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The We Turned Out Okay Podcast

What kind of hijinks did you get up to as a kid? Did you climb trees? Did you run around outside barefoot? Did you eat raw cookie dough? Maybe you wanted to do these and other crazy things, but you weren't allowed… Let me ask you this: what if your children wanted to? Would you let them? If you hesitate there, well, you're in the right place. The We Turned Out Okay podcast is where we learn the hows and whys of hovering less and enjoying our young children more. You get to learn from host Karen Lock Kolp's mistakes, but especially from the successes of her guests. Each helpful, lively conversation illustrates why this show really is "The Modern Guide to Old-School Parenting."
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Now displaying: November, 2015
Nov 26, 2015

Tuesday's guest – cartoonist and author Emily Flake – and I had a great conversation (although, full of swears and subject matter totally inappropriate for work or children – please take note :-) about modern parenting, but even with nearly an hour to talk we didn't cover everything I wanted to cover.

Which leads to today's Your Child Explained, episodes in which we are always looking right into the brains of our kids and figuring out what makes them tick. In her book, Mama Tried: Dispatches From The Seamy Underbelly of Modern Parenting, Emily shares that her older sister got pregnant and had a baby at age 17 – when Emily herself was just 13. The difference in how these two sisters were treated by the people around them while pregnant can't be understated; Emily's sister got a tremendously judgy and shaming vibe at 17, whereas Emily heard all about the "wonderful journey" that she and her husband were now on, while she was pregnant at age 34.

It really got me to thinking about what it means for our kids when we treat them too preciously – when we take care of their every need and want long after they're too small to take care of themselves. Kids treated as if they'll break at any moment come to believe that the world exists for their comfort and enjoyment only. This is dangerous, for the child and for our society.

The date this episode airs happens to be Thanksgiving Day of 2015, and it is in the spirit that I ask the question: what's the opposite of believing that the world exists for your comfort and enjoyment? I think the answer is believing that we exist to serve – that serving in some way creates a feedback loop that makes us happy and filled with gratitude…

It's a shift that paradoxically gives us the comfort and enjoyment we seek.

And it's our responsibility to start teaching our kids early to serve others – for their own comfort and enjoyment.

How do we do that when they're small? Well, letting them contribute to your family through housework and cooking, helping them understand that giving of themselves and their abilities is what will bring them the most comfort and enjoyment – that seems like a pretty good start to me.

Happy Thanksgiving, I hope you're having the kind of Thanksgiving that is just perfect for you and I hope you know how grateful I am that you are listening to me today!

Nov 24, 2015

WARNING: Today's show is full of expletives and stuff you do not want your child to know about yet… please make sure to use headphones or listen away from the kiddos! It's an awesome show, just there are pieces of it that are totally not suitable for children :-)

Today's guest is the wonderful and talented author and cartoonist/illustrator Emily Flake. She writes a weekly comic strip for grown-ups, Lulu Eightball (find it here) and her work regularly appears in The New Yorker, as well as appearing in the New York Times, Newsweek, The Onion, Forbes Magazine… In short she is a creative force! A creative force who, three years ago, had a baby, a beautiful little girl with the awesome nickname Tug. Last month Emily released her new book, Mama Tried: Dispatches from the Seamy Underbelly of Modern Parenting, a gritty, tender, superb analysis of parenthood today. Part memoir, part cartoon, this book had me laughing until tears were streaming down my face.

My conversation with Emily ranges all over the countryside, from the things we found in common that she and my husband share, and that her husband and I share, to what you learn about sex and babies when your older sister becomes a teenage mom, to Emily's wonderful advice for new parents or parents-to-be.

Want to win a signed copy of Mama Tried for yourself? I'm having an instagram giveaway! Go to@weturnedoutokay on instagram, find the picture of the book Mama Tried, leave a comment under that picture, and share the giveaway with a friend who might also like to enter by December 24, 2015. I'm choosing the winner on Christmas day, so some lucky mama will have an extra Christmas present this year!

Nov 17, 2015

Today's episode dives into the four best, most practical ninja tactics that I know and use every day to teach my boys right from wrong. Because, that's really what discipline is, isn't it? Teaching right from wrong – in my experience as a teacher and parent, positive discipline is not only the most user-friendly way to do this, but the most effective, too.

Listen to the episode for details, but here are the four ninja tactics of positive discipline:

1) stop using the timeout chair and timer for timeouts; let your child take a timeout him or herself, and most importantly let him or her decide how long it should be

2) use natural consequences as your disciplinary measures; often, the natural consequences of an action are all it takes to teach right from wrong

3) start early – like, immediately – in the development of empathy with your child

4) consider the power vacuum dynamics that come into play when you ignore a behavior you don't want to see; ignoring the behavior rather than engaging about it makes that behavior go away sooner

And, those are the four! I hope they help you every day, but whether they do or they don't, I hope you will click the contact tab on my website and tell me about your successes, failures, and questions. Especially questions.

Thanks for listening! If you listen all the way to the end, I share a project I've just started: helping parents individually, when you feel like your challenges as a parent are more than listening to the podcast can fix. Go here to find out more!

Nov 12, 2015

In episode 36 – which aired this past Tuesday in real time – nursery school owner and director Tanya Trainor shared about the changes she, her staff, and the children they serve made to their playground. The traditional slides, climbers, and other big (pricey) equipment typically seen on the playground are gone, and in their place are what Tanya calls "loose parts."

Tanya shares that loose parts on the playground have translated for them into more social engagement and less redirection/discipline, a result they never expected.

Today, in this Your Child Explained episode in which we always get into the mind of our kids and see what's going on in there, we discuss The Keys to the Kingdom and how to promote them so that our kids grow into creative, happy, socially engaged and above all successful adults.

I learned a lot about how loose parts bring out the best in children talking with Tanya and it's this concept of "the best" that I think of as The Keys to the Kingdom – in other words, the keys we must give our kids that will open up so many doors as they grow up. These keys are:

1) open-ended play, meaning play that doesn't have a goal, or a fixed ending point

2) intrinsic motivation, where the children do what they're doing because it's what they want to be doing, not because someone in authority, like a teacher or parent, is telling them to do it (or offering rewards for doing it, or punishments for not doing it)

3) social engagement, in which the children are playing and working together, part of the same team

Watching the kids play this way at Miss Tanya's Nursery School reminded me of this saying, by Brian Sutton-Smith: "the opposite of play is not work. It is depression." Kids need loose parts to tinker with, the ability to work without an adult telling them what to do, and people to engage with… Give them these Keys to the Kingdom – and watch them flourish!

Nov 10, 2015

Today's episode was super fun to record because I got out of my usual studio and hung out at what's easily the most amazing playground I've ever seen. All of the equipment we see on a typical playground – huge climber, big slide, jungle gym – was gone, and in its place were loose pieces. Bricks, cement pavers, wooden siding, bales of hay, an 8 foot long rowboat, tree stumps suitable for sitting on, or rolling around, a rain gutter with a hose near the top were some of the many things that replaced more typical playground equipment.

It's not a huge space, and today's guest, nursery school director and owner Tanya Trainor of Miss Tanya's Nursery School, knew that typical equipment would no longer work when, in spring of 2014, she found out that the fall zones around each piece of equipment were expanding. So, Tanya and her staff did an amazing thing: they asked the children, "when we get rid of the climber out on the playground, what should we replace it with?" Their answers created the wonderful results spread out before me.

Listen to hear more about:

1) the improvements in how the children relate to one another and play together in going from more conventional equipment to this new kind of playground

2) the dramatic drop in frequency of negative behaviors; Tanya reports far fewer incidents of conflict or need for redirection since moving to the new kind of playground

3) how engaged the children are in both the creation of this new outdoor play space and their use of it

If you take just one thing from this episode, I hope it is this: play with "loose parts," as this kind of outdoor play equipment is called, is a critical part of every child's development and fosters all the important things that children will need to take into adulthood (social skills, problem-solving skills, creativity and curiosity.) Has your son or daughter's preschool adopted the loose parts philosophy yet?

Nov 3, 2015

Today is the first of a two parter, because the subject of positive discipline – how we teach our kids right from wrong – is such a biggie.

In this first part, we talk about the mindset of positive discipline… Three things are required for us parents to get into this mindset:

1) a calm, quiet demeanor; yelling and screaming produces negativity, not to mention unhappy family members

2) making the punishment fit the crime; every situation is different, we can't have a set list of infractions and punishments

3) taking our children seriously; by this I mean let's start with the assumption that they are good kids, they want not to get in trouble, they're doing the best they possibly can

All we need for the positive discipline mindset. They sound simple, but they can be really difficult to implement! Today, I try to persuade you that the best thing you can do for your child – and you – is get into the positive discipline mindset.

Thanks for listening! If you listen all the way to the end, I share a project I've just started: helping parents individually, when you feel like your challenges as a parent are more than listening to the podcast can fix. Go here to find out more!

In the next Just You and Me episode, number 38, we will get into the ninja tactics of positive discipline!

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