Resource for Parenting

Susan Borison and Stephanie Silverman, best friends and co-founders of Your Teen Media, are bringing their magazine to life. From interviews with the experts and authors to discussions of trending topics and personal stories, Your Teen with Sue and Steph is an essential guide to raising teens today.

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Embracing the Gift of Failure

Sue and Stephanie are thrilled to be sharing their first episode of Your Teen with Sue and Steph! They share the origins of Your Teen Media, share some of their most meaningful "a-ha" moments as parents, and are joined by friend of the show Jessica Lahey, author of The Gift of Failure.

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Steph: Today’s episode is sponsored by College Board, because your child’s road to college is full of twists and turns, and College work can guide you along the way. Visit them at SAT.org/yourteen. You’ll be glad you did.

Sue: Hi I’m Susan Borison.

Steph: And I’m Stephanie Silverman and we’re the co-founders and owners of Your Teen Media, the resource for raising tweens and teens. We’ve been running the company for, we dispute this, but we think about eleven or twelve years. So 2008. Sue says 2007 and it grew out of a personal passion. I’m going to have my lovely business partner tell that story.

Sue: So I have five kids. They were getting older as people do. And my oldest was starting to, in high school, be looking at colleges and I was feeling very devastated at the idea of her leaving home. And so I thought, “I probably should get out of their way.” There was a little too much free time on my hands and I don’t think I was doing anyone a favor. So I was like, “Well what am I going to do next. I don’t want to go back to practicing law. What’s my next idea?” And I always told my husband, “I wish there was a parents magazine for parents of teenagers.” And he always said to me, “Why don’t you do one?” But I was like, “I don’t want to do it. I want to read it.” And then there was this moment where I was like, “I’m kind of wondering what to do with the rest of my life. Maybe this is a moment to try this.” And so I thought, “I’d better check and see. Am I the only one who wants a magazine for parents of teenagers?” And so I would just kind of ask people, were they looking for information, did they feel like they were good at parenting their teenagers? And it was universal that everybody was struggling with this idea of like, “I don’t know what to do. Where’s the parenting Bible? I have no guidance here and I’m a little lost.” And on top of that all the resources disappeared, meaning friend resources really disappear because we don’t really want to tell our friends what’s going wrong in our house for fear that the answer is this kind of, “Ugh, really I’m so sorry you’re dealing with that.” When in fact that is the worst answer because now I’ve just been left out there to dry alone feeling like I’m the only one dealing with this. And more importantly they just left that conversation and went to another friend and said, “Saw that coming.” So it shuts down every single avenue of friendship to talk about it. It makes it virtually impossible. On top of that, the stories are no longer ours, they’re our kid’s, so there’s this component of betrayal. Like, “Do I share what just happened in my house? If my kid gets wind of it, that’s it for our relationship.” So unlike, I think we used to believe, parenting is not a cumulative skill set. Adolescence turns everything upside down. And we were just all desperate for information. So that was after doing all of that informal research and it became clear that this was a project we should move forward on. And when I say project I mean project because we had no idea we were going to turn this into a business and be called entrepreneurs and do it 24/7. Yeah that was the impetus for Your Teen Magazine.

Steph: When I was sitting here thinking about when we were talking about doing the podcast and we were talking about what the theme of the first one was going to be and I said, “Oh you know we should dedicate this to each other’s children.” So when we talk about a betrayal we will not call them out by name but I feel like it would not be fair, for lack of a better word, to not acknowledge our eight collective children who have been our little science experiments along the way. And we have, you know, it’s like one giant petri dish that we’ve gotten to observe them and they range in age I think from 30 maybe?

Sue: Oh no, don’t do that, she’s 29.

Steph: Oh excuse me. 29. Down to 16. The eight of them. So we’re gonna dedicate this to each other’s kids and to our own kids because I think that is really what the story is about us.

Sue: I just want to say that someone right now is saying, “There’s no way she has a 29 year old.”

Steph: Exactly! “If she’s 20, how can she have a twenty nine year old?” It’s totally true.

Sue: And this section that we thought we would talk about was the moments that really stand out as transformational for our business. So I don’t know if the next one’s quite as big. It had a really big impact on me. I was at a Cavs game because we’re in Cleveland and we were watching Lebron James, the good old days, and I’m sitting next to a woman who keeps looking over at me and I have this running joke. Everyone thinks they know me. I have the most regular face. And so I always just kind of sit there going, “Oh, they think they know me.” And I could tell by the way she was looking at me. And so she ends up chatting with me and she kind of, you know, moves into what she does. Then she goes, “So what do you do?” And I tell her what I do and she goes, “I knew it! I knew it! I knew that was the person who does the magazine!” And she hits her husband on the shoulder and she goes, “That’s the woman who runs Your Teen Magazine!” And he looks at her like, “What’s that?” And she goes, “You know those articles I make you read.”

Steph: [Laughter]

Sue: And so I walked away from that, number one, so flattered that we had somehow attained some local fame which was so much fun. But also we always wonder who reads the magazine. We knew moms did. And anecdotally we heard about kids kind of sneaking the magazine because they didn’t want their parents to know they were curious but they would read it and then they’d put it back where they found it. And we wondered about dads. But really the story is the dads read whatever the moms shove in front of them.

Steph: Yeah.

Sue: Because they say, “Oh my God this is what’s happening in our house. Read this article.”

Steph: Yeah mom is like the clipping service I think. It’s excellent.

Sue: Right?

Steph: That is excellent.

Sue: So another thing we were talking about was our most terrifying moments. Which on one hand I think we both jotted down at first “every day” but that’s a little vague.

Steph: So you want to talk about…

Sue: Yeah I’m gonna say that Stephanie and I got this feedback the first time we spoke at an event. One of our mentors came up afterwards and said, “You know I think we weren’t sure first if this was a compliment or not.” But he said—

Steph: It wasn’t.

Sue: Thanks punchline.

Steph: Hey can we cut that out?

Sue: So he comes up to us and he says, “Wow you two sound so different when you talk in front of a roomful of people.” You know we were kind of like waiting, “Is this is this flattery or criticism?” And it turned out that we, you know, we lost our voice. We just lost our voice when we stood up and so every time it was terrifying and then, I wish I could remember the moment where it stopped being terrifying, but it’s like, you can’t artificially improve on public speaking you have to keep getting up knowing you’re going to make a fool of yourself, knowing that you’re not going to feel like your own self with your heart pounding and there’s no other way because all of a sudden one day I don’t think we even acknowledged it. We like it now.

Steph: Oh my God I totally.

Sue: Yeah. It’s like a whole different experience.

Steph: We should have let them know because what time are we gonna do this till midnight now? [Laughter] This is great.

Sue: We’re never getting off.

Steph: But I think you touch on, which is another I would say one of our fears, is this idea of being a fraud, like you were saying. But you really are a fraud that you just keep doing it. And we’ve had people say, “Well how’d you get so good at that?” I was even thinking about our division of labor between us, how Sue has editorial, I have the business side, and then we run the company together. But I don’t know, we just honed our craft and we kept doing it. It’s not like we had a playbook, much like parenting frankly. It’s not like we knew how to do either of these things. I think we both certainly had some skills in those areas to start. Which certainly helps but I would definitely say that those skills have really, each day, just get better and better and the things that come out of our mouth are truly shocking I think to both of us.

Sue: Genius actually.

Steph: Exactly. Exactly. We should talk about parenting because I think that’s what we do.

Sue: I think that’s what we talk about.

Steph: So we were talking about moments that changed our parenting. So I’ve got a few that really are my go to moments that I share with a lot of people. And so one of my my favorite people is Lisa Damour, and she has a new book out. If you have not gotten it you must because it’s amazing. And she said we started working with her—

Sue: Under Pressure.

Steph: Under Pressure is the name, it is her second book and it sits right on top of her other book Untangled on my nightstand because they’re both so good. One of the things, when we started it, we met her she was actually pregnant with her youngest. And so this probably goes back eight or nine years ago and she was talking about, and she specializes in research on girls, and she was talking about girls who they come home, you know preteens, teens, and their heads about the spin off and, “This one happened and then Sally did this and blah blah blah.” And she gave us this advice and my daughter at the time was I think 5 or 6. And the advice was, you’re supposed to look at your kid and say, “Are you telling me this because you need me to fix something, or you do just need to vent?” I remember thinking, “Wow, that’s pretty brilliant.” And I remember saying to Lisa, “Can I use that now?” I mean my daughter was little and she goes, “Oh yeah absolutely!” And so I would say that to her all the time. And then couple of years go by, she comes home one day and her head is spinning off and then, you know, I looked at her and said, “You know are you saying this because you need to vent or you need me to fix it?” No no. Excuse me I take that back. She came in and she was rambling and before I could say anything she stopped herself and she said, “Oh Mom it feels so good to vent.” And so she had incorporated it into her language and I thought it was such a brilliant, brilliant strategy. And so I tell every mother to use that. Two other things that come to mind is we talk about these conversations that we have with our kids. That it’s, “Oh do you have the sex conversation? Did you have the drug conversation? Did you have the weed conversation?” And I don’t remember, Sue you might remember, because we’re so good at remembering things together, who said to us for the first time, “You know it’s not one conversation.” It’s just that we—

Sue: Because everyone says it also it’s so hard to remember.

Steph: Yeah it’s— But I thought that was so great because I would walk away from a conversation with one of the kids and thought, “Wow I really sucked on that one.” And then realized, “Wait I can go back to it.” Which is related to my next comment, which is about going back to conversations. And I love, love having to go back to the kids and say, “You know I kind of messed that up. I am really sorry. Like I yelled at you.” One of them they’ll say to me, “Why are you getting mad at me? You’re just mad at him and you’re taking it out on me.” And in the moment I could never recognize it. “That’s not true! I’m not mad at you! I’m not mad at you I’m mad at him.” And then I would go back or you know that night be thinking about it like, “They are so right.” And going back to that kid and saying, “You were so right. I was wrong. I was mad at him and I shouldn’t have done it. And I hope you can forgive me.” And I love that idea of going back and apologizing. One they see you’re human but two, I feel like all my kids learned how to apologize. That they saw like it was so such a natural human condition to just be wrong and feel bad about it.

Sue: I have three parenting moments, moments that changed my parenting life. Actually I have a thousand but I picked three. One of them I felt badly because I heard this guy Paul Tough speak, and I think three of my kids were maybe already out of the house or at least done having me parent them, and he spoke about grit. And it was so compelling to me to hear the way he discussed failure, which now is very vogue to talk about, but then was really new and and fascinating. The idea that we’re better off dealing with our failures and learning from them than just sailing through life. Like sailing through life, if you’re old you’re in your 30s the first time you have a big fall, you don’t have any muscle built up around grit. Which is the idea of every time something happens you get a little better at handling those disappointments and those moments. And I left his speech and I remember thinking like, “My whole head just took an entire shift. I am going to create a mental chart of grit for my kids and everyday when they come home from school and they tell me some terrible story it’s going to be a positive check in a box that says this was a great day for grit.” And it changed how I parented probably in the most significant way of anything because instead of being the parent who used to say, “What happened? They said what?” I mean this whole kind of inflaming the emotion and validating how serious that whatever happened was, I took it down for my kids after that, I really took it down and said, “Yippee. Today was a great day for grit.” So that I think was the most significant change in my parenting and I saw my kids react so differently. I also have a favorite, favorite person that I go to, Amy Speidel, and she is a parenting coach. I don’t think there’s a time when I don’t talk to her that I don’t cry, and not because she means to make me cry, but it goes somewhere deep inside of me where I have this feeling like, “I can do better and I will do better.” And I had a moment not too long ago where I called her about something that a kid did and I was sure she needed to see my kid because the behavior was so outrageous. And after about 10 minutes it was clear that I needed to see her, which is always disappointing because it’s so much more fun if it’s the kids fault. And she gave me lots of language to use and lots of great advice but the really big takeaway for me from that night, aside from the fact that what my kid did was not anything out of the norm, I just hadn’t experienced it before so to me it was so outrageous. But the real takeaway for me was that when I made my kid behave in a certain way, because it was the rules in our house, I was taking away a lot from my child. And I did I took the keys away from this kid. There were rules around what she had to do over the next hour or whatever period it was. And Amy said to me, “There’s a strong likelihood that she will at some point throw the keys at you.” Because she said, “She’s going to need to go take the car and get homework or do something. And if I were you I’d give her the keys. But tell her she has to come right back and give you the keys.” And she said, “She’s going to come back and she’s probably going to throw the keys and swear at you, and I would suggest that you ignore it. Because you have taken her pride away from her. You’ve taken everything—” I’m going to cry now thinking about it. And that moment was so significant because I think it took away this feeling of I am the boss of her and it made me look at myself as an ally for her, like I want her to learn things in life. I want that to be our relationship as a parent child. But I don’t want to diminish her. And so letting her take just a little piece that she could own of like I’m throwing the keys and I’m swearing, which she did by the way, it played out exactly as Amy predicted. That was really like an an astonishing moment for me. And then the third thing for me, it started when we began the business actually. We had this wonderful group of women once a week sitting around the table telling stories. And there was almost an indiscernible moment where everyone shed that facade of perfection and just started coming to the table with things that were happening with their kids. And we all just had that feeling that we had when we had playgroups when our kids were little where we could say like, “My kid is not sleeping through the night.” Or, “The nursing isn’t going well.” Or, “The toilet training isn’t going well.” And we could say those things without any judgment and offer each other advice and all of a sudden this weekly meeting turned into that. We built a village for ourselves and it was just like this moment of, “Yes we can do this for other parents as well.” And we continue to sit down and talk about ways that your team can create villages for parents where they can feel less isolated and less alone. So I think both Stephanie and I are so grateful as parents to have gone through this experience and be able to grow.

Steph: I can’t imagine, I said that to someone the other day, that raising the kids through the lens of your teen, my oldest was ten or eleven when we started. So he was really just about right. He was in those tween years and our access to experts locally and nationally right? And giving us this great advice like you know so many examples that Sue just gave about failure, and grit, and all these pieces that feel so… The pressure of that as a parent and feeling like, “Oh how could I possibly let that happen to this little child I’m supposed to protect?” And you know they may be 10, they could be 16, but they look like they’re two or you remember them as being two. But being able to have, I would say, I know for me it’s feeling like… It’s going to be OK and that someone has given me, maybe it’s the leeway or the latitude is probably the word, someone has given me the latitude to let some of those things play out. And that is so comforting as a parent especially in today’s climate I would say.

Steph: So I’ve been thinking about the saying that the third time’s a charm. So I have one college graduate, one in college and now a rising junior, and I realized very recently that I am back in the college game. So she, like most juniors, will be taking her first SAT next spring in her junior year, which is so crazy. And so I keep thinking about how it’s her first time and how am I going to guide her through that because it has changed since each of the other kids went through. And I’ve been spending some time on the College Board website which has a great college search tool, scholarships, SAT information, and just getting myself ready to help her in the best way that I can.

Sue: And for all you parents out there who don’t know this, they offer the SAT seven times a year. And while nobody should encourage their kid to take it seven times, it’s incredibly valuable to realize that your child can take it again. And kids do take it more than once and they do see improvement. We’re super grateful to have College Board as our sponsor. And you should check out their website.

Steph: sat.org/yourteen. Lots of great information.

Sue: We’re super excited about our first guest ever. She writes about education, parenting, and child welfare for The Atlantic, Vermont Public Radio, and the New York Times. She’s also the author of the New York Times best selling book, The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go so Their Children Can Succeed. Hey Jessica!

Jessica Lahey: How are you doing?

Sue: I’m so excited to have you here. I’m going to tell a little story that I don’t even know if Jessica knows but Jessica was like a pivotal part in my Your Teen story. In the beginning of the magazine, we were trying to kind of grab people as we could and mostly it was based on what came into our inbox. And one day I read an article by Jess and it was so excellent and I thought, “I wonder if we could ever get her to write for us.” And so I don’t even know what platform I used, if I tweeted you, or what I did, but you responded. And we had a phone call and I said, “Would you write for us?” And you said, “Yes.” And I thought I was being so bold and audacious to even reach out to you. So that was pivotal to realize that you could reach out to people and that they would come on board. So I am forever grateful to you for that.

Jessica Lahey: I think a lot of people assume that writers have a lot of gatekeepers and generally speaking that’s not the case. And the nice thing also is that we have, I do a podcast on writing, and I make it really clear to the people who are listening that you will never find out unless you ask. And it can be a lot easier to get a yes when you just put yourself out there, so I’m thrilled you asked.

Sue: So you were the first time we realized that if we don’t shoot for the basket, we can’t make the basket. So thank you very much.

Jessica Lahey: You’re very welcome. It’s always fun writing for you as also one of the other things I say on the podcast a lot is that great editors are worth a lot to me and I’ve loved writing for you and you’ve always done such great edits on my work so. Editors help make the writer so I really appreciate that.

Sue: Well thanks.

Steph: So we have to ask such an obvious first question but what prompted you to write the gift a failure?

Jessica Lahey: Oh it’s you know as most things happen it’s you know the things that were on my mind and the concerns that I had for my students and my own kids. And you know I’ve been a teacher for 20 years and I’d been a teacher for about 10 years when I started to notice just how bad things were getting in terms of their motivation, their motives for why they were doing the work. You know it was no longer about learning. And they said that really specifically to me that you know there are interest in learning had really waned. It was all about the tests and the grades and the scores. So I was on this super high horse and I’m usually angry with their parents for screwing this noble teaching line of work up for me and I was in it for the right reasons and they were screwing it up. And then I realized that my own kids… I was doing the exact same thing to my own kids. And it was a nice humiliating moment where, you know, you realize that this is not just about my professional interests and what I love to research but that I needed to do it for very personal reasons too. And I got very lucky at the time. I wrote about it and I had been blogging as a teacher and a friend of mine said, “You know this sounds like an Atlantic article. Let’s see if I can get an address for you.” And same thing, I was like, “The Atlantic!?” And it was one of those things you’ll never know unless you ask and within a day of submitting it, it had been accepted and it went on to be a really viral article that it was just nuts how crazy that article went. And that led to the book deal. So it’s been a really fun ride which is a total understatement.

Sue: So you wrote this book, it’s a fantastic book, if you haven’t read it listeners you should run out there and get it. It’s a great book. And one of the things that when we post this and we post articles on Facebook and when we post them about whether you should bring your kids homework to them or their lunch to them at school we get these very extreme comments. Like the parents who have total clarity about what should and shouldn’t happen and then the ones who are more ambivalent. So tell us after you wrote the book did that change how you reacted to whether you would bring your kids homework that was left on the counter?

Jessica Lahey: Well I mean there’s a story right in the book that is about my younger son and these are totally authorized stories, believe me there was a lot that I wasn’t allowed to talk about. But it was this story that I told about when he left his homework at home one day and I had to go to the school anyway and I really really wanted to take that homework for many many reasons. We always have really good reasons for it. And I didn’t take it, and it was really really hard for me not to take it. And it led to the most amazing things. I mean my son had been forgetting his homework and not turning things in for a really long time and that one day that I chose not to take it was the day that sort of forced a conversation with his teacher that forced his teacher to say to my son, “You know dude, really it is time for you to come up with a strategy so that you don’t do this again.” And so the strategy he came up with during recess, on that day that I didn’t take the homework is the strategy continues to use to this day to remember everything. And you know he’s 15 now, he was 9 then, it really has changed a lot about the way he thinks about his own deficits, his own inability to remember things, and his own strengths. The things that he can do well, which is compensate for something he knows is a deficit, which is come up with a strategy and implement that strategy every day. And it’s his strategy. So he does implement it every day. It’s been pretty cool to watch.

Steph: Well and it’s so hard to know as a parent when to take that step and when not to. Like you said it was like day and then all of a sudden it forced this conversation. Which I think goes back to something you said earlier and you were talking about just writing the book and how you were so mad at the teachers and then you realized you were doing the very same thing at home. Which really prompts the question about parents and the climate we’re living in. Do you find the parents really or are looking to do better? Or what’s your perspective? You know this is the land we live in and we’d love to hear yours.

Jessica Lahey: Well they’re absolutely looking to do better mainly because some of the things that we’re doing feel really uncomfortable. Mainly around things like you know the parent portal that you can log on to and check your kid’s grades any old time you want. Some parents have found that that’s really making them uncomfortable in the sense that maybe it’s taken over or they’re just so anxious about it that they go and come to these speaking engagements I do where they come to find out more information about how they can do better and frankly the title of my book, The Gift of Failure and the title of my presentations, which is generally about learning from this Gift of Failure idea. That’s an intimidating thing to go to. It’s not like it’s a, “How to get your kid into the best college.” Or you know, “How to get an athletic scholarship.” It’s not this upbeat topic. It’s a tough one and yet, over and over again parents fill up those auditoriums and they’re there to learn. Which it really says a lot to me in terms of how much it matters that they’re doing the right thing or at least doing the best they can for their kids. So I’m really optimistic. I really am. I think it’s getting better. I think you know especially when we hear in the news that people have gone bonkers and paid millions of dollars to get their kids into colleges through deceptive means. We’re starting to see these extreme measures and I think that people are going to say, “Oh well, well clearly that’s too far.” So how can we move things back in a more reasonable direction. So yeah I’m always optimistic though.

Sue: I agree with you I think that, for the most part, parents want to do right by their kids but there’s no handbook. We just don’t know what that looks like. And I remember when my first born was little, time outs were the big thing and they were a nightmare in my house. Like I would do a takeover on that any second. But the pediatrician said do it and I didn’t know what to do so I did it.

Jessica Lahey: Absolutely.

Sue: I think books like yours really help us see parenting in a new light. You also speak sometimes about extrinsic motivators like in terms of I think you speak about whether kids get paid for grades and that whole line. What would you have to say if you step away from all of the times you’re giving talks and you reflect on the comments kids are making. What do you have to tell us?

Jessica Lahey: Well the comments… When I speak at schools I usually speak to the kids during the day and then they speak to the parents in the evening and I give the kids my email address. I give every kid my email address and I say look, you’ve got three hours until I speak to your parents, email me and tell me what it is you want them to know. And it is fascinating. I get somewhere between 30 or 50 emails depending on where I am, where I’m speaking, and how engaged the kids are, and how curious they are. And, for the most part, the biggest things I hear are things like the kids don’t feel seen. They feel like their parents are parenting some imaginary kid that’s just not them. And so the biggest thing I advise parents to do is to love the kid they have and not some other kid they wish they had.

Sue: That is so beautiful and so well put and so hard. I mean some of times it’s just so hard, like we dream about this piece of clay that we’re going to mold and then somewhere along the way it’s not our job anymore to do that. It’s our job to step out of their way. But when? How do you know when that moment is that you leave it up to your kid to determine their future.

Jessica Lahey: Well I don’t know. I think the interesting thing to me is talk to any parent and say look, it’s just amazing to me that my kids come out of the same genetic makeup. You know I know I was there, I know my husband was there, and yet my kids are so completely different and they’re so different from me or so different from my husband and yes there are some similarities there. But that does not mean that they’re some mimeographed— God I’m using such old technology.

Steph: [Laughter]

Jessica Lahey: They’re not some replicas that are going to be the same version of me. In fact when I talk to, you know, the kids comments that I get are often, “Could you please tell my parents that I’m not my sister. Can you please tell my parents I’m not my brother.” And the big one is, “Could you please tell my parents that I’m not a version of them when they were their younger selves. Like I’m not just a do over for them.” And the fact that that is the most common comment I get means there are a lot of kids out there I speak to you know many many hundreds probably… probably about 100,000 kids a year at least. And that’s the most common comment I get. You know there’s a lot of kids out there that are just really not feeling like their parents have any idea who they are.

Sue: So I think there are many people who would say, “I don’t want my kid to be in charge. Like I want to be a parent and I want to be in charge.” So where is that balance between listening to your kid. Like if you talk about things that parents do that they know are going to make their kids really furious, right? But you know deep down that it’s not taking your kids homework to school. Right? So how does that look in the listening but not ruling?

Jessica Lahey: Yeah I think the best way to do that is… Let’s give an example. So the expectation in our house is that homework is gonna get done and it’s gonna get done to the best of your ability. You’re going to hand it in to the people who need to get it and that’s the expectation. Now how they do that, a lot of that gets to be up to them because frankly if you can get buy in from a kid they’re a lot more likely to do it in the first place. So if the expectation is really clear, then you can say to your kids, “Look what is a perfect homework day look like for you?” And the answer can’t be, “No homework.” But what does that look like for you? When would you do it? Where would you do it? How would you do it? And talk about that. Or with like really little kids, if it sucks getting your kids out of the house in the morning, take a moment maybe in the afternoon when everyone’s had a great snack, and their bellies are full and patience is there, and you can say look mornings around here really stink, so let’s try to come up with some ways… How do you think we can all get out of here in the morning and remembering our stuff and getting out in a timely fashion? And let the kids come up with some strategies for that. I’ve seen little kids come up with little charts next to the door where they have like a picture of their backpack, and a picture of their jacket, and things like that. Older kids can come up with checklists or maybe some little calendar alarm or setting their alarm earlier in the morning. But when you engage kids in the problem solving you’re going to get a lot further than if you just tell them how things are gonna happen.

Steph: Jess thank you so much. This was really really helpful.

Jessica Lahey: You’re so welcome.

Steph: I think some of the things you said just really resonated with me and I always… You know I love that. I love just, like Sue said, you get what you think is this clay that you’re gonna mold instead it’s pretty much cement. [Laughter] But nonetheless.

Jessica Lahey: Well as a teacher that’s what I have to do too. I mean I can’t teach the idealized students I wish were in those seats in front of me, I have to teach the kids in my classroom and same thing with parenting. We can’t parent the imaginary kid we wish we had. We really do have to parent the kids that we have.

Steph: Yeah that’s great. Lovely sentiment. Thank you so much for joining us today. We really enjoyed it.

Jessica Lahey: You’re so welcome, thank you so much for having me. It’s so exciting.

Steph: Thanks for joining us for our first episode of The Your Teen Media podcast. If you have any topics that you want us to talk about, let us know on our Facebook page or e-mail editor@yourteenmag.com.

Sue: The Your Teen Magazine podcast is a production of Evergreen Podcasts. Special thanks to executive producer Michael DeAloia plus producer Hannah Leach and audio engineer Dave Douglas.

Steph: You can find more from us at yourteenmag.com, at evergreenpodcasts.com, or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

Sue: And don’t forget, if you like today’s podcast, please leave us an iTunes review. Help other parents find our podcast.

Steph: We’ll see you next time.

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