205. Thrivers with Michele Borba

Children and their parents have struggled mightily with mental health during the pandemic. Now, in this new phase of the pandemic, we are beginning to rebuild and re-envision our lives with bravery and resilience. Michele Borba, Ed.D. is an internationally renowned educator, award-winning author, and parenting child expert recognized for her solution-based strategies to strengthen children’s character, resilience, and reduce peer cruelty. In this episode of Psychologists Off the Clock, Yael and Michele discuss Thriving and the character strengths it takes to be one. Join us to learn practical strategies proven to help children build those character strengths and thrive in their lives.

Listen and Learn:

  • Yael and Jill’s personal experiences with thriving and how they approach this topic with their kiddos
  • Michele’s expert-based definition of what it means to be a Thriver
  • The character strengths of Thrivers
  • How to thrive in real life (warts and weaknesses in tow!)
  • Practical advice to foster bravery and resilience in children
  • On-the-ground, proven strategies parents can apply to help ALL kids develop the characteristics of thriving (read: even those with hormonal imbalances or de-stabilizing life experiences)
  • Michele and Yael’s thoughts on creating environments where your children might most easily thrive
  • Following your kids’ passions and allowing them to develop hobbies and how to set up useful boundaries in the meantime (we see you, Fortnite and Minecraft parents!)
  • The usefulness of cutting one thing out of your activity list for the week
  • Everything you need to know about the important differences between self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Michele’s expert tips on praising your kids in ways that support the development of self-confidence rather than inflating their ego
  • Practical strategies for what to do in real-life, tricky situations where you must balance fostering perseverance or “bubble-wrapping”
  • How to best support thriving and the development of resilience in children who have experienced varying forms of trauma
  • Michele’s (surprising!) favorite movie and book recommendations for inspiring your kids


About Dr. Michele Borba:

Michele Borba, Ed.D. is an internationally renowned educator, award-winning author, and parenting child expert recognized for her solution-based strategies to strengthen children’s character, resilience, and reduce peer cruelty. A sought-after motivational speaker, she has spoken in 19 countries and five continents, and served as a consultant to hundreds of schools and corporations. She offers realistic, research-based advice culled from a career working with over one million parents and educators worldwide. Dr. Borba is an NBC contributor who has appeared over 150 times on the TODAY show and countless others. Michele is recognized globally for her work in bullying and youth violence prevention and is currently a media spokesperson for several major corporations. She is the award-winning author of 24 books translated into 19 languages including her latest book (spring 2021) Thrivers: Surprising Reasons Why Some Kids Struggle and Others Shine and its accompanying workbook.

Michele is a former classroom and special education teacher with a wide range of teaching experience, including work in a private practice with children with learning and emotional disabilities. She received a Doctorate in Educational Psychology and Counseling from the University of San Francisco, an M.A. in Learning Disabilities and B.A. from the University of Santa Clara, and Life Teaching Credential from San Jose State University. She lives in Palm Springs, California with her husband and has three grown sons.

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Leave a Reply to Ben Cancel reply

  • What a fabulous discussion! Thank you.

    I really listened in when the topic of hobbies came up. I’ve ALWAYS had hobbies, starting around 6. I made beaded and enjoyed crafts. As an adult I’m thankful to have kept hobbies in my life weather it was beading, painting or more recently quilting. I quilt in front of my kids as we share one space for the playroom and crafting room. They see me struggle, try new things, solve problems, work through mistakes and preserver to the end product. They share pride in my quilts with me! My kids are 6 and 9 and both enjoy their own hobbies. My son loves collecting anything from sharks teeth to gem stones and really dives deep into the knowledge of his collections. He has recently got into fish, starting up his first 10 gallon tank. I support him in his hobbies and love how interested he is. My daughter loves crafts and baking. I can’t imagine a life without hobbies! How wonderful to hear that hobbies are not an “extra” but a necessity! Yay!!!

    • Hi Amy, Thank you for this wonderful note! You put it so perfectly that hobbies can soothe, connect, but also model how to fail and recovery, persevere, and build knowledge. And what an incredible cadre of hobbies your family has–quilting, collecting, fish tanks, crafting, baking. Thank you for sharing your rich example here! With gratitude, the POTC crew

  • Really loved this episode – thank you! – and the discussion of normalising failure really resonated. A colleague once told me that his family goes out to dinner to celebrate his academic papers being rejected, exactly for that reason, and this was something my family and I were doing on the very day I listened! We have a three year old daughter and we tried to use it as a learning opportunity – explaining to her that we were celebrating the fact that I’d tried, and that I was going to try again. We’re hoping we can make this a regular practice in our family 🙂

    • Hi Ben, Wow, this is such a cool way to make failure (growth!) experiences a celebrated part of the learning process. Creating positive traditions and rituals around failure, experiences of rejection, and embarrassment is brilliant. Thanks for sharing this approach and we imagine lots of folks can learn from the model you’re setting (including your daughter, of course!).

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Episode 205