Parenting in the Trenches with Karen Peters

40 Episodes

By: Karen Peters

Hey weary parent. Parenting is a tough gig, but we've got your back. Join child and family therapist, and mom-in-the-trenches, Karen Peters and learn about skills to support you in supporting your kids, while laughing and getting real about the crazy sticky messiness of life with kiddo's.

Our Kids & Sexual Health: Sex Ed considerations for people with disabilities (visible & invisible)
Last Friday at 12:00 AM

Parents and educators (and if you are one of these, please share with the other in your life - we're all contributors to our kids' learning),

This is an episode near and dear to me. It's also really special to Ashten because of her work with and friendships with people with disabilities. If you are raising or supporting a child or youth with a disability (either physical or mental), you'll know how much more complicated it feels to talk with them about their sexual health and development. It causes us to consider HOW they learn information, what's...

Our Kids & Sexual Health: Baseball, pizza, & rethinking the meaning of consent

Ok parents,
Let's take a moment to reflect. What messaging did you receive about your body and about sex growing up? Where did those messages come from? Were they all super obvious and explicit or were they sort of slippery and normalized? Do any of those messages now seem harmful or shame-filled to you? 

Now let's consider the messaging around consent. How would you define that concept and how would you go about explaining that to your kids? Of course the depth in which we talk to our kids about this looks different as they grow, b...

Our Kids & Sexual Health: HOW to talk with kids about sex & body health

Dear parents,
Does this topic make you a little nervous? Unsure where to begin? Let's tackle this together and maybe it'll feel a little less scary on the other side of it. Ashten Black is a sexual health educator who removes shame from the equation, recognizes the stickiness of this topic and aims to reassure parents of both the invaluable role they play in educating their kids/teens about sexual development, health and relationships, and that what parents bring to the table is intimate knowledge about who their kids are and what they hope to foster with them...

Special Episode: Adoption & the Couple Relationship

About 6 months ago I invited those in couple relationships who were either waiting to adopt or who had already adopted a child (or more than one), to share the unique stressors of the process, the impacts on their relationship at different points of the journey, and the stages those dynamics set for their family.

As an adoptive parent in a couple relationship, I have a special soft spot for people walking this path and the subtle and not so subtle impacts this particular path of creating family has on our bonds with one another. The reality is...

Neurodiverse families: On being your child's "external brain", with parents from FamilySmart

As we near the end of our special series on neurodiverse families, we're talking about a role caregivers often need to assume when raising kids who aren't neurotypical - the role of "external brainers". While it's a phase for most parents, this role can be more intensive and longer lasting when your child has ADHD, Autism, FASD, or other diagnoses that have executive functioning struggles attached to them.

Have a listen to Lori and Sheila, both parents who have and continue to walk this journey personally, and also come alongside parents in the thick of supporting their...

Neurodiverse families: When feeling unsafe shapes our developing brains, with Dr. Geddes

Dear parents, caregivers and support people of kids who have lived through traumatic experiences,

We know how hard parenting in healing ways really is. We also know more now about how best to go about it than we did just 10 years ago. Dr. Chuck Geddes shares his own findings after serving over 300 families through his Complex Care Intervention program, and brings his authentic and compassionate lens to the conversation. He's absolutely passionate about and dedicated to helping kids in BC's foster care system and in adoptive families thrive past their trauma.

Kids who have come...

Neurodiverse families: The ins & outs of Sensory Processing challenges with Kim Barthel

Dear parents, standing in the confusing, slippery mud of neurodivergence....we're here for ya.

Does your child cover their ears for sounds that others aren't seemingly bothered by? Do they rock or bite their hands to soothe themselves? Do they struggle with the textures of certain clothing or strongly resist wearing things like socks or coats? The range of our sensory experiences and how we're able to synthesize those in the brain result in very different levels of distress.

If it feels impossible to figure out what is going on or how to help your...

Neurodiverse families: Supporting your child's executive functioning, with EF Coach Fleur van der Heul

Dear parents,

Do you regularly find yourselves puzzled when you step back and watch your child struggle with things like packing their bags, initiating tasks, managing time, transitioning well from one thing to the next, seem to lose focus super easily, or can't get a project done and handed in? Do you fill in the gaps by making charts and lists for them, giving them warnings about when something will end, or set timers or alarms to cue them to brush their teeth, set the table or leave for school?

You aren't alone. There are...

Neurodiverse families: The myths and mirrors of coregulation, with Lisa Dion

Dear parents,

You've probably heard me talk about coregulation before - that's because it was a game changer for me as a mom of a regularly dysregulated kiddo and there was no way I was going to keep that gold a secret! In today's episode, I surprise my guest Lisa Dion, with a story about the time I showed up at one of her conferences on the heels of taking my daughter to the hospital. Tune in to hear the details and to dive deep with us into those pits us parents tend to panic in...

Neurodiverse families: On being Autistic, with Kristy Forbes

Dear parents,

I'm not going to say much about today's episode other than to say I am here to learn and to facilitate a conversation that is meant to be transformative in your perspectives on what it means to parent or support Autistic children and youth. Today's guest will blow your mind. Trust me. Nuff said. Just join us and spread the word in the neurodivergent community.

Let's do this! Together.


P.S. We are continuing to offer the 10 Strategies for Co-Regulation online intensive webinar for 20% off until the end...

Neurodiverse Families: Me & ADHD, a child's perspective

Sometimes I just want to crawl inside my kid's ADHD brain and wade through all the things going on in there. To my neurotypical brain, hers seems very busy, chaotic, chronically hungry, and sort of like a 24/7 fireworks show. Like other parents of neuro-diverse kids, we work overtime to keep up with them, to stay ahead of the curve, to keep them safe, to figure out what motivates them and what helps them navigate a world built to suit neurotypical ones. The journey (thus far) has been full of extreme highs and lows for both of us. She has...

Special Episode: Honouring Grandparents

Letter from the Trenches

Dear parents & grandparents,

Some of the more "regular" relationships in our lives get overlooked, under-appreciated or just not reflected upon out loud. I don't know about you, but when a child offers their heartfelt impressions about their relationships with parents, sibs or grandparents, it melts me instantly. 

As with all relationships, there are healthy parts and unhealthy ones, conflicted ones and absent ones. Those can bring about real hurt and tender aching, longing for something more. Today we're honouring the parts that work - those dynamics between grandkids a...

Ask Me Anything: Part 2

Dear Parents,
Holy noodles, you ask some great questions! I'm so grateful to all the listeners out there who sent in their mental health and family life related questions. Today we get into the struggles surrounding emotional dysregulation, family dynamics and rejection sensitivity. It's been fun to reflect on these and share some of my thoughts. If you missed part 1, you can go back and catch {S7.E1}, and today we tackle part 2.

I've built some tools for your toolkit that apply to some of the questions submitted, so if you think those might be helpful...

Ask Me Anything: Part 1

Hey parents,
So I was planning to take the summer months off in terms of podcast episodes, but then got a little carried away with topics I wanted to cover. I quickly filled up most of the summer weeks but had 2 vacant ones and thought, wouldn't it be great to get YOU to tell me what I should cover? And "ask me anything" was born. is part 1 of 2 and I'm going to speak to the questions parents have thrown my way over the past 2 months - spoiler alert - there are some amazingly crafted questions from...

Grief & Loss: When children grieve

Dear parents,

When children and youth grieve, they can express loss in ways that aren't always so clear to adults, making it challenging to know how to identify when they are processing loss and how to support them through it. Elsje Hannah is an experienced grief and loss therapist who has joined us today to offer some insight into what our kids might be experiencing after a significant loss.

It's so hard to watch our babies hurt, no matter what age they are. If you have a child who has lost a loved one, a...

Grief & Loss: When you lose a child

Dear Parents,
Words for when you've lost your baby? Your tiny one or your grown one? There are none, so you won't find me trying to offer you any. What we can do, is witness your pain, your own meaning-making and your journey through unimaginable grief. My heart is with you, wherever you're at in this moment and regardless of how many years or anniversaries have passed. 

Today's conversation is happening with a therapist who specializes in grief and loss processing, who understands trauma and who has walked in the trenches of having lost her own c...

Grief & Loss: When you lose a parent

Dear Parents who have lost or are losing their own parents,

I've been there and am still there. I want you to have permission to grieve the way you need to, and to have a safe witness to your pain, your memories, your love and every single emotion that flows through you in the wake of your loss. 

The conversation between Jill and I meant so much to me - I value her approach so much and the tender but real work she does with clients who have experienced trauma and loss. She's gold and i...

Grief & Loss: Life losses

Dear Parents, and in this case, all fellow humans,

This trench applies to us all. With life, comes loss. And while that can be tough to face or accept, life losses demand things of us. They demand that we feel a reaction to them, that we stretch ourselves to find meaning in them, and learn to adapt or grow around them in ways we hadn't anticipated needing to grow. Today Jill and I talk about the layers of grief, the mess of the process, the ways of witnessing and how to support one another well. I truly...

Community Care: What it really looks like to be the village

Letter from the Trenches

Dear Parents,

HOLY CONVERSATION, BATMAN! Michelle's got the goods on what it truly looks like to raise a family with the village mentality. I really hope you'll join us for this beautiful window into community care - its ups and downs, its challenges and strengths. How does one even create this in a culture that is so individualistic and self-dependent? Is it all worth the effort?

I'm not even going to attempt to summarize this - just click 'play' and you'll see why. All I can say is it'll...

Relationship Care: Navigating big transitions together

Letter from the Trenches

Dear Parents,

Because you are parents, I know 100% that you've gone through some huge transitions and changes in your life. Some of them you may have surprised yourself in how you breezed through, and others not to much. The bumps felt more like mountains and the pond felt more like the deep ocean. You can get lost along the way, feel derailed from your goals, purpose or how you imagined things would go. Massive turning points can come unexpectedly and have real impacts on your relationships - the question becomes how...

Special Episode: Here's to YOU, Dads!

Letter from the Trenches

Dear parents,
Today's episode is all about reflecting on kids' relationships with their dads. Kids of all ages share their thoughts about what makes their dad special in their eyes - something they likely haven't volunteered without having been asked. So, I did the asking for you and it was such an honour to hear what they had to say. Props to you, Pops!

I hope the dads out there can take some time this week to soak in the love, to accept the warmth offered up by these awesome...

Self Care: At work

Letter from the Trenches

Dearest parents who struggle trying to find balance between work and the rest of life, who know that when demands ramp up self care is the first to fall off our priority list, and for those of you who desperately want to find a way to avoid burnout, have a listen to what my brilliant and practical friend and colleague has to say about the topic.

Before I joined the ThriveLife Counselling & Wellness team, I was so depleted. Work eroded me and the demands at home were overwhelming. The combo...

Self Care: For parents

Letter from the Trenches

Dear parents, 
Let me start with this. Your mental load goes unseen everyday - the invisible factors you carry with concern associated with the most seemly mundane tasks like cooking a meal. In this episode we dive into seeing the unseen, understanding why the burden feels heavy, and what we can do to activate antidotes to shame - an all too common experience for parents. 

If you're the mom who sobs on your child's bedroom floor, spent at the end of the day, but your kid won't "turn off", I fe...

Self Care: For kids, by kids

Letter from the Trenches

This episode brings you and your kids some amazing wisdom on self care - straight from kids in grade 4 who know what they're talkin' about. As parents, I know how much you do for your kids to help predict what they need, intervene when they aren't safe, try to manage sibling conflict or peer arguments, feed them well, take them to appointments, on and on and on goes the list of things you do to take care of them.

Transferring that knowledge, awareness and sense of "I'm worthy of taking...

Self Care: Understanding the concept of TRUE self-care

Letter from the Trenches

Dear Parents,

You burnt out by any chance? Sick and tired of hearing people throw the "self care" term around as though you have time to kick off for 3 days at the spa? I feel you. In the thick of parenting kids with big challenges and a work role that set me up for vicarious trauma on a daily basis, I felt suffocated, depleted and burnt out. It was in the pit that I was forced to redefine my understanding of true self care. If you live feeling a sense of overwhelm...

Special Episode: Mental health awareness & fav resources

Letter from the Trenches

Dear Parents,

Not sure if you already know this, but every May we surge our efforts to create awareness about mental health, help eliminate the stigma attached, and increase our knowledge about support and resources available to families.

If you or your kids are struggling, you might assume there must be help out there, but have no clue where to find it. Or maybe the thought of the search for trusted resources feels too overwhelming in the midst of managing the day to day stuff that struggles are made of...

Special Episode: Here's to YOU, Mom!

We asked kids young and old, about their mommas. Today's episode is a highlight reel of gems directly compiled with love and appreciation for all you do and everything you are. Take it in and I dare you not to smile! Happy Mother's Day to you. Note of special appreciation for Kim Traas, who helped with kid interviews and is one of the best moms I know.

Pass the Mic: An interview with the host, by Lindsay Faas

As a host of a podcast, I ask all sorts of personal and professional questions of my guests. Do you ever wonder what the host would say if asked similar questions? Well, that's what we're going to do today. Lindsay Faas, Owner & Clinical Director of ThriveLife Counselling & Wellness and fellow mom in the trenches, is taking over the mic. She'll be throwing questions at me and I've promised to answer them with authenticity.

After Baby Arrives: Navigating family conflict & expectations

Ever have that seed of dread in the pit of your stomach that once your baby arrives, all sorts of family are gonna cross your boundaries or maybe not show up the way you had hoped? Or maybe you worry that you and your partner might not truly be on the same page with your expectations of how things will go once this parenting thing becomes reality. Let's talk about the benefits of proactive boundary setting and how to make that happen.

After Baby Arrives: Postpartum Depression & Anxiety

Postpartum Depression & Anxiety can feel so scary, especially if you didn't anticipate it and it caught you off guard. Join Rita, a Perinatal Mental Health Clinician and I for an in-depth discussion about what signs to watch for and what steps to take if you have concerns.

After Baby Arrives: Birth trauma recovery

Birth Trauma is more common than you might think, and it's impacts can range in severity and duration. It also can occur for partners, supports and medical-assisting staff. Today Rita Girn, a Perinatal Mental Health Clinician, walks us through the work she does with clients who have experiences birth trauma, the reality of the hardships hopeful or new parents might be facing, and what can be done to heal.

Kids & Consent

Consent is simple in its meaning, but complex in its application. Educating our kids to have healthy boundaries in multiple areas of our lives and throughout the lifespan is no small task. But this series is not about small tasks, so I hope you join me in exploring how we learn about consent, define it, utilize it, and maintain healthy boundaries.

Kids & Body Image

Teaching our kids about healthy body image starts in infancy, is impacted by our own sense of self, and has lasting consequences for our overall development and wellbeing. We're so lucky today to have Renae Regehr and Chelsea Beyer with us about this complex and nuanced subject. Hope you'll join us for this rich conversation that will equip and inspire you.

Kids & Digital Wellbeing with Dr. Kristy Goodwin

Dr. Kristy Goodwin, digital wellbeing guru, author and international speaker, offers up her extensive wisdom to help parents navigate the land of tech when it comes to our kids. We'll talk safety and setting up a positive framework for healthy digital lifestyles and emotional wellness in a screen-filled world.

Kids & Racism

If the topic makes you nervous, you're in the right place. Talking with our kids about racism is something that shouldn't be optional. We have inequality embedded in systems and it's become so normal that it takes work to see it. But it's there and it needs our attention. Be brave and show up for this honest conversation about addressing white privilege and understanding better how to raise anti-racist kids. Parker Johnson has stepped up to educate us and I'm hanging on every word - I hope you will too. Let's do this.

Couples Relationships: Reconnecting after kids are grown(ish)

Ever wonder where the spark went? After years of pouring all your energy, creativity and passion into your children, you might being finding your couples relationship parched and perhaps completed dehydrated to the point where you wonder if it can even make a comeback. Spoiler alert: I've got some great news for you - rekindled connection is possible after kids. Esther Perel says so, and she's the expert. I'm about to share with you some golden nuggets from her research and expertise in working with couples - ones that I've seen first hand make a real difference in the lives...

When You & Me Become Three: Your couples relationship when baby arrives

What a massive pivot point in a couple's relationship when there's a baby on the way! What we tend to invest most in, is getting our physical spaces ready in time for baby's arrival, adjusting our financial planning to include a new family member, and read all the parenting books we can get our hands on. All of that is an important part of the journey, but what new parents don't yet know, is the impact it will have on the couples relationship you're familiar with. There is no better time to use the wisdom of couples who have been...

Couple Relationships: Making love last - dynamics to watch for and to work on

We're taking a look at the journey of commitment in couples relationships, whether it's moving in together, getting married or renewing vows. Continuing our conversation with couples therapist Michele Gruenhage, we're exploring patterns that Gottman-trained therapists are taught to flag for couples as commitment-eroding and those that strengthen the couples bond.

Couple Relationships: Warming up to couples counselling, Gottman style

In sync with Valentine's Day, we're bringing you the first episode in a new series addressing the couples relationship. The Gottman Institute is a well-established centre for research and therapy related to what makes or breaks couples in the course of their partnerships. Today we're talking with couples therapist, Michele Gruenhage, who will demystify couples counselling and share why Gottman-based therapy can help couples at every stage of their relationship.

Special Episode: Parenting in a Pandemic

We're going to mark this time in history with a special episode on how parenting and family life has been challenged by the Covid-19 pandemic and how our creative resilience has carried us through.