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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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Feb 19, 2018

This podcast and The New Family website are all about the many forms that families take, which includes the way those families are created. We’ve discussed the surrogacy on a number of occasions. It’s a compelling topic, especially given that Canada has become what some call a medical tourism destination for surrogacy. Yet there are a lot of misconceptions about surrogacy and a lot of grey area that my guest on this episode wants to see change. Leia Swanberg is the founder and owner of Canadian Fertility Consulting, a prominent surrogacy consulting agency, and an outspoken advocate for decriminalizing surrogacy. She shares her own experience with surrogacy, personally and professionally, including a news-making run-in with the law.

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Feb 12, 2018

My guest for this episode is one of the most popular we’ve ever hosted on the show. Sexuality expert Amy Lang helps parents talk to their kids about sex, love and relationships. She first joined us on to tell us how to talk to our kids about where babies comes from. Amy has a great website called Birds and Bees and Kids, and I invited her back to answer a question that crosses a lot of people’s minds: Is there sex after kids? She and I take a look at what’s involved in having a sex life through some of the different seasons of our own lives, including rough patches in our relationships, times of overwhelm between work and home and also through single parenthood. Amy shares some pragmatic advice for making space for intimacy in a busy family life and for reconnecting romantically after a period of disconnection.

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Feb 5, 2018

Like many parents of boys, I’m sure, I’ve noticed that — while globally there’s a long way to go to level the playing field for girls — here at home boys are more likely to be medicated for attention deficit disorder and more likely to drop out of school, while the girls are the more likely to be the ones standing at the front of the assembly collecting most of the academic awards. And young women are now out-graduating men from university at considerable rates and have been for some time. It seems that, as a whole, boys may be needing some clearer direction and better messages about what it means to be a boy. I’m joined today by Janet Allison of Boys Alive. Janet is an educator and parent coach with a specialty in helping parents and teachers to nurture boys. She’s also the author of Boys Alive: Bring Out Their Best.

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Jan 29, 2018

My guest on this episode shares my passion for expanding narratives around what a happy family can look like, especially in co-parenting and blended-family situations. Colleen LeMaire is a writer, author and stepmom. She writes kid-friendly books on grown-up topics in her I Have Series, starting with I Have Two Homes, I Have a Stepmom and I Have a Stepdad.

Colleen and I talk about how stepmoms are portrayed in everything from fairy tales to pop culture, and why those sorely need an update. Colleen shares her own experience adjusting to being a step-parent and why she was inspired to create resources to help kids adjust to changes in the family.

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Jan 22, 2018

I’m so delighted to have my friend and colleague Rick Clemons back on the show this episode. He was first with us way back on Episode 91 for an episode about his process of coming out later in life. Rick is a father of two and the author of a book called Frankly My Dear, I’m Gay: A Late-bloomers Guide to Coming Out. He’s also the host of a great podcast called The Coming Out Lounge and he’s a life coach. One of his specialties is helping people through their coming out journeys. Today Rick is back to help us learn how best to support friends and family members as they come out. We’re going to talk about what to say, what not to say, and what people really need from us when they’re revealing this important information about themselves.

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Jan 15, 2018

For this episode I speak to a couple of women with a remarkable personal story to tell. You see, Lindsey Phillips and Jesse Enander are best friends who many people would assume couldn’t be friends at all.

Indeed, they were once married to each other’s husbands, a complicated love story that started out with the four of them as couple friends. Lindsey and Jesse are here to tell me about how this unique situation has come to be, and about how they managed to make what could have been a difficult and acrimonious situation into something great. In fact, Jesse and Lindsey have now created a YouTube channel called TeamMom Official to share their stories and inspire others to find a path to great co-parenting and even friendship.

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Jan 8, 2018

I’m really delighted to open the year a discussion that's insightful in setting intentions for what we want to accomplish during the year as parents. And I’m not talking about tidy mudrooms or perfect photo albums. I’m talking about the approaches we take to cultivating the traits in our kids that are going to help them steer themselves well in a changing world.

My guest for this episode is Amy Morin, a therapeutic foster parent, a social worker, a psychotherapist with a specialty in family and teen therapy. She has given one of the most popular TedX talks of all time. Her first book 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do was an international bestseller and she’s now expanded on those ideas with a special focus on raising kids in her new book, 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do.

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Dec 18, 2017

If you listen to the show regularly, you’ll know that almost every episode ends with the question, “What is the best piece of parenting advice you’ve ever received.” As you can imagine, over the course of a year we gather a lot of sage words from parents just like you and me. My team and I have gone through all those pearls of wisdom and put together this round up of some of the best parenting advice we heard in 2017. We thought that would be a good way to look back on the year we’ve had while highlighting some good things to keep in mind as we go forward with our families into a new year. Thank you everyone for listening over the course of this year. I wish you a wonderful holiday season and a very happy new year.

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Dec 11, 2017

I’m joined today by a woman who has a very personal story to share about her daughter’s journey with the school system. Leslie Gavel’s daughter began to disengage from the school system when she was in Grade 7, and eventually dropped out. She and I talk about the school system’s role in this and about how Leslie's daughter eventually found her way again. Leslie writes about this in a new book called Dropout: How School Is Failing Our Kids (and What We Can Do about It).

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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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