Eps 345: Tough Conversations about Elections with Dr. Anjali Ferguson

Episode 345

My guest today is Dr. Anjali Ferguson.  

Dr. Anjali Ferguson and Casey dig deep in this episode on how to be in conversation with teens about social-political issues, including abortion.  Dr. Ferguson weighs in on if we should bring up tricky topics or wait for children to ask questions and gives tips on how to be ready for emotionally-charged topics.  They share advice on when and how to take a moment during challenging conversations and the work that’s needed to parent differently than we were parented.  Dr. Ferguson explains how to validate and hear what your teen is sharing, even when you have a difference of opinion.  Casey asks Dr. Ferguson about best practices for being open with tweens and teens, especially regarding reproductive rights.  They talk about the pros and cons of teenagers getting news and information from social media like TikTok.  Dr. Ferguson shares how Parenting Culture provides resources for and supports families of different races, faiths, and cultures to address tough topics and difficult questions.  She wraps up by speaking on openness, racial socialization, and cultural identity.  

Dr. Ferguson is a Clinical Psychologist and mother. She specializes in trauma-informed care, early childhood mental health, and parenting.

Dr. Ferguson is a cis-gender, South Asian, second generation immigrant, in a biracial and multifaith relationship, and the mother of a Blindian (Black x Indian) child. These intersectionalities inform both her personal and professional endeavors. Thus, her research and clinical interests include promotion of culturally competent models of care with efforts to increase community engagement of diverse populations in order to demystify mental health.

Dr. Ferguson has developed an expertise in racial trauma and is committed to social justice equity in psychological spaces through psychoeducation on the impacts of systemic racism/racial trauma for BIPOC communities.

Dr. Ferguson earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the Pennsylvania State University. She obtained a Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and completed her Doctorate in Medical Clinical Psychology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

She is currently the staff psychologist for a local hospital system and she serves as the Psychology Faculty for the Virginia Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (VA-LEND) Program.

She is the founder of Parenting Culture, a research-informed resource for families focused on creating an inclusive space for conversations around parenting.

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Takeaways from the show

  • All kids and teens will ask you hard questions and want answers – expect it & prepare to be open 
  • Inviting open dialogue, staying non-judgmental, & communicating around emotionally-charged topics
  • How to handle your child or teen having different opinions than you do 
  • Kids will stop coming to us if they don’t feel heard, seen, & validated, especially when we have differing opinions 
  • Knowing when to be open with tweens & teens, especially regarding reproductive rights and when to fall back on facts 
  • Destigmatizing why people choose abortion 
  • How do we handle teens getting their news and information from social media like TikTok? 
  • Asking questions to model & foster critical thinking 
  • Resources for families of different races, faiths, and cultures to address difficult questions and tough topics like reproductive rights, Covid-19, healthcare, & more 
  • What’s racial socialization?  What’s your cultural identity? 

What does joyful courage mean to you 

Joyful courage, to me, is the bravery to live life authentically, positively, and joyfully while looking for those little moments of happiness that do exist, even in the chaos of the world we live in and being presently focused on that.



Dr. Ferguson’s Website 

Dr. Ferguson’s Instagram

Parenting Culture’s Website

Parenting Culture’s Instagram 

Parenting Culture: Talking About Abortion PDF 

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