About the podcast Sunshine Parenting
Camp Director, Mom, Author, and Speaker Audrey Monke and other youth development experts discuss summer camp, family life, raising thriving kids, and ideas for living more connected and happier lives.
Ep. 176: Summer Camp & COVID with Dr. Heather Silverberg
Sunshine Parenting host Audrey "Sunshine" Monke & pediatrician (and camp doctor) Dr. Heather Silverberg talk about how COVID is impacting kids this summer at camp. Want encouragement & simple strategies for raising thriving future adults? Check out Audrey's book, HAPPY CAMPERS: 9 Summer Camp Secrets for Raising Kids Who Become Thriving Adults. Happy Campers on Audible.
[ENCORE] Ep. 37: 8 Tips for First-Time Camp Parents
You can watch us on video if you’d prefer to see our video chat instead of listening to the podcast: In Episode 37, Sara Kuljis (of Yosemite Sierra Summer Camp and Emerald Cove Day Camp), and I share tips and ideas for parents sending kids to overnight camp for the first time. Camp Preparation Topics… The post Ep. 37: 8 Tips for First-Time Camp Parents appeared first on Sunshine Parenting.
[ENCORE] Ep. 111: Raising an Exceptional Child in a Conventional World
In this episode, I'm talking to Debbie Reber, creator of TiLT Parenting, the host of the TiLT Parenting Podcast, and the author of Differently Wired: Raising and Exceptional Child in a Conventional World. While this book was written mainly for parents that need extra support, I think it will resonate with all parents of all kids. Big Ideas Every child deserves to be understood and accepted for who they are. We are all wired differently. Some differences are more visible than others. Each kid needs different tools to thrive in life and we can help them figure out what they need for their individual journey. When parents and children communicate their needs and explain their differences to others, people are more understanding and accepting. 3 Key Take-Aways: Find a community and resources Find the right kind of support (parent coach, couples counselor, online communities) Embrace and accept kids' strengths; teach them to articulate their needs. Gifted kids also have special needs that can be addressed and supported in schools and at home. As a parent, set aside what you think your child's (social, academic, physical) life should look like, and respect your child's own timeline. Quotes Audrey: "Sometimes people are just kind of under the radar. Maybe they aren't diagnosed with something, but their parents just sort of know that they don't move through life the same way that other people do." Debbie: "Many of the kids in my community may not have a formal diagnosis but a lot of them are extra sensitive, have heightened anxiety and are more tuned in and the world is an intense place for them." Debbie: "I wanted to cast a wide net and include any sort of narrow atypicality because there are so many of us. But when we stay in our little buckets, we don't get to tap into the collective and recognize the power in our numbers and why things really do need to change." Audrey: "Sometimes our biggest challenges become our biggest gifts." Audrey: "You did this journey together with your son, learning how to help him navigate the world and then how to help you navigate the world as a parent. You figured out how to embrace your son and all of his strengths and his uniqueness and help him become his best self. And you helped him be able to articulate to the world who he is and what he needs." Audrey: "I've always loved delving into all the personality type inventories that just help us learn how the way we see the world or react to things is different from other people and being a little more empathetic and understanding of that as opposed to thinking it's wrong." Debbie: "We're really looking at this person as an individual human on their own incredible journey. I think it can be really hard when we're just kind of on this treadmill of life, doing what everybody else is doing. Take a conscious step back and say, 'wait a minute--who is this kid and what do they need to do to really thrive?'" Debbie: "It's not easy to take that pause and to really shift your focus." Audrey: "Even for people with different interests, the concept that there is one path is so flawed. Kids who aren't academically inclined or school isn't their thing are left feeling like they don't fit in. Often, it beats them down to the point where they don't have the opportunity to explore their interests." Audrey: "The impact of not letting kids be who they really are and exploring that is coming out in the rise of mental health disorders, substance abuse, and suicide among adolescents and young adults. All of these things can be traced back to the same idea that if you don't fit into some prescribed thing, the world is hard." Audrey: "We all have a lot of parental shame, insecurity, guilt, worry and often loneliness when we are kind of embarrassed by our kids' behavior or confused or just don't get it." Debbie: "There's a lot of judging in parenting. It's pervasive and it's really harmful. It hurts us and when people are judging it is triggering their own insecurities. I think it's so important to find safe spaces to connect and to share." Debbie: "It's important to get clear and remember what the core goal is and that is to support these kids in becoming who they are." Debbie: "One of the ways we can bolster our foundation is to surround ourselves with people who fully support our family. When we do this, we relax, our kids relax, and we all get to go about our business from a place of confidence. Community changes everything. It lifts us up. It deepens our well of resources. It fuels our bravery. It allows us to be our authentic selves. It reminds me that we and our children are not alone. It's time we ditched the doubters, skeptics, and those will never get it and instead surround ourselves with our people." (Differently Wired, pg. 217) Debbie: "Part of the process is for us to speak openly, without fear or shame or worry. That's part of the accepting process of knowing that there is no one way to be normal." Debbie: "I imagine we are going to create a more accepting society if we stop shaming certain behaviors, ostracizing people, or making them feel like they're aberrations when really it's just a different way of being." Debbie: "One of the biggest gifts we can give a kid is the opportunity to truly know themselves and understand how their brain works and what's going on and then how to advocate for themselves, how to speak up." Debbie: "When people understand, it changes everything. People are afraid of what they don't understand. In a society that puts so much weight on conforming and fitting in, when we don't understand something, we tend to make up stories about it or push it aside." Audrey: "For more typically-wired kids, it teaches them super important character traits like kindness, empathy, and compassion." Debbie: "As parents, we can really spin out and get concerned if what we're seeing in our own family isn't matching our idea of what this should look like. Every child is on their own timeline. Everyone is growing in strengths and may have some lagging skills but they even out eventually. If we can keep our eye on the goal to raise a responsible human being who knows themselves, who understands what they need and has the tools to reach their potential, that's what we're going for." Resources The Miracle Morning Learn more about Debbie Reber and TiLT Parenting: TiLT Parenting on Facebook TiLT Together Facebook Group TiLT Instagram http://www.twitter.com/tiltparenting Related Posts/Podcasts If you liked this episode, listen to Ep. 104: Know and Love Yourself AND Your Kids 4 Ways to Focus on our Kids' Strengths Ep. 71: Growing Your Child’s “Bushy Broccoli Brain” Ep. 30: How to Raise a Durable Human with JJ Madden 10 Friendship Skills Every Kid Needs
Ep. 175: The Happiness Workbook for Kids with Maureen Healy, Ph.D.
Check out Audrey's book, HAPPY CAMPERS, for insights and ideas for raising thriving future adults. Now available in audio, digital, and print formats. Visit Maureen Healy's website, Growing Happy Kids, for more about Maureen's work and books. Visit Sunshine Parenting for more resources & episodes. In this episode, Maureen Healy, Ph.D., and I talk about her new book, The Happiness Workbook for Kids, which is her brand new, kid-friendly workbook with ideas based on her many years of experience helping children improve their happiness and well-being. We previously discussed The Emotionally Healthy Child, which we discussed back in Ep. 80: The Emotionally Healthy Child with Maureen Healy.
The New Adolescence with Christine Carter, Ph.D.
Visit Sunshine Parenting for Show Notes & Links. ENCORE NOTES: This incredible book came out just prior to the start of the pandemic. I was privileged to read an early copy and hear Christine speak about it in February, 2020. If you have (or will eventually have) an adolescent, I highly recommend this book. Things have changed since we were their age, and Christine offers her trademark, research-backed wisdom in this must-read. In this podcast episode, I'm joined by my friend Christine Carter, a sociologist working out of UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center and author of some of my favorite parenting books. We are talking about her newest book, The New Adolescence, Raising Happy and Successful Teens in an Age of Anxiety and Distractions. Big Ideas As your kids enter adolescence, parents should change their mindset from being their manager to being their coach. As they get older, kids need to be their own manager and take care of more things independently. Kids need less practical support and more emotional support. As their "life coach" you can help them to clarify what outcomes they want and be there for them, without being over-involved. 3 Core Skills Kid Need for the Digital Age: Focus Connection Rest Parents should try to model a life full of focus, connection and rest. The New Adolescence offers tips and talking points on some difficult topics such as sex, drinking alcohol, drugs, and money, and ways to discuss them with your child. The earlier kids start drinking alcohol, and the more they drinking in high school, the more likely it is that they will develop a substance abuse disorder. It is important to note that marijuana today has higher THC and less CBD than in years past and pot use in adolescence has proven to hinder brain development. Real-life social connections are a good antidote for depression, stress, and anxiety. Quotes Christine: "As parents, we haven't adapted to the massive changes (in our culture) and we're not continuing to adapt as things continue to change." Christine: "If we're used to doing everything for our kids and we find meaning and a sense of purpose in being somebody's chief of staff or manager, then it's hard. It's a loss of a role." Christine: "Kids need coaches to ask them to clarify what it is they want, what outcomes they are after and to help them to get those outcomes. You can be as emotionally supportive as you want but not over-involved." Audrey: "Our kids will have setbacks and make mistakes and sometimes get themselves into bad circumstances. These things are going to happen." Christine: "We can only do our best. I understand why parents are not engaging in some of these harder issues because it's hard to even understand what's going on." Audrey: "Your book is a great guidebook and it's a great start for people who are struggling. There's this balance that sometimes parents have a hard time finding, between letting your child grow up, gain more responsibility, more independence, trusting them, and changing your relationship." Audrey: "I think it's very simple to think about changing from being a manager to a coach. You're there for advice. You want them to come to you when they're struggling with something or need some help, but you are not going to, for instance, make their dentist appointment anymore. You share with them the phone number and make sure they know how often they need to go and that kind of thing." Christine: "We are living through an age of great distraction. At the same time, we're seeing a real change in the type of work these kids are going to be asked to do. Most of them will be paid to think...and focus." Christine: "They're not developing focus as a skill because they're multitasking all the time. They're constantly interrupted. They never learned to value focus or have the experience of doing deep work." Christine: "Focus is the superpower of the 21st century. That is the most important thing that they need for their success and happiness. We know that the sort of deep gratification and fulfillment comes from being able to persist in your long term goals. And that takes focus." Christine: "Building mastery takes focus. The things that are really gratifying to us, take focus. That's different from focusing for hours-on-end on a video game." Christine: "Connection is the most important predictor of happiness that we have. It's the most consistent finding we have in a hundred or so years of research. Our overall wellbeing is predicted consistently by both the breadth and depth of our real-life social connections." Christine: "This is a generation that is less connected, ironically, than previous generations. They spend less time with their friends." Christine: "The human nervous system evolved to be connected in person. We get a lot out of touch, even micro touches, like a pat on the shoulder, and eye contact. Our nervous system doesn't feel alone when it can make eye contact with somebody else." Christine: "When your nervous system feels like it's alone, as it does when you're alone in your room, but connecting with people over text or social media, it starts to feel stressed." Audrey: "If parents only do one thing, it's fostering the relationship with their kids and helping their kids foster those close face-to-face relationships." Christine: "When you look at the tsunami of mental illness that is coming toward us in terms of super high anxiety, depression, suicidality, it's explainable alone from a data standpoint--just by sleep depravation. When you control for sleep, all the problems start to go away." Christine: "Kids are the most under-slept teenagers we've ever seen. It's really affecting their mental health. They're under the impression that they need to stay up late, that it's more important to study than to sleep, that they're too busy to take breaks." Christine: "Our culture believes in busy-ness like it's a sign of your value, your productivity, your importance. And of course, none of that's true. It's completely limiting belief. But this is how we operate and our kids have picked up on this. They don't rest and it impairs their brain development." Audrey: "I'm better at what I do when I take breaks, if I get a good nights' sleep, if I have plenty of time to read, time with my friends, I'm better at everything else. Those rest breaks make me better." Audrey: "It's not that the screens are bad, there are lots of fun things that happen and connection, it's what it has replaced when kids are on them all the time." Christine: "If you have a kid who's struggling, they're not alone. You're not alone. It's really hard for all of us and there are a lot of resources out there." Christine: "We just have to engage. We just have to do our best. Once you have some more tools, you'll be able to do better. You'll see the quality of your relationship with your kids will change." About Christine [caption id="attachment_7187" align="alignright" width="243"] Photo Credit: Blake Farrington[/caption] Christine Carter, Ph.D., is a sociologist and the author of The New Adolescence: Raising Happy and Successful Teens in an Age of Anxiety and Distraction (2020), The Sweet Spot: How to Accomplish More by Doing Less (2017) and Raising Happiness (2011). A senior fellow at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, Carter draws on the latest scientific research in psychology, sociology, and neuroscience — and uses her own often hilarious real-world experiences — to give parenting, productivity and happiness advice. She lives with her husband, four teenagers, and dog Buster in Marin County, California. Resources Christine's free downloads are available on her website. Follow Christine of Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or LinkedIn Her books: Raising Happiness, The Sweet Spot, The New Adolescence Coaching resources Christine Carter's Blog Greater Good Magazine Related Ep. 1: Raising Happiness with Christine Carter Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents, Christine Carter, Ph.D. Ep. 41: Getting Comfortable with our Kids’ (and our own) Discomfort with Christine Carter The Sweet Spot: How to Find Your Groove at Home and Work, Christine Carter Ep. 123: Connection Comes First Ep. 93: Teaching Healthy Relationship Skills to Improve Lives Ep. 92: Creating Strong Relationships with Teens Connection Through Questions Ep. 2: 10 Friendship Skills Every Kid Needs
Promoting Mental Health
Show notes & links available here. In this episode, I'm speaking with Dr. Jess Shatkin, about preventing mental illness and promoting health in children and adolescents. As a clinician, researcher and educator, Dr. Shatkin is one of the country's foremost experts in adolescent mental health, risk and resilience. Big Ideas Extensive research about mental health has led us to a good understanding of what we can do preventatively for young people. Dr. Shatkin offers practical strategies for parents and people working with kids to help prevent mental illness: Practice authoritative parenting: show love and support give clear guidelines set limits reinforce positively punish infrequently Other parenting styles, authoritarian, permissive or negligent parenting, produce more negative outcomes for children. Professionals need to understand and apply these authoritative parenting skills when working with kids. Kids themselves can learn these basic tools of behavioral modification, and it would go a long way toward helping them have better relationships, social awareness, and improved mental health. These behavioral modification tools are: positive reinforcement effective commands - brief directives not stated as questions and praise by labeling exactly what was done right active ignoring - ignore the behavior you don't like coupled with positive reinforcement for good behavior scheduling kids using reward programs limit setting consequences (such as time-outs for little kids) Global strategies to address these issues: We should support more teacher training in these areas. Early education should include teaching behavior modification, emotion regulation, emotion identification, and communication skills. Resilience education with college students has lowered anxiety, improved mood, and coping skills, lowered dysfunctional attitudes. Dr. Jess Shatkan's triumvirate of good health, three healthy habits that every parent can help their child to develop: Exercise When people exercise regularly, they feel better about themselves, they feel more competent and more empowered. Too many kids are not getting enough exercise. More physical activity leads to better concentration and overall health. Sleep Sleep is critical for managing stress and anxiety. When people don't sleep their brain patterns are disrupted causing worse decision making, higher rates of obesity, and less empathy. Nutrition Obesity is a huge problem, as over 35% of children are overweight. Parents need to provide healthy meals whenever possible, avoid fast food and pesticides and hormones in food. Schools and parents can teach the importance of good nutrition. Because excessive screen use is shown to have damaging effects on health and wellbeing, parents should enforce these screen rules: parents own the screen and the child uses it as a reward or opportunity. parents "friend" their kids on social media parents supervise and limit screen time screens should be in public spaces (not bedrooms) use a blue light blocking device when used in the evening to avoid sleep problems An environment like camp, which offers time away from screens, exercise, healthy food options, positive social interactions and well-trained counselors, promotes good mental health for our children. Quotes Jess: "Mental illness is growing in frequency, it's happening more commonly. The more we study it, the more we see it, the better our practitioners are trained, the more easily we pick it up, the more treatments we have, the better people do. But at the same time, we've learned so much now about mental health that there's a lot we can prevent." Jess: "Kids who have parents who are authoritative do much better in every way. They become better students. They're more likely to stay in school, less likely to have a premature pregnancy, less likely to get sexually transmitted infections, less likely to get involved in drugs, less likely to have accidents and injuries like automobile accidents. They are more likely to go to college. They're more likely to be healthy adults and not have depression and diabetes and all the rest. It's the amazing power of parenting." Jess: "I think that we should be teaching the skills that lead to this kind of approach, this sort of behavioral modification, in the earliest of years, that teachers could be using these skills in elementary schools and kids could be learning what these skills are in high school so that all their relationships are better." Jess: "So it's a mistake to ask your kids for things unless no is an acceptable answer. If you give them a choice, 'would you like to wear a sweater or jacket? It's cold tonight.' You get a choice, but it's not, 'do you want to put on something?' or 'do you want to brush your teeth?' or 'do you think it's time to do this or that?' Or 'how about cleaning your room buddy?' or those kinds of things." Jess: "Authoritative parenting can be taught through parent training--this is what I mean by prevention. We see a lot more mental illness amongst kids who drop out of school, amongst kids who have premature pregnancy, amongst kids who have accidents, injuries, and sexually transmitted infections. And these kinds of things will help us to manage the behavior of kids better so we don't get to that point." Audrey: "The camp counselor training that we do is a lot of this stuff that you're talking about. It's using positive words, ignoring things, pointing out the kid that's doing the thing right so that the other kids see that you noticed. It's all this basic stuff but most of them have not experienced it themselves before they've come to camp. And so they will tell us afterward that because of the training they got at camp, they're a better parent. They're great teachers." Audrey: "Some teachers don't know how to relate to kids. They go through their teacher training, they get their credentials, and they know all about physics or English, but they don't know what their kids need in order to feel belonging, connection to the teacher and a desire to learn what's being taught." Audrey: "I always say like connection before everything else. Connection before correction of course, but also just connection before learning. Your kid on the first day of school is sitting in that class of 30, and they're thinking, who's here am I gonna have any friends? Who's gonna be my partner at this science table? The teachers need to address that. Do a few team building activities like the ones we do at camp. It might take five minutes and then you have this connection and the kids are looking forward to going into that room and feeling part of this community. It's so fundamental. And the same with families. So I'm with you on that. I would love to see universal parent education." Jess: "When I go into schools and I say to parents, 'what do you want for your child by the time they graduate high school?' they never say 'be great at geometry' or 'be able to speak iambic pentameter.' What they say is, 'I want them to share. I want her to be a good citizen. I want him to do what he says he's going to do. I wanted to have good friends.' They never say anything about academics. Mostly its human qualities." Jess: "We spend a third of our lives asleep, yet nobody knows anything about sleep except for people who study sleep. And then there's a lot to know about sleep. Now you may not be able to make yourself a perfect sleeper by learning about sleep, but you can do a whole lot better than you're probably doing now. And it makes a big difference for people." Audrey: "I agree with you that the first thing is just parents understanding communication, how to relate to their child and have this authoritative style. But sleep is so critical and for parents too because when we don't get enough sleep, we are not good with anybody. So it's like everybody is sleep-deprived." Jess: "Increasingly we're recognizing that there really is an impact from screens. It impacts the brain, it impacts the way we perceive a threat, how anxious we feel. It affects our sleep in a big, big way, and when your sleep is affected, a lot of things are affected." Jess: "We can look deep into the brain now and we see the effect that being on screens is having on kids. We see less empathy and when the screens are taken away, they all of a sudden become more empathic." Jess: "Exercise helps our bodies in myriad ways, not the least of which is to sleep and burn calories effectively. You maintain a high metabolism, but also to improve your mood. We know that people who exercise regularly improve mood and we know that exercise works as well as psychotherapy for mild and moderate depression." Jess: "I always direct parents to do stuff with their kids. Go biking with your kid, take vigorous walks with your kid, go hiking with your kid. There's nothing better than family activity." Audrey: "I just think if there was one thing parents of young kids could do now is just keep the screens out for themselves too. It seems like that's a simple thing that actually if you're not on your screen as much, you're probably getting more exercise and more sleep." Jess: "There was an interesting study where they took middle school kids out in the woods for five days and they did school out in the woods and the kids had better eye contact at the end of those five days. They reported more empathy in the surveys that they completed. They were happier." Audrey: "It's true that when kids are at camp, they report that they feel happier and they feel like they have better friends in those two weeks at camp than all year because it's real connection without distraction. And they're outside, getting tons of exercise and a lot more sleep and nutritious food." Resources Dr. Jess P. Shatkin, MD, MPH, is a board-certified child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist, who leads the educational efforts of the NYU Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He sees patients each day, in addition to running all medical student, resident, and psychology training emanating from the department. In addition, Dr. Shatkin has developed the nation's largest undergraduate program in child/adolescent development at NYU, which teaches 100 courses to over 5,000 students each year. Finally, Dr. Shatkin studies adolescent risk, resilience, and the prevention of mental illness. He has written two books, over 100 scientific articles, and is a popular presenter at meetings and conferences worldwide. Dr.JessPShatkin.com Social media: @DrJessPShatkin Facebook Dr. Shatkin's radio show on Sirius XM Dr. Shatkin, Born to be Wild book Dr. Shatkin, Child & Adolescent Mental Health Alan Kazdin, Parent Management Training Book Cynthia Whitham, Win the Whining War Thomas Gordon, Parent Effectiveness Training Related Ep. 16 about Dr. Shatkin's book Born to be Wild: Why teens take risks and how we can help keep them safe. Ep. 111: Raising an Exceptional Child in a Conventional World Ep. 87: The Impact of Camp Experiences with Laurie Browne, Ph.D. 10 Reasons Great Parents Choose Summer Camp for Their Kids
About the podcast Sunshine Parenting
Camp Director, Mom, Author, and Speaker Audrey Monke and other youth development experts discuss summer camp, family life, raising thriving kids, and ideas for living more connected and happier lives.