Revisiting Eps 320: Alternatives to Punishment Part 3Episode 320
This week’s show is a solo show- the third of six in a series where Casey will dive deep into alternatives to punishment.
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Takeaways from the show
- The foundation of Positive Discipline
- Kindness and firmness
- Navigating misbehavior while you’re dysregulated
- Asking questions to get curious and understand
- Roleplay exercise
- Teens need a healthy sense of belonging and significance
- Teasing apart kind and firm statements
- Looking for a win-win
- Decide what you will do and follow through
Today, Joyful Courage is about patience. It is about finding the courage to be patient with my child’s timeline and learning curve. When I lean into patience I can find joy. I can make room for connection and love.Subscribe to the Podcast
Casey O'Roarty 00:04
Hello, listeners. Welcome to the joyful courage podcast a place for inspiration, transformation and evolution as we try and keep it together. While parenting our tweens and teens. This is real work, real personal growth. And when we focus on our own learning and nurturing the connection we have with our kids, we can move through the turbulence in a way that allows for our relationships to remain intact and for life skills to be developed. My name is Casey over 30. I'm your fearless host. I am a positive discipline trainer, a space holder of coach and the adolescent lead ads profitable. I'm also mom to a 20 year old daughter and 17 year old son, I'm walking right beside you on this path of raising our kids. With positive discipline and conscious parenting. This show is meant to be a resource to you and I worked really hard to keep it real transparent and authentic so that you feel seen and supported. Today is a throwback show. It's part of the alternatives to punishment limited series that I put out last year. It's my firm belief that repetition is powerful. So I'm sharing these shows again, so that you can revisit these powerful concepts, and fine tune your practice. If you're a new listener. Yay. Hey, you're welcome. This is a great time to start to really dig into these tools. Please don't forget sharing truly is caring. If you love today's show, please pass the link around, you can snap a screenshot and post it on your social media and your stories or texted to your friends. Together we can make an even bigger impact on families around the world. Thanks again for being here. Enjoy the show.
Casey O'Roarty 01:59
Hello, there hello there my friends. So glad to be back with you and loving, loving all the feedback that I'm getting about this little limited series. Thank you so much for sharing on your socials, for commenting on my posts, sending me emails, it all matters so much to me. And lets me know that what I'm creating is making a difference in your life, you are the best, you are the best. So the first few episodes of this series, go back and listen to 318 and 319. If you haven't already, the first few episodes set the foundation for where we're going. The foundation of my work is positive discipline, positive discipline centres, as a reminder, centres relationship in life skills. Positive Discipline is long term parenting with the compass focused on long term results. We want to grow functioning, contributing members of society, right? That's the goal. The goal is that our kids grow into adults with tools like critical thinking and personal responsibility and self awareness, right confidence, all those things. That's the foundation punishment, as we're talking about in this series alternatives to punishment, punishment, yes, can be effective in the short term. But as I asked last week, what's the cost? Right? Well, today we are going to pivot into another way of thinking about being with our kids and with their behaviour. Today, we're going to talk about kindness and firmness, kindness and firmness. Both end is one of the pillars of positive discipline and a really tough one, a tricky one, a slippery one to put into practice. Now. This isn't the first time I've talked about kindness and firmness. I've done lots of podcasts about kindness and firmness, and being the operative word in that phrase kind and firm at the same time. So just to review, kindness is connection to and respect for the needs of the child, the teen the human in front of us, right? That's the kindness bees. Firmness is connection and respect for the needs of ourselves and others and the situation you find yourselves in positive discipline is about being kind and firm at the same time. This is also a way to think about mutual respect. I'm going to respect the person in front of me and the needs of the person in front of me. I'm going to respect myself my needs and the needs of the situation. This is about love and boundaries. Right love and boundaries, kind and firm parents want to know all the time I get questions and live classes and in person stuff, you know, in the joyful courage for parents of teens podcast group, in my DMs. What do you do when blank? Like, what do you do when you find out your kid is vaping? What do you do when you find out your kid isn't turning in assignments or skipping school or sneaking out? Fill in the blank, right? We want to know, we're desperate to know sometimes what do we do? What do we do in these situations where we find ourselves confronted by behaviour that is undesirable? Right? Not the behaviour we want our kids are engaging in. And while this is, you know, a valid question, yes. But when this is the question that we're sitting in, when we're asking this question, we're missing the mark, right? So when these things come up in my house, things like vaping, and getting behind in school and sneaking out, when these things come up in my house, they have, you know, my experience initially is I feel scared and rigid, right? Like my whole body tightens up, I have a wave of fear and rage. And then that's when I'm like, Ah, what am I gonna do? What do I do to him? Right? What do I do to him. And then, in those times, when I'm willing to be present, and mindful of the experience that I'm having, when I can notice, like, whoa, I'm really tight, I'm really pest, I'm really rigid, I'm noticing that my brain is going to I got to lay down the law. And I noticed that, that is an indication that I need to pull back my shoulders, open my chest, feel my feet, lean back, take breaths, calm down, calm my nervous system, self regulate, when I can do that. I can acknowledge that, okay, I'm in a fear response. Right? Because here's the deal, navigating mischief, misbehaviour while you parent are dysregulated is no bueno. And it leads to blaming and shaming every single time, right? So we've got to get in touch with our own self awareness and start to really pay attention to when we're on that runaway train that emotional freight train, and we've got to be willing to regulate before we navigate what's happening in front of us. So we regulate from that more regulated place. My experience, when I'm there, I say something like, you know, I know you've been vaping Tell me about that. Or tell me about what's happening with school or so you snuck out the other night, and that got me really scared. You know, tell me Give me the deets. Tell me about that. Tell me what was going on. Right. And I asked these questions, I invite them into talking to me about it, because I want the information. Because I want to understand more about what's going on for my child, I want to go under the iceberg, the more angry and confrontational I am, the less likely that it is that my child will feel safe enough to let me end trust me, which will actually decrease the likelihood that I will have any influence over their future actions. Okay, so I'm gonna say that again, like, first of all, I think it's really important to let our kids know what we know, like, I know that you snuck out, I know that you're behind in school, I know that you've been experimenting with pot or alcohol or vaping. I know this to be true. And I'm curious about it. Can we talk about it? Notice my tone? Notice my centre of gravity, right? I'm not up and big and like, what is going on? I'm really like, I'm curious. I'm curious about that. And of course, there's room for emotional honesty. I'm scared about this. And I want to understand more about what's going on for you. That's pulling you in this direction. Right? I want information I want to understand. So we're going to play a little bit with this in the context of kindness and firmness, right? I'm going to lead you through an activity that we do in positive discipline classes. That is useful in landing this concept, right? Landing this concept because kindness and firmness, here's the thing. And perhaps you've heard me say it before and yay, you're listening, keep listening. We tend to be pretty good at kind, right? We know how to connect with our kids. Usually, sometimes in the teen years, this just gets difficult because they push us away. Right? So it can feel a little like, Ah, I'm not really sure how to connect with my team right now. But we know what it looks like. Right? And we know what firm looks like? Well, many of us were raised in a firm household. And, you know, sometimes we miss interpret these things. So kindness can sound like niceness. And firmness can sound like meanness, right? So we swing into niceness, we don't want to be mean. Or we swing into meanness because we're scared heard and we don't want to be too nice. We want our kids to know that we really are serious about, you know what's going on. So, we're going to play with this. We're going to play with this because kindness does not equal niceness and firmness does not equal meanness, okay? So here's what we're going to do. I want you listener to drop into your teen self. Okay? If it's safe, I want you to close your eyes pause for a moment. And just imagine being a teen, I don't want you to be your teen because then you're thinking about like, wow, well, how would they feel I want you to be inside of the experience, I want you to be a teen, okay? I'm going to interact with you as a parent. And I want you to notice how what I say to you feels, I want you to notice what you're thinking about me and about yourself, and what my behaviour might be inviting you to do. Okay? So again, I'm going to share some feedback. And you're going to notice, as a teen best you can in the roleplay, how you're experiencing it, feelings, thinking, deciding, okay, here we go. Listen, I'm not going to say this again, get off your phone, and go to bed. If you don't stop with that attitude, you can just forget about going out this weekend. You better help out around here. Or you know what, I'm not going to pay for driver's ed. I don't really care if you don't want to sit at the table with us head over to the kitchen. Now. If you are not home by curfew tonight, you will never get to go out again. And I mean it. You said you would unload the dishwasher? I don't want to hear any back talk, do it? You're vaping? Are you an idiot? Why would you do something so stupid?
Casey O'Roarty 11:57
You think I'm going to spend money on you when you're always so moody and rude and disrespectful to me? All right, take a breath. All right now, as the teenager in this situation, hearing that feedback from your parent? How did it feel? What were you thinking about me about yourself? And what were you deciding to do? If you can, I would encourage you to pause the podcast and grab a pencil and a piece of paper and write down your experience. How did it make you feel? What were you thinking about me about yourself? And what were you deciding to do? Now what typically happens, what I typically hear from parents who do this roleplay exercise in the classes that I teach is really a variety of responses and feedback. So when I say how did that feel? Right? Feelings often include powerlessness, sense of powerlessness, defiance, anger, feelings of being scared, misunderstood, alone, disconnected. All right.
Casey O'Roarty 13:23
Those are some of the feelings that come up for people that do this roleplay as the teenager. And then when I asked about thoughts, like, what were you thinking? And you can see this matches your experience. Thoughts in that roleplay for the teenager are I can't trust my parents. While she doesn't get me, I am bad. I am worthless. I can't do anything. Right. My mom is so unreasonable. My mom doesn't like me. Right? And then decisions, the decisions that people make during the roleplay. You know, sometimes it's like, well, I would be grudgingly follow through with what my parents asking me to do. Sometimes that comes up. But most of the time, people decide to just keep doing whatever it is they're doing. They don't feel like their parent really cares. So why should they? When I asked parents after that round of overly firm, that's what I delivered was this overly firm feedback. And they're the teen if they feel connected to me if they felt connected to their parent, if they felt like they mattered. Volunteers overwhelmingly respond with now. Is this what we want? Do we want more disconnection? Do we want our kids to feel like they are insignificant don't matter? No. Right? So we're gonna play now with contrast. We're gonna play some more with this. So again, I'm going to invite you to be the child. You're the teenager. I'm the mom. So dropping into that teen experience. So as you receive feedback from me again, okay, here we go. You know, I don't know why you don't listen, it makes me super sad. Keep your phone but just promise me that you'll get to sleep at a decent time. I don't know what I did to deserve the attitude you give me it really hurts my feelings? And I sure do wish you'd be nicer to me. Well, if you could just pick one thing to help out and do at some point, that'd be great. I really wish you'd sit at the table with the family. But you can just skip dinner and sit in your room again. Why can't you be home by curfew? I wait up all night for you. Don't you know that? I'm worried? Don't you care about my experience? You said you would unload the dishwasher. And now you don't want to you know, I guess I'll just do it this time. Oh, that's your friend's vape a guy I knew you would never do something like that. You know, I make all your meals, I fold your laundry, I clean your room. I make sure you have gas money, I thought that'd be enough for you to be nicer. All right, take a breath. Now, again, as the teenager in that situation, hearing that feedback from me, how did it feel? What were you thinking about your mom about yourself? What were you deciding. And if you can, I would encourage you to pause the podcast and write down your experience. What I typically hear from parents who do this second round of the roleplay exercise is again a variety of feedback. The second round teens, parents as teens feel powerful. You know, like they're holding the power. Sometimes they feel annoyed by me dismissive of me irritated, they might feel guilty, definitely feeling disconnected. Thoughts. After the second round, often centre on God, my mom is so whiny, she's such a pushover, I can do what I want. She really only cares about her experience, she doesn't care about me. I am selfish. Right. So a variety of thoughts, which sometimes include those. And the decisions again, also range some people during the roleplay. Again, also, like be grudgingly through the guilt trip, follow through and do what the parent asks but have very little respect for the parent, most decide to just ignore the parent, they feel like the parent is going to make it all about them. And there's really isn't anything, I mean, whatever. Their parents just going to do their jobs for them. And if they just kind of wait it out their parents gonna leave them alone. So again, when I asked parents after that round of overly kind feedback, so the first round was overly firm that was overly kind, if they felt connected, if they felt like they mattered again, overwhelmingly, the response is no, didn't feel connected didn't feel like they matter. And again, we're in that question of Is this what we want? Is this what we want disconnection and insignificance? So what can we do in these real situations that we find ourselves in? What's the alternative? Right? I got you, we're gonna do a third round, third round. Again, you're the teenager, I'm the mom. So drop into that teen experience as you receive feedback from me again, ready, I noticed that it seems to be really hard for you to disconnect from your phone at night. And our agreement is that it's put away by 10. I can tell that you've had a rough day today, and I'm here for you. Let's take a little downtime, and then we can talk about it. You don't want to come to the table. And this is the only time we're all together as a family. Will you please pick out the background music for tonight? I know you don't want to do your chores, and what was our agreement about when they'd be done? You're not getting home by curfew. And we can negotiate it can we sit down and work something out that we can both live with? I know you've been vaping Tell me a little bit about that. I'm really worried because I know how devastating nicotine addiction is. What are your thoughts? How are you thinking about it? You're feeling a lot of stress right now and how we treat each other really matters. I'm going to take care of myself and I'll be open to talking When we're both more regulated, all right, taking a breath.
Casey O'Roarty 20:08
So now this final round as the teenager in that situation, hearing the feedback from your parent, how did it feel? What were you thinking about me about yourself? What were you deciding, again, pausing the podcast and write down your experience, if that feels supportive for you. What I typically hear from parents after this third round of the roleplay, again, is a variety of feedback. Feelings include feeling seen feeling heard, sometimes feeling a little suspicious, right? What are you getting at, but definitely more open, more connected to their parent thoughts often centre around, my parent cares about me, she's trying to understand I do have some power control, I might trust her. I'm not alone. I can be responsible. Sometimes thoughts are What is she trying to get from me like, again, that suspicion can show up decisions. Again, there's a range of responses that I receive from people after that their roleplay some people decide to tune out the parent because the relationship isn't there. They don't trust this response, which is especially true when we show up to these moments thinking that this is some kind of formula for getting them to do what we want. That's not what this is about. But other people feel drawn in willing to open up, they feel more connected, willing to have conversations willing to be in relationship, a lot of willingness, right? Like who they are in the family matters, right? Their contribution matters this round, often people playing the teens feeling a sense of belonging and significance. And that is what we want most. Why? Why do we want that because teens with a healthy sense of belonging and significance, with the perception, the knowing that they are loved, and that they have responsibility, they are much more likely to show up better, make healthier choices and turn towards their parents when they need them. Imagine a world where everyone felt this way. I mean, it makes me a little emotional. So kind and firm alternatives to punishment include that second round was kind and firm, right? We did to firm to kind and then that third round was kind and firm. So we're going to tease those apart. So the first kind and firm statement that I made sounded like it seems like it's really hard to disconnect from your phone at night. And our agreement is that it's put away by 10. So the tool here is that I'm validating the experience of my child and validating I'm seeing them. It's hard, right, it is hard. A lot of what we're asking our teens to do sucks for them. Even though we have their health and well being in mind, they are rubbing up against teen brain development. And that teen brain development moves them towards connecting with their peers, seeking novelty and dopamine hits, hello, Tiktok they don't have the skills, they need to disengage. And sometimes we don't either. validating their experience matters. Again, this is not a formula, you must come from an authentic place. This is the biggest piece of the work. It's about connecting a tuning and supporting our teens and feeling seen, heard and felt this opens them up to more conversation about willingness with cooperation. Okay, so validating feelings. The second kind and firm statement I made was, I can tell that you have had a tough day, and I am here for you. Let's take a little downtime. And then we can talk about it. Right show our understanding that we see them where they're at similar to validating their feelings. Remember my story last week about and my son and his snarkiness, this would have been a great response to him wasn't my response to him. But this would have been really useful because again, there is a lot going on for our teens. They are navigating relationships, lots of relationships that we don't even know about, you know, school demands, extracurriculars. Even the kids that seem to have nothing going on, have all sorts of things that they're thinking about worried about. They know the future is out there. This doesn't mean that they get to lash out at us and be total assholes. But the lashing out is connected to that inner experience they're having, what happens when we experience their attitude as an indicator that there's a lot they're navigating, and meet it with compassion and understanding. How does that change the dynamic and the outcome of the situation? I mean, we can absolutely and I would encourage us to circle back at a different time and come up with a plan for how we're going to let each other know that we're in a tough place in a way that can be received by the other person. Right? So yes, of course conversations about respectful communication. And sometimes we'll get it wrong. So modelling and expecting each other to own our hurtful behaviour matters to right making amends, reconnecting, making it right. Okay. Third tool that I used in that third round, I said, you don't want to come to the table. And this is the only time we're all together as a family, will you pick out the background music for tonight. So this was redirection free direction. Remember that from the toddler years and preschool years. It's not just for littles, sometimes we parents get hooked on the pushback our kids are giving us and we miss the opportunity to be in our firmness simply by bypassing the push back and giving them something to do right. So the example that I used I held the expectation, while also offered my teens something to do that may or may not be enticing to them. And yes, it is a little terrifying to let my teen pick the music, but I'm open to it sometimes if it means I'm increasing their willingness to show up right redirection.
Casey O'Roarty 26:27
Then the next statement I used was I know you don't want to do your chores, and what was our agreement about when they'd be done? Follow through on advanced agreement. So this agreement word shows up again, agreements are one of my favourite firmness tools. I go deep into CO creating agreements during episode 279. So be sure to check that out. CO creating agreements, they're living documents that support our teens with stepping up and stepping into responsibility. Like I said, they're living documents, we tweak them on the regular making agreements is a kind and firm tool, respectful of the needs of all involved and respectful of the needs of the situation. Right, the firmness pieces, we are going to create an agreement and then the kindness piece is you teen get to have a equal voice and what it can look like. Right? The next tool that I highlighted was when I said you're not getting home by curfew, or you're missing curfew and negotiable. But here, let me say it differently. You are missing curfew, and it's a non negotiable. So can we sit down and work on something that we can both live with? Yeah, that's how I should have said it. We are creating a win win. Here, we're opening the door. Again, similar to the agreements, we're opening the door, to share power. This does require us to look at where we parents are rigid or holding on tight, and find some room for flexibility, being open to listen to what our teens want in the context of curfew. Listen to your kiddo. What are they sharing about wanting to be out till the time they're out till? What are your fears? Right? What are your fears? Can you share them with your team and let them respond? Be open to what you hear sometimes we forget that they do actually have some skills. And so this is a great place to kind of hear those and remind ourselves okay, yeah, they do have skills and asking questions, being curious around like, how are you going to navigate this situation or that situation, when they see your willingness to stretch, they are more likely to show up willing to hear you and to do some stretching to, again, it's looking for a win win rate. And Win Win doesn't mean everybody's super stoked. Win Win means like, okay, I can live with that, right? We just want to find the things that we can both live with. And at the end of the day when it comes to curfew, you know, if they're just adamantly like, I don't think I should have one. You know, that's a place where we get to say, well, the curfew is non negotiable, right? If that's what you feel good about, the curfew is non negotiable. So how are we going to, you know, create an agreement that feels good, and it might be like, we don't have like a flat curfew over here. It really depends on what my kids are going out in the world to do. Right. And it's really not an issue. You know, it's not an issue. So, and then curiosity, I said, I know you've been vaping Tell me about that. I'm really worried because I know how devastating nicotine addiction is. What are your thoughts? So really dropping into curiosity again, because I want information, I want information, and oh my god vaping it's the worst right? We've been through the vaping phase over Hear and it was no fun. Lots of fear and reaction on my part, especially early on Super unhelpful. It's something that many of us fly off the handle about with good reason nicotine is so, so addicting, and those damn vape juices really entice our kids plus, you know, the cool cloud they get to mess around with. I know, it's not that cool. It's kind of gross. But as a teen, they think it's really cool. Now, I hope that it's obvious that this is the start of a response to finding out that your kids are engaged in any kind of substance use, right being curious gathering information, sharing your concerns, showing your kids that you are going to meet this behaviour from a level headed place. That's what this is. And just side note, when our kids are moving from experimental use into social or regular use, we need to step up the interventions, right? Yes. Stay curious, of course, be in the conversation. But take it even further. Make sure you're looking under the iceberg. What is moving them in this direction? How are they feeling or experiencing themselves, it is appropriate to talk about safety, of course. And this could include their safety out in the world. Substance use and driving obviously, don't mix. So if they're regularly using it's appropriate to restrict access to the car keys, and keep having those conversations, finding out their understanding and thoughts around safety. Kind and firm can sound like, you know, you're a teenager and your brain is wired for thrill seeking. And I get how smoking or drinking or weed smoking whatever, can feel exciting. And I'm really concerned about your health and well being as well as your safety out in the world. I am not okay, with you putting yourself in harm's way. What are your thoughts? And remember, I did an episode earlier this year, Episode 309, where I have more thoughts about this specifically centred around pot smoking. So check that out. It's tough, it's really tough and intervene, interfere, interrupt, right? Like, it's not about, you know, good luck with that. I'll be over here watching you, you know, fall into addiction. It's not about that. But it also can be counter productive to get really crazy, you will not do this, I will ground you. So you got to, you know, it depends on the kid, it depends on where they are in the continuum of use. If you need outside resources, find them, find them, right? Get yourself educated and keep staying in relationship and connecting with your kiddo and staying curious. Okay, next tool, kind of firm tool, decide what you will do and follow through. It sounds like I know you're feeling a lot of stress right now and how we treat each other matters at our house. So I'm going to take care of myself. And we'll be open to talk when we're both more regulated, yes, full permission to decide what you will do. Right? Often parents complain of the endless negotiation and exhausting bending over backwards for their teens and think that is positive discipline. It's not it isn't respectful to you, when you compromise again, and again. And again, when you give in or hold endless space that leaves you feeling resentful and defeated. Yeah. If you're feeling resentful, and that's on you. And I say that because I'm saying it to myself as well. Because I do you get resentful because I'm like, Fine, I'll do it. And then I'm like, Gosh, darn these people. And then I get to recognise like, oh, yeah, I did not respect myself. And that's why I'm feeling resentful right now. So decide what you will do and follow through, step away, have personal boundaries and lean into them. let your team know you are available, and expect that everyone is in a good headspace to connect and look for solutions. Kind and firm. That's some good stuff, right? Being kind and firm is an alternative to punishment, right? It's an alternative to that traditional nip it in the bud. It's respectful to the needs of our kids. It's respectful to our needs and the needs of the situation. Being kind and firm is a practice. It requires us to be willing to let go of that shoot from the hip response. And to go deeper with our kids. It requires us to notice when we're taking things personally and to pivot into the experience our teens are having, not making it about us. Right. It requires us to be authentic, to be vulnerable, and to be willing to try something different. So everyone that's listening, get it together. Find your neutral, find your non judgmental, find your curious place, find your kind and find Earlier this week, I encourage you to try this on and let me know how it goes. validate your teens show understanding, create win wins, decide what you will do and follow through, give it a go and really commit. Let me know how it goes. Let me know your questions. Let me know your Yeah, buts. And just to circle back, right, this is a practice. And if you have been overly firm, with your kids, and now you're trying something different, they're going to expect you to fall back into your old ways. If you've been overly kind and permissive. They might not buy this whole kind of firm thing at first and expect you to go back to your old ways. So you've this isn't a one off like try one. See what happens like you really got to commit because you your actions are what will show your teens, that you're really working on showing up differently for them for the long haul. Yeah. So practice, practice, practice. Let us know how it's going in the joyful coach for parents of teens group. If you're a member in the membership, you can talk about this more there. Shoot me an email or a DM on social media. I'm going to keep teasing this apart with you in the weeks to come. We've got three more weeks of this series. So keep showing up. Keep hanging out with me on Thursdays and we will continue to play around with these concepts. Have a beautiful rest of your week and weekend. Bye
Casey O'Roarty 36:33
Thank you so much for listening in today. Thank you so much to my spreadable partners, Julieta and Alana as well as Danielle and Chris man and the team at pod shaper for all the support with getting this show out there and helping it to sound so good. Check out our offers for parents with kids of all ages and sign up for our newsletter to stay better connected at B sprout double.com. Tune back in on Monday for a brand new interview and I will be back solo with you next Thursday. Have a great day.