Episode 41: Raising Healthy Children in a Chaotic World

In this episode of The Family Couch, we talk Meghan Leahy, fellow parent coach, about how to raise children in a chaotic world.  

We dive in and discuss how to parent in today’s world.  Leahy discusses how things have changed over the last several years, mentioning mass shootings, natural disasters, assaults against women, people of color, people of different sexualities, etc.  She mentions that she used to hide the newspaper so her daughters could not see it to protect them from that level of pain.  Children do not have the maturity to process all of these things.  As time has gone on, she feels that it is not longer possible to hide things from them.  Events are happening too frequently.  Leahy feels that there is a social responsibility with the frequency of these events that comes with being a parent, but many parents just don’t want to deal with these conversations and won’t discuss the issues with their children.  Leahy often shares conversations she has with her children to show others that it’s not easy and that she doesn’t always have the answer.  If you try to have conversations with your children around other people’s suffering, it facilitates compassion.  

We next discuss how to decide what type of conversation one should have with varied ages of children in the home.  Leahy explains that what ends up happening is that the conversation is skewed toward the oldest child.  She uses the example of Louis C.K. and masturbation.  Her oldest daughter asked about it, her middle daughter had different questions that she wanted answered, and her younger daughter heard the conversation.  Leahy says that sometimes she just has to shut the conversation down if it is getting too upsetting or confusing for the younger ones.  She will often ask her daughters, “Why do you think…….” questions to get the wheels turning for them.  She mentions that there is most likely a column or blog out there related to almost any topic a parent might want to discuss with their children–all you have to do is Google it.  

We change gears and discuss how the conversation changes when you as the parent are affected by the topic at hand.  Leahy says you can either be sort of retraumatized by the issues or use the pain to move you forward in your own life and parenting life.  You can let your children know that it is hard for you.  She mentions that women can be majorly stressed and still push forward, but she feels that friendships that have honesty and levity between women are very important.  Leahy feels that the current issues regarding womens’ sexual assault should be extrapolated to extend our compassion and empathy toward minorities that experience discrimination.  

Leahy discusses how sharing your struggle with your children is a crucial opportunity.  She explains that you don’t have to say the right thing and can even tell them that you don’t know how you feel or how to explain your feelings.  She mentions kids newspapers, magazines and websites that have great information for children.  

We finally discuss that it is okay to not always know the “solutions” and that it is often a good idea to work through things as a family.  Leahy discusses the concept of “small things matter.”  She mentions giving money to a woman in the street who had a sign asking for money for her child’s operation.  Her kids questioned her because the woman had been there for a couple weeks, and Leahy told them it doesn’t matter because even if she doesn’t need the money for an operation, she must need it for something.  She also gives the example of laying wreaths at Arlington Cemetery for Christmas–that it does nothing but totally matters.  It’s just branches tied together, but it’s an important symbol for the families of the veterans buried there.  This is all to say that it’s the small things that you can do from day to day to do your best.  You can’t always get to the solution right away.  Even just holding the door open for someone or smiling at someone can make a difference.  

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GUEST BIO:

 

Meghan Leahy is a certified parent coach with three daughters.  She also writes a weekly column as the parenting expert for The Washington Post.  

 

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CONNECT WITH MEGHAN LEAHY:

WEBSITE: https://www.mlparentcoach.com/

ONLINE CLASS: https://www.mlparentcoach.com/coaching-online-parenting-classes/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/MeghanLeahyParentCoach/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/mlparentcoach

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/mlparentcoach/

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Want to be on The Family Couch or know someone who would be a great guest? Email us at mercedes@shameproofparenting.com

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