Eps 444: Enhancing parent-teen communication as the year ends

Episode 444

Join me this week as we get into how communication is looking with our teens and how to be better at listening and creating opportunities for win/wins. Communication is key for nurturing strong relationships – no doubt there are powerful nuggets to take away from this show!

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Takeaways from the show

  • The importance of understanding and valuing teenagers’ autonomy, capability, and emotional experiences in communication
  • Prioritizing listening and validating teens’ feelings, rather than relying on criticism or advice-giving.
  • Parenting our teens by reflecting on own adolescence leads can lead to deeper connection and healing.
  • What can happen when we reflect on communication with teens, seeking to improve relationships.
  • What is active listening?
  • The importance of preparing for conversations with teens by thinking through talking points and concerns beforehand.
  • How to create win/win solutions with our teens
  • The role of empathy

Today Joyful Courage is choosing, again and again and again, to be kind, to connect, and to let go of emotions that are getting in the way of relationship.

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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 already, I am your fearless host. I'm a positive discipline trainer, space holder coach and the adolescent lead. It's browseable. 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
Hey there, listeners. Welcome back to the podcast. I am so happy to be here again, with all of you. I've heard from so many of you through emails and DMS that you really appreciated last week's solo show about emotional intelligence. And I love that it's such a great exploration, isn't it? And couple that with the conversation I had with Chad Lasseter on Monday about family gatherings and hard conversations and intergenerational differences and opinions super powerful, right? super powerful. And again, just to remind you, we are in December as of this recording. And so I'm really taking some time to encourage and guide you through some exploration of the year past where we're at the year ahead, right. And today, we're going to focus on communication, right and bridging the gap in communication that so many of us feel with our teens, right? There's so much that unfolds in the human experience that can really set us up for misunderstanding and disconnection. And that definitely happens in the parent, teen relationship a lot, right? And so like I said, this week, we're going to talk about communication. And we're going to play with a few tools that you're going to kind of consider how you've been using and how you can be ever better at practising in the upcoming New Year. So here is what I hear a lot from parents that I work with. My kid won't talk to me, right? They won't share. They keep secrets. I can't get in there, my teen won't engage. They're fine. If it's an easy conversation, but hard conversations no thank you, or they get really defensive. When we want to talk to them about things like school or screens. I get that big time. It is important to remember that teens often are feeling judged, misunderstood and criticised by the adults in their life. Right. And yeah, it's super uncomfortable to have hard conversations and to talk about where you aren't doing what you're expected to be doing. Right where you're fallen short. It makes sense that teens aren't big fans of these conversations. aren't any of us big fans of this conversation? Do we love having tough conversations and getting feedback from our partners or our bosses or our friends or our colleagues around where we're coming up short? Right? And then we couple it with all those extra words that parents and adults tend to use to make sure we're getting our point across, right or to fill in the silence when our kids don't respond, right. It's no wonder that they shut down, right? They don't want to be a part of this. They don't want to feel like probably they already feel a certain way. They're well aware of where they're coming up short or how they're not meeting your expectation. Shen's and oftentimes well meaning loving parents come into these conversations in a way that leaves teens feeling worse, right? And I get it, because there is this idea that, you know, if we make our teens feel bad enough that that's the motivation to change behaviour. And that is an outdated idea. All right, we're gonna try something different. We're gonna try something different. So, here's what we know about teens, right? They want autonomy, they want to be valued. They want to, like not only feel capable, but to be seen as capable, right? They want you to be curious. They don't want you to continuously give your opinion or advice, right? They want you to listen more and talk less. They want to know that you love and accept who they are, and that you believe that what they're going through is real and valid. So you know, as you think back is you think back and take a really honest look at how you communicate with your team, how you've been communicating with your team, what communication and connection looks like, over the last year, what comes up for you, right? And notice, I said, when you take an honest look, when you're willing to look for the places where maybe things, you know, aren't super useful? Or maybe that's not it, maybe taking a look from a neutral place. Right? How is your curiosity? How is your listening? How does your judgement show up? And notice the conversation that you have with yourself as you do this inventory? Well, I start off being curious. And then that doesn't work. And so yeah, I get frustrated, and I start giving commands and demands. Or I try to listen, but they don't want to talk, right? Or I don't start off judgmental, but then you know, I'm looking at all the things and looking at their messy room, I'm looking at their grades, how do you not be judgmental, right? Be Real, Be honest with yourself, I get all of this, all of these are valid questions. But be in that exploration, and write some things down capture the themes, right? The vibes of the experience of communication with your teens over the last year? And if you're not sure if it's like, well, I don't know, I don't know how I've communicated. Get brave. Find your courage. Go to your team. And ask them what their experience of your communication is. Right? You'll get feedback, you'll get feedback. And when you get that feedback from your teens really receive it. Right? It is a gift. And it might not be your favourite gift, it might, it might hurt a little right, you might notice your defences, your habits coming up, put it to the side, and instead respond to their feedback with things like tell me more. Tell me more about that. Can you give me an example of how I show up that way? How would you rather I do it? Right? How would you rather I show up? What would be more helpful, what would have been more helpful than that? Like deep dive into some communications that you have had. And I think that we get to be really explicit with our kids to we get to say like, Listen, I want to understand myself better, I want to understand you better. And there's this third thing, which is the relationship between the two of us. My agenda is for that to strengthen and feel really good for both of us. Right? And so to do that, I need to collect some information because I know my experience, but I don't want to assume that I know your experience of me. Right? And this is where I need your help. And, you know, I'm not going to be mad, I'm going to work really hard not to get defensive. I want understand how I show up for you. From your perspective. Right? Will you please help me out with this? So you're gathering information? Right? Here's something recently that happened with me and Rowan. So recently, remember Rowan is my 20 year old. So that's where we are. And recently, she requested that I treat her she said, You know, I'm going to be 21 in a month. And I want you to treat me more like an adult and less like your kid. When I turned 21 said, Well, you are my kid, you're always going to be my kid. My child, my offspring. I think that's what I said. So that's a little tricky. And I said can you tell me more and help me see what you mean? Can you give me some examples? In the moment? She was like, I don't know.

Casey O'Roarty 10:04
I don't know, I don't have any examples. And I said, Okay, well, are you willing to let me know? When I do or say something that feels like, I'm not treating you like the young adult that you are? And she agreed to that? She said, Yes. So this is really been on my mind. Right. And I was journaling this morning. And I was thinking about the relationship that I had with my parents when I was 20. I was a junior in college, and I was going through some big individuation for me, individuation happened, when I got to college, I was in a pretty tight contained environment in high school. And it didn't really feel like there was space for me to really explore identity, who I was, I mean, I was pretty agreeable and easygoing, as a teenager, I was getting into plenty of mischief. But as far as like identity, I didn't have really, or maybe it wasn't on my mind. I don't know. Anyway, I went to college, and really explored, just, you know, different ways of thinking to my first Grateful Dead show that opened up this whole world of, you know, music and style, and people. And, you know, I continued to explore through substances and relationships, and I didn't feel like any of what I was, and I was probably, like, knew I was kind of writing some lines and on the edge in some ways, and, and, you know, I didn't really feel like my parents got it, I didn't feel like they valued my experience, I didn't feel like they understood me, I felt very separate and very disconnected and very judged. And I felt like there was a very clear path for worthiness and value, and I was not on it. And you know, whether or not that was true for my parents, this was my experience, right? This is how I experienced that relationship. And myself when I was Rowan's age. And so I didn't let them in, I didn't have deep and meaningful conversations. And when I tried to, I was often dismissed or kind of just laughed at. So I was thinking about this, and what I needed from my parents when I still need from my parents, and I was journaling about it. And I came up with this list. And it sounds kind of similar to what I've already said. But in my list, what I needed as a 20 year olds, was, I needed to know that my parents valued that my experience was real. I needed them to be curious about my life, and my choices. And again, valuing my life, my choices, not judgement, not being told I was wrong. I needed them to trust that I could figure things out, I needed them to celebrate and delight in who I was, even in my, you know, exploration of finding myself, you know, I needed that process to be valued and celebrated. I needed them to allow me to be in my narrative, and to let go of their narrative for me, and I needed to feel like I was worthy. And enough, exactly as I was. This is what I needed as a 20 year old. And I sent this list to Rowan this morning after I was journaling. I sent her a text and just said, you know, I was thinking about last night and doing my own work this morning. And I wonder if this is kind of what you meant, when you requested being treated like an adult. And it turns out that my list hit the nail on the head. Right? She totally resonated with it. And as I continued to explore my journal, I realised that by parenting her the way that I wish I had been parented, at that age, I was actually healing my own inner 20 year old and also creating a really different kind of relationship with my kid. Right? She lets me in I know what's going on in her life. And she feels safe to share a lot. Not everything, that's okay. But a lot. And, you know, it just the whole thing this morning just felt really special. And it doesn't matter if your kid is 20 or 16 or 13 if they're just coming into adolescence as a 12 year old like There's something really valuable with going back thinking about yourself at that age, and thinking about, what did you need from your parents? Right? What did you need, at your child's age, from your parents, to feel valued, to feel loved? To feel, okay, inside of the experience that you are having? Right, let that be a list that you make that guides you into the upcoming year. And it isn't easy. I just want to like, definitely, you know, acknowledge that it isn't easy. Like I created this whole list, I'm going to be this way for a row and and Oh, my God, things come up. She shares things. And I'm like, What the fuck, right? Like, ah, don't do that? And how can I use this list? How can I celebrate her challenges in a way that where she feels not celebrate her challenges, but you know what I mean, like, celebrate her opportunities for growth, which happens as we move through challenges, whether it's challenges with work, or with school, or inside of relationships, those are all opportunities, and we get to watch our kids grow. And I gotta tell you, I am so honoured to witness the growth of my children, and the ways that they are flexing their life skills, right? Their instincts, their intuition, their autonomy, their critical thinking, their self reflection, it's an honour to get to witness this. And it's an honour to be in the relationships that I'm in with my kids, because they're really different than what I experienced. And I'm glad, right? We're emotionally invested in these young people, I get that. And we want what we think is best for them, right? I get that. And we have to watch them, sometimes in really self destructive behaviour. And of course, we get desperate, and knots when judgement, criticism and just too much talking shows up. And in that desperation, we create ever more distance and divide and a gap between ourselves and our kids. So what's working for you, in your relationship with your teen? what's getting in your way? What's the feedback

Casey O'Roarty 17:34
when you ask? What is the feedback that you're getting from your kids? Right? communication happens through words, tone, body language, it happens through what we say what we don't say, one of my parents, I have a few parents. She says, Well, when I disapprove. I just don't say anything good. And I don't say anything bad. Okay. So it's always obvious when the disapproval is there. And it is 100% felt. And yes, I continue to work on dismantling my experience of this in therapy, right? We are always communicating to our kids. And as we move into a new year, my invitation to you and to myself is how about we level up? Right? How about we level up in that communication? One place to start we're going to talk about a couple things. One place to start is in how we listen, how we listen to our kids, you might be like I listen, right? Okay, well, active listening, right? According to the internet, active listening includes being fully present in the conversation, right, which requires us to put our screens down. But our computers away, put away Stop cooking, stop folding stop, you know, working on whatever we're working on, be fully present, right? Show interest in the conversation in the human in front of you by practising eye contacts by turning your body towards them. Using nonverbal cues like nodding our head, Mm hmm. Okay. Right, asking open ended questions so that we can encourage further responses. This is curiosity. Tell me more. How, what, when stay away from Why Why isn't always useful, but really working on those open ended questions, paraphrasing and reflecting back mirroring what's been said so I'm hearing you say that you want to be treated like an adult that you want me to treat you more like an adult. Okay. I'm hearing you say that. The way that I just responded to you felt really judgmental. Right. I'm noticing by the look on your face, that that didn't feel good. And in our listening, who really working on listening to understand, rather than to respond. Right? This is so important listening to understand it is felt by the other person. Right? It's felt by the other person when we're listening to understand, rather than to respond. It is felt by the other person and drop your judgement, drop your advice, right? If you can't stand it, ask permission. You've heard me say that before. Listen to understand. Right? Drop the judgement and the advice. Okay? There's listening. How has your listening? Are you good listener? Ask your people. Hey, do you think I'm a good listener? What do you notice about me when I listen? I don't know. It'd be interesting. I'm going to do this. I'm going to ask my people, right? Am I a good listener? Do you feel listened to? Do you feel heard? Do you feel like I listen, to understand? Or that I listen and prepare for what I'm going to say? Right? Again, feedbacks really useful. Feedback is a place that we get to learn and grow feedback. It's not about being defensive. It's about really hearing what it is the other person is saying about their experience of you. Right. And even though active listening invites us to withhold judgement and advice. It is true that we get to have expectations and limits course, yes, we get to work towards win wins with our teens. This is another communication tool that is so useful. And such a rich place for practising life skills, right? Our teens, they have wants and needs, right? They want things they need things we have wants and needs. We are working to avoid entitlement and keeping our kids safe, aren't we? I am. Absolutely I definitely am working on that I want my kids to practice, like I said those life skills, I want them to flex their the skills that they're going to need, right, especially mine are older and is going to be on his own next year. I really want him to have practice in making choices and decisions for his health and well being for school for balancing all the things right, we get to have expectations, and we get to set appropriate limits, and how we communicate all of this matters. And so there's a tool and we talked about it in positive discipline. I remember, you know, as rollin, especially my oldest came into the smartphone days, man, I wish we would have delayed that better. Anyway, what's done is done. But I remember we would do this process and I would just say, hey, you know, we're gonna let's do some offer counteroffer. Right, where, you know, in the process of making an agreement about something, you know, what does it look like to you? Well, here's what I want it to look like, okay, and then, you know, they would say she would say no, if it was like screen time while I want to just be able to get on my screen and talk to my friends when I want to. Okay, well, I think you should do it have like a two hour window a day or a one hour window a day. That's not enough. Okay. Well, what's your counteroffer? She would give a counteroffer. And I'd get a counteroffer. And then we'd make our way to a place that felt good to both of us. And, you know, when we're looking for a win win, it's important to go into that conversation, having already thought about it, right? Being prepared for what you're stepping into, right? When when you want to have a conversation about something that's tough with your teen, or to talk about one of those touchy subjects, be prepared, right? It isn't enough. And I'm talking to you, I'm talking to myself, it isn't enough to go into it with how you feel about it. Right? Believe me, coming into a conversation, having two or three talking points or concerns that are clear is going to serve you in the conversation. I just don't feel like that's a good idea. Now, that's not a good talking point. Right? Instead, we get to go in saying listen, I know it is proven that the more time teens are spending on their screens, the worse their mental health right.

Casey O'Roarty 24:45
It is proven that you know sleep deprivation gets in the way of mental health. I mean it all goes back to mental health right? But it or of school performance, right it is proven I have researched, I've read I heard I listened I, you know, I watched this thing. And here's my concern, right? And I'm concerned, I need. Here's another thing, right? Well, we'll get to this. So coming into so this is the prep work, right? You got to be ready for this conversation. And when you bring it up, you get to say, Listen, I want to talk about screens, or I want to talk about curfew, or I want to talk about school, or I want to talk about, you know, you and driving is right now a good time to do that. Always giving that choice, I want to create a win win around this something that works for both of us, that's my agenda coming, being really clear about it. And then inviting your kids to share with you their wants and needs and experiences around this topic, like best case scenario, they're sharing first, and you're practising active listening, you are really listening to see from their perspective, from their point of view, to get a better understanding of them, right, and don't dismiss what they want and what they need. Listen, remember what it was like being their age, and then you get to take a turn, and be clear on what you want, and what you need. And it's okay to have some non negotiables, non negotiables might sound like, you know, I want to have create a win win around screen limits. And the non negotiable is whether or not there are limits, there will be limits, right. But we're going to work together to create that. A non negotiable is, I need to know when you're going to be home. And I will expect that you follow through with that, you know, we get to kind of create win wins and negotiate what it looks like. But it isn't just come home whenever you want, right. And just a little side note on curfew. We don't have like a set curfew over here, we really it's more of like each, you know, if Ian's gonna go somewhere, the question is just like, oh, when are you planning on being home, right? And he kind of thinks about it and tells me and then we're done. And then he's home on time. Or he texts me if he's going to be a little bit later. But that's not a place where I get really rigid, or controlling or aggro. And that works for us, and hasn't been a problem. So yeah, being clear on what you need, what I need in that situation. That was I need to know, I just need to know, I feel safe. I feel calm, when we've had a conversation about when he's going to be home, right. And as you come into the winwin conversation, be ready to have some options, right? Have some time where you think about where is your flexibility, right? What could work for you with this slippery topic, whether it's screens or school, or how they're managing their time, or curfew or whatever. And then also, as you listen to your kiddo, talk about their experience of this topic, be open to changing your mind, be pragmatic, be willing to expand your thinking based on what you're coming to understand and hear from your team. Right. So you're going to come with some possible options in your back pocket. And you are going to be open to creating some options, creating some things around what this can look like. When you're in this conversation, it's really important that you notice and you try to avoid when you're looking for the win, when the win is about you getting what you want, right? Because that's not going to be useful. It's going to feel controlling, and it's going to feel very power over. And this is where things get really dicey. With teens, this is where they are like, I don't want to have this conversation. We really want to hold and be explicit around holding the agenda of I'm looking for a win win. I want you to have your autonomy, I want you to have space around this. And I want to know that you're safe. I want my concerns to be considered right? And catch yourself when you're leaning into judgement, criticism or dismissing what's showing up for your team. power struggles are not a part of a win win conversation. And that's the last piece is making sure that you take a break when you need to write if you start to get hot and bothered or you notice your kiddo is, hey, let's take a break. We're gonna come back to this, but I'm noticing my agitation, I'm noticing your agitation, let's just take a break, take care of ourselves and come back after dinner, come back in an hour. Right? And then whatever, when when and this is how we talked about making agreements here on the pod and in positive discipline, whatever we decide, like okay, let's do this for the next week or the next month and then let's talk about it again and see how it feels. And it's important to acknowledge your kids are continuously growing and developing, and even month to month, it might be appropriate to tweak things and change things, according to the growth of your kid, right? So having them know like, okay, my parents get that I'm not going to be the same a month from now or a year from now, there's going to be a certain level of softening, that will show up. Right, when they understand when they can hold that you get them. Now, I often will hear in the parent zeitgeist, you know, parents saying, Oh, it's an endless negotiation, or they wear me down, or they don't take no for an answer. And sometimes they just need to take no for an answer. Okay, well, yes. And remember, these conversations are opportunities for our kids to really practice the tools and the skills we want them to get better at, in the long term, they need practice. And not only that, the respect, and the attunement inside of the relationship goes up, when we're willing to move through these experiences. This way, when we're willing to come from this place of when when the foundation that our relationship sits on top of becomes more encouraging, more mutually respectful. And when that's what we're standing on, there is an opening and a softening, and a letting in, that can happen. That's what we want, right? And we get to have empathy, right? Remember what it was like to be a teenager and just see like, Oh, my God, the whole world is mine. Right? The whole world is available to me. And I can't get what I want exactly when I want it. And that is deeply frustrating. Right? So we can have empathy for that we can have empathy, for that experience of being a teenager and feeling and thinking we are ready for everything, and we don't get it, we gotta wait a bit, we gotta get a little bit older, we can have empathy for that it is deeply frustrating, right? It's hard to hard to get to always, you know, work towards seeking that common ground, we can find common ground with our teens, through communication through listening, right through these processes. We strengthen that relationship and that foundation. And again, part of this is being willing to find our flexibility. Right, flexibility is not the same as being permissive. But what flexibility does is it takes us out of being rigid, right? And rigidity is not useful. It's just not useful. teens want to be seen and heard and acknowledged for what is real for them. They want to be validated. They want to be believed. And the way we communicate them is key for that experience to unfold in the relationship and relationship matters. Right? So yes, okay. You're listening now. And you're like, Yeah, I want to communicate, and listen to my kids and be in the Win Win process. And my kid, my teenager just won't engage. We talked about this a lot. So I'm going to remind you, what do we do? Well, we are curious, what's happened in there? What's going on under the surface with your kid? What is the dynamic of the relationship? And how have you contributed to it? What are you doing that continues to contribute to the dynamic that you're seeing? What can you own and make amends for? How can you start over? And how can you be explicit in that, like, hey, this doesn't feel good. I know, it doesn't feel good to you. And I'm going to make some changes, because I want to start over, I want to be in relationship with you not because I want to control you. Because I think you're really amazing. And I want to know you, right? I want to be in relationship with you. I want to be a part of your life. So as you look over the past year, what has been at the centre of most of your communication with your team? Is it what they're not doing? Is it where they're falling short of your expectations? Is it that challenging behaviour that God dammit, it's scary and it won't go away? How much time have you spent over the last year getting to know who they are, who they're growing into what their interests are? What's

Casey O'Roarty 34:41
going on in their life, their views of the world? Has it felt like one big argument or like you've been iced out? Right? If it's felt like one big argument, it makes sense that they're not you know, knocking on your doretta Connect. Right? So my encouragement to you today is to make some decisions for the new year. Right? Decide what you're going to spend more of your time focused on in your communication with your teen. Trust the process, trust the unfolding, trust your teen, right trust that they're moving through what they're meant to move through. And be available. Be available without judgement. Look at hard conversations as opportunities to negotiate win wins. Be explicit, with your words. Say what you mean mean what you say? Right? Create a routine of special time. It's not just for little kids. Right? What does it look like to connect with your teen? Does it look like and do it without the hard conversations, find some lightness, find some joy, right? Find things to do. Or you get to laugh together. Your teens want to be in relationship with you. They want to connect with you. They want an adult who loves them for who they are, and appreciates that they're going through real things. Right. And don't worry, we're going to keep coming back to all of this as we continue to journey together through the podcast, I promise. Thank you so much for listening, my friends. I am so honoured to be in relationship with each and every one of you through the podcast. And hey, a great holiday gift. If you want to get me a gift is super easy and free would be to head over to Apple podcasts and leave a review. Post a screenshot of the show of this episode on your socials, share it around or simply send it to a friend. It's a great way to give back to the podcast and I'd really appreciate it. I'll be back next week with another solo show another opportunity to reflect and till then have a beautiful day. Have a beautiful weekend. Have a beautiful week. Bye

Casey O'Roarty 37:26
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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