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The New Family Podcast

The New Family Podcast is the show that explores what families really look like today and the issues that matter to us most. Twice a week we interview some of the most compelling people whose stories represent the many forms family can take today. And we chat with top parenting experts with great insights on the challenges of raising kids in these interesting times. This podcast comes from the creators of the popular website, thenewfamily.com, which explores and celebrates modern family life. Our series, the 1,000 Families Project, tells the first-person stories of people with families of every shape and size. In this show we interview some of the most interesting people who contribute to the #1000families series, as well as authors, family therapists, parent educators and other experts with practical advice to share that's relevant to families of every kind.
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Dec 4, 2017

This is a special episode exploring some concrete ideas for simplifying the holiday season. I asked a bunch of different people to tell me what they’ve done to adapt their holidays to be less stressful and more meaningful. We hope you’ll find something here that you can adapt to your own holiday routines. Sometimes it’s just about giving ourselves permission to take something off our plate or make some aspect of the holidays less elaborate. So let’s all give ourselves permission to keep the calendar a little clearer, the bank account a little fuller and most importantly, ourselves a little happier this time of year.

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Nov 27, 2017

This is the second in a two-part series that’s taking a look at what feminism means for families in 2017. We’re taking a look at where feminism stands today and what it means for raising great kids. In this episode we explore a bit of a perplexing issue related to raising girls. My guest, writer Devorah Blachor, is a committed feminist who was surprised to find herself the mother of a princess-obsessed toddler. Deborah wrote about this experience in an article for the New York Times that went viral, called “Turn Your Princess-Obsessed Toddler into a Feminist in Eight Easy Steps.” That was the jumping off point for her new book, The Feminist Guide to Raising a Little Princess: How to Raise a Girl who’s Authentic, Joyful and Fearless — Even if She Refuses to Wear Anything But a Pink Tutu. Devorah shares how she’s been able to find some good feminist messages from among the princess stories and how you can do the same.

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Nov 20, 2017

For this week and next, we’re taking a look at what feminism means for families in 2017 in a two part series called the Modern Family’s Guide to Feminism. We look at where feminism stands today and what it means for raising great kids. For this episode, part one, I’m joined by accomplished business person and mom of two Paulina Cameron, author of Canada 150 Women: Conversations with Leaders, Champions and Luminaries. Although Paulina has done so much for the advancement of women through her advocacy and now this book, today we’re actually going to talk, among other things, about what it takes to raise boys with strong feminist values. Paulina shares her thoughts on the crucial elements of bringing up boys with a strong sense of equality, and why this is an invitation for all of us to bring forth our best selves.

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Nov 13, 2017

This episode talks about taking a difficult life event that affects many families and using it as a catalyst for positive change. I’m joined by mom of three and blogger Leisse Wilcox, who first shared the story of her family in The New Family’s 1,000 Families Project. But since then things have changed. She and the father of her girls are now living separately and co-parenting together. Leisse writes in honest and inspiring ways about turning around a difficult situation and, in fact, using it as a springboard for personal growth.

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Nov 6, 2017

Ever noticed that the characters in kids’ books aren’t the most ethnically diverse lot? My guest for this episode certainly has, both growing up in Quebec as the daughter of immigrant parents, and when she became a mom herself. Alisia Dale is lawyer, linguist, and author of the Sela Blue children’s book series. A mom of three, Alisia is on an important mission to broaden narratives about children of colour and to promote diversity in the characters of children’s books.

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Oct 30, 2017

In a rapidly changing world, our kids will need different skills to thrive than the ones that we learned in school, and our education systems are going to have to adapt. My guest on this episode is Dr. Kelly Gallagher-MacKay, an education activist, lawyer, researcher and Wilfred Laurier University professor at Wilfred Laurier University. She’s the co-author of Pushing the Limits: How Schools Can Prepare Our Children for the Challenges of Tomorrow, which she wrote with respected educator Nancy Steinhauer. She explains why kids need to learn the “4Cs” in addition to the traditional “3Rs,” and why creativity is such a prized quality in the workplaces of today and tomorrow.

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Oct 23, 2017

For this episode I’m joined by my colleague and friend, Emma Johnson, who is the author of a brand new book called The Kickass Single Mom: Be Financially Independent, Discover Your Sexiest You, and Raise Fabulous, Happy Children. We first heard from Emma way back in Episode 21 when she came on to share the ideas behind her wildly popular website wealthysinglemommy.com. That’s when she and I began our conversation about the ideas around single motherhood that hold so many people back. Her blog and book are focussed on changing assumptions about what single moms can achieve, and about living a fulfilling and abundant life as an unmarried mother.

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Oct 16, 2017

For this very special episode, we’re delighted to be joined by author Gretchen Rubin, whose book The Happiness Project was a runaway hit and number one New York Times Bestseller. She’s also the woman behind the wildly popular blog of the same name as well as a number of other books on habits and human nature, and the podcast Happier, which she co-hosts with her sister, Elizabeth Craft. Gretchen’s latest book, The Four Tendencies, puts forth a new personality framework based on how individuals respond to expectations. It offers us some really important clues for figuring out what motivates our kids, and how that jives with how we meet expectations ourselves. This knowledge helps us be more tolerant of and get on better with others, as well as how to be more effective in encouraging our kids to complete their homework, pick up their toys or practice an instrument.

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Oct 9, 2017

Today school-age kids use social media likes and followers to gauge their self worth. This isn’t easy on anyone but it seems that girls face the most online scrutiny of all. For this episode of the podcast, I’m joined by author and educator Lindsay Sealey. Lindsay has recently released her book Growing Strong Girls: Practical Tools to Cultivate Connection in the Preteen Years. She helps us not only better understand what it’s like to be a girl today, but also to equip us as parents, teachers, aunts, uncles and mentors to girls to help them through this tumultuous but also very rich time in their development.

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Oct 2, 2017

This episode addresses the question of whether we’re paying too much attention to our kids! I’m joined by Dr. Catherine Pearlman, a family coach and assistant professor of social work at Brandman University in California. She is author of a new book called Ignore It! How Selectively Looking the Other Way Can Decrease Behavioral Problems and Increase Parenting Satisfaction. Her syndicated “Dear Family Coach” column has appeared in The Wall Street Journal and many regional parenting magazines as well. Dr. Pearlman explains how parents are overdisciplining behaviours that they should ignore and underdisciplining behaviours that they should address, and how selectively ignoring can improve not only our effectiveness but our parental satisfaction.

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Sep 25, 2017

On this episode we hear why it’s so vitally important that we give sober second thought to the way we have explained body changes and menstruation to girls. My guest, psychologist Dr. Robyn Stein DeLuca, has written The Hormone Myth: How Junk Science, Gender Politics and Lies about PMS Keep Women Down. In it she unpacks the commonly held assumption that all girls and women are emotionally erratic because of hormone fluctuations that accompany our menstrual cycles. She says that researchers have known since the early 1990s that, over time, men and women experience very similar emotional stability. In fact, the majority of studies used to establish the existence of premenstrual syndrome were quote “deeply flawed and unreliable.” We’re talk about how this should impact the way we speak to girls about starting their periods and about their emotions throughout the month.

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Sep 18, 2017

Almost every kid who heads back to school time of year — into a new classroom, or perhaps even to a whole new school — does so with some mix of anxiety and optimism about fitting in. Will any of my friends be in my class? Will the big kids on the playground be mean? Who will I sit with at lunch? But less talked about, perhaps, are the other dynamics on the school yard. The ones between the parents.
If you're new to having a kid in school, you're also likely new to the strange world of grown-up cliques in the playground. It can be a bit of a bizarre thing for those seeking a place in their school community, or even just trying to figure out what being a parent of a school-aged child entails. Canadian writer and broadcaster Laurie Gelman is our guest for this episode. Laurie is the former host of The Mom Show on Slice, but she’s now turned her hand to writing fiction. Her hilarious new novel, Class Mom, is about a year in the life of a kindergarten class mom — a send-up of the petty and surprisingly cutthroat terrain of parent politics. We’re getting all up in this cliquey business on today’s show.

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Sep 11, 2017

For this episode, we’re joined by my friend, Ceri Marsh, part of the dynamic duo behind the popular food blog The Sweet Potato Chronicles. She and her foodie partner in crime Laura Keogh are the authors of the bestselling cookbook How to Feed a Family. And they have just released their highly anticipated second cookbook, which couldn’t be coming at a better time. It’s called The School Year Survival Cookbook: Healthy Recipes and Sanity-Saving Strategies for Every Family and Every Meal. Ceri and I talk about how to make good food happen in your household, despite a calendar jam packed with school, work and extra-curricular activities. Plus Ceri shares some of her best tactics for getting meals onto the table and into lunch boxes.

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Sep 4, 2017

For this special 150th episode of The New Family Podcast, we’re shining a light on back-to-school memories, the good, bad and the ugly (we’re looking at you 1970s corduroy!). Don’t miss this collection of stories from a cast of characters reflecting on their school days.

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Aug 7, 2017

Some champion the return to a 1970s-style summer when kids roamed free and parents didn’t worry about day camp pick-up times. In this solo episode, I dive into the reasons why that free-range parenting dream can’t come true — yet. Plus, I share some thoughts on some tangible actions you can take to capture a little more summer fun now and in future summers.

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Jul 31, 2017

My guest for this episode has a remarkable story to tell. You see Natasha Clark became a mom at a young age, and was part of a strict religious community in small town Alberta. Today she’s in a happy same-sex relationship and lives in Victoria, B.C. on the west coast, a transformation in her life that involved a whole lot of soul searching, bravery and bumps along the way. She also runs a small digital creative agency called Risk Creative, and she’s here to share what it took to re-imagine her life so entirely.

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Jul 24, 2017

As a mom of two boys, ages 10 and 14, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to today’s topic—how to raise kids with good character. With my elder son now firmly in his teens, I’ve got this sense that my time with him is running out. My guest for this episode, Greg Marcus, who calls himself a recovering workaholic, has quite an interesting personal story to tell about transforming himself into a better person. We delve into how he actually improved his career by cutting his hours to be more available to his family. But the main focus of our chat is the idea of raising a mensch, which is a Yiddish term for a person of outstanding character. Greg is the author of a book called The Spiritual Practice of Good Actions: Finding Balance Through the Soul Traits of Mussar. We talk about how to bring the principles of mindfulness to our kids’ character development, and why it’s important to avoid the trap of focussing too heavily on our kids’ behaviour and not our own.

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Jul 17, 2017

I’m very pleased to welcome writer and mom Jackie Burns to the show. Jackie and her husband are raising their kids in a condo, as more and more families are these days. She and I dig into the mythology in our culture that successfully providing for a family means having your own backyard. And we dive into all the benefits of condo living that we don’t hear about as much as we should. With population density in urban areas increasing, along with the cost of real estate, this is an important, pragmatic discussion about building liveable cities as well.

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Jul 10, 2017

I’m delighted to welcome Jamie and Erica Lundmark to the show today. Jamie is a hockey player, formerly of the Toronto Maple Leafs now playing in Austria, and his wife Erica own a successful real estate business. They have three kids, and their busy lives have been chronicled in Season Three of Hockey Wives on the W Network. We talk about striking a balance where our kids are active and can enjoy sports — if that’s their jam — but without the pressure that can go along with sports like hockey. Jamie opens up about the kind of pressure he experienced around the game growing up. Both he and Erica have witnessed a whole lot of crazy kid sports culture, and share what they do to make sure their kids are raised to understand that school and family come first. Plus they talk about how they keep Jamie connected when he’s playing hockey in Europe and manage that long-distance parenting relationship. A lot comes down to the village that Erica has built with family, friends and others within the community of professional hockey families.

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Jul 3, 2017

Dr. Jennifer Verdolin joins us for this episode of the show. Dr. Verdolin is an evolutionary biologist and the author of a fascinating new book called Raised by Animals: The Surprising New Science of Animal Family Dynamics. She’s an animal behaviour researcher specializing in social and mating behaviour, and a scholar in residence at Duke University. She makes a compelling argument that we’re missing an incredible opportunity to understand ourselves and the parenting experience better by overlooking the biological basis for a lot of human behaviour — our kids’ and our own. Plus Dr. Verdolin provides really interesting examples of parenting from the animal world that are instructive to human parents.

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Jun 26, 2017

Tucked away in boxes, displayed on the wall, or saved to the cloud, personal photos are all around us. For nations like Canada, family photographs are often linked to the immigration experience. They offer an important window into our history and lived experience. Art historian Dr. Deepali Dewan of the Royal Ontario Museum and the University of Toronto joins us for this episode of the show. She’s the curator of a new exhibit at the ROM called The Family Camera, which explores the relationship between photography and family, and looks at family photographs as a cultural practice through the lens of migration. Ontario listeners should note that on that show notes page for this episode you can learn how to enter to win a pass for four to the ROM so you can see The Family Camera and the many other great collections at the museum. You can find out more at thenewfamily.com/143.

Show Notes

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Jun 19, 2017

This is the second of two very special episodes of the podcast tied to Pride Month. We’re in a so-called Gayby Boom, given that more same-sex couples are having families than ever before. Yet, curiously absent from the conversation about this are the voices of the kids raised by two moms or two dads. Australian filmmaker Maya Newell, herself brought up by two moms, decided to do something about that. Her film, Gayby Baby, follows four children from different sex-same-parent families, and offers an intimate account of their lives. In this episode, we get a taste of those stories, plus the perspective of Maya and other "gaybies" about what it was like to be among the first cohort raised by queer parents who were out and proud. You can catch Gayby Baby on TVO Saturday, June 24 at 8 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. or on tvo.org. You can find links for more information on the show notes pages for this episode at thenewfamily.com/142.

Show Notes

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Jun 12, 2017

This is a special episode of the podcast tied to Pride Month, and I’m delighted to be able to bring you an incredible and legally-precedent-setting love story. In 1975, before anyone had even coined the phrases “same-sex marriage” or “marriage equality,” Filipino-American Richard Adams and Australian Tony Sullivan became one of the first same-sex couples in the world to be legally married. But after applying for a green card for Tony based on their marriage, the couple received a denial letter from the Immigration and Naturalization Service. To prevent Tony's impending deportation, the couple sued the U.S. government, filing the first federal lawsuit seeking equal treatment for a same-sex marriage in U.S. history. Their story is the subject of a documentary airing on TVO Wednesday, June 28 at 9 p.m. and midnight and that will be available on tvo.org June 29. You can find links for more information on the show notes pages for this episode at thenewfamily.com/141.

Show Notes

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Jun 5, 2017

Anyone who has ever dreamed of quitting a day job to pursue work they’re passionate about will want to tune in for this episode. I speak with Chevy Stevens, a mom and author of several wildly successful thriller novels featuring strong female protagonists. Chevy quit her real-estate job and sold her home to finance her writing. Her debut novel, Still Missing, then went on to become a New York Times bestseller. Her books have garnered glowing reviews and received praise from the likes of Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn. Chevy now supports her family with her writing and her husband is a stay-at-home dad. She talks about what it takes to find the mental space and quiet to write when you work from home your kid wants to hang out with you 24/7. Plus, Chevy opens up about how some difficult aspects of her own upbringing helped her to write authentically about domestic violence in her latest novel, Never Let You Go.

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May 29, 2017

We’re joined for this episode by writers Melissa DePino and Elizabeth LaBan. Melissa and Elizabeth have a lovely story to tell that’s so in keeping with the theme of this website and podcast and its mission to celebrate the many ways that family can form. For years Elizabeth and Melissa were next door neighbors who truly became family to one another, sharing the parenting experience from when their children were small, a shared family that continues today. In fact, they’ve co-authored a novel inspired by their story called Pretty Little World. They tell us about how their organic extended family has come to be, and what we can all learn from their story about being open to a connection in creating our own chosen families. 

Show Notes

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