• Rona Renner,
    Rona Renner, "Is that Me Yelling?"
  • Managing the Anxiety of Parenting Teens
    Managing the Anxiety of Parenting Teens
  • How To Be A Good Parent On A Budget
    How To Be A Good Parent On A Budget
  • The View From The Bay - Discussing men's and women's communication
    The View From The Bay - Discussing men's and women's communication
  • AVG - The Digital Playground
    AVG - The Digital Playground
  • AVG Digital Diaries Episode 2: Digital Birth
    AVG Digital Diaries Episode 2: Digital Birth
  • AVG Digital Diaries Episode 3: Internet Safety for Six to Nine-Year-Olds
    AVG Digital Diaries Episode 3: Internet Safety for Six to Nine-Year-Olds
  • Shelly Rivoli with Rona Renner on The View from the Bay
    Shelly Rivoli with Rona Renner on The View from the Bay
  • Blossoming Mom Series (PART ONE)
    Blossoming Mom Series (PART ONE)
  • Blossoming Mom Series (PART TWO)
    Blossoming Mom Series (PART TWO)
  • Blossoming Moms Series (PART THREE)
    Blossoming Moms Series (PART THREE)
  • Blossoming Moms Series (PART FOUR)
    Blossoming Moms Series (PART FOUR)

Secondhand Drinking


Do you know what the term Secondhand Drinking means?  I didn’t until I read the work of Lisa Fredericksen and met her to discuss this important concept. Lisa will be my guest on About Health,  on KPFA—94.1 FM, on May 25th from 2-3PM. We will also be joined by Carol Fowler, MFT, to discuss what happens to the people who live or work with a person who misuses alcohol.


child afraid

“Secondhand drinking is a term to describe the impacts another person experiences as a result of trying to cope with a person’s drinking behaviors. These are the behaviors a person engages in as a result of drinking alcohol in quantities that exceed what the body and brain can handle. These behaviors include the insane, circular arguments; verbal/physical or emotional abuse; physical assault; unwanted sex; the behaviors that occur in a blackout; the accident caused when driving while impaired.”Lisa Fredericksen

Learn more about the health consequences of secondhand drinking at:



    Radio Interviews about Discipline on Pacifica-KPFT in Huston


    imagesOn Aug. 28th I  had the pleasure of talking with George Reiter on KPFT, the Pacifica station in Huston.  George covers progressive and environmental issues on his show, Thresholds, and is interested in talking about discipline and raising children with respect. You can hear my interview about yelling less below.

    images-1Dr. Intisar Shareef also joined George Reiter on Sept. 11th to discuss discipline and the consequences of using harsh physical punishment with children.  It was a terrific conversation about her own experience raising foster children, and about the work she does teaching parents, children, and childcare providers.

    You can here it below:


      “Daddy, I can’t sleep!” A middle of the night trigger for yelling!


      In my book, “Is That Me Yelling?” I touch on the issue of sleep deprivation as a common trigger for parental yelling during the day, or at 3AM, when you’re not able to be rational or calm.

      There are many consequences of too little sleep, such as lack of focus, irritability, poor emotional control, and an overall foggy feeling. Sleep deprivation can also set you up for a lower resistance to fighting off colds and other illnesses. Parents and children frequently feel stressed out, and a good nights sleep is an important element in stress reduction.


      Many parents report that when their child gets into the habit of waking up in the middle of the night, they lose it, and start to yell. Yelling  rarely helps, and will often make matters worse since a child may get worried or upset, motivating her to want more comfort.

      Most couples share the burden of getting up at night to comfort a crying baby or to walk a seven year old back to her bed after her loud howling woke you and perhaps the neighbors as well. And if you’re a single parent, your sanity depends on creative solutions to getting a good night sleep.

      What has worked for you, to help your child learn how to put herself back to sleep? Here are some solutions that parents have used. What would you add?

      • Walk your child back to bed and help her learn ways to soothe herself back to sleep. Stay calm and in control of your emotions—and with a consistent message over time your child may learn that he can go back to sleep without a parent there.
      • Give-in to his desire, and let him sleep with you “just this one night.”
      • Put a sleeping bag or mat (not too comfy)  on the floor in your room and tell your child she can come and sleep there in the middle of the night, as long as she doesn’t wake you up.
      • Teach your child how to do slow easy breathing (maybe with a stuffed animal on her belly) or the body-scan, so she can soothe herself back to sleep. Try an eye pillow that has a soothing lavender scent.
      • Get a dog to sleep with your child.
      • Try a sound machine. For some kids it does the trick when they stir at night. You may find it useful for trips as well.
      • Revisit your child’s bedtime routine. Work  to teach your child how to fall asleep at bedtime,  on his own—without a parent sitting there until he is asleep.  If he gets use to falling asleep without you there, he will be more likely to fall back to sleep without you as well.
      • Make sure he has had a good dinner or a bed time healthy snack, so a hungry belly isn’t the cause of waking.
      • Talk to your child about her school day and listen to any fears or concerns she has about her school performance or friendships. Worries can keep a child from falling back to sleep. Reflect on the amount of one-on-one time you have with your child.
      • Engage your child in a conversation about what would help him get back to sleep without waking you. Experiment with the different ideas if they make sense to you. Let him know that you need your sleep and you don’t want to be woken up at night. Tell him that you will be a much nicer person during the day if you sleep well.
      • Do an inventory on the level of stress in the house in the evening. If things are tense between family members, it can impact healthy sleep.
      • Don’t have  TV or other electronics in your child’s room. Too much visual stimulation, or scary movies, can cause sleep waking. Also the bedroom should be on the cool side, and most people sleep much better in the dark, with the lights out and good curtains to keep the sun from shining into the room in the early morning. Some children do better with a night light, so you’ll need to figure out what’s best.
      • Talk to your health care provider to rule out any issues such as sleep apnea or snoring.

      Children go through different stages of development. At some stages they become more aware of the world around them, and because of that, they may not feel safe or secure.  Many children become more aware and interested in death and dying between the  ages of  7-9, and they may temporarily need extra comfort and connection.  Behavior has meaning, and at the same time habits get formed easily, so think it though before you bring your child into your bed at night. It’s a personal decision, so decide if that’s what you (and your partner or spouse) want, and if that’s what your child needs. Each family is unique, and so what works for you may be very different than what works for your friend or sister.

        Book Reading At Google Headquarters


        Thanks to my friend Janis Keyser, it was a lovely day meeting many parents at Google, and also getting to see one of the their terrific Childcare Centers.


        The main thing I would add to this hour long video is a more developed response to a parents question about whining, I would add that we not only need techniques to help our children break the habit, but sometimes we really need to understand what they are asking for. Sometimes a child will whine when they don’t think they can get a parents attention any other way. And sometimes it’s their inner frustration and stress that comes out in the form of annoying behaviors. There are ways to respond instead of yelling as I mention in the video, and it’s always good to step back and think about your child’s experience.

          Are You Or Your Child Anxious?


          Many parents and children experience anxiety. Sometimes it’s mild, but other times it can get in the way of fun or meaningful activities. Does your child avoid field trips because he is afraid he’ll throw up on the bus? Do you say no to an invitation to go to a party because you are worried  you won’t know anyone, or that you don’t have a new outfit for the event?  Research shows that as parents, we often pass on our anxieties to our kids, and in some families there is a genetic component as well.

          Here is a good story from NPR about a family who reached out for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to reduce anxiety. Don’t be ashamed if you or your child needs help. Life is a lot easier when anxiety doesn’t rule.


          There are also many books to help you understand more about reducing your child’s anxiety. Here a two good ones:unnamed





            Boulder Bookstore Reading


            It was a wonderful night in Boulder, thanks to my daughter Mara and her friends and colleagues.  I met many people who do great work for children and families. I enjoyed the questions from parents who, like most parents, are trying to figure out how to communicate with their kids without letting their feelings of frustration and anger get the best of them.

            I look forward to going back to Boulder—it’s a friendly and beautiful city. BoulderBookReading Boulder Bookreading2


              Boulder Bookstore Event


              Do you live in Boulder Colorado? If so take a listen to KGNU Thursday at 7AM. I’ll be talking with Maeve Conran about my book “Is That Me Yelling?”

              I hope to see you on May 22nd  at the Boulder Bookstore at 7:30PM for a book reading. Bring your friends and your questions. Come if you yell more than you would like to, or if you want to learn more about reducing your frustration with you child. We’ll discuss ways to yell less and and reduce your stress and your child’s.


                Connecting with parents and friends


                It was terrific to do a book reading at Book Passage in Corte Madera. I had the chance to reunite with friends who helped make my radio show, Childhood Matters, successful….Peter B. Collins, Marisol Munoz-Kiehne, and Ether Seiderman. My gratitude to my daughter Carina for helping me and being a shining light, and many thanks to Kathryn and Melissa at Book Passage, and Rebecca Wood-Breen of Parents Place,  who co-sponsored the event.

                I love talking to parents about raising children and becoming more aware of how to respond rather than react to their child’s behavior. It takes patience and practice to stay calm and decide what’s needed.

                I look forward to doing a book reading in Boulder Colorado this week. Please let me know if you would like a presentation in your community.


                  Kids in The House



                  Watch Rona Renner’s video’s on various subjects regarding childhood and raising children at Kids in The House. You’ll also find videos from over 400 national parenting and health professionals. 



                    The Ripple Effect


                    images“When we do our best to treat our children, others, and ourselves with kindness and respect—even with our imperfections–there is a ripple effect. A shift takes place in ourselves, in our children, in the people we interact with every day. When we heal our wounds with courage and honesty, we can use our energy for our benefit and the benefit of others. One person—like you or me—can have a significant impact on the violence, greed, suffering, and lack of compassion around us all. If more parents model respectful communication and empathy, then the next generation will have a better chance to create a more peaceful world.

                    Consider these questions every day:

                    • What will I discover today that brings meaning to my life?
                    • What will I learn from my children, and what will they learn from me?
                    • How can I offer love, comfort, or peace to someone?”

                    —Rona Renner, “Is That Me Yelling?” (page 200)



                      Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the impact on adult health and well being



                      On April 27th I hosted the radio show  “About Health”  on KPFA, 94.1 FM You can listen to the show online at https://kpfa.org/player/?audio=111818

                      My gratitude to our guests and to the listeners and callers.



                      Learn about the research and clinical application of the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study.

                      “This study is one of the largest investigations ever conducted to assess associations between childhood maltreatment and later-life health and well-being. The study is a collaboration between the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) and Kaiser Permanente’s Health Appraisal Clinic in San Diego.” Center for Youth Wellness

                      My guests were

                      Janine Greer, MA., Health Educator at the Center For Youth Wellness in San Francisco and Dr. Zea Malawa, Pediatrician at the Bayview Child Health Center in San Francisco.


                      “More than 17,000 Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) members undergoing a comprehensive physical examination chose to provide detailed information about their childhood experience of abuse, neglect, and family dysfunction. To date, more than 50 scientific articles have been published and more than100 conference and workshop presentations have been made.” —Center for Disease Control

                      This community of practice uses trauma-informed, resilience-building practices to prevent Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), and to change systems to stop traumatizing already traumatized people.” 

                      The Center for Youth Wellness has set a goal of one million views to demonstrate the momentum behind the movement.  

                      My gratitude to Vince Felitti, MD for his passionate and hard work. It’s about time that more people are benefiting from his groundbreaking research.

                      Dr. Felitti was working with people who were overweight, and he discovered that 55% of the people he surveyed reported to have suffered child sexual abuse. Take a listen to his story of how this research started:


                        How to Reduce Stress and Find Your Sweet Spot


                        On Monday, April 13th, I hosted the radio show “About Health” on KPFA 94.1FM.
                        If you missed the show you can listen to it at https://kpfa.org/player/?audio=110979

                        My guest was Christine Carter, PH.D, author of “The Sweet Spot: How To Find Your Groove At Home and Work”

                        Christine is a sociologist and senior fellow at the UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, and the author of the book Raising Happiness. We’ll discuss the latest neurological and psychological research on positivity, productivity, performance, and the concept that by doing less we can actually accomplish more. Her current work is related to living a healthier and happier life at home and at work.


                          Sleep: What We All Need To Thrive


                          SleepI am now hosting a show or two every month on “About Health” on KPFA, 94.1 FM, from 2-3PM. You can also listen anytime online at http://kpfa.org/

                          Here is the show about sleep from 3/9/15:


                           My guests were:

                          Karen Schwarzbach

                          San Francisco-based sleep expert and coach Karen Schwarzbach is the founder of Pivotal Sleep and Babies to Sleep. A Certified Sleep Consultant and Certified Wellness Practitioner who works with both children and adults, she’s the former managing director of the Association of Professional Sleep Consultants and serves on the advisory board of the International Maternity and Parenting Institute. She regularly speaks at industry-leading conferences and seminars and provides her expertise to household name corporations and organizations including Clorox, Facebook, Kaiser Permanente, eBay and Sutter Health.

                          Here are some tips from Karen: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/03/prweb12554429.htm

                          Dr. Allison Harvey

                          Allison Harvey is a Professor of Clinical Psychology, Clinical Psychologist, and Director of the Golden Bear Sleep Research Clinic at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Harvey is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Bergen, Norway. Her clinical training and Ph.D. were completed in Sydney, Australia. Dr. Harvey then moved to the University of Oxford as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychiatry then a faculty member in the Department of Experimental Psychology, University. In 2004 she moved to UC Berkeley. – See more at: http://psychology.berkeley.edu/people/allison-harvey



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