should they? Doesn’t a grilled cheese taste so much better when Mom makes it? So it’s up to us to teach our kids independence, and that means showing them how an ATM works sometime before they leave for college. How do we start the nest-leaving process early and often?Our guest is Lisa Heffernan, co-creator of the parenting-older-kids website Grown and Flown. She and Lisa Heffernan are the co-authors of the new book Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults.Lisa says yes, we should start preparing our kids now to survive without us— but she’s not arguing for tough love as the only answer, whether our kids are three or twenty-three. “Being involved in your kid’s life does NOT make you a helicopter parent,” Lisa says. "It makes you a loving, supportive parent.”  It’s often harder, longer, and more complicated to make our kids do something than to just do it for them. But this week we’re going to find a moment, allow a bit of extra time, and walk our kids through a task they are eminently capable of doing for themselves. The pride they’ll feel— even if the results are imperfect— will be worth celebrating.  Here are links to some other writing on the topic that we discuss in this episode:  Melissa Deuter for Psychology Today: 5 Steps to Help Your Teen Leave the NestRachel Martin for Your Teen Mag: The Perfect Present: Fostering Teen IndependenceLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
September 2, 2019
Each week Amy or Margaret answers a listener's most pressing parenting question. Today Margaret tackles the question, "What are reasonable rules for when our parents visit?"Submit yours! questions@whatfreshhellpodcast.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
August 26, 2019
Each week Amy or Margaret answers a listener's most pressing parenting question. Today Amy tackles the question "How Do I Deal with Meltdowns at School Drop-Off?"Submit yours! questions@whatfreshhellpodcast.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
August 21, 2019
Helicopter moms, snowplow moms, tiger moms, free-range moms… we usually define all of these parenting types in the negative: well, at least I’m not THAT. But are there useful takeaways from each of these parenting styles that we can combine cafeteria-style to create our own? Can we reject some of the judginess of free-range parenting, or the tyranny of tiger momming, and still find things to love? What do we miss when we reject other moms' ways of doing things full-stop? Here are links to the books and articles we mention in this episode: Frank Bruni: Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions ManiaAmy Chua: Battle Hymn of the Tiger MotherFoster Cline and Jim Fay: Parenting With Love and LogicNancy Gibbs for Time: Roaring Tigers, Anxious Choppers The Grammarphobia Blog: The Original Tiger Mother? Dr. James R. Laider for Autism Watch: The "Refrigerator Mother" Hypothesis of AutismHeather Marcoux for Motherly: 'Snowplow parents' and the lessons we can take from themJessica McCrory Calarco for The Atlantic: 'Free Range' Parenting's Unfair Double StandardClaire Cain Miller and Jonah Engel Bromwich for NYT: How Parents Are Robbing Their Children of AdulthoodArti Patel for Global News: ‘Panda parenting’ is all about giving children more freedom — but does it work?Katie Roiphe for Slate: The Seven Myths of Helicopter ParentingLenore Skenazy: Free-Range Kids: How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry) Emma Waverman for Today's Parent: Snowplow Parenting: The Latest Controversial TechniqueEsther Wojcicki for Time: I Raised Two CEOs and a Doctor. These Are My Secrets to Parenting Successful ChildrenLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
August 19, 2019
Each week Amy or Margaret answers a listener's most pressing parenting question. Today Margaret tackles the question, "Do We Need a Landline for Emergencies?"Submit yours! questions@whatfreshhellpodcast.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
August 14, 2019
We asked you to tell us your spouses’ most unacceptable-- and also extremely minor-- household infractions.356 of you responded.Whether it’s turning off the AC because it's "too cold" at 75 degrees, creating a Sock Mountain of not-quite-dirty-enough laundry, or pausing Netflix to point out plot holes, this episode explores everything spouses do that is trivially horrible.It must also be said: while these offenses are most often properly termed as Husband Crimes, this episode proves that Wives can also be guilty of using ten water glasses in one day, or of eating potato chips too loudly. It seems that no marriage is entirely free of Spouse Crimes. You are heard. You deserve justice.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
August 12, 2019
Each week Amy or Margaret answers a listener's most pressing parenting question. Today Amy tackles the question "How Can I Keep My Cool With My Spouse Who Actually Sleeps at Night?"Submit yours! questions@whatfreshhellpodcast.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
August 7, 2019
Most little kids have an ironclad sense of right and wrong and are most happy to report on whoever might not be sharing in the dress-up corner. But as they get older, the stakes get a lot higher- for them, for us, and for the kid being "told on."When should kids tell? In this episode we discuss: the difference between "tattling" and telling, and whether telling kids "no tattling" is causing other problems; the difference between surprises and secrets; what to do when kids say, "I'm not sure if I should tell you this"; and whom kids should tell when they can't (or won't) tell you.Here are links to some of the research and writing on the topic discussed in this episode: Amy Morin for Very Well Family: Why Parents Shouldn't Tell Kids to Keep SecretsMarisa Cohen for Real Simple: How Much Privacy Should You Give Your Kids? Valerie Reiss for Great Schools: Does Saying "Don't Tattle" Send Kids the Wrong Message? Heidi Stevens for the Chicago Tribune: Tattling is bad, except when it's notTogether Against Bullying: Telling vs. Tattling Teachers Pay Teachers: Tattling vs. TellingLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
August 5, 2019
Each week Amy or Margaret answers a listener's most pressing parenting question. Today Margaret tackles the question, "How Can I Stop Repeating Myself?"Submit yours! questions@whatfreshhellpodcast.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
July 31, 2019
Is there such a thing as a too-imaginative kid? Parenting experts say no. Dr. Paul Harris, professor of education at Harvard and author of The Work of the Imagination, says that kids’ active imaginations are “essentially positive” and represent cognitive work, the way that children make sense of the world. But if you’ve got a kid who prefers her imaginary friend to making real ones— or who terrorizes the first grade by explaining how zombies can get into one’s home through the radiator— you might still wonder whether there comes a time to tamp it all down and force our kids to deal with reality. In this episode we talk about  the considerable upsides of a huge imagination why some children have imaginary friends why some kids engage in “worldplay” for their imaginary worlds long after the other kids have moved on how to help anxious kids whose imaginations can become overly active how to encourage kids to engage in more imaginative play And here’s links to the books, articles, and research we discuss in this episode:  Lauren Child's Charlie and Lola book series, featuring the kind-of-visible Soren LorensenLouise Fitzhugh: Harriet the SpyDr. Robin Alter: The Role of Imagination in Children with AnxietyPaul L. Harris, The Work of the ImaginationJoshua A. Krisch for Fatherly: Brilliant Kids Visit (and Create) Imaginary WorldsMichelle Root-Bernstein: The Creation of Imaginary WorldsMarjorie Taylor: Imaginary Companions and the Children Who Create Them Deena Skolnik Weissberg: Distinguishing Imagination From RealityLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
July 29, 2019
Each week Amy or Margaret answers a listener's most pressing parenting question. Today Amy tackles the question "How Do I Get My Kid to Stop With the Self-Touching?"Submit yours! questions@whatfreshhellpodcast.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
July 24, 2019
Most of us have been (for better and for worse) recipients of the “only Mommy” level of attention from our little ones-- the sort of singular devotion that leaves our partners decidedly out in the cold. Many of us have also been on the outside looking in, with "Daddy’s girl" giving us none of the love, just eye rolls and the distinct impression that we rank not only second, but dead last. Why do kids prefer one parent over the other? Why do those allegiances shift? Are we supposed to ignore it, and our hurt feelings, because it’s normal and developmentally appropriate? Or are there times when we should push back against this behavior? Will it get even worse if we don't?  Here are links to research and other writing on the topic we discuss in this episode: Janet Lansbury: When Children Prefer One Parent/ Ellen Weber Libby Ph.D. for Psychology Today: IS THERE A FAVORITE PARENT?/ Carl Pickhardt for Psychology Today: Adolescence and the Case of Odd Parent Out/ Kendra Cherry for Very Well Mind: The Oedipus Complex in ChildrenLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
July 22, 2019
Each week Amy or Margaret answers a listener's most pressing parenting question. Today Margaret tackles the question, "How do you handle a kid who's a runner?"Submit yours! questions@whatfreshhellpodcast.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
July 17, 2019
According to the US Department of Labor, more than a third of college-educated women pause their careers for some amount of time to raise their children. But the jobs we leave behind aren't usually waiting for us with open arms. How do we own the time we've spent out of the workforce raising kids without apologizing for it? How do we re-enter careers that have shifted in our absence- or create entirely new opportunities for ourselves? We talk it all out with guest Christina Geist, a brand strategist, entrepreneur and children’s book author who lives in New York City with her husband, NBC and MSNBC host Willie Geist, and her two children. Her second children's book, Sorry Grown-Ups, You Can't Go To School!,is just out from Random House. In this episode Christina tells us how she bridged the mom gap and launched "a 2.0 version of myself in my 40s that my 20s self would have been so relieved to meet." Find out more about Christina, her new book, and Boombox Gifts on her website: christinageist.com. Here are links to the research and writing on the mom gap that we discuss in this episode: Katie Weisshaar for Harvard Business Review: Stay-at-Home Moms Are Half as Likely to Get a Job Interview as Moms Who Got Laid OffDorie Clark for Harvard Business Review: How Stay-at-Home Parents Can Transition Back to WorkLisa Evans for Fast Company: 5 Ways To Eliminate The Stay-At-Home Mom GapLisen Stronberg: Work PAUSE Thrive: How to Pause for Parenthood Without Killing Your CareerWendy Wallbridge: Spiraling Upward: The 5 Co-Creative Powers for Women on the RiseLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
July 15, 2019
Each week Amy or Margaret answers a listener's most pressing parenting question. Today Amy tackles the question "How Should I Prepare to Fly With My Toddlers?"Submit yours! questions@whatfreshhellpodcast.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
July 10, 2019
Most parenting experts say being our kids’ safe space includes letting some amount of their snarkiness roll off our backs. It’s normal. Don’t take it personally. And knowing that it’s universal helps. Sometimes. A little. But we still struggle. Shouldn’t we insist on respect from our kids? And what happens when the eye-rolling and "God, Mom, don't you know anything?" really starts to wear us down? In this episode we discuss why kids take things out on us as parents (spoiler alert: it gets worse before it gets better) and how we can lower our reactivity in order to respond more effectively.Here’s links to research and other writing on the topic that we discuss:Christa Santangelo, PhD: A New Theory of Teenagers (book)Alice G. Walton for The Atlantic: 12 Ways to Mess Up Your KidsSara Bean for Empowering Parents: “I Hate You, Mom! I Wish You Were Dead!” — When Kids Say Hurtful ThingsKim Abraham for Empowering Parents: Anger, Rage and Explosive Outbursts: How to Respond to Your Child or Teen’s AngerJanet Lehman for Empowering Parents: Do Your Kids Respect You? 9 Ways to Change Their AttitudeStephanie Klindt: 10 Ways To Set Appropriate Boundaries With TeensDr. Wendy Mogel: Mothers, don't take teen rejection personallyLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
July 8, 2019
Each week Amy or Margaret answers a listener's most pressing parenting question. Today Margaret tackles the question "Will I always be this tired?"Submit yours! questions@whatfreshhellpodcast.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
July 3, 2019
What is empathy, exactly? It involves both emotion and action. For our kids, it’s an acquired skill- one that needs our guidance and encouragement to be cultivated. Here’s how to model and teach empathetic behavior.In this episode we discuss why empathy needs to be taught in the first place, when is the right age to start, the difference between pity and empathy, and how becoming more empathetic can benefit yourself (and your own kids) just as it benefits others. Amy Webb says that establishing sameness is a great place to start: "Once your child has some understanding that some people are different, now is a great time to find some common ground: 'I bet she likes a lot of the same toys/games/food that you like.' You can then ask the child or the child’s caregiver what they like to do. Establishing sameness is KEY. This is when the light goes on and children realize, 'Oh, she’s just another kid, like me. We are more alike than different!'"Here are links to research and other writing on empathy that we discuss in this episode: Jacqueline Woodson’s Each Kindness is an award-winning book for school-aged children about what happens when empathy is not chosen Amy Webb for A Cup of Jo: How To Navigate a Special Needs Encounter Katie Hurley for Scary Mommy: How Can I Teach My Child Empathy?Sumathi Reddy for the Wall Street Journal: Little Children and Already Acting MeanDr. Chris McCarthy: Turn Around AnxietyPhoto by Charlein Gracia on UnsplashLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
July 1, 2019
Each week Amy or Margaret answers a listener's most pressing parenting question. Today Amy answers "What's the best timing for a third child?"Submit yours! questions@whatfreshhellpodcast.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
June 26, 2019
We asked our listeners to tell us their go-to House Rules. Whether these words to live by are hanging in your kitchen written in cutesy script on a faux-weathered piece of wood (“in this house we give hugs”) or have been implanted in your children’s brains simply by your repeatedly screaming them, here are your (and our) best House Rules for: screens, fighting, pets, personal space, the dinner table, sleep, Saturdays, secrets, and being nice. Join the conversation in our Facebook group!Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
June 24, 2019
Each week Amy or Margaret answers a listener's most pressing parenting question. Today Margaret tackles the question "What should I do when my kid won't eat a lick of dinner?"Submit yours! questions@whatfreshhellpodcast.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
June 19, 2019
Mom tribes are a thing… for some of us. Others find it harder to make and maintain fun, easygoing friendships with other parents. But should we feel bad if we don’t have a “Sex and the City”-style group that are all equally close and whom we see three times a week? Our listener Hester describes a mom tribe this way:  like-minded moms with similar age kids who have one another's backscan be one or many, depending on your comfort level  more precious than ever when the traditional support system of close family is not availableIn this episode, we discuss our listeners’ advice on how to find mom tribes, how to deepen connections with the one you may already have-- plus whether online tribes count (yes).  In a day and age when our siblings and parents might live far away, it’s worth investing ourselves in the communities that can happen wherever we are. Here's how writer Jenny Anderson explains it: I used to think that community was as simple as having friends who bring a lasagna when things fall apart and champagne when things go well. Who pick up your kids from school when you can’t. But I think community is also an insurance policy against life’s cruelty; a kind of immunity against loss and disappointment and rage. My community will be here for my family if I cannot be. And if I die, my kids will be surrounded people who know and love them, quirks and warts and oddities and all.By the way, our Facebook group is a tribe of really cool, funny, supportive parents- join us!Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
June 17, 2019
We're taking your questions! Every week Amy or Margaret will answer one listener's most pressing parenting question. Submit yours to questions@whatfreshhellpodcast.com.Today Amy tackles the question "How do I deal with a kid who is terrified of loud auto-flush toilets?"Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
June 12, 2019
Studies show that risky play creates what Dr. Ellen Sandseter calls a “motivating, thrilling activation,” building self-confidence and self-esteem. Message received: we’re supposed to allow our kids to take risks. But how risky? Like thin-ice risky? What if our kids are fraidy-cats? What if we are? In this episode we discuss the differences between risks and hazards and how to bring healthy doses of risk into our kids’ lives. Our kids need to learn what discomfort is- and how to deal with it- in order to feel competent and confident in the world. We also talk expanding the boundaries of what’s acceptable for our little ones with Evangeline Lilly— yes, that Evangeline Lilly! The award-winning star of TV’s Lost and films like Avengers: Endgame and The Hobbit is also the author of The Squickerwonkers book series, which Evangeline wrote to "open a portal for children of all ages to face and talk about the darker sides of their own natures.” Think Lemony Snicket meets Edward Gorey, with impossibly gorgeous illustrations by Rodrigo Bastos Didier.Here’s links to research and other writing we discuss in this episode:Jennifer King Lindley for Parents: Science Says Let Your Kid Push BoundariesDr. Mariana Brussoni: Risky Play: Losing a Childhood "Right" of Passage- and a Tool to Help Protect That RightDr. Ellen Sandseter et all: Children's Risky Play from an Evolutionary Perspective: The Anti-Phobic Effects of Thrilling Experiences Susan Davis and Nancy Eppler-Wolff:  Raising Children Who Soar: A Guide to Risk Taking in an Uncertain World. Dr. Jim Taylor: Positive Pushing: How to Raise a Successful and Happy Child Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
June 10, 2019
We're taking your questions! Every week Amy or Margaret will answer one listener's most pressing parenting questions. Submit yours to questions@whatfreshhellpodcast.com.Today Margaret tackles the question "What do I do when my kid asks embarrassing questions about how people look in public?"Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
June 5, 2019
The familiarity of long-term relationships is the best thing about them. And the worst. When our spouses' chewing or throat-clearing is enough to send us around the bend, how do we make our relationships work for the long haul? We discuss the latest research with Belinda Luscombe, author of the informative (and hilarious) new book MARRIAGEOLOGY: THE ART AND SCIENCE OF STAYING TOGETHER. After writing about relationships for Time magazine for a decade, Belinda draws on expert advice (and twenty-seven years in the marital trenches) to explain why marriage is better for your health, your finances, your kids, and your happiness. Luscombe argues that we don’t find our soulmates- we become them:"This is what love is, actually. Not a fluttery feeling... but a willingness to throw down for that person, a conscious decision to do whatever you can to make that person's life a little better, more fun, less stressful."Here are links to some of the research and other things we discuss in this episode: Nick North and his “number system” for avoiding misunderstandingsJohn Gottman’s "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" (that can threaten any marriage) University of Georgia study which found expressing gratitude toward your spouse was most significant predictor of marital qualityLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 29, 2019
Got kids? Got exhaustion. Every age has its sleep challenges, and in this episode we discuss the absolute best sleep hacks for getting babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and even older kids napping, sleeping, and staying asleep. Here are just a few of the topics you will hear about in this chock-full-of-useful-advice episode:  the importance of routine for even the youngest childrenthe absolute essential-ness of REAL blackout shades (Amy loves this cheap and easy-to-install brand) why the sleep sack isn’t just for babies how to get preschoolers to stay in bed past the first crack of dawn when co-sleeping might be the best answer the best playlists and apps to help set the sleepytime mood why sleep training is never a matter of “one and done”  Special thanks to everyone who sent in sleep hacks for this episode, especiallyLori Strong and Sara Strong of Strong Little Sleepers Dr. Sarah Mitchell of Helping Babies Sleep Patti Smith of The Pickup Line, a daily newsletter for momsRachel of Cha Ching Queen Huckleberry Sleep App  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 22, 2019
Have you ever considered selling the house, homeschooling the kids, and traveling for a year? Has a job or life change ever thrust a cross-country move, or other radical change, upon your family? Does the very notion strike terror in your heart? In this episode, we discuss how to prepare for— and make— big changes as a family. Change feels huger and scarier when you have kids, in part because routine and structure and familiarity are the things that kids crave, and need in order to survive. But our guest Jill Krause argues that structure, routine, and family togetherness can be found in all sorts of places. Jill’s Happy Loud Life YouTube channel has chronicled the travels of her family of six as they spent the last sixteen months touring the United States in an RV. With— you read that right— four children. Including a toddler. So nobody is saying radical change is easy. If it were, there’d be no point in undergoing it. But change is possible. And it doesn’t always mean permanent. What “change” means, in fact, is entirely up to you and your family. Here’s links to writing on this topic that we discuss in this episode: I Miss You When I Blink, Mary Laura Philpott’s terrific new memoir on giving yourself permission to changeCarl Richards for NYT: Hesitant to Make That Big Life Change? Permission Grantedhealthychildren.org-  Helping Children Adjust to a MovePeaceful Parent Institute - Helping Children Adjust to ChangeWe've partnered with a great new iPhone app called Airr that lets you save and share the best moments of this (or any!) podcast. With one click Airr captures the moments that stand out to you while you’re listening, and then allows you to send the clips to your friends or share them on social media. Airr is a free app that’s currently in private beta, but What Fresh Hell listeners can get early access to the app by going to http://bit.ly/airr-whatfreshhell. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 15, 2019
According to researcher Patrick Ishizuka, "intensive parenting has become the dominant cultural model." Sounds about right. We spend triple the time actively engaging with our kids that our own parents did with us. And even then, we all feel guilty that we're not doing more. (Or that we kind of hate playing with LOL Surprise! Dolls, and we aren't hiding it very well.)But is more always better? Are our modern hyper-organized days creating children who have no idea how to occupy themselves, who need either a screen or one-on-one adult attention at all times? Do we *have* to play with our kids? Is there a way for parenting to feel a little less relentless? Here are links to research and other writing we discuss in this episode: Claire Cain Miller for the New York Times: The Relentlessness of Modern ParentingRebecca Onion for Slate: Playtime is OverSuzanne M. Bianchi et al: Changing Rhythms of American Family LifeJanet Lansbury: RIE Parenting Basics (9 Ways to Put Respect into Action)Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 8, 2019
Happy Mother’s Day Week! In this episode we salute YOU, Mom. Our listeners told us their biggest mom wins and we are passing out some awards- like to Francesca, who has convinced her rambunctious two-year-old that the signs in most public spaces say that all little boys have to stand right next to their mommies. We also address the various ways that our small children’s Mother’s Day art projects have completely ratted us out. If you’ve ever stood in the hallway outside a kindergarten classroom and seen, projected in three-inch crayoned letters, the proclamation that your own favorite food is “BEER,” we are here for you.  Check out whatfreshhellpodcast.com for Amy’s “mom prom” picture and Billy Collins’ poem The Lanyard, which perfectly encapsulates the insufficiency of any Mother’s Day gift to properly thank us for what we do. You know what? That’s the point. No thanks *can* be good enough. So enjoy those lukewarm eggs benedict and hastily-purchased greeting cards! You’re worth it- and so very much more.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 1, 2019
Most of us hear “bullying” and picture a sand-kicking, lunch-money-stealing menace. But today’s bullying can take other forms. Research by Dr. Charisse Nixon shows that about 7% of kids report experiencing physical aggression once a week— but that HALF of kids report experiencing relational aggression at least once a month. On the other hand, as bullying expert Signe Whitson explains, some things can get termed “bullying” that might be more correctly described as mean or rude. Knowing the difference as parents will help our children navigate tricky situations more effectively. In this episode we discuss how to help our children understand what bullying is, plus how to know if our kids are being bullied themselves— since it’s the kids who are truly frightened and struggling who are often the most likely not to tell us. We also discuss whether, how much, and in what ways parents should intervene— somewhere in the middle ground between “so find new friends!” and beating the bully up yourself. (Spoiler alert: don’t do either of those things.) Here’s links to research and resources discussed in this episode: Katie Hurley for Washington Post On Parenting: What does childhood anxiety look like? Probably not what you think.Katie Hurley for PBS Kids: What to Do If Your Child Is Being BulliedSherri Gordon for Very Well Family: 7 Tips for Helping Kids Deal With Being OstracizedSumathi Reddy for WSJ: Little Children and Already Acting MeanSigne Whitson for Huffington Post: Rude Vs. Mean Vs. Bullying: Defining The DifferencesLouis Sachar: There's a Boy in The Girls' Bathroom Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
April 24, 2019
We all know it: our kids are on screens too much. And us parents? Well, if you haven't used Apple's Screen Time function yet, prepare to be horrified. So have you ever considered a cold-turkey no-screens experiment in your home? Screen Free Week is coming up, and it gives us the perfect opportunity to present the idea to our families. But no, you might be saying. We couldn't possibly. My kids would fight! We need that down time! There's all that candy to crush!And to that we say, fear not, because we did it first. And we are here to tell you that you won't just find hours of time- you will, as Margaret put it, see entire bandwidths of your children's brains come alive that you hadn't even realized were asleep.In this episode we discuss how to sell screen-free week to the kids, how to prepare, how to survive, and why we think it's worth it! Here are links to resources and research discussed in this episode:screenfree.org unpluggedfamily.orgscreenlifebalance.comKevin Roose for NYT: Do Not Disturb: How I Ditched My Phone and Unbroke My BrainTaylor Lorenz for The Atlantic: The Hottest Chat App for Teens Is … Google DocsDaily Mail: Smartphones, tablets causing mental health issues in kids as young as twoDr. Jean Twenge for The Atlantic: Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?Dr. Jean Twenge for The Conversation: Teens have less face time with their friends – and are lonelier than everDr. Craig Canapari: Prevent Sleep Problems in Kids: Keep Technology Out of The BedroomErika Christakis for The Atlantic: The Dangers of Distracted ParentingCatherine Price: How to Break Up With Your PhoneCal Newport: Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World Leigh Stringer: On the Importance of BoredomLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
April 17, 2019
It’s easy for most parents to explain what’s wrong with how our kids speak to us: the snark, sarcasm, and eye-rolling are all things we could use a lot less of. But could the way we talk to our kids use a little fine-tuning as well?  Dr. Wendy Mogel’s latest book, Voice Lessons for Parents: What to Say, How to Say It, and When To Listen, is just out in paperback. In this episode, Dr. Wendy Mogel tells us how to bridge the ever-more-complicated communication gap between parents and children, no matter what age our kids are. Over the last two years we've quoted Dr. Mogel more than any other parenting expert, and no surprise- this interview is full of "aha moments" and great ideas. You can read and download the full transcript here.And if you still need a little convincing that we should be focusing on the faults with our own parental communication, rather than the shortcomings of our children’s techniques, consider this quote from another classic of parenting advice, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk: "Rather than blaming your kids for all your parenting grief, you can improve communication with them by making a few changes to the way you speak to them and set the tone of a situation. Listening, sharing feelings, and respecting your kids will make your job as a parent far easier.”Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
April 10, 2019
100 episodes in, and we still have a few stories left to tell! In this episode we try to stump each other by playing "True or False." True or False: Amy's child once embarrassed her horribly in front of Gwyneth Paltrow. True or False: Margaret *almost* had her first child in a hallway. Listen and learn! Thanks so much to all of our listeners who have helped us grow this show for one hundred episodes. We're honored that you're out there.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
April 3, 2019
Is there a middle ground in youth sports? Is there a place to exist between the nine-year-old icing his shoulder after a session with his pitching coach and the kid who bats last and hates every minute and never plays a team sport again? There used to be (back in our day). There can be. But in a world where families spend 10% or more of their yearly household income on travel teams, equipment, coaches, and gear, that friendly, non-intense approach has become a lot harder to find. In this episode we discuss how to keep the “play” in playing sports how to push back against coaches and leagues that tell third-graders they have to specialize surviving early-spring double-headers at the baseball field  when to let kids quit (70% of kids quit a team sport by age 13 because it’s too intense)  why girls are more likely to quit than boysand when to follow your kid’s passion, even if it means turning all of your weekends over to lacrosseand the only thing you should ever ever say to your child after a game.Here's links to research and studies discussed in this episode: Kingswood Camp: Our Philosophy On Sports Michael S. Rosenwald for Washington Post: Are parents ruining youth sports? Fewer kids play amid pressure.Bruce Kelly and Carl Carchia for ESPN Magazine: The Hidden Demographics of Youth SportsEmily Barone for Time: The Astronomical Cost of Kids’ SportsAspen Institute: 10 Charts that Show Progress, Challenges to Fix Youth SportsAspen Institute: STATE OF PLAY 2018: TRENDS AND DEVELOPMENTSCaitlin Morris for Aspen Institute: Changing the Game for GirlsOur main takeaway? Sports are one area where we parents need to take our eyes *off* the prize. Bring back the backyard wiffle ball game. Find places where kids of all levels can participate. And keep looking until your kid finds the sport she enjoys. It won’t always be easy, but it will probably be worth the effort.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
March 27, 2019
Some of the ways we imagined motherhood turned out to be pretty accurate (like how much we’d enjoy Santa Claus back in our lives). But some of it was wayy off base, like how long it takes to lose a muffin top. (It's like the Tootsie Roll Pop question: the world may never know.) In this episode we discuss what lived up to, exceeded, and confounded our mom expectations with special guest Betsy Stover, mom of three boys and co-host of the hilarious podcast Why Mommy Drinks. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
March 20, 2019
Whether it’s the science fair, the pinewood derby, or a pre-K shoebox diorama, sooner or later every kid gets assigned a school project that is, without question, a PARENTS' project. What four-year-old can fashion her own “Dress As Your Patron Saint” costume? What sixth-grader can attempt proper MLA citation format without extreme maternal participation? It’s not so much the projects we mind- it’s the feeling that however we handle it, we’re doing it wrong. If we make the origami cranes for the kid, we’re snowplow parents. If we send them in with a social studies project they made entirely themselves out of paper plates and crayons, we also own their cheek-burning shame when their projects pale in comparison to the professionally-produced ones of their peers.  In this episode we discuss how to discern the right amount of help such projects require: not too much, and not too little. Sure, we can help our kids win the battle of the pinewood derby… but we really want to win the war of having our kids who can someday accomplish things all by themselves. Here’s links to research and other writing we discuss in this episode:  Susan Messina for Huffington Post: That Fake Science Fair Poster That Went Viral? I Made It. Here's WhyDana Goldstein for The Atlantic: Don't Help Your Kids With Their HomeworkThe Broken Compass: Parental Involvement With Children’s Education Dr. Keith Robinson and Dr. Angel Harris for the New York Times: Parental Involvement Is OverratedWendy Wisner for Scary Mommy: It’s Obvious When Parents Complete Their Kid’s School Projects, So Please Stopeasybib.com (Amy recommends for an easier way to create bibliographies) sciencebuddies.org (Amy recommends as a resource to choose science fair projects) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
March 13, 2019
In this episode we discuss all the reasons we’ve felt like failures as mothers, why we’re never as hard on others as we are on ourselves, and what we have done to mitigate these feelings of failure in our own lives.  “I feel like I’m failing at parenting fairly often,” our listener Becky wrote when she suggested this topic.  If it makes you feel any better, Becky, you’ve got plenty of company. These self-inflicted guilt trips are nearly universal among mothers.But why? Is it the 24/7 nature of the job? Is it the admittedly high stakes that come from nurturing small humans towards successful adulthoods? Is it our parenting culture, which tells us no matter how much we do, how hard we try, there’s another mother doing it just a little bit better? We think it’s all of the above. We also think talking to other mothers is the best solution. Thanks for being part of our mothering community. Here’s links to research and other writing on this topic discussed in this episode:Regan Long for Motherly: To the Mom Who Feels Like She's Failing: You're Not. Promise.Heather Marcoux for Motherly: 66% of working parents feel like they're failing—but the system is actually failing themDoug Parker for Babble: I Feel Like I'm Failing This Parenting Thing Every Damn DayDenise Rowden for Empowering Parents: “I Feel Like a Failure as a Parent.” How to Turn That Hopeless Feeling AroundLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
March 6, 2019
We asked our listeners to tell us the best relationship advice they've ever gotten- for romantic and platonic relationships both. In this episode, we discuss the advice that has worked best for us in the past- and what we're going to try going forward. Stuck on what "prioritizing your spouse" really means? Tired of never going to bed angry? Looking for some time-tested fight-avoiding techniques from our listeners' great-grandmothers? You'll find much to think about in this episode!Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
February 27, 2019
Anxiety is a natural response to stress. Sometimes it’s even useful, like when it alerts us to danger. But when anxiety grips our children, they often don’t (can’t) explain how they’re feeling, and their inner turmoil can take over. As psychotherapist Lynn Lyons explains: Anxiety is a normal part of growing, changing and learning. But worry and anxiety can also become powerful and restrictive, disrupting families in ways that lead to avoidance, missed school, outbursts, conflict, and often depression if left untreated.In this episode we discusscoping strategies for all ages and stageshow anxiety in children can be easy to missthe negative behaviors anxious kids might exhibit why letting our kids avoid anxiety-causing situations is counterproductivehow anxiety "lives in the future”We also interview Dr. Lisa Damour about her new book Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls. Dr. Damour’s book is full of empathetic insight and useful takeaways for helping our anxious daughters (and sons). We discuss how to help anxious kids "settle their glitter" and how to use our own moments of stress and anxiety as opportunities for modeling. Here’s links to other research and writing discussed in this episode: Lindsay Holmes for Huffington Post Life: 10 Things People Get Wrong About Anxiety  Liz Matheis for anxiety.org: Identifying Signs of Anxiety in Children CDC: Data and Statistics on Children's Mental HealthMetropolitan CBT: About Anxiety Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
February 20, 2019
Most people believe middle children are prone to feeling insecure and left out because they get less attention. Their primary emotional state? Jealousy of siblings. Studies show that we think these problems are real and inescapable. A City College of New York study found participants were most likely to use words like “overlooked” to describe middle children— while completely unlikely to use the word “spoiled.” Psychologist Dr. Alfred Adler first proposed a “middle child syndrome” in the 1920s, and ever since, most of us have assumed the Jan-Brady worst. But Dr. Adler also believed that middle children’s place in the birth order made them “uniquely poised to succeed.” Are we getting it wrong? Are there lifelong benefits for kids who grow up neither the pressured oldest nor the coddled youngest? In this episode we discuss: “middleborns” vs “classic middles,” and how both are disappearing from the American demographicthe negativity of the “middle child syndrome,” and whether or not it bears outwhy middle children are more independent and open-mindedwhy middle children have a greater appetite for riskhow the “ambient neglect” a middle child sometimes receives can be an incredible giftWriter Adam Sternbergh, himself a middle, says that "being a middle child is not something you aspire to; it’s something that happens to you.” While that may be true, it also turns out that we should perhaps all be jealous of them. Being a middle kid can be secretly great. Here's links to research and other writing on the topic discussed in this episode: Adam Sternbergh for The Cut: The Extinction of the Middle ChildDr. Catherine Salmon:The Secret Power of Middle Children: How Middleborns Can Harness Their Unexpected and Remarkable AbilitiesLindsay Dodgson for Business Insider: 'Middle child syndrome' doesn't actually exist — but it still might come with some surprising psychological advantagesRisk-taking middle-borns: A study on birth- order and risk preferences Abi Berwager Schreier for Romper: Do Middle Children Really Have More Issues? Jan Brady Wasn't The Only OneAlphaparent: Optimum Family Size Facts Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
February 13, 2019
Sometimes you gotta consult the experts. We asked our listeners to tell us their best life advice, and as usual, you all delivered! This episode is full of great advice on-making choices-doing what matters-ignoring the haters-and liking ourselves a little better.Join the conversation in our new Facebook group!Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
February 6, 2019
When it comes to disciplining our kids, having "the punishment fit the crime” seems like a reasonable goal. But what if the “crime” in question is hitting a sibling? And what makes a punishment good in the first place? Is our primary goal dissuasion or providing insight? How can our approach to discipline help our children make a better choice next time- even if they’re not worried about being caught?In this episode we talk about what does and doesn’t work for punishing kids of all ages, and discusswhy once you’ve threatened a punishment, you have to follow throughwhy shaming is unproductive (and ineffective)why punishments for younger children need to be “logical and immediate"why punishments for older children need to go beyond taking their phoneswhy, once a kid has served the time for her crime, a parent needs to let it goIn the end, we think punishments work best when we keep our eyes on our longer-term parenting goals: teaching our kids accountability and helping them learn to self-regulate, while also ensuring domestic tranquility (and providing for the common defense).  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
January 30, 2019
We asked our listeners to tell us their best tips (and hardest struggles) around returning to the workplace— whether it’s been six weeks, six months, or a few years.Our listener Greta suggested this topic. After three-and-a-half years at home with her child, she "moved across the country, started kid in preschool, and started back at work at the same time.” Dr. Lisa D’Amour says that change equals stress, and if that’s the case… that's a whole lot of change.In this episode we discuss: dealing with the guilt (right or wrong, many mothers feel it)the surprising usefulness of the commutewhy your first day back at work should be a Wednesday the layers of challenge that breastfeeding can add. To those of you about to pump, we salute you. Here’s a link to breastfeeding-at-work rights by statehow to approach your boss about a job share If you’re a mom contemplating a onramping attempt after a quite lengthy stay-at-home gap, we talked about that a little in this episode- and then decided that deserves its own conversation! That episode is coming soon.In the meantime, here are two back-to-work resources suggested by listener Gretchen:  - iRelaunch - Career Relaunch When all else fails, listen to our listener Rachael:  "I went back after 12 weeks. It was tough, but I can say now that it’s been another 12 weeks, it gets easier. You get a routine. And the baby honestly does great at daycare."What helped with your own back-to-work transition? Tell us in the comments?  Photo by Nastuh Abootalebi on UnsplashLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
January 23, 2019
Parenthood is hard. Different stages have different challenges. But there’s one particular phase that is of legendary, Kilimanjaro-climbing difficulty: surviving the first few months as the parent of two children, a toddler and a newborn. This episode was suggested by Raya, who says:  "At one point I had a newborn and newly-turned-two-year-old. With my husband working seven days a week, I found myself alone the majority of the time with both kids. My kids are now one and three and it is getting easier, but those first eight months where probably the hardest thing I have experienced.”We agree on both counts: it gets easier. It may also be one of the hardest things we ever experienced. But here’s how to get through it!  We asked our listeners to tell us their best advice for the toddler/newborn stage, and in this episode we discussthe best gear to have on handthe sanity saversthe things to do ahead of time in the moments you have one or both hands freehow to let people helpthe singular importance of consistent napping (for you too Mom)why Moana is apparently the movie to have on repeatIf you survived this stage and lived to tell the tale, take a bow (seriously, you deserve it). If you’re in it now: we see you, and you got this. If you’re about to enter this stage: okay, yes, it’s really hard. But you’ll get through it as long as you-  in our listener Rachel’s words-  “give yourself so much grace.” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
January 16, 2019
Entertaining at home is kind of like exercise: you’re so happy that you did it, but that doesn’t stop you from dreading it the next time around. Who should you invite? What should you serve? Will you ever find a playlist that won't unexpectedly veer into gangster rap or Kidzbop? In this episode we discuss ways to take the stress out of having people over:lowering your standards (okay, easier said than done, but give it a shot)sticking with what works- nail down a few go-to dishes, and then make them every timehaving buffets instead of sit-down dinnershosting potlucks (although Amy claims these can actually be *more* work for the host)figuring out what music you’re going to play before the doorbell ringsAnd here’s some useful links for more ideas- and more reassurance:The Simple Dollar: How to Organize a Cost-Effective and Fun Dinner PartyLaura Gaskill for Forbes: 8 Stress-Busting Tips For Hosting Small Gatherings Nancy Mitchell for Apartment Therapy: Why Doesn’t Anyone Have Parties Anymore? Teddy Wayne for NYT: The Death of the PartyGfK: Half of Americans entertain guests in their homes at least once a monthIsadora Allman for Psychology Today: On Entertaining and Being EntertainedTony Naylor for The Guardian: The new rules of dinner parties: don't be on time – and bring more booze than you needHaving people over is always worth the effort. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the potluck!Photo by Kelsey Chance on UnsplashLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
January 9, 2019
Yikes. Do we really have to have “The Talk”? Yes, we do… and sooner than we’d probably like to think. Studies show that giving our kids appropriate information *before* they need it not only makes them more likely to make good decisions once they become sexually active— it also may delay the age at which such activities will begin. In this episode we discuss: the ages and stages of The Talk (a four-year-old gets a different answer than a preteen)why you don’t want your kids’ peers to be the arbiters of this informationwhy there’s not one “talk,” but many (or should be)how to be an “askable parent” why mothers are usually the parents tasked with these conversationshow internet parental blockers can also prevent our kids from seeing useful sex-ed contenthow to punt when you’re caught off guard (which is fine as long as you circle back later)And here’s links to research and studies we discuss in this episode: John Sharry, Solution Talk: Facts of Life: At What Age Should We Tell Our Children About Sex?Center For Young Women’s Health at Boston Children’s Hospital: Talking to Your Tween about Sexuality: A Guide for ParentsLola’s personal, honest, real-life guide to your first periodAdvocates for Youth: Are Parents and Teens Talking About Sex? advocatesforyouth.orgDr. Colleen Diiorio et al: Journal of Adolescent Health: Communication about sexual issues: mothers, fathers, and friendsRebecca Ruiz for Mashable: Internet gatekeepers block sex ed content because algorithms think they’re pornIt’s up to us to keep the conversation going on these topics. And if you’d rather stick your head in the sand, keep in mind it doesn’t have to be only about the improbable mechanics of it all. Here’s great advice from the Center for Young Women’s Health:Remember that sexuality is a much larger topic than sexual intercourse. It also includes topics such as gender, intimacy, sexual orientation… Talking to your tween about sexuality is an opportunity to share your beliefs about healthy behaviors and relationships with them.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
January 2, 2019
New year, new datebook— and some very familiar goals. But this is the year we make things HAPPEN. We’re going to start by taking Jon Acuff’s advice to make our goals smaller- we mean absurdly achievable- and build from there. Acuff studied goal-setting and found that People with smaller goals are 63% more successful. Go big might be a good slogan for a gym wall, but if you really want to win, go small. In this episode we discuss our goals for the coming year, including: * Margaret’s “most massive purge” of her home * Amy’s word for 2019: OPEN * facing our fears * engaging less with our kids when they’re being arbitrarily cranky and challenging * becoming more curious about our spouses’ perspectives * entertaining more * reading more fiction What are your goals for the coming year? Tell us! Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
December 26, 2018
This episode contains excerpts from our latest What Fresh Hell Live! show, performed at the Chappaqua Performing Arts Center in Chappaqua, NY on December 1, 2018. Interested in having What Fresh Hell: Laughing in the Face of Motherhood come to your town? We book live shows into performing arts centers around the country. We also do smaller custom events for Parents’ Associations and other groups. Drop us a line at info@whatfreshhellpodcast.com to hear more about how you can get our show to your town. Even just telling us there’s interest can get the ball rolling. You can always check out our website (whatfreshhellpodcast.com) to see where we will be appearing next. We’ll be making some 2019 announcements soon! Photo: Chad David Kraus Photography    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
December 19, 2018
’Tis the season for traditions— most of them shopped for, planned, and generally upheld by moms. And for some of us, sending 300 holiday cards or creating a new tableau for a six-inch elf every night before bed really gets us in the holiday spirit. But most of us, at this time of year, have more to do than hours to do it. Many of us think we’re done shopping and only then remember Aunt Doris who is impossible to buy for (and has expressed specific disappointment in gift cards). Many of us have kids at whom we may have raised our voices after the fifth or sixth question about when we were going to make all the Christmas cookies this year. So we asked our listeners:  What are the holiday traditions that you love and work great for your family? What are the things you’d rather never do again but feel like you can’t stop now?  In this episode, we discuss your responses, plus: how to get out from under the traditions you wished you never started what to consider before letting a new tradition take root (keeping in mind that anything that happens at this time of year will immediately be deemed “something we do every year”) why the Elf on the Shelf might be a slippery slope to the full-on surveillance state why the joy of anticipation is at least as good as the moment anticipated how the Danish concept of hygge factors in to all of this easy holiday traditions like “Christmas Adam,” which as far as we can tell mostly involves holiday pajamas and Rankin-Bass specials Lean into the hygge this holiday season. Push back against the incremental spend, the just running out for one more thing. Lean into the anticipation, because that’s the sweet spot. Oh, and Christmas lights. Lots of them. (They do wonders for Seasonal Affective Disorder.) Special thanks to our guest comedy bit reader for this week: Sean Conroy of The Long Shot Podcast!Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
December 12, 2018
As the days get shorter, and colder, and darker, our listener Tamar suggested we do an episode on “how not to go insane when you can’t go outside.” (If anyone has any ideas for her, please reach out.) Seriously, our energy levels are especially depleted during the winter. It’s science: our bodies get less vitamin D, produce more melatonin (which encourages sleep) and less serotonin (which fights depression). No wonder we all want to put on the fuzzy pants, get under the covers, and call it a day.But we’re parents. Which means that while our own batteries are totally run down, we also have to deal with cranky kids who’ve watched way too many YouTube videos today and we should have gotten them outside but it’s 4:35 pm and it’s as dark as deep space out there and never has bedtime seemed so far away. In this episode we discuss:   the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder— and how to tell if our kids have it too the “exercise effect,” and why we resist exercise just when we need it the most why fresh air is actually a thing how to keep our kids busy on long days indoors with “theme days” and other new approaches to familiar things how to tell if you’re *in* or *out* of Daylight Savings Time (just stop and think: has daylight been saved? If it’s dark at 4:30, then no, it hasn’t… and therefore you are not in Daylight Savings Time.) And here’s links to some research and other things discussed in this episode: healthychildren.org: Winter Blues – Seasonal Affective Disorder and Depression Laura T. Coffey for Today: Batty from being cooped up with kids? Here are 9 great cures for cabin fever Valerie Williams for Mommyish: 10 Things Only Parents With The Winter Blues Will Understand Sasa Woodruff for NPR: A New Prescription For Depression: Join A Team And Get Sweaty Kirsten Weir for the American Psychological Association: The Exercise Effect Pennsylvania Department of Health: Cold Weather Outdoor Play Boosts Immune System Association between physical exercise and mental health in 1·2 million individuals in the USA between 2011 and 2015: a cross-sectional study Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
December 5, 2018
Sometimes we lose it. Really lose it. We’re not talking “How many times do I have to tell you to put your shoes on” in a slightly elevated tone. We’re talking… well, Dr. Stuart Shanker calls the emotional state in question “red brain,” and you get the picture. When we’re in red brain, yelling can actually feel pretty good. It’s also singularly ineffective. Here’s how Dr. Alan Kazdin of the Yale Parenting Center explains it: If the goal of the parent is catharsis— I want to get this out of my system and show you how mad I am— well, yelling is probably perfect. If the goal is to change something in the child, or develop a positive habit in the child, yelling is not the way to do that. But clamping down on our anger isn’t effective, either— in fact, studies prove that attempting to do so actually increases our sympathetic nervous system responses and makes us feel more angry. So this is all pretty tricky. But in this episode we discuss: techniques for recognizing red brain before we’re in it why we sometimes treat strangers better than our loved ones Margaret’s “self-doghouse” technique how to properly make it up to our kids after we blow up And after discussing what NOT to say, Amy discusses what TO say to our kids with with Heather Turgeon and Julie Wright, the authors of Now Say This: The Right Words To Solve Every Parenting Dilemma. Heather and Julie explain their extremely effective “ALP” technique for communicating with our kids— Attune, Limit-Set, Problem-Solve. They also explain the importance of “the repair set” and modeling emotional health for our kids, particularly after we have not been our best selves. Here’s links to some of the other research and studies discussed in this episode: Margaret’s surprisingly useful “family doghouse” plaque Stephen Marche for NYT: Why You Should Stop Yelling At Your Kids Kelly for Happy You, Happy Family: Why Every Parent Should Know the Magic 5:1 Ratio – And How to Do It Dr. Karen Leith et al for Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Why Do Bad Moods Increase Self-Defeating Behavior? Dr. Ralph Erber et al: On being cool and collected: Mood regulation in anticipation of social interaction. Sue Shellenbarger for the Wall Street Journal: Talking to Your Kids After You Yell and our episode on yelling, which is kinda the same but kinda different. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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