Ask Lisa: The Psychology of Parenting

Ask Lisa: The Psychology of Parenting

Raising kids can be a bumpy, stressful, and uncertain process – which is why Dr. Lisa Damour is here to help. The New York Times Adolescence columnist and author of bestsellers Untangled and Under Pressure brings her sane, informed, and practical perspective to your timely and timeless parenting questions. Cohost Reena Ninan, a world-class journalist who has covered the White House while packing a breast pump, makes sure to get you the answers you need.

Episodes

June 8, 2021 31 min

Should we be pushing children and teens to make up for lost learning this summer? Or should we let them call the shots on how they spend their time? What really matters most? Dr. Lisa has advice that might seem counterintuitive for parents who feel ready to charge ahead. A mom writes in asking for advice on how to think about summer schedules for her three kids. Reena seeks guidance on managing social media and video games once sch...

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Lisa and Reena are joined by guest Emmanuel Acho, former NFL linebacker, current FoxSports analyst, host of the YouTube hit "Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man," and author of a book by the same name. Most recently, Emmanuel wrote the instant #1 New York Times Bestseller "Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Boy." In a discussion both wide-ranging and deep, Emmanuel tackles how to talk with our kids ab...

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The pandemic has disrupted our kids' social lives. What can parents do to help a child make new friends if they've withdrawn from their peers? How do we help kids who are reluctant to reach out, or who rub their classmates the wrong way? A mom emails about her twelve and a half-year-old daughter who was once an extrovert and now is not. Dr. Lisa explains the five categories that have been identified by research to describe ...

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Should you be concerned if your child has a messy, disorganized room? A mom emails asking for advice on how to handle a kid's room that feels out of control. Dr. Lisa introduces us to the term executive functioning, the mental processes that help with managing oneself and one's possessions. Reena asks if being disorganized as a child can lead to problems down the line. Lisa offers guidance on when it's time to step in a...

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After more than a year of being stuck at home in a pandemic, it’s no surprise siblings are getting on each other's nerves. Should parents step in - or step back - when kids start fighting? Dr. Lisa tackles this question and also explains how parents' approach to conflict can influence how kids fight with their siblings. Reena asks how parents can keep their cool when heads are getting hot, and whether kids can really learn ...

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Talking to kids about their love lives can be uncomfortable, but discussing consent is one of the most important conversations to have with our children. Dr. Lisa explains why she feels that when we focus on consent, we are articulating the lowest possible bar for acceptable physical intimacy. She offers thoughts on how we might rethink and reframe the entire topic in order to be most helpful to our children. Reena asks: Can we cha...

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Experts are finding that the pandemic has led to an alarming rise in eating disorders. Dr. Lisa explains how eating disorders can sneak up on families and why they can be incredibly harmful. Lisa and Reena discuss how social media can contribute to eating disorders and the fact that these illnesses affects people from all genders, economic backgrounds, and races. Early intervention matters, so what are the signs of an eating disord...

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"If the pandemic is about anything, it's about loss,” says Dr. Lisa Damour. Grief can come in different forms - from losing a loved one, to mourning the loss of senior year in high school, to not getting into your favorite college. How can you tell if your child is grieving and what can you do to help? Lisa and Reena examine how to support our kids as they cope with loss. Reena shares how a bouncy castle rented on the morni...

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How do you talk to kids about social media postings that might cross a line? What's the best way to start a conversation with your sons and daughters about what's too sexy for public consumption? A parent writes to Lisa and Reena about the suggestive TikTok postings her daughter puts up. Lisa explains how to open up lines of communication and the guidance parents might give about posts that could be seen as provocative. Lis...

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April 6, 2021 30 min

How do you prepare kids for life in the real world? Author Julie Lythcott-Haims joins Lisa and Reena for a conversation on the non-academic skills your children need to succeed as they move into young adulthood. Julie spent more than a decade at Stanford University, some of that time as the dean of first-year students. The women talk about how to discuss race with our children, the different chores kids should take on as they age, ...

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As we move into the next phase of this pandemic we take listeners back to an encore presentation of "Toolbox for Terrible Times: How to Manage Hopelessness and Helplessness." Lisa offers specific tools to help children with their feelings and describes the key role played by healthy psychological defenses. Reena gets emotional talking about what her son's Connecticut teacher did to prepare her students for the first day...

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There are many reasons why kids lie to parents. Dr. Lisa gives several explanations for why kids sometimes don’t tell the truth and shares stories from her practice of the difficult scenarios she's helped families navigate, including an example of when parents assume the worst about their teen's behavior and get kids to live down to their expectations. Dr. Lisa and Reena also discuss cheating and how what happens in the min...

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Talking to a child about pornography might not be a conversation most parents think of having. However, by the age of sixteen, 90% of kids have looked at porn. Dr. Lisa Damour explains that kids' interest in sex is normal and part of healthy development. But she also explains how porn can be traumatic and confusing to kids and teens who encounter it. How do you approach the conversation and at what age should you start discussi...

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With the one year anniversary of the pandemic approaching there are reasons to be hopeful. The infection rates are dropping and more vaccines are being distributed. So why do so many people still feel down? Reena asks about what parents can do when they feel the ground is shifting and things are out of their control. How do we help kids manage the anxiety of starting in-person school and the persistent stress of this pandemic? Lisa...

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Finding time to quiet your mind can have real benefits for you and your child. Author, instructor, mom, and entrepreneur Mallika Chopra is our special guest. She says that meditation isn’t just repeating mantras - there are many other ways your kids can be mindful. Mallika also talks about her father Deepak Chopra and how he found meditation after going through his own personal struggles. Mindful eating is also discussed.

Book Give...

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A parent writes in asking for help to address a teenager's marijuana use. Some teens are turning to drugs in this pandemic as they are looking for ways to cope with the sadness and boredom. Dr. Lisa explains what actually works in getting kids to stop using drugs and how to talk with kids in a way that's likely to keep them from becoming involved with drugs in the first place. Dr. Lisa talks about choices kids might make in...

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Should you speak up when you disagree with the approach other families are taking with their Covid rules? Reena discusses the latest news on the spread of the British mutation and Dr. Lisa describes the mental maneuvers we make when trying to rationalize behavior. How do we find peace when we feel uneasy with what other families are doing? And how do you talk with children about the fact that different families follow different rul...

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When kids hit thirteen they often become highly emotional. What happens in the brain and the body during this time? Dr. Lisa explains and also talks about the process of "separation-individuation" where young people seek to define their own identities - often by being hard on their folks.

Parents sometimes assume that age thirteen is the beginning of adolescence. But is it really? And how can you help a tween or teen who...

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How do you get kids to understand the importance of hygiene? A mom writes in that her son is making life unbearable at home because he refuses to take regular showers since he has spent much of the year learning remotely. Dr. Lisa explains the concept of habituation - the process of growing accustomed to sensory input - and discusses with Reena the science behind sensation and perception. Lisa offers strategies to help kids underst...

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A single mom writes in feeling worried because her daughter is questioning her gender. Dr. Lisa explains what we understand about gender identity and sexual orientation, and offers advice on what to do when you are at an impasse with your child. Parents often feel they need to drive the bus on getting to a desired outcome, but that's not usually the best approach. Lisa and Reena talk about how to think with your child about com...

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