Eps 81: Making room for empathy with Melissa Benaroya

Today's guest is Melissa Benaroya. Melissa is a licensed clinical social worker with 20 years of experience working with children and families. Melissa has a Masters degree in Social Work, is a Credentialed School Counselor and is trained in Positive Discipline. She is also a Certified Gottman Educator offering the Bringing Baby Home Program for families with young children and workshops on Emotion Coaching. Melissa practices as a parenting consultant, coach and speaker to groups and individuals by blending her clinical training with her knowledge of child development and discipline. In 2011 she co-authored the book The Childproof Parent.

Melissa lives in Seattle with her husband and two children and keeps her sanity with an active lifestyle of running and Crossfit!

“Empathy is the ability to feel and understand what another person may be feeling but ultimately … it means connection … and feeling understood.”

What you’ll hear in this episode:

·      Learning to use empathy as a first response and a parenting tool

·      Empathy as reflecting your child’s feeling back to them versus owning their feelings or relating our own personal experiences

·      How using personal experiences in place of empathy can escalate conflict

·      How to use empathy to help your child build emotional resilience

·      Using empathy effectively to help your child feel heard

·      Empathy as a practice and a gradual learning process

·      Childhood developmental milestones in empathy

·      How to model empathy for your kids

·      Using the “Fake It Til You Become It” approach to empathy in your parenting

·      Being mindful of your physical self in how you demonstrate and model empathy

·      Parenting from the couch as a barrier to empathy

·      Echoing, mirroring and repetition as empathy

·      The power of validation in feeling heard – when looking on the bright side gets in the way

·      Empathy as a transferrable skill.


What does Joyful Courage mean to you?

It takes courage to take risks and try new things and that’s where joy exists. It’s what parenting requires of us – taking risks and trying new things. Empathy might be taking a risk because it doesn’t feel natural and we are going to have to take lots of risks and try new things throughout our parenting journey. It not only makes us a better parent but it also helps us to grow as an individual and that’s where the joy exists.


The Child-proof Parent
Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges

Where to find Melissa:

Child-proof Parenting website


FEED 3,000


I would love to invite you to join me in making 3,000 snack sacks over the next three months and take them to organizations that serve the hungry!!

Not one of us can make all those lunches ourselves - BUT ALL OF US TOGETHER SURE CAN!!

So here is the plan, host a gathering at your house and invite other families over. Have each family bring some supplies and together make as many snack sacks as you can!!

Click here for the Feed 3,000 Facebook Event Link

Click her to go donate to the Feeding America page.


Join the Joyful CourageTribe in our community Facebook group - Live and Love with Joyful Courage.  Raising our children while growing ourselves...


Make sure to SUBSCRIBE to the Joyful Courage Podcast on iTunes to get the latest shows STRAIGHT to your device!!  AND PLEASE rate and review the Joyful Courage Parenting Podcast on iTunes to help me spread the show to an ever larger audience!!

Eps 67: Nicole Schwarz and I puzzle out sibling conflict questions from the community

Today’s guest is Nicole Schwarz, from Imperfect Families. She’s a mom of 3 girls, a parenting coach and child and family therapist who focuses on helping parents use positive, respectful strategies with their kids. Today we are talking about sibling conflict. The questions we are discussing come straight from the community - join us!

What you’ll hear in this episode:

67 blog post.png

•    How to keep sibling conflict to a dull roar with a relationship focus in your parenting

•    Balancing the desire to step in with giving space for them to work it out for themselves

•    “Say what you see” approach to conflict resolution by describing it

•    Role of modeling and coaching for creative solutions

•    Deescalating techniques to resolve conflict

•    Understanding the role of neurological development on decision making in conflict

•    Having empathy for a sense of injustice and encouraging empathy in your kids

•    Teaching kids that “people get what they need” and how that might be different and lead to perceived inequity

•    Understanding impulse control limitations and flooding and how it leads to physical acting out

•    Using proactive practice and play based knowledge to avoid future conflict

•    How to focus on what led to acting out to avoid shaming while encouraging learning

•    Exercising compassion around evolving nature of self-regulation

•    Understanding jealous and resentment around new babies and the needs of other siblings

•    Introducing the concept of mixed feelings to kids who are too young to have that insight for themselves

•    Coaching around sharing toys and how to place limits on it – sharing power, soliciting and implementing solutions from your kids

•    Improving connection to reduce rivalry – using one-on-one time to address your child’s jealousy

•    The value of shifting focus from our kid’s behavior to our own behavior – recognizing it’s the only thing we can control

•    Contextualizing power struggles as kids trying to navigate their world

•    Reframing “bossy” behavior in a positive way and channeling it for good

•    Changing how we see tattling

•    The value of redo’s and self care



Brain in the Palm for Kids video
Siblings without Rivalry by Adele Faber
Peaceful Parents Happy Siblings: How To Stop the Fighting and Raise Friends For Life by Dr. Laura Markham

Where to find Nicole:

Facebook l Twitter I Her website


#JoyfulCourage10 - Holiday Edition

The #JoyfulCourage10 - Holiday Edition is a powerful opportunity to stay more intentional and grounded during the coming holiday season. Click here to find out more and to register.


Help to spread the word!

The goal for this month is 15,000 downloads of the podcast! Talk to your friends and family about the show and the value you find in listening in - then encourage them to do the same! Increasing the numbers makes is more sustainable and allows me to continue to have these epic parenting conversations!

Eps 46: Dr. Michele Borba and Why Empathy is the Antidote to the Selfie Culture

Welcome! My guest today is Dr. Michele Borba, a globally-recognized educational psychologist and parenting, bullying, and character expert. Her aim is to strengthen children’s empathy and resilience to break the cycle of youth violence. She has delivered keynotes and workshops to over 1 million participants on 5 continents and authored 24 books translated into 14 languages. Her latest book is out on June 7, and is titled Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World. Parents and educators will benefit greatly from Dr. Borba’s wisdom and insights. Join us!

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Michele has experience as a special education teacher and working on school shooting prevention and bullying prevention programs.

  • Much of the world’s violence narrows down to the primary need of empathy.

  • What is empathy? The ability to “feel” with someone, to step in and understand where another person is coming from.

  • Empathy has emotional and cognitive components.

  • In researching her book, Michele learned from Holocaust rescuers that empathy was modeled for them by their parents, so it was natural for them to care about helping others.

  • In the last 30 years, empathy in children has dropped by 40%, while narcissism has increased by 58%.

  • Michele explains “The Selfie Syndrome” and how it kills empathy.

  • Michele shares the following about learning empathy:

    • It’s a “womb-to-tomb” scenario, so you can start learning at any age.

    • Children are hard-wired for empathy at birth.

    • Infants go through the first step of empathy when they attach to their mothers.

    • Around age 1, emotional literacy begins when a child understands another’s clues to sadness or hurt.

  • The problem today is that children are learning to tune in to digital devices and not to each other.

  • #1 Tip: Teach your child to look at the color of the eyes of the person speaking to learn to “tune in.”

  • Michele’s book teaches activities to cultivate empathy, to listen better, and to stand up to a bully.

  • How to teach children the A, B, C’s of recognizing stress

  • The “empathy gap” of overwhelmed kids

  • Many “self-regulation” techniques are recommended in the book.

  • Why we MUST teach coping strategies to our kids!

  • How to teach them to take care of someone else’s heart

  • Why saying “I’m sorry” is NOT the best option

  • Michele gives some baby steps that parents can take as a starting point to increase empathy in their kids.

  • “Think Big, Start Small”---choose ONE thing to do

  • Michele has “Bully Buster” techniques and skills in the book.

  • What does Joyful Courage mean to you? “Joyful Courage is the most wonderful concept you can imagine. Having courage brings real joy. We need to build kids from the inside out. It’s the real miracle point of your heart opening to another.”




Find Dr. Borba on Facebook and Twitter and find her books on Amazon.com.


Want MORE??  Join the Joyful CourageTribe in our community Facebook group - Live and Love with Joyful Courage.  Raising our children while growing ourselves...


Make sure to SUBSCRIBE to the Joyful Courage Podcast on iTunes to get the latest shows STRAIGHT to your device!!  AND PLEASE rate and review the Joyful Courage Parenting Podcast on iTunes to help me spread the show to an ever larger audience!!


Click here for more information about PARENT COACHING with Casey and to book your exploratory call!


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