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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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Now displaying: 2016
Aug 18, 2016

In this special bonus episode for back to school, I’m serving up my best back-to-school advice formed over 16 years in parenting journalism and 13 years of parenting. In it I talk about the things that really count for getting the school year off to a good start, how to set your whole family up for a successful year and the things to prioritize when it’s time to shop. You might be surprised at some of the less-expected things on my list. And if you want more information about how to achieve a happy and productive family life, you can get my FREE e-book 11 Ways to Keep Your Family Weeknight from Spinning out of Control at thenewfamily.com/weeknights.

Show Notes

Aug 15, 2016

On this episode we’re joined by Rick Clemons, author of a new book called Frankly My Dear, I’m Gay: A Late-Bloomer’s Guide to Coming Out. Rick shares his own experience of coming out later in life at age 38 when he’d long been married to the mother of his two children. In addition to the book, Rick also provides resources on coming out through his great podcast The Coming Out Lounge, as well as through his coaching services. Rick is very candid about his journey to coming out and on the difficult process of sharing this news with his spouse at the time.

Show Notes

Aug 8, 2016

When the kids are off from school over the summer, and you’re trying to keep the kids entertained at home or on long car rides, chances are good they’re going to be on their favourite devices a little more than usual. And frankly, whatever time if year you’re listening, this can be an issue. Our kids’ iPods, computers and gaming systems are all pretty alluring—as our smart phones are for us. My guest on this episode is Dr. Mari Swingle, a neurotherapist, behavioral specialist and author of a new book called iMinds: How Cell Phones, Computers, Gaming and Social Media are Changing Our Brains, Our Behaviour and the Evolution of our Species. But don’t worry. This isn’t another guilt-inducing report suggesting that technology will bring about the death of our social skills and attentions spans. Dr. Swingle is here to talk to us not just about the dangers of constant connectivity, but about the positive steps we can take to embrace new technology while protecting our well-being and steering our future in a more human direction.

Show Notes

 

Aug 1, 2016

On this episode of the show I get to talk to a mother of eight! I find big families fascinating, not just because they buck the current trend toward smaller families, but because there’s just so much we can to learn from them about parenting and about running a household. PJ Jonas and her family are a perfect example of this. They live on a farm, and in fact they run an incredibly successful family business called Goat Milk Stuff where they sell soaps and other goat milk products. The whole family is involved in helping to run the business, which has been featured on The Today Show and in O Magazine among others. PJ is here to talk to us about how her busy households operates and about raising kids who know how to work.

Show Notes

Jul 25, 2016

Researcher, therapist, and mediator Dr. Robert Emery is my guest on the show today. Dr. Emery is an internationally recognized expert on family relationships and children’s mental health, including parental conflict, child custody and divorce. His latest book is called Two Homes, One Childhood: A Parenting Plan to Last a Lifetime. In it he outlines a new way to share custody after a relationship ends.


As many of you know, this topic couldn’t be nearer and dearer to my heart. I have my own unique approach to co-parenting—I live next door to the father of my kids and his new wife and our kids go back and forth between our two homes in a very fluid way. Dr. Emery has himself been divorced and has been in this field of study for 35 years. He offers wonderful but realistic advice about co-parenting well, based on a Hierarchy of Children’s Needs in Divorce, his own take on the famous Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs.

Show Notes

Our Co-Parenting Webinar

 

Jul 18, 2016

We’re delighted to welcome Dr. Stuart Shanker to the show today. A world-renowned psychologist, Dr. Shanker is a professor at York University and an expert in child development. His new book Self-Reg: How to Help Your Child (and You) Break The Stress Cycle and Successfully Engage with Life came out recently. His previous book, Calm, Alert and Learning, written for teachers, is one of the top-selling Canadian education books of all time. But in this book he turns his attention to parents with an aim to helping us learn how to recognize when our kids are under stress and teach them to deal with it effectively. The key? Encouraging our children to develop the ability to self-regulate. Yes, self-regulation has become a bit of a buzzword in recent years. Today we get to the heart of what it really means.

Show Notes

Jul 11, 2016

Our guest on the show today is Vanessa Vakharia, founder and Chief Inspiration Officer of a unique tutoring facility in Toronto called The Math Guru. She’s a teacher with a Bachelor of Commerce, a degree in Graphic Design and a Masters in Mathematics Education. Interestingly, though, there was a time when Vanessa believed she was just not “a math person.” In fact, her masters thesis was titled, Peace, Love and Pi: Imagining a World where Paris Hilton Loves Mathematics. Vanessa specializes in teen engagement in STEM (that’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics), with a specific focus on encouraging young women to embrace STEM as a part of their identities. Now, in general, girls are doing better in the education system than ever. Young women are out-graduating men from university, for instance, and we’re going to tackle that issue on an upcoming episode. However, we know that women are still woefully under-represented in STEM careers, which is particularly outrageous given how many of them attend university. Vanessa shares her insights into how to encourage girls to pursue these subjects, while also offering concrete advice on how parents can fight the impression that math is a dreaded subject for either boys or girls.

Show Notes

Jul 4, 2016

We’re thrilled to have child sexuality expert Amy Lang back on the show for this episode. Amy helps parents talk to their kids about sex, love and relationships. She has a great website called “The Birds and Bees and Kids.”  The last time Amy was on to chat to us about how to answer that age-old question, “Where babies come from?”, the episode kinda went viral. It was shared a tonne of times on Facebook  and had 10 times the normal downloads. And that’s because Amy just has a great, light-hearted approach to these topics that can make parents a little squirmy. So today she’s back today to help us figure out how to talk to our kids about puberty. Everything you might be find awkward or embarrassing about this—we tackle it here.

Show Notes

Wise Bites


This episode is brought to you by Wise Bites, makers of healthy, allergy-safe snacks that are perfect for the whole family. To get free shipping on a case, go to wise-bites.com and use promo code THENEWFAMILY at checkout!

Jun 30, 2016

Our guest on this episode, writer and mom Amanda Lee, shares about the struggles she had emotionally after her marriage ended. Like many people who find themselves separated or divorced, she faced a lot of shame and guilt around her new status as a single parent. Our society really reveres marriage and it can be quite isolating when all your friends are married couples. This was even doubly so for Amanda who lives half a world away from her family back in Australia. But after proving to herself just how strong she is, Amanda met her partner Andrew and now has a newly blended family.  She also shares her advice on blending a family in a sensitive way that takes care of everyone’s needs.

Show Notes

Wise Bites


This episode is brought to you by Wise Bites, makers of healthy, allergy-safe snacks that are perfect for the whole family. To get free shipping on a case, go to wise-bites.com and use promo code THENEWFAMILY at checkout!

Jun 27, 2016

In this very moving episode, parenting educator Anna Sewald of AuthenticParentting.com shares a story she’s never told before. You see, when she was just 13 years old, Anna survived a devastating earthquake that killed many in her family. This traumatic early life event led her to become a therapist and later a parent educator. Today she helps parents build strong relationships with their kids, in part by working through formative experiences from their pasts. You’ll need a hankie to get through Anna’s story about how she connected the dots between one of her frustrations as a parent and something that happened in the aftermath of the quake. We learn that there’s incredible value in examining the things that trigger us with our children—that push our buttons, that make us lose our patience—because they just might point to important events from our past that we need to work through. Doing so will help us have the strong relationships with our children that we need to weather the storms.

Show Notes

Wise Bites


This episode is brought to you by Wise Bites, makers of healthy, allergy-safe snacks that are perfect for the whole family. To get free shipping on a case, go to wise-bites.com and use promo code THENEWFAMILY at checkout!

Jun 23, 2016

In this episode, my friend Rebecca Cuneo Keenan and I dish about what summer is really like when you have kids. Rebecca is the woman behind one of my favourite blogs, Playground Confidential, a smart, funny take on modern parenting, and she also writes for publications like The Globe and Mail, Today’s Parent and Savvy Mom. We chat about that disconnect between what our souls want in summer time—slower days, time in the sun—and what we really get: patchwork childcare and the stink eye when you duck out of work the 3 p.m. for summer camp pick-up. Yes, it’s fun at first to get a break from nagging your kids about homework, but we don’t have nearly enough time off to cope with the long summer breaks our kids get, which date back to a time when every household had a stay-at-home mom. When we get done complaining, we offer some thoughts on how to manage in the summer so you can all enjoy yourselves.

Show Notes

Wise Bites


This episode is brought to you by Wise Bites, makers of healthy, allergy-safe snacks that are perfect for the whole family. To get free shipping on a case, go to wise-bites.com and use promo code THENEWFAMILY at checkout!

 

Jun 20, 2016

Very few among us enter a marriage expecting that it might end. My guest on this episode was no different. Jacqueline Green is the host of The Great Parenting Show and she’s been a parent educator and coach for 15 years. She’s known for her candor about some of the tough stuff life throws us. To that end she’s the author of the forthcoming book Strong Enough to Stay; Smart Enough to Go about her own tumultuous marriage. Jacqueline now helps to coach moms through the process of deciding whether or not they will leave their marriages, as well as those having trouble co-parenting in or out of a relationship. She shares her own journey and offers some tangible advice for people wrestling with whether or not to end their marriages.

Show Notes

Wise Bites


This episode is brought to you by Wise Bites, makers of healthy, allergy-safe snacks that are perfect for the whole family. To get free shipping on a case, go to wise-bites.com and use promo code THENEWFAMILY at checkout!

Jun 16, 2016

Good news: You can actually stay fit more easily than you might imagine. My guest on today’s episode is Barbara Grant, founder and director of a pilates studio called Retrofit Pilates. Barbara is also a movement educator, health and wellness writer, and host of Shape Up with Barbara Grant on Rogers TV. Barbara and her husband Jim became parents in their 40s and are now navigating an active life in downtown Toronto with their 10-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter. She and I talk about the simple ways to work exercise into your everyday routine when family life is just too nutty to get to a fitness class. Plus, we chat about the importance of reclaiming a sense of play in our own exercise, something we tend to lose sight of while we’re focussed on getting our kids to all their enriching extra-curricular activities. Here’s how to save some of those resources for yourself so the whole family can be active and healthy.

Show Notes

Wise Bites


This episode is brought to you by Wise Bites, makers of healthy, allergy-safe snacks that are perfect for the whole family. To get free shipping on a case, go to wise-bites.com and use promo code THENEWFAMILY at checkout!

Jun 13, 2016

There’s a very good argument that what our kids really need to thrive in the future is an entrepreneurial spirit. My guest on the show today is Ryan Burwell, a facilitator & instructional designer at MaRS Discovery District, one of the biggest tech and business incubators in the world. MaRS brings together educators, researchers, social scientists, entrepreneurs and business experts under one roof. One of the cool things it’s doing is promoting entrepreneurship among students, with programs in schools, curriculum materials that teachers can us,e and a really cool summer camp called The MaRS Future Leaders Entrepreneurship  Summer Camp for Teens. I’m very interested in what it takes to raise innovative kids, because the world of work is changing and hances are good that our children will one day employ themselves. Ryan is here to talk to me about how we can encourage an entrepreneurial spirit in our children.

Show Notes

Wise Bites


This episode is brought to you by Wise Bites, makers of healthy, allergy-safe snacks that are perfect for the whole family. To get free shipping on a case, go to wise-bites.com and use promo code THENEWFAMILY at checkout!

 

Jun 9, 2016

What if you’re spending money on all the wrong things? My guest on this episode believes that less is more in almost every area in which parents are bleeding cash. Brett Graff, who goes by the moniker, “The Home Economist,” is a former U.S. Government economist and a nationally syndicated columnist whose work appears in over 400 media outlets including The Miami Herald and the Chicago Tribune. She has a new book out called Not Buying It: Stop Overspending and Start Raising Happier, Healthier, More Successful Kids. Her research shows that we’re going broke paying for stuff that we think will give our kids a leg up in life or make them safer in some way, but that actually has the opposite effect. She also shares surprising research that shows how neither a bigger house nor a private-school education makes for happier, more successful children.

Show Notes

Wise Bites


This episode is brought to you by Wise Bites, makers of healthy, allergy-safe snacks that are perfect for the whole family. To get free shipping on a case, go to wise-bites.com and use promo code THENEWFAMILY at checkout!

Jun 6, 2016

My guest on this episode is Caitlin Daniel, a Harvard PhD candidate in sociology. I had a chance to interview her for my Toronto Star column, Modern Family, recently. This was after Caitlin’s paper on the link between picky eating and low-income households was published in the journal Social Science and Medicine. But while she and I were talking about that research, which we touch on briefly here, I learned that Caitlin has a very interesting personal story of food and family and how the two are intertwined. She and I also talk about the vulnerability around allowing unknown foods into our bodies, how parents of picky eaters can benefit from a better understanding of these, and what it really takes to encourage kids to expand their palates.

Show Notes

Wise Bites


This episode is brought to you by Wise Bites, makers of healthy, allergy-safe snacks that are perfect for the whole family. To get free shipping on a case, go to wise-bites.com and use promo code THENEWFAMILY at checkout!

Jun 2, 2016

My guest on this episode is Dr. Michelle Borba, an internationally renowned educational psychologist and an expert in parenting, bullying and character development. She is an award-winning author of twenty-two books translated into a whopping fourteen languages. Her latest book, UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me-World, will be out June 7th, 2016. Dr. Borba is considered one of the foremost authorities on childhood development in the U.S. and she’s here today to discuss what she calls “an epidemic of self-absorption” in today’s kids and what parents can do about it. She also explains new research that shows empathy is not just a “nice-to-have” quality; it plays a surprising role in predicting our kids’ happiness and success.

Show Notes

Wise Bites


This episode is brought to you by Wise Bites, makers of healthy, allergy-safe snacks that are perfect for the whole family. To get free shipping on a case, go to wise-bites.com and use promo code THENEWFAMILY at checkout!

May 30, 2016

My guest on this episode is family counsellor Dr. Deborah MacNamara. Dr. MacNamara is the author of a new book called Rest, Play, Grow: How To Understand Preschoolers (Or Anyone Who Acts Like One). Based on the research and teachings of Dr. Gordon Neufeld, one of the world’s most esteemed child development experts, the book stresses the importance of laying a back-to-basics groundwork on which our kids can get to know themselves and the world. The wisdom here applies not just to preschoolers but to how we raise our children through all their ages and stages.

Show Notes

Wise Bites


This episode is brought to you by Wise Bites, makers of healthy, allergy-safe snacks that are perfect for the whole family. To get free shipping on a case, go to wise-bites.com and use promo code THENEWFAMILY at checkout!

May 26, 2016

As those of you who listen faithfully know, almost every episode ends with the question, “What is the best piece of parenting advice you’ve ever received?” It’s been really wonderful to get to hear what people have to say about that over the course of 74 episodes now. Well, today I thought I’d tell you about the best piece of parenting advice that I’ve ever received. I’ve been a journalist in the field of parenting for 16 years and have had the privilege of interviewing hundreds of experts and a lot of the latest literature. Tune in to this short solo episode to hear about the advice that has impacted my parenting experience the most.

Show Notes

May 23, 2016

I’m doing something a little different and more personal for today’s show—my first solo episode in a while. You see, by the time this episode goes live, I’ll be on a highly-anticipated vacation with my sister. This trip is a celebration of Erika’s accomplishments and the incredible distance she has come in learning to thrive with mental illness. Today I share a little of the 11-year period she was in and out of the hospital, what that was like for her family, and how she’s turned her life, using her own difficult experiences to help others.

Show Notes

May 19, 2016

Should you consider a “parenting marriage?” Or are you perhaps already in one? In this episode I welcome guests Vicki Larson and Susan Pease Gadoua back to the show. Vicki and Susan are co-authors of a very interesting book called The New “I Do:” Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels. They were on the podcast WAY back on episode 12, “Are We Doing Marriage Wrong?” which remains one of our most popular yet. The New “I Do” explores the modern shape of matrimony. And while they were researching the reasons why about half of marriages don’t last, Susan and Vicki discovered that people are quietly tweaking the institution, redefining it to suit both their needs and the times. One of those is the parenting marriage. Sometimes this takes the form of people seeking each other out for the soul purpose of having a platonic co-parenting relationship and sometimes it’s about changing the job description from your mate being your lover to being just your co-parent. Whether you want a parenting marriage or not, they say, it’s important to have a dialogue about what we do and don’t expect from a marriage—“conscious coupling” as opposed to trying to fit ourselves within a one-size-fits-all definition of marriage.

Show Notes

Wise Bites


This episode is brought to you by Wise Bites, makers of healthy, allergy-safe snacks that are perfect for the whole family. To get free shipping on a case, go to wise-bites.com and use promo code THENEWFAMILY at checkout!

May 16, 2016

My guest on this episode is Traci Costa, the founder and CEO of Peekaboo Beans, a children’s playwear company based in Vancouver, BC. But she’s come on the show to talk about the incredibly challenging time she and her husband went through in order to become parents. Too often fertility struggles are cloaked in silence, which is unfortunate given that so many people experience them. Her story includes one heartbreaking ectopic pregnancy and round after round of IVF. If you’ve had your own difficulties conceiving, I hope you’ll leave a comment on the show notes page for this episode.

Show Notes

Wise Bites


This episode is brought to you by Wise Bites, makers of healthy, allergy-safe snacks that are perfect for the whole family. To get free shipping on a case, go to wise-bites.com and use promo code THENEWFAMILY at checkout!

May 12, 2016

Our society really reveres marriage. We equate being married with having yourself settled in life and in many ways with being a successful person. Yet, we don’t have that much dialogue about what it takes to keep a marriage strong. Then we’re a bit shocked when a couple in our friend group separates. As a result, we’re often talking about what goes wrong in a marriage when it’s already too late. My guest on this episode is small business, mindfulness and productivity leader Leigh Mitchell. Whether she’s advocating for families to get outside and be active together, or mentoring other entrepreneurs, Leigh is all about encouraging her community to thrive. An important aspect of that is thriving in our relationships, particularly the ones we have with our spouses. That’s why Leigh has come on the show to share her own experience with marriage counseling and how it’s helped her and her husband to weather some of life’s storms and stay happily married. 

Show Notes

Wise Bites


This episode is brought to you by Wise Bites, makers of healthy, allergy-safe snacks that are perfect for the whole family. To get free shipping on a case, go to wise-bites.com and use promo code THENEWFAMILY at checkout!

May 9, 2016

My guest on today’s show is childhood sexuality expert Amy Lang, who helps parents talk to their kids about sex, love and relationships. Yes, episode 69 features a sexuality expert, something I only realized moments before recording this episode. Amy has a great website called “The Birds and Bees and Kids” and she’s here to chat with us about how to answer that age old question, “Where do babies come from?” She provides us with great language we can use to explain how babies are made as well as how to adapt these conversations for the many ways families are formed today. Amy explains that talking to our kids about sex can actually begin when they’re newborns (tune in for her very sane explanation of how) and then walks us through how to expand upon our initial sex talks with kids in age-appropriate ways as they get older. She and I also dive into what parents need to know about the changing landscape of sexuality for teens.

Show Notes

Wise Bites


This episode is brought to you by Wise Bites, makers of healthy, allergy-safe snacks that are perfect for the whole family. To get free shipping on a case, go to wise-bites.com and use promo code THENEWFAMILY at checkout!

May 5, 2016

For this episode I’m joined by family lawyer-turned-mediator Rosanna Breitman, who was on the show to talk about why marriages end back on episode 26, which is our most popular episode so far. I really wanted to have Rosanna back on the show to share more of her insights, this time on how people can co-parent well together after a romantic relationship ends. And in fact, we’re going to be diving even further into this topic in our very first webinar coming up on Tuesday, May 17th, 2016, at 8 p.m. Eastern, 5 p.m. Pacific. If you or someone you know is co-parenting, whether you’re just recently separated or even if it’s years later, please find the link to the registration for that at thenewfamily.com/coparent.

Show Notes

Wise Bites


This episode is brought to you by Wise Bites, makers of healthy, allergy-safe snacks that are perfect for the whole family. To get free shipping on a case, go to wise-bites.com and use promo code THENEWFAMILY at checkout!

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