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Ralphie Jacobs on Nurturing Connection and Confidence with Kids

Episode 113

Ralphie Jacobs on Nurturing Connection and Confidence with Kids

Ralphie Jacobs is the founder of Simply on Purpose, a platform focused on positive parenting. She brings her expertise to this conversation, emphasizing the importance of connecting with children in today’s fast-paced digital age, offering tips for parents to ensure strong bonds with their kids, and encouraging parents to strike a balance between freedom and boundaries.


Intro (00:00):
Today’s episode is with Ralphie Jacobs, the founder of Simply On Purpose, a platform where she offers tips for positive parenting in today’s age. In this episode, Ralphie emphasizes the importance of creating a family culture, limiting screen time, and being a safe place for children to talk about tough topics, including pornography. She advises parents to gradually introduce technology, establish a family tech plan, and self-confidence in children. She encourages parents to strike a balance between freedom and boundaries, be vigilant for red flags in their children’s digital activities, and create a culture of open communication and mutual respect. With that, let’s jump into the conversation. We hope you enjoy this episode of Consider Before Consuming

Fight The New Drug (01:02):
Ralphie. We’re so excited to have you here today. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey into parenting advocacy?

Ralphie (01:08):
Yeah, so I created a platform called Simply On Purpose, and I started that when my oldest daughter was just becoming a teenager. She’s a preteen, and I just saw this great need for parents to have more positive conversations about their children and interacting as a family. And so I just became an expert on positive parenting. The more and more I read about it and the more I taught locally, and I just saw like a great need for, for that in family’s homes. So I found it simply on purpose, and I’ve been writing about family culture and living with purpose. and I’ve troubled the US teaching at workshops on positive parenting, and I’ve actually got an audio course as well that’s helped thousands of homes. It’s just been a wonderful journey to be able to help families meet that gap between where they want to be performing as parents and where they actually are. And it just really takes a little bit of education and realizing that we are really, truly meant to live in families that are strong and happy and enjoyable. it’s just a lot more a satisfying way to parent, and so I’m grateful to be able to give that to families.

Fight The New Drug (02:27):
So we’re so excited to have you on the Consider Before Consuming podcast today because at Fight The New Drug we’re educating on the harms of pornography. We know that pornography can impact relationships, it can impact families but it’s also something that parents today in particular are having to navigate in kind of this fast-paced digital age and knowing how to safeguard their kids and address this topic appropriately and in a productive and healthy way. So, we’re excited to hear kind of your tips around parenting that you might share with, with some of the listeners in our audience. So kind of leading into that you know, in today’s fast-paced world, how can parents ensure that they’re truly connecting with their children? Let’s start there.

Ralphie (03:12):
Yeah, that’s a really good question that I think you have to be brave. You have, and this is something I say a lot, is you have to be the bravest one in your family. You have to be brave to slow things down and to truly protect childhood and prioritize your children’s childhood. That’s the best way to connect with your children, is to allow them to have a slow unfolding of self. It’s really kind of sad to me that childhood is no longer about that. It’s no longer about slowing down. It’s no longer about curiosity, making mistakes being messy, being silly, and even nothingness. Like it’s no longer about boredom. It’s about performance. and parents have to value the importance of unstructured playtime, unstructured time at home, even their child being bored and for them to be at home. I think that that’s probably one of the biggest struggles we have as a society is that we just really value being busy, multitasking, having our children outsource to lots of different places, and it kind of feels like we’re outsourcing our future, unfortunately, and bypassing all of these opportunities to really connect with our children, to share memories, to create traditions and a family culture.

And so I’m a huge advocate for parents turning around, realizing what’s going on. Slow down, protect your child’s childhood because you’re really the only person that can do that for them.

Fight The New Drug (04:51):
Yeah, that’s a great tip. And for any parents who are, for whatever reason, you know, in these cycles of busy, busy schedules and commitments and how can they foster strong bonds with their kids amidst all of that?

Ralphie (05:07):
Think about how often you are away from your home and try to simplify that. there will be research, I’m sure, like not too far in the future where we realize the great cost of the lost childhood. it’s not only like a loss of development, but it’s also a loss of attachment. So if you slow down and you realize how, how often are we outsourcing? How often are we doing extracurricular activities and how can we simplify so that we’re, we are slowing down, that we’re looking up, that we’re giving eye contact, that we are really present when we’re actually at home. That’s probably my biggest piece of advice is to put your phone somewhere far away, put it, leave it in your purse. When you come home from the day, don’t even get it out or leave it in your bedroom or plugged in wherever your plugin station is.

It’s really, there’s some really cool research about the importance of, of eye contact. A newborn baby’s eyes can only focus as far as their mother’s face when they’re breastfeeding, and that’s intentional for a little baby’s brain because those neurons are like firing like crazy when their eyes are locked on their mother. So focus on that. Try to think about how often am I looking at my child, really looking at them, really seeing them how often am I getting down at their level, even when things are busy, even when they’re having a meltdown at the grocery store or at the soccer field, how often am I looking at them rather than at my phone and saying, you’re doing great. I, I love how Well you’re, you know, pushing through and you’re doing hard things. Another example that I have is there’s a book called Simplicity Parenting, where a psychologist used to prescribe all this Ritalin and medication for children that were diagnosed with ADD or ADHD.

And what he found is that if he would just go into their homes and he would simplify a child’s bedroom, simplify a child’s schedule, simplify their life, that it would allow them to now be within a normal range of focus. So they were no longer diagnosable, they were, they were put back into a normal range. And that’s just to say how important it is to do not, not forget that children don’t run the same way as adults. Do they really need to have these simple lives where we’re not devaluing that time at home that we’re, that we’re not devaluing being together. I mean, society will say that it’s better basically to be anywhere but home. But science is saying the opposite. That home is the only place for a child to feel unconditional love for that it’s the only place for them to feel safe, to make new mistakes, to try new things, to fill all their emotions, to be real and for them to have those essential attachments that they need that will serve them for the rest of their lives. So I, I would say that focus on simplifying your life. Focus on how often you really are looking at your child. Put your phone away, far away. Try to do all of your work before your children are home. And to put bookends to protect that family time because it’s that’s the place where everyone can recharge and everyone can reconnect. It’s it’s the only, that’s the one of the most important things that we can give our children is that time with them.

Fight The New Drug (08:48):
I think such a good reminder to, you know, build that foundation first of making sure kids have a safe space at home and that, you know, all of their time isn’t spent online, but for any parents who we are living in this digital age, kids will access content online. How do taking all of those steps to build that safe space and open up connections and build strong bonds, how does that help shield kids against the negative influences of harmful online content?

Ralphie (09:22):
If you are a safe place for your child, then they’ll come to you and they’ll talk to you about the things that are really happening in their lives. And that’s something that, that is so important to me is teaching parents how to be safe. it’s, it’s really important for parents to learn how to be calm, to not blow up over small things because then children won’t share with them the big things, the big hard things that are happening in their lives. I remember going to a conference and one guy teaching about how he was afraid that to talk to his parents about pornography, that he had been exposed to porn because his mother blew up. ’cause he left his underwear on the floor and he was like, well, if she blows up over my underwear being on the floor, she’s really gonna get mad when I tell her that I have been exposed to porn.

I’ve been looking at it. And the, I mean, that’s, you know, one of the best testaments I have to, to, to work on staying calm, to work on being consistent, to work on being that safe place. Because when you’re safe, your children will come to you when there’s hard things in their life, they’ll come to you in good times and in bad times. And we wanna make sure that we provide that for them because we really are the only place that they can feel that unconditional love is from their parents. And so practice learning how to stay calm, practice learning throughout your days, no matter what’s going on, to, to stay calm and to send a message that you are loved and you’re accepted, and I value you no matter the choices that you make, you’re loved. And, and and we can talk about this with my arms around you. Like, there’s nothing that you can do that would make me stop liking you and stop loving you.

Fight The New Drug (11:18):
Yeah. What are some, you know, in addition to staying calm, what are some other strategies or tips that parents could use to navigate tough conversations with their children effectively? Whether that’s about pornography exposure or anything really?

Ralphie (11:31):
Parents say this all the time, right? They’ll say, I can talk, I can talk to you about anything. We can talk about everything, right? Like, you can say anything to me when we say those things. Let’s really mean it <laugh>. Let’s not just say it. Let’s, well, that means that it’s okay for them to come to us to talk about sex, to talk about drugs, talk about condoms, talk about swear words, race war, drugs guns. Check your anxiety at the door. Children can read parents really, really well. They map us really, really well. So try to not be anxious about the things that you’re saying or instill fear or shame into the conversation. So when there’s no fear or shame or anxiousness laced into a conversation, it’s so much easier for that conversation to flow, for it to be full of curiosity, for it to be nonjudgmental.

There’s no sermons coming out throughout the conversation. And that’s another big piece is to make sure that we’re not monologuing, that we’re asking a lot of questions instead of just telling our children things. It’s really interesting how much our children know a lot more than we think that they know. And it’s actually a lot better for a child to teach themselves than for us to teach them. And this helps create a lot of buy-in with your, your technology plans within your home. It ta creates a lot of buy-in with any choices that your child is going to make and needs to make for themselves, and to have that intrinsic drive to make those decisions, rather than it being all on the outside of them and, oh, mom’s making me, dad’s forcing me, or whatever, to do this, or to not do that for when they, when you ask questions, it helps them to self instruct.

They teach themselves. So rather than saying, you know, you’re, you, you should never look at those things and these are the reasons why you should say, what do you think about? How do you feel about it? What, what would make you nervous about that? Or have you, have you seen that happen? Or has it happened to you? Oh, that’s interesting. Without, like, again, no anxiousness, no judgment, no, no fear behind it, but just curiosity and wanting to understand and wanting to see and to value and to empathize and to have compassion. And as long as we lace all of those feelings and emotions into the conversation, it keeps the conversation open. And while we ask questions, it helps the conversation to continue without it getting blocked off by, you know, our agenda, our t our our us inserting some kind of a teaching moment or monologuing.

Fight The New Drug (14:11):
Yeah. What, in addition to that, I guess, what other steps or how can that be applied specifically to parents ensuring their children are safe and responsible online? How can parents help prepare their children to be safe and responsible online? You’re a parent, how do you navigate this with your daughters?

Ralphie (14:31):
Yeah. How have I navigated with my, my girls? so I have, yeah, I have four daughters and their ages are 20, 17, 14 and 10. So I’ve got the wide range. my biggest advice to parents, and this is probably not new to your audience at all, we’re preaching to the choir here, is to really wait as long as you possibly can to give them a phone and don’t do it because they’ve turned 12 or because they’re nine now, or because they’re 14 or whatever reason they’ve got their driver’s license, don’t do it. don’t let a date be the deadline. Have it be a need or have it be something that, that you’re, you are, you’re providing something that there is a need and that they’re using it as a tool, not just because it’s a birthday present. So hold on to that phone until you feel like there really is a need.

And then give them technology and baby steps, little tiny baby steps. So this might sound silly, but we started with a walkie-talkie, and we thought it was really fun and funny, and they would go around the neighborhood and use their walkie-talkie. and then we, we did the next step. We did like a dumb phone. we did a a pinwheel phone that doesn’t have any online apps and just really baby stepping them into that. And then when they get old enough, then yeah, sure, give them the, the smartphone, but be there with them. Help teach them and talk about the apps and what’s good about them, what’s not so good about them, baby step. Yeah, sure. You can, we can use filters, of course, always have filters that are good and have rules like no phones in the bedrooms or at the dinner table, and have a solid tech plan where the children are buying into it.

And you’re talking about it as a family. It’s not from the top down, right? It’s not authority driven, but it’s, we’ve all bought into this tech plan and we’ve all promised each other that we are gonna do this tech plan. But I think one of the most important ways to keep your children safe and have them be responsible online is to have a family culture for it for the parents to model that they’re not on their phones all the time, that they never bring their phone to the dinner table, that they that even watching television and movies is family time. That using those things as tools to enrich your life and to bring people together is what they’re for. And to use them to do the work that you need to do, whether that be for your church or for your job or for your responsibilities at school, that you are using them as a tool and show your children that you’re using them as a tool, and that your family culture is always that you’re just trying your best to do things to add good into the world rather than waste your time doing things that don’t really matter.

And so I think more that’s what’s most important is the family culture that you create around the technology.

Fight The New Drug (17:42):
Yeah, that’s really well said. And I think great advice for anyone wanting, you know, help striking that balance, allowing their children freedom and also setting necessary boundaries. What are some tips around that? I know that can be a difficult thing for parents, especially with regard to technology.

Ralphie (17:59):
Yeah. That, that freedom and boundaries is really a tricky line to walk, and that’s basically the definition of positive parenting. I think that it’s really important for parents to understand their roles when you’re trying to strike that balance. So remember that your role is to be that confident leader and the mentor, not the boss or the police officer, because nobody wants that role. It’s not fun. And that helps remind you that it’s really not about control. You are the leader and you’re the mentor. It’s not about control embossing people around. It’s about working together and creating mutual respect out of love that you are partnering with your child to make the decisions that you’re offering your ability to consult them and advise them and to create boundaries that will protect them. But within within your home, there’s also gonna be a lot of opportunities for your child to make low stake decisions on their own that don’t create high risk.

And as many as you can do, allow your children to make those decisions because the only way a brain can get better at making deci decisions is to make a lot of decisions. That’s how brains grow, is the way that they are used. And if we don’t allow our children to lot make lots of decisions, they’re just not gonna get good at it. They’re gonna be authority driven. They’re going to shirk responsibility because everybody else is gonna be responsible for their lives. And we, we, but we want to teach them is you are the CEO of your life. You have buy-in into your life. This is your life and this is you, these are your problems, and I’m gonna be the consultant. I’m gonna be the one that keeps you safe, but I’m gonna help you learn all the buy-in that you need so that by the time you leave this house, I have worked myself out of a job.

That’s a goal of parenting, is to work yourself out of a job. So help them to learn within your home. There’s so many opportunities for them to make low stake decisions so that they can get better and better at making decisions. And you can do that even with the technology. As long as you’re creating a tech plan that you all believe in and you all agree with, they can still make decisions within that. When are you going to use the phone? When how, how long do you think that you know it will be wise to use the phone? What are you gonna be using the phone for? So asking them and helping them to make those wise decisions along the way.

Fight The New Drug (20:24):
What are some red flags parents should look out for regarding their children’s digital activities?

Ralphie (20:31):
Some red flags are behavior behaviors of symptom, of a lot of other things that are going on in a child’s life. So if you see their behavior take a shift, especially if it takes a negative shift, like if they’re sad, if they’re depressed, if they get angry if they stay in their room, they hide their phone, or they’re up really late on the computer, if their grades go down if they’re sneaking around there’s a a big old scarcity model going on that they, there’s not enough and they’re, they’re sneaking things. but you know, when when children are hurting and they’re really in pain, they mask it well by doing other things. They have meltdowns, they back talk, they scream, they yell, they push the limits, they break the rules. And a lot of those things parents get angry about, right?

and they miss the signs. They miss all the messages that children are really saying. So again, be the bravest one in your family. Be the wisest one in your family. Phones are not private. That’s something that I tell my girls all the time, they’re not private. They, we are looking at them. We’re looking at them often we’re, we have filters up, we’re protecting them. We’re teaching them about how to be wise with them, be brave and say no to certain apps. Just have an absolute that there’s just a no to certain apps, but not just from an authority position, but in a position where you’re ready to teach them the wise and help them to, to build in into their minds that, yeah, these aren’t gonna be good for me and these are the reasons why I’m happy that I don’t have these things.

And these are the reasons why. Because as we know children, there’s lots of ways that children can get around things if they want to. So what’s far more important is for them to believe in it themselves, to have it be intrinsically in their, in their hearts. And yeah, they’re not gonna love all these conversations that we’re having. I’m not gonna pretend that they’re gonna be like, yay, I get to talk to mom and dad again about the apps that I can use and what I can’t use. But I think, again, if there’s a mutual respect and that this is really important to me, son or daughter, and I really want you to be happy in your life. And so can we talk about this for just a few minutes so that you understand the whys and what have you seen at your school? How, how are your friends handling their phones?

They know all this stuff. They see it every day. It’s, there’s no surprise to them. When kids are getting bullied on Instagram or Snapchat, they know that those apps are not good for them. They just need to process those thoughts themselves. So be really vigilant. Don’t assume that it’s not gonna happen to your kid because the statistics are that it likely that it will. And so be proactive. Try to protect them as much as you can and, and don’t be so fearful of their short-term unhappiness with you that you miss out on their long-term happiness. We’d, we’d rather have them be unhappy with us for just a minute in order for them to be happy a lot longer than that.

Fight The New Drug (24:06):
That’s beautifully said. And you know, what we hear often from individuals sharing their true stories about their struggle, their own struggles with pornography, especially if they began when they were a teenager. we often hear from people who say, I wish I wouldn’t have had access to this technology. so in hindsight, these adults are saying, I wish that this is something that I, I would’ve had some more boundaries around than I did. So I think it’s great advice to remember that it’s okay for young people to be upset with, with parents for a temporary period of time if it is going to help them down the road, especially. Do you have any kind of final tips or words of wisdoms for parents who are striving to create, you know, strong connections and maintain digital safety with their children?

Ralphie (24:55):
The last thing that I, I thought of that I wanted to share is my, one of my taglines is to look for what’s good. And this applies even to helping children have digital safety, is that when we look for what’s going right in a child’s life and we build on their strengths, it helps them to have self-confidence. And one of the biggest reasons why children turn to predators and porn is because they’re anxious. They’re not feeling good about what’s happening. They’re not feeling good about themselves or the relationships that they have at home or at school. And that’s a huge opportunity for us as parents and as a family, is to circle the wagons and to lift each other up and to build each other’s self-confidence when everybody else is, is beating you down. Your family will not do that. And we wanna send the message over and over again.

And children are seeing that they’re loved as they are, that they belong, that they’re welcomed, that we think they’re incredible and amazing, and and that we, we love, we love what they can do now, not today, not, you know, in the future, but right now. so building their self-confidence, helping them to be brave, helping them to practice their courage, to stick up for themselves and, and do all the things for that help. teach them empathy. Teach them courage, teach them gratitude and spend your time doing that deliberately and proactively. If children can put on a shield of self-confidence, then they, they won’t turn to the world to look for a self-definition. They’ve already self-defined. They, they already know who they are. They already know their value, and they already know what they can provide to, to the world that they, they don’t need that on the outside of them. It’s already on the inside.

Fight The New Drug (26:56):
You said this earlier, young people know more than we think they know. And that’s what we see over and over again. Teenagers, young adults, they, they know what’s out there and they want help navigating it. They want, they want their parents and the adults in their life, the trusted adults in their lives to be a resource to help them navigate this world that has a lot going on. So I think it is such a good reminder that they’re capable of more than we think they are often, and to believe in them and to believe in their ability to have these conversations and navigate these tough topics and, and work through these things with us. Is there any advice you would give to youth who are maybe wanting more from their parents but don’t know how to ask for more help with these topics?

Ralphie (27:44):
Wow. I would say to the youth that are thinking that and are ready and wanting that you are incredible, and I applaud you. There’s, ah, the youth are amazing, amazing people. Teenagers do not get enough praise, enough huge pats on the back, hugs, all the things. I love teenagers so much. I would say have courage and go ask for it, because I think that we assume that our parents know what they’re doing and they don’t most of the time we don’t know what we’re doing. We are as human and as flawed as you are, and we are trying our best, and we don’t see the holes that we’re missing. Sometimes we just need somebody to help us see them, and then we can make the degrees to correct what we’re missing and, and wow, what a champion a teenager would be for their own life and for their parents.

If they could just say, Hey, mom, hey dad, I need some more help with this. Can you help me? I would, I would be so grateful if my teenagers came to me and said that if they said, Hey, here’s some ways that you could better parent , can you help me figure that out? And I really hope that parents would, you know, check their ego at the door and say, okay, yes, I would love to help you with those things. Let me do the research and figure it out. Parents are so busy, they’re decision fatigue. They’ve got mental loads that are off the wazoo, and they just are struggling to keep all the balls in the air. And so for a teenager to come and say, Hey, mom, dad, I need your help with this would be incredibly helpful and a brave thing to do. And I just think that if, if, if you see a hole, please say something about it. Please say something about it to your parents. They need, they need your help too, just as much as you need theirs.

Fight The New Drug (29:52):
Ralphie, thank you so much. I’m so excited for our audience to hear this conversation. anyone looking for your resources or to learn more about the work you’re doing? Can you tell us where they can look?

Ralphie (30:04):
Yes, of course. I’m on Instagram. My handle is @simplyonpurpose. I make lots of reels there about parenting, family culture, all the things to help a family thrive and to just have a lot of more joy in in your family life. And I’m, I also have a website called simply on I’ve got the audio course I give free printables often. I’ve got a, a printable subscription called Teach Me How, which is sent to parents every month, and it helps them to teach their children deliberate social and emotional skills. So just lots of good things provided to families. I’m just here to help strengthen them and I’m, I’m a champion for families.

Fight The New Drug (30:47):
Amazing. Thank you so much, Ralphie. We’re so grateful for your time and we look forward to talking with you hopefully more in the future to help equip parents to navigate these tough topics.

Ralphie (30:59):
Yeah, my pleasure. Thank you.

Promo (31:05):
How can pornography impact you, your loved ones, and the world around you? Discover the answer for yourself in our free three part documentary series, Brain Heart World. In three 30 minute episodes, this docuseries dives into how pornography impacts individuals, relationships, and society with witty narration and colorful animation. This age appropriate series shines a hopeful light on this heavy topic. In each episode, you’ll hear from experts who share research on porn’s harms, as well as true stories from people who have been impacted personally by pornography. Stream the full series for free, or purchase an affordable screening [email protected].

Join our community of monthly donors, helping others recognize how porn can impact them, their relationships, and their communities. Join Fighter Club for as little as $10 a month. To help us continue our efforts, visit to learn more, listen to the following testimonial, and how fight the new drugs resources helped one fighter overcome his struggle with Porn

Fighter Club has given me hope. I’m always needing a reminder that healing is possible and that people can change. No one is stuck watching porn forever. It has been amazing being on the receiving end of hope, but it is even more fulfilling to be on the giving end.

Outro (32:26):
Thanks for joining us on this episode of Consider Before Consuming. Consider Before Consuming as brought to you by Fight The New Drug. Fight The New Drug is a non-religious and a non legislative organization that exists to provide individuals the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding pornography by raising awareness on its harmful effects, using only science, facts and personal accounts. Check out the episode notes for resources mentioned in this episode. If you find this podcast helpful, consider subscribing and leaving a review. Consider Before Consuming is made possible by listeners like you. If you like to support Consider Before Consuming, you can make a one time or recurring donation of any amount at That’s F-T-N-D.O-R-G/support. Thanks again for listening. We invite you to increase your self-awareness, look both ways, check your blind spots and consider before consuming.

Fight the New Drug collaborates with a variety of qualified organizations and individuals with varying personal beliefs, affiliations, and political persuasions. As FTND is a non-religious and non-legislative organization, the personal beliefs, affiliations, and persuasions of any of our team members or of those we collaborate with do not reflect or impact the mission of Fight the New Drug.


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Successfully navigate conversations about porn with your partner, child, or friend.

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