353: Challenges with reading, ADHD meds, kids trying their best, and more: Ask the child development expert

Greetings! I’ve got a whole slew of awesome questions for you today (you can read the questions in their entirety just below : )

Here are the Key Links that come up in today’s episode, located at weturnedoutokay.com/353
You should go to that link above if you would like to see the video of this episode (instead of just listening in audio)…

Cheers and thanks for listening!

Links that come up today:

My free guide to raising happy readers: weturnedoutokay.com/readers

If you’d like to get useful tools and parenting ideas in your inbox each week, without the guide to happy readers: weturnedoutokay.com/weekly

Click here for one of the many wonderful Elephant and Piggy books by Mo Willems

Click here for a book that your family might enjoy with new readers, You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You

How NOT to teach your child to ride a bike: https://weturnedoutokay.com/092-how-to-teach-your-young-child-to-ride-a-bike/

Click the following link for one of the very early episodes I did, about how kids develop grit:

Click the following link for my conversation with Amy Anderson, about how to know if your young child is consenting:

Click the following link for my conversation with Carey Andersen, sharing her story of her child’s nonconsent to a bad kindergarten situation and what they did about it:

Click the following link for my conversation with Debbie Reber of the TiLT Parenting Podcast:

Okay, just below are the questions!
Thanks for reading and listening! Cheers!

Tish: What do I say to my 6 year old who can’t seem to keep his hands out of his pants?

How do I win when trying to get 2 6 year old(s) to practice reading and not lose my mind?  It’s a nightmare everyday. I’ve tried to bribe, threaten, prayed loudly, and I can’t seem to find anything that works. It’s not as bad when they are out of school and we can do it in the mornings but the evenings are a nightmare every. single. day.  Not doing it is not an option.  We’ll be further behind than we are now.
Whether we think this is “right” or not doesn’t mean they will change their policy.  We are on Book 4 out of 12 we have to read to go the 2nd grade.
Surviving… because this too will pass.
Anonymous: We are in the midst of struggling mightily on [my five-year-old’s] second med trial for ADHD.
This one is not making any difference at school except he’s even more talkative and then he’s having a huge emotional crash and sobbing meltdowns in the evenings.
Working with the doctor to figure out a new plan this week! Other than that just powering through end of year work chaos.
Trying to stay positive as I hear this is so common to have to try a few meds but it’s hard!

So we are in survival mode but going to make the most of the holidays!

[Karen:] FYI I have discovered some biases in myself, and as a result I’m going to do some more research into this whole issue – meds, ADD, ADHD, coping mechanisms both for kids and parents. This deserves at least an episode, and possibly a series. Stay tuned <3


Jen: My daughter, age 8 already, wants to ride a bicycle again. She had a typical bike fall a year ago (a scrape on the knee, just a run of the mill slow-speed fall that comes from learning how to balance) and has been avoiding the bike ever since. Typical for her high anxiety. She tells me she’s afraid of falling again and she wants to ride on the school running track, which we did one time when she was 5, before we knew it wasn’t allowed. She is also concerned that the training wheels send an unpleasant rumble into her body when she rides on asphalt. Uneven pavement or rocks or sticks make her afraid of falling. My concerns are the school rule, and driving 15 minutes or less. Our rural home has no paved areas at all, and so any riding involves packing up the car and driving to a safe place. But every time we talk about biking, and try to work out where we might go, she gets frustrated that nothing meets her criteria. We simply can’t use the running track. She understands that intellectually, and she isn’t asking me to break the rule. She’s hoping, I guess, that I have some amazing cushiony place where she can fall without risk of hurting herself. Since I don’t, she gets frustrated and cries that she’ll never be able to ride a bike. She wants to get good enough to remove the training wheels, because she sees her 6yo sister without training wheels having a ball, and she doesn’t want the unpleasant rumble that comes with leaning onto the training wheels. I’m at a loss here. How can I support her desire to practice, when the practice itself is too scary for her?

Mumma Bear: What’s in my mind is more emotional development tips and techniques. Im  still battling with somewhat ‘explosive’ outbursts from Lil Bear and I’d like a bigger range of tools for this moment in our lives. I feel like I’m pretty emotionally immature (although my best friend says, No way – listen to yourself!) and that I wasn’t really taught to process my feelings  (not a top priority  in the 1970s!) or really ‘deal’ with them. So I most frequently find myself thinking, “Just get a grip, kiddo!” So, for me, just keep those tips coming.
Celia: Once we can start doing “stuff” again, how do we make sure we don’t overdo it and still hold onto some of the unity and rhythm we’ve found as a family while we were isolated from other forces?
And… this year E turns 5 and “should” start kindergarten. She turns 5 in late august and our cutoff is sept 1. She’s already the “baby” in her preK class and I am assuming a lot of parents held their children back in 2019 since our district was virtual, so she’ll be likely joining kids who are already 6 and maybe even close to 7. How do we know if she is ready for kindergarten???

Thanks so much for all of your support this year! I have high hopes for your 2021 🙂


Q: “Perhaps we should be instilling resilience by still expecting them to try their best. Because being emotionally healthy and trying one’s best are not mutually exclusive during Covid.”



Listen to We Turned Out Okay in your favorite podcatcher!
Here are a few choice spots:

Apple Podcasts

Stitcher Podcasts

Spotify (search for We Turned Out Okay Podcast)

How it feels to put yourself first

Spoiler alert: it feels really scary to put yourself first.
But it feels worse to do the alternative.

I know this from personal experience.

When I have put myself last – in other words when I’ve been in what I think of as “typical parent mode,” denying myself sleep or food or exercise because of all the stuff my children and family need – I’ve suffered.

So have they. One of my sons told me yesterday that he felt personally responsible for my being depressed when he was young. (I was depressed because I had developed a tendon disorder that meant, for part of his childhood, I could walk no more than a few steps; and for another part of his childhood I had 5% use of my hands. My depression had absolutely nothing to do with my boys.)
We had a wonderful conversation about it, and he understands now that he was not the cause. But I wish I could have spared him those feelings in the first place.

More recently I put myself last in both a personal and professional sense. Continue reading “How it feels to put yourself first”

352: The truth about parenting and special needs – talking with parenting author Sally Wagter and her husband, WTOO returning champion Erik Wagter

Today I am so thrilled to share this conversation with a returning champion – Erik Wagter – and his wife, author Sally Wagter.

Together Sally and Erik are raising a family, and their older son has autism. (My conversation with Erik, way back in episode 75, is located here.

In fact when their son was young Erik and Sally were told “he will never live a normal life” because his autism would prevent him from using language meaningfully or even making meaningful connections with anyone.
Thank goodness, Sally and Erik refused to believe that. They charted a different path for their family. Now their son has gone far beyond anyone’s expectations, playing music beautifully, enjoying deep and meaningful friendships, and living a truly examined and thoughtful life.
Sally has written a book about her experience raising their son, called Miracle in Slow Motion. You can find the link to this book, as well as Erik and Sally’s podcast, at releasingmychildspotential.com.

We talk about all this and more in today’s conversation, even diving into one of my favorite topics, the toll raising children takes on parents (whether kids are typical or diagnosed with special needs).

It’s part of a digest episode, so you’ll hear our wonderful conversation and then I will read you a recent newsletter that I wrote called “Changing bras,” which looks the toll parenting takes on us from a slightly different angle (Click weturnedoutokay.com/weekly to get newsletters like this delivered into your inbox each week : )

Find this post, and the links we discuss, in your browser by going to weturnedoutokay.com/352

If you’re interested in subscribing to the We Turned Out Okay Playbook, which I share about during today’s episode, go to weturnedoutokay.com/playbook

I hope you enjoy this episode!
Cheers –
Continue reading “352: The truth about parenting and special needs – talking with parenting author Sally Wagter and her husband, WTOO returning champion Erik Wagter”

Changing bras

Hi Friends,

Before we get started I just want to apologize to any of you who might not care to know very much about the undergarments of your favorite child development expert : )
But this was the letter that was in my heart to write today. There’s a very good reason, one I hope you’ll find relevant to your life!
But I completely understand if you want to not read today’s letter.
Don’t feel that you must. I’ll be back next week with another newsletter. (And perhaps it will not contain such… intimate subject matter…
If you’d like my next newsletter to be delivered right into your inbox, click here: weturnedoutokay.com/weekly.)

Prior to becoming a mother I had always believed that wearing a bra meant strapping yourself into serious foundational support.
Going out into the world? Going to be seen by anyone but yourself, or your closest family?
Time to harness up!

Discovering that there were bras meant for comfort was a relation. As I say this happened only after I had children. Continue reading “Changing bras”

351: “In 25 years, what will matter to me?” My conversation with Katherine Reynolds Lewis

Enrollment is OPEN for the 2021 Year of Empowerment!
Enroll now to save 30% on your Year of Empowerment:
This special ends New Year’s Eve, December 31 2020 at 11:59 PM EST. Don’t miss your chance to empower 2021 for you and your family.
Details at weturnedoutokay.com/empowerment : )

“In 25 years, what will matter to me?” When Katherine Reynolds Lewis, author of the outstanding book The Good News About Bad Behavior and today’s guest, shared this question during our conversation, I knew it had to be the title of the episode.

It encompasses all the most important ideas that Katherine brings. The ones that keep reminding me about what’s most important. It’s not grades, or how perfectly our kids sit during online schooling. It’s not the world’s cleanest house, or how perfectly we manage our home.

The most important thing – the thing that will matter most even 25 years from now – is the connection and the relationship that we have with our loved ones.

Today’s conversation is so full of connection, and love, and hope.
It’s part of a digest episode, so you’ll hear our wonderful conversation and then I will read you a recent newsletter that I wrote called “Kind words.” (Click weturnedoutokay.com/weekly to get newsletters like this delivered into your inbox each week : )
I hope you enjoy this episode!
Cheers –
PS you can watch our conversation (instead of just listening) by going to weturnedoutokay.com/351Continue reading “351: “In 25 years, what will matter to me?” My conversation with Katherine Reynolds Lewis”

350.5 An Announcement (and FAQs about that Announcement)

Hello! So quickie bonus episode with me are never as quickie as I imagine they would be, but this one will hopefully be informative for you!
In it, I share about the only group coaching I’m offering in 2021.
As a child development expert and parent coach I have given lots of thought on what I could offer that will have the most impact on the well-being of you, and your family, over the coming year.
I’ve come up with something exciting!

It’s called the 2021 Year of Empowerment Program, and it will help you:
– feel in charge of your destiny and your family’s direction
– know that you are making the right decisions for you and your family
– live your best life and model that for your kids.

Enrolling means you will spend 2021:
– Getting good behavior from your children
– Advocating for them, helping them love learning and get the best education possible, no matter how bad all of this feels right now
– Feeling good about getting the self-care time that you need and deserve

I expect that spots will fill up quickly, as there are only 20 to begin with and especially with the Black Friday special I’m offering, 50% off the cost of the program!

To get notified when enrollment opens go to:

If you’ve got any questions email me, Karen (at) weturnedoutokay (dot) com.
Thanks for reading/listening and Cheers!

Click the link below to learn more about the 2021 Year of Empowerment:

Click the link below to get notified when enrollment opens:

Here are the FAQs in written form:
FAQs about the 2021 Year of Empowerment Program

– What is the age range for people’s kids in the program?
Parents with kids in all ages and stages of childhood, from babies and toddlers on up to teens, are welcome.
The issues that parents are confronting have kind of converged since the onset of the pandemic.
There are no conventions anymore. Everything is unprecedented. Parents with children of every age are feeling this seismic shift.
As a result the Year of Empowerment will be a great, supportive community for parents with kids of all ages. It will help you build the life that you really want within your family.

– How will this program work?
The 2021 Year of Empowerment Program has two main facets:
1. Each month of 2021 we will have a group coaching conversation, a powerful, in-depth, 90 minute call diving into the different aspects of empowerment including advocating for your kids, establishing boundaries so you only ever do what feels truly good for you, and modeling a wonderful and empowering life for your family.

2. A year’s subscription to the acclaimed We Turned Out Okay Playbook!
The Playbook provides a place for you to envision and build out your life and your family’s future.

The 2021 Year of Empowerment program includes a whole year – 12 issues – of the Playbook, one each month, delivered directly to your mailbox! (US only; internationally you’ll receive the digital version of the Playbook.)

Each month you’ll receive this top-shelf publication that shapes your thinking in a very positive and gratitude-centered way.
(Learn more about the Playbook at https://weturnedoutokay.com/playbook)
Between our monthly calls and the daily, positive and creative thinking opportunities the Playbook offers, the 2021 Year of Empowerment Program gives you extremely powerful tools to shape your life how you want it.

– What if I can’t make a meeting?
That is absolutely fine… You can be committed and still not be able to get to every single meeting over the course of a whole year.
So, each monthly meeting and the PDF of each month’s We Turned Out Okay Playbook will be placed in the password-protected 2021 Year of Empowerment Resource Hub.
That way, you’ll be able to go back and watch meetings as often as you like, and you’ll have PDFs of each Playbook as they come out.
Any resources such as worksheets, notes, or links will also be placed in the resource hub, where you will have access to everything for the duration of the program.

– What days and times will the meetings be?
I want this program to work for you, wherever you live and whatever your time zone. As a result this is a crucial question, something very important to get right.
In designing the program I am thinking either Saturday afternoons like 3 PM EST, or a weeknight with a very late EST start time, say, 10 PM, is where we will end up, perhaps even alternating months between these time periods.
I really want to make it work for those of you who are considering making this commitment.
Therefore I would love your feedback! What meeting times would work best for you? Just hit reply to this email and let me know.

– What technology will be necessary? Will it be complex?
Not at all, we’re using basic, easy tech in the Year of Empowerment Program.
You’ll need only your email, your web browser, and Zoom (which we’ll use for our monthly meetings.)
Speaking as someone whose twitter name used to be StoneAgeTechie, I know the pain of complicated tech!
I want to make this easily accessible for everyone who joins.

– Will I be able to access the 2021 Year of Empowerment Program on my phone or tablet?
Absolutely : ) It will be a mobile-friendly program, and of course will also be accessible on your laptop or desktop computer.

– Will there be the choice of a payment plan?
Yes, you’ll have the option to pay either in full, or in three installments. I’ll share the details on Monday 11/23 when I open enrollment in the Program.

– Will there be refunds?
The 2021 Year of Empowerment Program is for folks who are truly committed to building a great future for themselves and their family.There are no refunds.It will be worth every penny.
– Are there any prerequisites to the Year of Empowerment Program?
You do not have to have been in any program of mine before, whether workshops, courses, or the Ninja Parenting Community.
The only prerequisites are your positive energy and your commitment to building the future that you want for your family.
I anticipate that spots will go fast.

Especially with the Black Friday special – normally the Program costs $3000, but if you join by Cyber Monday, November 30, 2020 you can join for half that, just $1500!

Here are some quickie facts about the program:

  • Enrolling in the 2021 Year of Empowerment Program means you will spend 2021 transforming your future, and your family’s.
  • Each month you’ll experience the magic of my best, most transformative ideas and tools to build your life how you want it.
  • There are only 20 spots available.
  • This is the only group coaching I’m offering in all of 2021. I anticipate spots will fill up quickly.
  • It’s for folks who are truly committed to building a great future for themselves and their family.
  • It’s the most affordable option to work with me in 2021.
  • There are no refunds.
  • It will be worth every penny.

Enrollment will open this coming Wednesday 11/25/20, and when it does I will send an email to everyone who is in my email group sharing details and the link to enroll.… Click the link below to join the email group

In the meantime I hope you have a lovely weekend. Cheers and thanks for reading/listening <3

2021 Year of Empowerment FAQs

Many of you know that I have made the difficult decision to close NPC, which you can read more about here.

Post-NPC I’m offering something exciting, the 2021 Year of Empowerment Program!
Click the link below for details on the program itself, and how to enroll, and the Black Friday special I’m offering, 50% off the cost!

I am getting lots of questions about the program, and I am sharing these FAQs here.

If you’ve got follow-up questions, get in touch with me by going here.

Okay, here we go with the FAQs!

FAQs about the 2021 Year of Empowerment Program

– What is the age range for people’s kids in the program?
Parents with kids in all ages and stages of childhood, from babies and toddlers on up to teens, are welcome. The issues that parents are confronting have only become more similar since the onset of the pandemic, and the Year of Empowerment will be a great, supportive community for parents with kids of all ages.

– How will this program work? Continue reading “2021 Year of Empowerment FAQs”

The opposite of a Black Friday crazy deal

As an entrepreneur, I enjoy keeping my ear to the ground and understanding what is going on in the world of entrepreneurship and business-building.

Something that’s come across loud and clear this year is the idea that we MUST offer a “Black Friday Craaaazy Deal!”

Start early, we are told.
Hammer your email list.
Get into those inboxes way before Thanksgiving, and email them daily – even multiple times a day – through Cyber Monday.

Offer a crazy deal where the emphasis is all on speed, cheapness, and constantly being in people’s faces.

It seemed so inhumane, getting on your case poking and prodding and bugging and begging you to “buy my thing.”

By early November I knew that was not going to be my jam. The very idea made me feel sick to my stomach.

So I asked myself:
“What is the opposite of a Black Friday Craaazy Deal?”

And then I asked Ben.

He told me to be sure that, whatever I did offer, make it truly address the struggles that parents confront each day.
He reminded me that they – that you – have real problems.
And that I can help you overcome those problems and thrive.

“Parents have enough to worry about,” he told me.

Parents right now are feeling…

1. Walked all over. By their kids, by friends, by parents and in-laws, by teachers.

2. Worried about their kids. They fear children being perceived as “bad.” That they won’t be able to connect with others or make friends, won’t be able to learn and become educated, won’t be able to live a good life.

3. Exhausted. Parents have no time for a break, or a hobby. They are just DONE.

I decided that anything I offered would be the opposite of a Black Friday Crazy Deal.

It would be:

Continue reading “The opposite of a Black Friday crazy deal”

350: “Letting go of what others think” with Debbie Reber of TiLT Parenting

I am super excited to bring you today’s episode, which includes so much good that my heart is practically bursting : )
It’s a digest episode, and the first part is my conversation with Debbie Reber, founder of the TiLT Parenting Podcast, http://tiltparenting.com, and author of one of my favorite books, Differently Wired: Raising an Exceptional Child in a Conventional World.

Somewhere in the first few minutes we decide to depart from a kind of standard interview, Q&A sort of conversation and dive into something much better and more fun! Continue reading “350: “Letting go of what others think” with Debbie Reber of TiLT Parenting”

Building the world we want

Last week, author and personal hero of mine Julie Lythcott-Haims offered Office Hours, the chance for anyone who wished to join her in the safe space she created to feel supported and support others.

I went on the first day, figuring I would drop in for a bit and see what it was like.

I stayed for an hour and a half.

Then the next day I joined the Office Hours for 3 1/2 hours, almost the whole time Julie offered them.

The sense I got from Julie and the other folks who joined in these Office Hours was so hopeful!
I came away feeling that:
– We are capable of building the world that we want.
– We can build this world for ourselves, for our families, and for the betterment of all.

I decided to create a page on my website, sharing ideas and links from Julie’s Office Hours, as a way to say thank you and spread the message that we can build the world that we want.

It won’t be easy, and it will be scary. But whoever heard of an adventure that didn’t have any fear, and was super easy?

“It simply isn’t an adventure worth telling if there aren’t any dragons.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

As we confront the dragons, and as we build the world that we want, click the link below for some amazing takeaways from Julie’s Office Hours <3 Continue reading “Building the world we want”