How to Talk with Kids with Ned Johnson and Dr. William R. Stixrud

Subscribe and Listen Now

William Stixrud and Ned Johnson

I just can’t handle you right now.”

That’s how I’m feeling around my kids lately. 

As many of you know, I’ve been on a pretty epic family road trip across the country. We’ve been making some incredible memories and having a ton of fun, but it hasn’t been without some serious challenges. 

My wife has been sick for the past week, the boys are constantly fighting, I’m trying to manage my business (while keeping everyone engaged), and there’ve been some tragic events with my extended family, to name just a few. 

To be honest, I feel like I’m reaching my breaking point. I’ve lost all patience, I’m emotionally drained, and I just don’t have the bandwidth to deal with my kids immediate needs. 

And I can feel the negative impact that my energy is having on my kids—which doesn’t sit right with me. 

I don’t want to be the Dad who replies to my kids with the classic “Because I said so…” line. 

Well, the timing for today’s episode of the podcast couldn’t be better. Returning guests, Ned Johnson and William Stixrud, join the show to talk all about their new book, What Do You Say?: How to Talk with Kids to Build Motivation, Stress Tolerance, and a Happy Home

Ned and Bill reminded me that nobody gets it right all the time. In fact, perfect parenting just doesn’t exist, and my current feelings are completely normal. 

Thankfully, they shared some pro tips for practicing self-compassion and dealing with the kids when life gets crazy—ones that I know you’ll appreciate! If you sometimes find it hard to talk with our kids, you’re going to love this conversation. Ned and Bill share some really powerful strategies for creating deeper connections, building empathy, and engaging in respectful and effective dialogue. This is your comprehensive guide to effectively communicating with kids!

Some of the topics I discuss with Ned Johnson and Dr. William R. Stixrud

  • How to talk to kids (and really listen) in order to build powerful connections.
  • Changing the energy in the way you talk to your children.
  • Letting your kids know when you’re having a tough day/week.
  • How to practice non-judgmental self-compassion.
  • Why nobody needs perfect parents. In fact, ‘good enough’ is better than you may think. 
  • The power of spending one-on-one time with your kids.
  • Talking with kids about the pursuit of happiness. 
  • Using reflective listening to build empathy with your kids.
  • Helping kids find their own motivation. 
  • How does a kid’s age impact how you speak to them?
  • Why you should want your kids to solve their own problems as much as possible.
  • Are you accidentally bailing on your kids emotionally?
“As much as possible, we want kids to solve their own problems.” - Ned Johnson Click To Tweet “So much of change is caused by listening” - Dr. William Stixrud Click To Tweet

Ned Johnson Links & Other Resources

Ned Johnson’s Bio

Ned Johnson

As a family man, Ned Johnson is the Father of a 17 year old daughter and a 19 year old son. He and his wife Vanessa just celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. 

Professionally, he is an author, speaker, and founder of PrepMatters, an educational company providing academic tutoring, educational planning, and standardized test preparation. A professional “tutor-geek” since 1993, Ned has spent nearly 40,000 one-on-one hours helping students conquer an alphabet of standardized tests and honing his interpersonal skills. A battle-tested veteran in the fields of test prep, stress regulation, and student performance, Ned coaches clients to manage their anxiety and find the motivation to reach their full potential.

In 2006, Ned co-authored the book Conquering the SAT: How Parents Can Help Students Overcome the Pressure and Succeed, which tackles the outsized role anxiety plays in standardized testing. 

With Dr. William Stixrud, Ned co-authored The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives. Their book explores how fostering children’s autonomy can help solve two challenges endemic to kids today: facing anxiety and developing intrinsic motivation. 

Ned is a sought-after speaker and teen coach on study skills, sleep deprivation, parent-teen dynamics, and test anxiety. His work is featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, BBC, and many others.


Dr. William Stixrud’s Bio

Bill SixtrudAs a family man, Dr. William R. Stixrud (Bill) has been married to his wife Star for 44 years! He has 2 children, 4 grandchildren and loves seeing the young kids grow up, each with their unique strengths and personalities.

William R. Stixrud, Ph.D., is a clinical neuropsychologist and founder of The Stixrud Group, a lifespan neuropsychology practice. He is also a member of the Adjunct Faculty of the Children’s National Medical Center, and he holds a faculty appointment as Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the George Washington School of Medicine.

Dr. Stixrud is a frequent lecturer, and he has authored scientific articles on Transcendental Meditation and book chapters on meditation and the integration of the arts into education.

He has a doctorate degree in School Psychology from the University of Minnesota. He did his training in neuropsychology at the Children’s Hospital of Boston (as a fellow of the Harvard Medical School) and Tufts New England Medical Center. Additionally, Dr. Stixrud is a musician and plays in the band Larry and the Flames.

Dr. Stixrud has been quoted in numerous publications including The New York Times, The Times of London, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal Scientific American,, NPR, Businessweek, Barron’s, and Vogue.

Want to learn more about Front Row Dads? 

We are in the business of building better families.

While most dads would say that family matters most, the challenge is they feel guilty knowing their careers get the best of them, and their family seems to get the rest of them.

We help Dads become family men with businesses, not businessmen who have families, so they can thrive personally AND professionally.

Subscribe to the Front Row Dad podcast to learn about fatherhood, marriage and how to level up your game at home, or if you’re ready for the best coaching and true brothers to grow with, Join The Brotherhood.

Are you getting all the shows? Subscribe today! Want to leave a review? THANK YOU!

[read more]
Disclaimer: The transcription you’re about to read was produced digitally. It’s 95% accurate, however at times, the system interprets words incorrectly. [/read]

Let's Keep This Relationship Going

Want To Meet At The Next Online Summit?

Let’s take this to the next level — Meet up with badass dads from around the world at the next Online Summit. 

© Front Row Dads 2023, Privacy Policy

  • Podcast
  • Resources
  • Summit
  • Login