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EveryDay Strong

EveryDay Strong

By United Way of Utah County
Many of us know that our teenagers need friends, but our teenagers won't leave the house. We want our students to do well in school, but they don't seem motivated to try. Do you know what research shows could be the key to help them? The way YOU see and respond to their needs!

EveryDay Strong is the podcast for any parent, teacher, or caring adult who wants to support youth dealing with anxiety and depression. Our interviews with experts will answer your questions about real-life experiences—and teach you the perspectives and tools you need to help kids bounce back, no matter the issue.
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Mini episode: how do I know if my teen is overscheduled?
Day to day life can be hectic, especially for teens. Although extracurricular activities are really helpful in a child’s learning and development, kids also need unstructured time to take care of their needs. In this episode, we’ll describe an activity that will help you reflect on your family schedule to find the balance between active and quiet activities. Prioritizing down time will benefit the entire family’s mental health! Resources:
September 19, 2022
Connect with your kids through family time
You’ve heard the saying “the family that plays together, stays together” before. But if you’ve ever been on a chaotic family vacation, you may have doubted the truth of that statement. In today’s episode, our guest Dr. Jasmine Townsend talks about the benefits of family recreation and how you can connect with your child–toddler or teen–through play. Dr. Jasmine Townsend is an Associate Professor in Recreational Therapy within the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management at Clemson University in South Carolina. She has worked in community adaptive sports and therapeutic recreation programs as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, as well as in wilderness and residential behavioral treatment programs for adolescents.
September 12, 2022
Mini episode: Is my child texting too much?
Do you keep track of how many texts your kid gets each day? If so, it might not surprise you to learn that adolescents typically send and receive thousands of messages every month. But how bad is texting really? And does it affect mental health? In this week’s mini episode, Eliza talks about how parents can set boundaries around phones and texting that support their child’s physical and emotional needs.
September 05, 2022
Help your kids manage technology
GIVEWAY CLOSES FRIDAY 9/16 *See below for instructions* Tech is complicated. So are kids. There are many factors that influence mental health and behavior, and phones are one small piece of the bigger picture. In today’s episode, we talk about some common situations parents face while navigating digital parenting. Our expert, Carrie Rogers Whitehead, shares what parents can do to promote safety, connection, and confidence online as their child grows and develops. Carrie’s company, Digital Respons-Ability, trains parents, educators, and students on digital citizenship and internet safety. GIVEAWAY INSTRUCTIONS For a chance to win a signed copy of her book, The 3 Ms of Fearless Digital Parenting: Proven Tools to Help You Raise Smart and Savvy Online Kids, follow EveryDay Strong on social media and send us a DM with the codeword we share in this episode. You can also buy her book here.
August 29, 2022
Podcast Rewind: How do I get my child's teacher on the same page as me?
To end this season, in case you missed catching this episode from Season 2, here's a rerun episode with Jenny Howe! You might have a vision for what your teenager or child needs in order to thrive. But you're not the only adult in your kids' life: there's her teacher, perhaps his other parent, or their youth leaders at church or a club. Are they resistant to what you know your child needs? Licensed clinical therapist Jenny Howe deals with this all the time. She specializes in helping parents collaborate with the school to figure out a plan that will work for everyone. Listen now to learn how to have a better conversation and what actions you can take to support your kid. --------------- To learn more about helping your child, Jenny suggests reading Lost at School: Why Our Kids with Behavioral Challenges are Falling Through the Cracks and How We Can Help Them by Ross W. Greene.
July 25, 2022
Finding peace amidst life's storms
In today's episode, we talked to Lisa Clark, a mother of five, and she shares one of the most challenging experiences her family has experienced and what she did to stay calm and persevere and help her kids thrive through these challenges. Lisa cared for her husband with a terminal illness in which she learned how to cope by doing things to calm her, she learned how and who to reach out for support,  she learned that modeling healthy emotional behavior means staying authentic to your emotions, and she learned to don't sweat the small stuff.  Listen as Lisa shares her story and how she cared for herself and her children during the hardest time in their life with laughter, love, and tears.
July 11, 2022
How can I be more confident in my parenting?
What can you do when you constantly do the same "parenting fail" over and over?  You lose confidence in your parenting skills, feel hopeless, and are stuck. What can help with these feelings is changing your mindset to view confidence as something that grows through experience as you overcome challenges.  And having a clear vision of what you want to accomplish as a parent can build your confidence, which you can impart to your kids. You have to be confident to instill confidence in your kids.  In today's episode, we talked with clinical mental health counselor Scott McConnell about the challenges of building confidence and how that affects how we parent our kids.  --------------- To learn more about building confidence, Scott suggests the following books: No drama discipline by Dan Siegel The whole-brainchild by Dan Siegel & Tina Bryson Parenting with love and logic by Foster Cline & Jim Fay Brainstorm: the power and purpose of the teenage brain by Dan Siegel How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish
June 27, 2022
Find friendships and make them last without wearing yourself out
When raising a family distances us from old friends, starting a new friendship from scratch can be intimidating! Remember this isn’t your first rodeo. Today's episode with local therapist Collette Dawson-Loveless, LCSW, will help you jump the mental hurdles and make meaningful connections even as an adult! Listen for her tips about building vulnerability, stepping out of your comfort zone, and understanding roadblocks on your path to connection and support. --------------- To learn more about building connections, Collette suggests the following books: Love Sense by Dr. Sue Johnson Attached by Dr. Amir Levine and Rachel S.F. Heller, M.A. Wired for Love by Stan Tatkin Psy.D. Parenting From the Inside Out by Daniel J. Siegel M.D. and Mary Hartzell M.Ed.
June 13, 2022
Doing the right things to take care of you but still feeling on edge?
The balance is HARD between focusing on a kid’s needs and not forgetting about your own. If you feel like you’re always living on the edge of a breakdown, it might have to do with learning to calm your body, not just your mind. When your own needs for calm and peace are met, it’s a lot easier to parent the way you want to. Today’s episode with Dr. Andrea Moore (who has a doctorate in physical therapy!) shares science-based grounding techniques for preventing getting to the edge.
May 30, 2022
Why is self care so hard?
One of the most important things you can do as a parent is to take care of yourself.  We all know the list: get enough water, get enough sleep, get some exercise.  But that's so much easier said than done. Kristin Erskine, assistant professor at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions, is here to share the simple things you may not have thought of that can change your ability to take care of your needs.  
May 23, 2022
Mini episode: change your teen's mind
You've told your teenager that they really, really need to focus on bringing their grades up or it's going to be difficult to get into a good college--but it's so much more fun to NOT do that, they argue. You're trying to convince them that they should go to bed at a decent hour but they push back: "none of my friends have to go to bed by then." These arguments go around and around. Sometimes it's simply a matter of being the heavy and laying down the rules. Sometimes, though, we can try a different tack. Today's episode is a reading from medical doctor Atul Gawande about how he persuades his unwilling patients to listen to his wisdom. See if you can glean insight about how you might interact with your balking teenager--and ultimately help her change her own mind.  
March 28, 2022
Mini episode: how to be less angry
Do you find yourself having mini adult meltdowns from time to time? Where you just lose it and yell and get angry for seemingly no reason? (the feeling of "breaking.") Or a strong sense that you just have to get out of the house, away from your life, no matter what. These feelings usually relate to the amount of safety we feel in our own bodies and that we have created for ourselves. The good news is: you can learn to create more safety for yourself so that you can parent the way you want to. Tune into this week's mini-episode to learn how. For more information: How to turn off the fight/flight response: Resmaa Menakem: My Grandmother's Hands
March 21, 2022
Off to college: I'm so worried about my child's ability to make friends
When our kids go off to college for the first time, it's a HUGE and sudden shift in our relationship with them. Up until now, we've been able to protect and shelter them from the worst of what life has to offer. But now they are on their own for the first time. They might struggle to make friends. They might struggle to manage their schedule. And sometimes we feel so helpless. You don't have to be helpless, but you do have the chance to learn a new kind of relationship with your child. Tune in to our conversation with Licensed Clinical Social Worker Catherine Johnson to learn what you can do to be a support for your child but also give them the room to spread their wings. --- Thank you to our sponsor, Revere Health, for making this podcast possible. Learn more at
March 14, 2022
What about harm from other adults?
One of the hardest things as parents is feeling helpless when we know our child has to come in contact with another adult who may be harsh or punitive. For example: if you are divorced and your child is court-ordered to spend weekends with their other parent. What can you possibly do to help your child feel strong, loved, and protected? Today I talked with Kelli Stout, who works as a therapist at the Children's Justice Center in downtown Provo. Every day she supports the survivors of child abuse. She gives us ideas of how we can make our home a haven, how we can validate our child's right to their safety, and what's most important to do in our relationship with our child. Listen now to learn more. ------ Kelli also recommends two books for further reading: 1) The Yes Brain by Dan Siegel and Tina Payne and 2) What Happened to You by Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Bruce Perry. ----- Thank you to our sponsor, Revere Health, for making this podcast possible. Learn more at
March 07, 2022
I've never parented like this before and the change feels hard
"The boundaries you set for your kid make more sense when you do feel connected to them." A lot of us were parented in a very top-down way: "do what I say or you're grounded" kind of a mindset.  You might feel like you want to do a different kind of parenting. But the shift is not an easy one!  Today we're talking to a very average, but very stellar, parent Kristina Pexton. Kristina walks us through her journey of trying to figure out how to connect with her kids and give her best even when up against all the normal parts of being a human. You'll find some inspiration here for your own journey to being the kind of parent you really want to be. In addition to being a parent who tries her best, Kristina is also the Family Life Commissioner for the Utah PTA. --- Thank you to our sponsor, Revere Health, for making this podcast possible. Learn more at
February 28, 2022
Pediatricians and my child: how can I talk to them about our needs?
Your child's pediatrician is one of the most important players in supporting your child through anxiety or depression. They can prescribe medications, help you understand the chemical nature of what's happening with your child, and help you make sure all their physical needs are met (like helping them sleep or eat better).  But how can you make this relationship as optimal as possible? What does a pediatrician want you to know about how to work with them? This week, I talk with family doctor Dr. Dana Munn from Revere Health about how you can partner with your child's doctor to figure out solutions that will be best for your child.  --- Thank you to our sponsor, Revere Health, for making this podcast possible. Learn more at
February 21, 2022
My son can't socialize and I'm really scared about his future
As we go out and teach EveryDay Strong in the community, there are a lot of parents who are very worried about their teenager who struggles to carry on a conversation. Basic social skills are the foundation for everything else in life, like getting a job or having meaningful relationships. But if you can't even talk to your teenager about how they can't talk to people, what are you supposed to do? Licensed Clinical Social Worker Jay Snyder talks with us this week about how the difficulty itself can be the path forward. That might sound a little strange, so tune in now for wisdom about how creating safety and patience can help you unravel this tricky situation.  ------ Thank you to our sponsor, Revere Health, for making this podcast possible. Learn more at
February 14, 2022
My child needs professional help but I'm overwhelmed about how to find it
You probably know this feeling: a child in your life needs professional help but you have no idea where to start. Psychiatrist? Psychologist? Therapist? LCSW? LMFT? CMHC? What do these acronyms even mean? Will my insurance cover it? What do I do if I don't have insurance? These are all questions that can feel overwhelming. Fortunately, you are not the first person to experience this and our community has resources for you. Today I'm talking with someone from one of my favorite programs, a NAMI Utah Mentor. A mentor's entire job is to help you figure out how to crack this. Mentors are people like you who have been down this path before and they can make a complex process much more manageable.  Listen now to hear Wendy's advice, and learn more about this program at or by calling 801-323-9900 (M-F 9 AM - 4:15 PM). --- Much gratitude to our Season 3 sponsor, Revere Health. Learn more at
February 07, 2022
The power of caring adults beyond parents
This week I spoke with Rachel Mortensen, who currently serves as Miss Eagle Mountain, about what went well for her and her mental health during the pandemic. She shares some particularly insightful ideas about how having support beyond just your parents can make an incredible difference for our well-being. 
December 13, 2021
Bullying: how can we meet emotional needs?
Bullying is something we don't ever want to see happen in our schools. Unfortunately, it still does from time to time. When it does, how can we meet the emotional needs of the kid being bullied? And how can we think about meeting the bully's needs for safety, connection, and confidence to help her or him make better choices?  School counselor Lynnete Nielson gives us her perspective and some tricks. --- Learn more about EveryDay Strong at 
November 29, 2021
My child won't do their homework and I think it might be anxiety.
Homework procrastination. It haunts parents across the world. The fights at the kitchen table, the refusal to cooperate. Sometimes, though, this behavior can be a sign of deeper anxieties--or even minor trauma--that we don't know about. So how can focusing on emotional security and a sense of peace and safety get better results with our kids' homework? Therapist Derek Larsen is here to tell us how he approaches this tough but all-too-common dilemma. ----- Learn more about EveryDay Strong at
November 15, 2021
My child struggles to stay on task. How can I be more patient?
When a kid isn't acting the way we need them to--they won't put away their stuff or do their homework--it's so easy to slip into frustration and blame. We don't like it, but that little inside voice pops up saying, "why can't my kid just try harder?" We often want to be patient, especially if they have a diagnosis like ADHD and we know it's not all their fault.  But how can we be the caring adult we want to be?  Listen to today's interview with therapist Alex Ibarra to learn how the EveryDay Strong framework can help you have more compassion and perspective for kids just trying their best. ------------ Learn more about EveryDay Strong at
November 01, 2021
The story of how one principal created a strategy to care for an entire school's emotional needs
It's one thing to create safety, connection, and confidence one-on-one with a kid--but can you do it for an entire high school? It turns out you can. To find out how, listen to this week's interview with master school administrator Rhonda Bromley. She tells us about how she created safety as a high school principal, even with the most difficult of kids, and the one thing she persisted in doing that made the biggest difference to her student's mental health.
October 18, 2021
How do I get my child's teacher on the same page as me?
You might have a vision for what your teenager or child needs in order to thrive. But you're not the only adult in your kids' life: there's her teacher, perhaps his other parent, or their youth leaders at church or a club. Are they resistant to what you know your child needs? Licensed clinical therapist Jenny Howe deals with this all the time. She specializes in helping parents collaborate with the school to figure out a plan that will work for everyone. Listen now to learn how to have a better conversation and what actions you can take to support your kid.
October 04, 2021
School was so tough during the pandemic: my student doesn't want to try again
Today's question: “My students seem to have a fear of failure or fear of trying again something that went poorly the first time. I have so many students who just won't even try with school, and I think one big reason why is because last year was such a traumatic disaster. How do you help teens work past the memories and try again?” -Megan J To answer this question, we decided to go a different route than talking to a therapist or counselor. We went to the students themselves. Today’s conversation with high school students Chancy and Kyle is an opportunity to listen to what their experience has been like. We asked them for advice and what they most want you to know about how to help other youth doing their best through this tough time.
August 16, 2021
My preteen doesn't do well with online socializing
Today’s question: “As a parent of a neurodiverse kid (autism), in-person social interaction is essential to his development, growth, and friendships. The pandemic was really hard on him because his two main avenues to socializing (math club and chess club) were gone. How do I help him ease back into sociality after the pandemic?” — Blaire O Our expert: Dr. Ilse DeKoeyer, PhD, moved to Utah in the year 2000 to research mother-infant relationships with Dr. Alan Fogel. She has taught at the University of Utah since the early 2000's. She also works as a Child Development Specialist at United Way’s Help Me Grow program. Ilse is a founding Board member of the Utah Association for Infant Mental Health, and is committed to supporting infants, young children, and their parents through many other projects and committees.
August 02, 2021
After months of not leaving the house, my 3 year old is scared of strangers now
Today’s question: “How can we reintroduce kids to being around other people after a year of keeping our distance? My 3-year-old has intense stranger danger because she has not been around non-family members during a formative time of development. How do I help young kids understand how the vaccine and other measures mean we can gradually return to some normal activities and process the emotions of the last year and the upcoming transition?” —Catherine D ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Our expert: Catherine Johnson, recently retired Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Catherine spent over 40 years working with children and their families, with a special interest in early childhood mental health. Before her retirement, she worked for eleven years as Division Director for Wasatch Mental Health (now known as Wasatch Behavioral Health), where she directed all child, youth, and family services. This included outpatient mental health clinics, after school and extended day treatment, residential and crisis services. Catherine has four children and 3 grandchildren.
July 19, 2021
Ever since the pandemic started, my child won't stop washing his hands
Today’s question:  My son has become a huge germaphobe since the pandemic began. We went out to the nickelcade, and he scrubbed himself down for thirty minutes afterwards—even though he was wearing a mask and wearing gloves. Unfortunately, I think this is going to be a problem that will continue long after the pandemic is over. What can I do to help him? Bree S. Our expert: Jenny Howe is a licensed mental health therapist and expert in anxiety-related disorders, OCD, and depression with a specialized focus in child and adolescent mental health.  With 20 years’ experience in juvenile corrections, public school mental health, residential care and private practice, she recently directed her passion to help others through the 2018 film Angst, which is being shared globally. She has spoken nationwide both in person and virtually at Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, Warner Brothers, NBC, The University of Vermont and most recently as the Keynote Speaker at Purdue University during their 2020 Mental Health Awareness Week. Jenny’s mission is to help drive authentic conversations, driven by research, that intuitively breed connection and increase hope.
July 05, 2021
My child's grandmother died during COVID-19
Today’s question: “My child’s grandmother passed away during the pandemic. How do I help her deal with the anxiety and fear of death of loved ones and just the general impermanence and fragility of life?” —Zach K, father of two Our expert: Dr. David Schramm, associate professor and family life extension specialist in the department of Human Development and Family Studies at Utah State University. Dr. Dave, as he’s known on campus and across the country, was appointed by Governor Herbert to serve on Utah’s Commission on Marriage in 2016. From British Columbia to Beijing, China, and from St. Louis to San Diego, Dr. Dave has given over 500 presentations, classes, and workshops to a variety of audiences, including the United Nations and a TEDx talk in Florida.
June 21, 2021
After a year of living on our devices, my kids won't get off their phones
Today’s question: “My kids seem to be using technology for almost all their connection with their friends. I know excessive amounts of screentime is not great for kids, and mine are on video games 10 hours a day but it’s because they’re chatting with their friends. What do I do about technology use after the pandemic, when they’ve become habituated to living out their entire lives online?   —Sue C and Jennifer F Our expert: Jay Snyder is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who works at a charter school in Riverton, where he assists students, teachers, parents, and administrators on a wide variety of mental and emotional health topics. He also works as a private therapist with a small clientele. He likes to say he helps kids by helping their adults. (Note: normally episodes drop every second and fourth Monday of the month. This one is a little early! Look for the next episode on June 21st.)
June 03, 2021
EveryDay Strong Season 1: coming June 2021. We're talking all about recovery from COVID-19. 
April 20, 2021