Ep 140: Helping Teens Thrive

Episode Summary

Dr. Michele Borba, author of Thrivers and UnSelfie, offers up research-based ways to help teens thrive. We’ll delve into some of the seven key traits parents can teach their teen to set them up for success.

Show NotesInterview TranscriptGuest Bio

Full Show Notes

We  would do anything for our kids to be successful. That’s why we sign them up for SAT prep classes, make sure they practice piano every day and watch their report cards like hawks. If they can get good test scores they can go to a good college, then get a job with benefits until hopefully they don’t need us at all anymore! So long as we ensure their meeting the marks academically, we’re giving them everything they could ever need…right?

Well, not quite. When we look at the research, we find that kids with the highest grades aren’t necessarily the most successful. Those deemed “gifted” don’t always become lawyers and CEOs if they don’t know how to work hard or persevere through adversity. In fact, when interviewed, kids in generation Z often feel like they’ve just been brought up as a product to fulfill certain standards–not as a well rounded human being.

How can we raise kids to not just fit the bill of academic perfection, but actually find lasting success and happiness? In other words, how can we help them thrive? Our guest today, Michele Borba is here to answer that very question. She’s the author of Thrivers: The Surprising Reasons Why Some Kids Struggle and Others Shine. After conducting years of research, she’s discovered the key traits of the world’s most prosperous people. She’s here today to tell parents how they can pass along the recipe for a bountiful and fulfilling life to their kids.

In our interview, she explains how you can guide teens to discover their core assets to ensure they’re on the pathway to prosperity. We also discuss how you can instill strong values in your teen and why it’s important for teens to have a high level of agency in their everyday lives.

Helping Your Teen Find their Super Power

As a parent, it’s easy to fall into a cycle of trying to correct a kid’s faults instead of encouraging them to pursue their strengths. We want kids to be their best selves, but sometimes hyper fixating on their problems can be much less helpful than cheering on their natural gifts. Later in life when they’re trying to pick a college or a career, they’ll find themselves drowning in strength assessments or find themselves in an interview, being asked what they do best, says Michele. If we don’t help them discover their abilities, they won’t even know where to start!

Michele encourages parents to help kids identify their core assets, or their most prominent passions and skills. She suggests that parents sit down and ask themselves: what do my kids do well? What do I see them prioritizing frequently? Where are they naturally inclined? You might find the answer lies in a hobby. While some think of hobbies as mere distractions, Michele believes they’re extremely powerful in allowing kids to discover themselves. Hobbies help teens develop perseverance, and challenge them to strive for improvement.

When you do figure out what it is that your kids do best, Michele advises against giving them trophies and accolades. These things only lead to self absorption, she says. Instead, she suggests simply acknowledging how skilled or talented they are, giving them an extra boost of confidence. Although you may not see it, your encouragement means a lot. With some kind words from you, they’ll feel ready to take on the world, says Michele.

Along with giving them the confidence to succeed, Michele emphasizes the importance of passing down values to your kids. When you’re not around, these guiding principles will help kids get themselves out of sticky situations and lead their best lives.

Instilling Strong Values in Teens

Helping teens develop strong values comes down to how you talk to them when they behave badly, says Michele. When kids are acting up, it can be easy to just tell them to knock it off and leave it at that. But Michele proposes linking your scolding with a positive value. Instead of just calling your kid a trouble-maker and imparting punitive measures, Michele recommends guiding kids to examine what their less-than-stellar behavior might say about the content of their character.

Michele lays out some steps you can take when encouraging your teen to think through their actions, which she calls “name, frame, and reclaim.” It starts by defining what you stand for as a parent, what lines you won’t allow kids to cross. Then, when kids do cross the line, she says call them on it, and name exactly how they’ve violated your family’s principles. Michele emphasizes the value of demonstrating to kids why their actions are wrong, and then giving them the power to explain how they’ll handle the situation differently next time.

This method leads kids to internalize a value system, explains Michele. This is more important than reminding teens of whatever rule they broke, as these principles are what will stick with them as they move through life, Michele says. When challenged by forces like peer pressure, kids will have a code of ethics to keep them from falling into bad situations. In the episode, Michele and I discuss how important it can be to be repetitive about these values, to make sure they really stick in kids’ heads.

Beyond just skills and values, kids need to develop some independence before they’re out on their own. If they’re thrown into life without having a sense of self sufficiency, they may come crawling back to the nest. In the episode, Michele and I detail how you can help kids find agency, even while they’re still living under your roof.

Fostering a Sense of Agency

Michele believes teens who have an attitude of self sufficiency are headed for brighter futures. Teenagers who think parents or teachers will pick up their slack and solve their problems are not likely to find themselves on the path to success any time soon, says Michele. That being said, it isn’t easy to raise teens who can always fend for themselves.There’s a fine line between imbuing independence and leaving teens to the wolves. 

If you want to raise empowered teens, Michele says to start small. Start with the basics. Maybe they can start by taking care of the dog all on their own. Show kids what to do, giving them constructive criticism, Michele says. She recommends slowly building to bigger steps, like letting them stay at home with the dog alone on the weekend. The goal, Michele explains, is to stretch kids like a rubber band, gradually giving them the practice they need to expand their abilities over time.

If kids mess up along the way, that’s ok too. In the episode, Michele and I talk about how essential it is that we allow kids to fail. Kids who are comfortable failing are comfortable taking risks and thinking outside the box, meaning they’re ready to deliver innovative ideas and find creative solutions for the world’s most pressing problems.

In the Episode….

We’ve only scratched the surface of all the amazing content in this interview. Michele was a joy to have as a guest this week and had so much to teach us! We also talk about:

  • How kids exhibit different kinds of empathy
  • Why goal-setting is essential to success
  • How we can help teens work through pessimistic thoughts
  • Why the stress generation z feels is different than any other generation

It was so much fun sitting down with Michele this week, and so educational too! If you enjoyed listening and want to dive into more of Michele’s work, you can find her at Micheleborba.com.  Don’t forget to share and subscribe, and we’ll see you next week!

Complete Interview Transcript

Andy: So, talk to me now about why, after spending all this time writing Unselfie and Cracking the Code, that you felt like now the world needs another book, and that this is the topic that is so vitally important, thriving.

Michele: The fascinating thing was I started writing this and finished it right before the pandemic. And I was so concerned about kids. In fact, I’ve never been this concerned, because I kept seeing this stat that said one in five American teens was going to suffer from a mental health disorder. How could that be? One in five? That’s the AMA. That’s the APA. So, I started interviewing kids, and there’s nothing better than talking to a teen. I interviewed about 100 of them, as I was writing Thrivers. Counselors gave me access to the kids. It was one-on-one, an hour each, and they were extraordinary. Very smart kids, but almost every one of them said, “We are the most stressed out generation, you know?” And second of all, they began to all say, “Because we’re running on empty.” So, it was this thing on why are you running on empty when you’re so loved, so educated? Your GPA’s have never been higher.

Michele: And one kid said, the epitome that put the knife through my heart. It was like, “We feel like we’re being raised as products and test scores, and not human beings, and we’re missing the human side.” So, there was the, okay, let’s look at the human side stuff. Thrivers was this compilation of not only hearing what the kids said, which were, I mean, if you really want to know a problem, ask a kid and they give the best solutions ever. They were mind-boggling. But the second thing I discovered along the way is that it wasn’t just the kids, it was they came up with simple ideas, and the science is all on our side, that resilient children are made, not born. And as a result, we can make a major difference on their lives.

Andy: Yeah. You start the book out with a bold statement, the first line, it says, “Our kids are in trouble.” And so, it really feels that way. And it sounds like that’s what you saw in these interviews that you conducted. And wow, that was even before the pandemic.

Michele: Yeah. And here’s the thing, just a little footnote on that. A crisis only amplifies a pre-existing problem. So, if there’s a problem beforehand, and voila, here comes the pandemic. And we now know, gosh, we’re really concerned about anxiety, and stress, and depression, and all those things, but it didn’t just start with the pandemic. It has this slow buildup and that’s the concern. But the good news is we can teach resilience. It doesn’t have to be hard. It’s an ongoing experience, and it’s not another program, and you don’t need a PhD in order to do it. Thrivers is science-backed ways to make simple changes with your kids, at home or in school, based on what science says will help them thrive, now and later.

Andy: So, you talk a lot about the concept of core assets, identifying our children’s core assets. You say right here on page 38, “The fact is, identifying our children’s core assets can be one of our most important parenting tasks.” Another bold statement here. So, talk to me now about why that is. Why is it so crucial?

Michele: Well, the first thing is, when we look at the science, I know we’re not talking about, the parent I’m talking to you, we’re talking about the neighbors. But all of the research says we spend more time fixing our kids and focusing in on their weaknesses, opposed to their strengths. Then comes Forbes. Then comes businesses. What do they do? You walk in, you just get employed. The first thing they give you is a strength asset. What are you good at? How are you going to contribute? But we don’t do that to our kids when they’re little. And what we do is we also stray away from who they are, and focus in on what they should be instead. So the key in that core asset, as many parents said that, single-handedly, is just the most valuable thing for them, because it starts you reprocessing who is your kid?

Michele: What are they good at? What are their learning styles? What are their hobbies? One of the most simple, ordinary things that help kids decompress is a hobby. And when I asked middle school kids, “What are your hobbies,” they looked at me like, who’s got time for a hobby?

Andy: I know. Are you kidding me? Yeah.

Michele: All of the work on resilience says a hobby is where you go to, to just get, it doesn’t make any difference if it’s knitting.

Andy: Right.

Michele: Woodworking, hiking, something that is just there for you, and you use that the rest of your life. The thing on what we know about that core asset, we also know that that’s the greatest way to figure out where your kids should be going later on for vocation or for college. Not because it looks good, but follow the path. The number one time when our kids are most likely to drop out of school is end of freshman year, first semester of college.

Andy: Wow.

Michele: Why? Well, because very often they’re in the wrong place. They don’t see, that’s my place. That’s somebody else’s place that’s pushed them. And you want a happy kid? You want to be happy. You’re more likely to be at your happiest when you’re in what’s called a flow state, which means you’re finding your passion. You’re not going to do that 24-7, but you’re finding your passion and going with it. Now, your mental health needs rise up, and your whole thing about happiness also increases, and you’re better off. So, it’s finding your kids’ passions, interests, learning styles, and flow that way.

Andy: And so, what exactly is a core asset? It’s the thing that they really do just well naturally?

Michele: Yeah. It would be your signature strength. You’ve got lots of things that you’re good at, but what are the things that stand out that make you special that give you strength? In fact, when I’m talking to kids that are younger, I say, “Pick up your pencil and write. Okay, that’s your strength. Now, pick up your pencil and try to write with the other hand. Oop, that’s not your core asset.” Unless you’re ambidextrous, it’s harder to do it. So, follow where your strengths are, because the first step to all of this is understanding yourself awareness. Having a clear understanding of who I am, and you’re going to follow that path forever. It doesn’t mean you’re not going to focus in on trying to get better at the math that you’re struggling at, but don’t just focus in on the weakness, because it’s going to derail you along the way.

Andy: Well, so, okay. Isn’t it pretty easy to figure out the core asset? You just say, “Hey, I know my kid’s really good at tennis, so it’s his core asset. He’s really good, and he’s has a really good backhand, specifically.” So, is that his core asset?


It could be. But the interesting thing about why that’s so easy, is because he’s really, really good at it. And he’ll really tell you, “Hey, mom, I got to go play tennis, because I got a great backend.” It’s the hidden stuff that lies, like what is his learning strength? What are the other things he’s interested in? For instance, a dad told me as I was riding Thrivers, He said, “Okay, I got a middle school kid. And all this kid talks about his wolves. He drives me nuts, because he keeps talking about wolves. I think he’d be great in law.” He said, “But it got to the point where I finally said, ‘Okay, I got to arrange him to go to meet with a park ranger and go to a local park. And I sat there with my mouth open because my kid was talking wolves at such a high level, politely correcting the park ranger about stats about wolves. And that’s when I said, ‘Forget law. This kid needs to go into biology.’

Michele: And I changed my whole course because I was pushing against him. I wasn’t following who my kid was. It was going against the grain of what I wanted to be.” And the first thing is, just figure out who your kid is, and then you can move ahead. There’s lots of other strengths you can lean on.

Andy: So, and it’s really about what lights them up.

Michele: Yeah. What they gravitate towards, what gives them the energy, what’s easier to do. And don’t stray from that, because in the end, that’s going to help your child really develop the, I got this attitude, because I’ve got some confidence. I’ve got some assets along the way.

Andy: Okay. And you write that we should acknowledge our children’s core assets. You say, we should identify a few core strengths that we want our children to recognize about themselves, and then we should actually start to acknowledge those when we see them. How do we do that?

Michele: Easily. The goal isn’t to give them another trophy, because that ain’t going to work. Instead, to at least let the child know that you’re aware of what their strengths are. And it could be nothing more, “I noticed that you really enjoy woodworking,” or “Wow, you seem to be really pleased and energized when you keep working on that art. Wow. You’re getting better and better and improving on that. Would you like an art lesson?” It’s just acknowledging it. Look around your house. Do you have a photograph of your kid engaged in it? We’re so quick to say when the kid comes walking home, “What did you get?” And we’re not so quick to say, “Did you get a chance to show off your art today?”

Michele: It’s like, so what happens is we get that, we put the character down of the traits of kindness and honest and all those, because those are also core assets, your character of who you are and what you bring to the plate. That’s what we really want to do. It’s those kind of, not the push, push, push, and the accolade, accolade. Because then what all we do is just build up absorption. That doesn’t help. But if we help our kid develop a who you are, that’s what makes the difference.

Andy: You come up with these seven traits in this book, and these are the key areas that we want to focus on for Thriving. Where did these come from, and why are these the seven?

Michele: Thank you for asking that. It’s one of the first times anybody’s asked. It came from really rigorous, trying to figure out what really helps our kids thrive. The first thing it came from was what we’ve never given in terms of parenting books, longitudinal work on resilience. There are some amazing researchers–Emmy Warden, Ann Mastin, Norm Grameen–who have pulled aside kids that are really, really struggling because of extreme adversity. We’re talking abuse, poverty, war zones.

Michele: And then what they do, these are all separate studies. They follow the same kids from birth up to 40 years of age. And then they go, “Why is it that some of these kids, despite extreme adversity, still thrive?” All right. What I did was I pulled all of those studies out with a bunch of post-it notes, and my desk became a war zone, of just amazing of what are the commonalities? What are teachable things that these kids have in common?

Michele: Because we don’t have time to look at, okay, this one’s locked into DNA. I don’t want that. I want which of them we can push, and pull, and help our kids thrive by teaching it. What I did is I came up with seven of them. And then what I did to try to keep eliminating and getting down to a core number, as I said, “Okay, which of the seven, not only boost resilience, but are also going to help our kids be peak performance in the classroom,” because that’s what every parent wants.

Michele: And what I discovered, my a-ha moment, it wasn’t either or. Get the kid helpful in the classroom, or get the kid resilient. Those same seven, you’ll see throughout the book, have immense scientific value to also helping your kid be, to focus longer, or be more attentive, or improve in their grades, or be a deeper thinker. And that’s what you’re looking for. Stop with the either or, or just the cognitive height. If you do those models and those seven, you’re going to get both. And that’s what’s going to help, because they also reduce mental health problems and help raise the happier kid that we all want.

Andy: So, let’s talk about empathy. Empathy is a little more complicated maybe than we thought, or we realized. I heard empathy, I thought it was one thing, but now here you are telling me I got to think about the ABCs of empathy, and that there’s three different components of it. Walk me through how that breaks down.

Michele: Yeah. Thank you for bringing that up. I came up with those three components because I had a lot of parents and teachers say the kid just doesn’t have any empathy because she’s not crying through Bambi. And what I wanted the parent to realize is that some kids are more A, affective. You can see it on their face. They see the hurricane just hit, and that teen is really distressed. That’s one kind of empathy, but not every kid is the kid who’s going to wipe their tears away when they’re reading some kind of a book. The second one is C, which is the cognitive kind of empathy.

Michele: They may be a little more serious. They may be a deeper thinker. But this is the kind of kid who, thank goodness, is trying to figure out where the other kid’s coming from. It’s a wonderful commonality. In fact, Harvard says that’s perspective taking, and that’s one of the highest correlations of job employability. In fact, we’re looking at 20% of Fortune 500 companies are now doing empathy training because the new employees are so low in it.

Andy: Wow.

Michele: You want to be able to get into the shoes of the client. That perspective taking starts around the age of eight, and you can keep stretching it. But it’s trying to, you don’t have to agree with the person, but can you try to understand where his view is? That’s the C. But the cool thing is, if you have an A and a C, you actually can get to the B, and the B is compassionate action. So, that’s the kid who just doesn’t understand it or feel it, says, “I got to do something about it.” That would be Greta Thunberg, who’s going, “Let’s get rid of climate change,” or “Let’s figure out what we can do on bullying.” Or little Christian [Bucks 00:13:30], who was a second grader who said, “There’s a lot of kids on this playground who really are lonely.”

Michele: He was feeling it. He was understanding it. So, he goes to his principal, and he says, “Can’t we put a bench on the playground, so that if somebody is really lonely, they can just sit on the bench, and then the rest of us can go, ‘Oh, he needs a friend because he’s sitting on the Buddy Bench?'” Well, Christian Bucks’ principal said, “Go up on the assembly and convince everybody that we need to do that.” So, he got on the assembly. He convinced everybody. All the kids raise their hand, there’s a Buddy Bench. But here’s the cool thing. Kids all over the world now have Buddy Benches. I just got a call from Saudi Arabia going, “We’re getting the Buddy Bench.” Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, one kid, one second grader, newspaper, come in and take a little picture of him, and now it went viral.

Michele: But he had compassion and action. That’s what you’re looking for. Best stress reducer there is. Don’t just feel it and worry about it. Do something about it. And that’s what you’re looking for. Teens are phenomenal, if you let them drive where I’m concerned, as opposed to here’s what will look good on the resume.

Andy: So, it’s almost like by cultivating the affective and the cognitive empathy, it drives you to then want to do something about it.

Michele: You hope. Because in reality, it really very often does. And I’ve found that over and over with kids, in fact, there’s lots of kids that I interviewed in Thrivers. And here’s the interesting thing, that’s why we bob it, and why we can cultivate it. When I asked point by point, these were kids who were, I would consider and you would consider, a change-maker. They were kids that had the heart like Christian Bucks, who saw a problem and decided to do something about it. But they were driven from the inside out, not from, it’s going to look good. Let’s do something.

Michele: So, each kid I asked, “What changed your life? It seems like you’re really into this.” He goes, Nathan, Nathan was nine. He said, “Well, I was in the backseat of the car and it was a rainy day. And I saw this guy, he looked homeless and he looked really cold. And I said, ‘Mom, can you stop the car? And can we give dad’s overcoat to him? He looks so cold.'” Bless mother, because she pulled over. Stopped the car. Nathan gets out and gives the guy an overcoat. He said, “It was the look in his eye. He got a little teary-eyed and he kept saying thank you. I got back in the car and I couldn’t stop looking at him.”

Michele: It was face-to-face, that’s the piece. It doesn’t help so much at the beginning stage to collect 50,000 coins and give them to someone, because the kid isn’t seeing the joy. He will later when he’s a really high level of cognitive and affective empathy. But if you do it face-to-face, every kid was changed by the moment. He went home and said, okay, then we had to collect all the overcoats. The neighbors didn’t have any left. We just started to drive, and he’s delivered hundreds of overcoats by that one moment.

Andy: That is so cool. And I think that’s what we all hope is that we’ll raise kids that will do something positive in the world. And unfortunately, a lot of times our kids do the opposite. They do negative things. They engage in uncaring behaviors. Can we talk a little bit about that? You have actually in here a framework that you say, you call it name, frame, reclaim. And you say that this is effective to use if done calmly and with dignity anytime that a kid does something disappointing or uncaring. How does that work?

Michele: Well, it comes from science and the guy’s name was Martin Hoffman. For 40 years, he’s been trying to figure out why some kids are more empathetic and well-behaved. He said the key that the parent does is figure out what they stand for in the house. Figure out what you stand for in the house. And the moment the kid goes across that line, he’s not honest. He’s not caring. He’s not responsible. You call him on it. So, you name it. He says, you name it with what is called an inductive statement. Now that’s tricky, but here’s how it works. It’s real easy.

Michele: You say real simply, “I’m disappointed in that behavior.” It’s not a question mark. Am I disappointed in that behavior? No, I’m disappointed in that behavior. And then you call it, or you name it. That was unkind. And you know what we stand for in this house. What is it we stand for in this house? Period. The first thing is, if you completely tell your disappointment, you’re not nailing the kid, your naming the behavior. What happens is they discovered from toddler to teen, the kid begins to realize, not just one time, but if you keep using the same model, the kid eventually gets into the shoes of knowing why he did it wrong.

Michele: Now, you’re going to reframe it and reclaim it. So, what are you going to do differently next time? As a result, the kid begins to internalize mom’s discipline, or dad’s discipline, or teachers discipline, and goes, “I didn’t do it right. Next time, I got to do it this way.” If you don’t call the kid on it, he begins to get away with it, and that’s not cool. But you’re also trying to develop this internal sense of here’s who I am. Here’s what we stand for in this house, and it becomes a lot easier. Inductive discipline.

Andy: I love that. Well, because you’re linking it to the principle behind it, which I think is the key that so many parents miss. You have to link it to some deeper value or principle. That’s really important because that’s what sticks with them. The rules are going to change. They’re going to not necessarily be following all of these exact same habits when they get out on their own, but they are going to still live by the same principles and values, and that’s what’s important to teach them.

Michele: Exactly. You know what’s really cool? There’s seven traits. Now, I’m going to skip one for a minute. We’re going to go over self-control. I know, we’re going to go back to it. We’re going to go to four, because what you just said aligns empathy with integrity. What I discovered as I was writing those seven is I also found, and I wasn’t expecting it, what was called, I call a multiplier effect.

Michele: That is too often parents always say, “What’s the one most important one I should be doing? Does he have to have all seven?” It’s a rare adult that has all seven, but the more you have the better, but you pair any two together, like empathy plus integrity, it multiplies their outcome. And now they’re super powers, and it’s far more likely to thrive. So, go to integrity, because integrity takes empathy up a notch.

Michele: Integrity was the kid who thrives because he has a strong moral code. It’s everything you just said, but it’s been planted over and over in the family. Easiest idea I’ve ever seen on strong moral code, Mia Dunn. She’s this incredible kid from Florida. I was asking all the teachers, “Can you tell me about one kid that I should go interview that has this strong moral code?” Every one of them said, “Mia Dunn. Go figure out how she became so darn honest.” She’s mind-boggling. She graduated a couple of years ago, but we still talk about Mia Dunn. So, I go find this kid and I say, “How did you become so honest?” She laughed and said, same thing you just said, “How I was raised.” I said, “Okay, Mia. How were you raised?” She said, “Real easy. I remember when my parents did when I was six.”

Michele: So simple. “They called us into the family room, and there’s chart all over the floor with marking pins. My dad’s popped popcorn. My mother’s sitting there. My brothers come in, we all sit. And dad said, ‘We’re going to talk about what kind of family we want to be remembered for, and who we are as a family.'” What a great question. I said, “So, what did you do?” She said, “Dad said, ‘There isn’t any right or wrong answer. We’re just going to brainstorm words and put them on the chart paper.'” What kind of words? “Values and virtues of what do you think is most important? So, pretty soon, we ran out of room on the chart paper,” like honest, and kind, and, 400 virtues had been adopted through time. Who’s got time to teach 400?

Michele: “Dad said, ‘Okay, we ran out of paper. Now we’re going to vote, and the most votes wins. So, who are we as a family?’ And we all chose honest. So we all, dad said, “That’s who we are. We’re now the honest Dunns.” I went, “Well, that’s pretty easy.” She said, “Yeah, that became our mantra.” So, my next question was, how did you remember it? And she laughed and said, “It was impossible not to, because my mother must’ve said it 50 times a day. She dropped me off at school, ‘Remember, where the honest Dunns.’ Is somebody did something wrong, ‘Remember, we’re the honest Dunns. What are you going to do differently next time.” We’d be watching a movie, and my mother would say, ‘See, they’re honest Dunns.’ My mother and dad said it so much, we became it.” And that’s exactly how you instill conscience in a kid. I think what’s happening is our kids are getting inundated with somebody else’s mixed values, or adults behaving very, very badly, and so how were they going to learn the values? You got to take them up a notch.

About Michele Borba

Michele Borba, Ed.D, is the award-winning author of 24 books including UnSelfie and Thrivers. She is an internationally renowned educator, award-winning author, and parent-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. Clients include Sesame Street, Harvard, U.S. Air Force Academy, 18 US Army Bases in Europe and the Asian-Pacific, H.R.H. the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and a TEDx Talk: “Empathy Is a Verb.” 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 150 times on the TODAY show and countless shows including Dateline, Dr. Phil, The View, NBC Nightly News, The Doctors, Dr. Oz, Anderson Cooper, MSNBC, Fox & Friends, Countdown, Fox, The Early Show, and CNN. Her work is featured in TIME, Washington Post, Newsweek, People, Boston Globe, U.S. News & World Report, The New York Times. Reader’s Digest and Globe and Mail. Dr. Borba is recognized globally for her work in bullying and youth violence prevention. She’s a media spokesperson for major corporations including 3M, Office Depot, Unilever, Similac, General Mills, Mastercard, All, Galderma, V-Tech, Cetaphil, Splenda, Walmart, Johnson & Johnson and consultant to Apple TV, McDonalds and Disney.

Dr. Borba lives in Palm Springs, California with her husband and has three grown sons.

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