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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: 2017
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.

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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.

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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. 

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May 22, 2017

I’m very pleased to be joined by my friend Jody Robbins, a travel writer based in Calgary, Alberta. Jody is the author of a new book called 25 Places in Canada Every Family Should Visit. Today Jody and I are going to talk about what it takes to have a family vacation that’s actually enjoyable for everyone in the family, and not just a heck of a lot of work for the parents. 

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May 15, 2017

I’m joined on the show today by a woman with a remarkable story. Elizabeth Rains, a mother of two and acclaimed Canadian journalist, was overcome with confusion when she was diagnosed with Hepatitis C. She was immediately confronted with the fact that Hepatitis C is still often-stigmatized as well as perceived as a death sentence, even though it is now 90 per cent curable. Elizabeth has written a new book about her own journey and the history of the disease, called Demon in my Blood: My Fight with Hep C — And a Miracle Cure.

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May 8, 2017

With Mother’s Day just around the corner at the time this episode goes live, we’ve got a special edition of the podcast reflecting on experience of mothering in 2017. I’m joined by my friend and colleague, Beth-Anne Jones, who also writes about parenting and other lifestyle topics on Plenty the Magazine, the lifestyle site she runs with two other moms. 

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May 1, 2017

Photographer Kate T. Parker joins us on the show today. Kate is the author of a gorgeous and compelling new photo book called Strong is The New Pretty: A Celebration of Girls Being Themselves. Kate is the mother of two loud, messy, adventurous girls, and in 2015 her Strong is the New Pretty photo series went viral, having clearly struck a chord both for the beautiful, raw images and the positive messages behind them. She’s here to share what inspires her to help change the conversation about what girls are supposed to be and how they’re supposed to look.

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Apr 24, 2017

What if everything we’ve assumed about our relationship to emotions and where they come from was wrong? We’re joined by psychologist and neuroscientist Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett for this episode, author of a new book called How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain. Dr. Barrett is a distinguished professor of psychology at Northeastern University with appointments at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. She’s here to talk to us about what her research means for parents and for raising emotionally intelligent children.

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Apr 17, 2017

In this episode we look at how boys learn differently from girls and explore whether schools are doing a good job of catering to boys’ learning styles. We’re joined by Dr. Shimi Kang, a Harvard-trained psychiatrist and best-selling author of The Dolphin Parent: A Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy and Self-Motivated Kids. She is also founder of a 21st century life skills centre called DolphinPod, and a mom of two boys and one girl. Globally we still have a very troubling disparity in access to education between girls and boys that disadvantages girls considerably. But in North America we have a situation where boys are not performing as well as girls in school, and in fact young women are out-graduating young men from university by a considerable margin. Dr. Kang talks to us about the neurological differences in how boys and girls learn, how those impact what goes on in the classroom, and what parents of boys can do to support their learning at home.

Show Notes

This episode is sponsored by Coosha, the FREE modern calendar app for today's busy modern families, available now on the App store and on Google Play!

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Apr 10, 2017

Where can you find the world’s happiest kids? The Netherlands, it turns out! My guest Rina Mae Acosta is a co-author, along with Michele Hutchison, of a fascinating new book called The Happiest Kids in the World: How Dutch Parents Help Their Kids (and Themselves) by Doing Less. Their book explores why in 2013, a UNICEF report rated Dutch children the happiest in the world. While neither Rina Mae or Michele grew up in The Netherlands, both are raising their kids there and observing some significant differences in how parenting is approached compared to their home countries, the U.S. and the U.K. 

Show Notes

This episode is sponsored by Coosha, the FREE modern calendar app for today's busy modern families, available now on the App store and on Google Play!

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Apr 3, 2017

I am really delighted to welcome to the show Natasha Bakht and Lynda Collins, two lawyers and friends co-parenting seven-year-old Elaan, who has complex disabilities and care needs. Elaan is Natasha’s biological child, but late last year the two won a legal victory to have both of them recognized as co-parents on their little boy’s birth certificate.

Show Notes

This episode is sponsored by Coosha, the FREE modern calendar app for today's busy modern families, available now on the App store and coming soon to Google Play!

Download Coosha for FREE with just one tap now!

Love our work? Please check out our Patreon Campaign!

Become a patron of the show for as little as $1 per month 

Mar 27, 2017

I’m joined on this episode by Sarah Keast, who wrote a very powerful 1,000 Families post for The New Family recently in which she shared her experience as a newly-widowed mom of two small children. Sarah and I dive into a very important aspect of her story. You see, Sarah lost her husband, Kevin, very suddenly to accidental overdose related to his addiction and his struggles with mental health. As our country grapples with its opioid crisis, it’s more critical than ever for us to understand the grip of addiction and it’s total disregard for age, gender, ethnicity or income bracket. Accidental overdose, no matter the class of drugs—legal or illegal—is something that can happen to anyone. Sarah’s strength in the face of devastating loss is remarkable. Case in point: She has somehow got it together to launch a blog called “Adventures in Widowed Parenting.”

Show Notes

This episode is sponsored by Coosha, the FREE modern calendar app for today's busy modern families, available now on the App store and coming soon to Google Play!

Download Coosha for FREE with just one tap now!

Love our work? Please check out our Patreon Campaign!

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Mar 20, 2017

Dr. Hal Movius is an applied psychologist, a father of two and the author of a new book called Resolve: Negotiating Life’s Conflicts with Greater Confidence. He’s an expert in conflict and negotiation, and on this episode he talks to us about why we should commit—not to eliminating all conflict in our households—but to fighting well. So whether you’d like to handle conflicts better with your child, a parent, your partner or a former partner, Dr. Movius has got some great tangible advice.

Show Notes

This episode is sponsored by Coosha, the FREE modern calendar app for today's busy modern families, available now on the App store and coming soon to Google Play!

Download Coosha for FREE with just one tap now!

Love our work? Please check out our Patreon Campaign!

Become a patron of the show for as little as $1 per month 

Mar 13, 2017

Calvin Witcher joins us on this episode of the show. He’s a life coach, speaker and author of Parenting With Pieces: Parenting As A Catalyst For Personal Growth. He and his husband, Jeremy, have adopted four children—all biological siblings—and he joins us to share a little bit about how their family came to be, and what the adoption experience has been like for them.

Show Notes

This episode is sponsored by Coosha, the FREE modern calendar app for today's busy modern families, available now on the App store and coming soon to Google Play!

Download Coosha for FREE with just one tap now!

Love our work? Please check out our Patreon Campaign!

Become a patron of the show for as little as $1 per month 

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