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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 25, 2016

With the hectic pace of life, there’s probably few among us who haven’t entertained escape fantasies geared to achieving a simpler life. My guest Julie Nowell writes a hilarious blog called 3 Chickens and a Boat where she chronicles the incredible reinvention of her family that came with a move from the suburbs to a small Gulf Island in B.C. with a back yard full of chickens and goats. It’s a remarkable story that starts with her husband coming home from a tough day at work one Friday, a talk with a psychic on the weekend and putting their house up for sale that Tuesday. But while their move to Saltspring Island may sound impulsive, the changes are actually very intentional. Julie and her husband wanted to live somewhere that had everything they needed but not much more than that, and most importantly, to show their kids that they too can take risks to get the life they want.

Show Notes

Sponsor:

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!

Feb 22, 2016

When conversation turns to parenting teens, it’s usually cloaked in a whole lot of trepidation. Sure, these can be emotionally charged years, but as my guest on the podcast today explains, they need not be shrouded in mystery and defined by conflict. Dr. Lisa Damour is a psychologist, educator and director of the internationally renowned Center for Research on Girls at the Laurel School in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Her new book Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood aims to demystify the process of parenting girls through the adolescent years, but the principles apply to both boys and girls. By getting to know the seven absolutely normal developmental stages on the path to becoming a grown-up, we can better understand our kids and parent them more effectively.

Show Notes

Sponsor:

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!

Feb 18, 2016

As every veteran parent knows, as much as we may try, there’s no controlling how things will unfold on the parenting journey. Each of us is thrown into crisis at some point. My guest Karen Kolp is here to share her remarkable story about adapting to circumstances she could never have predicted. Karen is the host of a great podcast called “We Turned Out Okay,” and she’s also the author of the forthcoming book Positive Discipline Ninja Tactics: Key Tools to Handle Every Temper Tantrum, Keep Your Cool, and Enjoy Life With Your Young Child. Karen wrote a lovely post for thenewfamily.com’s 1,000 Families Project about how she and her family have handled some of the curve balls that life has thrown them. These include the circumstances that led them to become accidental home schoolers, as well as an unexpected journey into illness and disability that at certain points have robbed Karen of the ability to walk and the use of her hands. Karen shares how her family has pulled together through these challenges, an experience that’s helped her to slow down and appreciate the time with her kids, and taught her the value of gratitude for getting through life’s bad patches.

Show notes

Sponsor:

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!

 

Feb 15, 2016

What is it like to come face-to-face for the first time with the woman who gave birth to you 40 years earlier? Today’s guest, writer Alexandria Durrell of IDon’tBlog.ca, is here to share about what it was like to grow-up knowing she was adopted, and later, to search for her birth mother. Alex penned a beautiful post for thenewfamily.com’s 1,000 Families Project about how tracing her birth family has shaped her view on family and her experience today as a mom of two.

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Show Notes

Sponsor:

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!

Feb 12, 2016

I decided to fire up the mic for this extra episode—a casual chat with my friend, life coach Sharon Stokes—because Valentine’s Day is coming up. Sometimes our relationship to this holiday is a little complicated, particularly if things aren’t exactly ideal in your personal life.

Maybe you’re going through a divorce or separation. Maybe you’re a single parent by choice who embarked on this journey alone but nevertheless, sometimes feels the absence of a romantic relationship. Perhaps you’re with someone but you’re so snowed under with childcare that there hasn’t been much time for romantic connection and you’re not exactly feeling spectacular about your relationship. Maybe you’re proudly single and enjoying dating casually but find yourself changing the radio station when those ads come on urging people to pop the question this Valentine’s Day.

Sharon’s here to chat with me about some strategies for how to deal. We talk about how to reframe Valentine’s Day by celebrating it in in ways that aren’t restricted to a romantic partnership, and maybe even by using it as a launching pad for a period of good self-care and new adventure. One of Sharon’s areas of specialty is break-up recovery. She has worked on Matthew Hussey’s well-known 5-day Lifestyle Retreats, where she’s had the opportunity to help transform the lives of countless women. And she’s got a great #theyearofme program that we talk about, too.  

Show Notes

Sponsor:

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!

Feb 11, 2016

This episode we tackle into a juicy topic: Is there Sex after Kids? Spoiler alert: Of course there is. But yes, it’s harder to find the time, energy and privacy for sex once kids are in the picture. Dr. Nadine Thornhill is here to help. Dr. Thornill is a sexuality educator and family coach. For the past decade she has been helping families, teachers and community organizers communicate openly and knowledgeably about sexuality, health and relationships. Nadine’s areas of focus include: child and adolescent sexuality, family sex education, sex education in schools and sex and parenting. I’ve invited her onto the show in advance of Valentine’s Day to address the barriers to intimacy we may face at different stages of parenting and how to get over them.

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Show Notes

Sponsor:

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!

Feb 8, 2016

It’s well established that ours is the most hovering, protective, micro-managing generation of parents there has even been. We’re less likely to let our kids play in the park on their own, even though we may mourn the loss of a “simpler time” when kids had that sort of freedom to roam. My guest on this episode is Christopher Shulgan, author of Superdad: A Memoir of Rebellion, Drugs and Fatherhood. Chris and I delve into the relationship between fear and freedom in parenting. Chris shares some statistics that show the world is not a more dangerous place than it was when we were kids. We explore how to do the challenging work of decoupling protectiveness and good parenting in our minds by gradually allowing our kids the freedom they need to grow into capable adults.

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Show Notes

Sponsor:

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!

Feb 4, 2016

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the state of modern parenting, some of it reaching a bit of a crescendo last month with an article in Maclean’s magazine here in Canada that ran under the title, “The Collapse of Parenting.” That was a reference to a book by the same name by Dr. Leonard Sax of Pennsylvania. My guest Alyson Schafer, one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts, is on the show today to talk about the state of modern parenting and whether we really have lost our way. Alyson is a family therapist, TV personality and best-selling author of Breaking The Good Mom Myth, Honey, I Wrecked The Kids and her latest, Ain’t Misbehavin’.  She’s in high demand as a speaker and a parenting educator through the great courses she offers. Alyson makes a case that while it’s wonderful that we’re as concerned as we are about our children’s well being, the pendulum has swung too far, creating an imbalance of power where the child is the tyrant and the parent the slave. She encourages us to question the notions we hold about the fragility of the child and accept that we cannot make a life for our kids that is struggle-free.

Sponsor:

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!

Feb 1, 2016

Finding out that your partner is gay is a pretty big deal, especially because it usually means your relationship is coming to an end. Debbie Dawe-Mattausch’s first husband came out to her, but rather than letting this news tear her family apart, she has embraced her ex—whom she affectionately refers to as her “wasband”—as well as his new partner in an extended family of sorts. Debbie shares how she managed to set aside her hurt over the end of the relationship and chose to have compassion for her ex-husband given that he’d had to hide an important part of himself for so long. Today her large blended family consists of her husband and his son, daughter and son-in-law, Deborah, her son and his girlfriend, her two daughters and their husbands, her ex and his husband, three granddaughters and a grandson. She and her “wasband” have gone on numerous vacations together and spend important holidays as a group. As a result Debbie says, “I didn’t lose him as a friend and as a person I care about.” Her family is a model for co-parenting positively after the end of a relationship, no matter what the circumstances.

Sponsor:

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!

Jan 28, 2016

Today we’re examining whether couples should stay together for the sake of the kids. A small study released in the UK recently found that 82 percent of 14- to 22-year-olds would prefer for their parents to separate than stay together for their sake. Of course, as anyone whose marriage has fallen apart can attest, there’s a lot of heartbreak when considering the impact on the kids. But as my guest Sarah MacLaughlin helps explain, it’s not the end of the relationship itself that counts, so much as how it’s handled. Sarah is a social worker who’s researched parenting and child development extensively for over two decades, and on the separation and divorce front, is trained in family mediation and crisis de-escalation. She’s director of parent education at the Center for Parenting and Play in Biddeford, Maine, which offers parenting classes, counselling and supported visitation. She’s also the author of the award-winning book, What Not to Say: Tools for Talking with Young Children and has written the Parenting Toolbox column for Parent & Family since 2008. Sarah shares thoughts on how it’s the way that a separation is handled, not the separation itself, that determines the emotional well-being of the kids.

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Show Notes

Sponsor:

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!

Jan 27, 2016

For this special bonus episode of the podcast for Bell Let’s Talk Day, I’m joined by a very special guest, parenting author Ann Douglas. Ann and I hope you’ll share this episode with the hashtag #BellLetsTalk to support Canadian mental health programs. Ann almost needs no introduction because her name really is synonymous with parenting advise. She’s Canada’s most trusted and prolific parenting writer, though her work is known in many other countries as well. She’s the author of the bestselling Mother of All series of parenting books, and 30 books in total, the most recent of which is Parenting Through the Storm: How to Handle the Highs, the Lows and Everything in Between. Ann and I delve into the harder stuff to talk about that we really must talk about more often—your mental health as a parent and your kids' mental health. How to thrive yourself and how to help them thrive. Ann’s an outspoken advocate for mental health issues and has been candid about both her own bipolar diagnosis as well as the mental health issues her children have faced. She shares advice on how to advocate for your children when they’re having mental health struggles, how to cope with the long wait to see specialists, and about the importance of good self-care during difficult times. Whether it’s you or your child facing a mental health challenge, it’s critical to know that you’re not alone in facing these issues—despite the impression you may have from viewing your friends social media feeds. Ann reminds us that every family goes through tough times and that we shouldn’t be afraid to reach out for support in our darker hours. To help Canadians access the mental health resources they need, please text or tweet this episode with the hashtag #BellLetsTalk.

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Show Notes

Jan 25, 2016

Is sexting a modern-day version of flirting? Does it lead to sexual behaviour in real life (IRL as the kids would say)? We’re joined on the show today by Dr. Jeff Temple of the University of Texas Medical Branch. He’s a psychologist with an appointment in Obstetrics and Gynecology, where he researches relationships and online behaviour with an aim to helping parents, teens and young adults understand, avoid and address risks. He published a widely-reported paper last year on how teen sexting is emerging as a normal part of adolescent sexual exploration. Dr. Temple is also a father of a 12-year-old girl and a 10-year-old boy, he joins us to talk about what parents should know about teen sexting and how we can talk to our kids about it.

Show Notes

Jan 21, 2016

Ever thought about what it would be like if Grandma’s visit never ended and you always had that extra set of hands? Emily Morgan—the first guest on the podcast the southern Hemisphere—is with us during this episode to talk about what prompted her to return to Tasmania, Australia to move in with her mother. Emily is a single mom by choice, and the host of a great podcast of her own called Parents in the Know. She has a three-year-old daughter, and a one-year-old son, and she made that move home after struggling both with her finances and with prenatal depression while living on the other side of the country from her family. Emily speaks candidly about the experience of struggling with her mental health, and the value in letting ourselves get cared for by loved ones when we’re struggling. She and the kids now live in a busy, multi-generational household surrounded by her extended family. And to her surprise and delight—given she’s always been very independent—Emily says she’s never been happier.  Emily also runs a website for parents, the Parent Resource Centre—at parentresourcecentre.com. The focus of the website is Informed Parenting, and Emily’s passion is to help parents ask the right questions, look for the science behind the hype and make the best parenting decisions they can, based on sound knowledge.

Show Notes

parentresourcecentre.com/specialoffer

Jan 18, 2016

What does it mean to do a really great job of step-parenting? We’re joined in this episode by Julia Oosterman, who wrote a piece for thenewfamily.com’s 1,000 Families Project that readers absolutely adored. You see, Julia’s first experience of parenthood came when she started dating a man who had two children. Her super-loving and mature approach to step-motherhood was really applauded by our readers. But as she explains here, she didn’t always get it right, particularly in the early years. Julia’s family now includes four children with the addition of two she and her husband have had since. Julia and I talk about rocking the step-mother gig and life in a blended family.

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Show Notes

Join our Facebook Group Positive Co-Parenting After Divorce

Visit our Divorce Help page

Jan 14, 2016

What kinds of smarts will our kids need to thrive in adulthood? We’re joined in this episode by Doctor of Education Joanne Foster, a teacher, consultant, university lecturer award-winning co-author with Donna Matthews of the books Being Smart About Gifted Education, and Beyond Intelligence: Secrets for Raising Happily Productive Kids. She’s also the author of Not Now, Maybe Later: Helping Children Overcome Procrastination. Joanne has some really interesting insights to share about the many facets of our kids’ intelligence that are important today, which include not only academic knowledge, but creativity, emotional and social development, decision-making and life balance. She shares tips for fortifying success in times of challenge and change, and strategies on how parents can provide the safe, nurturing environments where kids can build on their own intelligence in response to an ever-changing world.

Show Notes

Jan 11, 2016

Should we be “familying” instead of parenting? We’re joined today by award-winning journalist and author Melinda Blau, the author of fifteen books, best known for her work as the voice of the Baby Whisperer books, a collaboration with the late Tracy Hogg. Those well-loved books have been translated into 22 languages. Melinda’s latest book, Family Whispering, carries those ideas forward. Melinda outlines compelling reasons to shift our focus from the parent-child relationship to a more holistic approach that takes into consider the family as a whole, creating investment of all members in the well-being of the household. It means that kids are asked to help establish house rules, but also to contribute meaningfully to the work that needs to be done. This episode is full of actionable advice for making your family life run more smoothly while raising industrious, responsible kids.

Show Notes

Jan 7, 2016

This episode is a fun one because I’ve got two amazing women on the show to talk to us about their unique friendship and the ways their families are communal parenting. Nadine Silverthorne and Kate Sanagan are both busy media moms who describe their relationship as “sister-wife-ish.” Along with their husbands, who have also become great friends, they’re helping each other out on the parenting journey. Their kids go to the same school and daycare, they’re on each other's pick-up lists and they eat dinner together once a week.  Even more importantly, Kate and Nadine do the critical work of talking each other down from the ledge in those really tough times. We talk about how it makes sense to share the load, as well as the emotional work, involved in raising children, and about how meeting each other was like finding their own small town within Toronto.

Show Notes

Sponsor:

This episode is sponsored by Ooka Island, a reading app so fun your kids won't even realize they're learning at all. Join your host Brandie Weikle and the Ooka Island team today, Thursday, Jan. 7th at 8 p.m. Eastern 5 p.m. Pacific, for a Twitter Party all about how you can turn your child into an avid reader this year. Just join the conversation with the hashtag #ookareads.

For more information on Ooka Island and a special offer for New Family listeners, go to ookaisland.com/newfamily.

 

Jan 4, 2016

We’re joined on the podcast today by Amber MacArthur—known to many as Amber Mac—an internet entrepreneur, bestselling author, keynote speaker and TV and Radio Host. Amber is the author of national bestselling business book Power Friending and an authority on internet marketing. We chat business, technology and parenting, and—in contrast to what people might assume—how running her own business actually gives her the flexibility to be really present for her six-year-old son. Plus, we talk about the changing face of work and what it may mean for our children who are more likely than previous generations to grow up to be makers and entrepreneurs.

Show Notes

Sponsor:

This episode is sponsored by Ooka Island, a reading app so fun your kids won't even realize they're learning at all. Join your host Brandie Weikle and the Ooka Island team this Thursday, Jan. 7th at 8 p.m. Eastern 5 p.m. Pacific, for a Twitter Party all about how you can turn your child into an avid reader this year. Just join the conversation with the hashtag #ookareads.

For more information on Ooka Island and a special offer for New Family listeners, go to ookaisland.com/newfamily.

Dec 31, 2015

In this episode we’re tackling a topic that most of us struggle with at one time or another—procrastination. Most of us do it, most of us know we complicate our lives when we put off tasks, but we put them off anyway for reasons explained to us today by our guest Dr. Timothy Pychyl. Tim is a professor in the department of psychology at Carleton University and author of Solving the Procrastination Puzzle and the host of The iProcrastinate Podcast. He’s an expert in goal setting and on the connection between procrastination and well-being. He’s also a father of two, and as Tim says, it’s not always easy having Dr. Procrastination as your dad. He’s going to talk to us about how we can teach our children to avoid procrastination, what we can all learn about procrastination and how we might keep these principles in mind as we make New Year's Resolutions that will really work.

Show Notes

Dec 28, 2015


Child and adolescent psychotherapist Katie Hurley joins me for this episode. She’s the author The Happy Kid Handbook: How to Raise Joyful Children in a Stressful World. Katie encourages us not to get caught up researching every hiccup, cough and tear. Instead we should get back to the basics of a taking the time to connect and get to know our kids so we can tailor our parenting to their individual personalities, she says. Katie makes the incredibly good point that we all experience up and downs throughout our days, but that as adults we’ve simply had the chance to learn how to manage. Since children don’t come into the world with a kit full of coping skills, our job as parents is to teach them the vital lesson that they are in control of their own happiness. Katie defines happiness as knowing that you can handle everything that comes your way, and that if you have a rotten day, you always get a chance to start over again the next day.

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Show notes

Dec 24, 2015

What if the best gifts we could give a child were a chance to fail, plus a big pile of housework on the side? In this episode we’re joined by Jessica Lahey, author of The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed. Jessica is an educator, speak and writer. She’s taught middle and high school for over a decade and she writes a column called “Parent-Teacher Conference” for The New York Times. When her article for the Atlantic—“Why Parents Need to Let Their Children Fail”—went viral, it had clearly struck a chord with parents who have begun to realize that we’re doing too much to sweep challenges out of our children’s way. Jessica’s got some great advice on how we can step back from our kids’ homework and make consequences more logical. And she explains why it’s critical that we let kids build competence by getting them involved in domestic duties around the house.

Show Notes

 

Dec 21, 2015

Kelly Bos and her husband are living what for many of us is our wildest dream. Ever gone on a tropical vacation and thought, “We should move here?” Well, as Kelly shared in her 1,000 Families Post on thenewfamily.com, she and her husband had those thoughts and actually made it happen—even with a baby in tow. She now lives in the British Virgin Island with her husband and two kids. Kelly shares the ups and downs—yes there are actual downs—of living in the tropics. Plus, since Kelly is a psychotherapist, she shares a little wisdom about dealing with some of those complicated emotions we have around the holidays.

Show Notes

Sponsor:

Ooka Island

This episode of The New Family Podcast is brought to you by Ooka Island, a reading program so fun your kids won't even realize they're learning at all. To get an exclusive 20% discount for listeners of The New Family podcast only at ookaisland.com/newfamily.

Dec 17, 2015

The evidence is overwhelming. Grateful people—especially those who make practising gratitude an everyday habit—lead happier and more contented lives.  Taking the time to express gratitude regularly boosts happiness and optimism. That said, it’s not always easy to keep gratitude front of mind. My guest in this episode is Kevin Clayson, who likes to go by the moniker, chief officer of awesome. Kevin is an international professional speaker who has shared his simple formula for unlimited joy and fulfillment with everyone from elementary school students to business leaders. Kevin is also one of the founders of a very successful investment and personal development company called Strongbrook, and the father of three adorable kids. But I asked him to be here today because he’s also the author of a book called Flipping the Gratitude Switch: Four Easy Steps to Increase Your Happiness, Accelerate Your Success and Change the Trajectory of Your Life. Kevin and I chat about what it takes to raise grateful kids in an environment where they don’t want for much.

Show Notes

Sponsor:

Ooka Island

This episode of The New Family Podcast is brought to you by Ooka Island, a reading program so fun your kids won't even realize they're learning at all. To get an exclusive 20% discount for listeners of The New Family podcast only at ookaisland.com/newfamily.

Dec 14, 2015

Dr. Kay MacPhee, a former principal and teacher, spent 25 years developing techniques that enable the hearing impaired to form language skills and learn how to read. You’ll recognize the name of her company, Ooka Island, as the inaugural sponsor and huge supporter of this podcast. But I asked Dr. Kay to come on the show today because her own personal journey as a parent is quite remarkable, starting with the discovery that her son was born profoundly deaf. It truly is an inspiring story of stopping at nothing to advocate for a child and in so doing, for the children of thousands of others (a journey that’s even taken her to the White House). But there’s also a really valuable message about raising our children to be able to face adversity and carry on stronger because of it.

Show notes

Sponsor:

Ooka Island

This episode of The New Family Podcast is brought to you by Ooka Island, a reading program so fun your kids won't even realize they're learning at all. To get an exclusive 20% discount for listeners of The New Family podcast only at ookaisland.com/newfamily.

Dec 12, 2015

In this special bonus holiday episode, I share some of my best advice for managing stress this hectic time of year. Learn how to embrace doing less so you can enjoy your holidays more.

Show Notes

Sponsor:

Ooka Island

This episode of The New Family Podcast is brought to you by Ooka Island, a reading program so fun your kids won't even realize they're learning at all. To get an exclusive 20% discount for listeners of The New Family podcast only at ookaisland.com/newfamily.

 

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