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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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Apr 22, 2019

This is the second of a two-part series Money Matters, which takes a look at some of the financial implications of raising kids today. In this episode I’ve again got two very insightful guests. You may have caught my guest Shannon Lee Simmons’ on CBC’s Metro Morning, the Marilyn Dennis Show or seen her column in the Toronto Star. Shannon is a certified financial planner and founder of The New School of Finance, as well as the author of two best-selling books, Worry-Free Money and Living Debt-Free. I also get to chat with Doretta Thompson, who’s the head of financial literacy for the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada. Doretta has a lot of great insights into how Canadians stack up in financial literacy, where we can improve, where we can access free resources and how to get started with turning around a difficult financial situation. This episode is full of straight talk on family finances, as is the first in this series, episode 229.

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Apr 15, 2019

This is the first of a two-part series that explores how money matters affect families. I’ve got two amazing guests for this episode. The first is celebrated parenting author Ann Douglas. She has written 30 books, including her latest, Happy Parents, Happy Kids. Ann and I dive deep into one of the important issues she raises in this book — the implications of financial anxiety for parents. We talk about just how much has changed with the cost of living, precarious work and more, and what those mean for the daily lives of parents, so many of whom are struggling to maintain a hold on a middle class lifestyle. In the second part of this episode, I speak to British-American labour economist and Dartmouth professor David Blanchflower on his research that found it's the cost of raising kids, not parenthood itself, that accounts for the decline in happiness associated with parenthood. These insightful conversations shed so much light on how financial anxiety is weighing on families.

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Apr 8, 2019

Long before we learn to speak, we communicate through laughter and tears. That’s because these non-verbal expressions come factory-installed. They’re instinctive, social and key to bonding us with one another, from our earliest days and through our whole adult lives. In this collaboration with documentary filmmakers Mike Downie and David Wells, we take a look at some of the fascinating science between why we laugh and cry. As Mike puts it, laughter and crying are an incredible expression of our humanity, and highlight a life well lived.

I also chat with one of the scientists featured on the Laughing and Crying documentary, Dr. David Haley, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough.

Show Notes 

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Apr 1, 2019

At least here at home, we see girls picking up academic awards on assembly days at schools and we know that for years, women have been out-graduating men from university. Yet, conversely, there’s still a wide wage gap and under representation of women in executive and other leadership roles. It turns out that something critical happens to the confidence of girls and women as they pass through their teens and into early adulthood. My guest for this episode is Caroline Riseboro, president and CEO of Plan International Canada, a non-profit organization whose work on behalf of children’s rights and equality for girls is well known to many of us. Plan International Canada recently did a survey on confidence in girls in women and the results are startling. We talk about what societal shifts need to happen to address gender equality and how parents can help prepare their daughters for some of what they will encounter in the world.

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Mar 25, 2019

This episode we’re joined by esteemed parenting writer Teresa Pitman. Teresa has been writing about raising kids for more than 30 years, and she’s the co-author of several books, including Dr. Jack Newman’s Guide to Breastfeeding and Sweet Sleep. As a La Leche League leader she has helped countless new parents with nursing their babies and is such an important advocate for and resource on breastfeeding and many other aspects of baby care. But today we’re going to talk about how the early days of feeding a baby can set the foundation for a healthy relationship with food down the line. Teresa touches on this in her latest book called Baby-Led Weaning, The Not-So Revolutionary Way to Start Solids and Make a Happy Eater.

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Mar 18, 2019

Most of us know that our kids could be more self-sufficient and helpful around the house than they are today. We look back on our own childhoods and see that we developed life skills much earlier than our own kids, but for various reasons — including our tendency to pack our schedules with activities that are focussed on the kids, we haven’t made this a priority with our own children. So how do we go about raising our kids in a way that both nurtures them and helps them develop abilities to care for themselves and to contribute to their households and communities? If you’re heard anything about Montessori education, you likely know that it puts a lot of importance on practical life. I’m joined today by Simone Davies, a Montessori teacher and the author of The Montessori Toddler: A Parents Guide to Raising a Curious and Responsible Human Being. While the book focuses on the toddler years, it’s guidance on the Montessori philosophy is relevant to all ages. Simone and I talk about how our kids are capable of far more than we may currently be expecting of them, and how to cultivate the self-sufficiency and life skills they’ll need to thrive when they eventually leave the nest.

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Mar 11, 2019

I’ve talked a lot on this show about positive co-parenting, but sadly, there are still a lot of acrimonious divorces where positive co-parenting is just not possible. My guest for this episode, family lawyer, Marlene Kazman, is here to speak to us about what can happen in some of the most destructive cases where parental alienation is a factor. As a member of the family law team at Garfin ZIdenberg LLP, Marlene handles a full spectrum of family law matters including divorce proceedings and negotiation of separation agreements, and she’s recently done what’s known as “make law” here in Ontario, by winning a decision that’s created an easier pathway to something called reunification therapy. Marlene and I talk about the problem of parental alienation, the help families can get from reunification therapy and the one thing Marlene wishes all separating parents could know.

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Mar 4, 2019

You’ve heard this before — obesity rates among children and youth have nearly tripled over the past three decades. We know kids today are, on average, more sedentary then we were, and there are a lot of reasons for that. But what do you do if your child is one among the countless kids who aren’t active enough and who perhaps don’t have a healthy body weight or the best eating habits? How do you address that with them without being body shaming at all? We want to take care of our kids’ health, but we really don’t want them to be insecure about their shape. I’m joined by Dr. Amy McPherson, a senior scientist at senior scientist at the Bloorview Research Institute and the author of a booklet called Fostering Positive Weight-related Conversations. This episode is jam-packed with concrete advise for navigating these tricky waters, and for laying the foundation for good conversations about healthy eating and body diversity from the start.

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Feb 25, 2019

We’ve heard a lot about toxic masculinity in the last year or so. But are we doing enough to provide men and boys with newer, more evolved, more positive and accepting ideas about what it means to be a man? My guest on this episode has a lot to say about this subject. John Kim, also known as “The Angry Therapist,” has helped thousands of men find more happiness in their relationships and more purpose in their lives. A pioneer in the online life coaching world, John has said that too often boys are left without adequate role models or coping skills to deal with the stuff that life throws at them. And even though he’s a pro at this stuff, John is candid about the fact he’s had his own struggles, hence the title of his new book, I Used to Be a Miserable F***. John shares concrete advice on how we can guide our boys to healthy ideas about being a man in this episode that’s a must listen for anyone raising, teaching or guiding boys and young men, as well as men interested in their own self-discovery.

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Feb 18, 2019

Today I am so delighted to have friend and colleague Ann Douglas back on the show. Ann is 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. My dog-eared copies of her books The Mother of All Pregnancy Books and The Mother of All Baby Books got me through my early days of parenting, as they did — and continue to — for so many other parents. Ann’s work is informed by her experiences in the parenting trenches as a mother of four. She has written 30 books, including her latest, Happy Parents, Happy Kids, which just hit bookstore shelves. It tackles how to parent without anxiety, guilt or feeling overwhelmed. In it she offers important context and concrete advice about boosting your enjoyment of parenting, which includes prioritizing your own mental and physical health alongside that of your other family members. This must read is also a call for broader change in the way society supports parents. 

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Feb 11, 2019

My guest on today’s show has an interesting personal story to tell about differentiating her own parenting experience from the fundamentalist religion she was schooled in growing up. In fact, Cindy Wang Brandt has written a book on how to treat children with justice as well as how to encourage them to develop their own sense of what’s right and wrong. It’s called Parenting Forward: How to Raise Children with Justice, Mercy and Kindness.

Cindy also hosts a podcast called Parenting Forward. She’s here to talk about her upbringing, her work and her mission to spread the word about raising children with racial justice, gender equality, gender affirmation and their own sense of what’s worth fighting for.

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Feb 4, 2019

At just 15 years old, Campbell Baron has run a successful social media video production company and rubbed shoulders with A-list entrepreneurs for his new podcast and video series, The Ones Who Succeed. He’s also cold emailed, called and pitched his way to a full sponsorship for his show, a coup for an independent content producer at any age. We wanted to know what motivates a young person to start their own entrepreneurial ventures, so for this episode, we talk to both Campbell and his parents about his earliest experiences in the world of business, how his mom and dad have nurtured this in their son and how Campbell has managed to pull off his latest endeavour while juggling school work. Don’t miss the story of Campbell’s very first business at the age of nine!

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Jan 28, 2019

For this episode it’s my pleasure to have a very wise woman back on the show. Amy Morin is a psychotherapist, social worker, therapeutic foster parent and the world’s leading voice on the topic of mental strength. She’s the author of the international bestselling book 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, which was born from her own remarkable personal story of mental strength, as well as a viral article by that name that has since gone on to be read 50 million times. We had Amy on the show back on episode 166 when her follow up book 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do, which was the most popular episode of 2018. Amy has expanded on her very tangible advice about mental strength in the third installment of her books on the topic, 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don’t Do. While there’s advice in the book that applies to everyone, woman, man or child, we dive into some of the female- specific experiences that can hold us back, and the reasons why it’s particularly important to have a discussion about women’s mental strength in the era of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. These are great qualities to develop in ourselves and model for our children.

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Jan 21, 2019

For this episode I had the enormous pleasure of chatting with Catherine Reitman, creator and star of the hit CBC show Working Moms, now underway with its third season. Working Moms manages to be hilariously funny while offering an unvarnished version of modern-day motherhood. Catherine and I dig into topics like why no one asks if dads can “have it all,” why we carry so much guilt for pursuing our own dreams and the importance of finding a community of other parents to share the journey.

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Jan 14, 2019

As you know, it’s so critical that we address the fact that kids are far too sedentary these days. Today I’m joined by Amy Tepperman, founder of Moving EDGEucation. Moving EDGEucation works with teachers across Canada to integrate movement and social-emotional learning methods into daily curriculum, such as math and literacy, in order to improve student well-being and academic engagement. They provide resource and tools for teachers to keep students physically active, creative, expressive and interactive while learning. Not only does this keep kids in better physical health, it makes the process of learning more effective and enjoyable.

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Jan 7, 2019

We try our best to prepare for parenthood while we await the arrival of our first-born babies, but there’s really only so much we can know until we’re in the trenches with our wee ones. Until then we plan as best we can for our baby’s birth, endeavouring to exert some control over a process that can’t really be controlled. When baby arrives we become laser focussed on baby’s care and feeding. But what about the care of the ones doing all that feeding, comforting and changing? My guest on today’s episode is Maria Lianos-Carbone, the woman behind a highly successful lifestyle blog for moms, A Mother World. Maria is now also the author of Oh Baby, A Mom’s Self-Care Survival Guide for the First Year, which invites readers to pay a little more attention to their own care and feeding — and critically, to their mental health as well. Maria and I talk about the factors that make a difference for new moms, as well as the policy and cultural changes we’d like to see to better support new parents.

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Dec 31, 2018

I don’t think I’ve met a parent who doesn’t feel — at least some of the time — that the 24 hours in a day are insufficient. With the year coming to a close the day this episode goes live on New Year’s Eve day, it seemed like a perfect time to examine how we spend our time and how we can get more fulfillment out of our days as our families enter the new year. That’s why I’m so delighted to have snagged an interview with New York Times bestselling author Julie Morgenstern for this episode. Julie is a time management expert whose holistic approach to how we spend our days has been shared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Rachael Ray Show, Today and more. She’s the author of a new book called Time To Parent: Organizing Your Life to Bring Out the Best in Your Child and You. This book is far, far more than a set of instructions for turning you into a whiz with the calendar. Instead, it’s a holistic approach that helps parents find a healthy balance between raising a human and being a human.

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Dec 17, 2018

For this special episode, we look back on some of the best parenting advice shared on the show in 2018. It is definitely hard to choose from among all the wisdom shared here over the 50 or so episodes we did this year, but we think this round-up of 10 gives us a lot of good stuff to think about. For links to the full episodes from which these audio clips come from, be sure to visit our show notes! If you’ve enjoyed listening in 2018, we’d dearly appreciate it if you’d consider supporting our Patreon campaign. That’s a platform where people can support their favourite independent content creators for as little as a dollar a month, helping us to keep this show entirely free to you. Happy Holiday to all!

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Dec 10, 2018

For this special holiday episode of The New Family Podcast, I asked listeners to send me voice messages about their favourite holiday traditions, old and new. Tune in for a fun and inspiring round up of fun and poignant holiday traditions that you may want to make your own.

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Dec 3, 2018

Women talk a lot about emotional labour — carrying the mental load of things that need to be arranged for their families and the weight of worry about how everyone’s needs are being met. We’re joined today by marriage and family therapist Jeremy Schneider for a conversation on what it takes to be an emotionally available dad and a partner who shares that emotional labour. Jeremy has written about parenting topics for a number of publications around the world and now in his book Fatherhood in 40-Minutes Snapshots. This is an insightful chat about the complex business of sharing the work of raising kids, the shifting expectations and perceptions of and about dads, and the beauty and opportunity that lies in forging meaningful connection between father and child.

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Nov 26, 2018

Those of you who are regular listeners will know that I’m a big advocate for positive co-parenting. It’s becoming less and less unusual to see coparents working happily together to raise their kids, easily able to cohost their kids’ birthday parties, divide and conquer on busy extra-curricular days and sit comfortably together on the sidelines at the arena or soccer field. But alas, there’s still a lot of very difficult relationships between former spouses. Naturally there can be a lot of hurt and anger when a marriage comes apart, but in some cases there’s a negative, even bullying dynamic that emerges. My guest for this episode has some really important insights on how to handle a situation like this. Jeff Rechtshaffen has been practising family law for 21 years. He’s a partner in Rechtshaffen, Breitman Family Law and Mediation. He’s an expert in all aspects of family law including collaborative family law and, when necessary, litigation.

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Nov 19, 2018

For years my guest for this episode and his former wife lived in a mixed-orientation marriage. Matt Nightingale had shared with his wife, Luanne, that he was gay, but — for various reasons, including that he was a pastor at a fundamentalist church — they stayed together for 15 years. During this time Matt undertook all kinds of efforts to turn himself straight, including conversion therapy. Matt has since done some writing about his experience, and he and Luanne have given a powerful TedEx talk on the journey they’ve taken together and it’s complicated emotional terrain.

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Sago Mini World's Black Friday special!

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Nov 12, 2018

A big part of being able to take care of a family is also looking after your relationship with your partner. My guest for this episode, New York City psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Dr. Grant Brenner, has some interesting insights about how the experiences we hold on to from the past and can stand in the way of having truly great, well-connected intimate relationships. But this isn’t just a matter of old-fashioned onion peeling of therapist sessions past. It’s about the concrete steps you can take to address old patterns so your relationship can be its best. Dr. Brenner specializes in helping adults who are experiencing relationship difficulties and he’s co-author of a book called Relationship Sanity: Creating and Maintaining Healthy Relationships. It’s a follow to their popular book Irrelationship, and it builds on those findings about how the past affects the present in relationships and offers tangible advice on improving connections going forward.

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Nov 5, 2018

Everyone asks kids, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” But what if that’s the wrong question? My guest for this episode, Dr. Rumeet Billan — an award-winning entrepreneur, learning architect and humanitarian — has an insightful way of looking at this topic. Given career anxiety is on the rise — and that anxiety disorders are now the most common illness to affect children and youth — she says we should instead be asking kids not whether they plan to be a doctor or millionaire athlete, but who they wish to become. In fact, Who Do I want to Become is the title of Rumeet’s new picture book for both kids and adults. She offers some great guidance for parents on how we can emphasize the values and life skills that will serve our kids well in a future where jobs may look different than they do today.

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Oct 29, 2018

Part of my reason for starting the website, and later, this podcast, was because I didn’t see families like my own — an usually amicable post-divorce family with co-parents living next door for years — reflected in mainstream media. When she was growing up, my guest for this episode, Paulina Lagudi, had a similar experience comparing her own family to the ones she saw on TV and in movies. Well, today she’s able to do something about that. Paulina is a filmmaker who has created a movie called “Mail Order Monster” or “M.O.M.” for short. The film tackles grief, blended family and step-parenting in a way that puts a modern and perfectly imperfect family in a positive light.

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