Eps 419: Turning Teens “Failures” into Character-Building Moments with Michelle Icard

Episode 419

I’m so excited that Michelle Icard is back today to chat about her newest book: 8 Setbacks That Can Make a Child a Success.  

Michelle shares with me how parents can best support their adolescents through setbacks and why we can’t swoop in to fix everything for them.  She explains her three steps to take when dealing with a problem: contain, resolve, & evolve, and we touch on where consequences show up.  Kids are always going to make more mistakes, and it’s critical that we allow children to learn from those mistakes.  Michelle and I tease apart how much credit we take for our kids’ behavior – good and bad, and we talk about how hard it can be to balance staying “fiercely committed & lovingly detached” to our teens.  Michelle has an awesome analogy about how toughening up our teens & encouraging grit is like a greenhouse keeper hardening their plants.  We agree that we don’t need to create a tough environment for our kids though – that already exists, and we end sharing a few successes & outcomes that can follow the hard times. 

Guest Description

Michelle has worked with parents, children, and teachers for more than 20 years, creating curriculum, books, and programs that help them better understand and navigate early adolescence.

Michelle is the author of three books on this subject. Her latest, 8 Setbacks That Can Make a Child a Success: What to Do and What to Say to Turn “Failures” into Character-Building Moments (2023) is an invaluable playbook for anxious parents everywhere, ensuring that a child’s mistakes or rebellions don’t become the headline of their childhood, but instead become a launch pad to a better future.

You can listen to her talk  about another book she wrote that is FABULOUS, 14 talks by age 14 during episode 265 of the pod – I will pop the link in the show notes.

She has two young adult children – ah empty nester! – who mostly live elsewhere these days, which leaves lots of time for walking her dogs, binging shows, and puzzling (crossword and jigsaw) with her husband in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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Takeaways from the show

  • Setbacks and failures make us smarter and better 
  • How to best support your adolescent through setbacks 
  • Mistakes are opportunities to learn 
  • 3 steps to take while dealing with failure 
  • Kids & teens must learn through their own experiences 
  • Kids are going to continue to make mistakes – that doesn’t mean they aren’t learning 
  • Your kids aren’t part of your brand 
  • “Fiercely committed, lovingly detached” 
  • Children shouldn’t be burdened by our emotions 
  • How can teens toughen up & build resiliency

What does joyful courage mean to you

I love joyful courage. Joyful courage, for me personally, is saying, “Get off the couch and go take that walk,” which sounds really, really minor, but I’ve had a rough couple of months in terms of doing a lot of work – like a lot of exhausting public facing work.  I am drawn to my couch, I just want to sink into it, and I feel myself, just like I’m taking it too far.  Every time I go for a walk, I feel happier. But I never want to make myself go for a walk, so it’s really the courage to push myself to do something that I know will make me feel good after 30 minutes and trusting that it will.



Fourteen Talks by Age Fourteen Book 

Michelle’s Website 

Joyful Courage Episode 264: Michelle Icard Shares about the Crucial Conversations to Have with our Middle Schoolers 

8 Setbacks That Can Make a Child a Success Book 

Michelle’s Less Stressed Middle School Parents Facebook Group 

Zen Parenting Conference

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Michelle Icard, 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. I listeners I am so happy that you're back for another interview. My guest today is Michelle Icard. That name might sound familiar to you because she is a friend to the show and has been on before. Michelle has worked with parents, children and teachers for more than 20 years creating curriculum books and programmes that help them better understand and navigate early adolescence. Michelle is the author of three books on this subject. We're so grateful for that. Her latest book is eight setbacks that can make a child a success, what to do and what to say to turn failures into character building moments coming out this year. Is it out already? Or is it because I'm so excited. It is an invaluable playbook for anxious parents everywhere ensuring that a child's mistakes or rebellions don't become the headlines of their childhood but instead become a launchpad. Love this to a better future. You can listen to her talk about another book that she wrote which was 14 talks by age 14. I loved that book as well. This was episode 265 of this podcast, so I'll make sure the link to that show is in the show notes. Michelle has two young adult children empty nester for sure, who mostly live elsewhere these days which leaves lots of time for walking her dogs bingeing shows and puzzling crossword Jigsaw with her husband in Charlotte, North Carolina. Hi, Michelle. Welcome back to the podcast. Hello, Casey.

Michelle Icard 02:57
Thank you for having me back.

Casey O'Roarty 02:59
I'm so glad that you're here. I have to know what was the latest show that you've binged

Michelle Icard 03:03
Oh, I am currently bingeing with like all of my heart, Jr. Bake Off. It's Bake Off juniors, I guess it's called, you know, it's Great British Bake Off, but it's kids who are right in my wheelhouse. They're like 10 to 14 years old. Have you watched this?

Casey O'Roarty 03:18
While I've watched the Great British Bake Off? Is the Jr. Are the kids British? Do we still get the benefit of the accent they are loved.

Michelle Icard 03:28
And what this show does so well really ties to what we're going to talk about today is these kids work their hearts out like they are so into baking. They love it. And they're really earnest about it. And then they get kicked off the show when you fall in love with these kids. And they're trying so hard. And then you see them crying and they don't make it to the next level. It's your emotions are all over the place. When you watch this. It's incredible.

Casey O'Roarty 03:52
And do you feel like you have the fine tuned i to see which kids have had some practice with getting up after a setback and others that maybe are new to that muscle?

Michelle Icard 04:05
I think that's a great question for this particular show. The casting is so perfect that they don't cast kids who can't really handle it. They're still having raw emotion. And I think because they're so young, they've never felt something as deeply as healing right now on television. That loss is so pure to them, you know, they just have no experience with it. But they are gracious and they are sweet about it. And they are really sort of chin up in a British way. Yeah, that's cute.

Casey O'Roarty 04:34
Yeah, well, and I love thinking about that too. Even just kind of the general tween early adolescent and remembering that this is their first go around to some really big or ever bigger losses and setbacks. And this is your book right? Eight setbacks that can make a child a success. So why what was your inspiration for diving into this content man? Matter. And what was surprising about working with it.

Michelle Icard 05:04
I knew I wanted to write this book because I've always been interested in coming of age. What does that mean? Culturally? What does it mean individually? What does it mean within a family? And I think there's a lot that we kind of get wrong about what it means to help a kid cross the threshold from adolescence into adulthood. And so we're like, we throw a big party, or we give them the keys to a car, or they take a babysitting class. But those are good things. Those are fun things. And they can be really great ways to celebrate, but they aren't the catalyst that helps a kid become an adult, I was just deeply interested in what does that journey look like? And what does it look like cross culture and across time, and then what I've discovered is that it largely looks like failing, looks like messing up. Often publicly, it looks like separating from your little community of friends or family and becoming independent, having a big fail, having to learn from that. And then coming back to the group, a smarter, better version of yourself after going through that. And the book explores that from a lot of angles,

Casey O'Roarty 06:13
you're speaking my language, I literally just got off a call with a couple of parents around, getting out of the way, and letting their kiddo feel the tension. And it's like shifting the battle from between parent and child. And shifting into this isn't about the dynamic between you, you're trapping your kid in the dynamic with you versus letting them be in the dynamic of them inside of life. I love that. And so what do you feel like? Are the mindset shifts? And maybe this is too early in the interview to ask this, but I'm going to do it anyway. What are the mindset shifts that parents need to be with? What do they need to be with their children's setbacks in a way that is helpful? Right, because they can have setback. And there's this assumption around mistakes are opportunities to learn. But we can steal that opportunity from our kids, can we,

Michelle Icard 07:08
we often do, we often make it about ourselves, we often feel when our kids fail, particularly when they fail publicly. So let's say they get suspended, or they get arrested or something less shocking. Maybe they just have a breakup with a friend. And everyone kind of knows about it, and people are checking on you or checking on them or whatever it might be. Parents, think about how that impacts them. They think about how it impacts them emotionally, and reputational ly. So like, what I didn't raise my kid to behave that way, or, you know, there's a lot of kind of shock around that. And sometimes even embarrassment and shame, where a parent says, I'm mortified that my kid did this. So that steals the moment away from the child who needs to learn from it. And when not just a parent, but a community can say, okay, big mistake was made. And what do we do with that? You know, where do we go from here, rather than really getting stuck in the mud with the kid, that's not helpful, then the child can reflect on it, they can process it, and they can grow. But when everybody's acting weird about it embarrassed, shameful, angry that the mistake happened, the kids gonna focus on that instead of what they

Casey O'Roarty 08:22
need to learn. Yeah, well, I think there's something about the message that we deliver. And sometimes it's energetically not necessarily literally verbally, around how capable we think our kids are.

Michelle Icard 08:36
I think that's exactly right. There's a while you screwed this up, and now I have to clean it up for you, or this is going to go on your permanent record, you're never going to be able to get into college, whatever it might be. So we get dizzy fixing, because that's been our instinct for most of their lives. And what you said, then a child thinks, Okay, my mom thinks I'm a little bit of a dummy, or that I'm not going to be able to handle these things on my own. And maybe we tread into the territory of learned helplessness where a kid doesn't develop the skills and the experience, to cope and to be resilient around this.

Casey O'Roarty 09:14
In your book, you talk about three steps contain, evolve and resolve, that help kids to build character. Will you break each of these down? Sure.

Michelle Icard 09:25
So contain is like, oh, no, I've just discovered there's something bad happening here. And in the book, there are loads of examples. Some of them are sort of self contained, like maybe you discover that your child is having a real hard time believing in themselves. That's a failure of sorts. And sometimes the failures are a lot louder and a lot more public. So maybe they've come home drunk, or maybe they've cheated on a test or whatever it may be. You know, what

Casey O'Roarty 09:51
I hear a lot about and this is I just want to say to listeners, something I love about Michelle's work is she does not hold back on the examples and the ANA notes like, I remember the last interview I did with you. It was the first time I ever heard the term Stick and poke the little self made tattoos. So anyway, I just want to say thank you for making the work so real.

Michelle Icard 10:13
We want to normalise that kids do all these things, they do get drunk, they do get themselves tattoos at home, right? So contain no matter what the problem is on that kind of wide scale of possibilities. Contain means I either need to contain how this problem is coming out my kid, or maybe I need to contain my kid, because they're making some choices that are dangerous, right? So my parents to first ask themselves a question in the contained step. And that is, is this problem that my kid is facing? Is it bothering me? Because it's annoying? And it's disruptive? Or is it bothering me because it's dangerous. If it's dangerous, you're going to need to contain the kid, like you're not going out this weekend. Because you're keep making these decisions that are putting you in a bad position. But if it's another issue coming at your kid, then it may be that you need to contain some boundaries around that maybe you need to shut tech down. Or you know, there are lots of examples in the book of ways to contain the problem or contain the child. But that's step one. So that's got to put a tourniquet on.

Casey O'Roarty 11:16
Is there a contain myself? Yeah.

Michelle Icard 11:20
Can we write the next book together? Because that was there should always be a container. So that's sort of calm down contain my nerves,

Casey O'Roarty 11:30
right? Yes. Right. Because I think that, you know, talking about being in the part of the brain that allows us to consider is this, why is this bothering me taking a broader perspective on it really assumes that we are regulated, and we're looking at it from our prefrontal cortex. So, you know, I love the word contain. But as you started talking about it, I was like, oh, yeah, and contain myself, like, be regulated, be open minded, be clear headed, so that I can untangle from my emotional experience of whatever we're going through. Yeah, love. Yes.

Michelle Icard 12:05
And even though I wasn't clever enough to call it that, in the book, there is a chapter prior to getting into all these kids issues, where I coach parents through things that I want them to do, before they meet this situation, this perceived failure, whatever it is head on, and it's stuff that you're talking about, it's like, you can't think when you feel like your body is on fire. So you may need to do some things to control your physical reaction to what you perceive to be a big threat to your child, to their reputation, to their future to your family, whatever it might be to your relationship. So there are some steps that I want parents to go through first, and it's like a little bit of an assessment. How have I throughout my life, reacted when I feel threatened? So am I fight flight freeze on which of these Am I with my kid? And then to sort of flip that on its tail and say, okay, if I'm typically fight, maybe it's going to benefit me here to freeze and think for a minute, before I move on? Maybe you know, it's gonna benefit me to pause or whatever it might be. So yeah, to answer your question, but not as cleverly, as you suggested, I really love that.

Michelle Icard 13:23
So after you contain the problem, then you're gonna move on to the resolve phase. That's phase two. So it's like, Alright, we've stopped the bleeding. But we're not just going to put a bandaid on this and ignore it. When do you think about how to fix this so that things get better. And there's a big menu in the book of things that you can look at, and then decide of these, you know, 10 or 15? Things, which few, two or three, look like they might help my child resolve this problem? Like, did my child screw up? And they owe someone an apology? So maybe you've got to talk about how to give a good apology? Or did my child break something and they need to pay for it? Or does my child have a false understanding of something? And they need a better education on a certain topic and skills? Yeah, yeah. So you couldn't look at that menu and say, All right, we need to resolve this. And it's not something that the parent does on their own, the child does it with coaching and guidance from the parents. And then the third step is evolve. And this is the step i think is most important. This is where I want you to put this in the rearview mirror and say either ritualistically you can evolve past it by sort of announcing, we're done with this. You can you know, if depends on how woowoo you want to get, you can write a letter and burn it or you can just sort of make an effort as the parent to say, I'm not going to keep pressing on this bruise. I'm not going to keep asking my child. Are they sure they're going to make good choices when they go out tonight? Because remember what happened last time? I'm not going to say are you sure you're okay with your friends because I just want to make sure that you're not having any issues with Kathy you know, things are working out well. They're don't want to keep pressing that bruise and causing more pain. At a certain point, you have to just say, You're not that you're not that experienced that you had, you're not that failure and we're moving on,

Casey O'Roarty 15:11
contain resolve evolve. I love this. And I love Rizal, I just want to say so my listeners, listen to me talk about the iceberg metaphor all day long. And I love how resolve, right when we've contained the problem are contained to the child. But it's not just that, right? So you make dangerous choices when you go out. So this weekend, we're going to hang tight. And we're also going to look at the things that are getting in your way. And making it hard for you to resist either the peer pressure or, you know, life unfolding, whatever it may be, I love that deeper dive in Resolve. And I also appreciate, you know, when we talk about because parents really want to know, what's the consequence?

Michelle Icard 15:56
Oh, they always want to know, yeah, and then I just take it away.

Casey O'Roarty 15:59
Yeah. And we have such a limited, narrow definition of what a consequences, it's usually like, well, the consequences, you do something to them, you take something away. And I love thinking about things like making amends, fixing what you've broke, replacing, you know, having hard conversations, all of these are people are actually also consequences, they are outcomes to decisions or behaviours that need to be looked at, contained, and evolved from so I just wanted to highlight that too. And I love love, love the invitation to move on, move on quit. I mean, my husband would really love hearing me say this out loud, like quit pushing. bruise, right? I think with that, we're also sending a really clear message around again, you're capable, I know that you've learned from this, right. And I also would say listeners holding that also, as I also know, you're going to make more mistakes, right, you're going to continue to be challenged. Right?

Michelle Icard 17:05
And less.

Casey O'Roarty 17:06

Michelle Icard 17:07
you said that because this isn't a tying a perfect bow on the situation, like, wow, my kid really learned a lesson. So we're gonna have to revisit this again, you're likely going to revisit it many times, in different ways, maybe it's going to look and feel really different, but your child is definitely going to mess up again. And the odds are that they're gonna mess up in the same exact way a couple times where they figure it out. So I'm really happy you said that because it's critical that we allow kids to learn, and you don't learn from a pep talk, and you don't learn from a punishment, you learn from experience and from, from having an experience in which you feel successful, right. That's where you learn.

Casey O'Roarty 17:50
And I love that. And I want the people in the back to hear what Michelle just said was, which is, our kids are probably going to mess up with this making the same mistake a few different times. And that doesn't mean that they're not learning, right? They're learning every single time, right, and you get to a threshold where the learning really finally takes hold. And they're in that moment. And that's the same for all of us. Right? It's the same for all of us trying to be different in our relationships with our kids or with our partners or going to the gym or eating better or whatever, fill in the blank, right? We have to make the same mistake a few times. And then finally, there's that time where it's like, okay, here I am at the hole in the ground. Finally, I see it and I'm gonna choose something different.

Michelle Icard 18:33
That's right, or even if they're just new, I mean, these are little baby fawns getting on their legs, right? Yeah, like the Bake Off show we were talking about earlier, it's their first time experiencing so much of this, you know, might be their first time with a broken heart or their first time, you know, going through a rejection like a big dream deferred not getting into the college, they wanted to get into or feeling real pure pressure to do something that they you would never expect. So the newness of it all, I think we have to give a lot of credit to that to how difficult that is. And that imagine you're learning piano for the first time you're gonna mess up and then every song you learn, that's harder, you're gonna mess up again, you don't just get good at playing the scales, and then you're great at piano. So they're gonna keep coming to you with many opportunities to practice this three step method.

Casey O'Roarty 19:23
Yeah, well, and I think there's something also that I want to tease apart with you, which is, I mean, I'm guilty of it at times when I'm not paying attention to which is how much credit we take for our kids behaviour. Good and bad. Right as if, you know, if things are going sideways, what have we done wrong? When they're superstars? Clearly we've done everything right. Or maybe that's the neighbours and what are they doing that I'm not because look at that kid. Are we taking too much credit?

Michelle Icard 19:51
Go? I think that's really fascinating. I think that we often see our children as our part of our brand, right? So you know, when you go onto a social media app, you know, when you go onto a social media app and you like certain things, and then you becomes affiliated with who you are, the algorithm shows you more of that. But you're like, someone who gets a lot of Star Trek stuff, or you get a lot of whatever if you're a joggers, and I feel like with our kids, we kind of are branding ourselves with that. And the more we can like, slap our car with stickers of things that they've done really well, we're like, that's part of our branding, or sharing posts on Facebook about what acceptances they've gotten or pictures with their cute boyfriend or girlfriend or whatever it might be, we're really showing the world look how good we are doing, we, me and my kid. Yeah. And so part of that is just a really normal sense of pride and excitement for your child, and you want to talk to other people about that. And part of it, I think, is kind of a misguided sense of accomplishment that because we've done all the right things, our kid has turned out great. And so much of it has to do with just to your child happens to be when they come out who they are in the world. A lot of it has to do with the input you give them and the world gives them and then a great deal of it is luck.

Casey O'Roarty 21:18
Yeah, I appreciate that. And I think about you know, I mean, obviously the people that tend to come and work with me, come because they're like, Ah, what's going on, I need support. This doesn't feel like I need support, right. And it's so interesting, how often I will say to different clients, you know, I'll listen to them say, I wish I would have done things differently, or there's things that I didn't do. And I really try to catch them there and remind them that we all have done the best that we can with the tools that we have in the moment. And there's nothing that we can do about what's behind us. But we can do everything about today, tomorrow and how we show up in the future. And it's such an emotional experience. Right? Being parents, I don't think any of us really could appreciate that until we're in the actual experience. And it's I have found really easy to be codependent and unmatched and entangled and just like, you know, there's even the saying like, you're only as happy as your saddest kid, right? I love the mantra and my listeners have heard me say this fiercely, committed, lovingly detached and meaning. Riley and I didn't invent that.

Michelle Icard 22:32
You didn't I was like this one. No, I

Casey O'Roarty 22:34
didn't invent it. I had a friend respond that way one time when I said, How are you? And I just glommed on to it. And I was like that is everything fiercely committed lovingly detached. And to me, that means I'm here for it. I love you. I will show up. I will stand beside you throughout your journey. And this is your journey. Right? This is your life. And it's so much easier said than done. Right? It is? Yeah, yeah.

Michelle Icard 23:01
But it feels really good to our kids, when we don't put the pressure on them that every failure dings at our heart. And every success sends us soaring. So our emotionality is so dependent on how they're doing on their report card or on their social life, that is too much of a burden for a child and they become so much more engaged and connected to you. It's like a real irony there, that I think kids become more connected to you when you are lovingly detached when you're like, my happiness isn't riding on how you do on this sad.

Casey O'Roarty 23:36
Yeah, and I just I literally just got off a call with some parents who are really struggling with their child. And, you know, towards the end of the call, I had to say, you know, what, what does it feel like to sit with the possibility that you either get to choose to be in relationship, or you get to choose to continue to value and push him into this college application process? Like, what if you could only choose one? Yeah. Right? And what is the message that you're sending based on what you choose around what you value? And it's so hard, right? Because we want them? We just want to give them all the opportunities as if we can. We want them to know that they can do anything, right and that keep all the doors open. And yet, what they need is to know that we are going to stand by them no matter what, even when things go sideways,

Michelle Icard 24:27
and they need to develop an ability to toughen up. And that doesn't come from me forcing you to run more laps or write more essays or drill more Latin words, right? We can think that that's how you toughen a person up, but it's not that's rote, right? That's just I'm gonna get out there and be mad at you and do what you're making me do. It's not building grit at all. It's that's just like I'm suffering through this to be obedient. until I don't have to any longer. But really one toughens kids up is exposure to rough feelings, exposure to pain, exposure to discomfort. And that might mean, I didn't make the team because I didn't make myself go out and run, or I didn't get the college that I thought I was gonna get, because I didn't drill the Latin words or whatever it might be, yeah.

Michelle Icard 25:27
There's a term that I use in the book and analogy that I use that I really love. And it's a term that greenhouse keepers use, and it's called hardening off the plants. So you'll have these tiny, little precious baby greens, and they live in a nice greenhouse, and everything is perfect and temperature controlled, and they're going to grow and get big and strong. But in order for them to do that, the greenhouse keepers have to take them out into the freezing cold, and let them get a little freezer, burn them every now and again, and then bring them back into the greenhouse. That's called hardening off the plant so that when you eventually transfer the plant to living outside of the greenhouse, it's able to survive, because it's had some limited, soft exposure to really difficult, you know, environment. I don't want parents to create that tough environment. The world's gonna do that. All

Casey O'Roarty 26:15
right, exists, just get

Michelle Icard 26:17
away. Just get out of the way. It just let them feel that

Casey O'Roarty 26:23
Yeah. Oh, I so appreciate that. And, you know, it's one of those places where we get to contain ourselves, right? Wow. And it can feel really scary. You know, and it can feel, especially when our kids, there's all sorts of emotions that can come up. And I know, I definitely experienced it on my journey, you know, fear and worry for them shame around, again, that conversation of am I doing the right thing? Have I done the right thing? Or how have I, you know, taking that credit? It's so much sometimes. And so, let's talk about supporting parents and moving through that their own emotional turmoil as their kids move through their failures and mistakes. What does that look like? The most

Michelle Icard 27:09
important advice I think I can give parents related to that question is face one fear first. So your mind is going to start spiralling when you are in this contained resolve phase, hopefully, not by the time you get to evolve, and you're ready to move on. But, you know, parents I've worked with, and parents I interviewed for the book have said, I was thinking at this point, is my kid gonna end up in prison? Or is my kid gonna end up

Casey O'Roarty 27:36
never having French Yeah, dead in a ditch rehab

Michelle Icard 27:40
friends, or maybe my kid and I will stop speaking to each other. And I'll never know my grandchildren. And I'll be one of those people, you know. And so you go to the absolute worst case scenario, depending on what the problem is that you're encountering. And you'll start to spiral pretty quickly. So my advice for parents, if you feel like things are ramping up your worries, is to make a list of all those worries, get them all down on a piece of paper or write them on your phone, whatever you do, look at that list and say, which of these Can I take a step forward on in the next 24 hours, and the rest of them, I promise myself, I'm not even going to think about for a week, or a month, or however long you can possibly go and just take the very first one. So it's like maybe I'm worried that their teachers are going to grade them unfairly, because he's been caught cheating once. And now, you know? So is there anything I can do about that? Probably not. But maybe, maybe I can meet with the counsellor and ask if there's a way to sort of plead our case, right. And maybe there will be or there won't be, but that's one thing you can do. And the rest of it the worrying that they're going to end up a drug addict or in prison or you're not speaking to can wait while you take a little bit of action.

Casey O'Roarty 28:52
Yeah, I remember, it was really hard to shut off the spiral. I remember needing when things were really hard over here, I had to go to sleep with a story like an audible story playing. That was the only way I had to give my brain something else to do. Because laying down and I know listeners, I know you're out there. I know you feel this. When your kids really in the muck laying down to go to bed is like the worst. It's the worst time of day because all of that spaciousness to think about and worry around that worst case scenario is there. So that was something that was supportive of me and I appreciate that. Like, pick one thing where is a place that you can have some influence is so strong. And I'm so glad that you wrote this book. I think it's so important. And again, and like I really hope listeners are hearing the equal importance of us untangling ourselves from our kids mistakes and failures and really, that's where they're grit, like you said earlier, and resiliency has a chance that's where they get to go out into the cold for a bit and build what did you call it? The cold?

Michelle Icard 30:09
Yeah, so they're hardening. That's what,

Casey O'Roarty 30:11
yeah, we need to harden them up.

Michelle Icard 30:13
That's what sounds very

Casey O'Roarty 30:16
same as like throwing them to the wolves and saying, like, good luck with that. I don't, you know, please don't hear us saying that. Parents get to continue to be supportive, we get to continue to support, you know, create scaffolding and problem solve. And we get to trust, the experiences that our kids are having are offering them something deeply valuable when we stay out of the way

Michelle Icard 30:39
that is so good. And that actually leads me to something I want every parent to know is that I interviewed 30 families for this book, who, as I said, a wide range of experiences from kids who ended up in the hospital to kids who ended up with low self esteem. So like very wide, and I asked every single one of them. Now that this is in the past, if I gave you a magic wand, and you could erase that experience from your child's life, would you do it, and all but one said I wouldn't. Because what my child learned from this is so valuable now that even though they suffered for a year, even though I didn't know what their future would look like, and I was, you know, in the depths of despair, when this was going on, they learned so much, they're so much better off now for it. And that's hard when you're in it. And I wouldn't expect any parent who's in it, to feel that way. But I do want you to know that when you're not in it, and you won't be in it later, you're going to be glad for what your child has gotten from this experience. Yeah,

Casey O'Roarty 31:38
I remember, it was too soon for my daughter. But I remember standing right there in that doorway, and saying something like, you know, I bet in the future, we'll be looking back on this period of time. And you'll see that there have been some gifts. And I remember the look on her face was just like, get out. And and that's exactly true. I'm also cracking up at like how our kids become our brand, because Rowan would definitely be like, oh, yeah, you know, because I talk about her so much. She gives me permission to do so. But that piece, you know, the level of emotional intelligence that she has, because of everything she's been through, is off the charts for 20 years old, to know herself and to be it doesn't always translate to, you know, making the healthiest choices every single time. But her level of self awareness, her ability to reflect and to connect the dots between choices she's making and quality of life. I mean, that didn't land for me until I was well into my 30s and two kids in, right.

Michelle Icard 32:41
I love that. Yeah, we need to do this for our own kids. And we need to do this for each other's kids. Yeah, you need to be communal in the way that when someone makes a mistake, we as parents aren't spreading the story. We're I FIDE, yeah, we're not looking for details from each other. You know, there are ways that we can be really supportive of kids and of parents when something goes down. Yeah. And I've got a list of those in the book too, that we can really support each other at the end. Like if you know, someone who's struggling, what are some things you can do for that parent? And one of the things that you can do is just say, I would never judge your your child. This is a human thing that all humans do. And you're doing great.

Casey O'Roarty 33:26
Yeah, yeah, we can all do hard things. Thank you so much for your work. Michelle, thank you for what you put out for families. Ms. So glad to have you back on. I'm so looking forward to meeting you in real life in January. That'll be so exciting.

Michelle Icard 33:43
Then parenting conference gonna be good

Casey O'Roarty 33:45
Zen parenting conference. So good in Chicago. Is there anything else you want to make sure that we leave listeners with before we wrap up today?

Michelle Icard 33:54
No, I would just say that if you are someone who feels like your kid is messing up, or has messed up, then read the book, and I hope it brings

Casey O'Roarty 34:03
welcome to The Club. And

Michelle Icard 34:05
yeah, yeah, welcome to The Club. And the book will bring you relief because you'll peek into all these other families lives and you will go Okay, so we're all here together. It's not just me. I love that.

Casey O'Roarty 34:15
What does joyful courage mean to you today?

Michelle Icard 34:19
Joyful courage is for me personally. It's saying, Get off the couch and go take that walk, which sounds really, really minor. But I've had a rough couple of months in terms of doing a lot of work like a lot of exhausting public facing work. And I am drawn to my couch, I just want to sink into it. And I feel myself. Just like I'm taking it too far. And every time I go for a walk, I feel happier. But I never want to make myself go for a walk. So it's really the courage to push myself to do something that I know will make me feel good. After 30 minutes and trusting that it will

Casey O'Roarty 34:58
I love that word can people find you and your book and follow your work?

Michelle Icard 35:03
So the book is really anywhere that sells books. So any independent bookstore, Amazon target Barnes and Noble anywhere, it setbacks is how you can look for it and find me on Instagram. It's just my name Michelle I record or I have a Facebook group less stressed middle school parents you

Casey O'Roarty 35:21
can find me there but yeah, great. Well, we as you know, listeners all those links will be in the show notes so people will be able to find you. Thank you so much for hanging out with me. This was fantastic and I can't wait till next time. Thank you. Thank you

Casey O'Roarty 35:43
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 beasts probable.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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