Eps 392: SOLO – The importance of holding our teens as capable

Episode 392

Join me this week as I dig into the ways that our human-ness can get the better of us, even when we are the parenting coach!! I share about a recent interaction that I didn’t love with. my own son, why it is hard to hold our teens in their light, and how to do better.

Community is everything!

Join our community Facebook groups:

Takeaways from the show

  • A personal share about NOT walking my talk with my son
  • When”what’s your plan?” becomes a trap
  • Holding our teens in their light
  • What gets in the way/makes it hard
  • How to do better in the heat of the moment
  • The power of expanding our observer
  • Back pocket questions to filter your response

Joyful Courage…. today, like a lot of days, Joyful Courage is trust. Trusting that there is time, and that learning is happening even when I can’t see it.

Subscribe to the Podcast

We are here for you

Join the email list

Join our email list! Joyful Courage is so much more than a podcast! Joyful Courage is the adolescent brand here at Sproutable. We bring support and community to parents of tweens and teens. Not a parent of a teen or tween? No worries, click on the button to sign up to the email list specifically cultivated for you: Preschool, school-aged, nannies, and teachers. We are here for everyone who loves and cares for children.

I'm in!

Classes & coaching

I know that you love listening every week AND I want to encourage you to dig deeper into the learning with me, INVEST in your parenting journey. Casey O'Roarty, the Joyful Courage podcast host, offers classes and private coaching. See our current offerings.


kids, dysregulation, work, grades, hard, parent, teens, support, question, assignments, ego, hold, podcast, feel, portal, behaviour, noticing, centre, moment, relationship
Casey O'Roarty

Casey O'Roarty 00:04
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.

Casey O'Roarty 01:33
Well, hi, hello, my friend. I'm so glad that you are tuning back in here. It's so good to be with you. It's glorious. Over here in this little corner of the United States in the Pacific Northwest. It's just beautiful. And summer is really here. Almost here. I kind of feel like it's here. And it is so amazing. This is my favourite season. I don't know about you, but I just love it. I love all the excitement. We had prom a couple of weeks ago, my son went to prom had a great time. A lot of people posting about their kids graduating from high school, you can just feel the excitement right now. It's here. And I'm tripping out to think that my son is going to be a senior in high school. Whoa, anybody else feeling like that? He was sharing with us last night we had dinner together, which only happens a couple times a week. And we did a family meeting. And en shared about last week's I don't know what they called it. But they had a little assembly where they said goodbye to all the seniors and acknowledged you know the school acknowledge some of the seniors for some of their accomplishments. And then they had the juniors stand up and go sit where the seniors typically sit, and then all the other classes kind of moved up as well. And Ian was telling us about how that felt for him. It was really cool to hear and it reminded me just have, you know, how long ago was it 1990 Oh, my God, a short 33 years ago, when I was finishing up my junior year, and thinking about the fact that I was going to be a senior and it's just exciting. It's exciting times and trippy times and I definitely feel the sleeping empty nester waking up. Yeah, I may have mentioned this already. And I'm probably going to talk about it a lot. But yeah, I'm feeling it. I'm feeling it. I know it hasn't arrived yet. And yeah, but the transition has begun. The internal transition, I think has definitely begun. The oldest has moved out the youngest. Yeah, one foot out the door, one foot out the door. But before he can become a senior, he's got to wrap up this junior year. So yeah, I share a lot with you all. I keep it real. On the podcast and in the community. That is something that's really important to me. I couldn't do this work without being authentic around my experience, because I'm not perfect. And I don't ever want to send any kind of message that I have this parenting thing mastered. Because I don't write I don't I mean, it's easy to be behind the mic. It's easier to be on the outside of my clients struggles looking in and being able to offer support. But you know, when you're in it, you're in it. And when you're in it, that's when you're really doing the work and I am in it with all of you. And when I'm immersed in my own challenging moments, you know, the human part of me with conditioning and patterns, bubbles up and sometimes gets the better of me. Right? This just happened yesterday. So like I said, this week is my son's last week of his junior year of high school, which, again, exciting. And I've mentioned here on the podcast, we visited some colleges and had lots of conversations. He's a kid who wants to go to college, like, that's what he wants to do. And he's not a Freezie academically driven kid, he's not a kid who strives for 100%, or A's or top of the class, right? It's just not who he is. And he always seems to do better. And he's always done better when he's interested in the subjects when he has a good relationship with the teacher. You know, those are the places where he really thrives. Right? And, you know, there are classes and teachers where he hasn't thrived. And he's okay with that. And, you know, I know that he won't have a problem getting into college, right? He's not applying for, like the top 10 universities in the country. He's not an Ivy League kid. And like I've mentioned before, it turns out, there are plenty of colleges that take the majority of the applicants, right, and that's what he's going for. It's great. He's going to do just fine and have a great time. So I'm not worried about that. And, you know, in, it always seems like he has a few missing assignments, right? Not a tonne. But a few. I don't look in the portal too much. Right, I learned that it doesn't serve me or my child, or our relationship for me to be overly concerned with the portal and all the information that we get there. Okay, so I don't look at it too much. And I typically ask him, before I look, you know, what am I going to see? I'm going to peek in the portal, what am I going to see? And we have conversations about that. I work really hard, as you know, to stay neutral most of the time. And I ask the question, so what's your plan? Because positive discipline? That's one of the back pocket questions, right. And when I asked that question, you know, he usually tells me something and typically follows through in his own way, on his own timeline, right. And when I say he tells me something, I'm gonna be fully honest and transparent. Typically, what he's telling me is what he thinks I want to hear, right. And then again, like I said, he follows through in his own way, on his own timeline. So you know, I do work really hard to practice what I preach. I do work really hard on that. And sometimes man, I give in to that pestering inner dialogue, that shows up that tells me he can't possibly do all the things without me laying out all the ways he should be doing all the things. Right, like in case he needs you, you know, like, that's what I'm saying in my head. Not always, but sometimes. Sometimes it's this little voice that's like, Oh, no. Is he really going to do it? Is he really going to pull it off? Can you really let go? Right? Anybody with me on that? So yeah, like I said, it's the last week of school. I know, he's had a few missing assignments that he hasn't completed that have been sitting in the portal for what feels like a really long time. And I can feel the urgency, right, I can feel the time going by yesterday. He worked in the morning, and then he had the whole day free. Right. And that hasn't been the case lately. He's been really busy. So I brought up the assignments yet again. And he got really bugged. He got really irritated at me. He said things like, you always bring up school. Like every time we talk, you want to bring up school and my assignments. I've got it. You don't need to be on my case. The hardest part in this, you know, quote, unquote, conversation was that the energetic pull away that I could feel from him. When I brought up school. I'm trying to be helpful. I'm trying to ride the line of useful parent versus naggy parent. And the feedback I got from E and yesterday that was that I was not getting it right. I was not getting it right. And he even brought up me asking him well, what's your plan and how that felt to him and like I said, What's your plan? It's a question that I love. And I encourage you all to use it. And what I'm starting to see is when I'm asking that question in this context to en, I'm really asking it for my own benefit, like, tell me what you're going to do to get this done so that I don't have to worry about it anymore. Why am I worrying about it? It's not my problem. His missing assignments are not my problem, but I'm making them my problem, and I'm letting them get in the way of the relationship and the dynamic that I have with my son. The question, what's your plan? is really a question for him. Like, it's an opportunity to prompt some thinking ahead, consider your schedule, decide when it's important to you to complete this thing, and, you know, make a plan. So I'm noticing that I am holding whatever he says to the question, what's your plan? In stone? I'm like, Okay, you said it, you're gonna get it done. By the end of the week, you said that you are going to do that. I hold it in stone, and then I weaponize it when the follow through isn't there? So what's your plan? That question has sort of morphed into what feels like a trap, and my son, and even my husband, they're sniffing it out. They're sniffing it out. And they're responding to it from a defensive place. It's not useful, right? It's not useful.

Casey O'Roarty 11:44
And it's not the question. Instead, it's how I'm using the question. It's not the tool, it's the user of the tool that's really determining how helpful how useful it is for the other person. Right, I think that's the biggest thing, for me is God. I mean, it is sneaky. I'm gonna talk about this in a minute, how quickly we centre ourselves in these challenges that we have with the people that we love. Right? I'm gonna get to that in a little bit. So here's what I'm realising and what I want you to really hold, we have a choice and how we're holding our kiddos, I have a choice in how I'm holding my son in the context of school and this last week, and his assignments and his grades. Here are the two possibilities. One, he feels good about his grades. He's getting his work done at school and in between time and he's pulling things off when he wants to pull things off. He knows how to be in communication with his teachers, he's learning life skills through his process, he will be applying to schools in the fall and is aware that grades and transcripts matter, I can trust him to do what's right for him and to learn from his mistakes. Right. So that's one way of holding my kiddo. And then there's this other way. And it sounds like you know, I think his grades could be better, with a little more effort. I never see him doing schoolwork, he doesn't really care about school, it's his last priority behind girlfriend work, basketball, he won't get into college and everything will fall apart, I better stay on his case and make sure he has plan and then force him to follow through on the plan. Right. So which choice is the one that's the most helpful for n? Right? How can I hold in, in a space that is actually useful to him? And which one is the one that's most helpful to me? Right and how I'm interacting with him. When we come from this place of like, you've got this alright, I'm here to support let me know, then we're like, disrobing all of this pressure and responsibility that we put on ourselves, like, it's our job to make sure that they do the right thing. And we've defined the right thing, right? Versus, you've got this, you've got this, I get to be in relationship with my kid, I get to hold him to an open spacious potential that I believe he's going to step into. Right, that's going to be more helpful for him than me being on his case all the time. I know you see it, I see it, especially in these moments of clarity. Right, I see it. I'm outside of the situation of yesterday, so I can see where things went awry. Right. Why is it so hard to hold our kids in the light of that first scenario? Why is it hard to hold them as capable humans who are here on their journey to walk their path and learn from the steps that they take? Well, I'm going to tell you why it's hard. First of all, it's hard because of evidence, right? You may be listening to me thinking, Yeah, but my kid is failing, I have to stay on top of them. Right? Okay, or what? What is the worst thing that could happen? What do they want ultimately. And you know, for some of our kids, they might need more scaffolding and support when it comes to school, or other things. Right, they might need more scaffolding and support. Right, so that can make it hard to hold them in that light of being capable humans on their own journey. The other thing, the other thing that makes it really hard as well, is fear of uncertainty. Oh, my God, oh, my god, fear of uncertainty is the worst. And it gets in our way. Again, that question of what's the worst thing that can happen, ultimately, they fail a class, they have to go to summer school, they have to repeat a class next year, they have to repeat a grade level, they won't graduate from high school, they won't get into college, they'll have regrets, they'll never move out. Guess what? None of these are your problem. And many of these outcomes are powerful opportunities for teens to recognise. They have the power to change what is happening in their life. These are all natural consequences that hold our kids accountable for how they're showing up. Most kids don't need summer school repeating a class repeating a grade level. The threat of not graduating from high school, most kids don't need that to level up. Okay, some do. And it's okay. There's no shame there. You don't know how things are going to turn out. You don't know, which is again, the fear of uncertainty, like uncertainty is the spectrum of worst case scenario, two best case scenario, there are so many possible outcomes that exist for our kids. So many you don't know, right? You don't know the gifts of the struggle, you don't know how the struggle or the challenge that your kids are currently inside of how it's actually serving them and leading them towards something in their future. That is a good thing. You don't know. Right? So trust the process. Everything that gets in our way. And again, we're talking about getting in the way of why it's so hard to hold our kids in the light of capability, right, our own dysregulation, we are emotionally attached to our kids behaviour. It's true. It's real, it's hard to let go of it's actually we don't need to let go of it. There are kids, of course, we care about them. It's not about not caring when I say fiercely committed lovingly detached, detached, is not detached from our kids. Instead, it's detached from, you know, being so unmatched. So we're emotionally attached to our kids behaviour, it's true, it's real. When we get that push back from them, just like I did from Ian, it's challenging to maintain that neutral mindset, and to continue to trust their process and to see them in their light, get frustrated, which opens the door for not paying attention to maybe exasperation, which then leads us again, when we're not noticing, to that emotional freight train, to, you know, crazy town, disregard dysregulation all of those things. So, yeah, we get to pay attention to that dysregulation. When it really spins out. It blocks our ability to be a conscious parent, to take perspective to listen to the other person and to filter. What we're saying. Right? dysregulation is not our friends. When it comes to relationship, it's just not. And finally, finally, what keeps us from being that parent we want to be and holding our kids in the light of their own capability is the ego, the protective conditioning that lives inside of us. The ego thrives in dysregulation the ego is always talking to us but when we're dysregulated it's like centre stage or with a mic. Speak in what feels like what's Sounds like the truth. But I'm here to say, we need to be questioning the ego. Right? The ego is developed over time, through our experiences, and its job is to keep us safe. Yes. At all costs. The ego is our perception of our identity. Perception is the key word, right? It is the protective conditioning, the armour we've created throughout our lives to keep us safe, like I said, and in hot moments with our teens, it's the ego that's creating thoughts like, How dare he talk like that to you, she's never going to follow through, you have to get on top of this. What kind of parent are you, if you let her say that to you, you better make sure your point is clear. You know, say it again.

Casey O'Roarty 20:55
So not useful, not useful when we're working to hold our kids in this space of I know you're capable. You know, this is yours. This is your journey. So those are some of the things that make it hard to hold our teens in their light, and in their strength. And things like, you know, past evidence, fear of uncertainty dysregulation, ego, they make it hard to trust our kids processes. And as being their processes. I noticed that the teen years have totally tested my trust in the positive discipline philosophy. I've talked a lot about that. Their behaviour is purposeful. That's a PD thing. Right? I noticed that I forget about that. And that a sense of belonging and significance is at the centre of their choices. I struggle with the right balance of connected and firm. And like, that's really hard, you know? And I have a feeling that I'm not alone, which is why I'm bringing this up. So how can we help ourselves be better? In the heat of the moment? How can we help ourselves remember behaviours purposeful? It's about belonging and significance. I get to find connected and firm, I get to dance with that I get to commit to this practice, right? How can we help ourselves be better at those things in the heat of the moment? Well, I have some steps for you, my friend, I have five steps. The first one is to make a declaration. Right? I encourage this with all the people that I work with, let your teens in on your work.

Casey O'Roarty 22:53
Here's what I'm working on. Here's what you might notice me doing. It's hard for me to do this, because I'm struggling to let some things go. Yesterday, what I said to Ian was, you know, I'm gonna give up all the school stuff to you. It's funny was I say that out loud. I'm like, for this last week of school, I'm gonna give this all up, I'm gonna let it go. I won't say anything else about it. Because I trust you to do what you need to do to get to where you want to go with your grades. Right? So I've made the declaration. And the next step is really expanding your observer. Paying attention to your behaviour, I talk about this a lot. Life is full of opportunities to grow, are outside observer. t know what I mean by that. So the outside observer is the part of you that watches you live your life. And anytime you say to yourself, Oh God, I'm about to freak out. Right? That is your outside observer noticing what's happening for you, in the experience that you're having. That is the moment when you've gone from being in the experience, to lifting up and looking at the experience. Right? Like, if you take your hand and you make a fist, right? This is you in your experience in the experience that you're having, you're just reacting to the experience, and then opening your hand. This is kind of a metaphor for that. versus looking at your experience. Here it is you can see it. So closed fist, you're in it, open fist, you're looking at it. Right. This is where we have room to make choices, not only about what we're going to do or say. But this is also where we have room to remember to remember to hold our kids in that light in that capability in that faith and trust in their process. Right so the second tip is really x spending our observer, which can also be like the pause, right finding the pause so that we can be like, okay, hold up what's happening here, take it, personal assessment. And then the third thing be willing to not say what you want to say. Right? willingness, yes, here it is. Again, Zipit friend, Zipit, you do have a lot of wisdom, okay, you do have useful information to share, and your kids aren't hearing you in this moment, this isn't the moment to step on the soapbox and share everything you've learned over your lifetime with them in hopes of drilling it in and changing their behaviour. Keep it to yourself, write it in a journal for later, they know what you think you've said it all before. Instead of saying what you want to say in the moment, try you know what I trust your process. Or I know you can do what you need to do to get the grades you want. Then turn and burn, turn and burn. The fourth thing is remember the importance of that back pocket support? Right? This is huge. I mentioned having a filter to put the situation through and determining how you're interacting with the problem. Right. So there's some questions that are that back pocket support that I want you to practice keeping them top of mind one, is this life or death, too? Am I holding the person big or small? Three? Whose wants and needs Am I actually focused on? And four? Is there a lesson if I stay out of the way? Right? Is this life or death? That first question, usually the answer is no. Okay. The missing assignments in the portal, it's not a life or death situation. It's not. Sometimes you are in a life or death situation. In that case, you do what you need to do and you bring in the support team. Absolutely. But most of the time, the challenges we're in with our kiddos is not a life or death situation. Good to know. Good to know. Am I holding the other person? Am I holding my kiddo is big or small? Again, those two examples I gave him II and one being He's good. He's figuring it out. He's learning through his process. I can trust that versus oh my god, he's gonna have regrets he could do better. You know, he doesn't care. How do we want to hold our kids who want to hold them big? Or do we want to hold them small? Whose wants or needs Am I focused on this is again, that sneaky place, a place to get really honest, even when I thought to myself yesterday, I don't want him to have any regrets when he gets his grades. That's about me. That's about me. That's not about him. He may or may not have regrets. Those aren't mine. Right. And those really actually are his, and again, offer an opportunity for him to look and say, hmm, I wish I would have turned in those assignments. Right? I wish I would have done that. I bet I could have gotten maybe that be up to an A. Or maybe that b minus up to a b? Or maybe he'll be like math. Yeah, I probably could have done better. But I'm okay with this. But at the end of the day, it's his right. And then finally, is there a lesson if I stay out of the way? Hey, guess what there usually is a big one. A big lesson. And curiosity, neutral, non judgmental curiosity after the fact helps our kiddos connect dots. Right. And then the fifth thing to do. The fifth thing to remember is encourage encourage, encourage, listen to episode 370. For a recap on encouragement. Encouragement is everything. It's what we say. Yeah, but it's also what we don't say. It is the energetic message that our kids receive from us. I trust your process. And I know you can do what you need to do to get the grades you want. Both of those statements are encouraging statements. So is let me know if you want any support or help thinking through what you need to get done. Right? encouragement. Right. That's encouragement. So pay attention to your facial expressions, your silence signals, your teens are tuned in and super susceptible to your negative opinions of them. Okay, are you hearing that they feel your negative opinions of them, right? And your negative opinions of them, do not support them in doing better? They don't so catch yourself. Right and shift your mindset. Holding them small, keeps them small, and then x Standing into holding them as capable kids, like I said before, it gives them room to step into capability. And to see that and to see the strengths that they have in themselves. All right, this is what we want. If we want our kids to rise up, we've got to hold them in that space, we have to show them that there's room for them there. And it's a lot of personal work. Right. It's a lot of personal work. It's a lot of letting go. It's a lot of emotional honesty with ourselves. Personal Growth, baby, you know that I love it. What are your thoughts? I want to hear from you. So you've listened to all this? What are you taking away? What's landing? What are you wondering about? Where are you like, I don't really know, what are your Yeah, buts. You know, all of us are in dynamics with our kids that fall on a spectrum of what's hard. And I want to acknowledge that. And you may be thinking, listening to this podcast, if having a few missing assignments was my biggest problem, I'd be golden. Right? I get that. And you know, you can believe me because I have experienced some of the hardest things with my oldest child. But this work, the things that I've outlined in this podcast, it holds up, no matter what you're going through, and I just invite you to try it on. If you're struggling to be the parent, you want to be in the context of what your team is struggling with. Reach out, you know that I'm here for me for you. I'm here for me, I'm here for you. And the community is as well. If you're in the membership programme, reach out to the members there if you're in the joyful courage for teens Facebook group show up there. Reach out connect with other parents that are moving through similar things you will be encouraged and supported there. Thank you. Thank you for listening, my friend. It's always a pleasure to show up solo for you like this. Get out in nature, drink lots of water, stretch your body. loved spending time with you. Have a beautiful, beautiful day.

Casey O'Roarty 32:19
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 B sprout double.com. Tune back in on Monday for a brand new interview and I will be back solo with you next Thursday. Have a great day.

See more