In praise of positive discipline | What the American Academy of Pediatrics thinks about spanking | Podcast episode 252

I love this picture. Mom and son, strong together : )

I did a happy dance a few weeks ago when I read that American Academy of Pediatrics has revised its guidelines on spanking and corporal punishment. This 67,000-doctor organization is coming out strongly against spanking, humiliating, and frightening children as discipline.

Today I’m rebroadcasting my conversation with former AAP president, Dr. Benard Dreyer. Dr. Dreyer gave such wonderful advice for parents as we raise our kids, and to my surprise it’s been more than 2 years since this interview first aired! Time flies.

In the preshow, before our conversation, I read from the newspaper article that had me doing my happy dance, “Spanking is harmful, ineffective, group says.”

Hope you enjoy this episode, and that it helps you remember to keep your discipline positive!

Go to for:

  • The link to the article about the AAP’s stance on spanking
  • What’s up in the We Turned Out Okay universe, including tons of free resources : )
  • The video of the week: Off this week, returning after Thanksgiving

And thank you so much for listening! Continue reading “In praise of positive discipline | What the American Academy of Pediatrics thinks about spanking | Podcast episode 252”

144: Homework Troubles – How to Help When Your Young Child Struggles With Homework, A Your Child Explained Episode

Welcome! To listen to today’s episode, scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page and hit the triangular “play” button. Enjoy the show!

A few weeks ago, in episode 140, guest KJ Dell’Antonia dropped so many knowledge bombs that I knew we’d need more than one Your Child Explained to really comprehend them all.

Here’s part 2 of 3 – all about homework and how to intervene when your child can’t take anymore!

Click for show notes, links to last fall’s homework episode and conversation with the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics – and to sign up for the free, live NPC FAQ Q&A I’m hosting Thursday night, March 30 at 8 PM EST (where you can grab your free copy of Positive Discipline Ninja Tactics, the book that helps you handle every challenge your kids throw at you!)


Get a FREE copy of the book that helps you simultaneously raise kids and stay sane!

What: I’m hosting a live Q&A about the Ninja Parenting Community (not coincidentally, built to help you simultaneously raise kids and stay sane : )

When: Get your questions answered – and get your free copy of the book – on
Thursday, March 30, 2017 8 PM EST

How: Sign up just by clicking the button below!
Click Here to Register


KJ shared some great advice advice about intervening on behalf of your child.

She suggests “going in with your observations… and a question.”

Today we talk about making those observations – and what the question should be.

– The observations must take place over time, a day or two of your child having a meltdown over homework won’t be enough. KJ recommends getting the meltdowns on video if possible, so your child’s teacher understands what’s really going on at home about homework.

– The question must be some version of “how can we work together to solve this problem?”

Sometimes the teacher-parent relationship can seem very adversarial. If you want to help your child through her homework struggles, you need to find a way to work together with the teacher.

Questions or comments about today’s episode? Drop me a line at!

Key Links:

Listen to my conversation with KJ Dell’Antonia, episode 140, by clicking here.

Click here to listen to episode 106: Join the Homework Revolt!

Click here to listen to episode 107, my conversation with American Academy of Pediatrics President Dr. Benard Dreyer.

Click here to find out more about the Ninja Parenting Community, the place where I work closely with moms and dads just like you to handle their kids’ bad behavior, advocate for their children, and overall be happier in parenting.

Trouble with tantrums?

With littles, meltdowns are hard to avoid.

So I came up with the HEART method to help you:
– remain calm
– stop worrying about judginess with public tantrums
– know you’re not alone

To calmly, decisively handle every on of your child’s tantrums, click the button below!

Click Here to Get the Guide

107: Toxic Stress, Child Development, and Your Questions – American Academy of Pediatrics President Dr. Benard Dreyer Joins Me Today

President of the American Academy of Pediatrics Dr. Benard Dreyer
President of the American Academy of Pediatrics Dr. Benard Dreyer

To listen to today’s episode, scroll on down to the bottom of this post and hit the triangular “play” button.

About today’s episode:

With the school year starting, a contentious election giving the feeling of continual hate and negativity in the air, and reports of yet another thing for parents to be worried about – toxic stress in their young children – I knew we needed some voices of reason in our lives.

This conversation marks the beginning of a series of interviews I’m offering this fall called Voices of Reason, where we hear from well-known and influential people with something to say that will make you feel better about the world you’re raising your young children in.

I hope this series helps you get through the next few months with less worry and more hope in your life!

Today’s guest is the head of an organization with many voices of reason…

In all likelihood your child’s pediatrician is among them, because the organization is the American Academy of Pediatrics, and today I have the privilege of bringing you my conversation with the AAP’s president, Dr. Benard Dreyer.

Over the summer I started to hear about this scary thing happening in younger and younger kids, called toxic stress. What I read chilled me to the bone: exposure to violence, deprivation, and neglect can affect kids’ development in a lifelong way, both physically and mentally.

In his capacity as President of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Dreyer is working to raise awareness of this condition, and to help parents combat it.

But our conversation brings up much more than that.

We discuss the holy grail of parenting styles – the authoritative, sometimes called wise, style – and the kind of traits authoritative parents exhibit; Dr. Dreyer answers your questions about toxic stress, how to get kids to eat healthy foods, and the problems of antibiotics resistance; and Dr. Dreyer gives his three most important things parents can do each and every day to raise happy, curious, and resilient children.

Go to to listen, for detailed notes about our conversation, learn about the AAP’s campaign against virtual violence,and to find out how to contact Dr. Dreyer!

As soon as I heard his voice, I knew that this was going to be a special conversation. Dr. Dreyer is warm, passionate, and driven – he starts his day at 3 AM – to help young children and their families live good, happy lives.

Toxic stress, Dr. Dreyer shares, happens especially in places with lots of poverty and violence. When parents have continual stress on them, with limited or no food or money and other problems that many people face, the children in their lives cannot depend on food when they are hungry or sometimes an adult to comfort and care for them. Days and days of it, over an extended period of time, create the toxic, chronic type of stress that is most dangerous, the kind that affects not just these kids’ childhoods but their whole lives, too.

Listener Michelle asks: what, if anything, can be done to counteract the effects of those negative childhood experiences?
– Dr. Dreyer responds by saying “what I would say to a parent is: so, tell me about your stress.. because toxic stress in children is almost exclusively happening in families where the parents are totally stressed out.”

Listener Sabrina asks about kids and food: “how do children’s palates develop and is there a range of development? For example, do most kids not like broccoli (and many other veggies) because their palate just isn’t developed yet? Do some kids have more sensitivities in sight, smell, and taste of foods?
– Dr. Dreyer responds that really, it’s up to us parents to help our kids’ palates develop; often, parents will try a new food once or twice and conclude that their child just does not like that food. But it turns out that regular exposure to fresh, well-prepared foods over time expand a child’s palate. (I love this answer, because it’s such gentle, common sense advice 🙂

My good friend and listener Adele had a question about antibiotics: so many young children get your infections each year, and it seems like some pediatricians are quicker than others to put the child on antibiotics… What are your own opinions on antibiotic use, and what is the official recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics on this topic?
– Dr. Dreyer shares that the Academy recommends what he calls “judicious waiting” in most cases before putting a child on antibiotics. He goes on to share that antibiotic use in children isn’t really the biggest concern with antibiotic resistance, that in fact antibiotics prescribed to adults are bigger issue and the biggest issue is when animals are fed antibiotics to help them grow bigger on their way to becoming meat for our consumption.

Towards the end of our conversation, I ask Dr. Dreyer:

There’s a lot of clutter out there in the world of parenting, lots of competing messages, fear, and crazy busy-ness in parents’ every day lives. If a parent could do just one thing each and every day – make a habit of just one thing as they raise their young children – what would you recommend as that one thing?
– I loved this answer too, because he can’t whittle it down to just one; but the three Dr. Dreyer come up with make so much sense:
1) Love your child
2) Talk with your child, no matter how young, and try to answer questions and include your son or daughter in your world
3) Read to your child

The simplicity of this answer seems so beautiful to me, and really sums up our conversation well.

I’m so grateful to have had such a nice long chat with a man who has spent his entire adulthood working on behalf of children, and who is doing so much good in the world today!

Key Links:

Dr. Dreyer shares the book that first drew his interest to a career in pediatrics: The Magic Yearsby Selma H. Fraiberg and T. Barry Brazelton.

We talk at the beginning of our conversation about virtual violence, the images children cannot avoid daily because of news in places like doughnut shops and doctors offices – and their parents’ smart phones; click here to read about the AAP’s policy and recommendations to keep virtual violence out of your young child’s life.

I share one of my current favorite books, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, by Angela Duckworth.

If you have a follow-up question for Dr. Dreyer, contact him here: (to prevent crazy spam, I’m spelling this out and asking you to substitute the necessary characters for my substitutions) bpd1 atsign nyumc dot org.