Meghan Leahy on Parenting Outside the Lines

Meghan Leahy is one of our favorite parenting experts.

Her advice is grounded in experience (she’s got 3 kids and is a parenting columnist for the Washington Post), understanding (again: she’s got 3 kids!), and compassion (like the rest of us, she’s exhausted and overwhelmed). She’s honest, engaging and an absolute hoot.

Her latest book, Parenting Outside the Lines: Forget the Rules, Tap Into Your Wisdom and Connect with Your Child, was published just over a year ago — so we thought this would be a good time to re-visit our conversation with her, which we originally released in September 2020. (You know, just as most of us were freaking out over the beginning of a very unconventional school year.)

blue cover with book title, Parenting Outside the Lines

Some gems:

“I haven’t yet found a parent who’s really changed their parenting based on ‘studies say,’ I’ve never told a parent, ‘Well, studies say if you don’t yell, your kid will be happier,’ and had the parent say, ‘oh my god, I didn’t know that! Now I’ll stop yelling.’”


 “Strategies are neither here nor there. One may work; one may not. But if the underpinning of compassionate, boundaried connection isn’t there, it doesn’t matter.”

In this episode, Jen, Janet & Meghan Leahy discuss:
  • The importance of connection
  • Learning to trust yourself
  • How modern culture has made parenting more difficult
  • Why it’s OK to not know what to do
  • What to do when your son doesn’t want to do an activity he once loved
  • Parenting during the pandemic
  • The link between kindness and resilience
  • Screen time (and why you need to look at your screen habits before tackling your kids’ screen time)
  • How to enjoy parenting
Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:

Parenting Outside the Lines: Forget the Rules, Tap Into Your Wisdom and Connect with Your Child — Meghan’s book

Meghan’s Washington Post On Parenting columns — Meghan’s website

How to Raise a Boy with Michael C. Reichert — ON BOYS episode mentioned at 07:11

The Neufield Institute — courses, events and resources from Gordon Neufield, PhD (mentioned at 8:47)

Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier and More Secure Kids, by Kim John Payne and Kim Ross — book mentioned at 16:07

My Suddenly Sedentary Teen Seems Stuck. How Much Should I Push Him to Move? — Meghan’s column about the soccer player (mentioned at 17:24)

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will you check the beginning to make sure it lines up okay?  thank you!!  and we should let her know it’s going live, too…