"My wife doesn't want me to spank them, I get it – I don't want to either but what else can I do?" These words come from a listener's email, a desperate plea to figure out how to discipline kids and keep order during the daily grind.
This listener goes on to say "I got spanked, and turned out okay… I got more than spanked to tell you the truth, and I know what the constant barrage of words being screamed at me feels like. To be honest, I'd rather have had the spanking."
This listener deftly identifies two things that do not work with kids:
1) a "constant barrage of words"
So, what do you do instead?
Listen to this episode to find out!
Go to weturnedoutokay.com/177 for key links, and Click here to sign up for the Streamline Your Mornings challenge, if school days are looming and those weekday mornings are looking frightening. This FREE challenge starts in just a few weeks, and once it starts the sign-ups are closed. So to make sure that you get an email every day of the challenge, entry into our We Turned Out Okay private Facebook group, and access to the Facebook live back-to-school Ask Me Anything I'll be doing on the last day of the challenge (September 8), jump in now.
Back in the early 90s, when I was a preschool teacher, I worked with two 4-year-old best friends, "Stacy," who had lovely chocolate brown skin and eyes, and "Kim," who had blonde hair and blue eyes.
One day, as these two best buddies waited together in line for the bathroom, Kim innocently looked up at me and said: "I don't like black people."
I was speechless – she's holding the hand of her best friend, who IS a black person, telling me how she doesn't like black people… It just did not compute.
Until I realized that she did not think of Stacy as a black person; Stacy was her best friend.
She did not know who "black people" were. When she said those words she was parroting the adults in her life.
Metaphorically, I threw up my hands. I felt terrible, but I just did not know what to do. Should I talk to Kim's parents? Should I talk to Stacy's parents? Should I try to persuade Kim that she shouldn't feel that way about black people?
In the end I did nothing, I said nothing. While I spoke of this with my fellow preschool teachers, I never took it any further than that.
But it stayed with me all these years (Kim and Stacy are now in their 20s.)
Maybe you watched just a few days ago with horror as a white supremacists plowed his car into a peaceful protest, killing one and injuring many – and terrifying all.
Maybe you wondered what kind of a world you're raising a child in.
Maybe you threw up your hands and said "what can I possibly do about this?"
If so, then this bonus episode is for you.
I just finished recording. I couldn't stop thinking about Kim and Stacy, and also a song from an old musical, South Pacific:
You've got to be taught before it's too late/
Before you are six or seven or eight/
To hate all the people your relatives hate/
You've got to be carefully taught!
I was thinking about you, and about how you maybe feel like throwing up your hands and shouting "what can I possibly do about this?"
And I was thinking about Stacy, wondering how many times in her twenty-something years she's gotten the message from our society that somehow, just because of the way she looks, she is wrong, or bad, or "other."
And, I was thinking about a We Turned Out Okay listener, named Kerri, who wrote back in May (when We Turned out Okay turned two) with a question:
"I would like to know as a white person what I need to do to be sure my children are not contributing to the racism that is hurting so many."
I recorded this episode to give us – myself, as much as anyone – a roadmap, some steps to take to build a world in which racism has no part.
Four steps, to be exact; four steps we can take to build a world without racism.
Four steps to help you counter the fear and negativity, four steps to help you help your child understand what racism is, and why it needs to die.
Along the way I talk about a whole bunch of stuff, like a favorite Dr. Seuss book, wise words from several friends of the podcast, and child development theory to help you understand your child better.
Click here to read about the four steps to a world without racism and to get links to the people and podcasts and books I reference during the episode – and thank you very much for listening, for not throwing up your hands and concluding there's nothing you can do.
Because as the parent of a young child, the key to ending racism is in your hands.
When We Turned Out Okay turned 2 several months ago, I asked you all for ideas about what you wanted me to address on the show.
Listener Kerri said "I would like to know as a white person what I need to do to be sure my children are not contributing to the racism that is hurting so many."
Today, I speak with married, interracial couple Ingrid Alli and Hamilton Graziano, in possibly one of the most moving conversations I've been able to bring you yet.
Ingrid and Hamilton are newlyweds, just starting out in their married life and, as yet, do not have children.
They want kids, though – and they come on the show today to share their thoughts on what it's like to be part of an interracial couple, what it was like growing up for Ingrid, as an African-American, and their hopes about race in this modern world.
Notice: I did not say "hopes and fears about race"… Ingrid and Hamilton are curiously, delightfully fear-free. They know what's at stake, they live every day in a divisive America, and they take the positive stance that love wins.
They're performance poets, and I know you'll love, as I did, their award-winning performance of their poem, "The Lovings," about an interracial couple who fought nine long years for the right to marry in their state of Virginia.
Ingrid and Hamilton got their marriage license 50 years to the day, in Virginia, from when the Lovings got theirs. (Click the link below for the full show notes to this episode, where I've embedded YouTube video of Ingrid and Hamilton's performance of this poem.)
Ingrid and Hamilton have also got great advice in response to Kerri's question, and it's the sort of answer that transcends today's conversation about race. Their answer to Kerri's question is also the answer to worries about parenting, feeling good inside ourselves, and alleviating that guilt that many of us carry around – vague, uncertain, but there nonetheless.
I hope you enjoy this episode. It won't be the last one about race and parenting – Kerri's is a two-part question and once the back-to-school mayhem settles down, we'll return to this issue.
Speaking of back-to-school mayhem: if your inner self is shouting "aaaggghhhh!" at the thought of the looming school year and the chaotic mornings it will bring, Click here to sign up for the Streamline Your Mornings challenge, happening the first full week of September!
Sign-ups close on Sunday, September 3, so get in there now to access the daily emails, entry into the private We Turned Out Okay Facebook group, and for the back-to-school, Facebook live Ask Me Anything I'm doing on the final day of the challenge (Friday, September 8).
The whole thing is FREE, and it will be so helpful if you are worried about those weekday mornings.
To sign up for the challenge and to read the advice Ingrid and Hamilton share about how to help make sure our children aren't contributing to the racism that hurts so many, go to weturnedoutokay.com/176!
Today we take on one of the toughest issues of all: getting our kids to listen to us.
This is something every parent deals with and in recent weeks I've been asked about it more than once.
Stephanie says "they seem to have come to me without the ability to listen;" Jocelyn says she struggles with "kids not listening and obeying the first time I ask (or the first ten times)"…
Is this you? Do you find yourself standing in the kitchen sometimes, with your son or daughter in the next room, and your voice is getting louder and louder and you're clenching your fists and rolling your eyes… And still you're not getting the response you need?
Well then, today's episode is for you.
Listen by going to weturnedoutokay.com/175 – that is where you can also sign up for the Streamline Your Mornings challenge, starting September 4 and helping you quell the weekday-morning chaos!
It's time for NPC member Jen's parent-coaching call, and it's a doozy: Jen was feeling guilty about being "responsible" for getting her kids into situations where they were overtired and/or frustrated. She took their misbehavior as her fault, and in this episode I help her figure out a more productive way to frame the situation.
We also dig in to several other issues, and by helping Jen resolve them on-air, I also get to help you figure out what to do when:
Listen to this episode for detailed answers; to read my suggestions and check out the key links for this episode, including the link to joining the FREE Streamline Your Mornings back-to-school challenge starting in early September, go to weturnedoutokay.com/174… Enjoy the show!
Today's guest, PJ Jonas, got a few goats several years ago, because she just loved goats. Always keeping that love in the forefront, PJ and her family – her husband and their eight children – went from those few goats early on to, today, owning and operating a family farm which creates soaps, lotions, and edibles, all from goats milk.
When you learn that the Jonas family homeschools in addition to operating the farm and their website, goatmilkstuff.com, you begin to realize the genius that PJ has for organizing and running this well-oiled machine.
You also can hear in PJ's voice just how much she enjoys her days, filled as they are with family, and fun, and love.
In our conversation she shares all kinds of tips – both mindset and practical – for creating the life you want.
Also! During this episode PJ shares a link, that she made especially for our show, where you can get a free bar of her amazing soap! (Which I did. PJ shares a full-sized bar of soap in whatever flavor you want – mine is lavender – and it lasts a really long time : )
For show notes and key links, including the one for your free bar of soap, go to weturnedoutokay.com/173. Enjoy the show!