Eps 371: Mutual respect with DJ Johnson

Episode 371

My guest today is someone who is a friend to the JC pod, DeAntwann “DJ” Johnson.
This episode is all about mutual respect. Casey and DJ start by talking about how the idea of respect has changed from the 1950’s to today, and how kids & teens today are asking to & expecting to be respected.  We teach respect by being respectful. They dig into whether or not kids need to earn their dignity, our respect, and our love (spoiler: they don’t).  DJ points out that the way we treat our children at home is the basis for what they expect from other adults outside of the home, and Casey explains how kids being disrespected in their home can show up as defiance & disconnection. DJ shares stepping stones you can use when young people are disrespectful, a bit about how teenage brain development plays in, and how to be a leader from a place of service for your teen. Casey finishes up by touching on the power of “and” – teaching & expecting kids to respect themselves AND the person in front of them.

Guest Description

DJ is a husband, father, author, mentor, coach, counselor, and sports statistician. He grew up in the Indiana foster care system and yet despite that, has gone on to lead a successful, and fulfilling life. Before spending nine years in the foster care system, DJ suffered child abuse, domestic abuse, and emotional trauma. At one point, he wanted to end his life, but he realized that he was on this earth for a purpose. 

DJ fulfills that purpose by using his experiences to not only help establish relationships with the students he serves, but he helps parents better connect with their teenagers. DJ specializes in helping parents bridge the communication gap between them and their child to ensure that their child has room to be the best version of themself.

He was featured in Episode 293 and I am so glad to have him back.

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Takeaways from the show

  • Showing up respectfully and modeling respect for our teens 
  • The difference between respect and being nice 
  • Cultivating and teaching respect by being respectful, not by demanding it 
  • Kids deserve respect, dignity, & love – they don’t need to earn it 
  • Disrespect in the home showing up as defiance and disconnect 
  • Softening, respecting, and loving your kids regardless of how they’re showing up 
  • Leading from a place of service 
  • Teaching teens to respect themselves AND the person in front of them

What does joyful courage mean to you

Today, joyful courage means being able to listen to this podcast or be in a space with all the different parenting people that I follow and just being open with the reality of “how am I challenging the generational patterns that have been established in my home?” and “how am I moving forward to change it and create a new pattern?”  You know, as a person who has been through so much, I recognize every day how much of a blessing it is to be where I am and be able to speak and have platforms, to be able to speak at conferences, and just share my crazy, traumatic story.  For those that are out there, I don’t want you to feel like what we’ve been able to accomplish in our parenting journey, me and Casey, is foreign to you.  It’s absolutely something that is possible.  You having the courage to be able to change something that has been done in your family lineage up to this point will ultimately create that joy you’re looking for in your family dynamic. 



DJ On Joyful Courage: Episode 293

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parents, respect, work, kids, students, hear, space, conversation, child, relationship, dj, showing, home, life, adults, happening, teenagers, feel, son, model
DJ Johnson, Casey O'Roarty

Casey O'Roarty 00:03
Hey, welcome to the joyful courage podcast a place for inspiration and transformation as we try and 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 leader at Sprout double. I am also the mama to a 20 year old daughter and 17 year old son 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 an interview and I have no doubt that what you hear will be useful to you. Please don't forget sharing truly is caring. If you love today's show, 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 all around the globe. I'm so glad that you're here. Enjoy the show.

Casey O'Roarty 01:28
Hi, listeners. Welcome back to the podcast. My guest today is someone who is a friend to the joyful courage pod is down to one DJ Johnson. DJ is a husband, father, author, mentor, coach, counselor and sports statistician. He grew up in the Indiana foster care system. And yet despite that has gone on to lead a successful and fulfilling life before spending nine years in the foster care system. TJ suffered child abuse, domestic abuse and emotional trauma. At one point he wanted to end his life but he realized that he was on this earth for a purpose. DJ fulfills that purpose by using his experiences not only to help establish relationships with the students he serves, but he helps parents better connect with their teenagers are so grateful that he does. DJ specializes in helping parents bridge that communication gap between them and their child to ensure that their child has room to be their best versions of themselves. And you might recognize His name because He was featured in Episode 293 of the joyful courage Podcast. I'm so glad to have him back. Welcome. Hi.

DJ Johnson 02:42
Hello there.

Casey O'Roarty 02:44
Yay. Yeah, I'm so glad to have you come on again. And to connect Yeah, around the work that we both love.

DJ Johnson 02:50
I know I so funny, because I was messaging you recently not even like to petition to come back, but just genuinely, like, into a couple of your latest episodes. And I'm like, it is crazy for me. Like when I know people that have like the certain friends that I have that have podcasts. And when I listen to them, and I hear something amazing. I message them immediately like, oh my gosh, this right? You're like, What are you talking about? Oh, yeah, no, no.

Casey O'Roarty 03:17
Now, listen, keep doing that. Because those of us that are behind the mic and putting stuff out there. You know, we don't know. We just wrote I mean, for me, I just throw it out there. And so anytime anybody comes back and was like, Yes, I totally resonated with that. Especially a peer and a colleague and a friend like it just it means so much that you even listened and let alone appreciated what I had to say. So yeah, thanks

DJ Johnson 03:42
for for so yeah. So then you're like, oh, my gosh, once you come back, and I'm like,

Casey O'Roarty 03:48
yes, yes, yes, yes. And I'm so excited about what we're going to dig into. But before we get there, can you let the listeners know a little bit about the work that you do with teenagers how you show up in the world with and for teens and their families?

DJ Johnson 04:02
Yeah, you know, it's funny, I was thinking when you were reading my bio, the last part about being a sports statistician. And I'm like, it seems so relevant to like, this parenting world in space, and I was like, shall take it out. And I'm like, well, maybe there's a dad out there who's like his ears perked up when he hears the sports side, and then I can reel him in and talk to him in that way. But anyway, speaking of sports, I think the last time I was on your podcast, I was still working at Fox full time. I am no longer working there. I'm full time into my business now. And that is working with students and parents and families. And so what I do is three days a week, I go to high school campuses to have them and I meet with in council students high school students ninth through 12th grade. And they always ask me like what type of student do you see? And I'm like, Well, my target student is the student that typically wouldn't come to me counseling, I typically wouldn't be open to therapy or anything like that. And so I work with those types of students in all types, really. But those are kind of like my avatar students. And so that's the day part. And then we have currently about five, six works parenting workshop series going on right now. And so I do three of them, I believe. And then I have a colleague that does two more. And so yeah, we are busy, busy trying to impact in connect with this community that we inhabit. So that's what I do.

Casey O'Roarty 05:33
Well, I so appreciate your role in the schools, I have so many clients whose kids are clearly, you know, struggling having a hard time really insular and won't go see anyone you know, and I think that there's, I mean, I'm imagining that you're really attractive to the kids that you pull into not only your background, but you're young and seemingly cool and hip, and you're not some stuffy, middle aged, you know, white guy, white lady who's like, well, let me tell you what you're doing wrong, right. I love that you're on campus, and that you have a presence. And I'm sure that the kids resonate so much with connecting with you and find that open door really appealing. So thank you for your work.

DJ Johnson 06:21
Thank you. And it's a blessing just because I always make it a point to ask students like, have you had counseling before? Have you received therapy before, and a good portion of them haven't. And so it's pretty cool for their first experience to be with me, a person who's like, hey, come into this space, you're safe here. I want to listen to you and hear you and be in this space with you as much as possible. And there are some that are like I had therapy before, but I didn't like it. And so you may have a bad experience. So I get the opportunity to try to repair that relationship with therapy with counseling. Yeah. So yeah, I have a lot of fun in the schools. I'm trying very hard not to fill my schedule completely right now that three days and there's been a temptation to do more, but I lucky where it is.

Casey O'Roarty 07:07
Yeah. I mean, it's there's no shortage of demand, I'm sure for your no doubt, for sure. For sure. Okay. Well, last time you were on, we explored what you call new school, parenting versus old school parenting. And to me that basically is moving from that punitive kind of more traditional model into a more relationship centered model. So we're going to carry on in that theme, and dig into something that I think is such a potent word for parents, especially parents of teenagers, which is respect, specifically, mutual respect. And you know, there's definitely an old school mindset around this respect, and a new school model of this concept. What would you say are the differences there?

DJ Johnson 07:56
I don't know why I had the urge, when you're about to say respect to seeing the rvsp cttw. Dummies to

Casey O'Roarty 08:04
Yeah, they're all about find out what it means that so your listeners

DJ Johnson 08:09
know, but like, the old school motto of respect, says, I am the adult, I am the person in charge of this home, you will respect me no matter what. And it makes sense in the moment. And then I think as I got older, personally, and then as I kind of observed teenagers and what tends to be the rift between teenagers and parents, is that, okay, you are demanding that I respect you. But you're flawed, and you make mistakes, and you don't reciprocate that respect back to me. And so it's not making sense for me to respect you, but you not give it back to me. And I don't know what it looks like. That was kind of how I viewed the old school way. It's like respect me at all costs, no matter what I'm doing, even if I'm cursing you out, or even if I'm hitting you, like, respect me, and it's like, right, okay. But when I go out into the outside world, it doesn't make sense. Because Am I just going to expect all adults to hit me when I'm not respecting them or, or yell at me or whatever it might be. So the new school way of looking at respect is like, kind of thrown out that old, hierarchical, outdated way of looking at respect. Yeah, and just saying, How can I show up as respect and model respect, and show my students what that looks like my kid what that looks like, so that they can ultimately give that respect that I've been trying to force them to give me and the perfect thing that I've happened to me and personally, to really change my mindset around respect, is when I first started working with students, high school students in group settings, and I've been working with students since 2000. And I'm an after school setting younger kiddos, and it just kind of progressed up into where I am today. And I want to say around 2014 is when I first started working on my most challenge Jean students in the high school setting, and I went into the space like I'm the adult, you're gonna respect me like just kind of demanding that but not really showing what that looks like. And then those kids, those students quickly, let me know like, I'm this is not how this is gonna go. And I quickly had to shift and say, Okay, let me hear y'all out, what is it that y'all need for me. And honestly what it came down to was me modeling and showing them what that respect looks like. And now, even if I have a student that comes into a space, and they're disrespectful, I can keep my respectful nature about myself. And now I can approach that conversation like, Hey, what's going on? Like, right? You're disrespecting me, I'm not giving you that energy is everything okay? Like, I'm Yes, curious of what's happening here, as opposed to like reacting, you know, getting upset by it. So that for me, that interaction with that first group of students who I wish I could go back and say thank you to, they really put me in my place. But it really just changed the game on how I approach students now like, I'm like, to the smallest things Casey of like, I could be, let's say, I call it a student to my office, and I wasn't there and went to restroom or something. Right? And they were waiting for me, I'm gonna apologize. like, Yo, I'm so sorry that you had to wait for me. Even though I called him out, even though I just went to the restroom break, like little things like that. Oh, I'm sorry that I forgot to see you last week when I was supposed to see you. Like, for me being able to do that has been huge. And then students, as you mentioned earlier, like they love and appreciate being around me, because I'm treating them like the human beings that they are. But more importantly, because we're talking about teenagers, like the adults that they are ultimately going to be.

Casey O'Roarty 11:45
Yeah, I love that. And I love and really what I'm hearing woven into is modeling personal responses inside of that, so in the, you know, the positive discipline book, main book, Jay Nelson writes about, you know, this shift into a different way of parenting, and puts it in this framework of, you know, in the 50s, it was dad went to work and dad, you know, the boss said, jump, and the dad jumped, and then came home. And, you know, Mom listened to Dad say jump and mom jumped and that like that was modeled. And that was the framework that held this vertical top down, approach together. And then as the 70s 60s and 70s weren't, you know, showed up and women's rights movement and the questions of, you know, wait a minute, I can be empowered, and I can, you know, I can ask to be treated better, actually, I'm gonna demand to be treated better. And the civil rights movement, like everything that showed up in the 60s in the 70s, really, you know, shook up that model. And so it makes sense that the kids are now like, wait a minute, why do you get to be a dick, you know, like, you didn't know. And I loved the hearing about that first group of kids to you, because I'm imagining that we're also a group of kids that had a long history of adults in their life, letting them down and not showing up. And, you know, and so it was like, Oh, here he comes, here comes another adult. And so for you to really take the feedback, and grow and pivot and try something different is telling you know, about who you are, and what a gift for them to see something different. And, you know, in positive discipline, because that's my background, we talk about mutual respect, as an it showed up in your share, I'm going to respect myself, and the situation. And I'm going to respect the person in front of me, the human in front of me, and it's also fits inside of this being kind and firm. Right? And some people kind of misunderstand kind, and it's like, oh, you have to be nice all the time. No, that's not what it is real. But connect, like, like that example of somebody showing up and being whipped can feel like getting that energetic hit of like, oof, you've got, you know, instead of like, How dare you talk to me like that? Yeah, we can shift into Oh, I felt that little dagger. And so that's an indicator. What's going on with you? You know, what's going on with you? Where can we? And I think that is so it's so simple and so profound, and so challenging for parents, right? To let go of that, like, I can't let them treat me a certain way. Yeah. So what do you hear like, what do you what comes up for you with parents and families around this concept of respect, and helping them shift their mindset?

DJ Johnson 14:51
I just because I feel like the new school way of parenting, where Kaylee kukula I was on her podcast and we were Talking about the Old School New School way. And she brought up a point that really has resonated with me. And I always make sure to credit err on this. She said, the old school way was heavy on the responsibility being on the child, and not as much on the parent, like the child needs to show up and do well as school behaved, do everything right? Stay out of trouble, right? Like, that's the responsibility that we put on a child and the old school way model. The new school motto says no, I need to put the onus back on me as a parent to show up in a certain way that I allow my child to have space to grow and understand and learn and go through the process of growing into even further hit that point home. Like, for me, as parents, because we have gone through the game of Monopoly, we know how to play it. Some of us have won the game some of us have lost. But the reality is we know how to play Monopoly. And what we're trying to do with our children are teenagers, children, whoever, we're trying to show that, hey, this is how you get to Park Place. And this is how you get to this part of the game. And this is how you avoid jail. And it's like, all the kids want to do is play for themselves. So as parents our role in helping our kids play Monopoly, this has given them the instructions and said, Okay, here's the instructions, go play. We're trying to say, Oh, I gave you the instructions. But here's some other things that I want to give you. And we're trying to control the situation, right. And kids at the end of the day students, teenagers, all they ultimately want is for the opportunity to live their lives, how they want to live it. And I know that sounds like the way that I'm trying to break it down is like, we've lived our lives. And we're trying because we live our lives, we're trying so hard to help them live theirs. And the reality is just like you've lived your life, let them live theirs with you alongside with you guiding them with you and pushing, you know, like helping them along the way. In the same thing with the respect motto is like we have been taught what respect was in some form or fashion. But at the end of the day, when I think of families, when I think of trying to adapt to a new way of being with our kiddos, it's about what does respect look like for you? How do you show up with respect outside of your relationship with your child, because I always challenge parents on this. It's like look, every relationship you cultivate, cultivate relationships with their friends, you cultivate relationships with significant others, you cultivate relationships with your co workers, your bosses, everybody gets the benefit of being able to cultivate that relationship except for the child, you don't want, for whatever reason to cultivate that relationship and do the things that will make that relationship better. And for me, respect, it starts with respect. It starts with how do I respect my child and their boundaries? And the different things that are there for them? And how do I want them to show up in the world and be able to respect to others, when I in my home have established that I don't even want to respect their boundaries and different things that are happening for them. So my son who's now five will be six in June. He recently, it's been a couple of months now. So thankfully, I've been on the right track with him. One day, I got a little frustrated and might have been yelling or got a little loud with him. And he stopped me and he was like, If you keep talking rude to me, I'm going to talk route to you back. And I was like, You know what? You're right. But let me clear

Casey O'Roarty 18:27
Thanks for putting up the mirror, babe. Right.

DJ Johnson 18:29
I apologize for talking to you that way. Yeah. And I know homeschool parents. I'll never I'll never and it's just like he's right. Like, yeah, outside of my home. Is that going to be the expectations that just because I'm there darling, I'm going to talk to my kid any type of way, or talk to a kid any type of way? No, like, we want to mirror in our homes, what we hope and want for them to have outside of the home. And that is modeling and being respectful. And I think when we think of the Old School New school model was just like, I'm gonna force you to be this way. And I think the new school was like, like, No, I want you to just be that naturally. Yeah.

Casey O'Roarty 19:19
I wonder too, like, there's a worthiness, like worthiness is coming up for me too, and releasing that responsibility, because when it's an exchange when it's a transaction, right, I'll respect you, if you respect if you respect me exactly right, then like that, I don't know. And I'm just kind of like following this little thread when we can do our best because we're imperfect everyone. Okay, we're in this so we're gonna screw it up and get emotional and be triggered. All those things are human nature and we have tools to navigate that and clean things up. But when we can sit in sight of, I'm going to respect the person in front of me. Yeah, regardless. Yeah. There's also this intrinsic like, you, child, human, are worthy of that, like you're worthy of dignity and respect, period, end of sentence, right? You don't have to earn your worthiness, you don't have to earn dignity. It is a human. Like it's what you get. And so what happens to those kids as they walk out the door? Exactly, you know, we're not talking about entitlement, we're not talking about spoiling them and giving them everything we want. We're talking about your worthiness and dignity is intrinsic and alive and a part of who you are. And when we can walk out the door with that intact. Yeah, I mean, that's it, right?

DJ Johnson 20:51
Yeah, I'm huge on how do we treat our child now, how it translates five years from now 10 years from now, 20 years from now. And to your exact point, like, if we establish a way of being in our home where our child has to earn our love and earn our respect, and earn our trust? How will they show up in relationships with others? Do they feel like they need to do certain days or be performative to earn the trust and love and respect of their significant other, or friendships that they're in, or maybe even other adults? Here's the biggest thing that I see, in terms of like, that top down way of looking at respect, the biggest issue I see is I have run into a lot of students that are failing classes, and whatever your relationship to school is kind of like it's a necessary evil, that's kind of where I'm at. But because I work at schools, that's just kind of the nature of the conversations that I have. And so a lot of the students are failing in, depending on this situation, I can understand why. But for us, the goal is to try to get them to graduate, we try to get them to move on and really start to live their lives according to how they want to, but we talked about, you know, them failing and having multiple F's and I always ask them, like, Hey, have you talked to a teacher? And most of them say no. And I know, you're probably out there, like, why don't they talk to the teacher? And it doesn't make sense. And it's like, well, I mean, if I'm at home, and the adults in my life, you know, say stuff like children should be seen and heard, and they don't give you that level of respect, where we're having even conversations, and it's always a top down conversation. No child is going to be confident enough to go to other adults outside of your home.

Casey O'Roarty 22:31
Yeah. Decisions. buy it from you. Yes. They're deciding what all adults. Yeah, exactly. And staying safe.

DJ Johnson 22:38
Really? Yes. Yeah. So they're like, I don't want to give you that I don't want to be judged. I don't want to do all these things that typically happens at home. So I have to like, kind of work through this with these students like, okay, yeah, the teachers are here to help you, they're here to guide you. And even if they don't, right, like, we can have a conversation around that. And maybe we can get another adult involved to try to alleviate the situation. But like, it's not baffling, because I just know how the punitive old school way of parenting has created this monster in terms of them not feeling confident to talk to other adults, specifically, teachers. Yeah, and I'm sure there's teachers who have been raised a certain way that there's plenty Oh, have shown that they are much like the parents that these kids are dealing with. And so it's like, I don't even want to talk because that looks like what I deal with at home. Right? So for me, at the end of the day, how we treat our child, what we establish at home, is the basis for what they're going to get or how it looks outside of the home. But more importantly, five years from now, 10 years from now beyond. And so the mutual respect, and just all the things that I feel like the new school wave of parenting based off of not like, oh, we want to treat kids better. It's like no, the science, the research. Yeah. All that being say, like, yeah, we got to get away from this. We're not

Casey O'Roarty 23:55
just making this shit up paper.

DJ Johnson 23:57
And even better, like, what's amazing about my journey in this parenting space is like, you know, I've degrees and you know, I've learned some things, but it's just like, for me, really looking at my students. Like, I've started working with students before I really started to, like read books on parenting and trauma and all these different things. And what's crazy is like, I've worked with the students and I started reading stuff, and I'm having aha moments in my readings because i Oh, my gosh, I see it. Now. I'm starting to put the pieces to the puzzle together. Like I can imagine if I would have read stuff and then started working with students. I wonder how that would have been, but it's like, I'm working with students. I'm seeing exactly what these books what the research what everything is saying. And it's pretty impactful. And it is very important for us to at least have a conversation around changing the way we parent because I find myself even in conversations yesterday with students. I found myself like parents, like I don't have hair. I'm bald headed. Like I would pull it out if I had here Yeah, so frustrating things that I hear about parents and what they're doing it for me is simple things that parents can change. Simple.

Casey O'Roarty 25:07
Yeah. When I think too, like I'm hearing Yeah, but what I have heard and what I imagined might be showing up of like, but yeah, we live in a top down society and school is a top down system and you go to work and you have to perform, and you have to earn accolades. Yeah. And I'm sure that you agree with me? Yes. And that's not how, like a kid that shows up inside of those systems. With that intrinsic sense of worthiness and dignity, is going to be able to navigate and hopefully be on board with dismantling some of those systems that, you know, and I've mentioned this before, in the podcast, I had a dad one time in a class say, okay, but when my kids in front of a judge, the judge isn't going to be like, tell me how you feel, and how can we problem solve? And I said, correct. The goal here is to raise your kids in a way that increases the likelihood or decreases the likelihood that they're not standing in front of a judge. Like, how about that? How about instead of being you know, Judge Jury, Punisher, in the household? Yeah, we develop that intrinsic sense of dignity, respect worth, so that when they make their way out into the imperfect world, they're doing it with their shoulders back and their head held high, and they're able to advocate for themselves in a way that isn't, like, inappropriately confrontational or, you know, because I think about students, I think about teens, the hurts, of the disrespect that they're experiencing in the home, shows up as defiance, right shows up. And in that process, like I'm thinking about your students who are failing, like, and kids that are really struggling in school, and their disconnect around, this is actually for you, this isn't for me, this isn't for the teacher, but they're in this reactive, like, Screw you, or I'm not worthy enough to be able, you know, this isn't for me, and to be able to help them change that narrative to how can I use this to create the life that I want? You know, I think that requires a certain level of I'm worthy of creating the life that I want, which can be like, I don't know, stepped back into how am I treated it with the primary adults in my life. And I will also say, you are for those kids, you might be even without the parent parental support DJ. And you know this because of your experience and history. All it takes is one adult, one healthy adult, to let a kid know that they matter deeply and to show them something different. So yeah, it fires me up.

DJ Johnson 28:03
Oh, man. And I want to go back to a point when you're talking about the dad, and I'm sure you've talked about this ad nauseam, like, and that when we're looking at situations like that with our kids, like, oh, what's the weather what's gonna happen when they're in front of the judge? And what's gonna happen with this? And and it's like, that's fear based parenting. And, for me, I have decided early on, even in my clinic, because I'm a black man in America, who's raising a black son. Like, there's a lot of fears attached to that. And yeah, just decided to make it. Yeah, but I just like, you know, what, like, I can't operate in that I have to operate in Lebanon, my son and providing a safe space for him. And if you know anything about my platform, what I deemed safe for our children at home is beyond safe, physical from physical harm, like, we're talking safe from your words, you're yelling, safe to make mistakes, and not be a huge deal safe to be themselves safe to call you out on your stuff when you're doing wrong. Like that's what I mean by safe. Like, being able to have that safe space for my son, we've learned me and my wife have like, whoa, like how he shows up in the world outside of this home is amazing. Like, we rarely get any, you know, callbacks from his teacher and any other spaces that he inhabits. Then he comes home and he's free as a bird and yelling and snapping back at us. All types of things, but we know that that is kind of, he feels safe to be able to call us out you feel safe to talk a certain way. And we you know, we got to say okay, come on like this. This is how you do it correctly. Yeah, we got to have that conversation. But like being able to be safe and not operate in a fear based, like I don't want to have a think of a scenario where my son has to be in front of a judge. No, we're not even thinking that. I don't even want to take that. Right. So yeah, being able Let's just operate from like, what do I ultimately want? Where my kid like throwing the society out? Like, it's indicative of what has been established in society for all these years? And that is like, we're thinking of parenting, like, how do I make my son be a part of the world? And I think for us, as in this new wave of parenting, we're like, I don't even like the world as it is. Yeah. So how do I make them be of it? But not eight air in it and not have it or whatever I'm trying. So basically, what I'm trying to say is, I want him to be and hopefully him being will either shift the world or he or he's able to navigate the world in his own little way.

Casey O'Roarty 30:39
Yeah. And I here to like, instead of how do we get our kids yeah, fit the world? How do we like, just support the full development of the human that they are, because that's the human that steps into the world and looks around and says, whoa, whoa, you know, there's something to be done here. I did a show a couple weeks ago, a solo show around holding the container, maybe it hasn't come out yet. I'm getting ahead on my solo shows. And now I'm like, What did I say When did I say, so like holding the container. So the home is where your kid my kids get to kind of stretch into some different things. And we get to as the space holders, you know, be with that, while also, you know, because there's the modeling, there's the modeling of I'm gonna respect you because you're a human. And then there's the hey, you know, yesterday when you came in, and I'm sure you probably do this, with the teens that you work with, you know, you are full of fire because of that exchanged that you had. And I'm so glad that we got to process that out. And another way to come in, and let me know that you need something like that could look like could sound like so it's not and I want to be really clear with the listeners. It's not just like, take it, right, and then help them process what's under the iceberg. It's also like, hey, let's talk about what it can look like when you have a problem with someone. So I'm modeling it. And I think when we model that, when that's the person we are for them, they're going to be ever more open to also being willing to hear about, here's how this might look a little different for you. And in the side effect is, it's easier to receive, you know, for the other person, like it'll be easier for the person that you're talking to, whether it's your teacher, or your parent to receive when you can come in and say, Woof, I'm having a really tough day, and I just need you to listen, this is so stupid, but remember that right? Like supporting them just in their own process of being in conversation. And I think that's part of this overarching Yeah, respect piece

DJ Johnson 32:54
to it to your point. I had a student yesterday, she was like, Oh, I have a question about like, coping skills. And I was like, oh, did we and I looked at my notes. And I was like, Oh, we worked on them before. And she had lost the sheet. And so no problem. We're working through it again, and maybe take a picture of it. And it's coping skills activity is not just like, oh, let's do a coping skills activity. Like no, like, we're trying to help you establish things that you're going to be using for life. Because stress never goes away. And so I remember her saying like, yeah, it's just so hard in the moment to like, remember to do my coping, because now it's like a Yeah, that's why we practice. That way, we get better at being able to manage it. And we get to a point where when those things happen, we're like, Okay, let me take a deep breath, let me do my distraction, and let me do whatever. So yeah, even in your point, like, we gotta give them the opportunity and space to practice these situations and know like, how to navigate certain because they're going through life for the first time. And as opposed to like, Hey, this is how you do a cave. And it's like, no, like, that's not gonna really stick with them. You telling them what's really going to sink is the processing in their mind through conversation through dialogue, where they're like, Ah, okay, I remember us having this conversation. Okay, boom, let's do it. We're not having enough conversations with our kiddos. I had somebody say, I don't like what you call them kids. Okay, that's why I keep stumbling on like children or teenagers but like,

Casey O'Roarty 34:17
I'm okay with it. But it does mean go. I had somebody point that out to me, can we not come? I'm like

DJ Johnson 34:26
perks of being in space, I guess. Yeah. But like being able to like, acknowledge and allow them the space to just kind of like, Alright, here's your opportunity to learn, here's your opportunity to grow and we can have a conversation around how to do it better next time or move forward, or whatever it is, but like we're treating them like the human beings that are going through life for the first time. And instead of being frustrated that they're not getting something we're holding grace that you're doing it for the first time. Let's grow let's figure this out. Right. Get better as you go. Yeah.

Casey O'Roarty 35:10
So we've been talking about kind of like that external space of respect. And I'm thinking about parents that I have worked with, or that are telling me about the other parents. So oftentimes, it's one parent who's really, you know, on one hand, perhaps the primary parent, and then they start doing things differently following the advice of people like you and me. And then the partner is like, what, what's happening here? And, you know, it's such a big ask, because it's not only like what we say, but it's also an you had brought up fear that internal like, because it is I said earlier, like a dagger, it can feel like, yeah, you know, how dare you talk to me like that, plus all the baggage that we've got, you know, energetically around how we've been treated, and the declarations, the energetic declarations that we've made about, I'm never gonna let someone treat me XYZ for whatever the background story is. And then here's this young person, this unskilled first time around young person with the audacity, right, the audacity to talk back the audacity to, you know, think they can put me in my place, and reframing what's happening, and shifting out of that conversation and into how there's something going on with this kid. It requires a lot of really deep inner work and willingness, get can feel like leaping over a chasm. So what would you say are maybe some stepping stones? Like if we were going to build a bridge from that mindset of I had said, no one would treat me like this. And here I am my own kid, my own kid. Right? How do we start to build a bridge towards that place of what you said, like, hey, it's first time around, right? And their emotions. By the way, everyone, as you've heard me say, at nauseam, teen brain development, real it's not an excuse. But it's absolutely a place where we can lean in and have compassion and yes, calm down. But what are some of those stepping stones? Yeah, and

DJ Johnson 37:30
to your point on the teenage brain development, like for me, it helps me make sense of behavior. And like, that helps me to make sense of all things about life. But like, in particular, when it comes to my child, when it comes to the teenagers that I work with, I'm able to really like sit away, like, okay, something's there for them. And it has nothing to do with me. So I think the first step for me is like learning. Oh, this is not about me. At the end of the day, yeah. Whether that's the stuff that I bring into the conversation or whatever stuff they're bringing to the table, like, it's not about me, right? That's so hard it is. But also like, how I want to show up in the space, either with my kid or otherwise, like I've had parents tell me like, based off of the conversations that we had in the parenting workshops and information that was given to them, like they have expressed being better people outside of just being better parents. And so like, because of their work around this parenting stuff. They are showing up differently in their workspace. They're showing up differently in their relationships.

Casey O'Roarty 38:35
I love it. That's such a great moment, right? When they're like, Oh, this isn't just parenting. This is like being in relationship with people. Yes, I don't put it on the flyer, because no one would come. But yeah, that's

DJ Johnson 38:47
how it goes. So for me, like if you're taking the first step, you're evaluating, like, and I think it's so hard because we're so used to being a certain way. And I know I shared in the last time I was on with you like me being in foster care, and the abuse and trauma that I experienced, if you're familiar with the adverse childhood experience, I literally was just in Texas, presenting on the fact that I was a score of 10. And how I was able to navigate that and manage through that. So like, for me, when I was going through that trauma, it felt like this is what life is, this is how it is. And I accepted that as my norm. And as I got older and started learning more about different things, I didn't really learn about traveling until college really, it really started to light like oh, this is why there's some things happening for me this is why I show up in relationships that we have. This is why I rely heavily on alcohol or whatever it might be to drown out my problems our food in my situation like sometimes I'll be sad and I'll just be eating and just have this random sadness over. Like we all just chalk that up as a bad day. We all just chalk that up as like, this is what it is. And then the reality is no, there's something there. There's something present. There's something that has happened that you haven't dealt with As you've stuffed, deep, deep deep down inside, that you got to work through, because nobody deserves to be continually dealing with your stuff that you haven't processed that you haven't dealt with. So for me, I'm challenging those out there who are struggling, like yo, deal with your stuff, and really have a real conversation around, did I get everything I needed as a child, I hear so many adults, the old school adults who are like, you know, my parents may want me a spanking, I deserve that I did this. And it's like, I feel like you are forced to believe that you deserve those things. But I think ultimately, there was a point in your life, where you want it something you want a more from your parents, you want it more connection, you want it more love you wanted it. And you just got to a point where you were so disappointed that you just accept that how things are. And I think as adults, I want to give you the power back to not necessarily accept what has been but just move into a space of like, what do I want from my life? Now? How do I want to show up for the people that love me? And that I love? And how I'm showing up now? Does it work for everybody? Does it work for me? Does it work for them? And if you can't answer that confidently, then you got to start having a conversation around that healing. And say that you need to talk to a therapist or anything like that. I mean, I encourage it's something that I've done.

Casey O'Roarty 41:23
Yeah, no shame in that game. But

DJ Johnson 41:27
just being able to say like, something's off. Perfect example, I just was bragging about this dad in our current parenting group right now in the Spanish speaking. So I hear his story through the translator. And so how he came into the space, originally, his wife was parenting a certain way, I think she had went to classes, I'm not really quite sure. But he's a typical dad works, works hard. And he's one day just kind of acknowledged and recognized that his relationship with his sons wasn't the same that their moms had with the sons, I can't remember exactly how he got to it. But basically, he was like, I want to do something about it. So he saw that the school was offering free parenting workshops. So that's why he came and just yesterday, he was just talking about how like, he can't believe that there are not more parents that come to this because of this awesome information that he's been receiving. And so for that, to really just kind of be in a space where he's acknowledging like, Wait, my relationship isn't what I would like it to be. And how can I do something about that? I think there are a lot of people who will maybe have that conversation. And they don't necessarily put the onus and responsibility on themselves to say, oh, I need to, you know, figure out how to changes. Most parents who are in that situation where the relationship isn't good with their child, they put the onus on the child, like, Oh, they're a certain way, or the reason why our relationship isn't good. And it's like, that's no way to be in any other relationship in our lives. If I'm not showing up a certain way to my friend, he's gonna call me out on me. And it's going to be rightfully so. And for our kid, when we see that we're like, it's their fault. It's like, no, what have you done in a situation you only have control over yourself at the end of the day. So yeah, I went a whole way around to really try to encourage people to kind of navigate to this space. But ultimately, it starts with us. It starts with us asking the questions. I just finished a book called Raising free people. And she Akela, the author closet, mad question asking, shout out to Biggie Smalls on that one. But basically, her point is like, I'm asking myself all the questions. Why am I treating my child this way? Why am I showing up this way? And you ask enough questions, you'll start to get the answers.

Casey O'Roarty 43:39
Yeah. I love that. And I'm really hearing in that story. Like just the beauty of the willingness, I had a conversation with Dr. Shefali recently, which feels sad to say out loud, we were talking about identity. And when our kids come out to us, and it conflicts with perhaps religious beliefs or cultural beliefs. And I loved what she said. She said, You have to love your child more than you love this belief system. Yeah. And I'm hearing that from you, too. Like it because I think people get and I see you and your social media pushing against the idea of this is how I was parent, I'm fine. Yeah, you know, we get to love our kids, or be more attached to what we can create in our relationship with our kids than we are to the conditioning, the experience, the relationship that we had, or have with our parents. I was recently in a conversation with somebody that I love a lot about this. And he was really reflecting on not having a model of a deep close relationship with the father figures in his life. And so like, it's okay, right? It's not like this death sentence where, well, this is what you got. So this is what you give like, we can interrupt it and I that's what I'm really hearing you say, and that willingness and anybody that's listening If you have a partner who you think could use this conversation, and they're now listening to DJ and I talk, like, it's not about, you know, while I was gonna say it's not about being weak or soft, but there is a softening, that can happen. And when we can soften. And, you know, bringing it back to mutual respect, I feel like respecting the child in front of you, regardless of how they're showing up. There's a softening, and there's an opening, right? That's where the opening to relationship can exist. And recognizing, like, of course, I feel super pissed right now, because they told me to eff off, of course, I feel the way that I feel, and learning how to manage that learning how to acknowledge that, Breathe it out. Reframe, actually, even before that, being willing to say, oh, yeah, I know why I feel this way. And then being willing to say, Do I want to step into the dynamic that was so painful for me, and repeat it here with my kiddo, I think that willingness to do something different is the first step. So I'm really grateful that you guys are out there doing your work in your communities, with moms and dads, for sure. I know that we're running out of time, but oh my god. Situational Awareness is real to write like, we want our kids to grow and develop situational awareness. And depending on who your kid is, and how they present in the world, it can be life or death, situational awareness. Right. And, you know, as I kind of was thinking about this question, staying in the both and respecting self, and respecting the person in front of me, it serves situational awareness.

DJ Johnson 46:50
I read a book once, and it was servant leadership. And it really kind of changed the game on how I saw leadership. And the really, the motto was like, do be of service to those that you lead. The book started off with a guy who's like, stringent, not great relationship with his wife, not great relationship with his children really focus on work a lot. And the reason why he went into this particular I think it was like a retreat or something that kind of the basis of in during the retreat, he kind of learned over time what servant leadership was, and I talked about at the end him, you know, changing his relationships and changing different dynamics of his life going into the retreat. And it really what it came down to is like being of service to others. And as parents, I challenge us, like, how do we put ourselves in position to be of service to our children, because we always operate from the dynamic of, wow, my kid needs to earn my trust, my kid needs to earn my respect. And it's just like, what does it look like for you to serve your child, and what they need and how they're showing up? Like, what does that mean? And really having a conversation around that. And if you can lead from that space of service, of knowing, like, Hey, I'm here to guide you, I'm here to lead you. I've posted about this before, like, so many of us are leading for the first time when it comes to being parents, we are leaders for the first times in our lives, for the most part, when we become parents, and a lot of us don't have skills as good leaders. We are like, leaders that we get upset by in our bosses and our managers and the people that run our country. It's interesting, like, I want us to look at that as us going into that space, like with wonder, with curiosity with care, because we don't know how to lead. We don't know how to parent at the end of the day, like we don't know how to effectively do this. So why would we come into a confidently with an ego? You know, why would we cover it, we would have big hair, like, Oh, I got this, I never parented before. But I got this, and I'm gonna do it confidently. And it's like, for me, I've chosen to say, I don't know what the heck I'm doing. So we can't do this together, buddy. Like, we're gonna figure this out together. And that's me being of service and are there ways where I'm going to leave my son, because I know better, of course, but like, I just was gonna post about like, over the winter break, he was playing his iPad a lot. And we didn't really care about screen time. It didn't bother us before. And we didn't see it impacting him in the way that we thought but over a break. He was on it a lie, and it was changing his mood. And it was I started to see some things and I'm like, Ah, so really, Hey,

Casey O'Roarty 49:27
welcome to The Club, DJ, glad that you've arrived.

DJ Johnson 49:31
It was kind of like a wait and see approach as opposed to like, as in parenting space. There's pressure to have every answer to every situation that happens with our kid. As if me and my wife have just been like, look, let's see what happens and then we respond accordingly when it happens. And so when this screentime situation came up, we're like, Alright, okay, we got to put some limits on his thing. And was he mad and frustrated, of course, but like, over time, we had to help him recognize like, one day I asked him I was like, Have you been playing your iPad all day? Like, how do you feel right now? And he's like, I think he was like, just feel like blah. I just feel like whatever. And I'm like, okay, he's five. So he probably won't process like what that truly means. But at least we're starting station, right? So for me, like, just being open and just really like, allowing the space to take shape. It's just so so like, Yeah, I'd be mad. And I'm like, Sandy.

Casey O'Roarty 50:24
I listen, I'm here for it, man. I'm here for you're talking to the right girl. Yeah. You want to hear the 17 year old version of that. The 17 year old version of that is that my son's not a big video gamer. I mean, none of us are really video gamers. So it's not really a part. I mean, he did his whole fortnight, a period of time, but he likes to be doing things in a world like he really likes in real life. But he recently downloaded Call of Duty any 17 Even though I'm like, Oh, God, is there a worse? I mean, there are but I was like, oh, shoot him. I'm not a fan. But whatever. He's 17. And he spent just like maybe two hours playing and he came out of his room. His eyes were so read that I was like, Are you stoked? Like, what's happening? And he was like, What do you mean? I said, we'll go look at yourself in the mirror. And it was as if he didn't blink for the entire two hours that he was playing the game. So we've been having conversations around like, wow, that's really interesting. And how does it feel when you play it? And what happens to your sense of time, and so it hasn't been this big, confrontational situation, it's really been supporting him. Right now. I'm on the 17 year old end of the spectrum, you're starting at five. And it continues as supporting him with his own awareness around how does this affect me and my body and my emotional health? And again, mutual respect, right? I just want to say one last thing before we close off, which is that power of both, and I think that so often, people, specifically teenagers are put in a position of, I either have to show up respecting myself, or respecting the adult in front of me, right, and that we call it in positive discipline, this dignity double mind, who wants to let go of their dignity, if respecting you means I'm not respecting myself? That's a shitty place to put kids. Right. And so grownups do better, do better, right? It doesn't need to be this putting our kids in this choice of either or, instead, it's really that both and like, what does it look like? What does it sound like? How can we like you said, practice? The both and yeah, of respecting myself while respecting the person in front of you. So Oh, my God, I could talk. PJ, is there anything you want to add? Before we wrap,

DJ Johnson 52:55
I just if you're listening, you made it to this point, I just as a parent, who, you know, even before my son was born, like, I thought I would continue the punitive ways of parenting. And then I started working with students. And I was like, whoa, this punitive model ain't working, how they say it's working. Right, right. And then when my son was born, like my wife mentioned at the conference about how like, somebody asked me, like, you know, the healing, like, what was my healing process, and it really expedited when my son was born, because I started like, seeing and acknowledging certain things. And I'm like, Whoa, like, I gotta do something, I gotta change, you know, being able to kind of sit with and have a conversation around what that means and what that feels like for you, and how you can progress and move forward. For me, like, I don't know if parenting this way, it's going to help my child but like, I know that doing parenting in and out is ultimately not going to serve my child. So I got to think long game, I got to think marathon, I got to think, how are my actions today, impacting my child, five years from now, 10 years from now, 15 years from now. And I always say this, I don't know if you've said it. I might have heard you before. But like, I feel like the best relationships that you can have with your teenager happens before they're teenagers. Just because you establish a foundation, you establish a way of being before they're teenagers. Because by the time they become teenagers, it's like, you got to work that much harder to get buy in to get trust to get all of those different things that we're trying to get from our funeral. And so

Casey O'Roarty 54:28
and the teen years can still look like

DJ Johnson 54:31
he really can't. Yeah, but doing

Casey O'Roarty 54:33
that work, right doing that personal work that DJ and I have been talking about and like you listeners hear me talk about all the time. Yeah, matters like holding the container holding the space. Beautiful. So I asked you this last time, but it's a new day. What does joyful courage mean to you today, DJ

DJ Johnson 54:51
today? It means being able to like, listen to, you know, this podcast or be in a space is with all the different parenting people that I follow. Like, just for me, it's like being open with the reality of how am I challenging the generational patterns that have been established in my home, and how am I like moving forward to change it and create a new pattern. You know, as a person who has been through so much like, I recognize every day, how much of a blessing it is to be where I am to be able to speak on platforms to be able to speak at conferences, and just kind of share my crazy traumatic story. For those that are out there. Like I just, I don't want you to feel like what we've been able to accomplish in our parenting journey me and Casey like is foreign to you. Like it's absolutely something that is possible. And for me, like you have in the courage to be able to change something that has been done to your family lineage up to this point, will ultimately create that joy that you're looking for in your family dynamic. I'm gonna pull it sometimes. Really.

Casey O'Roarty 56:01
I was gonna also just mention as I was listening to you, and thinking about you, the light nurse and I don't mean like light as in not a big deal. But the energetic lightness that you bring to this work that you have generated with your story and your history. Like you are like the embodiment of joyful courage, and I just wanted to tell you that I thought that

DJ Johnson 56:25
thank you. I think it's just with all the healing and all of the opportunities to kind of share my story. I'm just lighter, right? I don't carry Yeah, my story the way that I tell ya. I feel so much lighter. And I embody that. So thank you for that.

Casey O'Roarty 56:41
Yeah, where can people find you and follow

DJ Johnson 56:43
your work? So, first and foremost, DJ inspires parenting on Instagram. I also have a regular DJ inspires on Instagram if you want to follow my current journey, I'm actually preparing to compete in a bodybuilding competition.

Casey O'Roarty 56:59
Oh my gosh, I'm gonna tell my son he's all about that. And I was just gonna say like at the start when you were like, should I take out the sports dietitian? I'm like, well, and that would be what would didn't trigger like, oh, wait, what what is he? Okay, so that's a DJ inspires

DJ Johnson 57:14
DJ inspires all okay? Oh, my Instagram page. I don't remember the number Exactly. But I have a parent texts community so you can join our prayer. It takes community and sometimes I'll send you some inspiration and motivational stuff are you it's just a platform for you to reach out and say hey, I'm dealing with it helped me out right do you have a website DJ inspires that calm which I actually just updated. It was wonky, so I fix some bugs on it. But anyhow,

Casey O'Roarty 57:40
great listeners as you can come to depend on we'll have all those links in the show notes. This is so great. Thank you so much for spending time with me really good to be with you today. Again,

DJ Johnson 57:50
of course case, always appreciate faculty Thank you.

Casey O'Roarty 58:00
Thank you so much for listening in today. Thank you to my spreadable partners as well as Chris Mann and the team at pod shaper for all the support with getting the show out there and making it sound good. Check out our offers for parents with kids of all ages and sign up for our newsletter to stay connected at B spreadable.com. Tune back in later this week for our Thursday show and I'll be back with another interview next Monday. Peace

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