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A podcast for conscious parents who drop the f-bomb. A lot.

We are the overthinkers, the dreamers, and the doers. We are parenting in a radically different way than those before us. But our divine vision gets blurry can be such a pain in the ass. Let's work from the inside out, in a whole brain, whole body way to mitigate the crappy behavior. Not just with our kids but with ourselves. So you can be the parent you envision.

Hosted by Jamie Glowacki, Author of "Oh Crap! Potty Training" and the soon to be released title, "Oh Crap! I Have a Toddler: Tackling These Crazy Awesome Years―No Time-outs Needed"

Jun 23, 2022

On this week’s episode, I want to cover something I’ve noticed becoming quite rampant in the work I do with both parenting and potty training—sustained cajoling as a parental technique. Rewards and compliments are great things to give our kids, but when you start cajoling or bribing to get them to do daily activities, you’re not empowering them, you’re disempowering yourself as a parent. Instead of putting yourself in a position of weakness, I discuss better ways to take control of your parenting, including developing your Mom Voice and using statements, choices, and challenges as your techniques for getting your kid to play ball.

Also in this episode, I hear from two listeners: first, a mom who wants some advice on handling her child’s biological father choosing not to be involved in the kid’s life. This is a really personal subject for me, as I’ve had the experience of the other parent walking away and the impact of that choice. I talk about getting knocked up and facing life as a single mom and the decisions that I made to ensure Pascal has positive male figures in his life. I also tackle how to deal with questions from other kids about where the absent parent is and the importance of talking to the child about the reality of their parent leaving instead of allowing them to build up a flawless fantasy version in their head. Moving on, the second listener question is about homeschooling—a subject you all know I’m passionate about—and how to provide an enriched environment. I’ve got some tips and recommendations for setting yourself up to homeschool, including avoiding formal classrooms, the value of tape and scissors, and using big play to train kids for future academics. And to wrap things up, I talk about going outside as part of homeschooling, including stocking up on gear, figuring out barriers, and using thrift stores and outlets to save money.

The Finer Details of This Episode:

  • I’m recording the day after a huge blizzard here in Rhode Island—we got over three feet of snow! Fortunately, we didn’t lose power, and I have a plow guy, so I’m not stuck here.
  • Webster’s definition of cajoling is, “To persuade someone to do something by sustained coaxing or flattery,” while the definition of bribery is, “Offering, giving, soliciting, or receiving any item of perceived value as a means of influencing the action of an individual.” Meanwhile, a reward is “An item given for an achievement or effort.”
  • When you start cajoling or bribing for daily activities, like getting dressed or putting their shoes on, you run into trouble because you’re asking your child permission to parent them. And by doing so, you’re not empowering them, you’re losing your own power by putting yourself in a position of weakness.
  • My number one rule when you’re potty training is don’t ask your child if they have to go. There are many other, more effective ways to prompt by using a statement, choice, or challenge.
  • I’m a firm believer in the Mom Voice; I want you to cultivate a voice that means business. That doesn’t mean using a mean voice, it means being regulated and letting your kid know that you’re in control.
  • In my work, I see all the time that moms have to beg, plead, and cajole, but dads get listened to. This is because dads tend to have lower-pitched voices and use fewer words, which gives them a tone that says, “I mean business.” Moms can take a lesson from this by using a lower tone and resisting the cultural conditioning that encourages women to speak in a questioning tone.
  • Don’t blow smoke up your kid’s ass by using excessive flattery to get them to do things—children already think they’re the center of the universe, don’t encourage that self-centered perception.
  • I got a question from a listener about dealing with her child’s father not wanting to be part of his life. We tend to see this happening with the biological father more than the mother; some women do abandon their child, but it tends to be coupled with factors that make it almost preferable for them not to have contact.
  • I have a really personal response to this question—I got knocked up the old-fashioned way, as the result of a fling I had no interest in making long-term. I suggested co-parenting with the father, but he was unable to make up his mind about wanting to be a parent and ultimately drifted away after meeting Pascal at four months old.
  • I moved to Rhode Island when Pascal was nine or ten months old, in part because I knew my family would provide him with strong male figures in his life. He still had questions about where his dad was, but many of these were alleviated because—thanks to the success of Oh Crap! Potty Training—I was able to be with Pascal a lot more than many single mothers who have to work long hours and/or multiple jobs to make ends meet.
  • When the issue of Pascal’s dad came up the most was between the ages of four and ten, when other kids would ask questions about where his father was. The response I developed was a truthful one, that Pascal’s dad wasn’t ready to be part of a family, which took care of most kids.
  • I think it’s really important if you’re in a situation when a parent takes off or has limited contact because of drugs to talk about it and not brush it under the rug. Kids often build a fantasy life, including a perfect version of an absent parent, and this can lead to trouble and disappointment down the road.
  • As single moms, we can fall into the trap of thinking our kids are going to communicate as females, but sometimes they need male figures because men communicate very differently to women.
  • I got another question from a mom preparing to start homeschooling at the pre-K level, who wanted to know what supplies you need to have an enriched schooling environment. I think it’s important to note that everybody homeschools to a certain extent, whether that’s before kindergarten or just helping your kids with their homework.
  • As far as full-time homeschooling, I wouldn’t recommend setting up a classroom for kids at an early age, especially for only one child. Part of the reason to do homeschooling is that it gives a lot more freedom in how the kid learns, whereas setting up a classroom keeps you in the mindset of school. Homeschooling lets you break out of the formality of school—and all the crowd control that goes along with it—so you don’t have to stick rigidly to schedules, subjects, or locations.
  • For enrichment, I’d think less about how you can enrich your child’s education and more about what would I do with my average four-year-old. The idea that kids are empty vessels that we stuff with knowledge is antiquated; instead, try to provide opportunities and see where their strengths lie and what they’re drawn to.
  • Practically, I’d suggest having a couple of maps on the wall so you can point out, for example, where a character in a book is from. I’d also have a couple of books in every room—not a whole library because that can be overwhelming, but a couple of books so that reading material is always available. And the other thing that’s very necessary is a whole lot of tape and scissors because it encourages the use of the muscles in the forefinger, middle finger, and thumb, which are the ones used for writing.
  • Another important thing to bear in mind when homeschooling at pre-K and first grade is don’t ask your kid to sit still if they can’t and if you haven’t done big play. This is because kids’ cores are really weak at that age, and they don’t yet have the strength to support sitting still and writing. First, we need to use big play and things like tape and scissors to train their bodies for the focus and strength needed to sit and write.
  • Other than that, supplies are going to be dictated by what your child wants to do, whether they’re super-crafty or really into dinosaurs.
  • One of the best things you can do is read to your child and provide opportunities for learning words. When Pascal was in kindergarten and first grade, I would label everything from the windows to the tables to the chairs to help him learn sight words.
  • If you’re planning on getting outside regularly as part of homeschooling (which is a great idea!), invest in some gear. The best thing you can do with your kid is get one of those one-piece shells (insulated or not!), and then you can layer all the clothes you need underneath.
  • Go for brand names over generics if you can because they have better heat technology and let you have a slim profile, which makes being outside in the cold so much more pleasant. I tend not to recommend specific brands, but I personally like Hannah Anderson (which are really sturdy and last a long time), Columbia, and North Face.
  • Always look for where your and your kid’s barrier is when you’re outside. For example, I just got battery-operated socks because I have chilblains, so I have to try and keep my feet warm all the time. If you have cold hands, get mittens and reusable hand warmers, or if your butt gets cold, try an outdoor skirt (or an ass jacket, as I call them).
  • Thrift stores and outlets are great at this time of year, with huge deals available. Think ahead when you’re buying from them and buy big, so the clothes last a couple of seasons.
  • One thing that really does change with homeschooling is that you have the luxury of taking a break when you need one.


When we start cajoling or bribing for daily activities, like getting dressed, putting on your shoes, sitting down at the table, we run into trouble because now you are asking your child permission to parent them.”

When we find ourselves coaxing all the time and offering too many choices, then we lose our power. And we give them the impression that they have a choice.”

Childhood’s long, you've got another eighteen years of active hands on, right, or another, like sixteen, seventeen years. So you can’t blow your wad now. And if you’re already asking them permission, then you haven’t established that you are the parent.”

You are the parent because you’re older and wiser. And you’ve been around a few blocks, and you know how this goes, and your prefrontal cortex is formed. You have long-term judgment, you have empathy, hopefully you’re working on your trauma stuff. And you are not reactionary, right? That’s why you should be in power.”

If your kid’s in a mood, or your kid is spirited, or your child is difficult, or you have that kid who came out of the womb with boxing gloves, challenges work great.”

We just don’t need three-year-olds running around thinking they’re God’s gift to the universe.”

I was moving to New York, and I decided to have a fling, and I got flung, and I got flung with Pascal, which of course is the best thing that ever happened to me.”

There are shitty dads, and there are shitty moms. And there are parents that don’t live life as depicted in the movies. But we know that, right? Because nobody even takes a shit in the movies.”

I think the more important point is less what you say and if it’s right or not right, and more that you have the conversation so they’re not building up a mythology in their head because that mythology will be crushed. Because even if the person comes back into their lives, they won’t live up to the mythology, but also then they’ll go on to be a parent and think they have to be this mythical perfect parent.”

I didn’t choose to homeschool so I could recreate school at home. I chose it so we can have a lot more freedom in how he learns.”

One of the things I feel really passionate about is our kids aren’t empty vessels that we fill. That notion is antiquated as far as teaching, right? We don’t stuff them with knowledge, what we do is we provide opportunities, and we see where their strengths lie.”

What’s happening now is there’s such this push for early academics that we’re trying to make kids do those things before they’ve gotten strong or while they’re weak. And before, really, they’re ready to do so.”

Kids love to be outside in the elements, there’s nothing more fun than the rain, the snow. So if they complain that they’re cold, if they complain that something got down their neck, there’s gear, expensive or cheap, there’s gear to handle it. So just figure out what the barrier is and go for that.”

One thing that does change with homeschooling, though, is that you really do have the luxury of like, it might be a really beautiful day, and Pascal and I will be like, 'Yeah, but we need a break. We need to rest, we need to nap today.'”


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