Revisiting Eps 321: Alternatives to Punishment Part 4

Episode 321

This week’s show is a solo show- the fourth of six in a series where Casey will dive deep into alternatives to punishment.

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Takeaways from the show
  • Teen years are messy
  • Reframing trust
  • Mistakes as opportunities to learn
  • Reviewing kind and firm parenting
  • Brain development in adolescence
  • Exploring feelings from when you were a teen
  • Unwanted results of punishment
  • Showing up with curiosity
  • Opportunities to learn important life skills


Long-Term Parenting Questions

  1. How do I help my teen become capable?
  2. How do I get into my teen’s world and support them in their developmental process?
  3. How do I help my teen feel belonging and significance?
  4. How do I help my teen learn social and life skills such as problem solving and the ability to identify feelings and communicate about those feelings in words?
  5. How do I begin to honor that my teen has different ideas about what is best for her/him?
  6. How can my teen and I use this problem as an opportunity to learn from our mistakes? How can we learn and try again instead of giving up when we make mistakes?


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teens, felt, punishment, parents, curiosity, kids, teen years, experience, mistakes, trust, skills, support, heightened emotion, mischief, behavior, teenagers, friends, spreadable, punished, wired
Casey O'Roarty

Casey O'Roarty 00:05
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 already I am your fearless host. I am a positive discipline trainer, a space holder a coach and the adolescent lead at spreadable 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 work 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
Hi, hey there. We're back. We are back. Yes, week four of this meandering journey highlighting alternatives to punishment does it feel me Andry to you? Feels a little meandering to me. Even though I write it all out. I'm really trying to stay focused. Hopefully you are really taking away some of the good nuggets that are being dropped into these shows because that's what I'm here to do. People I'm here to support you. So you How are you feeling? Are you appreciating the work here? It is work right? It is work. And I know some of you out there are listening and are really in the trenches. I have clients and friends that are working through some really intense situations right now with their teenagers, mental health colliding with teen brain development. Ah, god, it is tough. And I see you. And I want to take a moment right now to drop into this those of you that are listening with teens that are really getting after it really struggling getting into mischief pushing you away. I want to say this is not all your fault. Maybe there are some dynamics that you were a part of that are layered into your teens current experience and mindset. Yeah, probably maybe, however, the teen years are messy. And there is no parenting style that can make it otherwise. So if you are in some kind of shame spiral, or holding all the responsibility for your teens current state of affairs, I'm just here to say knock it off. It's not useful, and it isn't helping anyone move through where you are right now. So I just want to say that, I just want to say that. What can you do? You can keep listening, you can keep listening, so we're gonna get into it. This week, I'm going to talk about reframing trust. I'm going to talk about mistakes as opportunities to learn emotional honesty, the results punishment. That's what we're here doing today. So we're wanting to remind you here at joyful courage, we are in the business of long term parenting. We are asking questions that include how do I help my team become capable? How is who I am? What I do, how is that supporting them and becoming capable? How do I begin to honor that my teen has different ideas about what is best for him or her? Right? Tough one. For me anyway. How do I have faith in myself and my team, especially when it feels hard? Right? These are the questions. These are the long term parenting questions amongst others that we're really sitting with inside of this series. So, last week, last week I led you through and broke down kind and firm parenting. What does that mean to be kind and firm at the same time. And I want to share what Jane Nelson and Lynn Lott wrote in positive discipline for teens. Really good book, kind and firm parenting invites teens to learn one, that freedom comes with responsibility to that mutual respect is practiced here in our family three, that mistakes are opportunities to learn for the family members have their own lives to live and teens get to realize I'm a part of the universe, not the center. And five, kinda infirm parenting invites teens to understand that, quote, my parents will hold me accountable through exploring the consequences of my choices, in an atmosphere void of blame, shame and pain, right? Powerful lens to look out of as we consider who we are and what we bring to our parenting of our teenagers. So we're gonna start today's conversation talking about trust, right? Trust is such a weighted word, the teen years are so slippery for a variety of reasons. One of which is that weight that parents put on trust. Yes, yes, of course, we want to trust our kids. And it is very painful when they break our trust. But I think it's worth the time to dig into what we really mean. When we tell our kids I trust you. I trust you. Right, I trust you to do the right thing. I trust you to make good choices. I trust you to do what you say you would do. I trust you not to make me look bad. That might not be one that we say out loud. But come on, let's be honest. We're all kind of hoping that our kids don't make us look bad. Or maybe it's just me, but what are we setting ourselves up for? With this idea around trust? Right around trusting that they're always going to make good choices and good decisions and do the right thing? Okay, well, here is what we know. It's science. It's research about teen brain development. Teenagers are wired, for novelty seeking, they are wired to seek out peer engagement. They are wired to feel those high highs and the low lows, amongst other things, they are wired for these things. So what does that mean? It means that there is a reason that this is the time of life, when humans take risks. Think we're invincible and make loads of mistakes. It's because this is the time of life that we're wired for this, this is how we got out of the cave, right is because the teenagers were like, Why are we still in the cave? Let's go out I'm not scared. Right? So when we say I trust you to do the right thing, we're basically saying to our kids, I believe that you can bypass your brain development, stay regulated, and resist the group think enough to consider all the possible outcomes of the decisions you're making. Even though getting in trouble getting caught getting hurt is only one of many possible outcomes. That's a big ask. Right? That's a big ask.

Casey O'Roarty 08:52
And it doesn't mean that when our kids say, I promise I won't, you know, fill in the blank with a risky behavior that they don't mean it when they say it. Many of our kids do mean it when they say it. But what happens is they find themselves in the experience of said risky behavior, in the dynamics of whomever they're with, with heightened emotion around it. All of that is speaking way louder to them, then, oh, shoot, you know, when I told my parents I wasn't going to do this. So I'm out. Right? They don't necessarily have the skills to navigate out of the experience that they're in. Or maybe that novelty seeking dopamine hit is so powerful, that they move towards you know what, fuck it. It'll be fine, right? I mean, how many of us have been in that situation? Right? Like, Oh, should I shouldn't I man, whatever. Let's just do it. It'll be fine. I've been there recently. So how about we hope our kids do the right thing. We want them to make good choices and follow through with what they say they will do? And where we put trust is interesting that they will learn through their mistakes. How about that? How about that's where we lean in to trust that they will learn through their mistakes. Because spoiler to all of you with younger kids hoping that somehow you're going to get some magical formula to miss out on all the madness of the teen years, mistakes will happen, mistakes will happen. There's no magic wand that gets rid of brain development that gets rid of this adolescent experience, mistakes will happen. And mistakes are opportunities to learn. Let's shift into that mindset. That's a pillar of positive discipline, a powerful one. Mistakes are opportunities to learn. Mistakes are super useful experiences for learning. But we rob our kids of the true learning, when we throw down punitive punishments because of the poor decision making, that they're doing, okay, so let's explore that a little bit. Okay, we're gonna explore that a little bit. I want you to think back to being a teen, think back to being a teen and getting punished, getting into trouble. Right, meaning like an adult has caught you. And now they're laying down the law. Whatever experience pops up works, maybe you were punished by a parent or at school or out in the world, whatever experience shows up is fine. Now, as you remember, this experience, I want you and this is again, like last week, if you have a piece of paper around, this would be great time to grab it. I want you to think about the experience. And notice, as you remember, and you sit in the memory, what feelings came up during this experience in your past? What feelings came up in the memory of this experience? written down? What thoughts did you have about the adults delivering the punishment? What thoughts did you have about yourself? And What decisions did you make as a result of this punishment experience? What decisions did you make? What did you decide to do as a result of this punishment experience? So this is an activity that we do in live parenting classes. And it's always super useful and interesting how similar the responses are, regardless of who is in the class. And here's what comes up time and time again. So feelings the feelings column, I say, what were the feelings people say, I felt scared. I was afraid. I felt angry. I felt misunderstood. It felt unjust. I felt shame. I felt worthless, I felt small. Right. So those are typical feelings that show up when I ask parents about their experience of being punished. Thoughts that often show up. Thoughts include, I can't trust adults, they don't get me, I'm bad, I'm worthless. I hate them. I've got to get out of here. They don't get it. Right. I'm not going to tell them anything anymore. I'm so alone. So those are some of the thoughts that come up. When I do this activity with parents, and some of the decisions that come up, and maybe you're hearing yourself in some of these, some of the decisions that come up, when we go back to a memory of being punished include, while I'm gonna get back at them, I need to get better at being sneaky and getting away with things I'll show them. I'm not going to be in relationship with them anymore. I can do what I want. Every once in a while I hear from someone who will say that they decided not to engage in the behavior again, you know, out of fear. Typically. In positive discipline, we talk about the results of punishment, the R's of punishment. Typically punishment results in rebellion, revenge, resentment, or retreat, more likely than not. This is what punishment invites into our relationships with our teens. And is this what we want? Is this what we're after? No. No, I mean, no. And that's not to say that the adults who punished us when we were teenagers, were hoping that the results would be they were hoping like we'd don't want them to do it again. So we got to punish them, so they won't do it again. And sometimes that's sometimes that works. But more often than not, it invites, you know, rebellion, revenge, resentment and retreat, when we trust that our kids are going to do the right thing and make good choices, we are crushed, when lo and behold, they don't live up to that. This is where we parents get really emotional, and hurt by their behavior disappointed and desperate. And that's when we move towards punishment. When we trust that our teens can learn from the mistakes that they're going to make, we are having a much different conversation. Right? We're having a much different conversation.

Casey O'Roarty 15:55
So let's go back to the team that finds themselves at that choice point of risky behavior that I mentioned. So they're imagine they're with other teens who are excited about the prospect of this risky behavior. And maybe the conversation is that should we shouldn't we question? So let's pause here. Right, your teen is amongst friends, who are in a heightened state of excitement, right? considering getting into mischief? What are and think about this? What are considered the skills needed in that moment for a teen to voice their concern to the group, during a time in life where belonging matters so much? Do your kids have the language and the courage to do that? Do they have the practice? And, you know, if this is a place where your kids are lagging skills, it's not a character flaw. It's simply a lack of experience in practice. So when you know kids gotten into mischief, and has made a mistake, and you're kind of processing it out with them, this is a great place to get curious. What's it like when you're with your friends, and you feel like what everyone else is wanting to do? Doesn't feel safe to you? Do you speak up? What do you say? Do you want some ideas? Do you want an out? Do you have an out? Talk to me about that? Right? Notice my energy. What I'm working on showing up with here is, is true curiosity. I'm not trying to lead the witness. There's no judgment in my voice. I truly want to know what is this experience? Like for my kiddo? Where are their skills? And where are they lagging in skills? And how can we work together to help them have more skills the next time they're with their friends, and somebody's like, hey, let's try this thing. Right? Plus, in this scenario, there's that dynamic of heightened emotion, that excitement that, let's try it, it'll be fine, that wiring is firing. And unfortunately, or fortunately, because we did leave the cave, right? The risk assessment part of the brain is slower to develop. So hey, what could go wrong? Doesn't get much airtime. This is another spot for curiosity. You know, babe, I bet it felt super exciting to think about doing that, like, what did you notice? How did your body feel inside of that excitement? How did you imagine things playing out? Did you think about what could go wrong? What did you consider? What might you do next time you feel that way? To be sure to think about the consequences? Again, an important and useful conversation to have on the regular from a place of curiosity from a place of non judgment, right? They're just newer humans trying to figure this whole thing out. We don't have to judge them for their lack of skills and experience. We can just sit side by side with them and look at the situation in a way. As I've been saying over the last few weeks, that develops their critical thinking skills, mistakes, mischief, misbehavior, whatever you want to call it. These are important opportunities to learn powerful life skills, and opportunities that allow us to show our teens that we're on their side, that we care about their health and well being and that we love them no matter what. These conversations, plant seeds that we can nurture each time and experience arrives. For us to be curious about. Maybe it is mischief that other kids are getting into and we're finding out about it drop into curiosity. Maybe it's something we see in a movie or on a show that we're watching. Drop into curiosity. Hmm, I wonder about this. What do you think? What would you do? What might happen? Are you okay with that? This is where we support critical thinking skills, we also get to be full permission, emotionally honest with our teens. If their behavior scares us, it's important to let them know, could sound like you know, when I woke up, and I saw that you weren't here that you had snuck out, I got super scared, I didn't know where you were, or who you're with, I couldn't get in touch with you, I was really worried. Talk to me about why you felt like you needed to sneak out. Now, even as I say this out loud, I'm thinking to myself, Okay, what is required to show up, neutral, non judgmental, like, I have to be in a really regulated state. So perhaps this isn't what I start with the minute I see them walk in the door, I need to make sure that I'm regulated so that I can come from a place of curiosity. Or another example, Hey, I found some weed in your room when I was putting away your laundry. And I'm really concerned about that. I know a lot. And I've learned a lot about the effects of marijuana on the growing brain. And I'm wondering what you know about it? Can we do some research together? Can we talk about it? Right? Again, we want to keep the window of receptivity open, right? We don't want our kids to get defensive, because then push us away, they won't engage. So we've really got it in body, that place of neutrality, right. And finally, you know, I'm really concerned about how much time you're spending on your phone, it seems like the limits really aren't making a difference. I feel like you're letting go of a lot of things that used to really matter to you. Let's talk about it. Right, coming again, from a place of curiosity, show up with emotional honesty, and then listen to your teens. Because what they have to say is valid and matters. Again, find that neutral, non judgmental, confident authority, shout out to my client, you know who you are, who inspired the term confident authority, I love it, and have an authentic, transparent conversation with your teen, start there, and be open to what unfolds. And yeah, you know, there are behaviors, of course, that are beyond what I'm talking about here. Problematic substance use self harm, reckless, defiant behavior that is out of control. If this is the dynamic that you're in with your teen, it is important and appropriate to find outside resources for your child therapist, mediators, doctors, mental health specialists, they all exist to support you, with interrupting the behavior you're seeing. Please, I beg you do what it takes to help your kid do not keep your head in the sand. really risky and reckless behavior or deep, deep withdrawal and discouragement are all signs that your child needs more support and is hurting. And the teen years are a wild ride. Oh my God, they are shifting from expecting the right punishments and consequences to do the heavy lifting of teaching skills is short sighted. That's really what I'm getting at with all of these shows. Instead, try what I've talked about in the previous weeks. And this week, this week, we covered again, reframing trust, curiosity, always a good tool, seeing mistakes as opportunities to learn sharing emotional honesty, and let me know how it goes. Let me know how it goes. I am open to your feedback. I'm open to messages on social media, you can shoot me an email at Casey at joyful You can join my free Facebook group joyful courage for parents of teens and share their how these shows are landing for you. You are not alone, my friend. You're not alone. This is real work. This is hard work. And we are on a collective journey. So keep showing up. All right, we got a couple more weeks of this limited series. I will be here on Thursdays teasing and apart breaking it down with you for you. So come back and see me next Thursday. And we'll do more. Consider more think more about all this stuff. All right. Have a great rest of your week. Have a great weekend. Bye.

Casey O'Roarty 24:44
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 Mann and the team at pod shaper for all the support with getting this show out there and helping it to sound On 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 Tune back in on Monday for a brand new interview and I will be back solo with you next Thursday. Have a great day.

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