052: “… then we are all in a bad mood because we had to yell.”: A Your Child Explained Episode

Today, listener Lindsay channels the thoughts we all have on those days in which our kids refuse to listen. Lindsay writes “it’s not like after a few asks we don’t make him do it; we do and then we’re all in a bad mood because we had to yell. It’s stuff like getting dressed or coming to eat dinner. What is an old-school way to get him to just do what he has to do? Or is this just what parenting is all about?”

In this Your Child Explained episode, where we always try to understand what’s going on in the minds of our young kids, we jump into how to give our kids a sense of independence and control over their own lives – so they don’t end up living in our basement when they’re 35 – while preserving our sanity.

Click here for the full notes on this episode!

Lindsay’s questions are, I’m sure, questions that you’ve had; they were certainly questions that I had when my two boys were small. (Okay, still do sometimes.)

I think it helps to remember that all kids do this, it’s a developmental stage, necessary to becoming an independent and capable adult. Childhood is a marathon, not a sprint, and here is my virtual hug to you as you support your young children through this marathon!

Lindsay specifically mentions “getting dressed or coming to eat dinner;” two of many transition times during a child’s day. Kids have very little knowledge of how time works, and – just like anybody – really hate to be interrupted when they’re engaged in something that they love. Here are two ideas for helping ease the transition times:

  • try and put the upcoming transition on their horizon; in the case of getting ready for dinner, this works really well if you ask them to do a job that they love to do that has something to do with getting ready for dinner; my kids always loved to peel garlic and would come running from wherever they were in the house to do this beloved job
  • use the ninja tactic First, Then: go to them, get down on their level, and say something along the lines of “first, it’s time to get dressed, and then you can get back to playing with the Lego; which shirt would you like to wear, this one, or that one?”
    • In this episode I give detailed instructions for how I’ve made a First, Then chart, which requires clear contact paper, a few pieces of printer paper, and Velcro adhesive tape; my goal is to make a video of this so you can see how I do it, but for now if you listen to the episode at least you can hear how I do it 🙂

Remembering the long game (marathon, not sprint), that kids assert themselves because they must, even though it’s rarely pretty, and that you are not alone can help keep your spirits up. We old-school parents are all right there with you!

Key Links:

To listen to episode 51, with awesome guest Joel Boggess of the Relaunch Podcast, click here.

Here’s the link to download a free chapter of my forthcoming book, Positive Discipline Ninja Tactics, at positivedisciplineninjatactics.com! You are going to love this book, because it’s all about the ninja tactics we talk about in the podcast; in fact it came up today because of First, Then.

Also, I made you a present! Click here to find the link for the 9 1/2 Key Resources for Old-School Parents.

051: Joel Boggess of The ReLaunch Show is All About Healing and Forgiveness

joelsoloradioWhen today’s guest was five years old, he fell off a railway bridge and landed on hard ground 30 feet down. He spent weeks in a coma, and years healing; at the time a doctor wrote into his chart “don’t expect Joel to lead a normal life.”

Well, that statement certainly turned out to be true! Joel Boggess of The ReLaunch Show is living a downright extraordinary life, getting a degree in counseling psychology and then combining that with his background in radio to cohost – along with his wife, dentist and business guru Dr. Pei Kang – the ReLaunch podcast. Joel’s written an Amazon bestseller, Finding Your Voice, and he and Pei work together as entrepreneurs, podcasting and coaching.

Joel graciously agreed to come on We Turned Out Okay a few weeks previously, spent the morning of our interview at the emergency room for treatment of a busted elbow, and still came through with our chat. Talk about going above and beyond!

Our conversation ranged from Joel and Pei’s two golden retrievers, retired therapy dogs, to some great advice to help us help our kids through tough situations.

Click here to continue reading the show notes for episode 48!

At the time of Joel’s fall from the railway bridge, his parents were separated, and not in the best position to support each other. They found a way through, though, and support sometimes came from the most unexpected places: Joel’s mom was studying to become a nurse, and her classmates convinced the administration that she should be able to substitute written work for some of her clinical work, so that she could care for Joel and still get her degree.

Joel’s accident and subsequent experiences with getting better, relearning to walk and overcoming balance problems influenced him in one profound way:

“It sucked” going through it, he tells. But going through those sucky things and coming out the other side taught him patience and persistence, key qualities to getting what you want out of life!

Joel learned not just to get through problems, but to understand that setbacks have something to teach us, a core idea in Finding Your Voice. As we talk about the book – which I’m currently halfway through and loving immensely – other childhood experiences come up, especially concerning the abusive boyfriend Joel’s mom lived with during his younger years. Joel shares that recently he’s forgiven both his mom and the abusive boyfriend for their actions when he was a child, and how that’s helped him, Joel, be able to move past the events of his childhood.

While not one himself, Joel has two pieces of wonderful advice for us parents:

1) when our children are going through something tough, whether physical or mental, be there for them… we must give kids our time

2) as parents, it’s our job to help our kids find their own voices; it’s not about what we want for them or how we want them to live their lives, it’s about what they want for themselves

We’ll talk about the best ways to do that – to help our young kids’ true voices come out – in Thursday’s Your Child Explained, episode 49!

050: How to Make New Year’s Resolutions that Work Both for You and Your Young Child

IMG_1995Today’s episode is a real milestone: Episode 50! I can’t believe we’re already here, 50 episodes in. I really wanted to do something special today, to mark the big 5-0, and since it’s so close to the first of the year I got to thinking about New Year’s resolutions.

Then an instagram follower, writtenandbound, got in touch to ask me how she could best help her three-year-old daughter overcome a huge fear and go in the ball pit at gymnastics, and I knew that goal-setting and New Year’s resolutions needed to be our topic today!

To read about my 2015 resolutions and how I did with them – and for the advice I gave to writtenandbound – click here to go to this episode’s show notes.

At the beginning of 2015, I heard an episode of Mike Vardy’s podcast, The Productivityist, In which he and a guest outlined their goals for 2015 and, more broadly and incredibly usefully to me, they discussed how to think about goals in general.

People really struggle with setting goals and then failing to follow through; it produces guilt and sadness and a feeling of not being able to complete something even if it’s very important to them. (I know this firsthand, and I bet that maybe you do too.)

Mike and his guest suggested thinking differently about goals, and in a way that really resonated with me: they encouraged me to think about the roles I inhabit on a daily basis, my life goals for each, and what I can do about each in the coming year. So, that’s what I did!

Today I read out each of the roles I inhabit, my life goals for each, and my goals within each for 2015. Then I share about how I did, and finally I share a few of my goals for 2016.

Here are my 2015 goals and how I did with them:

  • my life goal for my role of Self: Physical is to be strong and healthy, able to do all the activities that are most important to me, like skiing, walking, hiking and swimming, knitting, tech use, writing, cooking and baking
    • in 2015 I wanted to: STOP overdoing it on the tendons and soft tissue; while I have not completely achieved this goal, I have made some progress
    • take joy from what I can physically do now, especially skiing, walking, and strengthening; I have achieved this goal and I’m so grateful for all the things my body allows me to do (in the 4 1/2 years since I developed my Mystery Tendon Disorder)
    • eat well, emphasizing high-quality protein, vegetables, healthy fats; this is another toughie that I have not completely achieved, although I do have a better relationship with food than I have in the past
  • my life goals for my role of Self: Mind is to love and accept myself as I am, and to always be a learner
    • in 2015 I wanted to: smile – instead of scowling – in the mirror; this was such a challenge, and I’m happy to say that, for the most part, I’ve achieved this goal
    • recognize self-criticism and change it to be more positive and supportive; this is been possibly the most important goal that I’ve set and achieved in 2015, because it’s made me feel so much better about me and my abilities… If you set just one goal for 2016, I would ask that you consider this goal, it’s been so helpful!
    • keep learning through books and deep conversations, two of the best things in the world; one of the best things about We Turned Out Okay is it’s given me the opportunity to have fabulously deep conversations with people I would never have met or spoken to in my pre-podcast life, this was a fun goal to achieve in 2015
  • my life goal for my role of Family: Wife is to be a true partner to Ben, giving love and support to him always
    • in 2015 I wanted to: contribute my brainpower for everything that Ben is doing now as a substitute for me with my mystery tendon disorder – the cooking, the cleaning, the homemaking in every sense – I want to contribute through planning, organization, corralling of children, striving to lighten his load and make these tests more pleasant for him; I’m certainly a lot better at the end of 2015 with this goal than I was at the beginning! I’m calling it achieved, and working to improve in this goal in 2016
    • give Ben time to pursue his favorite things, like fishing and carpentry; I was not able to give him as much time as I wanted to, but things are better in this category than they were at the beginning of 2015; I will keep working in 2016 to give him more and more time for his favorite things
  • my life goal for my role of Family: Mother is to help the boys grow up to be strong, creative, and joyful
    • in 2015 I wanted to: give them opportunities for classes, social gatherings, and alone time, which I did achieve and continue to do
    • really listen to them, help them know that their ideas matter, which again I did achieve and continue to do (and we have a great relationship as a result)
    • spend time with them, exercising, talking, playing around, laughing; we’ve always done these things with our boys and continue to, to our benefit as much as theirs
    • try to be a good example for them about how to overcome challenges and find joy; I can only hope I’m achieving this goal, will have to wait a few more years yet to find out 🙂
  • my life goal for my role of Family: Daughter, Sister, In-law, Family-I-have-chosen is to spend quality time with these people that I love
    • in 2015 I set the goals of: cheering on the young people at their sporting events, which I’ve achieved, in that I went to more of their sporting events than ever before – but I want to do better at this in 2016
    • hike, camp, ski – be out in the world together; this one I did achieve, and have a goal of continuing to work on in 2016 because I believe you can’t do too much of this stuff with the people you love
    • go to and host gatherings with these special people; be so thankful that they are in my life! Always, always.
  • my life goal for my role as Entrepreneur: to create a successful business that helps people and supports my family
    • in 2015 I set the goals of: starting a fun, supportive podcast for parents of young children – which, done 🙂
    • remember to take tiny steps, just a few each day, and be patient – I can only go at my body’s pace; despite some setbacks, I have achieved and continue to work at this goal

Looking back, 2015 was a wonderful year, and setting these goals and working towards achieving them is a big part of why it was a wonderful year.

I hope that my goal-setting exercise helps you as you are dreaming about what 2016 could be!

And now for writtenandbound’s question of how to help her daughter overcome her fear of the ball pit; first of all, I love that three-year-old Lauren (I started calling her Lauren, just for giggles and because I thought I had read that name over at writtenandbound’s website) asked her mom “I want you to help me jump in the ball pit.” That truly is Lauren’s goal, and I love that her mom’s response is to help in any way she can!

In this episode, I suggest creating a book about a girl named Lauren who gets up one day, goes to gymnastics class, jumps in the ball pit more than once and is so happy… as a preschool teacher and then as a mom, I found that when a child can read a book about him or herself – or look at the pictures and have it read to her if she’s preliterate – that child will begin to see herself as a person who can do this. Plus, they just love to read stories about themselves!

I recommend a website called toondoo.com if Lauren’s mom wants to create a graphic novel of the story, and I ask her also to remember that done is better than perfect; even just a few pages of printer paper folded over, with a sentence on each page and a few stick figure drawings is so helpful.

Writtenandbound, if you take my advice, please drop me a line and let me know how it goes! Best of luck in helping Lauren achieve her goal of jumping in the ball pit 🙂

Key Links:

For Mike Vardy’s podcast, The Productivityist, click here.

Click here to visit Michael O’Neal’s podcast site, solohour.com

Want to make a graphic novel about or with your child? Click here to go to toondoo.com.

I made you a present! Grab my free 9 1/2 Key Resources for Old-School Parents here, on my website.

049: Parents ARE Leaders: A (Revisited) Conversation with Dr. Bob Nolley of The Labrador Leadership Podcast

Happy New Year!

During the first two weeks of January, we are revisiting favorite, helpful conversations from the very beginning of We Turned Out Okay. These are episodes that listeners really responded to, right from the start, and as I’m planning the next several months of what the podcast will be, it seemed like a great time to go back, re-listen, and remember.

Today I’m so happy to bring you my conversation with college professor and leadership expert Dr. Bob Nolley, who helped me be a better parent by thinking of myself as a leader with his podcast Labrador Leadership.

Click here to read the notes to this episode at weturnedoutokay.com!

Do you think of yourself as a leader? Maybe not, but as parents, the decisions we make every day – resolving conflicts, allocating money, making decisions that involve our kids – call us out as leaders whether we think of it that way or not.

I used to think of leaders only in a public or corporate sense; the president’s a leader. Heads of corporations are leaders, but certainly not me! Dr. Bob Nolley’s Labrador Leadership Podcast completely changed my views on leadership when I first heard him in January 2015, helping me realize that to lead has much more to do with our hearts than the size of the group we lead.

Listen for:

  • the Big Rocks exercise (Dr. Stephen Covey’s idea) to help you figure out what’s most important to you
  • how to make a list that will help you relax while also getting done what needs to be done
  • two examples of leaders in unusual places: one runs a quick-oil-change shop in Richmond, Virginia, and the other is Dr. Bob’s cohost on Labrador Leadership
  • conflict resolution and the art of apologizing

if you take only one thing away from today’s episode, I hope it is this: you are a leader! Thinking of yourself that way will help you both support the people in your life you care about most, and enjoy the life that you share with those people more.

048: How Do We Learn What We Need To Know? A (Revisited) Conversation with Dad and Author Daniel Wolff

Happy New Year!

During the first two weeks of January, we are revisiting favorite, helpful conversations from the very beginning of We Turned Out Okay. These are episodes that listeners really responded to, right from the start, and as I’m planning the next several months of what the podcast will be, it seemed like a great time to go back, re-listen, and remember.

Today, to start your new year off right, I know you’re going to love listening to award-winning author Daniel Wolff, who wrote one of my all-time favorite parenting books: How Lincoln Learned To Read. In fact, I loved this book so much that it is one of the 9 1/2 Key Resources for Old School Parents (which you can get by clicking here.) During our conversation, Daniel shares one of the most valuable pieces of advice for parents that I’ve ever heard.

Click here to read this post’s notes at weturnedoutokay.com!

Today’s guest Daniel Wolff has, among many other things, produced a documentary about Hurricane Katrina, been nominated for a Grammy, and written 10 books on all different subjects including the one that we spend most of our time discussing today, How Lincoln Learned To Read. Written in 2009, this book is a go-to for me whenever I need to make big decisions about about the boys’ upbringing; because Mr. Wolff tells the stories of the childhoods of many prominent Americans throughout history, I learn something different from each one. Plus, a great read that’s fun, interesting, historical – and makes me feel a little smarter each time I pull it off the shelf.

During today’s’s show, listen for:

  • the importance of fun in education; all these years later, we may think of Ben Franklin as old and stodgy, but almost right from the moment he could read, Franklin was quite the mischief maker
  • how author and scientist Rachel Carson’s girlhood, during which she stayed home often from school to play and walk in the woods, helped her grow up into the advocate for national environmental change she became
  • a great piece of parenting advice – my guest shares that decisions became much easier for him when he to “think like a grandparent”

Key Links:

Daniel Wolff’s author page at Four Way Books; here is his new book, The Names of Birds

How Lincoln Learned To Read, a great read that has helped me be a better parent

Amazing poet-for-children-of-all-ages Shel Silverstein

If you take just one thing away from today’s show, I hope it is this: we parents must play a crucial role in helping our children understand about fighting hard for what they want to become; there will always be someone around to knock an idea down, or discourage our kids… for them to truly succeed in life, we must be their true support.