All posts in Podcasts

Young Adults Leave The Nest, But Not For Long.



I came up with a motto, a slogan to help me parent. And it was this: It is my job to make sure that when my children turn 18, I have trained them in everything that they need to learn so that they can open the doors, walk over the threshold, and enter young adulthood with confidence and enthusiasm. I have 18 years to prepare them. It is my job to teach them how to run their life so they don’t need me any longer. But so many kids leave home at 18, young adults, and find themselves at college and don’t know how to manage their lives, how to navigate their lives, how to make simple decisions, how to organize. And they’re forced back home. And I can’t think of anything worse for those kids to admit that they couldn’t make it on their own, or for their parents who have to say “come back home,” knowing that in some way it was their fault. If you find a child who has to come home because they couldn’t make it, this is a chance to start fresh. Look back and ask yourself what areas of this child’s life did you do for them because you thought it would be too hard or they would make a mistake or they would make a mistake and it was just easier if you did it for them. And teach them. It’s not going to be fun, because they see themselves as adults, but they already know that they’re missing some of the life skills that they need to be successful. Sit down, have a heart-to-heart, make a list start at the top, and teach them everything they need to now. Set a timeline that says, 6 months or a year from now we’re going to try it again. This is not the worst thing that will happen to you. Together we’re going to figure this out. We’re going to get you ready to go this time. And you’re going to give it another shot.

PRE-ORDER your copy of The Straight Talk On Parenting HERE

Podcast: Family Meetings

In this conversation with Vicki Hoefle, founder of Parenting on Track, we talk about Family Meetings. The family meeting is perhaps the most important tool in developing a healthy family. This episode explains why family meetings are so helpful and includes tips on running more effective family meetings.

Listen to learn more. Have you held Family Meetings in the past with your children? How is this version different? What do you like about this new Family Meeting style.

Register for our online Family Meetings Course here:

Podcast: Privileges & Responsibilities

Would you like to say yes to your kids? Would you like to raise kids who take care of their things, manage their time, and treat their siblings with respect? By implementing, a simple strategy, Privileges and Responsibilities in your family, you can with confidence.

Listen to this podcast below and learn more. Let us know what you think or if you have any questions.

Podcast: Offering Children Choices

challengeyourIn this conversation with Vicki Hoefle, we talk about offering our children choices.

Children require years of practice in making choices. Giving them the opportunity to practice early can lead to happier, more resilient and independent children.

Listen below and learn more. Let us know something new you learned about giving your children choices! We’d love to hear from you.

Podcast: Natural Consequences

natural consequencesIn this conversation with Vicki Hoefle, we talk about natural consequences.

The purpose of using natural consequences is to encourage children to make responsible decisions, not to force their submission. When a child makes a poor decision and the parents stay out of it, the child learns from the consequence, gains new information, and is in a position to choose differently the next time.

Listen in and let us know how natural consequences have been your child’s best teacher.

Encouragement Without Praise

EncouragementA Podcast with Vicki Hoefle

In this conversation with Vicki Hoefle, we talk about encouragement.

Encouragement implies faith in and respect for children.

Today many parents mistake praise for encouragement, However, praise presents numerous problems for parents and children.

Listen in and discover what you can do to encourage your child and why it is a good idea to let go of the praise.

Let’s All Get Along with Appreciations

appreciateA Podcast with Vicki Hoefle

In this conversation with Vicki Hoefle, we talk about appreciations.

Parents often ask, “How do I get my kids to be nice to each other?” or “How do I get my kids to stop fighting?”

The truth is whatever you are currently doing, probably stops the action and creates some sort of compliance – momentarily. Really parents want more than kids who just get along. Parents want kids who treat each other with respect, compassion, empathy and understanding.

Listen below and learn how to let your kids know how truly special they are to you.

Podcast: Kids, Money & Ron Lieber

lieber-podcast-300x222Today’s blog post features a practical, insightful podcast with Ron Lieber, “Your Money” columnist for The New York Times.

In this conversation, we talk about his new book, due out in 2014 titled The Opposite of Spoiled.Ron shared the premise of the book and his unique take on how parents can combine teaching kids about finances with the development of strong character traits ensuring they don’t end up in the spoiled category. His ideas were fascinating and I walked away with an arsenal of ideas I’ll be sharing with parents with young kids.I encourage you to not only listen to the podcast, but to follow Ron on Facebook where he will be sharing this adventures in writing his book with his readers.

You can also follow him on twitter  or visit his website. Add this to another resource in the case for training kids to be independent!

Click to Listen–> Parenting Strategy: Give your Kids Money & Cultivate Values with Ron Lieber


Podcast: Dawn Lyons

I had the great pleasure of interviewing Dawn Lyons recently from Lines By Lyons. Among other things we talked about her program for teens called “Write Steps 4 Teens”.

Dawn shared her “aha” moment which came while she was presenting to a group of adults about teens and their often times “anguished” filled experience. A man in the audience stood up and asked her if she worked with teens – and of course her answer was “well, I do now”. Thus began her journey into create a unique program with teens that integrates her deep compassion for them, her own experience as a teen and her love of writing which she uses in her work.

This is a remarkable woman whose deep respect for teenagers is apparent in the way she talks about them and her work with them.

Enjoy this touching and honest conversation.

Listen to Podcast here.

Podcast: Let’s Chat Middle Schoolers

Today’s blog features a podcast with Michelle Icard. The topic? Middle Schoolers! This interview is just right for back to school thinking…ENJOY!

Click to listen!

Parenting Strategy: Interview with Michelle Icard

About Michelle Icard

In 2004, Michelle Icard launched Athena’s Path, a curriculum that helps girls navigate the tricky middle school social scene. Shortly after, she added Hero’s Pursuit for boys, and in 2011 launched her website for parents of middle schoolers:


Athena’s Path & Hero’s Pursuit have been implemented in 30 schools, in five states, and have impacted over 7,000 students. Over 250 teachers have been trained to implement the programs in schools. Michelle regularly speaks at schools and parenting events around the country.  She has also written curriculum for other national programs for adolescents, including Girlology and Girls Rock the House. Michelle lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband, 12 year-old daughter, and 10 year-old son.

Podcast: Fresh Thinking on Tweens

The following is a guest post by Michelle Icard, founder of Athena’s Path, a curriculum that helps girls navigate the tricky middle school social scene and similarly, a Hero’s Pursuit for boys.

embarrassed.teenThere are a lot reasons we, as parents, have to fret about the scary, obnoxious, or heart-breaking qualities of middle schoolers these days. Kids often DO become increasingly defiant, attracted to risk, and hyper-emotional through the middle school years.  But there’s good reason for that behavior and if you can see past the rebellion to the reason why, a lot of good will shine through in the middle school years.  There’s gold in them there hills! Let me show you where to look.

Says who? I’m Michelle Icard, founder of the social leadership curriculum Athena’s Path & Hero’s Pursuit.

My programs have been taught in 30 schools across the country to teach tweens how to navigate the tricky new social world of middle school. My website, is a resource for parents during this time of transition.  In my 9 years working with middle schoolers I have been humbled, inspired, and awed by the social and emotional capabilities of kids this age.  As the parent of a middle schooler myself, I know first-hand how important it is to reset our perceptions about middle school to help our kids reach their potential as independent thinkers, creative problem solvers, and empathetic friends.Are you telling me it’s good for my child to rebel in middle school? Yes.

Quick poll: How many of you would like your child to live in their own house someday? Everyone? Perfect. That’s the idea, isn’t it?  The fact is that you have built a cozy beginning for your child, but you are not your child’s future. Their future will be made in a world run by their peers. Figuring out how that social world will work and where they will fit in it is the key to their success.  It will be hard for your child to learn where they fit outside of your world. It will take some trial and  error, many mistakes, and a dash of rebellion to figure it all out.

I’m not suggesting you applaud when you catch your kid smoking behind the middle school! However, how you react to your child’s missteps will set them up for more success or more failure.

OK, how should I respond?

Here are some things you can do to help your child make the most of their middle school years:

  1. When your child makes a mistake – whether a bold act of rebellion or an awkward stumble onto the wrong path – express empathy first. “That must have been hard or painful or embarrassing” always comes before “You screwed up now how are you going to fix it?”
  2.  Be unemotional in your discipline.  You may cry into your own pillow at night but if you cloud your discipline with tears, anger, or despair, your child will likely misinterpret you. It’s a good idea to be firm, direct, and without emotion when talking about consequences. If you need to buy some time to achieve this say something like, “I need some time to figure out how to respond. I’ll talk to you about this tonight after dinner.”
  3. Help your child take risks. Create an atmosphere where your child is allowed to do things that feel thrilling, daring, scary, and unknown. Take them to an audition, help them start a business, go bungee jumping.  When you fill that need for risk with a positive source there is less chance your child will try to fill it through unhealthy activities.

Want to learn more? Visit me at Also, I love Facebook (too much).  You can hang out with me there at

To hear a live conversation with Michelle, please click to listen to the Podcast, below:

Podcast: Interview with Michelle Icard

More About Michelle

In 2004, Michelle Icard launched Athena’s Path, a curriculum that helps girls navigate the tricky middle school social scene. Shortly after, she added Hero’s Pursuit for boys, and in 2011 launched her website for parents of middle schoolers:

Athena’s Path & Hero’s Pursuit have been implemented in 30 schools, in five states, and have impacted over 7,000 students. Over 250 teachers have been trained to implement the programs in schools. Michelle regularly speaks at schools and parenting events around the country.  She has also written curriculum for other national programs for adolescents, including Girlology and Girls Rock the House. Michelle lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband, 12 year-old daughter, and 10 year-old son.

Interview: Jillian Lauren

Jillian Lauren with her family. Jillian is the author of the Today Moms Article: Why We Don’t Punish Our Son, Ever. Together, they are committed to parenting with “empathy and respect.”  (Photo:

A few months back we discovered this article on Today Moms: Why we Don’t Punish our Son. Ever, written by Jillian Lauren (April 2011). Jillian is a popular writer, speaker and performer who lives an extremely busy-but-impressively-balanced life with her musician husband, Scott Shriner of the band, Weezer. Together, as a dedicated team, they are committed to raising their son “T” with compassion, patience and punishment-free communication.For obvious reasons, this article caught our attention – its summary reads:

No time-outs, no yelling, no spanking, no taking away toys. When contributor Jillian Lauren’s son acts up, she treats him with ’empathy and respect.’ How does it work?”

After reading this article, and noticing a year had gone by since she wrote the piece- we reached out to follow up- and we were thrilled to connect with Jillian. Read what she says about non-violence, the “hairy eyeball” and life without bargaining, controlling or punishing.

Vicki: So it’s been just over a year since you wrote the article and we are curious how are things going?

Jillian: This has been like nothing I have ever expected or anticipated. Being a parent is a greater love and more fulfilling experience than I have ever imagined and harder than anything else I have ever done in my life.

Vicki: You have a busy active life – what does your life look like?

Jillian: My husband and I are both in the arts and our schedule is very volatile. It changes and sometimes I am home more and my husband is home more – we split the parenting duties, I am currently in NY looking out the window at the Empire State Building and Scott is home –usually we try to travel together but not this time.

Vicki: Because your lifestyle is not a traditional 9 – 5, I suspect that agreeing on a parenting style is more important because there is not a routine or system in place?

Jillian: My husband and I have had an easy time with this – which is not true for everything in our lives. We have both been very active in coming up with a parenting style that works for both of us. One of the things that has been the most successful and cohesive force is that we are on the same page about parenting decisions and we make each and every decision together.

Vicki: Did you make a distinction between punishment and discipline?

Jillian: No, certainly not at that time. I will tell you that I have tried things when I am at the end of my rope. I’ll try almost anything under the right circumstances and I keep coming back to no punishment. We don’t do time-outs, we do time-ins – we hug it out. I remove him from situations. He bites and hits. It’s hard, embarrassing, and dangerous. It’s been the thing that has me tearing my hair out. I remove him, I contain him and hold him in my arms and hug it out. He tells me, when he is ready to go back in. He knows when he is “dis-regulated” and he has no impulse control and his emotions get the better of him. I use a timer with him to offer structure.

Bargaining works for a second and then he’s on to it – when I say, “Oh no TV,” It’s like it just comes out of my mouth. He’s super smart – it does not work. I’ve even tried stars for this and a star for that – when you get so many stars you get a toy. But he’s so on to the sticker chart. He’s like I got my misty mountain adventure, now I am going to poop in my diaper.

Vicki: One thing we talk about with parents is that if you are going to use a discipline strategy it has to have 4 elements:

  1. Has to teach self-discipline.
  2. Has to work no matter what age – otherwise it’s a control issue.
  3. It can’t ever jeopardize the child’s sense of dignity and worth.
  4. It can’t fracture the relationship between parent and child.

Taking these 4 criteria, the goal is to move away from punishment and move toward teaching self-discipline – or as you put it self- regulation and then there is the framework, so you make progress moving forward. It sounds to me like you are being creative about trying things and figuring out quickly what is working and what feels like this is just a show and my child has figured out I have a preferred outcome and he is not really at free choice.

Vicki: When you decided that you are not punishing, was it about a belief system or was it about what you were seeing out in the world?

Jillian: We went to parenting classes at the Echo Center in Los Angeles for Non-Violent Parenting and Education. I highly recommend it. It’s amazing and incredible. I was raised with a lot of violence. Before I was a parent, I read Alfie Kohn books and responded to it. Being raised with violence and rage and berating you into behaving correctly, I decided that I would never do that. Actually what I discovered was that I would do that by default, if I did not find some other tools. I went to these classes. It helped me a lot and it gave us a common language and a way to talk to my son about his feelings and our own feelings. That is really how we came around to it- it has offered us a baseline.

Vicki: That makes sense going out and finding the thing that resonates. It is much in line with what we are doing over here. One thing we always tell parents is that if you don’t find something to replace what you don’t want to do, you always fall back on what it is you know. Did you get “push back” from your decision or did you find that you were supported in your decision to “not punish” and, specifically, what kind of responses did you get when you were giving a hug rather than a time-out?

Jillian: We know a lot of people who practice Non-Violent Communication and it’s definitely in the wheel house of parenting – but there is also the playground and the doctor’s office and definitely the hairy eyeball. Worse than the hairy eyeball from other people is my own hairy eyeball – saying to myself that everyone thinks your kids is a monster and feeling ashamed – but really I have to just talk back to my internal hairy eyeball and say, “You have no idea about my kid and I know what he needs, you don’t know what he has been through and It’s my job to parent him and treat him appropriately.” The hairy eyeball drives us into punishing children to make them feel bad and behave differently. I have a responsibility to raise a person. This is the core that makes it possible for me to go back to the fundamental decision we made.

I am not perfect and there are these times that my mother emerges and I do find myself yelling and it just does not work. Even if it worked for the minute, it doesn’t accomplish anything. When I find myself giving into the internal hairy eyeball it is because of sheer exhaustion and embarrassment. Really those times are when I am not making the best decisions. I recognize that when I am sane again and I realize that was lame and that did not work, I have to go back, regroup – repair and apologize.

Vicki: It sounds like you decided to invest in the relationship that you are building with this child and less on trying to manage him based on the way the world has said that he should behave. And as a parent who has made the same decision, I get this. Can you tell me what life would be like if you had decided you would use punishment?

Jillian: Part of being focused on the relationship is allowing myself to do this poorly and be able to communicate with him about this. The other day, I got angry and went back and apologized and his four year old reply was “It’s ok to feel angry, you just should not direct it at me.” And I thought wow look what I got back. I can’t even imagine what life would be like with constant bargaining, controlling, and punishing. I would feel like a person that it is not very fun to be. By being understanding of his emotions he is understanding of my emotions and I get the benefit of that back.

Vicki: That’s amazing. He’s four years old. Even at four years, you hear back his new blueprint of how you are in relationship with other people. To hear a four year old articulate that – this is the benefit of investing in the relationship. Before we end – what would you say to parents that would help them to adopt a different approach instead of punishing?

Jillian: When I wrote the article, I got a bunch of slack – folks would say to me, “Talk to me about that when your kid is robbing my store.” You know, fear based stuff, but it was just as common for me to receive supportive emails from people. Specifically, a friend of mine who has four amazing, kind, wonderful kids – her eight year old boys play with a four year old kid in a gentle way. She would say it made sense. For example, when kids hit a kid over the head with a toy, the toy goes away – you don’t have to add a random consequence or lecture. There are people who do this instinctively. If you are not one of them, go find something that will give you the tools to retrain yourself. This is a thoughtful process and many of the decisions are based on what you see happening with your child specifically and not based on what the general public has to say you should be doing. Just try it. Your kids won’t end up in jail because you try this for a month.

Photo via

About JillianAuthor and performer Jillian Lauren grew up in suburban New Jersey and fled across thewater to New York City. She attended New York University for three minutes before dropping out to work in downtown theater, where she performed with Richard Foreman’s Ontological Hysteric Theater, among others.She is the author of the novel, PRETTY, and of the New York Times bestselling memoir, SOME GIRLS: My Life in a Harem, both published by Plume/Penguin. SOME GIRLS has since been translated into fourteen different languages.

Jillian has an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University. Her writing has appeared in The Paris Review, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Los Angeles Magazine, Flaunt Magazine, Opium Magazine, Society, Pale House: A Collective and in the anthologies My First Time: A Collection of First Punk Show Stories and Tarnished: True Tales of Innocence Lost.

She regularly blogs at TODAY Moms and Jillian is married to musician Scott Shriner. They live in Los Angeles with their son. For more on Jillian and to read her writings visit

Follow Jillian and Scott on Twitter: @jillylauren & @sgs711

Radical Parenting & Your Teen

As part of the Parenting On Track™ Home Program, parents receive 6 free Web Events throughout the year. Last night we hosted a 60 minute Web Event on Adolescence with special guest, Vanessa Van Petten of Radical Parenting (she may sound familiar to many of you as I have recommended her on more than one occasion) and 2 of her interns, Sydney 15, and Emily 13. Because this web event was filled with such great information, we decided to share it with everyone. Don’t worry forum members, we’ll add in another freebie.

Listen to the replay!

Here are a few of the highlights and how investing in the Parenting On Track™ program when your kids are young, makes raising a teen a whole lot more enjoyable for everyone concerned.

Teens want parents to know the following:

  • Don’t take the complaining or disagreeing of teens personally. It’s usually just a way for them to vent and they rarely mean anything hurtful.
  • Kids do listen to their parents – it just isn’t cool to look too interested or admit it.
  • A good relationship with their parents is as important to teens as it is to their moms and dads.

Enter Parenting On Track™ – The basis for the program; relationships built on mutual respect, cooperation, open and honest communication and a solid foundation that can absorb the constant changes our kids experience. You don’t enter the teen years in good shape, if you haven’t invested heavily in the relationship when the kids are young. Another Parenting On Track™ technique that is sure to pay off in the long haul – ignoring the cheap drama of a 3 year old which makes it possible to listen to a teen without getting worried, annoyed, angry or “hooked” into the emotion of the moment. Instead, Parenting On Track™ parents are trained to appreciate where their kids are emotionally at any given moment, the confidence to allow the kids to work through those emotions whenever possible, and the ability to “not” take what is said personally.

What fractures the parent/teen relationship?

  • Treating teens like they are still babies.
  • Imposing the same rules you established in elementary school on a 15 year old.
  • Embarrassing them repeatedly and then not owning up to it or apologizing for doing it.

Enter Parenting On Track™– Vanessa said something that really struck me “Re-evaluate agreements with your kids on a regular basis”. This is where Creating a Roadmap, Implementing Privileges and Responsibilities and Utilizing the Family Meeting come in. Each of the 3 tools ensures that parents are growing with their kids and that there is a balance between growing independence and reasonable boundaries.

What’s it like growing up in the 21st Century?

  • It’s tougher than parents think.
  • Technology plays a huge role and kids have to learn to navigate an ever changing landscape.
  • Unrealistic expectations from parents, teachers, friends, and coaches add more pressure to an already tough stage of life.

Enter Parenting On Track™ – A major theme that runs through all the work we do here is this: To ensure we, as parents, allow our children an opportunity to develop the mental muscle necessary to grow up in the 21st century feeling confident and with the skills necessary to navigate their lives effectively. And to allow our children the freedom to tell us to “back off” when we begin imposing our ideas on how they should run their lives so as not to overwhelm them or send the message that we are not pleased with the decisions they are making.

And one particularly helpful hint Vanessa shared that really hit home for me. Evidently teens don’t appreciate it when parents disguise a suggestion with a question – for example – “Hey do you think it might be a good idea if you did a little extra credit to get your grades up?” Ha! Busted. Sorry kids. I didn’t know there was a name for that. Instead she says – be transparent, ask honest questions and wait until your child begins the brainstorming process. And again, Parenting On Track™ encourages families to help kids articulate problems quickly and spend their energy looking for creative solutions.

I want to thank all 3 of these extraordinary young women, particularly Sydney and Emily for sharing their thoughts, insights and wisdom. I hung up the phone feeling the world was indeed, in very capable hands with these 3 at the helm.

Enjoy the replay!