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Communication Q+A with Dr. William Stixrud and Ned Johnson


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This is episode 66 and today I’m here with Dr. William Stixrud and Ned Johnson with a communication Q & A.

William Stixrud, Ph.D. is a clinical neuropsychologist and a faculty member at Children’s National Medical Center and George Washington University Medical School. He writes and lectures widely on the adolescent brain, meditation, and the effects of stress, sleep deprivation, and technology overload on the brain. He is on the advisory board of the David Lynch Foundation, and he plays in a rock band, Close Enough.

Ned Johnson is the founder of PrepMatters and the coauthor of Conquering the SAT: How Parents Can Help Teens Overcome the Pressure and Succeed. A sought-after speaker and teen coach for study skills, parent-teen dynamics, and anxiety management, his work has been featured on NPR, NewsHour, U.S. News; World Report, Time, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal.

Our Little Obsession

I spent the morning today reading through thoughtful questions posted in the Sage Family Village and commenting with my heartfelt reflections and gosh that sacred space is just my favorite place on the internet. Did you know that every month we come together on a group coaching call where I talk through Q+A’s live and we all connect with each other in support? We affectionately refer to it as our monthly bonfire. If you want a sense of community and support on this gentle parenting journey, the Sage Family Village is where you want to be. Head over to and join us—your friends are waiting.


Complaining: We discuss what to say when our child is complaining.

Responsibility: We explain what to say to a child who says, “My history teacher gave me a bad grade on my paper.”

Collaboration: We walk through what to say to a child asking if they can do something—how to get around that knee jerk no.

Struggling: We offer advice for what to say to a kid struggling with a hard, new skill or problem, maybe saying something like, “I’m stupid.”

Substances: We go over what to say to a teenager whose life is being negatively affected by something like marijuana use.

Neurodiversity: We cover what to say to a child with dyslexia who struggles with reading and writing.

Happiness: We share what to say to an anxious, depressed, or stressed child about happiness.

Technology: We give recommendations for what to say if our kid is on technology in such a way that we see that their well-being (mood, sleep etc.) is suffering.

Boundaries: We talk about what to say if our kid has just lied to us about an agreement made (or a rule broken).

Dive Deeper

Disclosure: When I recommend a product that I believe will add value for you, it may contain an affiliate link, and when you click the link to make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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I work from an island in the Pacific Northwest, where I live wild and free in connection with my hilarious husband and three growing sailors in our fixer upper on the beach. I authentically live this healing work out loud raising my own neurodivergent family (inner child included) and draw on my decades of education and experience (I've done all the nerdy work so you don't have to) to guide a revolution of overwhelmed parents just like you to feeling at peace within yourself, consciously connected with your children, embraced by a supportive community, and enjoying a values-aligned life you love.

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I'm Rachel Rainbolt

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