Podcast Episode 117: My 5 Biggest Lessons from 2016 About Family Life and Where It's Headed

Podcast Episode 117: My 5 Biggest Lessons from 2016 About Family Life and Where it’s Headed

Thanks so much for coming by to check out Episode 50 of The New Family Podcast where I share the story of my own unique family structure following separation and divorce.

I decided to up the year on The New Family Podcast with this solo episode reflecting on the kind of year it’s been and the biggest lessons I’ve learned from creating 88 episodes in 2016.

It’s hard to do so without mentioning that many of us have experienced a real sense of heaviness about the state of the world this year. Just one aspect of that is the many people who feel that their choices—of who to love, of how to make a family—are under threat as a result of the U.S. election. So on this episode I touch on some of the wonderfulness of how far families have come and the level of acceptance they do enjoy, in a little effort to accentuate the positive and share a sense of hope.

Here are five lessons and observations from the year I’ve had connecting with families in every shape and form, as well as with some of the most forward thinking experts and thoughts leaders on topics that pertain to family life.

1. Our definition of family has indeed expanded in a very positive way over the last year.

One of the most striking areas of progress I’ve witnessed is in the opening of our hearts and minds to the rights and lived experiences of transgender and non-binary folks. Yes, it’s coming too late. Yes, there’s so far to go. But this year I’ve observed a lot of people speaking up in support of trans rights.

Related Episodes:

Life as a Transgender Dad who Nurses

When Your Spouse Comes Out as Transgender

But the newer definitions of family we explored on the show in 2016 weren’t just limited to those families with transgender loved ones…

Life in a Polyamorous Family

The Parenting Marriage

Finding Your Tribe to Share the Parenting Journey

Becoming a Dad at Age 50

Dad of 8 on Raising Kids Who Have a Sense of Purpose

Making Fertility Work at Work

The Birth Guy: Male Doula Brian Salmon

When Your Child Comes Out

2. We’re changing our ideas about separation and divorce, and maybe toward marriage as well.

Over the past year we shined a light on people who are rising above the acrimony that used to be a default mode for divorcing couples.

Related Resources and Episodes:

Our Facebook Community “Positive Co-Parenting After Divorce”

Our Site’s Divorce Help Page

Myths Of Marriage and Divorce

Two Homes, One Childhood

Conscious Co-Parenting

Divorce Yoga? It’s a Thing

Kick-Ass Step-Mom Project

Learning to Rock the Step-Mother Gig

Married but Living in Different Cities—A Long-Distance Blended Family!

The Ex Next Door

Conscious Uncoupling with Katherine Woodward Thomas

Positive Co-Parenting After Separation and Divorce

Best Books to Read When You’re Going Through Separation or Divorce

Blending Families: The Tricky Parts of Making Two Families into One

3. Technology is changing family life in ways that are both positive and negative. It’s easy to go to the negative side with this, but technology does families a lot of good too.

Related Episodes:

How Technology is Changing Our Brains and Behaviour

Raising Innovators

Getting Smart About Kids and Social Media

Talking to your Kids about Sexting

4. Despite the heavy hearts we may have about the state of the world, empathy is still a tremendously valuable and valued quality.

I’ve had the chance to speak twice with Dr. Michelle Borba this year. She’s an internationally renowned educational psychologist and an expert in parenting, bullying and character development.

Her latest book is UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me-World. That says that empathy isn’t just a “nice to have,” touchy-feely kinda quality—it actually plays a surprising role in predicting our kids’ happiness and success.

Related Episodes:

Raising Empathetic Kids

How to Have a Less Commercial Holiday with Your Kids

5. Resilience is perhaps the most important quality we can model for and encourage in our children during uncertain times.

Whether your kids have seen you struggle through a job loss, a marriage breakdown or a political fight that didn’t go as hoped, now is a great time to model capability and resilience for them in the face of sadness or struggle.

Related Episodes:

Parenting Through the Unexpected

Helping Kids Deal with Stress

Bringing Up Productive Humans

Teaching Kids to Express Themselves

A Mom of Eight On Raising Kids Who Know How to Work

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Brandie Weikle

About Brandie Weikle

Brandie is a long-time parenting editor, writer and spokesperson. Most recently editor-in-chief of Canadian Family magazine, Brandie has also been the parenting and relationships editor for the Toronto Star, founding editor of two Toronto Star websites, and an editor for Today's Parent. Brandie is a single mother of two in Toronto and a frequent television and radio guest on parenting topics. A former digital director at House & Home Media, she also consults on digital audience engagement. Contact her here. View all posts by