The Science of Parenting

All Things Parenting | Ep. 1

March 12, 2020 Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Season 1 Episode 1
The Science of Parenting
All Things Parenting | Ep. 1
Show Notes Transcript

Have parenting questions? Our Human Sciences experts—­moms with kids from babies to young adults—are here to help with all your parenting needs. 

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Send us an email: parenting@iastate.edu.
Find us on Facebook or Twitter: @scienceofparent.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider. For the full non-discrimination statement or accommodation inquiries, go to www.extension.iastate.edu/diversity/ext

Lori:

Hey, welcome to The Science of Parenting, research information that fits your family. Where we talk about the realities of being a parent and how research can help guide our parenting decisions.

Mackenzie J.:

Here we are!

Lori:

So here are! We made it! We did it!

Mackenzie J.:

Yay! This is a podcast, we are podcasting. We're podcasters.

Lori:

This is a podcast. We're officially podcasters. We've been talking about this for a long time. We've even been practicing for a long time and finally time to just do it. So here we are. This is - welcome to our Science of Parenting podcast and we hope that you enjoy this with us. Our goal has been to create a space that gives you research information, education, while at the same time helping you recognize that, as parents we have decisions to make that sometimes, you know, aren't exactly what the book told us to do. And so that's, that's what we want you to know is this is our, this is our judgment free zone where we can share information and help you make decisions that work best for your family.

Mackenzie J.:

Absolutely. And you know, some of you maybe have been following us on our blog or on some of our social media. And so this is kind of our opportunity. We've been able to share a little bit of research. The podcast is hopefully the opportunity to share a little bit more reality, right, hear about us and our side of being parents and how we use information to make decisions. And sometimes not always following exact advice, right? But making decisions about what's best for our family. So.

Lori:

Right, right. So a little bit about us. My name is L ori and I have three children. U h, s ome are still in school, some are not in school anymore. My parenting journey includes a child with special needs, a move through middle school, working through house changes, location changes, temper tantrums, meltdowns. And even a moment in time where I looked at my child and said, "I cannot be a parenting educator right now because this would not be good." And you know, so just that reality of, yes, I have a background in child development and parenting, but I'm also a real, live parent to three children. How about you?

Mackenzie J.:

Yeah, so I'm Mackenzie, Mackenzie Johnson. I should clarify. There's another M ackenzie, you'll hear about her later. U h, but I'm M ackenzie J ohnson and u h, yeah, so I have two young kiddos right now and a little bit about my experience as a parent. Well yeah, like L ori, I have some educational background in like human development and family life education and things. And I was sure when I came i nto being a parent, like, "Oh, I know stuff, right? Like, I know stuff about kids and I know stuff about parenting."

Lori:

I know stuff!

Mackenzie J.:

"I've got a plan, and if I do these things, things will be easy. Things will go always according to my plan!"

Lori:

The textbook said so!

Mackenzie J.:

And that's just like, Woof! That's not the case. And actually like, I am surrounded - you will not see any part of my house, but right here - because I'm surrounded in reality right now. You know, we talk on this podcast about research and reality, and it is something that's close to my heart as a professional and as a parent, right? Like, I want trustworthy information to make decisions about my kids and my family, but I need to consider that reality. And I, I live quite a bit of reality around here. So yeah, Lori and I, we, I don't remember if we said , we actually work for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. So our specialty is in family life, our role is to bring research from the university out across the state of Iowa. And we kinda thought like, what better way to reach parents with parenting information than a podcast, right?

Lori:

Exactly, exactly. And we talk about research and reality - we're going to try not to shorten it too much, but we do kind of liken it to that whole idea of a little R&R. So we need a little R&R , in our world it means research and reality, but we also know that sometimes being able to talk about research and reality helps us relax, and you know, come back into things. And so , that's what we're going to do. We're going to talk about a little R& R, a little research and reality. And I think, actually, so let's try it out, how about?

Mackenzie J.:

I'm game, let's try it .

Lori:

So let's try it out. So I'm going to grab this study here and see what you think about this. So...

Mackenzie J.:

I'm listening!

Lori:

A 2012 study of parents found that "almost 75% reported that the internet has improved the way that they've accessed parenting, and that a majority of the parents agreed that technology does make their life easier. However, they share..."

Mackenzie J.:

It's a long one!

Lori:

I know, right? I'm going to reiterate this, and make it easy for you. "However, almost a third of the parents also reported that technology makes them feel overloaded and it makes their life more complicated." So. You've got a whole bunch of people that said, "yeah, you know, the internet has helped us get information."

Mackenzie J.:

Yeah.

Lori:

And of those people, they also say that, "You know, sometimes it's just way too much and now I'm overloaded."

Mackenzie J.:

Totally. Totally .

Lori:

That's research. There's t he research.

Mackenzie J.:

Yeah. Okay. So there's the research.

Lori:

Yeah, there's the research. Give me some reality.

Mackenzie J.:

Just a little reality.... I, like, I absolutely can identify with that, right? So sometimes it's the midnight Googling of, like, I'm desperate for some kind of answer and like, why am I still awake in the middle of the night Googling? Whole other conversation...

Lori:

Why ARE you Googling at midnight?

Mackenzie J.:

Right, right. But I am, I'm looking for some answers and I, sometimes it's like I can't find anything I need. And then sometimes it's like, this is exactly the answer I was hoping for - some information that can help me make this decision or like, know what to expect of my child at this age. And then sometimes it's like, okay, I found 50 sources. This one says, A, this one says like, A and a half. It kinda says A, but it says A a little different..

Lori:

A, and half and a half exactly!

Mackenzie J.:

Of course, that's mathematical! And then B... You know, and so sometimes it is, sometimes it's, you know, desperate for answers. And technology - I do feel fortunate as a young parent to have access to technology and internet to get answers, but sometimes it's a lot. Sometimes it's a lot. What would you say about your reality with technology? Like with your kids being a little older?

Lori:

Right. So, you know, when my children were younger, they... some of the first things that were happening were chat rooms, and I might find a group of moms who were, you know, my age with my age o f children as well. And interestingly enough, I often didn't tell them in that chat room that I, y ou k now, had a child development and parenting background education.

Mackenzie J.:

Ah, yeah!

Lori:

You know, so I often didn't, I didn't relay that information i nternet. A nd I j ust sometimes I felt like I just need to be a parent and I need s omebody to help me sift all this information that I'm getting so that I can, you know, just be a parent. 'Cause the reality is that, yeah, when my child had a meltdown, I, you know, had to take a deep breath and go, okay, how am I going to handle this? Because I have this parenting and child development background, but in reality, I'm really frustrated right this very minute.

Mackenzie J.:

Oh for real. Well and sometimes it's the difference between like, "so my education tells me that this is why my kid has a tantrum," right? And so I have this background knowledge of, "I understand what's happening in your brain right now!" Right? And that's like this very powerful thing. And then there's this other 3/4 of me that's like, "please stop!" Don't do this."

Lori:

"Why are you doing this!?"

Mackenzie J.:

"I'm trying to make supper!" Right? Like , "now's not a good time. We're in a public place!" And so like those things, they coexist, right? It's not like "I have this knowledge and I always glide down this beautiful path of parenting." It's both.

Lori:

Okay. So I have another research tidbit.

Mackenzie J.:

Okay, hit me with it.

Lori:

This one is from Zero to Three. One of my favorite places - 2016 information that parents want information and support, right? They want to work at being better parents. And they talk about that if they knew better strategies, they would actually use them. And so, they have this motivation to get information and support, but then you have them saying at the same time, over half of them actually, are saying that they don't get that support in times of stress. So in that moment of, "yeah, I'm looking for, and I want to have this information, but when I am right down in the moment of stress, I'm just not finding that support."

Mackenzie J.:

Yeah. So they want it, if they had it, they'd use it, but they don't feel like they have it?

Lori:

Right. Yup .

Mackenzie J.:

Okay. Yeah. That research makes - so that research IS reality.

Lori:

Yeah. Especially when you were talking about that, you know, Googling at 2:00 AM.

Mackenzie J.:

Yes yes! I said midnight, you're keeping me up way later, I'm in bed. No - hopefully - maybe not. I think that, you know, we do want information for our kids. I , you know, people a lot of times talk about the difference in your parenting and so-and-so might do it this way and so-and-so might do it that way, you know? But for the most part, we all have the goal of raising good kids. And I think there's, you know, at Science of Parenting, if you followed some of our stuff before, you know, we believe there's a lot of ways to do that. There's a lot of different ways to raise good kids. It's more about having tools in your toolbox to use and having strategies for the one that makes sense for you as a parent and for your kids. And so, you know, like finding those tools, using that information to make your own decision, right? Like "I have this whole list of stuff, strategies, research, ideas. I can use all of that and say, you know what, I'm going to take all that in. This is what makes sense for me."

Lori:

Right. And that reminds me that, you know, sometimes we just need to, as parents, give each other that permission to have those tools and techniques, or just have the sticky note that reminds you of the tools and techniques. I remember when I was teaching preschool, I would literally have the words to the little songs, like the Wheels on the Bus - the wipers do what? You know in the moment, in that heat in the moment, I couldn't remember if the wipers were spinning, if the wipers were opening and closing...

Mackenzie J.:

Are they up and down?

Lori:

Right. And so I had to give myself permission to say "It's okay that you write the words on a little note card and stick it on the wall, so that when you're in stress, and when you need that information, it's right there at your fingertips." And so, essentially that's what we've really talked about doing here at The Science of Parenting is, is giving you permission to fill your toolbox, pull a couple of things out, stick them on the wall, you know, who cares, who can see them? I need them here to remind me that in that time of stress I really need support, and that little sticky just gave me support.

Mackenzie J.:

Absolutely. And the stickies , kind of you're, like, you know, going back to, we talk about R&R, research and reality, but also kind of rest, like, right? I don't have to be using my brain! My sticky's going to tell me.

Lori:

My sticky's going to tell me what to do. Yeah, yeah.

Mackenzie J.:

And I think the like, yeah, that R&R, both sides of it, you know - we talk about it, most people talk about it in terms of rest and relaxation, we talk about it in terms of research and reality. Um, you know, I think that like, that makes sense. That's what we can do. We can, we can rest because we can lean on the information we have that we're making decisions about what's best for our family.

Lori:

Yeah, it's all of it . Just having that trustworthy information. Um, and you said something to me the other day about being empowered, and I love that idea of, "Here we are. We want to empower parents, and we want you to feel empowered."

Mackenzie J.:

I do think it comes from this place - you know, we've used the term in our own conversations... um , a term, what's my , what's the term? The more than one... Oh! Pluralistic parenting! That's what I want to say. I remember my own word! Pluralistic parenting. You know, I talked a little bit about it, that there's more than one way to raise great kids. I think that's a part of being empowered, right? Like, "I am empowered to make my own decision, even if it looks a little different from your decision. And that we're both valuable, effective, good parents, you know? And even if our decisions look a little different, that you're empowered to make your own decision, because you have information you trust."

Lori:

Yeah, exactly. Exactly. That's exciting. So that's why we're here. We're here to share, to empower, to help you understand that there's not just one right way to parent. You know , if there was one right way, there'd only be one book -

Mackenzie J.:

There's a lot of books!

Lori:

There's not just one book in that parenting section, is there? Y eah. So that's, that's what we want to do here with our p odcast, with our information.

Mackenzie J.:

So Lori gets to bring research to our show. You know, she brings in our little tidbits. I want to bring in how this fits into YOUR reality. So as listeners, as fellow parents out there , in each episode, I kind of want to break this down a little bit. So for your reality, I want to suggest as a very beginning place, stick with us, right? That's a little self serving. You know, but you can like listen to some of our information now on our podcast, we have a blog you can follow, we have a website full of resources. You can follow us on social media. We have a lot of ways to get engaged. Because we are always going to focus on trustworthy information that's nonjudgmental, right? We're not going to tell you this is the only way to do it. We're going to say, here's some information that research has told us about our kids, about families, and then you get to take it to your own reality. So that's what I'm going to call you for this week is stick with us, catch us in a couple of different ways and look for places you can get some trustworthy information.

Lori:

Yeah, exactly. So we've alluded to that there might be one other person or two other people with us.

Mackenzie J.:

Sneaky person in the background!

Lori:

Yeah. Do you want to , do you want to introduce her?

:

Yeah. Uh , so I told you that , uh , I'm one Mackenzie . There is a second Mackenzie , right. Um, I think that she join us... Um , hi Mackenzie!

Mackenzie D.:

Hello!

Mackenzie J.:

Mackenzie DeJong is our producer - she like, runs the back of the show and makes it happen. Want to introduce yourself a little more cans ?

Mackenzie D.:

Sure! So I'm Mackenzie DeJong. I am also a family life specialist alongside these lovely ladies. Um, they know more about parenting than I do. So I get the opportunity to sit in the background, learn from them , uh , make sure they sound good and at the end of every episode, challenge them a little bit. Um, so before I get to that section, I do want to note that we have one other team member. Her name is Barb Dunn-Swanson.

Mackenzie J.:

Yes, Barb!

Mackenzie D.:

She is our backbone. She does a ton of our writing . She does a lot of the research for us, so we want to thank her. Um , she's in the background so I won't make her come on, on camera. Uh, but we do thank her and want to make sure that she's noted before we move on. So this section of the podcast is going to be titled "Stop. Breathe. Talk." So "Stop. Breathe. Talk." is a little tool that our Science of Parenting team has been using for a little while now, and we wanted to make sure we had a way to incorporate it into every podcast. So I think as we go, we'll get a little better of an explanation for you guys, the listeners, on what...

Mackenzie J.:

You'll have to come back!

Mackenzie D.:

On, what that "Stop. Breathe. Talk." is. But , but the whole idea of it is that in those challenging moments, we're going to stop, take a breath, and we're going to talk about it rather than reacting really emotionally - If we're in angry situations or if something really is bothering us - we're going to just stop, stop, take a moment to think about it, and then carry on. So my job is to challenge these lovely ladies just a little bit. So every time I come on the podcast, they will have no idea what's coming at them,

Mackenzie J.:

Which is why we look like we do!

Mackenzie D.:

They both have like puzzling looks on their faces of "what's going to come at us?" And my question for the day for you is going to be , uh , if there's one piece of advice that you'd have for someone listening, thinking , "Uh , okay, I'm in this overwhelmed situation. What do I do?" What is that one piece of advice you'd give them in that moment? Either with an example that you've used or just something that comes to mind from the conversation or something that leads into a future conversation that we have on the podcast. So. I'll turn it back over to you ladies.

Mackenzie J.:

Lori, you have to go first. I need a longer breath than you!

Lori:

Gosh, this is going to bring up so many different topics that we already have kind of slated out. Like I have to just tease you a little bit and not give you everything, but I think that honestly that one - that one piece of information is - hang in there. You can do this. Like you can do this! And if that was a tool it would be that idea of stop, breathe, talk, and that's what we're going to talk about that. But yeah, you can do this. Especially in those moments where it feels super tough and super difficult and like you're so, you feel so lost. You can do this. And , yeah, that idea of we can stop, and we can breathe, and we can talk. So that's mine.

Mackenzie J.:

All right . You took the - I mean what I think is the "obvious" one.

Lori:

I took the big one!

Mackenzie J.:

That's what I get for telling you to go first. Um, so I would say - so when you talk about being overwhelmed, I think there's, you know, sometimes it's like an in the moment, high emotion, you know, we talk about temper tantrums or you know, like, if a teen slams their door and that's like a big moment for you emotionally. You know, sometimes like that's a challenging moment is in the heat of it. And then... but the other side of it is sometimes like the stuff you reel on, you know, like your kid might not even be with you - the stuff that you're just like thinking about like, "Hey, is my child a late talker? Right? Should they be doing this yet? You know, challenges they're having at school," whatever it might be, and so I think that's kind of the flip side of what kind of challenging moment you're in. But I would say my advice for a parent in the midst of a challenging moment is - I kind of got to go back to the research and reality thing of, you know, use the information that you've taken in, right? So information you have about your child, right? I know when my child is hungry, she is hangry, right? So like use the information you know about your kid, what you know about yourself. Right? So sometimes I know, like for me, sometimes it's riding in the car. If we are in like a long car trip it is, that taps me out, right? Like, "I can't sit back here anymore. I'm done. Like I need out." So like recognizing those things in yourself, right? That's knowledge you have. But using all of that information about your kid, about you, about what you know about parenting, you know, experiences you've had, and use that to make your decisions. Trust your instincts, right? You're the best parent for the kids that you have. Trust yourself.

Lori:

Yeah, love it.

Mackenzie D.:

I thought when you said , uh, you know that "she's, when she's hungry, she's hangry." I thought you were going to say, "and I know that when , uh , I'm hungry, I'm hangry."

Mackenzie J.:

I don't know where she would get that! I don't know where that would come from!

Mackenzie D.:

Because that's me. When I'm hungry, I'm hangry! So just knowing those things about yourself. Absolutely. Knowing kind of what those, what those things might be that - you might just be hungry. Like something as simple as that. So starting, starting with something simple. Totally. All right . I will see myself out. Let you guys conclude things .

Mackenzie J.:

Later!

Lori:

Thank you!

Mackenzie J.:

Okay. That wasn't so bad. We passed the first one, maybe?

Lori:

We got that one. Yeah . I keep thinking, gosh, you know, I have to - maybe I have to be nicer to her in all our other job related...

Mackenzie J.:

In case she gives us a real zinger!

Lori:

Fireball. Yeah. So there we are. Our first.

Mackenzie J.:

Episode one!

Lori:

Episode one. We have lots and lots of things planned. We, gosh, you know, we could be grandparents by the time we get through all our topics. We'll try to pick the ones that are most relevant for our audience so we need to know who you are, what you're doing. Chat with us on Facebook, check us out on Twitter. We are excited to begin this and yeah, definitely, it's not just the two of us. We have a whole team of people,

Mackenzie J.:

A whole team!

Lori:

And we include you all, our viewers and listeners, as our team too. So we look forward to the, we just look forward to being able to share this with you. Anything else?

Mackenzie J.:

Well, so next week we're going to be talking a little bit more about research and reality. Where that has come from, what it means, and so you're going to have to join us. You know, we kind, like we said, we kind of teased the "Stop. Breathe. Talk." You heard a little bit about the research and reality, but you gotta come back to hear the rest of the story there.

Lori:

You gotta come back! And in the meantime, we want you to take some R&R. Don't be too overwhelmed by everything that you're finding, and we'll help you sift it out.

:

Sounds good. Bye, guys! Thank you!

Lori:

Bye.

Narrator:

The Science of Parenting is a research-based education program hosted by Lori Hayungs and Mackenzie Johnson, produced by Mackenzie DeJong with research and writing by Barbara Dunn-Swanson. Send in questions and comments to parenting@iastate.edu, and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. This program is brought to you by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. This institution is an equal opportunity provider. For the full non-discrimination statement or accommodation inquiries, go to www.extension.iastate.edu/diversity/ext.