Here are the best need-to-know nuggets for parents from national experts
These words of wisdom are brought to you by a variety of virtual events
Thanks to the pandemic, virtual events have become the norm for so many daily meetings as well as large gatherings. The downside, of course, is the lack of real interaction with other meeting goers or attendees. The upside is these events can be attended from anywhere, and in the world of working remotely, it has been a real blessing the past year and a half.
While I have certainly missed sitting around a conference room chatting with my co-workers or hopping a plane to a fantastic yet professionally intense conference, I am grateful I’ve been able to virtually attend a variety of events that all offered some really interesting nuggets of information or pearls of wisdom.
I’ve gathered all my pages and pages of notes (because I still like to be old school and take notes with a pen and paper), and I’m sharing some of the best things I’ve learned or resources I’ve been pointed to that I think you readers may find useful as well.
Parenting and relationships
Good Inside with Dr. Becky : She has a newsletter and podcast , but her IG stories are also amazingly insightful yet short bursts of parenting wisdom I look forward to every day. Her presentation about setting boundaries to reduce rage and resentment shared that setting healthy boundaries is necessary for everyone (moms, dads, kids, etc.). She also shared tips for moving from a reflexive “yes” to a reflexive “no” when asked to take on a new project or commitment, such as replying “I have to think about that. I’ll get back to you” or “I promised myself I wouldn’t add anything to my calendar right now, but thank you for asking.”
Denaye Barahona wants to see all moms thrive in motherhood, and she talked about finding meaning in the mess kids often create in the home. She shared that our houses are meant to be places where our kids learn responsible actions, imaginative play, conflict resolution and more. Moms often get frustrated by messes without seeing the connections kids are making through them, so it just takes a moment to re-shift your perspective and remember that your house is meant to serve your people, not the other way around.
Pediatrician Kelly Fradin (also author of “ Parenting in a Pandemic ”) talked about how to be more aware of our children’s mental health state. She noted that especially for younger children, emotional wellbeing is indicated through behavior, so parents should consider a tantrum as a mental health fever that needs to be addressed and remedied. She also shared that it’s important for children to have a “trusted three” as in three trusted adults a child can go to when they need to talk about their anxiety and stress. She also said we don't want to teach children not to deal with their big emotions; we want to equip them with the tools they need to deal with those emotions, and both parents and kids often need to learn that.
Lawyer and nonprofit founder Reshma Saujani spoke about the need for reform when it comes to caregiving and protections for moms. She highlighted that tax code reforms often force low-income women to work to pay for child care, yet middle-class, white-collar workers are taxed so much that it makes more sense for working mothers to instead stay home with children. She advocated that moms should start marching for moms and demanding better policies and infrastructure that results in a better caregiving system for mothers and families.
Leadership expert and pastor Andy Stanley and his wife Sandra shared their own parenting philosophy that followed four stages: Discipline (ages 1 to 5 when kids are learning consequences to behavior); Training (ages 5 to 12 when kids learn the “why” behind the “what”); Coaching (ages 12 to 18 when parents need to make connections more than corrections); and Friendship (ages 18+ when you just get to be friends with your children). He offers great resources and more information on these stages on his website and through his podcast . He also has some great coaching sessions available for couples on his website.
Marriage365.com by Megan and Casey Caston: They offer a monthly membership for couples who want to strengthen their marriage, and the breakout session I attended on apologizing was so refreshingly simple and poignant. Membership offers access to videos, worksheets and courses.
Personal and professional
Journalist and author Catherine Price : She spoke about how to build a better relationship with your phone through some basic changes you can make right now. One of them is reorganizing your homepage to focus on just tools you need rather than the fun apps that end up sucking away hours of your life. Another is turning off all notifications for apps that end up disrupting your day and productivity. I also downloaded her lock screen that reminds me to make a conscious decision about using my phone, and I love it.
Author Daniel Pink shared tips for making the most of your time based on knowing your own chronotype, which is the research-backed productivity indicator for when you work at your best. You can take an assessment online to learn your type and then schedule your day around your natural peaks and valleys. Based on his book “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing” , he also highlighted the importance of taking breaks during the day that involve going outside whenever possible, leaving your phone behind and preferably walking with another person.
Author Glennon Doyle spoke about getting real and shared some honest observations. She said it’s okay to be grateful for what you have but still want more from life; she noted that being discontent is often a signal that you’re ready for something bigger and better. She also notes that people often misunderstand what true bravery is; she defined bravery (in her book “ Untamed ”) as doing what is good and true to you, even if it means letting other people down. True bravery requires honoring your own true self despite the world’s expectations. More of that, please! (Note: I’ve only recently read her books, but I’m surprised by how many nuggets of wisdom like that she drops in a single chapter. She has some fantastic parenting insight as well.)