Neufeld, Dr. Gordon: Hold On to Your Kids

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The economic and cultural changes that have occurred in North American society in the past fifty years have resulted in today’s children looking to their peers, instead of their parents, for direction; for a sense of right and wrong; and for values, identity and codes of behavior. This peer orientation works to undermine family cohesion. It interferes with healthy development and fosters a sexualized youth culture in which children lose their individuality and tend to become conformist, desensitized and alienated.

These concepts—and what to do about them to develop strong families and emotionally healthy children—are explained in the book “Hold on to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers,“ by Gordon Neufeld, Ph.D. and Gabor Mate, M.D.

When I spoke with Dr. Gordon Neufeld from his home in Vancouver, British Columbia, we began our conversation with a discussion of the importance of developing an attachment between the adult caregiver and the child, beginning at infancy.

The book Dr. Neufeld recommends is “The Anatomy of Dependence,”  by Takeo Doi. More information about Dr. Neufeld’s work may be found on his website.

Golden,Victoria: An Orphan Train Survivor

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Between 1854 and 1930, it is estimated that between 200,000 and 250,000 children were involuntarily put on Orphan Trains, and “placed out” in the southern and western United States. Both protections for the health and safety of these children and record keeping of who they were, where they went and accounts of what happened to them are sketchy at best.

William Delos Vansteenburgh was one of the last of the “placed out” children on an Orphan Train. At age four, he and his slightly older brother with whom he virtually lost contact, were “placed out” from Pennsylvania, after their mother died in 1930. William had clear memories of being loved and treated well until then. After a long train ride he was removed from a station platform in Gallup, New Mexico, by Henry and Eleanor Walters, a childless couple. They gave him their last name, repeatedly abused him and treated him in a most wretched manner for five years. He successfully ran away at age nine and was then free to create a unique adventure and life for himself until he died in Santa Rosa, California, in 2017.

Victoria Golden, (https://www.victoriagoldenauthor.com/) our guest in this edition of Radio Curious, met William Walters in 2012. Intrigued by his story and keen memory for details, they met most every week for the next four years. Golden recreated his story into a memoir: A Last Survivor of the Orphan Trains. Told in the first person, each page of Golden’s book could be a stand-alone short read.

Victoria Golden, also of Ukiah, California, visited the Radio Curious studios on July 24, 2018. We began our conversation when I asked her to describe the kind of person that William Walters was.

The book she recommends is Educated: A Memoir, by Tara Westover.

Harvey, Sylvia: Children of the Incarcerated

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Children of incarcerated parents is topic of this edition of Radio Curious. The estimated 2.7 million children of prison inmates in the United States are losing their visitation rights .
Sylvia A. Harvey, an investigative journalist, is our guest. Her story about the diminishing opportunities for children to visit their incarcerated parents was published in The Nation magazine on December 14, 2015.

Some of Harvey’s most cherished childhood memories are the times she was able to visit her father while he was an inmate at Soledad State Prison, in California when she was between the ages of 5 and 16.

When Sylvia Harvey and I visited by phone from her home in New York City, on January 18, 2016, we began with her personal experience and how the absence of not being able visit a parent in prison affects 2.7 million children.

Instead of recommending a book, Sylvia Harvey recommends the song “Ain’t Got No,” by Nina Simone.

Smith, Jana Malamud: Why Mothers Worry About Their Children

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Is the concept of “mother blame” a method to control women? Is motherhood a really a fearsome job? Will a mother’s mistake or inattention damage a child? Is this different from the fear that fathers have about the safety of their children?

These questions are answered by guest Jana Malamud Smith in her book “A Potent Spell: Mother Love and the Power of Fear.” She is a clinical psychotherapist and daughter of writer Bernard Malamud.

Smith argues that the fear of losing a child is central to motherhood, and mostly overlooked as a historical force that has induced mothers throughout time to shape their own lives to better shelter their young, at the expense of their own future.

I spoke with Dr. Janna Malamud Smith from her home in Massachusetts, and asked her to begin by discussing the different level of feat that fathers and mothers have toward their children.

The book Janna Malamud Smith recommends is “Biography of Samuel Pepys” by Clair Tomilin.

Originally broadcast: February 18, 2003.

Chidekel, Dr. Dana: Who’s in Charge? Your Young Child, or You?

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Are you or do you know someone who is tired of endlessly negotiating with a 5-year-old? How about taking a 3-year-old to a restaurant? Children are too often seen and treated as small adults, dressed as adults, and sometimes have their lives planned out for them to be as busy as adults. Treating children as people older than they are overlooks their cognitive abilities. This can lead to unsatisfying and sometimes traumatic relationships between the child and the parents.

Parents in Charge: Setting Healthy, Loving Boundaries for You and Your Child was written by Dr. Dana Chidekel in 2002. She’s a child psychologist near Los Angeles, California. Dr. Chidekel argues that the developing brain of toddlers does not give them the capacity to respond to being placed on equal ground with their parents. She encourages parents to assume their rightful role of authority.

I spoke with Dr. Dana Chidekel in the winter of 2002 from her office in Southern California. We began our conversation by talking about the developing brain of young children. I asked her what the brain of a young child is can and cannot assess.

The books that Dr. Chidekel recommends for young children are the Berenstain Bears series. The book she recommends for older people is “Seabiscuit.”

Neufeld, Dr. Gordon: Hold on to Your Kids

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The economic and cultural changes that have occurred in North American society in the past fifty or so years have resulted in today’s children looking to and associating with their peers, instead of their parents, for direction; for a sense of right and wrong; and for values, identity, and codes of behavior. This peer orientation works to undermine family cohesion. It interferes with healthy development and fosters a sexualized youth culture in which children lose their individuality and tend to become conformist, desensitized and alienated.

These concepts—and what to do about them to develop strong families and emotionally healthy children—are explained in the book “Hold on to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers,“ by Gordon Neufeld, Ph.D. and Gabor Mate, M.D.

When I spoke with Dr. Gordon Neufeld from his home in Vancouver, British Columbia, we began our conversation with a discussion of the importance of developing an attachment between the adult caregiver and the child, beginning at infancy.

Dr. Gordon Neufeld is the author of “Hold on to Your Kids:  Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers. The book he recommends is “The Anatomy of Dependence,” by Takeo Doi.

This interview was originally broadcast on October 25, 2005. More information about Dr. Neufeld’s work may be found on his website, www.GordonNeufeld.com.

Dalton, Joan: Dogs in Juvenile Hall

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I once had the good fortune of seeing “If Animals Could Talk,” a movie made by Jane Goodall.  A segment was about The MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility in Woodburn, Oregon. The boys incarcerated there have committed serious criminal offenses; some of them are given an opportunity to train dogs, develop relationships with the dogs and in doing so learn responsibility, patience and respect for other living creatures. There is a zero recidivism rate among the juvenile inmates who spend time training dogs at MacLaren.

Joan Dalton is the founder and executive director of Project Pooch, a non-profit corporation linked with MacLaren, where incarcerated youths train shelter dogs and find them homes. We visited by phone from her home near Portland, Oregon on February 15, 2010 and began our conversation when I asked her to tell us how Project Pooch came about and then about Project Pooch itself.

The books that Joan Dalton recommends are “Children And Animals: Exploring The Roots Of Kindness And Cruelty,” by Frank R. Ascione and “Rescue Ink: How Ten Guys Saved Countless Dogs and Cats, Twelve Horses, Five Pigs, One Duck,and a Few Turtles,” by Rescue Ink and Denise Flaim.

You may visit the Project Pooch website at www.pooch.org.

Bishop, Becky: Reading Dogs

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This radio program is about reading. Learning to read is often confusing and frustrating. Parents and teachers sometimes create stress that flows from their personal angst to the frustration of the child trying to read. Reading to a nonjudgemental creature, who never comments and always appears to pay attention, often helps to create reading fluency.

In this edition of Radio Curious we visit with Becky Bishop, founder of Reading With Rover, a program to help children learn to read. Becky Bishop also operates Puppy Manners, a dog training school located in Woodenville, Washington, about thirty miles from Seattle. Becky Bishop relies on the close bond between children and dogs that creates calm moments and encourages a learning environment. Her organization, “Reading With Rover” couples children who have difficulty reading with a dog who has no trouble listening.

When Becky Bishop and I visited by phone from her home in Washington on February 22, 2010, we discussed why dogs are better listeners than teachers or parents, and we began with Becky explaining how dogs help children to read.

The books Becky Bishop recommends are “Living Life As A Thank You: The Transformative Power Of Daily Gratitude,” by Nina Lesowitz and Mary Beth Sammon, and “Walter the Farting Dog,” by William Kotzwinkle, Glenn Murray, Elizabeth Gundy, and Audrey Coleman.

Cantu, Dr. Robert — Concussions: The Impact of Sports On Kids’ Brains

Concussion injuries to our children is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious as we visit with Dr. Robert Cantu, the author of “Concussions and Our Kids”.  Dr. Cantu’s medical career centers on neurosurgery and sports medicine and is dedicated to addressing the concussion crisis through research, treatment, education and prevention.

Dr. Cantu writes that the genetic inheritance of a child begins to control his or her athletic skills at about age 14.  This is similar to the evolutionary influence that compels young teenagers to set a mark and establish status and belonging within their band or tribe, often through athletic prowess.  In the evolutionary history of our species this was necessary for basic survival.  Now in the 21st century, many of our children do the same thing, many times with strong family support, yet at the same time, subjecting themselves to radical injury.  Dr. Cantu and I spoke by phone from his office near Boston, Massachusetts, on September 24, 2012.  I began by asking him to comment on his analysis.

The book Dr. Robert Cantu recommends, which was also made into a movie is “Head Games,” by Chris Nowinski.

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Nawa, Fariba — Child Brides & Drug Lords

Imagine Darya, a twelve year old girl in a remote village of Afghanistan. Her father forces her to marry a drug lord as part payment for an opium drug trade. Her father is not home and she is about to be taken from her family. Desperately, her hands trembling, she implores you, a complete stranger: “Please don’t let him take me.”

In this edition of Radio Curious we visit with Fariba Nawa, author of “Opium Nation: Child Brides, Drug Lords and One Woman’s Journey Through Afghanistan.” Fariba Nawa was ten years old when her family fled Afghanistan shortly before the Soviet invasion in 1979. Eighteen years later Fariba Nawa met twelve year old Darya when she returned to her native Afghanistan as an Afghan-American investigative journalist. Her book tells Darya’s story, and reveals what the Afghan opium drug trade is doing to her native land in the midst of war.

Fariba Nawa and I visited by phone from her home near San Francisco, California on January 23, 2012. We began with her description of coming to the United States and flight from Afghanistan.

The book Fariba Nawa recommends is “Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love and War,” by Annia Ciezaldo.

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