Eps 165: Tammy Keces, Head of Irvine Hebrew Day School, is on talking about turning hate into love

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Today’s guest is Tammy Keeces, Head of School at Irvine Hebrew Day School, a former teacher, a positive discipline trainer and mama to three teenagers. She has a Bachelor of Psychology from UCLA, a Masters from Columbia University’s Teacher College in Curriculum and Instruction. She’s currently working on her doctorate. We will be discussing responding to tragic events like the Tree of Life Synagogue tragedy, as well as Judaism, positive discipline and how we can all support each other better. Join us!

"None of us should feel alone.”

“People are children and they just want to belong.”

“God gives us many opportunities for goodness and kindness and this is another way for us to remind ourselves that we need to have hope and we need to have love.”

“We have to come together now, more than ever.”

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • How Irvine Hebrew Day School handled the tragedy in Pittsburgh

  • Developmental appropriate levels of information about tragic events

  • Balancing the feelings of parents and children in the wake of tragedy

  • Meeting hate with love - finding inner resources in the face of fear

  • Ways to encourage our kids to accept others

  • The freeing power of compassion

  • Parallels between the Torah and positive discipline

  • How non-Jewish people can support the Jewish community

  • Teaching our kids about leadership and civic responsibility

What does Joyful Courage mean to you?

It’s being brave every day, to make the right decisions for ourselves and those that love us and inviting joy despite the challenges, despite the heartache, we have to choose joy and that’s what you’re doing every day with joyful courage and I think that there’s no other way to live our lives at this point.


We’re All Wonders book

Where to find Irvine Hebrew Day School:




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EPS 49: Talking Point from the Stanford Sexual Assault Case and the Orlando Shooting With Amy Lang and Jen O'Ryan

Welcome! Today’s episode features TWO guests, Amy Lang and Dr. Jen O’Ryan. Amy is a sexuality educator who helps parents have conversations with kids about healthy sexuality; she previously joined us for Episodes 8 and 33. Jen holds a PhD in human behavior and specifically works with children and adolescents in gender minorities, especially LGBTQ kids. She joined us for Episode 35. These conversations were prompted by the important talking points which emerged from two recent news stories: the Stanford rape case and the Orlando nightclub shooting. Join us for these important conversations!

What you’ll hear in this episode:

From Amy:

  • The Stanford case boils down to consent: How do we help our kids be smarter than that?

  • Bad decisions and entitlement: a dangerous mix

  • Teach kids about consent: Use the words permission, asking and giving, and agreement.

  • When everyone is “out of their heads,” there is NO CONSENT!

  • Yes means YES. No means NO. Stop means STOP!

  • With young kids, respect their right to say no to unwanted hugs/kisses; as adults, ASK for a hug/kiss.

  • How to use transition phrases to awkward moments

  • “Tricky people”

    • Be explicit with kids about family rules.

    • Plant seeds about sexuality conversations.

    • Teach them NOT to expect entitlement.

  • Amy’s book about dating, to help kids figure out their dating values (See Resources below)

  • Why we need to model conflict resolution for our kids

  • “Yes” girls and red flags in dating—Are you ready for sex?

  • Be open, available, and neutral for your kids.

From Jen:

  • With news of any tragedy, it’s better to give kids small pieces of information that they can process rather than overwhelm them with ALL the details.

  • How to “check in” with your LGBTQ kids

  • Jen’s experience in London this week with a drag queen show paying tribute to the Orlando victims

  • Adults have communities and support systems in place, but most kids don’t.

  • The human element of these victims: brother, sisters, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, etc.

  • Social change is a product of humanization.

  • The verbage to use? LGBTQ, queer, etc.

  • Remember that kids process information at different speeds than adults.

  • Have conversations with kids about safety, dangers, reassurance, and empowerment.

  • The best response is always unity and solidarity.

  • With 5-7 year olds: listen and watch how they play, and make space for them to express feelings.

  • With older kids: create safe spaces for them to talk, and check for signs of depression or social withdrawal.

  • It’s OK to talk about it!


Dating Smarts: What Every Teen Needs to Know to Date, Relate, or Wait by Amy Lang
www.birdsandbeescourse.com (Amy’s new online course for parents!)
Tea Consent video (on youtube!)
www.mykidcameout.com  (Jen’s website with resources, blog, and email info. Find her on Facebook, too!)
Healthy Sex Talk: Teaching Kids Consent, ages 1-21


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Eps 19: Dr. Monica Holliday discusses how to talk about the violence in the world with our kids

There are a few things that are tough to talk about with our kids.  One of the toughest, I think, is talking about the violent things that happen in the world...

My guest today on the podcast is Dr. Monica Holliday Sherman.  Monica is a psychotherapist in private practice in Chicago, and she completed her doctorate in clinical psychology at The Adler School of Professional Psychology, with a concentration in childhood and adolescence.

She is a Certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator, and she regularly facilitates parenting classes in the Chicago community. You can find her on Psychology Today here.  

She is also my friend, and someone I trust to speak to this topic from a very thoughtful, experienced place...

As tough as this conversation is, it is important for parents to be talking to their kids about the state of the world. AND, as a community of parents, it is equally as important to get support from each other about how to best support our kids.

My hope is that this show does just that.

You can find Monica at www.windycitypsychology.com.

Resources mentioned in the interview:

Video of father reassuring his young son that France is their home.
Purple Wagon - "A site for people interested in parents and children, and their explorations and discussions around war, terrorism and peacemaking." Loads of resources for parents here.
Helping Children Feel Safe in an Unsafe World by Eileen Kennedy-Moore, PhD

Other resources:

Talking With Children About Disaster also by Eileen Kennedy-Moore, PhD
Talking with Children About Tragic News Stories by Ariadne Brill of Positive Parenting Connection
Terrorism and children:Tough Conversations that Matter by Marilyn Price-Mitchell, PhD or Roots of Action
Explaining Terror to Kids is a NY Times article that covers a French newspaper for kids and how they are engaging in real conversations with kids about the attacks

And more suggestions from Monica:

Books are my go-to when I'm wanting to extend any of these "big" topics into ongoing conversations with my kids. Here are a few to read WITH your kids, relevant to what's going on in the world today:

Finding heroes amidst terrorism.

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai (there is also a Young Reader's edition)

Multicultural competency.

The Cow of No Color: Riddle Stories and Justice Tales from around the WorldNina Jaffee

Explaining refugees. 

Sometimes it helps to look to history for examples -- one of the most written about examples of children fleeing war zones is the Operation Pied Piper of 1939, when children were evacuated from London during WWII. The beloved Paddington character is even based upon these events. 

--The Sky Is FallingKit Pearson
--Visitors from London, Kitty Barne (out of print)
--Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe and Bedknobs and Broomsticks are both storylines based on children having to evacuate. 
--If your kids are American Girl fans, the book Happy Birthday, Molly!  incorporates a story of a British refugee coming to live with the family after being traumatized by living through bombing raids.  

Please feel free to leave a comment with any thoughts or feedback on this discussion or any of the other podcasts!

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