Eps 370: SOLO SHOW Deep diving into encouragement

Episode 370

It’s you and me, babe! You. And. Me. Another solo show for diving into work of parenting teens and rolling around in it together. Today I am talking about how encouragement can be a tool for relationship, skill building and showing up as our best. I share language and thoughts about how to uplevel the encouragement in YOUR home so that your teens are more likely to step into cooperation and collaboration.

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Takeaways from the show

  • encouragement vs praise
  • what encouragement looks like, sounds like
  • personal responsibility and encouragement
  • being in the tension of what we want most vs what we want now
  • when encouragement isn’t enough
  • taking care of ourselves when our teens are deeply discouraged

Today Joyful Courage means trusting myself and paying attention to the indicators that I am moving into my teen’s lane. Joyful Courage means trusting my teen, and trusting the power of encouragement.

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encouragement, teens, kids, feel, support, notice, parents, hear, strengths, sound, relationship, discipline, alfred adler, positive, stay, encouraging, physical sensation, statements, offer, happening
Casey O'Roarty

Casey O'Roarty 00:05
Hello, Welcome back. Welcome to the joyful courage podcast, a place for inspiration and transformation as we work to keep it together. While parenting our tweens and teens. This is real work people. And when we can focus on our own growth and nurturing the connection with our kids, we can move through the turbulence in a way that allows for relationships to remain intact. My name is Casey already, I am your fearless host. I'm a positive discipline trainer, space holder coach and the adolescent lead. It's routable. Also mama to a 20 year old daughter and a 17 year old son, I am walking right beside you on the 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 really real, transparent and authentic so that you feel seen and supported. Today is a solo show and I'm confident that what I share will be useful to you. Please don't forget sharing truly is caring. If you love today's show, please please pass the link around snap a screenshot posted on your socials or texted to your friends. Together we can make an even bigger impact on families around the globe. If you're feeling extra special, you can rate and review us over in Apple podcasts. I'm so glad that you're here. Welcome. Welcome, welcome. Enjoy the show. Hi, welcome back to the podcast. Welcome back to the joyful courage Podcast. I'm so glad that you're here another solo show special time. This is our weekly special time member when they were little. And all the people said make sure you're doing special time with your little people. Well, now you and me. We get to do special time. Every week here on the pod. Yay. Okay, yes, hi, welcome. I'm a little scattered Not gonna lie. I have a lot going on over here in a sorority land. And my sweet husband had shoulder surgery yesterday, which is pretty major and poor guy. He's had a lot of physical things come up over the last few years. And he's, I'm sure tired of it. Lots of pain in his bod. So yeah, Ben had shoulder surgery yesterday, and the daughter, my oldest sweet Rowan got an apartment is signing her lease tomorrow and is moving out. So she's packing up. And you know, just life life life, and Alon feels like lots happening. But I'm really glad that I get to sit down and hang out with all of you and create this special content for you. So this week, something I wanted to talk about that's been on my mind is thinking about teasing apart understanding encouragement and strength based parenting with our teenagers. I think that you know, as our kids become teens, you've heard me say before, they have pretty special bullshit radars. And they know when there's an agenda. And they know, when we've got some opinions and some judgment, and when we're trying to manipulate the situation. And it's not useful. They really push back against that as they should, as I would if my friend came in, with all of that written all over their face, right. And so this week, I just want to deep dive into encouragement. Encouragement is a positive discipline tool that we love. And really, all the positive discipline tools are encouraging to our kids. And I like to think about encouragement. There's a quote by Jay Nelson, maybe you've seen it before. It floats around here and there, many iterations, but I love this quote, it's straight out of her book, positive discipline. And Jane says, Where did we ever get the crazy idea that in order for children to do better, first they need to feel worse, children do better when they feel better. And feeling better isn't about ice cream and lollipops. Feeling better is really about encouragement. And Rudolph strikers who was a student of Alfred Adler, and if you've been around or in the study of positive discipline, you'll remember that the foundation of positive discipline is Adlerian theory comes from the work of Alfred Adler, who is one of the first social psychologists and Rudolph drinkers was his student, and Rikers has a quote that I also love which is Children need encouragement like a plant needs water. Children need encouragement like a plant needs water. Encouragement is what keeps us going. When we feel encouraged, we show up better, we lean in more, we try new things. Right? When we feel encouraged, we can lean into resilience, we can remember that tomorrow's going to be a better day, we can keep in mind that just because it was hard at first doesn't mean it's always going to be hard. When our environment is encouraging, when the people in our life are encouraging, we are able to harness that inner strength that we need to carry on and to move through. And sometimes, sometimes encouragement gets mis labeled as praise, or misunderstood as praise, right? Or encouragement can often or sometimes be thought of as like catching them while they're good. And we're going to play with that we're gonna expand on that, because those things are not the same. Right? That's not what we're talking about when we're talking about encouragement. Praise sounds like the job well done. You're so smart. You got straight A's, I'm so proud of you. You're the best, the best on the team. You're so pretty. Right? These statements are Ray's statements. Right? Not horrible. Not horrible. But over and over and over again, when that's all you hear as a kid, you start to form some beliefs. And we'll get to that in a moment. Encouragement sounds like, wow, you worked really hard. You earned that. You earned that? What are you proud of? How do you feel like you showed up as a student? How do you feel like you show up as a friend? What supported you in that outcome? I see you pushing yourself you really persevered through this semester? I know it was tough. How do you feel about how you did those statements would fall under the category of encouragement. Right? Now going back to that first set, well done, good job, you're so smart, straight A's like all of that you're the best. All of that is about me judging my child me judging you. It develops an extra extrinsic motivation, right, wanting to please others. There's a lack of reflection in praise. It generates a people pleasing belief. And it really disconnects. There's a disconnection between the process and the personal desires and the goals. Right? When we lean into encouragement, you worked really hard. You earned that. I saw you pushing yourself all semester, you really persevered through some tough stuff. Right? How did you feel about how you did? These kinds of statements and questions really grow an internal compass, right? You heard me name some strengths, perseverance, right pride, work ethic. When we encourage our kids, we help them connect the dots between their choices, their action, and the results. We help them through those reflective questions. That's encouraging to them. Oh,

Casey O'Roarty 08:53
I did work hard. What did help me earn that grade? Or get that accolade? What am I proud of?

Casey O'Roarty 09:02
What are the things about me that make me a good student or a good friend? Right? Encouragement invites our kids into that self reflection so that they can connect the dots between their actions, their choices and the results that they're seeing in their life. Encouragement is powerful way of being and holding space for our kids. And, you know, we're talking about teenagers and when we talk about teenagers, authenticity matters today say this already. They have great bullshit radars. Right? They know when we walk in the door and we've got an agenda, right or we're trying to lead them to a certain thought process. I was just talking to a client about wanting her daughter to recognize how scrolling social media and seeing all these things. filtered bodies and faces and filtered beauty standards, makes her feel about herself. You know, this client really wanted to help her daughter connect that. And when she would go in and ask her about, like, what do you notice when you're looking at the things and there's a dynamic there of her daughter feeling like this is a trap. I'm not going to tell you what you want to hear right now. In fact, I'm not even going to reflect on your questions. Because this feels like a trap. Right? This feels like another way for you to tell me that I shouldn't be doing what I'm doing. So authenticity matters, leaving our agenda at the door matters. And also pulling from evidence, right? Pulling from evidence matters, I saw you, you went through that really tough thing. Last semester, you hit a wall, you made a huge mistake, you got a bad grade, you really struggled with a relationship. And you moved through it. You lived through it. Right? You were able to stay in perspective, you were true to yourself, right? You got creative with your problem solving. And you can use those same tools and skills you can use what you learned and what you developed in that experience with what's going on right here right now. Right, you can show pull evidence of what you've seen, versus just kind of that empty, oh, you've got this, you're gonna be fine. You can do this.

Casey O'Roarty 11:43
Pulling evidence is really powerful for our teens, and helps them remember Oh, yeah, I did do that thing. I was persistent. I was able to be patient. I was able to show up even though I didn't want to, and I was okay, I lived through it. Right? Evidence matters, authenticity matters, and relationship matters. And the beautiful thing about encouragement when we're encouraging our kids, is that it's actually a relationship builder. Right? When somebody's saying to you, you worked really hard this semester, I saw you move through some really tough things. You know, you really went through it with your friend group this year, man, I was challenging there for you. When we can hold space for our teens This way they feel seen, they feel validated, we're going to talk about validation in a minute. They feel like you maybe don't get it, maybe you don't have all the information, but you're paying attention, and you see them. And that's relationship builder. And there's different types of encouragement in our classes. And I'm going to be teaching a class here in May, May 2 through I think it's June 6 Tuesday evening. So stay tuned for that. When we talk about encouragement in our classes, there's three different types of encouragement that we highlight. And the first one is descriptive encouragement. Descriptive encouragement is super basic. It's not about evaluating anything. It's about staying neutral, and just really giving that experience of I see you, right, so it could sound like, Hey, I noticed all of your assignments are in. Or it could sound like, Hey, I noticed that you're missing an assignment in math. It could sound like I see that you put your backpack away. Or it could sound like, wow, you're spending a lot of time studying for that Spanish test. Now, notice, I didn't add anything else I just said what I saw. Right? Really neutral, as neutral as I could be non judgmental. It feels a little awkward. I'm not gonna lie. We're so used to evaluating our kids, that it can feel kind of weird to just say, I see you put your backpack away. But I'm here to challenge you to play with it. Play with that descriptive encouragement. Notice what happens, right, notice what happens. The second kind of encouragement that we talked about in positive discipline is appreciative encouragement. It seems to be more easier for people. This is a place where we get to share our gratitude, making sure that it's really heartfelt. could sound like Hey, thanks for emptying the dishwasher. It made it easier to move into cooking dinner tonight. Or I really appreciate that your backpack got put away today. Or thank you for the way you shared what was going on for you. It helps me understand your point of view even more better, right? So it's that appreciation. And notice, like, even though these are scripted, for the sake of the pod, when I come in, and I'm offering these to my kids, I want it to be really authentic, I want to be speaking from my heart, no agenda, relationship building. And I want them to have the experience of feeling appreciated, right. And the third kind of encouragement is called empowering encouragement, and positive discipline. And this is really where we get to connect the dots between action and strengths or traits or skills, right, this is again, the place where evidence matters. Again, keeping in mind the bullshit radar is isn't a gimmick or a formula. So the place for us to be really authentic, empowering encouragement can sound like last night, when you shared how you were feeling with me, it showed a lot of self awareness. Like I just noticed a lot of self awareness. Or doing all that meal prep today, took a ton of motivation and organizational skills, and then cleaning up after yourself was super thoughtful. So again, when I'm engaging, and both of those statements came from recent interactions that I had with my son, one was a couple of nights ago, he couldn't find his wallet, which to me was probably more irritating than it needed to be. I don't know, I think he still can't find his wallet. Hopefully, by the time the show goes out, we have found his wallet. Anyway, we were all frustrated. And he was frustrated too. And I knew that my frustration was evident to him. And I went into his room, and he just said, you know, Mom, I just really feel like you're on my back right now. Maybe you're not on my back as much as I feel like you are. But I really feel like you're on my back right now. And I feel like you're really mad at me. And maybe you're not that mad at me. But it just feels like you're really mad at me and I need a little bit of time, I just need a little bit of time and space. And for him to be able to express what was happening for him, helped me calm down, helped me let go of what I was holding on to. And later on in the night, what I actually said to him was, you know, you being able to say that, to me, was really powerful. And I said one day, you're gonna be in a relationship with someone and you're gonna have a disagreement, or things are gonna get tense. And you being able to do that being able to share how you are experiencing things, and be really open that way that's really going to serve your relationship. It's really going to serve your relationship. And, you know, he just kind of was like, Oh, thanks wasn't like a profound moment for him. But it was a great opportunity for me to, you know, just plant another seed around expression. vulnerability, being willing to be self aware, was really powerful. And then just this afternoon, the kid like, did all this crazy meal prep, I'm always thinking to myself, I should be doing more meal prep for me, he did it for him. And again, like, just like I said, in the statement took a lot of motivation. He was organized. And you know, as I record, I can hear him cleaning up upstairs. So yay, life skills, right? I want him to feel empowered. We want our kids to feel empowered. We want them to feel encouraged. This is how they're going to show up well, right, dropping our formula, dropping the agenda, dropping our narrative, and seeing them in the moment for what's happening in the moment. Offering of gratitude, if it's available, if it's appropriate, offering up our notices, right for the sake of our kids feeling seen, well, just period for the sake of our teens feeling seen because that's what they want the most. They want to know that we see them, right? Because we don't know what we don't know. I mean, even adults, we're not always conscious of our strengths. We're not always conscious of the way that the things that we do affect others. Good and bad. Right. I think as parents of teenagers, we get really hung up on. They don't know, you know, like they're being rude or, you know, I buy them the clothes and they're not hanging them up. And that's so disrespectful, like we get really hung up on those things. Right? And so encouragement really offers the parent an opportunity to support their kids and seeing themselves through the eyes of others, especially around things like strengths and what they're doing well, we don't know what we don't know, we're not conscious of our strengths always. Some of them we are, but sometimes not. Right? I don't think Ian realized there was a lot of self awareness happening when he came out to share with me that he felt like I was really being on his back, getting on his case. But I got to point that out to him. And hopefully, that's, you know, sunk in a little bit more, and I'll look for more opportunities to point that out. And then it becomes like, Oh, I'm a self aware person. And that's what we want, right? We want them to own those strengths. And remember that they have them. Like I said, all the positive discipline tools are encouraging. Right? This is a gauge we can use when we're considering that question that we teased apart in last week's show, which is, is this positive discipline? Am I doing the right thing? If you're being encouraging, you're on the right track. And I'll say to, you know, I gave you a bunch of examples of what encouragement sounds like, and I do have parents sometimes come to me, and they're worried that they don't know what to say, you know, they'll be like, I don't know, what am I supposed to say? I'm not sure what to say in the moment. And I am always encouraging parents to be real with their teens. It's not about knowing what to say, it's not about the right or wrong way to talk to your kids. It's about being real, like cut through the bullshit. Cut through that like energetic sludge that builds up between you and your teen, pull the curtain back. And be real, be authentic, be honest.

Casey O'Roarty 21:41
Encouragement sounds like validation. Right? You don't know what to say your kids just unloaded on you? Wow. Sounds like you have a lot going on right now. Or this must be really overwhelming, or that's hard. Or you have a lot to think about. And that's all we have to say there doesn't need to be fixed. There doesn't need to be a solution. So much of the time when our teens share with us, they don't actually want to hear what we have to say. They just want to hear I see you. I see that this is hard. You're in it. Right? What might happen if tonight or tomorrow or even for the whole next week? You just practice this? What might happen? I dare you, I dare you to do it. Encouragement looks like presents. Right? can sound like I'm here for you. If you need me. Let me know if you want to talk about it. I can listen if that's what you need, again, energetically. The ball is in their court, they get to decide. Yeah, I would like to talk about this. Yeah. Can you listen? Yeah, I want your opinion. But we don't assume that they want to hear what we have to say. Nor do we need to assume that what it is that we want to say is what they need to hear.

Casey O'Roarty 23:09
Right. Encouragement sounds like curiosity. How can I help? What do you need right now?

Casey O'Roarty 23:16
Can I offer something asking that permission? I love? Can I offer something and you guys have heard me talk about this on the podcast? Can I offer something is really like getting permission before you share your opinion or advice. getting permission. Because again, that might not be what they're here for. That might not be what they want. So we get to ask, and if they say no, thanks, we get to honor that. What do you need right now? Is there anything you need right now? How can I help? I don't need your help. Okay, great. I love you. I'm around. Can I sit near you? Would it be okay, if I just hung out outside your door? Right? asking permission, letting them know that you're present? Being curious, right, validating that it's hard. Encouragement can also sound like personal responsibility. Right? As a parent, I'm sorry. When we get feedback, right? I'm sorry that what I said made you feel that way. I was scared and I could have handled things differently. Or I'm hearing what you're saying. And I'm really working to see things from your point of view. There's a place for humility and parenting, there's a place for us taking personal responsibility and owning our stuff. Encouragement is alive when we remember that our kids are on their own journey when we can be brave enough to stay in our lane and stand next to our kids as they stumble along and explore what it is that they want. Now, I've talked about this lately, I feel like a lot, but this isn't about abandoning them getting out of the lane is not about abandoning our kids. The positive discipline for teens book starts off with a little story about getting out of the driver's seat, or maybe the pilot seat, you become the co pilot. CO pilots aren't like scrolling their phone, they've got a job to do. They're assessing the situation, they're paying attention, but their hands aren't on the wheel. Right. So when I say our kids are on their own journey, stay in our lane, let go. And even the word surrender, which I use a lot, that isn't the same as he's out, abandon, you know, don't show up, we still get to watch for the red flags, we still get to be curious, we still get to validate, we still get to be in relationship with our kids. You know, I have a lot of parents, moms in the membership program, who are really working on letting go of the energetic rains around school and schooling. And, you know, some of their kids are doing fine, right? Not as well as we wish they do. They're doing fine. And then other kids, it feels like they're building bad habits. And the moms are scared, right or worried. And I think that it is okay, when we get those energetic hits. And we say, you know, I'm working really hard to be hands off the school, school is yours. And I'm noticing that you are studying for tests while also playing video games. And I'm just curious how that's working out for you. Right? What is your goal for this upcoming math test? What do you or do you understand the content? How are you hoping to do on the test? You can have conversations about school with your kiddos, please do and support them in connecting those dots like what do I want? How do I want to show up to school? What do I hope to get on this test? What do I need to do to get there? Is it useful for me to be on FaceTime while I'm studying? And maybe the answer is yes. Right. But you get to plant that seed and plant that reflection. So that they can carry on as they move through school, or even into work or college and think like, Okay, I've got this big project, is it going to be useful for me to wait till the last minute? Or should I do a little bit here and there, right.

Casey O'Roarty 27:38
Lesson, teens and adults, myself included, we are in the tension of what we want now versus what we want most. Right? We're in that tension. And, you know, us full grown adults might have tools that support us, in learning to be better at staying focused on what it is we want most, right, but the chips away. teens have less experience and less skills about that. And what they want now is really knocking at the door. And it'll take experience and reflection and then more experience and more reflection for them to learn and lean more and more towards what it is that they want most. Right? You get to trust them. And trust their process, you get to encourage them, see them highlight their strengths that you see in action, and you get to show up for them. You're not abandoning them. However, you do need to get out of their lane and let them flail around a little bit. All right, it'll be useful for them. It gives them something to look back on and say, Ooh, yeah, that did not work out very well. For me. I didn't like how that felt. Right. So I'm going to do something different this time. And listen, I get it, it is not easy. It is big time uncomfortable to watch our teens and our young adults struggle. I have to say young adults now because I have a 20 year old she's no longer a teen. And, you know, even as they get into their early 20s or late teens, early 20s, they're going off to college, you hear they're having roommate issues or professor issues or they're struggling with mental health. It is very difficult not to want to swoop in and fix the problem. Right? It's super hard to be with them being uncomfortable. And so some things to remember, are doing our own self care. Right. Again, self care, meaning, like journaling, meditating, getting enough sleep, taking care of ourselves, right, like Soul care, self care, being in our own awareness. So noticing I had this experience just a couple of days ago where I knew my daughter was worried about something and worried just felt contagious, right. And I started worrying for her. And I recognized it in my body, it feels like butterflies in my belly and tingling in my core. And I breathed into it and I released it, and I remembered it's going to be fine. She's going to work it out, she's going to figure it out. And it's hers to figure out. So I had to pay attention, I had to notice that I was getting wrapped up in her worry. And then I had to be willing to do something about it, and shift it up, when I felt that physical sensation. So for you, it might be, oh, I'm having a physical sensation. When I worry about my kids or I'm worried about what they're worried about, or I'm uncomfortable about their discomfort, start to notice what the physical sensation is that accompanies that. And then the physical sensation becomes the indicator that you're getting wrapped up. And it's time to unravel. Come back to breath, calm your nervous system, trust that they're going to be okay, they're going to figure it out, and get support if you need it. Get support if you need it. Because I mean anymore. But I tell parents, like our biggest job during the teen years and the young adult years is endurance, being with them, as they travel through these years and make mistakes and make tough choices and get up and brush off. Enduring their sadness, their fear, their worry, their embarrassment, and during all the experiences that they go through, in a way that allows our teens to feel seen and held and loved. Right and supported. So yeah, supports out there for you. If it's so hard if you're super meshed and really codependent. Get a therapist, get a coach, let us help you. Let us hold space for you and offer you tools for being with what your kiddo is going through. And to keep it real. If you are worried about your teen or young adults mental health, ask them about it straight up check in. So I noticed you're spending a lot of time in your room. School seems less important. You want to spend less and less time with the family. I'm not seeing you hanging out with many friends. I'm concerned. I wanted to check in how are you feeling? What's going on? How's your mental health? Right? Be direct about it, be direct about it. There's not time to like pussyfoot around, you need to be direct with your kids. When you're worried about their mental health, you need to be straight up about it and ask them directly what's going on? And how are they feeling? And here's what I'm seeing. B matter of fact, and what you might hear from your young person is I'm fine God, go away. I'm fine. And if that's the response, you get to discern between Well, is this like typical teen, Holloway, individuation? Or is, you know, is my gut telling me there's something bigger going on? Are there other red flags? So if they're claiming they're fine, clearly, they're not fine. Lean in and find a support team, a therapist, a coach, a teacher that they're close to? And you just get to be really matter of fact, right? Nope, I see you struggling, we're gonna get you some help. Life does not have to be this hard. And remember, encouragement, right? Remember, back in ninth grade, when you went through that really tough time and you man, you dug into so much grit and resilience and you move through it, you can tap into that. And you can get through what you're going through now. And we can get you support. And I think the biggest thing is when our kids are deeply discouraged, because that's really what's happening. Anxiety, depression, deep, deep levels of discouragement. Don't give up. Don't give up on them. Trust that you're all going to move through it. Let go of your timeline. That's kind of a big one, right? Especially for people that are go getters ready to move on, right? People that are life coaches. Were like, Okay, what's the inspired action that you can take to move you out of this and move you forward? Not useful for our teens who are deeply discouraged, we get to throw our timeline out and be with their timeline. And I think about that a lot with Rowan, when she was really struggling few years ago, and it was just like, time was going a glacial pace. And I wanted her to like, get on it. Like let's go get let's get feeling better. And it just seemed like, it just seemed like it took a really long time you guys and I had to really surrender to her timeline. That's okay. That's okay. That's what she needed. That was her healing journey. And our kids are on their journeys. So see them inside of it. Let them know that you're available to them and that you love them. To practice encouragement, and yeah, take care of you. Take care of you because this wild ride of parenting through adolescence. It's a workout, right? It's a workout. So make sure you're taking care of you drinking lots of water, getting lots of sleep. And thanks for being here. Thanks for listening. If you have any questions, reach out, reach out to me and maybe listen to second time to this one. I feel like it was kind of jam packed with a lot of good nuggets. Let me know how I can support you and I will see you soon.

Casey O'Roarty 35:37
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 so good. Check out our offers for parents with kids of all ages and sign up for our newsletter to stay better connected at beat spreadable.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.

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