Within the last month, almost one in four Americans over the age of 12 listened to a podcast. And is it any wonder? Podcasts — those digital audio files made for listening direct from the device of your choice — are a great way for everyone, and particularly parents, to hear stories with our two ears as we multitask with our eight arms.
Better yet, whenever you feel alone with any given parenting issue, you can tune into just the right podcast and you’ll hear you’re so not alone. That’s one of the many reasons podcast hosts and parents Jama’l Chukueke and Debbie Reber started their respective podcasts: They want to help build a supportive community for parents.
The father of a 2-year-old daughter, Chukueke started “Diversity Dad“ in August 2015 to create a conversation between dads and other father figures about how to be the best role models they can be. Chukueke wanted to share the advice he was actively seeking himself and create “a fatherhood movement” that celebrates and supports dads in all parenting situations.
“My dad wasn’t always there in my life; he was in and out. I found myself asking how I could build a less rocky relationship with my daughter,“ Chukueke says. “Learning from other men is my therapy and I want to help other dads learn as well. People love that escapism that story provides but you can apply that story to your own life and think about new possible realities for you.”
“Diversity Dad“ averages around 1,000 to 2,000 listeners per month, says Chukueke. He aims to have a wide range of dads on his show, including those who are divorced, identify as transgender or live abroad. His guests talk about how they navigate their lives and especially their mistakes.
“All men go through pitfalls,” Chukueke says. “Maybe you’re dealing with some hard stuff or maybe you’re figuring out how to sign your child up for recreational activities for the first time. I want to support and provide resources for all dads.”
In 2017, Chukueke plans to release “Diversity Love“ — a vlog that talks about parenting and music that Chukueke will share on YouTube — and host webinars for new dads who want to learn how, Chukueke says “to be a great new dad.”
Reber had similar motivations to Chukeuke for starting “TiLT Parenting Podcast“ in April 2016. The former Seattleite, who now lives in the Netherlands, started her series for people with, as she puts it, “differently-wired kids.” Reber draws from her own life for the series.
Her 12-year-old son, Asher, has been diagnosed with Aspergers, ADHD and twice-exceptional giftedness, or 2E (this means Asher has exceptional skills in some academic areas). As an avid podcast listener herself, Reber thought TiLT would be a good way to build strong connections with families like her own.
“People feel so isolated in dealing with their lives with differently-wired kids,” Refer says. “[Podcasts are] a huge part of my personal development and I wanted to share in the same way. Listening to a podcast conversation builds a real sense of intimacy.”
“TiLt Parenting“ is a top-rated podcast on iTunes and has listeners in more than 50 countries, Reber says. While she sometimes hosts guests on the podcast, it’s the episodes where Reber talks directly to Asher that get the most feedback. “People say things like, ‘I listened with my 10-year-old daughter and she says it’s the first time she’s heard someone who thinks like her,’” Reber says.
Reber recently debuted her 39th podcast; she and Asher talked about goals. While Asher frequently sets ambitious goals, he often gets derailed because of the way he’s wired, says Reber.
The episode shared how they, together, are developing strategies to help Asher reach his goals. Reber’s got one herself: Writing a book, Differently Wired, that’ll publish next year.