Eps 342: Conscious Parenting with Domari Dickinson

Episode 342

My guest today is Domari Dickenson. 

Domari shares how she got started on her Conscious Parenting & Positive Discipline journey.  They discuss what Conscious Parenting, Positive Parenting, & Gentle Parenting mean and if those are helpful labels.  Domari shares her tips for those of us who are transitioning to a different parenting style, including identifying & digging into your own triggers, leading with love & grace, and feeling all of your feelings. 

Domari Dickinson is an unschooling mom of four, a certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator, and a liberation partner.  She provides specialized programs and coaching services that invite parents to identify their oppressive parenting practices while co-creating spaces where they can discuss how to implement more liberatory, love-centered practices that are focused on freedom, respect, and autonomy.  Domari is also an educational consultant and serves on the board for the Alliance of Self-Directed Education.

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Takeaways from the show

  • What does being a conscious parent mean? 
  • Doing the work ourselves & focusing on personal growth 
  • Unpacking your bags and identifying your triggers 
  • Leading with love & grace 
  • Get comfortable asking yourself “why?” 
  • Being okay with not having “the right answer” 
  • Feeling & accepting all of your feelings

What does joyful courage mean to you

Joyful courage means being purposeful about pursuing joy as you’re building relationships with your children.  It’s easy to focus on “once they’re a teenager they’re going to….”  I’ve never subscribed to that.  I’m going to intentionally find the joy as I’m growing through this phase with my child, and I think that takes courage because a lot of people in the world don’t look at teenagers as a source of joy.  It’s joyous for me- not every day, not all the time, but my teens and I have amazing relationships.  I truly believe the way I shifted my parenting helped us find that joy through the teenage years as we collaborated and focused on love and respect.  Joyful courage is all those good things.



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Intro 00:05
Hello, hello my friends. Welcome back to joyful courage a conscious parenting podcast, where we tease apart the challenges and nuances of parenting through the adolescent years. I am your host, Casey over 40, positive discipline trainer, parent coach and adolescent lead at Sprout double, where we celebrate not only the growth of children, but also the journey and evolution that we all get to go through as parents. This is a place where we keep it real, real stories real parenting, the teen years are real messy, and there aren't many right answers. But the more we trust ourselves, and trust our teens, the better the outcomes can be. The Parenting we talked about over here is relationship centered. You won't find a lot of talk about punishment, consequences or rewards. What you will hear is a lot of encouragement about connection, curiosity and life skill development. Our teens are on their own journey. And while we get to walk next to them for a bit, we don't get to walk for them. Their work is to learn from the tension of their life. Our work is to support them and love them along the way. I'm so glad you're here. Enjoy the show.

Intro 01:33
Hi, podcast listeners. I am so excited to introduce you to my guests today. Her name is Domari Dickenson. Domari is an unschooling mom of four, a certified positive discipline parent educator and a liberation partner. She provides specialized programs and coaching services that invite parents to identify their oppressive parenting practices, while co creating spaces where they can discuss how to implement more liberatory love centered practices that are focused on freedom, respect and autonomy. Tamari is also an educational consultant and serves on the board for the Alliance of self directed education. Hi, tamari. Welcome to the podcast. Yay, I made it. We decided that we love each other. Yes, we do. We're BFFs now awesome. I'm just so excited. So I want to know more about you. I want to hear about who you are and how you have found yourself a voice for conscious parenting. What's your story?

Domari Dickenson 02:30
Yeah. Okay, first, let me just do disclaimers a lot. You heard that I'm a mom of four, three of those beautiful beings are actually in the house with me right now. I have told them I'm recording a podcast, but you still might hear them in the background.

Intro 02:43
How old are all those children? Oh, my

Domari Dickenson 02:45
oldest is 21. She's off in her senior year of college. Gosh. And then I have 11 and 12 year old boys and a seven year old daughter. So sometimes their sleep schedule is a little off and there'll be sleeping during this part. And today, of course, the day that I have to record the podcast. They're like we're all awake. We're here.

Intro 03:03

Domari Dickenson 03:06
Yeah, but they are the reason that I am on this journey. And I say it's a journey because I don't feel like I will have ever arrived at this. I'm done doing all my work. I am a conscious parent or whatever you want to call it. But I started about six years ago because my youngest is seven. And you know, I was showing up for my kids in a very harmful way. I used to beat my kids, I was yelling a lot. I just wasn't very respectful of their needs, their desires. And we had one incident with my boys. So they're 18 months apart. And they're very, very close. So they have an amazing relationship. And one day I heard them fighting like they were physically fighting in their room, which had never happened before. And I was triggered, and I lost it. And I ran into like, Oh, you want to fight? We're gonna fight. Let's do this. I went in there with my fists balled up and the look on my youngest son's face broke. I mean, I've never seen him look so terrified in his life. And I knew in that moment, like, Oh, this isn't right. Like, I'm sure there were plenty of times before that could have had that revelation. But I was like, I'm supposed to be his protector. Like he shouldn't be looking at me like he's scared for his life. And so I knew that I wanted to do something different. I didn't know what it was, right? So I started reading books and started taking all the classes and started doing all the workshops and the trainings. And I started to shift my parenting but I also noticed, like, all the people that were talking to me about this were white women. I'm like, Are there any blackbox stuff like is this not for black kids? Should I not be doing this? Like am I like getting some information that's like, private or secret. So I decided like this is amazing information, right? Being able to shift how you're showing up for your kids by doing some inner work on yourself. And I'm like, I wanted to be the voice right to say hey, black people are out here doing this to like our kids. This and yes, we can do it. There are nuances and there are differences which I never really felt that when I was You know, in these spaces with a lot of the white conscious parenting coaches, that was just like, Y'all don't really understand what this looks like for me, right? Like, instead of trying to convince them, hey, you might want to consider, you know, being more inclusive. I can do this. I'm an educator by trade. I have this information. I love talking to the people. So, Tara here, right? Yeah.

Intro 05:23
I mean, that's honest, right? I had Yolanda on a couple years ago, Yolanda Williams, from parenting decolonised. And she told me something that I didn't know, which, you know, was such an eye opener for me just around, you know, the history of how, you know, we all have our conditioning, right? Like, I definitely have my conditioning. And I come from a long line of controlling mothers who really go at it with their oldest daughter, who tend to be daughters, you know, and now here I am with my oldest is a daughter, and I've had to do my work. But what Yolanda pulled the curtain back for me was the all the cultural things that come for black families in their history around safety, and making sure their kids were doing the right thing and doing whatever they could because it was life or death. So absolutely. And then I was in a training with Natasha Nelson, do you know Natasha, love her? We were just talking about some of the activities that we do we positive discipline, parent educators. It's a lot of experiential activities. And she's like, You know what, I have to tweak the roleplays, right, because the language I mean, he they're even stiff for us white folks, like they're kind of stiff and kind of wordy. But even more so when

Domari Dickenson 06:37
I haven't been updated since 1975.

Intro 06:41
So anyway, I just always appreciate talking to people who are really serving different communities than I am and highlighting things that I don't even realize are a thing. So yeah, and everybody, you need to be following Tamari on Instagram, because you got the real game down, and highly entertaining and offering such important information as well. And I have to say, so I was probably five years into my positive discipline, work both teaching it as well as like really working to implement it. And I had a situation I'm thinking about your son, looking at you in fear had a situation on the stairs with my daughter, who was probably nine. And it was just one of those moments where I just had had it, I was done. And this kid needed to know who was actually in charge. And I mean, I must have been two inches away from her face, not yelling, but the yelling voice. And I saw like the break, I saw her eyes, and I realized oh, and I mean, my whole body was shaking, she went into her room, I went into my room, self regulated for as long as it took went in to own my behavior with her and she like curled up into my arms. And this is not a kid that likes a lot of affection. Even though I'm like, Let me hold you. She let me hold her. And actually, the repair that happened after that horrible incident brought us closer than we had been even before the incident. So that was I think I wrote a whole blog post about it. That was really powerful. That was really, really powerful. And the reason I share that story is even I am as somebody who has been practicing and teaching for 15 years, this work, it's still a daily choice, a daily choosing in to not give in to that gut shoot from the hip pull, and to really instead be present and lean towards connection and compassion and curiosity. And you did this whole post about it caught my attention. And I was like, Okay, I want to talk about this. So a lot of people Yeah, and I'm guessing your clients to you attract people who are like, Okay, I'm seeing you, I'm watching you, I want to do this. And it's really hard. Yeah,

Domari Dickenson 09:04
and I don't really know what this is. Right, right. Right. I want to do something different. But like, where do I start? Right? This is work.

Intro 09:10
Right? Right. Right. Right. And I either have people that are, you know, have done some positive discipline or positive parenting, the big umbrella, right, whatever that means. And it's been, you know, useful in the early years Elementary, and then adolescence hits, and they're like, What the fuck does this look like with a teenager? You know, even I, when my daughter got into ninth grade, and things started going really sideways. I was like, Oh my God, have I been duped? Like, is this a thing that can really be useful? So there's those people who are like, Ah, how do I do this in this context? And then there's people who it's the teen years and like the whole behaviorist model as you know, quote, worked for them. And now they have teenagers who are like, you know, flipping them the bird and saying like, nope, not interested in your bribes, not interest. Did in your punishments doesn't matter to me. So there's that. So we're going to talk about, you have four tips that you share in your work around the transition into being a more conscious parent. So, but I guess before we start talking about them, like, what does it mean to you being a conscious parent? What does that mean to you? I know, million dollar podcast

Domari Dickenson 10:21
listeners can't see me rolling my eyes. That's because I don't have find myself not even wanting to use that term anymore. Because co opted.

Intro 10:30
So what's the term? What's a better term?

Domari Dickenson 10:32
I don't even like labels, right? I don't, because you label something. And then people will have an association with that based on that label, which might not even be true. So I'd like to think about it just as people who are doing this work to break these toxic parenting patterns, okay, and really prioritize and center love, liberation, joy, mutual respect, and collaboration. Great. It's that shifting. And for me, that conscious part that comes with it is really doing the work on ourselves, and not coming from a place of trying to fix our kids. That's one of the biggest differences that I see between these different parenting camps is like conscious parenting is the one that's like, it's you parent that needs the work. It's not about your kids, where I feel like a lot of the other ones are still, what's a nice way to control my kid, right? It's a way to manipulate my kid like I can do with a nice voice. And I'm kind but it's still like, yeah, build collaboration in a respectful way. Right?

Intro 11:29
How can I deliver a consequence with a smile on my face? All right, you're missing the boat, missing the plants? Yeah. Okay, great. Well, in that context, I think we're totally aligned. So I'm excited. I also talk about centering the relationship that we have with our kids as a place where, you know, if we're gonna have any influence, I mean, control has left the building influence is a real thing. And we can nurture and build our influence based on the relationship that we can develop with our kids. And I think everything you said, the duration, and joy, and mutual respect, those are all things that all of us want in a healthy relationship. And when we have those things in a relationship, that person that we're in relationship with, you know, we want to do things for them, we want to be cooperative, we want to appreciate them just because of the nature of the relationship. So I love that. So your first step around making this transition is unpacking your bags. What does that mean to you?

Domari Dickenson 12:32
So that's really what I was saying about like looking within to really figure out like, what's happening within me, right? So taking the time to identify your triggers and saying, This behavior really triggers me by not just stopping there and saying, like, so why is it like, what is coming up for me about this behavior that's making it so hard for me to not yell at my kid when that comes up? Right? What is the story that I'm telling myself about this behavior, that I'm believing that so many times, it's like, because of something that happens to us when we were younger, or how our parents responded to us when we behave that way. But we're holding on to that story. A lot of times, we don't take the time to really unpack that, to really think like, what is happening? And like, How can I start to shift that? How can I start to tell myself a different story? And think, like, Well, what else might be true? I'm thinking, this is so bad, and my kids just trying to push my buttons, or they're trying to manipulate me or they're trying to prove that, whatever negative things we're thinking, but taking the time to say like, Okay, this is a lot of my stuff, because of whatever it is, and what else might be true. And keeping that relationship in mind, right and saying, I want to think about this situation, this triggers the child that's in front of me in a way that's going to be helpful to our relationship and not harmful.

Intro 13:49
Yes. Helpful and not harmful. You know, and that's ongoing. Right. I was journaling this morning, about a situation with my partner, and I was in the question of, Am I super rigid, and inflexible? And what's the wound that keeps getting poked, when this particular situation keeps coming up? So I love that you talk about this. And if anyone's listening, thinking, like my bags to unpack, it's so obvious, especially with things like, you know, how there's people who are like, I'm fine with them, not cleaning their room, like it's their domain, and then other people. Hello, me. I'm working on it. It's like a personal affront. I'm like, the worst insult you can give me like, why would you not want to clean your room? I do not understand, right? I mean, I've worked I'm not that crazy about it anymore. Right? I mean, all of us. There are certain things that drive us mad and we have friends who are like that is not a big deal to me. What's a big deal to me is this thing, right? And so I think it's Do yourself a favor in life, really, and start being in that curious place. Around what is it about this thing? thing, not what is it about this kid? Right?

Domari Dickenson 15:03
And also being very clear that I'm not saying like, we're asking our kids these quiet like, why are you doing this to me? These are self reflection questions. Why am I feeling this way? Why is this coming to me? Why am I getting so upset every time this happens, right? We're asking ourselves these questions.

Intro 15:22
Yes. And so I know for me, there was a lot of like control and inconsistent responses that I was raised with, like, I never was really sure what was going to be met with, like mush rug, and a smile, or even a laugh versus a look, or worst case scenario, you know, some pretty severe yelling, hurt, hurt, hurtful language, also coupled with like, all of my clothes coming out of my drawers and being piled in the middle of my room, like, there was some really intense moments. And it was so interesting. Once I had two kids, right, it didn't really show up until I had two kids and the overwhelm got to a certain threshold, how pulled towards that behavior. I was, you know, in my worst moments, and I was like, Oh, I had so much more compassion for my parents, because I was thinking to myself, I'm aware that this is happening, like I'm connecting the dots and making a decision about should I just fucking give it to her right now? Because I kind of want to, or am I going to do a difference? Right, and sometimes

Domari Dickenson 16:32
I still choose to give it to work.

Intro 16:35
Feeling Damn it, I gave it to him over a text message about the dishes this morning, which is much safer than me in real life. But do you mind me asking like, what some of the unpacking that you've done? What's come up for you? As far as triggers?

Domari Dickenson 16:51
Oh, yeah. All of them. But it's so funny because I literally was just talking to Yolanda yesterday, we were on a call and talking about like, how after six years, like I finally have gotten to the point where I still get triggered with my first response isn't violence. It took me six years, to get to this point, one of my biggest triggers that I think took me the longest to work through was lying. Yes. And I have one who used to lie all the time about things like this is so little, and I used to be so offended. And I realized the story that I was telling myself is that I'm not worthy of the truth, right. And then I put all these adult behaviors on him. And this was since he was like four years old, right? And I remembered all the other people in my life who lied to me, particularly their dad, right, and how much it hurt me. And every time he would lie in my face, I'd feel that same hurt all over again. And so I had to work through that and really say, Well, what else might be true? I think the truth is, because of the way that I used to show up, he didn't feel safe telling me the truth. Because I wasn't a safe person. Yeah, I was yelling and hitting him. And even when I stopped hitting, I was still not a safe person. So I had to, in those moments, learn to tell myself like, this is another chance for you to practice being safe for you to practice being trustworthy. And it was hard it was so like, when I say years, you know, and there were kind of levels were I saw that it was working. So I would ask them a question then for that time, he would just stop and stare at me. I'm like, hello, I know, you hear me like I'm right in your face. Then he was starting to tell me like, okay, tell you the truth. Then he started volunteering, which was before I even know, like, Hey, I don't really know how this happened. But I was in your room, and I knocked the painting off the wall. And this one, let you know, like, that's where we are now. And now he's like, I did this. And he can start to speak to how he plans to repair it. This is years of work, right? Like four or five years. It took us to get to this point. But it's such a different relationship, right? And I'm like, Okay, now I know that you trust me. And none of this stuff is really a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Yeah. So he's sensory seeking. So he moves a lot. And you know, he's 12 years old. So he's big, he breaks a lot of things.

Intro 19:11
They don't know how big their bodies are. They're like, he doesn't

Domari Dickenson 19:14
and he's not very aware all the time, like spatial awareness isn't his jam. So things break all the time. And I used to make a big deal out of it and try to understand and try it. And I'm like, he just he's not doing it intentionally. He just doesn't. And so I don't have to blow up. I don't even have to have a long conversation about how you need to move differently and why you have to do this. It's just accepting that that's what it is and saying, Alright, is this something that I can afford to pay for right now to fix it? Or are we just going out without a TV for a little bit? Right, but I think that idea of what you were saying like centering the relationship has helped so much and it's so funny because the past couple of days he's been coming into my room and has given me a hug and I'm like, I love this like my almost teenage son is like volunteer Hearing hugs everyday. And he says, I just want to remind you that I'm not going to be that stereotypical teenage kid. I just want to make sure that you know that. I was like fingers

Intro 20:10
crossed. And I love you. If

Domari Dickenson 20:11
you are, I promise I will. But I'm hoping. Right, right, right. I'm hoping the hugs keep going. But I'll be ready for that. Because you know, developmentally, some things are gonna start to shift have already started to shift in your body that might cause you to show up in some different ways. But guess what we're gonna work through it.

Amy Lang 20:30
Hey, Amy, again, just popping in here to talk to you again about our talking with tweens about sex series that Casey and I are offering. And we're going to be talking about what teens need to know ASAP. I talked about that. The next thing we're going to talk about Session Two is about the new world of gender and sexual orientation. I do not know if you've noticed, but things are changing and changing quickly. Kids are super open and interested in and talking about different genders and different sexual orientations, their own their friends. So I'm going to help you figure out how to navigate this, what's up with them, and most importantly, how to support LGBTQ kids, here's a really important and crappy stat, these kiddos, their suicide rate is four times higher than the general population. So no one wants to think about that. But the biggest thing you can do is be a super supporter of your child. And if your kids not queer, then maybe you know, some other kid who's queer, and you can really be there for them. So we'll be talking about gender and sexual orientation. So I can't wait to see you there. It's going to be super fun and interesting, and of course helpful, because really, everyone needs help with this.

Intro 21:40
Yes, we all need help. That's why Amy and I are partnering to bring this three part series to the joy of courage, parent community, Amy's been on my speed dial forever. I've contacted her about my own struggles through my kids sexual development. Now you get to talk to her to you get to learn from her to go to be sproutsocial.com/sex talks for more information. And to claim your spot. Again, that's BS, browsable.com/sec stocks, get your spot gets more information, join us. Well, and what I love about your story, too, and talking about the years, right is, you know, sometimes we want a really quick return, I think as humans as adults, and like we've already had X amount of years giving evidence of who we are with our kids. And so if you're listening, and you're working into a new model, a new way of being with your family, there's got to be a lot of new evidence that you're gonna follow through and do what you say. Right. And I think all of us have that classic experience of waking up in the morning and being like today, I won't yell.

Domari Dickenson 22:58
Five minutes later. Yeah.

Intro 23:00
Yeah. So we get to be, you know, we get to have, which leads us to the next tip, we can get to have love and grace for ourselves, as we move into a new way of being and we get to also I think, you know, because a lot of the parents that I work with moms in particular, they sit in the question of Is this working? And I think that's a short sighted question, because it's more about like, is my relationship shifting? Right? And is this helpful as the way that I'm being helpful to my child to myself to the relationship? So talk a little bit about love and grace and your tip around? Having love and grace?

Domari Dickenson 23:42
Yeah, you hit that it's just really, really important to recognize that when we're trying new things. It's hard. It is not easy. And if it wasn't, you would have been doing it from the beginning. Right? So we'd like to ask parents like, what if, like, how you mentioned the time, what if it took the same amount of time that you were causing harm? What if it took that same amount of time to undo that? So if you've been parenting this way, for four years, what if it took at least another four years for your kids would be like, Okay, now I believe you like would it be worth it? Right, and as you're going through, knowing that you're going to screw it up along the way, but to have grace for yourself, and even when you aren't screwing it up, your kids might not respond in a way that you want them to respond, but to still offer them grace, right? So it's not just about us, holding space for ourselves and mess up, but for our kids to be on this journey with us, and to show up as best they can, in all of these moments and to know like, Okay, we're gonna do this, and it might look like a hot trash mess right now. But we're moving through it, right? I always talk about like, There's levels so when I committed to snap hitting my kids, I was still yelling a lot. And then when they helped me realize like, Okay, you're still causing a lot of harm because you're yelling all the time, and we don't feel safe. Hmm, then I started just being really sarcastic. Okay. Like with the things, the look was always there, I use it as a teacher to know, I was just still saying things that, for example, my son and I were just talking about, I'm like, Okay, walk when you're inside walk inside, always wandering around, and then he'd fall. And I would be like, that's why you need to walk I taught and I'm like, that's not really leading with love. Right? That's not. So I had to shift that language from that's what you get basically to Are you okay? Right. Like, there's such a huge like, which one communicates love? Are you okay? Yeah, so having that lens for me to be like, even when I'm not getting this, you know, not showing up in the way that I want to like, can I still let love lead. And for me, a lot of times when I would get stuck, and I didn't know what to say, in a situation, or I didn't know what to do, that's what I have to pull that like, let me just give you a hug. Because I don't know the right thing to say in this moment. But I know that I can just hug you and show you that I love you. And then we like, we're gonna have to come back and revisit this because I have to go think about this. I don't really know what to do or what to say. But that idea of showing up in a loving way and holding space for grace for me and my kids has helped and continues to help because I have to do it every single day. Something happened. Like, it's okay. Whether for me, or for them. Most of the time. It's for both of us. Yeah.

Intro 26:26
Well, and I'm thinking about our teenagers and meaning like the teenagers of the world, and how you know, and brain development and making mistakes as they do and getting into mischief and all the things that can show up during adolescent years. And what a gift for parents to move from. You know, what were you thinking? Into? Are you okay? Like, I mean, I feel like that's kind of a back pocket. thing, like keep it in your back pocket, and they come home, I got in trouble. This happened. I'm so pissed. I'm so this, are you okay? Or tell me more. That's my go to, I have no idea what to say to this. So tell me more as neutral, right, as neutral and non judgmental as I can be. And something else that you mentioned, too, like, we parents love us, it's so easy to be the victim in the stories of our children, right? Like, as if they're doing things to make us crazy to, you know, get under our skin to push our buttons even or, you know, I'm talking about teenagers. And that's like, so like, we're so we think we're so important. Right? Like, we are not that important. I mean, we are, of course important to our kids, but like, we are not at the top of the list of like, what can I do today? No, you know, and so I'm off like, no, yeah. So again, love that. Love that. So third tip that you talked about is getting comfortable asking why? Tell us more about why

Domari Dickenson 28:01
this goes to what you were just saying, right? And it's not again, I always have to say this, because somebody's gonna say what am i You told me to ask my kids why there's, I'm like, that's not what I'm saying to you. But for us as we're processing, like, why might my child do this? So like, you mentioned that they come home from school, and they've gotten in trouble, like, why might that have happened? Right in the ask questions to get curious, just to get more information? Because I find a lot of times we're so quick to judge and to think that we understand our kids motives, or, you know, the logic behind what they're doing. Most of the time, there really isn't any logic, right? Because that's their brains aren't

Intro 28:39
developed that way yet. Right? Or it's a logic that makes sense to them

Domari Dickenson 28:43
in that moment. And then a lot of times, parents, like once the kids experienced it, they realized that didn't make sense, right? My 12 year old now will do things and immediately, like, that wasn't a good decision. Yeah, I don't have to tell him that. Like he's experimenting, and he's trying it. But I find it just helps me to understand like, how do I deal with this situation? Because a lot of times, I'm trying to figure out, what support do you need? Right? Like, how can I help you if this situation were to happen again? How can I help you navigate it differently? If what you did this time didn't work out? Yeah. But I have to do like what you were thinking to be like, Oh, okay, so here's why that might not have worked out for you. Here's something you might want to try next time.

Intro 29:25
So it's really about being curious and curiosity. Yep.

Domari Dickenson 29:29
And just being comfortable with that. And with that comes being comfortable with having conversations with your kids. So many of my clients freak out when they asked me so like, what should I do? I'm like, Well, you talk to your kid, they're like, wait, what?

Intro 29:41
Go to the source. That's what I say go to the source. Yeah,

Domari Dickenson 29:44
you want me to talk to them? And I'm like, Yep, I do. Yeah. Which can be terrifying, especially if you are a parent who has been used to feeling like you have to have all the answers but you have to say the right thing like that isn't a direct impact of colonization right. And like white supremacy culture, make Subs feel like there's one right way to do these. And it's the right way, right? So to be able to release that and say, like, I can go talk to my kid not having all the answers planned out ahead of time, and really working with them, so like collaborating to figure out how we're going to work through this, it doesn't just have to be me, as the keeper of all knowledge, the holder of all the right answers. This is we can figure this out together.

Intro 30:24
Yeah, thank God. Right. Like, oh, much easier that way much easier that way. You know, I've had so many conversations with clients where they're really in the struggle of not understanding their kids. And I'm like, have you gone and ask them what it is that they want? Like, what are they moving towards? What's important to them? And I just made some notes while you were talking, like, and I wrote being comfortable with not knowing like, that's huge work, like being okay with the idea that you don't have the answers.

Domari Dickenson 30:54
Yeah. And a lot of people have like, in the school wounds that prevent them from really being okay with that, because like, if you've been schooled, especially if you're like me, and you've been kind of your identity is wrapped in being good at school, right, that comes with

Intro 31:10
I love a gold star tomorrow.

Domari Dickenson 31:12
That's what I'm saying. Like to get that gold star, you have to be the first one with the right answer. And so that carries over into how we think about our role as parents. Yeah. So that's another layer of work to really unpack and feel like, I can still be a good parent without having the right answers

Intro 31:26
all the time. Yeah. And I love also inside of this tip around curiosity and finding the why is also letting go of assumptions. Right, letting go of the idea that, you know, I know how my kid feels, I know what it is that they want. I know what they're trying to get. And letting go of that and sitting inside of maybe I don't, right, right?

Domari Dickenson 31:47
What what I'm thinking is wrong. Right? The best way to find out is for me to ask.

Intro 31:53
So good. Okay, final tip. Here we are. Feel your feelings? I think all of us feel Yes. And all of us in the helping community. I think we encourage our clients to do this. And to be honest, sometimes, I really can get there in my own practice. And other times it can feel really elusive. Like, why do I tell people to do this? I don't even really know what I'm doing trying to do this for myself. So for you, in the context that you bring it to your clients and into your own personal work? What is feeling your feelings? Look sound? What is it? Like?

Domari Dickenson 32:31
It looks and sounds like, it's okay for me to not like how I'm showing up right now. It's okay for me to feel like my kid is not my favorite person to be around right now. It's okay for me to be sad, to be upset, to be happy, right? To feel joy, all of these feelings. A lot of times we shame ourselves, especially when we're doing the work right? Or having feelings that have been labeled as bad, right, or feelings that have been labeled as unacceptable. Like, I'm not supposed to be upset at my child who told you that lie? Like, there's nothing wrong with being upset? It's how you show up in that upset? Right? Like, are you able to be upset and not cause harm in that moment? What might that look like? Yeah,

Intro 33:17
that's a big one too, right? Because I see in some of the communities online that I just kind of, like I might cry a lot in the back quietly in the back observing the It breaks my heart really, when I hear parents think that, too. You know, now I'm super aware of labels to be this different kind of connected, aware. Parents

Domari Dickenson 33:48
need to be a positive parent gentle path.

Intro 33:50
I know. I know. But I mean, for me, it's positive discipline. That's my foundation. That's what I teach to be this way. But really, I see it more with when it's a more general phrase, like positive parenting or even gentle parenting. It's like, almost sticky, sweet. And I'm like, you guys, we get to still be human. We get to still be human. It's okay to be pissed. And like you said, it's what you do with it. Right? That is the work.

Domari Dickenson 34:17
I think the reason for me why I think that is so harmful. And why I just part of the reason I'm against the labels, because as soon as you say gentle parenting, like, oh, so I can't ever know that. Yeah, but it's because not only is it harmful for the parents, like they're not able to be their whole human self, but they also aren't able to accept their kids when they have those same emotions that they're shaming themselves for having so now I don't want my child to cry when they're upset. I don't want my child to be angry when they can't have these things. And I'm like That's because you won't allow yourself to do that either. Yeah, and in my opinion, neither is healthy right?

Intro 34:53
Well in in the feel your feelings context to is something that I captured as you're talking was that I apprec She is just being an acceptance of how you feel in the moment. Right? Like, acceptance to me is so I mean, so many of us could have ditched so much therapy, if acceptance was an experience that we had in our families of origin, right, like true, unconditional acceptance, I think is such a basic human need to thrive and just show up as the best versions of ourselves. And so hearing you talk about feeling what's coming up for us, and also that love and compassion tip to like, to me that's really about being an acceptance of our own journey, while also holding space and creating an environment where our kids are accepted to even when the painting falls off the wall, or they're fighting with each other,

Domari Dickenson 35:51
even when they got suspended from school, even when they're going out with their friends and their friends aren't drinking, and they do to like, even when, even when it's to like so these are my feelings, right? And also like, how are you feeling? And so like that acceptance piece, but also being willing to ask, What can I learn from these feeling? Yes, right. So I know that I made this decision. And now I feel terrible about it. You know, I should not have done these things with my friends. I feel bad about it. Okay, so I learned that this decision did not feel good to me. So next time, what can I do differently? I always like to bring it back to like, is there a way to learn from this? And I never assume that just because I have a conversation with my child about something that they're in that situation won't happen again, right? I'm like, so next time when this happens, right? Cuz it's gonna happen again, right? Your brains aren't developed yet. Okay, you're 14 1516 like, it's gonna happen again. So next time, when this happens when your friend wants to fight, what are you going to do next time? Like, how are you going to be comfortable? Yes. That from the situation. And I tell my folks a lot of times, so another feeling that I think we're conditioned to not accept is fear, right? And when people are like, I don't have any fear. And I'm never afraid I'm fearless. And I'm like, Who are you robot person? I have fears all the time. But it's like, what can I learn from this? How can I move through this and that parent from a place of fear but not ignoring it? So what needs to happen if I don't want to give my kid a car? Because I'm worried that they're gonna go out? And they're gonna be drinking and driving? Very valid fear? Sure, right. Yeah. And what can I do? So how can I talk to my child about what should they do? If they are driving? And they go out and they decide to drink? If we haven't talked through that? How would they think like, oh, I can just say, text my mom, and she'll send me money for Uber. Right? And come get the car, we'll come get the car in the morning. We have a plan for that. Yeah. So this is my fear. I'm feeling it. And I'm saying so are there ways that I can plan around this? Maybe it'll happen? Maybe it won't. Right. But I want to prepare my kids for something that I'm afraid of. That is a very real possibility. I'm not going to try to make you avoid these situations and say, No, you can't ever ride with your friends or you can't ever drive. Yeah, but how do we prepare for it?

Intro 38:14
Well, and that's like, they just go underground Anyway, like I did

Domari Dickenson 38:18
in high school, they'll get real sneaky, they'll figure out how to do it without you knowing. That's right. That's right.

Intro 38:23
And this is so useful, and just such powerful conversation that we're having. I'm really appreciative of it. And if you're listening, and you know, you're getting excited about this conversation, know that DeMarco and I both were in the work of supporting parents. So can you talk a little bit about how you work with people?

Domari Dickenson 38:45
Yeah, so I do one on one coaching with parents who are on this transition, and it is very individualized. So it's not like a course that I created. And we just walked through it together. But it is you talking about your traumas, your triggers? What's coming up for you having these really clear goals, about your relationships for your kids, and really figuring out like, how can we start to shift your thoughts, your words and your actions to make sure that you're making progress towards those goals? I have classes on a monthly basis. And then I also have a membership program with Yolanda Williams from parenting decolonize. That face is more for people who are also doing like racial justice work. So how do I really identify these systems of oppression that are showing up and how I'm interacting with my kids, myself, my community and actively take steps to divest from that? Because people like to think that parenting is not political, but it is

Intro 39:38
oh, yeah, it sure is. Where can people find you and follow your work? What's your website and all that good stuff.

Domari Dickenson 39:44
My website is Denari. dickinson.com I'm not fancy, y'all. I'm not creative, right? So it's the Mari dickinson.com on Instagram. It's Tamari Dickinson and I am on my way of social media. I'm on my way out. Yeah, so I love Facebook. So my Facebook page, I don't even need to say it because it's literally just everything that I posted on Instagram. Yes, posted about a year before. But this time next year, you probably will not be able to find me on social media at all.

Intro 40:14
Okay? Well, then the links to your website will be in the show notes as well as your Instagram. So get on it for now, because it's a way to create a sense of urgency.

Domari Dickenson 40:22
And then I just, it's not something that I enjoy.

Intro 40:25
It looks like you enjoy it. God, you're having a good time on insight. So the

Domari Dickenson 40:29
way that I do it, I enjoy it. And it's not you won't see me posting three times a day. I don't do all that. Well, I show up when I feel like it. I think I've got one brewing inside of me for today.

Intro 40:41
And I'll be watching. So the last question I always ask my guests is What does joyful courage mean to you?

Domari Dickenson 40:48
Hmm, that's a good question. And it's, for me in this context today for what we're talking about. It's really like being purposeful about pursuing joy as you're building relationships with your children. So it's easy, I think, to focus on, you know, like, oh, my gosh, once they're a teenager, they're gonna do and I've never subscribed to that. So being able to say, like, I am going to intentionally like, find the joy, as I'm growing through this phase with my child. And I think that takes courage. Because a lot of people in the world don't want to look at teenagers as a source of joy. But I'm here to say I have one who's 21, and one who's getting ready to enter this teenage phase. And it has been joyous for me, not every day, not all the time. But we still have amazing relationships that I know. My daughter told me yesterday that something happened. And I think I might post about this on Instagram, but she went to go visit her boyfriend, North Carolina. She's in Virginia, and she texted me to tell me that she was going down there. And I was like, when I was in college, I never told my dad where I was going, what I was doing what? And so I asked, you know, I asked for their consent to share their stories on Instagram. She was like, Yeah, but what are you going to say? And I was like, I'm going to say that if I hadn't started doing this work, I know, there's no way that you would have texted me this and she was like, You're right. I was like, you wouldn't even want to be around me. She was like, You're right. Because she remembers, right. Like, she got it for the longest. And she's like, I wouldn't even want to come home on holidays. If you were still parenting the way that you were before. Yeah, yeah. And I'm like, I know, I'm glad that I did this. And I truly believe that the way that I shifted, also helped us find that joy as she moved through her teenage years, because then you're able to start collaborating, and we did focus more on our relationship and love and respect and all those good things.

Intro 42:43
Oh, my gosh, I love you. Thank you for spending time with me. I'm so glad that you were here.

Domari Dickenson 42:53
This was amazing. And I don't know, but we're connected now. We're via DMS. Like are you saying well we don't want again, we're gonna do

Intro 43:03
it sounds good to me. Sounds good to me.

Outro 43:15
Yay. All right. Thank you again for listening in to a another show. Please check the show notes for any links mentioned in this episode. If you liked what you heard today, will you do me a favor and share it? Screenshot the show plastered all over your socials so that other parents know that we are creating value over here for them. If you really want to earn a gold star, head to Apple podcasts and leave us a review this does so much for the show for the exposure. It's a great way to give back. Thank you to my team at Sprout double for all your support. Alana Juliet, I love you so much. Thank you to Chris Mann and the team at pod shaper, for keeping the show sounding so good. And you listener, thank you for continuing to show up. This is hard work that we're doing. I encourage you in this moment. In this moment to gather let's take a deep breath in and follow that into your body. Hold it for a moment, exhale. And with that exhale, release the tension. And I invite you to trust, trust that everything is going to be okay. I'm so happy to support you. So glad to have spent time with you today. I'll see you next week.

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