Eps 430: Reframing the pain points of raising teens

Episode 430

Join me this week and explore shifting our focus from our teens behavior to what the actual pain points are for us (parents) as we witness them moving through hard things.

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Takeaways from the show

  • A story from the trenches
  • The pain points of navigating our child’s emotional struggles and building resilience
  • Fear that our teens lack essential life skills, leading to negative outcomes
  • Teens struggle to understand their own emotions and make decisions from a highly emotional place, leading to both excitement and fear in their choices.
  • Bring tenderness and curiosity when discussing teen brain development.
  • Recognizing our judgments and assumptions in response to our teenager’s behavior

Mmmmm, today Joyful Courage is about humility. It is about connecting to my own experience as I am having it, and responding in a way that is mutually respectful. Joyful Courage is about being in acceptance of the journeys of the people I love and letting go of my judgement.

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pain points, teens, feel, parents, experience, adolescence, kids, adults, conversation, emotional responses, mistakes, brain, move, skills, development, sense, scared, thinking, choices, pulling
Casey O'Roarty

Casey O'Roarty 00:05
Hello, Welcome back. Welcome to the Joyful Courage podcast, a place for inspiration and transformation as we work to keep it together. While parenting our tweens and teens. This is real work people. And when we can focus on our own growth and nurturing the connection with our kids, we can move through the turbulence in a way that allows for relationships to remain intact. My name is Casey O'Roarty, I am your fearless host. I'm a positive discipline trainer, space holder coach and the adolescent lead. It's browsable. 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 01:31
Hi, everybody, welcome back to a solo show. You and me, you and me. I'm gonna start this show off with a story that unfolded just yesterday. So as you know, I have a 20 year old. She's the star of the show, Rohan. And it recently came to my attention, like two days ago, that she had explored a choice that had a lot of feelings about. And she's given me permission to share my experience of this particular situation, but not the finer details. So I'm going to leave the fine details out. But all you need to know is something went down, she made a choice for herself. That was really scary to me. And I found out through her dad. And it happened like a month ago. And I knew I wanted to have a conversation with her. And I knew in that moment like, Okay, I want to make sure that I'm like ready for this conversation. And of course, the next day, I'm talking to her on the phone on my way to the gym, and I just bring it up, I'm not prepared. I just can't not say something about it. So I bring it up and I say, hey, you know, Dad told me that you did this. And I'm kind of shocked. And I'm really scared. And I'm really disappointed. And here's all the things that could go wrong in that scenario. And why did you do that? And I just really came at her. And she responded, she's a pretty good self advocate. So, you know, she responded with like, it's fine. You know, I'm not doing that anymore. And it was just something I tried. And then I realized it wasn't for me. So but I just kept going at her in a really calm way but very judgmental. Until, of course, she says, Okay, well, I gotta go.

Casey O'Roarty 03:48
And at the start of our conversation, she said, Hey, what are you doing tonight? Can I come over for dinner, and that was exciting. And at the end of our conversation, after we hung up, she texted me and said, You know what, I can't come over. I've got a lot of studying to do and tonight's not a good night. And it was such a illustration of you know, her pulling away her feeling judged and criticized and, like, Screw you, you know, if that's how you're going to hold me, I'm not going to spend time with you. So more about that at the end of the show. But it really got me thinking about pain points. Well, that and also I'm in a podcasting mentorship program right now and there's conversation around, you know, what are our client's pain points? If you look online, if you look at parent educators and classes and things you'll see we've all been trained to say speak to the pain points, right? And when clients come to me for coaching, you know, they do speak to those pain points. My teens are out of control, there's sneakiness there's risk taking our relationship The shot, maybe there's mental health or learning disabilities, there's an intense pulling away from the parents, you know, you look at copy on websites, and it's like screen addiction and substance use and risky, you know, sexual behaviors and those of us that want you to come and work with us, we want to grab you, we want you to feel seen, right? So we speak to your pain points. And what I'm noticing, and what I'm considering is, you know, yes, those things are all intense. But what is the real work that's happening for parents, you know, at least in my orbit, right, where we work together. What I hear from parents, when they get on an explorer call with me, is, you know, we're really just needing help with how we move through this part of our parenting journey. Or, you know, I've heard this is directly from some of the Explore call applications that I've received. We feel like our son who recently turned 18, is suffering from low self esteem and believe he has no hope, or our child has substance abuse issues, or our home feels like a warzone some days, with the teasing and the reacting and the counter reacting. You know, I've even heard that, you know, currently, connection feels like I'm putting myself or my values aside and being a doormat, enabling my child, and all of these parents, what they want most is they just want help, right? And I get it. We move through parenting, right? In the early years, the elementary years, we get to adolescence, teen brain development kicks in the beliefs our kids have been forming over time, take center stage, individuation ramps up and parents, right are on the sidelines, feeling really out of sorts. And I would say also out of control, right? The theme that regularly shows up with the people that reach out to me the themes are I want to mend our relationship. I'm scared. And I feel like we're at a time, right? We get to adolescence, and all of a sudden, what's felt like the longest road? So lunch is now a lot shorter. Right? And is there time, people get on the phone with me. And while they're in desperation mode, most of them still have a sense of humor, which is awesome. I get to build an experience of solidarity and connection through the shared reality that the messiness of adolescence isn't their fault. And it's not too late. It's never too late. Even if your kids no longer live in the house with you, it's not too late. Right. And I listen. And as I listen to them, tell me about what is real and alive for them with their kids. Parents typically focus on what they're experiencing right as their pain points. So she's drinking, he won't talk to us the phone, Nightmare right screens, the curfew isn't being met or sneaking out. Parents get hyper focused on what their teens are doing. Right on the mistakes. They're making the poor decisions and choices. They are scared, right and feel like they have no control. And very quickly move into the dead in the ditch storyline in their heads of course, right? Course it makes sense. I get it. I go there. I was just there. Like I said with Rowan yesterday.

Casey O'Roarty 08:48
And when parents decide to invest in working together, we get to dig into these storylines. And we get to tease apart what the actual pain points are. What are we most afraid of? Beyond dead in a ditch? And actually, let's swap that question. From what are we afraid of to what is it that we want most for our kids, for our teens for our growing young people? We want happiness, contentment, resilience, a sense of accomplishment and inner compass, connection to their values, decision making skills, interpersonal relationship skills. We want them to value health and well being to have personal responsibility and accountability, meaningful relationships, right? Time and time again, all of these show up and a long list of what we want most for our kids who we want them to be, you know, post adolescence as adults. So when we consider what we want for our kids, these life skills and characteristics, and then we see them, doing the things making the choices. The pain points are really, that they aren't demonstrating this list of things that we want for them. And we get scared. They can't be content, they have no morals or values. They don't know what healthy relationship looks like they've taken on victim mentality and blame others for their mistakes, they're impulsive. And all roads lead to dead in a ditch, right? But seriously, when we drill down, beneath the choices and the behaviors, this is what we're most afraid of, right? We aren't seeing those skills on the surface. And we worry that they'll never get there, that there'll be adults unable to navigate the real world. Right. So let's take a collective breath. I see you, and I get it. And I am in the practice of all of this to our emotional brains are sneaky. And really want us to sit inside of the worst case scenario, this probably can be connected to, you know, living in the cave and watching out for the saber toothed Tiger, right? If we weren't on high alert, we would be killed. That part of our brains still exists, right? So it makes sense that we feel this way. But we get to remember some things that we've learned about teen brain development, right? The first being that the prefrontal cortex, our decision making center is still under construction, it's still in development. So our teens, during the teen years during adolescence, spend a lot of time in the amygdala. The amygdala is the emotional part of the brain, the limbic system. This is why when kids have big emotional responses to things, whether it's breakups or not making the team or bad grades, they can't quite articulate what they were thinking. Because they were feeling right, when they have these big emotional responses and behave, make their decisions and actions based on those emotional responses in them were like, what were you thinking doing that? They say? I don't know. Right? Because they weren't thinking they were feeling? And I think the same, you know, can be true when they're making decisions from that highly emotional place. On one hand, it's the excitement, the possibility, the thrill, that can pull them into a yes, let's do it. Right, whatever it is, or it can be their fear, their self consciousness, their self doubt, some of us have these kids that keep them in a hard No, I'm not going to try that. Meaning like, I'm not going to go out for the team, or I'm not going to lean into AP versus regular math class, or, you know, I'm not going to try out for the play because they're so overwhelmed by the emotions of self doubt, and fear and self consciousness. And upon reflection, we want to know what's going on. What are you thinking? And again, it's tough for kids to know the answer, when they were really in the feeling, right? When they were really in the feeling. And I don't want to feed the narrative that teens just have no clue and are idiots. Right? There's a lot out there that is very dismissive of this period of time and very dismissive of teens in general. And, you know, they kind of set themselves up for that. But I think it's really important that we respect this era of development. I really have a lot of respect for this season. It's fascinating and exciting to me. teen brain development isn't a mistake in nature. It is designed to transition kids into adulthood. So what I think is so important in this conversation about our pain points, and What's hard is to hold what our teens are going through in a place of tenderness and curiosity. Because remember, our teens are first timers, right? They're first timers, they're moving through their first intimate relationships, their first best friend breakup, their first opportunity to try on some adult things. They're coming to realize that their life is theirs to design. Right. And that is equal parts exciting and overwhelming. Where do they Dark, because who the hell are they anyways? Oh, they can be anyone they want? Well, let me try on this for a while. Let me try that maybe I'll like this group over here. Maybe I will fit in with them do I fit in? What do I have to do to fit in? Am I willing to do it? What do I want? And are there shortcuts to getting there? Again? Am I willing to take the shortcut? How does it feel after taking the shortcut? Oh shit. Now I have to deal with consequences of the shortcut because the adults found out and are freaking out. Right, you get my point, when we take a closer look at our teens experience, their thinking makes sense. Right? It's a shake up. It's a shake up in the brain this period of time. In an article written by Dan Romer. And originally published in the conversation, he argues that it isn't an out of control teen brain that makes adolescents so messy. Instead, he concludes that it is because adolescents are immature in regard to experience that makes them vulnerable to mishaps. And for those with weak cognitive control, and a small percentage of our kids fall under this umbrella, the risks are even greater. But we should not let stereotypes of this immaturity color, our interpretation of what they are doing. Teens are just learning to be adults. And this inevitably involves a certain degree of risk, I would add a certain degree of mistake making right poor decision making.

Casey O'Roarty 16:44
Teenagers are just learning to be adults, I love that they're learning to navigate. They're more expanded an independent role in the world and feeling things out with their limited skills and perspective. Right? They are immature in regards to their experience. Yes. And their maturity grows as they accrue more experience. And this is what is so hard for us, right? We can tell them what will happen till we're blue in the face, we can share our own mistakes and our own regrets. We can straight up say, not my house, buddy. But humans learn from experience, not only from experience, but from having a healthy person in their life, to stand by them through those experiences. Those adults are checking their judgment at the door, and looking to find all of the growing skills on display as the team makes sense of their decision making. This is how we can nurture their on going development of wisdom, right of wisdom that will continue to grow as they navigate the world. Right. I really want to land this. And I know I say this for pretty much every podcast. This is where we end up, right? How are we showing up for our kids? Are we showing up as a place that allows them to make sense of their experience? Or are we showing up as a place where they feel ever worse about the mistakes that they're making? Right? So back to my situation with Robin? My 20 year old remember, she lives on her own? Now she's out of the house. But it turns out, we still have emotional responses to our kids, even when they've left the nest. Big surprise. So as hard as I tried. I well, did I try that hard? Am I being honest? No, I was more reactive than trying hard. I was judgmental when talking to her about this decision that she explored. I was scared. I went right to dead in the ditch. And I was also really questioning her ability to see right from wrong, her morality. My pain points came up those pain points of like, oh my God, who are you? And what's going to happen to you in the world? I was also, you know, I was just in so much judgment you guys like bottom line? I was like what do I gotta say to make sure she This is not a consideration for her ever again. And guess what? She felt all that energy in our conversation. I was scared. And rather than considering what I wanted to create the conversation, I went in thinking like I said, I gotta make sure this that she knows this is not okay. And again, as I mentioned, she pulled away. She was repelled. Mission accomplished. And now my kid knows well, mom can't handle this conversation without making me feel a certain way. So I guess we won't be talking about this. I went to the gym. I worked out my body took a long walk on the treadmill. really thought through the interaction, right from a lot of different angles. I owned what I brought to the interaction how I created a dynamic that was not useful for either of us. And yeah, so by the time I got home, I really wanted to make things right. I wanted to reconnect with her, I wanted to own my shit. And I was way more clear headed and could see, actually, inside of the experience that she had, that she was developing some really important skills, and was, you know, using them. So I did what every parent of an adolescent does, when they want to be heard, I texted her.

Casey O'Roarty 20:42
And this is what I wrote, after further reflection, I did such a bad job of talking to you today. And then I sent a few eyeroll, emojis, you explored something for yourself, you felt it out and made a decision that was right for you, you held your boundaries and lived into your values. And that is exactly what I want for you all of it, including the experiencing of your experience. So again, I'm just recognizing the judgment and assumptions that I brought to the conversation, and any other experience you had of me making you feel any certain way. You continue to inspire me. And it's so weird to be the parent, I'm always trying to be better for you. And for myself, I hit send. And it wasn't long before I got a response. And she wrote, thank you for saying that. I felt really hurt and annoyed. And then we moved on, we've moved on. So you know, remember, wow, their behavior, and their choices and decisions may make you crazy. Our teens are in their own world of figuring things out of discovering who they are, and of trying on this adult stuff. Dig deeper, to find the real pain points for you. And look for all the ways that your child is developing those skills that you want for them. And if you're listening to that, and you're like, Well, it's hard to find them those skills, I want you to listen and look deeper, right? I want you to listen and look deeper. And you know, my jam over here, relationship is everything. Relationship is where they can make sense of their experiences, and where they can be seen inside of their behavior. That's your work, seeing the kid seeing the young adults seeing the teenager, inside of the behavior, right, keep working on that. They want you in their life. They want your love and acceptance. They want your faith in them, respect their requests and respect their process, trust their development. All right, trust their development, per usual, I hope that was useful to you. I really just am so grateful for this space to continuously kind of tease all of this apart. Right? I know that it's not super cut and dry. I know that it's not, you know, three steps for getting rid of your pain points. But that's not real, right? That's not real. What's real, is that this experience of parenting through adolescence is really messy. Right? It's messy. It's messy to experience it, it's messy to talk about it. And I'm just really grateful for this space to come in and roll around in the messy with all of you. So thanks for listening. If you have any thoughts, questions, feedback, you can always email me at Casey at joyful courage.com I'm here for you. If you want to explore some coaching with me, I'm also here for that go to be spreadable.com/explore. And you can get on my What do you call it schedule? Yes, schedule. All the love to you all the solidarity, all the connection. I see you. You're doing it, you're moving through it. I'll be back next week with another solo show. Bye.

Casey O'Roarty 24:28
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

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