Announcing New E-Book from Dr. Maguire - From Defiant to Compliant: Parenting Strategies That Just Work

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Parenting can be tough, especially when your kids are misbehaving. Join me each week as I look at behavior through the lens of behavioral psychology. If you are struggling with issues like defiance and tantrums in your toddler, or if you just want to learn how to motivate your school-aged child, then this podcast is for you!

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This week Dr. Rebecca Branstetter will give insight on how to help your kids emotionally thrive rather than just survive in our current context. She will explain how mental health professionals in the schools are currently helping students and how to access their support if your child needs it.


This political season has been challenging for so many reasons. Likely your kids have picked up on some of the high emotions and stress so many are feeling. This week we break down the DO’s and DO NOT’s of discussing politics with our kids.


This week Prism Parenting teams up with Generation Mom to dish out practical insight and resources. The focus is on helping all the moms out there thrive despite the continued chaos that 2020 has (and continues to!) dish out.


Failure is important because it’s tied to resilience. While we all know this, it’s so tempting in the moment to shelter our kids. This week we will talk about what to do instead of rescuing them.


Although most parents agree that teaching kids about diversity is important, it is hard to know the best way to do this. In this episode, Mijha Godfrey from Jambo Books shares how to do this in an easy and fun way with the help of children’s literature.

Coming soon. 


As parents, it’s hard to be consistent. So often we say something, our kids protest, and we just give in. This week we will go over why we give in as parents and the easiest way to break the cycle.


As a working mom, it often feels like there are not enough hours in the day. Of course 2020 has only intensified this! Whether you're homeschooling or your kids are participating in distance learning, chances are you are feeling overwhelmed. This week Jen Mackinnon provides practical strategies to balance career and our children’s education in the current climate.


Sometimes it is easy to overreact when our kids act out. In this episode we discuss a series of questions to ask yourself when wondering whether or not to adjust discipline that you previously decided on.


This week Melissa Brown from the Blended Family Podcast discusses her personal journey as a mom and step mom. She shares what to do (and what not to do) to find peace within a blended family.

Melissa is an entrepreneur who runs several businesses. For over 13 years she has run a successful cleaning company along with her husband. They also have a business in the finance industry, where they train and develop financial advisors, as well as educate people about how money works, so that they can achieve true financial freedom. Additionally, she hosts the Blended family podcast, a weekly show about the many challenges and struggles today's blended families face. Having a blended family of her own for well over 10 years, she is now using her experiences to help others.  She lives with her husband, their four children, her mother in law, and two English bulldogs in the state of Florida.



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If your child doesn’t play well independently, chances are that you’re feeling overwhelmed. It’s a skill that needs to be learned and you can actually start teaching it from day one. In today’s show we discuss how to teach your child independent play skills at each developmental stage.


Just days after my thirtieth birthday, my whole world came crashing down. Although I had been perfectly healthy up until that point, I ended up having six surgeries in nine months. This week I’ll share about my personal heath journey, and what it was like to parent an infant and toddler in the midst of it all.


This week I will share with you four insights from the first week of my homeschool experiment. Whether you are starting the school year at home, or you just want to be ready to pivot to distance learning if need be, this episode was recorded will you in mind!
  • It’s not as hard as I thought it would be… And I actually enjoyed it! I feel closer to both of my kids already. It’s not that we don’t have our moments, but our first week went reasonably well.
  • I need to embrace the flexibility rather than be too rigid. If our schedule needs to change temporarily, then that is totally fine. This is a key benefit to homeschooling that I can’t let myself miss out on.
  • If I was going to do this long term I’d want to pick my own curriculum. Going with one that matches our local school’s curriculum is helpful since we want to transition back easily, but there are things about it that could be improved upon.
  • Positive feedback is key. For every piece of corrective feedback, I want to give two examples of what my kids are doing well.


This week we discuss five strategies to use when teaching your kids at home. The episode is for all parents of school-aged kids, because most will be starting the school year in distance learning. Those that aren’t will need to be prepared to do so on a moment’s notice.

1. You can’t do this alone. Enlist family and friends to help. Find social media groups to support you with ideas. Who is your village?
2. Get your home organized. Where will your kids do their school work? Choose a place with the least amount of distraction.
3. Get schoolwork organized. Use daily planners and have a designated place for folders and books.
4. A little bit of time goes a long way. Many homeschool kids in elementary school are able to get their academics completed within two hours per day. If your kids are distancing learning, you shouldn’t feel like you have to spend more time than that helping them with school work. Consider using nights and weekends, if your schedule during the day makes helping them with academics challenging. Give yourself the gift of time by teaching your kids to do things like make their own breakfast and prepare their own snacks.
5. If you aren’t using using a reward system yet, there has never been a better time to start. Whether you are homeschooling, distance learning, or just wanting a good after school routine a reward system is very helpful. Download my free guide by going to to learn how to create one that will work with your kids.


One thing all parents deal with from time to time is whining. This week we will cover three simple strategies to reduce whining in your home.

-A complaint is just a request, in disguise. Ask yourself is whether or not your kids know how to politely make a request. If not, then teach them how to.

-Develop a short rule to share with your kids. First sit down and tell your kids why you don’t want them to whine and what you want them to do instead. Then create a rule such as “Tell me a solution instead of the problem.”

-While you are are trying to train your kids to switch from whining to requesting, make sure that to honor appropriate requests as often as possible.


In this episode, we go over the historical background of spanking and some present day stats. We also discuss what behavioral science and psychology have to say about it and the most effective alternatives to it.

-People have been spanking their kids for a long time. Also, despite laws to the contrary in 60+ countries, there is evidence that most parents still spank.

-Psychology and behavioral science are largely opposed to spanking. This is because there is evidence that it is not very effective (i.e., other discipline tactics like time-out and loss of privileges are equally effective) and it may have long-term negative effects for some kids (i.e., it may lead to higher levels of aggression, mental health issues, and negative relationships with parents). 

-If you spank, you may put other caregivers at a large disadvantage. Your child may learn to comply when you are around to avoid a spanking, but not when other caregivers are around. 

-If you use the proactive strategies we often discuss on this podcast (e.g. rewards systems) , you won’t have to discipline as often. 


Summertime is already in full swing. Listen this week to learn three ways to survive summer in the midst of the new normal.

-Create structure. An easy way to do this is to create a list of things your kids do each morning. Do yourself a favor, and make sure the list contains enough things that your kids can do independently. 

-Set screen time limitations.  If your kids have iPads, go to the screen time section inside settings and set limits. You can limit the time of day and the amount of time.

-Give your child the gift of independence. Teach your kids to do something that they don’t currently know how to do. 

-Find a new way to connect with your kids this summer. This could be art projects, reading a chapter book together, cooking or baking together, or something similar. Choose wisely. Do something that you will like AND your child will like. It’s more about quality time and less about what the actual activity is. If it stresses you out, it’s probably not worth it.


Over the years Jessica Dahlquist from the Extraordinary Moms podcast has interviewed hundreds of mothers and learned valuable lessons from each one of them. This week she tells us all about what that experience has been like, as well as her own personal journey as a mother to three amazing boys of her own.

Find out more about Jessica by going to her website (, following her on Instagram (, Facebook ( , or emailing her at [email protected]

Her podcast is called Extraordinary Moms and can be found on all podcast platforms.


Apologizing is a very important skill for kids to learn. While most parents require their kids to say “sorry,” it is easy to stop there. In this episode, we break down how to teach our kids respectful and authentic apologies.

Here are steps that elementary-aged kids can follow when apologizing:

- Use a serious face; don't smile, scowl, or anything similar.
- Say the person’s name in the apology to make it personal.
- Make eye contact. It doesn’t necessarily have to be sustained, but at least when the person’s name is spoken it is good to look at their eyes.
- Explain what they are sorry or apologizing for. Just a “sorry” doesn’t cut it because it doesn’t acknowledge the wrong that happened.
- If possible, make the wrong right.


Dr. Michelle Cox, school counseling professor and mom of four, shares her perspective about how to talk to kids about race and racism.

Coming soon.


Dr. Talin Pratt, school psychologist and single mom of three multiracial kids, shares her perspective about how to talk to your kids about race and racism.


As parents we often decide that it’s time to teach our kids a particular skill. Other times, we are able to use a more child led approach. In this episode, I will walk you through how to identify and capitalize on teachable moments.

-Teachable moments happen all of the time. Sometimes, a teachable moment might just be capturing your child’s interest of the moment to teach them something new. For example, if your child is admiring a butterfly, you might teach them about the life cycle of caterpillars. Or, if your child asks for a new toy, you might teach them a chore or two to earn money to pay for it.
-Other teachable moments happen during a mini-crisis. For example, if your child spills their milk, you may teach them how to mop.
-Do not feel obligated to take advantage of each teachable moment. It would feel overwhelming to do that, since so much during your child’s day could be turned into a learning opportunity. Instead, just try to insert them here and there, when possible.


Though the majority of your effort should be on positive parenting strategies to prevent your child from acting out, sometimes you will still need to discipline them. Time-out can be effective, but only when done correctly. This week we cover the do’s and don’ts of time-out.

1) The first thing to keep in mind is that time-outs should only be used in some situations. When kids are doing an activity they don’t like (e.g., cleaning their room), time-outs don’t usually work. This is because sitting on time-out might actually be more fun than what they are supposed to be doing.

2) Time-outs should always be our Plan B. If you find that you are using time-out often, then it’s time to reconsider your Plan A approach. Plan A is all the things you are doing to prevent your child from acting out. Check out episode #51 as well as the e-book From Defiant to Compliant: Parenting Strategies That Just Work ( for more information about how to prevent your child from acting out.

3) Keep your emotions in check as best as you can when you put your kids on time-out. This is hard! Give yourself grace. Time-out doesn’t need to be this an overly negative experience. Instead, it can just be a time for you and your child to reset. The science tells us that if you use it correctly, your child will be less likely to act out next time.


Growth mindset is a buzz word right now. While it’s a very important skill for everyone to have, it is especially important for kids. This week we will go over five ways to help your kids develop a growth mindset.

1. Teach your child about growth mindset. If you don’t know exactly what to say, no worries. Amazon has a ton of great books that you can read to your kids to teach them in developmentally appropriate ways.

2. Change your vocabulary. For example, instead of telling your kids that they did great at something because they are smart, praise them for working hard. 

3. Reframe what your kids say when they display a fixed mindset. For example, if your child says they can’t do something encourage them to add the word “yet” to the end. For example, if they say, "I can’t read chapter books,” have them say “I can’t read chapter books yet.” Then help them plan how to gain the skills they need.

4. Let your kids fail. So often as parents we try to protect our kids from failure, but kids learn so much when they are allowed to fail. 

5. Sit down with your kids and help them develop SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time specific). Write them down, and then help instruct them in how they can realize those goals. Teach them what they need to do they need to do today to meet their goals tomorrow.


Today we will discuss four things you can start doing today to bring more peace and harmony to your home. When you start using these strategies, you child is more likely to listen… the first time you ask!

The content for this episode is actually a sneak peak into my new e-book From Defiant to Compliant: Parenting Strategies That Just Work. In the book I cover several other strategies that can be used alongside the four below. I also explain why your little one is behaving the way that they are and what you can do to successfully motivate your child to listen to you. Check out more about the book by going to

1. Front Load: Kids are less likely to act out if you’ve recently given them attention, when they aren’t bored, and when they aren’t being forced to do what they dislike doing. Of course they can’t always get what they want! However, if there is an important situation where you can’t afford to have them act out, plan ahead and "fill their cup" beforehand. 

2. Prime Transitions: Before transitioning to a new activity, give a warning when possible. For example, before leaving a friend’s house tell your son that he has five minutes left to play. Using a digital timer often makes this strategy even more effective. 

3. Break up Tasks: Before transitioning to a new activity, give a warning when possible. For example, before leaving a friend’s house tell your son that he has five minutes left to play. Using a digital timer often makes this strategy even more effective. 

4. Provide Choices: As parents, we make a lot of decisions for our children, and this can make them feel powerless at times. When possible, allow your child to make choices. This will probably decrease his or her frustration and likelihood of displaying challenging behavior. The only caveat is that it is not a good idea to allow your child to make choices after he or she displays challenging behavior. Instead, provide choices proactively.


Naps are a time for your child (and you!) to recharge. But what do you do if your child starts to resist a nap that they still need?! This week I’ll provide several tips to help you manage your kiddo’s next nap strike.
  • First of all, consider whether or not your child actually needs the nap. Once your child is past the newborn stage, many gradually fall into two naps (one before lunch and one in the afternoon). By around a year or a year and a half, many transition to one longer nap in the afternoon. Kids stop napping entirely at different ages, but often between three and five; some kids in kindergarten may still even nap. Check out what the National Sleep Foundation ( has to say about how much sleep kids need. Some basics are that toddlers need at least 12 hours of sleep (and maybe even closer to 14 hours).
  • Many kids don’t want to nap because they have some early onset FOMO. One of the easiest things you can do is consider if there is anything you can do to make the nap environment more inviting (e.g., get them a special snuggle toy they ONLY get during nap time, incorporate a sound machine, hang a dark curtain to block sunlight, incorporate a nap alarm, etc.).
  • Give them back some of the power. Specifically, maybe it would be enough if they could check in with you a few times before going to sleep. You can use a ticket system where they exchange a ticket to check in with you, and they can earn a prize if they don’t come out after they run out of tickets. Just try to ensure early success by giving them enough tickets. For example, if they typically get out of bed three times before falling asleep, consider giving them four tickets to start and fade back to less over time.


Parents have been comparing themselves to each other forever, but parents of today have it especially tough. In this episode we will go over five ways to fight off the comparison game.
  • You do you. If lists are decreasing your stress, then create lists and schedules. If you have tried them and they are increasing your stress level, find a way to feel organized and in control without creating a list. You can have “brainstorm” sessions as a family over a meal once a day to make a plan of what tomorrow will look like. You can settle into a routine that everyone understands and can plan on.
  • Be careful about social media and remind yourself that most of us post our best moments, rather than our worst. You might have had a hard afternoon, but noticed your child did something adorable and quickly snapped a picture. What are you likely to post?
  • Flip the script. For example, if you are feeling discouraged about your house being messy, you might think to yourself, “My house is always messy.” Train yourself to replace the “always” with “sometimes” and then think of three times that your house was clean in the recent past… Or maybe your house hasn't been clean. If that is the case, list out three positive things you did for yourself or others recently instead of cleaning. There is a reason you prioritized other things.
  • Stop taking on the world and find ways to lighten your load. If you have a spouse or significant other, sit down and discuss ways to lighten your load.  
  • Remove the chaff. Some of us have those negative Nancy friends in our life. They complain about everything, make you feel like less. Maybe it’s time to let go of those in our life who are pulling us down. 


Making parenting decisions is challenging, and it’s easy to not to agree with your spouse on what’s best. In this episode we’ll discuss five ways to parent on the same page as your spouse.
  1. Communication is very important. While this may seem obvious, it is often the most challenging. Pencil time into your schedule regularly (once a week, at a minimum) to have open and honest decisions. Do this before problems arise to act as a preventative measure, rather than a reactive one. 
  2. Write out your core parenting philosophy together. What is permitted and what isn’t, in terms of discipline? How you will you motivate your kids to behave in the ways you want them to?
  3. Back up your spouse or significant other in front of your kids when it comes to parenting decisions. It’s important for your kids to know that they cannot play you against each other. It’s important for one parent not to be constantly “rescuing” their kids from the other. If you strongly disagree with a decision your spouse or partner is making in real time, come up with a discrete symbol that signals to the other that you need to go to a quiet place to discuss the matter at hand. As a caveat, this does not pertain to domestic violence issues. Check out resources for DV by going to, the website for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
  4. Avoid being controlling. Your spouse won’t always do things exactly like you and/or exactly the way you want them to. Pick your battles, and praise their efforts. All of us need positive reinforcement on what we are doing right. Otherwise the situation will become aversive, and we will not even try. 
  5. Seek out counseling or parenting classes if you have tried the above strategies and are still struggling. My course is called Parenting with Confidence. Check it out here:


This week Kira and Deana from the Raising Adults podcast give us strategies we can use to raise our kids to become the independent and responsible adults we hope they will become.
Kira and Deana are committed to teaching parents how to raise their kids to become independent little humans! Two of the biggest takeaways from our episode together are below.
-Contemplate your “why” as a parent. It is the driving force behind the decisions you make on a day to day basis. For example, if one of the values you are focusing on during the current season is academics, then you will structure your day to ensure your kids get a great academic experience. On the flip side, a parent choosing to place the highest value on family time during the current season may opt to spend less time on academics in favor of more time to connect as a family. Overall, it is all about being purposeful about what you decide to do (and not do).
-One of the best ways to teach a child a new skill is to use a simple three-step process. First you show your child how to do it, then you help them do it, and then they do it independently. Kira and Deana call this I do it, we do it, you do it. Try it out!
Make sure to check out Kira and Deana:
-Podcast (on all podcast platforms): Raising Adults


This week the Prism Parenting podcast is collaborating with the We Turned Out Okay podcast to discuss family survival during the COVID-19 pandemic.
-Create a schedule for your days. This can be written down in words and/or pictures. If your kids are older it can just be discussed. Let your kids help you create it. Knowing what the day will look like will decrease everyone’s anxiety.
-Consider using a reward system with your kids. Check out my free guide that gives you guidance about how to do with kids of all different ages here:
-When teaching your kids at home, don’t be afraid to do what works for you and your kids. This might mean getting out of pajamas and into regular clothes to create a sense of normalcy, or it might mean staying in your pajamas to create fun in the midst of chaos. Also, don’t be afraid to focus your child’s time on learning what they actually enjoy. Find creative ways to teach them that wouldn’t be available in ordinary circumstances. Finally, don’t feel obligated to do all the work that the school gives your child to do if it isn’t working. Trauma limits our capacity to learn and to be productive. You might choose to extend screen time beyond what you normally allow, and that is okay. You do you!
-Here is a link to the list of activities (organized by level of parent involvement required) that are good for kids amid the pandemic:
-Karen has a multitude of parenting resources for you on her website: You can also sign up for her weekly newsletter for innovative ideas about how to maintain your sanity as a parent by going here: 



In part two of this interview with Dr. Michelle Maidenberg we focus on how to prevent anxiety in children and also how to manage it when our kids do experience it.

-Asking your child a lot of open ended questions and checking in with them often is helpful.
-Help your child understand that they shouldn’t feel guilty when they have feelings one way or another. They can control their behavior, but their thoughts cannot be controlled. 
-Have your child use basic mindfulness and mediation practices. These are skills that will need to be developed, so if they struggle with them first that is okay.
-Therapists can be a big help to children who are experiencing anxiety.

Check out:
-Michelle’s website for resources including “A letter to our children in the throws of coronavirus pandemic": 
-Michell’s book Free Your Child From Overeating: 53 Mind-Body Strategies for Lifelong Health:
-Michelle’s non-profit Thru My Eyes, which provides a legacy for the family members of those facing chronic and terminal illness:


Over the past decade or so, anxiety among kids has increased. As parents it’s hard to know what anxiety truly looks like in kids and how to respond. This week Dr. Michelle Maidenberg helps us better understand and navigate through this important topic.

Some of the highlights from the interview with Dr. Michelle Maidenberg:


Anxiety can have several causes. Genes often play a role and having family members diagnosed with anxiety can be a risk factor for kids. Also, situational factors/trauma often cause anxiety.
Anxiety is different than worry. In kids it often involves perseverating, overthinking, and hyper-focusing  on a thought or situation. Pessimism, overreacting, and a “chatty mind” are also associated with anxiety in children.
In part two of this interview we will focus on what parents can do if their kids are experiencing anxiety.
Check out:
-Michelle’s website for resources including “A letter to our children in the throws of coronavirus pandemic": 
-Michell’s book Free Your Child From Overeating: 53 Mind-Body Strategies for Lifelong Health: 
-Michelle’s non-profit Thru My Eyes, which provides a legacy for the family members of those facing chronic and terminal illness: 


This week’s show is a collaboration between Prism Parenting and This is Real Life with Jenn Blossom. In it we will first talk to an infectious disease doctor about her take on COVID-19. Then Heather and Jenn will get pragmatic on what this means for parents coping with a new normal.

Some of the highlights from the interview with Jenn and Dr. King are as follows:

-There hasn’t been a pandemic like this in a long time. The medical community doesn’t have all the answers yet. 

-For healthy individuals who get COVID-19, their symptoms might be minor.

-As tests become more easily available, the number of cases may go up quickly. However, the mortality rate may go down as milder cases are identified.

-Social distancing is helpful and necessary to help those who are elderly and/or immunocompromised. 

-Make memories with your kids during this challenging time. Show kindness.

Some of the highlights from discussion between Heather and Jenn are as follows:

-Stick to the truth but don’t blow it out of proportion. In my professional opinion it’s even wise to tell your three-year-old in a developmentally appropriate way what is going on. Even something simple like, “Some people are getting sick, so we are going to wash our hands extra today to get rid of germs,” is helpful. 

-Remind your kids of what you are doing to keep them safe. 

-Check in with your kids frequently about how they are feeling and ask a lot of open ended questions. It’s okay to say that you don’t know all of the answers. 

-Be mindful of your conversations with others that you are having in front of your kids. Even if your kids don’t completely understand what you are talking about, they can easily read your tone and body language. If you can stay calm it will help them to stay calm.

-Be careful of watching the news in front of your kids. 

-Creating schedules will help everyone feel more secure and stable.


We live in an age where helicopter parenting has become the norm. In this episode we’ll go over three things to consider when you are trying to decide how much freedom to give your kids. Per usual, we’ll focus on facts rather than fear.

Your kids are safer than you think. Rates of child mortality and abduction are significantly lower now than when we were growing up. 

Be wary of social media. At best it is probably making you a bit paranoid. Stories of unlikely situations spread like wildfire and feel commonplace. At worst, it’s perpetuating complete lies. For example, you may have a random thought or worry that isn’t grounded in fact. Chances are, there is a FaceBook group out there dedicated to perpetuating that worry. 

Freedom and responsibility go hand in hand... and your kids should have both. Start young, be purposeful, and don’t let fear trump fact.




Approximately one birth out of three is a traumatic experience. This week Dr. Rebecca Dekker from Evidence Based Birth comes on the show to discuss her new book Babies are Not Pizzas. She will break down what you need to know to feel knowledgeable and empowered as a parent navigating the healthcare system.

-About one in three births is traumatic. Traumatic birth includes a wide range of experiences including a life threatening situation for the baby and/or mother and psychological distress.

-Many of the practices that women’s health professionals use are outdated. Some are harmful.

-One of the best ways to prevent an unnecessary traumatic birth experience is to attend birth classes. These classes will help you and your partner feel empowered so that you can advocate for the type of birth experience that you want. Dr. Rebecca Dekker offers classes all over the US and abroad. Find out more here: 

-Another great resource to help you make informed decisions about you and your baby’s care is Rebecca’s book, Babies are Not Pizzas. Check out the first chapter of it for free by going here: 

-Make sure you you subscribe to the Evidence Based Birth podcast and follow Rebecca on IG (@ebbirth)!

-BONUS: Did you know that bed rest during pregnancy may actually be harmful rather than helpful? Check out the articles Rebecca referred to on the show here: 

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2015). Committee Opinion No. 650. Physical activity and exercise during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Obstet Gynecol, 126, e135–42.

Berger, R., Rath, W., Abele, H., et al. (2019). Reducing the Risk of Preterm Birth by Ambulatory Risk Factor Management. Dtsch Arztebl Int., 116(50), 858-864.

da Silva Lopes, K., Takemoto, Y., Ota, E., et al. (2017). Bed rest with and without hospitalisation in multiple pregnancy for improving perinatal outcomes. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, 3(3), CD012031. 

 Hendriks, E., MacNaughton, H., and MacKenzie, M. C. (2019). First Trimester Bleeding: Evaluation and Management. Am Fam Physician, 99(3), 166-174.

Kehler, S., Ashford, K., Cho, M. & Dekker, R. (2016): Experience of Preeclampsia and Bed Rest: Mental Health Implications, Issues in Mental Health Nursing.

Matenchuk, B., Khurana, R., Cai, C., et al. (2019). Prenatal bed rest in developed and developing regions: a systematic review and meta-analysis. CMAJ open, 7(3), E435–E445.



As people we are always deciding if our behavior is worth the effort. It’s no different with kids! This week I’ll help you to identify how to change your parenting approach to get the results that you want.

-Consider one behavior your child is currently struggling with. Do you think they continue to behave this way to get something (e.g., your attention or actual items) or are they hoping to get out of doing something they don’t want to do (e.g., chores, leaving the park, or homework). 

-Determine if they need help communicating their thoughts and feelings more appropriately. Kids need to learn how to get the outcomes they want in socially appropriate ways. If they don’t learn how to do this on their own, you may have to more explicitly teach them. Give them they words to say so that the next time they want something or don’t want something, they know how to tell you. 

-Next, identify what you will do when your child can't get what they want. Even if they ask in the most angelic way, kids can’t always get what they want. The good news is that you can use a reward system to motivate your child to do what you need them to do instead. 

-For example, your son might be arguing with you because he wants to delay his homework. Even if it doesn’t usually work, he knows there is a TINY chance that it might. That’s the outcome he wants. However, he might also really want to watch a certain program or eat a certain snack. If you had a reward system in place, then he might choose to comply even though he dislikes homework. Simply put, that show or snack is worth it to him; all of a sudden, you are tipping the scales and making his behavior worth the effort. 


Behavior always happens for a reason. Although we can’t always identify why it happens, often we can. On this episode I dive into what triggers behavior in the moment and (more importantly) what you can do about it.

Behavior can be best understood when it is broken apart into context and outcome.

Context is the situation immediately before to the behavior in question; it is the overall situation the child finds herself inside of. Based upon this context, appropriate behavior or inappropriate behavior can be triggered. Contexts trigger behavior. This explains why we act one way in one situation and another way in another situation.

The outcome is what happens as a result of the behavior. This is what your child actually gets as a result of their behavior. Outcomes are very important to understand if you want to change your child’s behavior. In the next episode we will focus on understanding and controlling outcome to get the results you want.

This week the focus is on changing the context to stop triggering meltdowns. To do this, consider what situations your kids are in when they have meltdowns. Then figure out what you are able to change about that context to improve it for your child. For example, if your child acts out when he or she is bored, what can you do to make them less bored? If it happens when they have too much screen time, then maybe you should limit screen time. Other common contexts that cause problems include the following: not getting enough sleep, not getting enough exercise, being hungry, lack of routine, lack of free time, etc.

Often identifying the issue with the context isn’t the problem. It’s actually making the decision to make a change. Like so many things, mindset is key.


As a parent, it is hard to know how to approach the topic of death and dying. Oftentimes the need to have this conversation emerges suddenly, and as a parent you want to feel prepared. This week I’ll cover four important things to know before having this conversation with your kids.

1. Be proactive. Start the conversation with them right away before others have a chance to, if at all possible. They know you and trust you, so it will be best coming from you. Also, it will help them avoid having to sort through inaccurate information. 

2. Be simple. Use words like “dead” and "death” rather than “passed away” or “fell asleep and didn’t wake up.” This helps your child more accurately understand what death is. Next, don’t feel the need to overshare. Tell them what they need to know, but not more. You can always add to the conversation later if something changes. 

3. Be supportive. Your kids may not react with the emotions you think they would have. That’s okay. Young kids may laugh, they may not seem to care, or they may be frightened. There is a whole host of ways they may react, and all the ways  above are developmentally appropriate for young kids. 

4. Be persistent. One conversation is often not enough. Check in with them frequently, since they may feel fine at first but then feel overwhelmed later.


For every kiddo that is thriving at school, you can bet there is another that is drowning. Your young child might be asking or even begging to stay home from school. Your teen may be taking matters into their own hands and ditching. In this episode I will tackle this issue from the perspective of young AND older kids.

For young kids, figure out why they don’t want to go to school.
- The first question to ask yourself is whether or not your child is asking to stay home because they want to hear your response. As loving parents, we of course are concerned for our kids emotional well-being. We want them to enjoy school. So when they come to us and say they don’t want to go to school, we can get all "mama bear" on them. And who doesn’t want their mom or dad’s protection? I’m not saying your kid is making up their feelings. No. But I am saying that sometimes we make the situation worse when we draw too much attention to it.
- If you don’t think that is the issue, the next thing to consider is this: Is it an academic issue? If the work is too hard, consider options to get more support (e.g., tutoring). Is it possible/appropriate to hold your child back a year? Kids don’t develop at the exact same pace, so perhaps your child isn’t ready yet. Is it a social issue? If that is the problem, ask for your teacher help. Maybe they can pair your son or daughter up with another student who might be a good friend. Social skills groups may be available and offered by the school counselor. Is the teacher the issue? Sometimes it’s just not a good match between your child and the teacher. If you have first tried to make it work to no avail, maybe you need to request a teacher change.

Unfortunately with older kids, we can’t “make” them do much of anything. Also, the consequences of their behavior are often out of our control, more severe, and long-lasting. Despite that, there is a lot you can do to support them.
- Request a meeting with the school counselor (without your child) to find out how they can provide support. Be wary of scare tactics where they want to bring in the school police officer, etc. That may be necessary and helpful eventually, but it’s not a great place to start. Instead, try to keep everything as positive as possible. because it might result in your child shutting down or being defensive.
- Consider asking the school to draft a behavior contract where you, the school, and your child make a commitment of what they will do to achieve an outcome. Providing a reward to your child meeting their end of the bargain is often helpful. Also outlining natural consequences for not attending school is suggested.
- Involve your child in the process as much as possible. What personal goals do they have? How will ditching school negatively impact those goals? How will attending school get them closer to those goals?
- Try to get the bottom of why your child is avoiding school. Ask the same sort of questions outlined for above for older kids: Is it because it is too hard? Issues with friends? Trauma from a specific event? The school might be able to connect your child with short-term group counseling or a few individual sessions. In the long-term, you may want to connect your child with a mental healthcare provider (e.g., social worker, therapist, etc.) that can help.
- Some kids that struggle with depression or anxiety qualify for special education services because their condition impacts their ability to adequately access education. This may increase their likelihood of avoiding school. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in 5 kids is impacted by a mental health condition. If you think that your child might be, you may need to request a full psycho-educational evaluation from the school. Kids who qualify receive a combination of free academic accommodations and/or modifications, counseling services, and more.


As we raise our kids in the 21st century, it is hard to know how to support them academically. This week I’ll talk about how to prepare young kids for school and some alternative settings to consider for older kids who aren’t thriving in the traditional public school setting.

Coming soon.


Lying is just one of those things that can get under your skin as a parent. Even when it happens at developmentally appropriate ages, it’s hard. How SHOULD you handle it when your kiddo lies to you? This week I’m going to give you three things to consider before deciding how to react when your child lies to you.
  • First of all try not to react emotionally, and take a moment to think about the situation as objectively as possible. How old is your child? Developmentally, kids typically aren’t capable of lying until about 4 years of age. Even then, they usually aren’t good at it yet. If your child is late preschool to early elementary, chances are you will often know when they lie. This is a good thing, because it means you can greatly influence their behavior in this area. So try not to get upset and focus on turning into a teaching moment.
  • Second, consider giving a second chance, especially if your child doesn’t usually lie and is remorseful. There is a difference between habitually lying and occasionally lying. Every child lies sometimes. And if your child is sorry, then extending them forgiveness models good conflict relolution. If you do decide to give your child a second chance, explain why trust is an important part of any relationship. If trust is broken, you may have to make changes. For example, if your child lies about using an iPad when they aren’t supposed to, the consequence might be that the iPad gets put out of reach of the child if the behavior happens again. Even if it does happen a second time, you might consider telling your child that putting it up isn’t a punishment. It’s just what you as the parent have to do to keep them safe, but that eventually trust can be rebuilt. Explain to them how they can earn back your trust.
  • Third, if you strongly suspect your child is lying but they won't fess up, you can give them two options. One is that they tell you the truth now, and the two of you can come up with a consequence together. However, if they don’t confess but you confirm later that they were lying, then the consequence is going to be ________. You fill in the blank. Try to choose something that relates to what they are lying about, if possible. Keep in mind that it is sort of a catch-22. If it’s too terrible you might run the risk of teaching them to be skillful liars to avoid punishment. On the flip side, if you never give consequences when your child admits they have lied to you, then you might find yourself in a situation where your son or daughter frequently and flippantly lies and apologizes. It’s a delicate balance. 


Everyone’s parenting journey is unique, and I truly believe we can learn so much for each other’s experience. This week I have Abbey Williams from Mimosas with Moms talking about her personal journey as mom. From being a single mom, to being a mom of a blended family, to how to know when to take your child to see a therapist and beyond. You are going to love this week’s show!

Show Notes:

*Check out Abbey on IG here ( for daily inspiration to help get through this crazy beautiful thing we call parenting:

*Find her on FB here (

*Listen to her podcast Mimosas with Moms (


Some kids are easy to motivate. They sort of naturally have their eye on the prize, and all you have to do is remind them of where they are headed. For other kids it can sometimes feels like NOTHING motivates them. The good news is I’m truly convinced that that every child can be motivated. Some are just trickier than others to figure out. In this episode, I’ll cover three ways to troubleshoot if your child is hard to motivate.

Show notes:

Don’t be afraid to be creative. If your child won’t work to GET something, maybe they will work to GET OUT of something (like a chore that he or she doesn’t like).

Interview your child. This may sound obvious, but often we parents make assumptions about what our kids SHOULD want. Sometimes we are wrong. One of the things I talk about is the importance of getting your child’s buy-in, and this definitely increases their buy in.

Sometimes all it takes is setting up clear boundaries and structure where FIRST they have to do what they don’t want to do and THEN they get to do what they actually want to do.


The new year is a great time to reflect on what is working and make changes to what isn’t. This week I am replaying an episode I did earlier this year with my husband, Nate. In it I will give you several ideas to make 2020 the year you are intentional on what you opt out of as a family, so that you can opt into what actually matters.
There are only so many hours in the day, and by saying yes to things, you are also saying no to others. Be purposeful and intentional with these choices. 
  • As a family, for now we have decided to say no to organized sports so we can say yes to sports we do as a family. 
  • For those of two-parent households, prioritizing your relationship with each other benefits the entire family. 
  • A weekly date night (either going out or cooking together once our kids are in bed) is one way that we are doing this in our family. 
  • Serving others in need is a great way to bring your family together. 
  • As a family we are involved with a non-profit called Safe Families for Children (, where we take in kids to our home from time to time. This has been a blessing in our home and inspired some great conversations. 


The holidays can be a lot of fun, but the lack of structure and increased time together can make everyone start to go a little crazy. This week I will give you three tips to thrive with your kids this holiday break rather than just survive.

1. Minimize- Take some time to go through your kids' toys and donate what they no longer play with. The more toys they have, the more things that will be on their floor (and all over your house). One of the things parents tell me they fight about with their kids is cleaning up.

2. Organize- Create a schedule for the days that you have off together. Have your kids participate in creating it to increase their buy-in.

3. Revitalize- Take time to reflect on your relationship with your child. What is going well? What is an area that is a stumbling block? So much of improving our relationship with our kiddos starts with a shift in mindset. We know the right things to do, but don’t always do them. What is one thing that you can do differently to make the holiday break a better time for you and your kids?


The toddler years are a blessing and a curse at the same time. On the one hand, it’s amazing to see your little one’s personality come to life! Yet there is a reason that the term threenager was coined. In this episode I will give you three things to do to improve your relationship with your kiddo and reduce the number of meltdowns.
- Providing choices gives three year olds back some power. In a world where they want control, but have very little of it, a few choices can go a long way.

- Secondly, make sure to keep your language simple… ESPECIALLY when your kids are upset. Kids at this age have limited language skills. When you couple that with spikes in cortisol and other stress hormones that occur when they get upset, the result is that they understand VERY little of what you say when they are upset. Limit the number of words in the sentences you say to them when they are upset.

- Consider why the behavior is happening. Does your child want to get something from you? If so teach them how to request what they want appropriately, teach them to wait, and teach them to accept alternatives when what they want is not available. Do they want to get out of doing something? If so, consider if it’s a “can’t do” thing or a “won’t do” thing. If they can’t do it (or it’s very difficult), make it easier for them. If they can do and and won’t do it (but it’s still something that needs to be done), you may need to use consequences like loss of privileges or hand over hand assistance.


As a parent, nothing breaks your heart like when your kiddo gets sick. You want to do everything in your control to help your little one feel better. Sometimes this can get you into to trouble though. When kids are sick parents can inadvertently foster behavior problems that can stick around long after the illness is gone. Our conversation this week is all about giving our kids the extra love they need when they don’t feel well, without creating behavior issues that persist.
1. As much as possible, plan ahead. Rather than not following through with what you ask, try to ask LESS of your child. For example, it would be better to pick up your child’s toys for them without asking for their help, than ask them to help, have them complain and argue, and then give in. As always, no mom or dad guilt allowed. If you do happen to give in when your child acts out, give your child grace, give yourself grace, and then move on. However, by trying to plan in advance, you can MINIMIZE this how often this happens.
2. Create an environment that is comfortable, but not overly stimulating. For example, if your child has unlimited screen time when he or she is sick, then they might not be able to nap as much as needed. There is a lot of research to suggest that watching screens may make it challenging to fall asleep for all of us. I’m not suggesting NO screens, just not an unlimited amount. Plus, if you happen to have kids who would rather be home than at school, your kids might feel compelled to take a LOT of sick days.
3. Be mindful about medicine. I know that as a parent, anytime my kids have a fever my first thought is to give them pain medicine. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do that (definitely consult with your pediatrician, especially regarding infants), but before you do I challenge you to consider a few things first. If their fever goes away, will they still feel compelled to rest or will they overexert themselves? Also, what if having a fever is actually what they need? There is some interesting research that suggests having a fever might actually HELP your child fight whatever illness they have. Check out the Mayo Clinic website ( for more details.



As a mom, I often feel like I am juggling- career, marriage, parent, and more. It’s not just me, right? It is easy to feel overwhelmed. This week I am interviewing Lindsay Preston from the Become an Unstoppable Woman podcast about goal setting, work/life BLEND rather than BALANCE, and more. She will even share some of her personal journey about what it was like to suddenly be a single parent in her late twenties, and how she used this challenging experience to get where she is today.
- Lindsay is a certified life coach. Her passion is teaching goal-getting, fear-facing women the neuroscience-backed process for life-long success. If you loved Lindsay, check out this free assessment ( to see if working with her is a good fit for you!
- You can find her on IG here ( and listen to her Become an Unstoppable Woman podcast here (
- In our interview together Lindsay shared a lot of great insights. One of the biggest take-aways had to do with minimizing mom-guilt. Specifically in today’s culture we shouldn’t feel guilty for achieving work/life BLEND rather than BALANCE. For example, we might feel guilty for writing that email while we sit on the park bench while our kids play at the park. This is because the notion of work/life balance suggests that we need to leave work at work. The problem is that in today’s workplace, that is not always feasible. However, there are upsides to this as well! Today’s parent is sometimes able to do some work from home and flex their time. So long as it goes both ways, this can be a positive thing. Going back to the park example, the very fact that the parent is AT the park with their kiddo might be a result of this blend.



Ever wonder what you can you do to raise grateful little humans?! This week is Thanksgiving, and I think it is the perfect time to contemplate this topic. In this episode I’ll go over three practical ways to do just this. For the fun of it, I’ve also included a short interview with my daughter, Ady.
1) Make a decision as parents to model being content and grateful. Being grateful is wanting what you have and nothing more.
2) Make sure your kids have some “skin” in the game. Use a reward system so that they begin to understand what it’s like to actually have to earn some of what they have.
3) Make a habit of serving your community together as a family. Our family is a host family for Safe Families for Kids (



A lot of times when are kids act out, it’s because they want us to give them something or they want to get out of something they don’t like doing. But what about sensory processing?! Sometimes our kids do something (or don’t do it) because of the sensation it provides. How should we respond when our kids act out because of unique sensory needs? This week I’m interviewing Wendy Bertagnole from the Exceptional Parenting Podcast to discuss this important topic. You will love Wendy’s approach to this topic because she is very child-centric and empathetic.
In this episode Wendy talks about seven cups of sensory processing that vary in their size from small to large. If you child has a small cup in one of the seven areas, then he or she will have a difficult time handling sensations related to that cup, and if it is large then he or she may feel the need to do whatever it takes to get more of the sensations related to the cup. Knowing this, you can do your best to create an environment that accommodates your child’s unique sensory needs and work with your child to expand or contract the size of their cups when possible and appropriate. If this topic resonates with you, make sure you check out her free cheat-sheet about how to tame tantrums.
( ) and follow Wendy on instagram ( You can also listen to Wendy’s show called the Exceptional Parenting Podcast (



If there is a more dreaded conversation as a parent, then I am not aware of it... Yep that’s right. I’m talking about the birds and the bees conversation. However, in our world today kids are learning about sex and pornography at surprisingly young ages. What age should we start talking to them about this? How should we do it? This week I am interviewing Emily Gaudreau from the podcast How to Raise a Maverick about this very topic. You do not want to miss this interview! Personally I walked away with so much new information and ideas to use in my own home, and I know you will too.
Emily Gaudreau is a Colorado native on a mission to end child sexual abuse. She's armed with a microphone and seriously black coffee. Emily's proud to have created a powerful nature-based abuse prevention program that is changing the way parents talk to their kids about sex. She helps people all over the world show the kids in their lives that LOVE is worth fighting for.
Connect with Emily:
-Visit her website:
-Listen to her podcast called How to Raise a Maverick:



This episode goes out to all the tired parents out there desperate for answers! In it I interview Samantha Day who is a mom of two, children’s author, and certified child sleep expert. Samantha reveals some tips and strategies to guide parents down the path to a more rested and happy home.
If you enjoy this week’s episode, make sure you connect with Samantha! She provides several resources through social media, her podcast called Happy Days Rested Nights, and her two children's books that model healthy sleep habits. You can find out more and connect with her in the following ways:

Website -

Instagram -

Facebook -

and for immediate assistance options -



Parents can be so divisive at times, and this is especially true about certain hot topics. One such topic is infant sleep training. If we look at extremes when it comes to this topic, in one camp are parents and professionals that say sleep training is ESSENTIAL for both baby and mother. They even go as far to say that if you don’t sleep train you are causing some sort of harm to your baby. In the other camp are the people who say letting your baby cry AT ALL will cause irreversible damage to them. Here is the deal, most of us parents and professionals fall somewhere in between, and I am not an exception. As a sneak peak into the episode, I am a firm believer that there are several things you can do to help your child learn to self-soothe at a younger age. That being said, I am all about empowering moms and dads; you are the expert in terms of your baby and your family! Listen to this episode and then decide for yourself what is best for your family.
Babies aren’t born with the ability to self-soothe. It is something they learn. Parents of young kids often talk about the glorious future when their kiddo will “sleep through the night.” Interestingly, babies don’t actually sleeping though the night. Basically what happens is that they continue to periodically wake up during the night, but eventually don’t need your help to go back to sleep.

Here is the good news. The research shows that most kids will sleep through the night without major intervention. That’s right, no matter what you do or don’t do, most of the time kids "sleep through the night" by about one year of age. That being said, here are several things you can do to help your child learn to self-soothe:

-Little babies often only eat for very short periods of time before falling asleep. It can be helpful to try to keep them awake (by tickling their toes etc.) to feed for increasingly longer periods of time so that once they are a few months old you can start to use a (loose) schedule with them.
-If you adopt a feed, play, and then sleep schedule (rather than a play, feed, and then sleep), then you can rock your baby to sleep rather than feed them to help them fall asleep. Of course in middle of the night, you will most likely just feed them and put them back to sleep. This will allow you avoid a strong association between feeding to fall asleep.
-Eventually, you can start putting your child in their crib a few times per day (e.g., when you need to shower, cook, or do other activities) when they are drowsy rather than sleeping. This might mean that they cry for a while before falling asleep, but the research shows that babies that get love and affection all day but are allowed to cry for short periods of time are not negatively impacted.
-One common method of infant sleep training is the Ferber method where parents allow kids to cry for a designated period of time, but then come in and comfort their child (without taking them out of their bed) for a bit before repeating as many times as necessary. This has shown to be an effective method of sleep training. Even if you don’t use this method, you can start to wait a few minutes to see if your baby will go back to sleep on their own when they wake up in the middle of the night.



Throughout life, certain events stand as a marker in time that distinctly separate the old from the new. Recently our family experienced one of those events. In a previous episode I mentioned that my son has ADHD and we were contemplating medication. Fast forward to today, my son has been on meds for a little over a month, and it has truly been a game changer for him. In this week’s episode I am going to do something a little different. Rather than ME talking about what the last month has looked like, I’m going to play an interview I did with my son so that HE can tell you with his own words what this experience has been like.
Since this week is primarily an interview with my son Landon about his unique journey with being diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed medication, the show notes are limited. I do want to emphasize that this week’s show reflects my son’s unique experiences. You might be fully against using medication for ADHD. That’s okay! As usual, I fully support YOU as the parent doing your best to help your child navigate life’s challenges.



The cultural norm when I was a child was processed food. Fast forward to today, some people have become so obsessed with clean eating that they have developed eating disorders. In response an approach called intuitive eating was born. It’s been very helpful at helping those with disordered eating, but is it an approach you should use with your kids who don’t have an eating disorder? This week I will give you my take as a behavior analyst on using intuitive eating with kids. You can also check out my video blog on this topic:
As a sneak peak into the episode, I think there are several GREAT things about this approach that you should consider adopting with your kids.
Some of the positive things about using this approach with your kids include the following:
  • It calls out "diet culture." Dieting involves restricting food groups and food amounts. Research shows that dieting results in weight fluctuations and a lot of mental health issues. It also is linked to a risk of developing an eating disorder.
  • It helps teach your kids to get in touch with their body’s hunger cues.
  • It encourages your child to make age-appropriate choices about what they eat, how much, etc.

There also a few things that you may want to think twice about. Some specific thoughts I share include:

  • Very little research about using this approach with kids currently exists.
  • Kids often need to try things several times before learning to enjoy eating them. This approach may discourage kids from trying things enough times.
  • Some food is more nutritious than others. In my professional opinion, highlighting this does not mean your child will develop an unhealthy relationship with food. 



The other day someone asked me, “Are you enjoying every single minute?" Mind you, my husband and I were leaving a restaurant with our two kiddos, and it had been a pretty typical evening out... complete with a meltdown or two! To that well-meaning lady, I said “Definitely not every movement!” Probably due to my blunt (but friendly) tone, she raised her eyebrows at me a bit before winking. This week on the podcast, I talk about the fact that it's okay not to enjoy every moment. I will walk you through five things you can do to get through particularly challenging moments (and even whole seasons!) of this crazy thing we call parenting.
-Admit to yourself (and a close friend!) that you are going through a challenging season with your kids.
-Do some inventory regarding self-care. What are you currently doing (or NOT doing) to take care of yourself.
-Shift some responsibility to your spouse, if at all possible.
-Seek out more specialized assistance such as counseling, if you think the issue maybe more related to depression or anxiety than the circumstances.
-If the issue centers around your kids acting out, consider making a change. For example, you could try using a reward system.

For older episodes, please go to prism parenting podcast archive.


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