October 16, 2023

What It’s Like To Be A Guest On Is My Child A Monster?

Is My Child A Monster? is on break, but we’re looking for guests for season two! So this between season bonus episode is a conversation between Leslie and her producer, Alletta Cooper about what happens behind the scenes making the podcast.

They discuss what it’s like to be a guest on the podcast as well as what types of parenting questions and concerns they’re hoping parents and caregivers bring to them next season. Learn about why and when you might choose to volunteer and get free therapy and how to apply to come on the show.

Alletta Cooper is a freelance producer, researcher, and storytelling consultant with more than a decade of experience in podcasting. She’s worked with clients including StoryCorps, Google, The Mellon Foundation, and On Being Studios. Alletta is a recovering “Monster Child” who is delighted to work with the Is My Child A Monster? team to bring practical, skills-based therapy to curious parents and caregivers. She also once won an episode of Wheel of Fortune. Find out more about her work at allettacooper.com.

Credits: Is My Child a Monster is produced by Alletta Cooper, Dale Rubury, and Leslie Cohen-Rubury. Theme music is by L-Ray Music. Public relations is handled by Tink Media. Graphics and Website Design by Brien O’Reilly. by Eric Rubury. A special thanks to everyone who contributes their wisdom and support to make this possible.


[Music: The Wilds Beyond by L-Ray Music]

0:05  Leslie Cohen-Rubury:  Hi, I’m Leslie Cohen-Rubury. Is My Child A Monster? is between seasons right now, but we have lots of exciting things in development. We’re planning some mini-episodes about finding a therapist and managing holiday stress. And we’ve just relaunched my bi-weekly newsletter that covers all sorts of relevant topics. We’re currently recording Season 2. So today I’m joined by my producer, Alletta Cooper, to talk about what it’s like to be a guest on Is My Child A Monster?, in case it’s something you might be considering. So let’s get started. 

Hi, Alletta. It’s great to have you here today.

0:47  Alletta:  Thank you so much for having me on, Leslie. I’m happy to be here.

0:51  Leslie:  So, tell everybody why you’re here today.

0:54  Alletta:  All right. So normally, I am not on the podcast. I am the one doing all of the behind-the-scenes work. But I’m here today because we are looking for Season 2 guests. And I wanted to come on and talk with you a little bit about what that looks like both from the therapy perspective, as well as the kind of behind-the-scenes perspective, so people can have some insight into what it is we do.

1:16  Leslie:  That’s great. And I think that’s a great idea to unpack that a little bit, because the first and foremost is: this is volunteer. We ask people to check in with themselves–actually two or three times–to make sure they’re comfortable with that. They get to come with whatever issues they’re coming with. And they get to get therapy. And in the process of getting therapy and volunteering for this–being on the podcast–they get to share the information that they get with a wider parenting community. We have gotten a great reaction. And there are some confusing parts of volunteering to be on the podcast,

1:56  Alletta:  There are. And being on a podcast is so different than a traditional therapy session, in part because you are being recorded and it is out there for everyone to listen to. And it is very similar to traditional therapy in a lot of ways. It is a one-on-one session, or a two-on-one if both parents are there with you. I’m not actually there during the recording, I’m only there at the very beginning and the very end for tech support as we’re doing the recording. But it is really an intimate setting for you to be able to speak with these parents. 

And then afterward I do listen and edit. And part of that job is to make sure that the privacy of our guests is protected, and making sure that we’re not using real names or identifying information accidentally. And to make sure that everything sounds as good as possible so that our listeners can get as much as they can out of the therapy sessions. And we also send it to the guests before it goes live, so that people know what it is that’s being shared. I think it’s a really interesting process.

2:59  Leslie:  One of the things that comes up besides the technical aspects of it, is the question of: why is it called Is My Child A Monster? 

Alletta:  Yes.

Leslie:  That’s challenging, but I hope I really impress upon parents that parents have come to me, as a therapist, with that concern in their hearts and in their minds. But the reason why I chose that title is because, no, your child is not a monster. The whole point of it is a big, emphatic no; and to help parents understand the questions, the confusion, the curiosity, or even the intellectual pursuit of how to raise kids. So it’s all about understanding kids.

3:43  Alletta:  Yeah, and I do want to reaffirm that no, your child is not a monster. The whole thesis of this podcast is your child is not a monster. And also, in those really hard parenting moments, it’s totally normal to think to yourself, “Oh my god, am I raising a monster?” That is an absolutely normal thing to think. 

And having been the “monster child” is also really normal as a child to think, “Am I a monster?” And part of what we address in this is the fact that no, you are not a monster, your child is not a monster. These thoughts are normal. And there is so much we can do to help be compassionate people and compassionate parents, as you are raising children. And I feel like I should say I am not a parent. But I am a dedicated auntie who’s very involved in many children’s lives. And I was the “monster child.” So for me, I’m coming at this from the perspective of that child who could have used a little more compassionate parenting.

4:36  Leslie:  But that’s the question I have gotten. The question from volunteers, as they’re about to volunteer, we send them a consent form, and then we send them something called assent form. The consent form–let me start with that–is the form that they signed saying that they are aware of their volunteering, of their willingness to step onto this podcast, et cetera. But the assent form says we want children to be informed that their parents are doing this. And I have had some teenagers who say, “No, don’t you dare, even if the names have changed, I don’t want you to talk about me or my problems.” And even though parents explained, “This is for me, as a parent and other parents,” we want to respect the child’s right to say no. It doesn’t happen often where parents change their mind. But that is why we send the assent form so that children can understand and be informed of what their parents are doing.

5:36  Alletta:  I mean, when I was 13, being perceived was my worst nightmare. So I would not have said yes to my parents doing this when I was a teenager.

5:45  Leslie:  Absolutely. And we want to respect children. So this is…I’m putting my words into action when I say, if the parents don’t get the assent from the child that they are willing to have their parent volunteer, then I’m going to respect that child. So we’re putting into action the same thing I tell the very few parents and caregivers who come on to be guests.

6:07  Alletta:  Yeah, those kids are part of the family too. And they’re part of the relationship.

6:10  Leslie:  Yes, absolutely. So we’ve been talking behind the scenes about broadening and widening our pool of parents, caregivers, et cetera.

6:22  Alletta:  Yeah, I think as we’re moving into recordings for Season 2, it’s really important for us to broaden the scope of what we’re doing. So we really want to hear from parents who have issues that we maybe haven’t addressed.

 6:35  Leslie:  In terms of broadening that scope, I think there are three ways to look at it, maybe two. One is we want to broaden what people are bringing to us. So we have a lot of anxiety–that’s going to be a majority of parents right now, because that’s the state of the parenting world right now. We might have bullying, both being the bully and being a victim of bullying. We might have technology issues. There’s a lot of issues that parents are struggling with. So even if you’re not struggling with a big issue, the small incidental struggles of getting out of the house, or sibling rivalry–these things are all valid. 

7:15  Alletta:  Yeah, that’s so important to bring up; is that you don’t have to be having a major crisis to need support. Sometimes the best time for support is when you are not having a crisis, you’re able to help build those resources within your family and within your own parenting, to help prevent a crisis or to manage a crisis when it does happen.

7:34  Leslie:  You are a parent who says, “Hmm, I could ask some questions about this,” that’s good enough. If you have a question, that’s a really good reason to be on the podcast. 

7:44  Alletta:  So basically, what you’re saying is, if you care for children, in any capacity, and you’ve got questions, you can apply to come on the podcast.

7:52  Leslie:  Absolutely. And don’t overthink it. Just come and we’ll talk about it.

7:57  Alletta:  There is no issue too big or too small. You do not have to be in crisis–day-to-day parenting questions are equally important to gain support on.

 8:05  Leslie:  Absolutely. We are excited to hear from you. So Alletta, tell them where they can find out about how to register.

8:13  Alletta:  Sure. So if you would like to apply to be a guest on Is My Child A Monster? Season 2, all you have to do is go to: ismychildamonster.com. There’s a little pop-up, you just click here, fill out the application, and then we will be in touch to discuss next steps.

8:26  Leslie:  Thank you. And I really do want to thank all the people who have already volunteered, because I have gotten feedback that they get a lot out of the sessions. And they really appreciate putting their information out so other parents can learn from them, because they’re learning from the other parent volunteers. So it’s…

8:48  Alletta:  We had one guest who had such a good experience on Season 1 that she’s back for Season 2.

8:53  Leslie:  That’s right. So Alletta, it’s been a pleasure today. Thanks so much for joining me.

8:58  Alletta:  Thanks for having me, Leslie.

[Music: The Wilds Beyond by L-Ray Music]

9:05  Leslie:  Thanks so much for listening to this mini-episode of Is My Child A Monster?. Please subscribe so you don’t miss our upcoming between-season special episodes and our Season 2 launch early next year. As always, you can find links to everything, including my revamped newsletter and how to apply to be a guest in the show notes or at ismychildamonster.com. The Is My Child A Monster? team is Alletta Cooper, Dale Rubury, Gabriela Glueck, and me. Special thanks to Eric Rubury. Our theme music is by L-Ray Music. I’m Leslie Cohen-Rubury. Thanks so much for listening.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai edited by Eric Rubury

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