Eps 407: Raising strong-willed children with Wendy Snyder

Episode 407

My guest today is Wendy Snyder.  I’m so excited to have her here because our stories are so similar, especially the “early-years overwhelm,” leading us to find something that does work. 

Wendy shares her background and what “raising strong-willed children with integrity” means to her.  We agree on so much around kids being our teachers and the importance of childrens’ dignity.  Wendy and I talk about what happens when we can start letting go of expectations and focus on creating the best environment for our kids instead while still being the leader of our home.  I ask Wendy what’s been surprising to her about navigating the teen years with her own kiddos, and that leads us to identifying missing life skills, modeling sobriety, and harm reduction.  Wendy shares her thoughts on some starter steps to mend and nurture our relationships with older kids, how to establish firm boundaries, and how to respond when those boundaries are crossed. 

Guest Description 

Wendy is a mom of two, certified parenting educator & family life coach, who inspires parents to learn & grow through connection based positive parenting strategies. As the host of The Fresh Start Family Show & Founder of FreshStartFamilyOnline.com, she helps parents ditch the threats, yelling & harsh punishments so they can live life as a joyful & confident parent (with kids that listen & cooperate great!). 

Families who take part in her learning & coaching programs experience radical shifts in their hearts, minds & souls – that help them to create rock solid relationships with their kids, while at the same time teaching important life lessons & helping to raise the next generation of leaders, change makers & important human souls. 

Community is everything!

Join our community Facebook groups:

Takeaways from the show

  • Raising strong-willed children with integrity 
  • Firm kindness 
  • Creating the best environment for your child 
  • Inviting collaboration, cooperation, and contribution 
  • Teens experimenting with drugs & alcohol 
  • Identifying missing skills 
  • Starter steps to mend and nurture relationship with older kids 
  • Moving away from punishment 
  • Viewing mistakes as opportunities to learn 
  • Establishing boundaries (and what happens when they do not adhere to those boundaries)

What does joyful courage mean to you

Joyful courage means, to me, being able to find joy in standing on your own two feet when it’s different than how you were raised.  Everyone around you may be functioning in a certain way, but really finding joy in the journey in how to do that and live a life that’s true to you, that feels authentic to you, and finding joy in that.  To have the courage to work through all the levels of scared that show up when you’re breaking generational cycles & habits and putting down hand-me-down parenting tactics and learning new ones, it takes so much courage to keep going, and to find joy in that journey: boom!  That’s the dream!



Wendy’s Website: Fresh Start Family 

Fresh Start Family Show Podcast 

Hello Someday with Casey Davidson 

Wendy’s Instagram 

Wendy’s Quick Start Learning Bundle

Wendy’s Free Class 

Firm & Kind Parenting Blueprint 


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, parents, work, talk, realise, relationship, teach, strong willed, feel, coach, stella, firm, started, hearing, colic, integrity, family, boundaries, find, podcast
Wendy Snyder, Casey O'Roarty

Casey O'Roarty 00:04
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 lead 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 01:24
Hi, listeners. Welcome back to the pod My guest today is Wendy Schneider. Wendy is a mom of two certified at parenting educator and family life coach who inspires parents to learn and grow through connection based positive parenting strategies. As the host of the Fresh Start Family Show and founder of Fresh Start family online.com. She helps parents ditch the threats yelling and harsh punishments so they can live life as a joyful and confident parent with kids that listen and cooperate great families who take part in her learning and coaching programmes experience radical shifts in their hearts, minds and souls that helped them to create rock solid relationships with their kids, while at the same time teaching important life lessons and helping to raise the next generation of leaders changemakers and important human souls. This is speaking my language Wendy, I'm so excited to have you. Welcome to the podcast. Thank you for having me, Casey. It is so fun to connect. I feel like this has been a long time coming in for you and I to record together and just meet and hang out. So I'm really, really happy to be here today. Totally. It's hard for me not to just refer to you as fresh start Wendy just like a fresh start. Wendy? Yes, that's what I think that's what I see on the gramme on the instant you know, that is my identity. Can you tell us a little bit? How did you get into the work that you do with parents?

Wendy Snyder 02:49
Yes, I'd love to. So I found this work. When I was really just kind of in the pits of parenting, I find that the families I help a lot of times they have a similar story where you know, you don't realise you need help until you need help. So before I had kids, I worked with kids my whole life. And my whole life. I mean, starting at 13 I was a springboard diving coach had my own programme for many, many years all the way up till I had kids essentially, I nannied in college, I just was like, I'm gonna be really good with kids, my husband thought the same thing. And then once I had kids, I got blessed with a beautiful, strong willed little girl from birth, we could feel it really like no exaggeration, had an emergency C section absent birth, very, very rare, like, like, was unconscious when she was born. And I really do think that that strong Well, God gave her it has helped her, you know, come into the world helped her fight for her life. And she just knew she wanted to be here. It kind of is a miracle. We both made it, but you could feel her strong wheel from the beginning. And it wasn't till about, you know, the toddler years where you know, the shit really started to hit the fan where I was like, Oh my gosh, this does not feel right. And so we were doing well for a few years doing okay, and then I had my second and when he came into the world, both my kids had colic. So it was just a rocky start with both of them. I feel like right out the gate Parenthood was just like, Man, this is really tough. They both cried. You know, inconsolably the first four months of their life, no one can explain colic. It's just the most bizarre thing. So when the second baby came, he had colic again and then the misbehaviour really started to ramp up. And that's when I just kind of hit rock bottom and was like, Man, I'm miserable behind closed doors. I was like, this sucks. I was dreading my days with her. My husband had like an hour commute at the time. So he worked, you know, very long days and I would just look at him every morning as he laughed and I was like, please, I don't know what to do with this little girl do you have to leave me just was really like stressed and became anxious and frustrated all day long with her irritated I became a yeller. I became a not so gentle risk grabber, and I just really was honestly perplexed. Like why in the world is all of these air quotes, tactics and strategies?

Wendy Snyder 05:00
I know so well how to use with kids like, why are they not working with my little girl. And thank God, I stumbled upon a positive parenting class at her preschool. And it was offered for free, which is one of the reasons why I love offering free stuff to help people understand what this work is all about. But it really did just change my life. I walked into that classroom and I realised that I just had so much to learn. And once I started to understand the concepts and the tools and change my mindset about how I saw my little girl change how I spoke to her change how I disciplined her, I organically started to change. And then naturally, within a few months, we could just see the change in her she was cooperating easier, we were being way more joyful. And I just knew at that time I needed to teach became an educator later really became entrenched in the life coaching world. So here at frustrate family, we really have those combined, we have the parenting strategies and the techniques which are just fantastic. And then combined with the life coaching stuff, which is like what is underneath of those moments when you're so triggered, and you just feel like you can't write you can't be gentle, you can't be calm. So we do a lot of that stuff. And now I get to help families all over the world with fresh start family through my membership programme. It's called the Fresh Start experience and through our podcasts, the Fresh Start family show and it's just an honour to be here Stella's now almost 16, her little brother who was born and you know, with this work, never knew anything differently is almost 13. And everyone's thriving, everyone's doing great. And I have a relationship of my dreams with my kids, right, which is very different than what I had with my family. So it's just, it's an honour to be here. And the whole thing is wild and wonderful. And here I am.

Casey O'Roarty 06:39
Yeah, I love that story. And there's so many details that I share in my story as well, especially like, I was a school teacher prior to having kids and camp counsellor and daycare person and Leon like this is going to be easy. And that movement from one to two. That was my breaking point as well, we didn't have colic, but I had read about the mama bear tendency to push away the older child and I was like, I would never do that. She's in the sling. She's on my hip. She's like a part of me. And man, it came on so strong. And yeah, seeing ourselves, respond to our babies, like being outside of ourselves, watching the reactive response that can show up when we're overwhelmed and sleep deprived and desperate. It's a powerful push towards change, right? It can be a really powerful push toward change. I just always am so grateful that in that early your overwhelm. And I'm hearing you too, I'm so grateful for the awareness of there's got to be a different way of doing this. Like there's got to be more for me to learn versus sitting inside of it and just kind of writing that reactive. I call it the emotional freight train. And I celebrate that with my clients, as I'm sure you do, too, when it's simply being aware of like this is not working. Not helpful. This is not okay, and what can I do taking the ownership on ourselves? You know, I love that combo, I do the same kind of work that combo of yeah, there's the parenting strategies and the tools. And there's the life coaching around getting your shit together so that you can access these tools in a way that's really organic and authentic, because it's not like a box of manipulation. It's interpersonal relationship. Exactly. Yeah. Be with our people. Yeah, so good. So good. You know, you really focus on raising those strong willed kids with integrity. Talk a little bit about what does that mean, to you raising them with integrity?

Wendy Snyder 08:46
Yeah. So when I think of integrity, I think of like, just kind of how we were designed to be right. Like, I think about like patient, calm, loving, empathetic firm, for sure. Like we're designed, I believe, to like, stand tall for our boundaries and our values and all that good stuff. Loving, like, you know, that kind of stuff. Like that's who we are, at our core. I think a lot of us in life has a tendency to just, it's like an artichoke Right? Or an onion. Like you just kind of get these layers that add up over time. And it's like, when I talk about personal development work, I like to like rephrase it as personal liberation work because really, like, I love that, yeah, you know, it's like, we are releasing all this stuff that was like never yours. When I became a yeller, it was like, That's not who I am. And it took me eight years to stop yelling, but it feels damn good. Now to really not have that be my knee jerk reaction. When I look at that. It's like okay, well, once you realise like, Okay, you have a little human being that is wired differently than other human beings and that's why I love having my two because thank God gave me them totally different for a reason where I get to when I teach, it's not just theory. It's like, No, I see the difference like my little girl. It's just she comes out of her skin when she doesn't have power, right? Like when she doesn't have an opportunity to have some sense of power. And there's a whole bunch of stuff that goes along with that. She really just comes out of her skin, she really has trouble thriving in life. So, for me, it's like I love to help families understand that, here's how these kids are wired. Here's what they look like, here's how they present, here's how they often operate. Nothing's wrong with them, they're not broken. And we get to learn how to build up our toolkit. So we can respond to these challenges that they present all day long, in a way where we're going to actually influence them to want to cooperate and listen because they want to not because they have to. Because as soon as these kids feel pressured, as soon as they feel like someone's making them like there's external controls present, which is traditional parenting, right, like hammy down parenting tactics is all based in external controls. That can work for a little bit like in the short term, it'll often like, especially if you find a creepy teacher who will teach you really well how to use external controls or spank in the right way, blah, blah, blah, it's like, it might work in the short term. But oftentimes, those kids, they will not like long term be influenced by that, because it's not of integrity. It's overpowering. It's like, as long as there's a power dynamic, where it's like, I'm bigger, I have more money, I can scare you, I can intimidate you, I can mess with your mind. Like as I've been here for a few decades, like that power has to be present. And it's just doesn't work long term. So that is not of integrity. But you know, the tools that you can learn where they're based on relationship, they're based on connection, they're based on firm kindness, which is really like, you know, creating boundaries, creating roles, helping your children understand why you have such a strong stance stance on them, and then following through with consistency, even if your child doesn't like it at times. And just doing that with connection, and kindness is the ticket. So that is kind of what I think of when I think of responding to them with integrity, because they, in my opinion, are our greatest teachers, all kids are our greatest teachers, I think they're really the strong willed ones. I mean, they will give you so many opportunities. It's like the concept of you don't really know what flavour a teabag is, until you dip it in boiling water. And these kids, they give us the opportunity like Who are we at our core? And who are we going to live our life as. And if you accept the invitation, these kids will refine you in the most beautiful way. And I mean, I know I wouldn't be who I am today without Stella and I'm like, I'm pretty damn proud of myself of how much I've learned and grown and healed and shared. And it's just awesome. But it's all because of Stella, you know, it's all because she invited me to stop doing that stuff that I was doing all those years ago and learn a different way to like actually influence a human being to do or cooperate or respect. My authority and air quotes. Yeah, yeah.

Casey O'Roarty 13:01
Well, and I think so many things, right. Like the first one, I want to say, I love the word integrity. I really appreciate that. I think in positive discipline, we talked about everybody being deserving of dignity and respect, right. And when I think about dignity, and I think about I love that you said, hand me down the hand me down parenting tactics. You know, there was a lot of dignity, double bind that would show up where, you know, we put kids and I see I still see it, where we put kids in the position of either the parent is in that controlling top down power over mindset, which leaves our kids in a place of either I'm gonna hold on to my dignity, which is going to look like defiance to you, and you're gonna be pissed about it. Or I have to let go of my dignity and submit to the power over dynamic that's being thrown in front of me. And I don't think you know, either of those. Those are like shitty choices. Yeah. Right. And so that dignity double bind becomes really real, especially as we move into the teen years, right? Yeah, I love thinking about and I do think about our kids as our teachers and I think every single person that's listening, if you have more than one kid, you know, there is the one however it looks whether it's a strong willed kid or a defiant kid, or, you know, a kid that has some kind of extra, whatever that extra is. I absolutely believe cosmically there is a soul agreement that we have. Yeah, where it's, I'm here to grow you up just as you're here to create an environment where I can thrive and that's what I'm, you know, when you talk about integrity, and you talk about showing up for those strong willed kids, you know, I love that there is such a movement in our generation to really pay attention to environment versus how can we like mould these kids to fit fit into the space that we think they should fit into. Instead, it's how can we create an environment that fits the kids so that they can be who they need to be and really feel that? You know, like you said, that sense of power, we want them to feel a sense of power of hope and having conversations. You know, it's so interesting to me, when parents are like, well, we can't let them think that they can just run amok or we can't let them think that they can just do what they want, or say what they want. And it's like, what are you talking about? They can, yeah, like, that's reality.

Casey O'Roarty 15:39
But that power

Casey O'Roarty 15:39
over like we got to show them is not useful. And I'm hearing you use the word influence, and I'm hearing you use the word relationship and invitation. And that's really the beautiful place. You know, that's the environment that invites collaboration and cooperation is when we can recognise, hey, you do have the power and control over yourself. And let's take a look together. What do you want to do with that? What feels good to you to do with that? And how can you be in powerful contribution in our shared space and in our shared relationships, so that it feels good to everybody?

Wendy Snyder 16:15
Bingo. Yeah, right.

Casey O'Roarty 16:17
We're like, Yeah, speaking the same language,

Wendy Snyder 16:20
and the bending, like the bending that you think is like, if I bend the environment to be, it's like, it's amazing what it does, when you learn to like, let go a little bit and realise that there's always a silver lining, like there's something that's going to teach you, when you let go of like, this is the way it has to be. And in my experience, so many of us who have strong willed kids, like the apple doesn't fall far. So like, my story is that what Stella was learning for all those years, and still is like, to this day, it's still that's just the way I like to do parenting is whatever she is learning on like Mirror, Mirror, Mirror, mirror on the wall, it's probably what I'm learning too. And it has been like that our whole relationship, but we are like so tightly knit and what we are learning where my son and daddy are more tightly knit with what they are learning and working through. But it's very fascinating. Because the skill sets she's learning I am learning and there is an opportunity to teach her it is an opportunity to look at myself and teach myself and that is where I find the most power. Yeah, I've got so many stories, especially a big one lately that showed up with her as a teenager now. And it's just mind blowing when you like, I mean, submits a dumb word for those of us who are strong willed because we're just like our we can't even hear the word without bubbling up. But when you like, relax a little around letting someone else lead you a little bit almost meant even if they're three, it's amazing how it's just life will take you in really beautiful directions when you learn to just let go a little bit. And yes, still be the leader, like we are always going to be the arm kind of leaders of our home, but that moulding of the environment and looking at like how can I tweak this a little bit? It just does wonders for the parents too, if you are able to have your arms and hands open in the experience,

Casey O'Roarty 18:09
what's been something that's been surprising, as you've moved through these mid teen years?

Wendy Snyder 18:18
Surprising? Well, I mean, I was praying that I was like, man, we're going to do this different. And you know, we're doing it different. So we're going to have the kid who's going to be able to completely not experiment with like drugs alcohol at all. And we didn't quite get that sounds a little bit of a surprise. I was like, Oh, dang it. She is experimenting. And I've done a whole podcast on this. But it actually just like I said, turned out to be the most beautiful, like transformative experience for us. Because basically, when we looked at it, we're here in Southern California, and it's wild, like, so I'm 46. So it's been like 30 years, right? And so when my husband I grew up, we were been together since I was 17. We started partying and like engaging in this risky behaviour at like, 14, right? It's no different, like, you know, she was 15 at the time, but it just always seems worse when you're a parent and you're watching it and you're like, oh my gosh, all the kids are dabbling in this stuff. And it's scary, and my kid's gonna be different, right? And then you also step back and you're like, Okay, this is very common, right? Like, we can address this with creativity and connection and work on this. And what we learned from that is that the life skill that was missing was the ability to like, fit in and have fun in life and process through all the emotions of life without needing something to numb you or make you fit in. Right. Like that's kind of a missing life skill that kids start to dabble in that we when we had a hard day with our parents or school or whatever. I mean, we started going to keg parties and we were 15 and by the time we were in college like that was how you did life. Like if you had a big like it was you keg party on Friday, Saturday and then all the way up till Sunday night at 8pm. Right so Long story short is that it did surprise me a little bit because I thought we were so set up for her just to be really different. She's like the strong willed kid who's really good at being like, no stand on my own two feet. But when she did when we realised she was dabbling a little bit, I took a hard look and realised I was missing that life skill. And I had never been able to develop it because I started drinking so young, partying so young. And so I guess it's been like seven months now. I completely stopped drinking, and I feel like a million bucks. And now I'm sharing the experience with her. I'm sharing like, those few months that especially went through the like uncomfortableness, where, you know, it sure seems like all my girlfriend's like, on Friday night, if we get together. That's all about why and right, like I moved through it, of like, how do you hang out in a public social environment and also like, not be feeling like you have to put toxins in your body. And it's just been fantastic. It's probably been one of the biggest seasons of growth I've ever had in my life. And I'm so happy and I feel great. And so that all came from, like a little bit of a surprise of like, Darn it. We weren't sure hoping we were going to like, escape all of it. Because on the positive parenting educator, and we've focused on relationship and blah, blah, blah. Know about that, right?

Casey O'Roarty 21:10
Oh, my gosh, I so know about that. You have to have Casey Davidson from Hello someday on your show. Cuz your whole podcast is moms who are sober, sober, curious, and the whole sobriety movement. It's awesome. She's been on my show, too. I love that. I mean, I think that's why we talked before I hit record that I've niched into the teen years because I really thought coming into the teen years, like we're probably not going to have the same kind of challenges, because, you know, it's been imperfect. But I've been pretty consistent with this positive discipline work and man, there is no circumnavigating, teen brain development and novelty seeking is a big component of what's happening in the teen brain. Yeah. And I love I love that you focused on what are the missing skills? Yeah. You know, in positive discipline, we talked about belief buying behaviour and mistaken goals of behaviour. And I think that's such a big Miss for parents, especially when their kids start experimenting, because we get so scared about the experimenting. We want to shut that down. Yeah. And for many of us, we forget how wild and crazy we were and we turned out okay. Or maybe

Wendy Snyder 22:17
still are. I still was 45. Yeah, yeah. I

Casey O'Roarty 22:21
really admire that. I think that that is such great modelling for your daughter as well. And yes, when we stop drinking, it's appalling how normalised an expected. Drinking Culture is I've had long periods of sobriety as well. I'm not a big drinker, but I am a drinker sometimes. Yeah. And to see like, even watching TV and recognising Damn, two out of the three commercials, were for alcohol. Yeah, you know, the expectation. Anyway, that's a whole side. You

Wendy Snyder 22:54
know, we could riff on it right? It is. It's no wonder it started 14. It's no wonder Yeah,

Casey O'Roarty 23:00
it's no wonder and now with weed being legal. I mean, you're in California, I'm in Washington and that normalisation is a whole nother thing. And it is not the sexy Maxi, that I was smoking in college. It is like a real, whole different element. Anyway. Yeah. Love, love that. Thank you for sharing that learning with us. But yes, so looking for that missing skill? You know, I think it was something that I have talked about on the podcast as well is that harm reduction piece and talking about? So what does it look like? When you're with a group of buddies and they pull out a joint? What are the questions you should be asking yourself? Right, you know, and how are you assessing the situation to decide to make the choice? Whichever way you go? Yeah. What are the back pocket one liners and I'm always telling my kids like us, me. I gotta hang out with my mom later. I can't get stoned. Yeah, she sniffs me out every time or sports. Sports is a great one. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So yes, I really appreciate that. I really appreciate that. And I want to highlight for listeners, as I'm sure you have people that listen to your show to the Yeah, but Right, listening to us banter about this and recognising you and I have done a lot of work to have a relationship where our kids will come to us and say, Yeah, I've been trying this out. I've been experimenting and are willing to hear us out when we have questions or concerns. So let's circle back around and talk a little bit about relationship and nurturing relationship because the other piece of adolescence is individuation and is pulling away and moving towards peers over family doesn't mean either or, I think it can be a both and how do you support parents who find themselves in a dynamic with their teens or tweens, where the relationship is really suffering? What are your favourite Star shorter steps for parents to start to mend and nurture relationship with their older kids.

Wendy Snyder 25:06
Yeah. Well, I think just getting clarity on what we may be doing, that's hindering the relationship, right? Like all of us educators, we're gonna always start with the parent, even though when parents first find us, right? They're like, let's start with the kid that's like, Oh, darn it, we're gonna start with you, actually. Yeah. But I think it's so empowering. Like, once you get clarity on what you may be saying, doing and thinking that are causing your child to pull away from you. Right? And a lot of us are just blind to it before we realise because it's so normalised Right? Like, that's just what you do. If you find out your kid has done something, then you correct them, and you ground them. And you know, that's what good parents do. Otherwise, you're permissive. And it's not till a parent understands that there are different ways to handle things. And that by doing a, b, and c, that you may actually be creating this divide in the relationship where then all of a sudden, your child does not trust you. They do not feel safe to share things with you, especially in mistakes. And so when a parent comes to the table, and was like, okay, cool, I'm ready to look at it, I'm not gonna beat myself up. I just want some clarity on what could be happening. And then oftentimes, we'll discover that there usually is punishment present of some sort. Even if there's not punishment, there's shaming or tones of like disappointment. So that is kind of like what I see parents, even if they stop punishing, which I teach parents out of moved to compassionate discipline, right? Like, just like you teach positive discipline, they'll kind of sometimes if they quit the work or stop consistent, they'll land on like, well, they're still going to express disappointment, or shame. Like it's this level of shame, right? Or just like yelling. I mean, granted, trust me again, it took me eight years to stop yelling, I know that it's a journey, but yelling is something that will severely disconnect you from your kids. And anytime there's intimidation or unsafe Ness happening, threats, right, like, because we hold the power, we hold the bank accounts, you know, there are plenty of people who have told me they got the belt until they were 18 years old. Just the other day on Southwest. Oh, so friggin annoyed, the flight attendant joke that he was gonna get the belt out on us, those of us who had unlocked our seat belts when we landed, which was me, of course, because I'm the button pusher. I was like about to punch him. I'm like, No, do not make a joke like that on a Southwest flight. But anything that's like threatening based, it becomes like, especially to a strong willed kid who has the desire to feel powerful, that is so strong, it hurts, it hurts when someone has power over you. And they have these techniques, so to speak to like, make you do what they want. It's just so relationship destroying, and then you end up with a kid that doesn't want to listen to your mentorship. They don't want to respect you because they don't respect you. So then, you know, it's like a cycle, right? You end up having to double down more and become better at taking away things

Casey O'Roarty 28:05
or up the ante, right? And it's like, how far are you willing? Like, that's what I've asked parents for a long time, like, well, here's the situation you're in now, how far are you willing to go?

Wendy Snyder 28:15
Right? Yes, no, Stella has a friend. Man. It's painful to watch. Right? But, you know, just punishment after punishment. And nothing's working to make this kid stop smoking weed and party till the point of passing out at 15. But the other week, they took all of her furniture out of her room and her door off furniture I was like, but hey, look, we're talking about some of the don't dues, right? But right when you talk about some like go twos. So what's going to build relationship is like starting to see that mistakes are opportunities to learn. Oh, yeah, girl, and when you are a human being, and you're in the presence of another human being who looks at you and says, you're okay, you still belong here. And we're going to work through this. I'm not okay, with whatever, right and I'm going to teach you the life skill that you're missing. You are safe here. I had very similar experiences when I was young, you're not an alien, I get you I get why you would want to do this. This is probably the reason why you did it. Then then enters in all the psychology, right? They need to feel powerful, they need to belong. They need to feel loved all this kind of stuff like this makes sense why you would do that, right? Like that builds trust that builds like someone wanting to share with you and ask you, what should I do right?

Wendy Snyder 29:43
And then just knowing that, yes, there's going to be firm boundaries. firm boundaries can absolutely build a relationship. There have been so many times where my little girl who, you know in the time of the firm boundary, she wasn't allowed to have iPhone till high school. There were times in the moment where she hated it. course, right, like so many tearful conversations because 99% of kids have iPhones from a very young age. So it was a very firm boundary. But there was later times where she'd just be in the element. And she'd be like, Oh my gosh, I totally see why you have such a strong boundary. And I'm so happy that I've been able to develop the skill set to be able to ride in a car without like having to be glued to this or there was a time where she watched a rated R movie. And she wasn't allowed to she came home she spilled the beans was crying. She watched Birdbox

Casey O'Roarty 30:32
Oh, god, that was so good. I know. She was terrified.

Wendy Snyder 30:35
And she had lied to her best friend's parents and said she had seen it. And then she saw it. And she came home, she was a bucket of tears. She's like, I'm sorry, mom. So totally see why you have these firm boundaries against our movies. And I get it. And it makes so much sense. So it's like, you know, it's another way to build relationship is to like really show up for your kids like, hey, you know what, we are going to have the meeting about the helmets that you're going to wear in Southern California. The ebike thing is crazy. We just lost a kid last week, a mile away. Gosh,

Casey O'Roarty 31:05
it's so crazy down there. So I want to pause really quick, because I love this. I love I thank you for giving examples, because I think the US parent educators were really good about talking about firm boundaries. Yeah, you know, and talking about, you know, we don't do punishments, we don't do that we have firm boundaries. And I feel like there's a lot of wobble for parents. They can't quite get like, what does that mean? Like with the helmet thing? So what does it look like to have firm boundaries around? You will wear a helmet if you're riding an E bike, and then lo and behold, you find out they're not actually wearing a helmet. So what is the response look like for you and your family?

Wendy Snyder 31:45
Let me give you a real life example. slightly different but similar. So because it all relates to how Ansel is out in the world. She really does. I am 99.9% Sure, like really highly respect the value that we have that the street safety and the helmets were, I would say 90% of her friends do not helmets unbuckled no helmets. It is like the wild wild west out there.

Casey O'Roarty 32:05
I'm like, I've been down there. That's like biker gangs of teenagers. It's wild. My family lives in Newport. And so when I'm down there, I'm like, holy shit. Yeah.

Wendy Snyder 32:15
Okay, so but to give you an example of how this worked really well, so she was in a band a few years ago, she's a drummer. And she started to have pizza before band with her friends. And so I dropped her off one night, it was like right across the street, but it was this very, very busy, dangerous intersection where I know, right, we you know, because we're decades older, that you literally could get hit and killed on that intersection. If you just do the shortcut, and don't go to the crosswalk. Yeah. And I said, okay, cool. I'm happy to drop you off. And we need to make an agreement. This is such a big deal to me. Like, here's the danger all I just want you to walk that tiny distance up to the little crosswalk there by the Mexican shop, Mexican food shop and then go to band. She was like, okay, cool. And then you know, peer pressure comes in, and I went to the side just because I had this feeling right, we have this awesome mama. Spidey sense. And I was like, I think this might not work out. And so I pulled to the side where she couldn't see me and she had her pizza. And she did that shortcut, right with her kids. And, you know, the traditional way would be like, you pull right up, you embarrass the hell out of them. You know, there's parents who like would make their parent kid hold a sign, I chose to disrespect my mom, she I could, you know, would have taken away her. She had a little true me device at the time, a little cell phone and iPad at home, not able to blah, blah, blah, lots of punishment could have gone down very easily. I could have yelled at or shamed or what's wrong with you, I want to let you get away with this, you entitled, whatever. Instead, I came home and I was like, oh, but then when I got her that night, I was like, Okay, we need to have a conversation. And here's what I saw happen. Explain to her that why the role was so important. And it ended up turning into like a very tear full conversation around how air quotes tough it is to be in a family that is so different like that has essentially these high rules where all these other families, like their parents aren't breathing down their neck, right. And so we got to have this really beautiful conversation, again, about the phone about the safety that were so serious about. And it was just very connecting, but it was lengthy. And the next night, I was actually teaching on a stage and I remember coming home, and she had gone to bed and Terry's head, Stella left you a note and backup to the conversation. I said, Okay, well, I get it. And here's what we're going to do. We're going to do a redo, which is one of the compassionate discipline techniques. I teach parents and it's like, we're going to do the redo and I'm happy to let you try again. But this time, you're going to pave a new imprint in your brain. And you are going to just follow through this time and practice saying to your friends, Hey, guys, I'm just gonna go up there. My mom's super firm about me crossing APA, whatever. And then you're going to do that moving forward and you're going to move through it and you're going to feel like it might be awkward in the moment but then once you do it a lot A lot of times your friends will be like, okay, cool, no worries, or you do it, they do it separately and you get to band. And then five minutes later, everyone's forgotten about it. Like, it's no big deal. You're going to practice being a different kind of kid that doesn't make it a big deal. You're not going to, you know, like all the things we worked on, we coached on and we said, okay, next time we go, we're gonna do that, which we did. But that second night, I came home and she had left this note on my counter, and it said, Mama, thank you so much for teaching me how to take care of myself. And, I mean, I have the notes saved, but it's like, she goes on to say like, it means so much to me how much you teach me and thank you for forgiving me for this. And she went on to say like something like, I want to be just like you when I grew up. That was that. And then the next week, we go back, I drop her off, I go in the back area. I don't think I even told her like, I'm gonna go sit in the parking lot and watch you. But she did it. She did it fine. Right. And so that was like, leaving a new imprint teaching the life skill of like, how do you be different? Like that is a big life skill for teenagers.

Casey O'Roarty 36:02
Yeah, it's frickin hard. And then so hard. Yeah,

Wendy Snyder 36:06
about six months later, she was on her ebike at the corner, and Terry was driving our little guy to school. And he swears she did not see me when they and all the other kids on the bikes went straight through the red light, like, you know, it was like, as they do, you watch Stella us and she sat there. And she looked at them. And she looked at the crosswalk for a minute. And she just stayed put. And she waited for three minutes until the light turned green. And then she went, and that was not being watched. Right. And that was an example of the life skill of everyone else is going doesn't have the helmets buckled. But I'm gonna hang back and also have confidence that I'm not some loser kid. Like, he was like the grey tissues. But no, like, this is important. I'm gonna stay alive today.

Casey O'Roarty 36:53
That's so sweet. Thank you for your Yeah, emotional moment, too. I love that. It just makes me think about so mine's 20. Right. And we've had a lot of years of angst. And you know, that consistency? How we show up? You know, there was a lot of time where I didn't really get to offer my opinion. Well, you know, the most useful thing to do would be to ask permission, do you want to hear what I have to say, sometimes with full permission for her to be like, Nope, okay, great. And now at 20, the way that she asks me what I think and really sits with it is like worth all those days, all those days. And that feedback of Thank you, and I want to be like you just warms my heart. And what I'm hearing you to is the beauty of relationship means that instead of our kids, you know, energetically giving us the middle finger and making choices because we've told them not to, you know, blanket statements. What I'm hearing you talk about is really supporting our kids and thinking for themselves. Yes. And that's what we want. Yeah. And like sometimes they're thinking for themselves when they are saying okay, to the mischief right. But even inside of that, we get to ask them like, so how did that work out for you? What did you notice? What are you planning on doing next time? How could that have worked out? You know, because a lot of times the risk taking doesn't necessarily end up, you know, as the worst case scenario, or even a poor case scenario. Sometimes it's like that I had fun. Yeah, it's fine. You know,

Wendy Snyder 38:36
I love that question. How could it have?

Casey O'Roarty 38:38
How could it have worked out? And what are you doing to keep yourself safe? What does safety look like? What is you know, we do especially with our girls and with our boys actually scratch, especially consent. You know, consent is huge. And I just had this conversation with my son, you know, with some experimenting and reminding him and asking him Well, what did you learn the last time? Oh, I learned that I'm not a great decision maker when I do eat. Okay, great. So how are you going to take that into this party that you're planning on going to tomorrow night and you imagine if we had that? Oh, my God. Yeah, I was a binge drinking. One night standard. Everyone was right. Yeah. I mean, if I had had somebody to process the choices that I was making in a really non judgmental way, there would be so many fewer regrets that I would have that I would be holding. I mean, I've let go of Yeah, I'm not like, I go to therapy. Yeah, it's fine. But yeah, yes, exactly. Ah, so so good. I mean, I have 100 questions that I didn't even get to with you, Wendy. So we're gonna have to part to this for sure.

Wendy Snyder 39:46
We'll get you on our show to you. Oh, come on. You're gonna have one or two on the Fisher family show. It's gonna be so good. Perfect,

Casey O'Roarty 39:52
perfect, perfect. And I just I really admire and respect your style and how your mom addling the work for all of us and the parents that you serve. And I'm so glad that we've connected. Thank you so much for your work.

Wendy Snyder 40:07
Oh, me too. I feel the same way, Casey. And so thank you, you were, I was telling my podcast manager Amy. She's one of my head coaches in my programme, too. But she was one it was a founding member. And we were talking about how you and Hunter Clete Clark fields who was just on our show this last week, I love Hunter, you were like the two that we found very, very early. And for me, especially like, you know, we were looking at our Instagram, DMS. And it's like, all the way back like you were just one of the first people that I had met that was also a parenting coach and educator. So I've been admiring you for years. And I am to really glad we got to connect. This has been awesome.

Casey O'Roarty 40:44
So I end my show with a question that I asked everybody which is what is joyful courage mean to you? freshstart Wendy,

Wendy Snyder 40:51
joyful courage means to be being able to find joy in standing on your own two feet, when it's different than how you were raised. And everyone around you might be functioning in a certain way. Like really finding joy in the journey on how to do that and really live a life that's true to you. That feels authentic to you. finding joy in that right, and to have the courage to work through all the levels of scare that show up. When you're breaking generational cycles and habits and putting down hammy down parenting tactics and learning new ones. Like it just takes so much courage to keep going. And to find joy in that journey is like boom, that's the dream.

Casey O'Roarty 41:40
Mm hmm. Love it. Remind people where they can find you and follow your work. Yes,

Wendy Snyder 41:45
so Instagram I'm at for short, Wendy I do quite a bit of free teaching over there. It's a great place to get to know me. Our show is the Fresh Start family show is on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcast website is frustrated family online.com And that is where you can hop into our Quickstart learning bundle, which is how to raise strong willed kids with integrity without losing your mind. We'll get you a free learning guide and an invitation to a free class that we offer that I teach. So that's fresh start family online.com forward slash power struggles class and then last thing is we have a teeny tiny little programme that's like entry level if you want to learn our four step for mankind process called firm unchain parenting blueprint.com

Casey O'Roarty 42:25
Lovely and I will make sure all those links are in the show notes so people can find you thank you so much. Again, this is super fun, and I can't wait to we can connect again.

Wendy Snyder 42:33
Thank you Casey.

Casey O'Roarty 42:42
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 beast browseable.com. Tune back in later this week for our Thursday show and I'll be back with another interview next Monday. Peace

See more