How To Be More Effective As A Parent – Dr. Stephanie Dueger – HPP 80
Often we think that parenting is common sense. However, as the world becomes more complex, our parenting knowledge needs to grow with it. At times, the responsibility that goes into raising children can feel overwhelming and can lead to physical, emotional and mental distress when we aren’t properly resourced.
Although parenting has its challenges, there is so much knowledge available to make the journey not only manageable, but deeply fulfilling.
In today’s episode, we are excited to introduce Dr. Stephanie Dueger, PhD, LPC, psychotherapist and parent coach, and to learn from her about ways in which parents can feel more prepared, resourced and fully embrace the process of raising children.
Passionate Parenting – 02:19
“So after all of these years of working with other people’s children, and having read pretty much every parenting book out there, I just felt like I knew what I was getting into. And it was so humbling to actually become a parent and realize that it feels very different from the inside”
An Important Piece Of Advice – 05:58
“But I really feel like so much of parenting is finding your own way, so every family is set up differently. And they have their own beliefs, their own values, and really finding your own way as a parent is part of the fun and the challenge of it”
By-The-Book Parenting? – 08:08
“But it’s such a personal experience in terms of becoming a parent. So in my experience, and what I’ve heard from a lot of clients is it really pushes the individual and the couple to grow in ways that they hadn’t before. So when you are fully responsible for a little human being’s life and well-being, it pushes you up against everything there is, every potential challenge”
What You Need To Know – 13:14
“So as much social support, if they’re lucky enough to have a therapist, they’re lucky enough to have solid grandparents around, to really just surround themselves with support. Because as we know, as therapists or previous therapists or physicians, you need your community. You need people around you who can tell you, ‘hey, I know it’s hard and you’re still doing a great job’”
Parenting Preparedness: Sleep Deprivation – 15:32
“So if there are two people raising the child, one person can make sure that the other person gets naps in during the day, when they’re staying up all night nursing or whatever. And there are a lot of good books out there, in terms of helping children learn to sleep as best they can in a kind of gentle way”
Child Health: Learning From Others – 18:22
“And that I found was very challenging to figure out, especially with my background of the spectrum of what is kind of within normal range and what felt like it was out. And I think it was really important for me to be able to bounce off of other people”
Parenting In Today’s Pandemic – 22:26
“They are finding ways to really make the situation work as best as they can. And they’re reaching out more online, which isn’t the same, but it meets some of the criteria. And their children are getting a lot of connection patterns, actually at home, with their parents. So that has turned out to be a bonus for some people”
Smart Parenting: Being Involved – 28:41
“So for me, it was an awakening. As somebody who has eaten healthy, or what I considered healthy, for most of my life and not even realizing that gluten could have for my child the impact that it had, where literally, there were temper tantrums that went on for two hours and nothing that we could say or do to help support it. And it was really shocking for me just not having any idea what to do”
Full Episode Transcript
Dr. Stephanie Dueger 00:00
If you’re at your wit’s end and you haven’t slept for two months, and you can’t function, is it the wrong choice to leave your child to cry it out? Not necessarily, right? Like maybe that is what needs to happen for the whole family to be healthier and a little more sane.
Keith Kurlander 00:22
Thank you for joining us for the Higher Practice Podcast. I’m Keith Kurlander with Dr. Will Van Derveer, and this is the podcast where we explore what it takes to achieve optimal mental health. Hey there! Welcome back. Today we’re going to take a dive into parenting, which is obviously a topic that a lot of people care about and there’s just not enough information out there that is really easily accessible for new parents. I think it’s hard to sort of track down what to read and what to listen to and who to listen to. And so maybe it’s not so much a question of access, but more about finding your way as a parent. And obviously, we can all use more education around parenting. It’s supposed to be common sense. But if you’re a parent, you know that it’s not common sense. A lot of the choices we face, we often feel as parents, a little undereducated about, you know. What should I do around sleep training? And what should I do around boundaries? And where do I draw the lines? And there’s a lot going on there. So today, we have brought in a parenting specialist. Her name is Dr. Stephanie Dueger. She’s a psychotherapist, parent, coach and educator who works with expectants and new parents and their little ones. Her first book “Preparing for parenthood: 55 essential conversations for couples becoming families” is due out in January. And it’s the book she wishes she had for herself when she first became a parent. She also facilitates parent workshops and is currently the editor-in-chief of the academic journal of pre and perinatal psychology and Health. Dr. Dueger lives in Boulder, Colorado, with her husband and two daughters. Let’s welcome Dr. Dueger to the show. Hi, Stephanie. Welcome to the show.
Dr. Stephanie Dueger 02:18
Thanks for having me.
Keith Kurlander 02:19
It’s great to have you and definitely excited to dive in with you about parenting. This is something you’ve really specialized in. You wrote a book about recently, and so very excited to just ask more questions here. So why don’t we dive in just a little bit about you just to give people some context of like why you’re so passionate about focusing your entire career on children and parenting and attachment and all this stuff? Like why have you had all the focus and discipline to do this work? Let’s start there.
Dr. Stephanie Dueger 02:54
So I have always loved kids. I started out first as a journalist, then as an elementary school teacher and middle school teacher, and then went into therapy and did a lot of work with children, and got my degree in wilderness therapy. But I really wanted to focus more on children. And when I met my husband, Dan, we had a baby in that first year together. And I got really clear that’s where I wanted to focus all my energy because I didn’t want to be spending months out in the woods with other people’s kids. I really wanted to focus on my own children. And so I did and Brooks trained on somatic attachment work. And that was a two year training, Dan and I actually did that work together and brought our first child, Caitlin into that training. And that’s where things really just kind of got super exciting, right? Like, I just really found my niche in that space. And really started looking at attachment and the way it plays into the physical body, the emotional body, and really just having a child having my first child and our first child was kind of mind blowing. So after all of these years of working with other people’s children, and having read pretty much every parenting book out there, I just felt like I knew what I was getting into. And it was so humbling to actually become a parent and realize that it feels very different from the inside. So I really kind of had to laugh at all the great advice I’d given all these people when I wasn’t a parent yet, because it’s so different for everybody. And so because it was so humbling. I really was working from the ground up in terms of really relearning everything that I had learned academically, in school and in training. About attachment and about parenting, it really feels like that’s my life’s work with my own children, but also to really try to bring that information out for other families, their couples and their children. So, yeah, it’s been really such an amazing ride, both of our children are very different. They have very different temperaments. And so during the process of starting to raise our second daughter, who was very different from our first daughter, I got to relearn everything, again, in a different way. So that’s been really fun as well, just to feel consistently challenged in a lot of ways, and had my ideas challenged. So it’s a great place for us, perhaps one of the most powerful ways that people can grow versus in relationships. And second is in relationship to your children.
Keith Kurlander 05:58
You mentioned the word challenge. Obviously, there’s a lot of challenges and rewards to parenting. And I’m curious, just if you can have kind of a piece of advice, and this might be different if it’s a single parent versus a couple, just an overall sort of piece of advice around the incredible challenge sometimes it is to raise young child and how to handle those challenges more as a theme in those early years?
Dr. Stephanie Dueger 06:26
Yeah, so I tend to tell parents that you don’t really start seeing the light normally until about three years. So the first three years, I feel like they can be amazing, and blissful and Uber challenging, and all that rolled together. And then at about three years old, my perception is that things tend to ease up a little bit normally. And obviously, it’s different for different situations. But usually, when I talk to parents who have children under the age of three, that’s their first child, I just tell them, wait, just wait another year, another two years, and things will start easing out there as your child becomes a little bit more independent in some ways. So I can’t speak to single parenting, I haven’t done that. And I know that without a partner, parenting our children would be really challenging. So hats off to everybody who’s doing it as a single parent. Kudos to them. But I really feel like so much of parenting is finding your own way. So every family is set up differently. And they have their own beliefs, their own values. And really finding your own way as a parent is part of the fun and in the challenge of it. So, as parents, people will hear a lot of different kinds of advice. And some of that will be helpful, and some that really won’t. And it just depends on that family system. So really weeding to have what makes sense for that particular family is
Dr. Will Van Derveer 08:08
Great. So I wonder if we could drill in a little deeper here, Stephanie, around what you said, I really was intrigued because it reflects my experience as a parent that the education I got about which in medical education was a lot less than what you’ve pursued was very different from the inside out experience as a parent in the first few years. And I’m wondering if you could tell us a little bit more about that. And your thoughts about why the academic information is so different from the lived experience for parents with young children. Curious, your perspective there?
Dr. Stephanie Dueger 08:45
Yeah, I’ll do my best. So there are so many amazing things out there that are written about parenting and about children. But it’s such a personal experience in terms of becoming a parent. So my experience, and what I’ve heard from a lot of clients is it really pushes the individual and the couple to grow in ways that they hadn’t before. So when you are fully responsible for a little human being’s life, and well-being, it pushes you up against everything there is, every potential challenge. So most of us have not had that experience before, I don’t think, from what I’ve heard, from my own experience, what I’ve heard from others. And so if you have done a lot of your own personal growth, you might have more awareness around the transition to becoming a parent. If that’s all new to someone, it can be kind of mind blown, right? Like this is all new and I’ve been pushed in ways that I never expected to. I think part of the biggest challenge that a lot of new parents face is they have a lack of sleep. Often, that’s a very big piece of advice, right. So you’re working on fewer resources. There’s a huge role shift normally between couples, and that’s often not anticipated. So we focus a lot, I feel like getting this society around, it’s so exciting, it’s going to be so amazing, everything’s going to be rainbows and unicorns, and we’re going to have this really cute baby shower, you’re going to get all these really cute little, you know, shoes, and onesies and everything else. And we don’t really prepare people for, hey, this is also going to be incredibly difficult. These are probably some of the most difficult challenges you will have had to experience. So I think a lot of the academic piece is focused on, here’s what happens when a child develops. And it’s less focused on what happens as the parent develops into a parent, which makes sense, you know, they want to prepare people in terms of what’s going to be happening with your child. But there isn’t a whole lot given to the development of the parent and the development of the couple in parenting. And both of those pieces I think get really stretched.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 11:28
That makes a lot of sense, and definitely reflects my experience of education not focusing. I don’t remember at all, on the parenting experience of having an infant. And there’s also this whole component, which again, was not part of my educational experience at all of warning, or preparing parents for the attachment patterning of inside the parents getting provoked, and no sense of any preparation or discussion about what that means and how it’s going to play out and what to be ready for.
Dr. Stephanie Dueger 12:04
Yeah, that’s a great point. I think a lot of people don’t even know what attachment is. And if they do know what attachment is, it’s attachment parenting, which is very different from attachment theory. And so often people go into parenting without really having any idea of what their own patterns are, if you’re lucky, you will have had the opportunity and resources to do a lot of self-reflection and kind of examination of your own life. And I think a lot of new parents go into parenting, saying I am never going to do this, like my parents did it or I really want to do this, like my parents did it. But without kind of having done that deep work on themselves, or on themselves as a unit, as a couple, you can be pushed into things that you’re not expecting. And then you’re dealing with this itty-bitty little human who has very high needs. And it can push a lot of people to very challenging places. So I think that’s a great point around the attachment piece.
Keith Kurlander 13:14
What would you say, for parents who aren’t hip to this concept that they’re going to get challenged inside themselves around their own attachment material? Like, what should they be just in the beginning for, let’s say, the first year or two of a child’s life? Like what should they just be paying attention to and themselves? What are some of the highlights that they should be tracking?
Dr. Stephanie Dueger 13:37
I would say more than paying attention to themselves to just have as much support as they can garner. So as much social support, if they’re lucky enough to have a therapist, they’re lucky enough to have solid grandparents around to really just surround themselves with support. Because as we know, as therapists or previous therapists or physicians, you need your community. You need people around you who can tell you that, hey, I know it’s hard and you’re still doing a great job or to ask questions about like, hey, I’m having this challenge. Did that ever happen for you? How did you navigate that? And so really the pieces that I look for are kinds of red flags, like if somebody’s really struggling, and they’re not getting support, right? If they’re experiencing some form of more of a mental health crisis, like depression, severe anxiety, OCD, things like that. Those are the pieces that I really get concerned about. But I expect everyone as a parent to go through challenges and I also look for the pieces where everything seems perfect. So the mom who’s showered and has her makeup on and is really like ready to go and everything’s great and tons of energy. That’s kind of a red flag to me as well, at some points in early parenting, to someone who’s trying to keep it all together when perhaps things are not really all together. So those are the things that stand out to me. And so that’s why I want to focus really on helping people get as much support as they can get. So it is hard.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 15:32
One of the things that you mentioned earlier that is especially hard is sleep deprivation. And I’m wondering if you could share with our audience some headlines of what kinds of approaches or interventions might be really useful for those early years with sleep, how you work with that?
Dr. Stephanie Dueger 15:53
So like I mentioned, sleep is one of the top challenges, I think, if not the top challenge for a lot of people at certain points. And it’s honestly a very tricky thing to navigate. So again, people have to do what’s best for them. And support can come in really handy. So if there are two people raising the child, one person can make sure that the other person gets naps in during the day, when they’re staying up all night nursing or whatever. And there are a lot of good books out there, in terms of helping children learn to sleep as best they can and kind of gentle way. And so really doing that research before you end up in that possession when you’re before you’re sleep deprived. So I always encourage people to read those things prior to becoming a parent. So you’re like, if I end up in a space that’s really hard to sleep, I know I want to go to this book. And I’ve marked off these pieces that tell me how to walk through this program to help my child sleep better. That being said, we know that a lot of sleep stuff is hardwired into our system. And so there’s only so much that we can do to help support a child to sleep. Some of it’s just biologically different for each child. So for example, our first child didn’t sleep pretty much for six months, and then slept like a charm all the way through the night as soon as she had reached a certain developmental phase. Our second child slept really well for the first six weeks, and then it didn’t sleep for about three years. And when I say I didn’t sleep, it’s through the night, so it was very different for each of them. And again, they’re both very different temperaments, and different personalities. So I think it is situational in some ways. There are things you can do to help promote sleep. But a lot of it is biological as well. So getting as much support as you can for each parent to just make sure that even if somebody has a challenging night, perhaps they can make up for it the next day, you’re bringing in extra support to be with the baby while perhaps mom takes the two hour nap the other day so she can function. Those are the pieces I tend to lean towards.
Keith Kurlander 18:22
I know stuff for me, like when my daughter was, particularly in the first year and also somewhat in second, third year, going into third year. Were you asking yourself the question of like, is what I’m seeing in terms of the mental emotional behavioral spectrum is what I’m seeing my child healthy or unhealthy? How do I know? I know that I went through that question on and off of like, is this health? Or does an intervention need to happen here to get more help to help my child through something, but how do I know? And it’s like, it’s kind of like a constant question that comes in and out. Is that something you think a lot of parents face or like, is this healthy? Is this not healthy? And how do you work with that?
Dr. Stephanie Dueger 19:09
That’s a great question. Yeah, I know I went through that as well. Dan, and I did as well with our second. And what we found out over time was that she had a severe gluten allergy. And so there were a lot of behavioral issues that were coming out that were kind of red flags for me like, hey, this doesn’t seem normal. Seems like something’s off. And everyone was telling us everything’s fine. And then I took her to see a naturopathic doctor that I was going to. She just came into the office with me and my doctor pointed out, hey, you know, she’s got severe allergies without just taking one look at her because she had very dark circles under us. And we switched up my diet and the behavioral issues went away. And so that I found was very really challenging to figure out, especially with my background of the spectrum of what is kind of within normal range and what felt like it was out. And I think it was really important for me to be able to bounce off of other people, what is normal for your child at this age, because it was very different from our first child. So I think again, having that support, having either a physician or a preschool teacher or someone who has other eyes and has their finger on the pulse of lots of other different kids, so that they can say, hey, you might want to consider this might not be something that is within normal range that you might just want to get checked out and get support for so can be very simple support, you know, it could just be something that the child is eating, or it could be, you know, have you tried this piece of sleep and just see if that works? So whatever it is having other people bounce those ideas off, I think is really critical. So I always just encourage people to find somebody who’s had a lot of experience with a lot of different children, if they have questions or concerns.
Keith Kurlander 21:18
I mean, I think that makes a lot of sense. And I think the follow up to that is a lot of parents, including myself. Sometimes wondering about the choices we make as parents in terms of like, exercising boundaries, or sleep training or different places, we have to make choices. I think a lot of parents often have to ask the question like, am I helping my child or my traumatizing my child with these choices that I’m making? Like, I’m just wondering to the follow ups your answer, like? Do you find it like that? Sometimes there’s a complicated question of like, is this way of being with the child, helping them move forward and develop in a healthy way? Or is it possible this way of being with the child is actually not the best way and could be traumatizing them? Like, you’ve tried everything and you’re like, Okay, we’re doing sleep training now where we’re gonna leave the child alone, or whatever it is?
Dr. Stephanie Dueger 22:14
Yeah. I mean, it’s a great question, Keith. It is kind of delicate territory. I always believe that parents are doing the best that they can do generally, right. So it’s the belief that people want the best for their child. And also, sometimes things are so hard, and you’ve tried everything. And it seems like nothing has worked. Sometimes you try things that may be looking back, feel or questionable. So I think if we can be really forgiving of ourselves, and know that so much of what happens, even if it maybe isn’t the choice that you would have wanted to make. So much can be repaired. Right? So it’s, if you’re at your wit’s end, and you haven’t slept for two months, and you can’t function, is that the wrong choice to leave your child to cry it up? Not necessarily, right? Like maybe that is what needs to happen for the whole family to be healthier and a little more sane, right? And then just really talking with your child no matter what age they are, about why you’re making the choices that you’re making, right? So even a, an itty bitty infant can read your energy, even if they don’t necessarily understand the words. So if you say, you know, mommy hasn’t slept in so long that I’m almost becoming a danger to myself, like, I don’t trust myself cooking a meal, because I might catch the house on fire. We know that’s not safe. So I’m going to let you try to, you know, soothe yourself tonight, when I put you down instead of running every time you cry, right? And maybe the moms and son sleep through the night because she’s so exhausted, and maybe the baby ends up sleeping better. So maybe that ends up being actually the best choice for that family at that time. Again, I think the key is that things can be repaired. So if you make a choice that you don’t feel good about later on, really talking with your child about it. Like I wish that I had more resources to be able to do something differently. But we felt like we had tried everything. And this was kind of our last resort. And I hope that we can just work through this together because we all want the best for our families.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 22:26
That’s beautiful. The way to talk about limited resources and what’s coming up for me as the as you’re speaking about this, Stephanie is really tough jam that parents are in right now with social isolation and pandemic and this need for social resourcing and grandparents on scene to help out and most families are not living in multi-generational households. From what I can tell. And so I’m curious, from that perspective, what your point of view is here about what’s happening for parents right now, in a pandemic, and do you think we’re going to see, because of the challenges and the more limited resources for parents right now, are we going to see more mental illness and the children are more challenges later? I know, it’s just a prediction. But I’m curious about your perspective about what we’re going to see in the future as a result of work going through right now?
Dr. Stephanie Dueger 25:45
Yeah, that’s also a great question, Will. It is super challenging right now, for so many people. I’ve really seen in my practice, a lot of parents who are really struggling because they have little ones, and there’s no social contact. And so all of the trips to the library, or even the park or getting together with friends who have children the same age, so that they can talk about what’s happening, all that has been put on hold. And so I’m seeing a couple of different things. One is that people are getting super resourceful. And they’re, a lot of people are connecting more with their partners. I’m not working with any single parents right now. So I can’t speak to that. But they’re connecting more with their partners. They are finding ways to really make the situation work as best as they can. And then they’re reaching out more online, which isn’t the same, but it meets some of the criteria. And their children are getting a lot of connection patterns, actually at home, with their parents. So that has turned out to be a bonus for some people. The flip side of that, obviously, is we hear the stories about kids growing up in abusive homes or neglectful homes, which obviously makes the situation much worse when you’re in a confined space. And that’s, this is very damaging. And then there are the people in between who you know, they’re trying to work, both parents are trying to work and they have these little kids at home. And that’s really hard. And we know already what the pandemic has been doing to teens. So, you know, a lot of mental health issues for teens have skyrocketed because they don’t have their peers. So I’m not really completely sure how to answer that question of what it might look like. I imagine for some people, that could be more of a bonding experience for their families. For other people, obviously, it’d be a much worse situation. And then there will be people in between who ‘ve had some losses, and they’ve had some ways that they’ve never connected. So my hope is that once things kind of move through, maybe in the next six months, when more people are getting vaccinated and things can kind of move to a new normal, that people will really seek out a lot of social support, and just, you know, really talk about the things that were hard for them. And also, you know, if they can get support online, like talk to their therapists online, or their doctor online or friends online, that can help mitigate some of the challenges that might crop up after it’s well done.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 28:41
Yeah, in times of extreme challenge, looking for other resources, and getting resourceful is such a beautiful dimension of human nature. And so there are these wonderful opportunities, as you’ve listed off, you know, in terms of making use of the online opportunity to connect that way. Not the same, necessarily as in person. But that gives me hope for sure is people figuring it out and having to maybe deepen with their partners at home and having opportunities for more bonding with their children. One thing you mentioned earlier about your own experience I wanted to come back to because as an integrative physician, it really got my attention when you mentioned that one of your children was diagnosed with a gluten allergy or gluten sensitivity. It really brings up for me this what as you know, as a psychiatrist, I would say is kind of a epidemic of children being diagnosed with major mental illness before the age of five, and medicated, you know, using adult medications to treat children who are very young for bipolar disorder or major depression or ADHD and the experience that you shared of having seen what I heard you say is huge change in behavior from a diet change. And so I guess what that leads me to is, do you think that this more holistic, or naturopathic, or integrative approach to child health is something that we should be teaching to parents in terms of like, what to be looking for as far as like root causes of what their children are dealing with. And it’s kind of heartbreaking to me to think about a child who might have a gluten issue and behavior as a result from that ending up on, you know, major medications that oftentimes haven’t even been studied in children. So what are your thoughts there?
Dr. Stephanie Dueger 30:36
Yeah. I’m a huge proponent of giving people as much information as they can tolerate in terms of health. And I think one of the places in this country, especially, where we fail is in nutrition. And so really looking at the impact of food on our mental and physical well being is a place that I feel like the United States is pretty far behind on. We’re pretty good at coming up after the fact and trying to cure things, you know, trying to make things better without looking at what may have caused the actual predicament. So for me, it was an awakening, as somebody who has eaten healthy, or what I considered healthy for most of my life, and not even realizing that gluten could have for my child, the impact that it had, where literally, there were temper tantrums that went on for two hours, and nothing that we could say or do to help support it. And it was really shocking for me just not having any idea what to do. And it really took someone from the outside saying, this is what I see, try this and watch the 180 degree shift in what was happening. So I think it should be taught to parents. This is how important these things are and here are some pieces you might want to look for if your child was having some behavioral issues or trouble sleeping, or whatever, you can try perhaps changing their diet in certain ways, or really looking at how much sugar they’re eating, or whatever it is, right? Yeah, it really gives people that power to save, we should make choices around this. It doesn’t have to be like this.
Keith Kurlander 32:30
What do you think is necessary to help children set them up for success outside of healthy attachment, healthy bonding. Is there a need to focus on, like, where children’s sort of zone of genius are and cultivating that with them, you think that takes care of itself? And it’s really just about being a loving parent that could just foster a good environment for them. And that takes care of themselves? Or do you feel like helping identify what your child’s like, where they really are, where their strengths are, is important and really fostering those?
Dr. Stephanie Dueger 33:07
I kind of subscribe to the idea of exposing them to a lot of different things and finding out what they love. And so you know, if your child is really drawn to music, to really just give them as many opportunities as you can to experience music, you know, play music, sing, do dance, whatever it is that lights them up. I don’t go so far as to kind of push them in any direction. But to just open the doors like here, like there’s so many things that you may be interested in that might excite you or interest you, and then just kind of letting them guide themselves. But I think it is also child-dependent. So if your child maybe has trouble making decisions, or you know, there, they get hyper focused on one thing to either in the first case, help them focus a little more like it seems like maybe you would enjoy this. Do you want to try it and see if they do? Or it seems like you’re only interested in this. This is where you spend all of your energy. And how about we do some other things like go for a hike, or whatever, and really just kind of lay it out there. But the piece that you touched on, Keith was that we just love our kids. And that’s really the most important piece for it to just love and support your child the best that you can. That’s really the grounding. That’s the whole foundation. Right? To just have good loves, good boundaries, healthy attachment. I feel like everything else will kind of follow up on that.
Keith Kurlander 34:44
Maybe as we wrap up, tell us a little bit about your new book that’s coming out. I’m excited to see it.
Dr. Stephanie Dueger 34:51
Thanks. Yeah, so my new book is called “Preparing For Parenthood: 55 Essential Conversations For Couples With Families”. And as I touched on before, it really focuses on helping parents have conversations prior to becoming parents about how they want to navigate some of the pieces of parents that will come up. And rather than dishing out any advice, it’s a platform for them to come to their own decisions, make their own decisions about what works best for their family, because it does look different in every family. We all have our own values, our own traditions, our own backgrounds of how we were raised. And it makes a huge difference in terms of how you choose to raise your own family. And so it’s broken down into different categories. So it starts out with a couple relationships, and then really kind of delves into conversations that can be helpful to have before having a baby. And then it moves into more focus on preparing for the actual events or parenting. And then it goes right into early parenthood. So just like sleep, feeding diapering, things like that, that are specifically for right after you become a parent. So my hope is that people will be able to use this as a tool and have some conversations that they might not have thought of to have prior. A lot of these conversations or conversations that my husband and I had prior. And many of them wished we had prior. And a lot of them I gathered from clients and friends who said, yeah, it would have been really nice to know this, or think about this before we were sleep deprived, or before we were struggling to figure out what was happening. So just really try to give parents a toolbox to use to help support them as they make that transition. Because that’s a huge rite of passage, perhaps one of the biggest other than being born or dying, probably one of the biggest transitions you can make in your life. So my hope is to help people feel more prepared. That should be coming out, ready to launch. It’s being published right now, but hopefully ready to launch in about mid to late January. So I’m hoping you have a large party. Hoping you both can come.
Keith Kurlander 37:28
I’d like to. Okay. Thanks. So we end with a similar question to everybody on here. And you can answer it in whatever domain you want. It’s if you had a billboard where you got a message, like a paragraph message to every person on the planet, what would you want to tell them?
Dr. Stephanie Dueger 37:48
Why would I want to tell them? I guess I want to tell them that you’re okay. Just as you are. Just keep, you know, keep on keeping on. And you’ll find your own way. It’s pretty much what I want to say. Hang in there, especially
Dr. Will Van Derveer 38:05
Keith Kurlander 38:06
Thanks, Steph so much for being on the show.
Dr. Stephanie Dueger 38:09
Thanks so much for having me. I appreciate it.
Keith Kurlander 38:15
I want to again thank Dr. Dueger for joining us. And if this inspired you, if this touched you in some way, either you’re a parent or you know a parent that would really benefit from this, please share this episode with someone. Sharing the episodes is the way that we get this critical information into other people’s hands. So if you have somebody in mind right now that you’re like, wow, they really need to listen to this. Just go on your phone, hit the share button and send it over to them. Again, it’s just a great way that we can keep spreading information on how to live well right now in the world, and really thrive as individuals. We look forward to connecting with you again on the next episode of The Higher Practice Podcast where we explore what it takes to achieve optimal mental health.