Eps 454: Expanding how we are relating to our teenagers

Episode 454

Join me this week as we get ever more focused on the interpersonal nature of raising teens. Where are we focusing our attention? What are we centering in our relationships? What might happen if we keep in mind our kids strengths even when things are going sideways?

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Takeaways from the show

★ Developing an internal compass for safety and decision-making
★ Understanding our kids’ emotional experiences and how they perceive themselves, others, and the world around them.
★ Go beneath the surface of your teens’ behavior to identify the underlying issues
★ Every problem is an interpersonal issue.
★ Children internalize parental dysregulation, developing unworthiness and disconnection.
★ Our vulnerability and self-awareness can reduce misperceptions in our children.
★ Building a strong relationship with teens requires patience, understanding, and trust.
★ Own your mistakes and show vulnerability to their kids, rather than focusing on what they could be doing better.
★ Look for opportunities to highlight your teen’s strengths to help them believe in themselves.

Today Joyful Courage is animating the qualities I want more of in my relationships – love, connection, empathy, compassion, patience… If this is what I value in my relationships, then I get to BRING THEM into my relationships.

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


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. Hey, everybody. Hi. Welcome back to a solo show you and me. You and me. Did you listen to my show on Monday with Alexandra Ford. Whoa, we went there we went. A lot of places, you're gonna have a couple of weeks of going to a lot of places. But, man, we went some places with Alexandra her story of sex trafficking and her work around advocacy, her generous sharing about you know how she found herself in some while precarious isn't even the right word, right and really dangerous situations. And what I took away from that conversation is, you know, the work as parents of helping our kids develop their internal compass, right, helping them develop that internal compass, around safety around healthy relationships, decision making critical thinking, all the things we talked about here on the show, I was really interested in when we started talking about that, how that human experience of believing deciding to believe that we are empowered, because to declare or to name that we aren't empowered, that we aren't in control, kind of can knock the house of cards down. And, you know, that desire to avoid that. I just, it was such a fascinating conversation and we went into screen safety. And if you listened, you heard me kind of like, Oh, God, you know, I mean, I really kind of feel like the last couple of weeks, especially I've just been really wanting all of the people with kids younger than ours, to just not give in to the screens. Like just don't do it. Right. Get your kids a flip phone, you know, if they want to stay connected, you know, if you want to feel like you can get ahold of them, get them a flip phone, keep them off of social media, and social media is so much more than Instagram, and Snapchat, it's all these places, right? It's YouTube, it's, you know, access to Netflix. It's all these places where the algorithm just keeps you sucked in and keeps diminishing our ability to be still our ability to be bored. I mean, there's so much I'm not going to go off on it right now, even though I just kind of did. And there are some great resources to carry on this conversation. The heartful parent has a summit coming up, which you'll hear more about, but they are a great resource. The screen time consultant and Malia Sherkin has been on my show, and she is a great resource. I have an upcoming show with a guy named Michael Jacobus, who is the founder of reset summer camp for digital detox and life skills. I'm super excited to talk to him. So that's coming. And I mean, my main thing is just like wait, wait, wait, just wait. Just wait on the screens. Do yourself a favour tell everyone who has kids younger, like I feel like it's our duty our duty Those of us that have kids, and we're in the muck, and we're like, oh my god, what have we done with this whole screen thing? Like, it's our responsibility to let the people behind us know, just don't do it learn from us. Wait, wait, wait. Okay. That being said, as you know, as I've shared, this podcast solo show, especially, is really informed and inspired by the conversations that I am seeing and having in the joyful courage community. And so sometimes it feels like, gosh, I think I've even said this before, do I come in and do a solo show? And just keep talking about the same thing every single time? But, you know, I think it's more about how many different ways can I say kind of a similar thing, so that it lands because it's complicated. It's simple and complicated, right? It's that both and, and really, today, what I want to talk about is that our kids live in response to us, right? They live in response to what we are focused on and the perceptions of themselves, others and the world that they've developed over time. So today on the show, I'm going to talk about the importance of relationship, right? Just like I always do, and I'm going to come at it, maybe from a new or different way, I'm going to talk about and encourage you to consider your kids strengths. We're going to talk a little bit about the iceberg. We're going to talk about taking personal responsibility for how we've been showing up. So themes that are familiar. And today as you listen, I really want you to listen to hear something new, or hey, listen, for that layer, that's going to peel back, right, I want you to listen for the nugget that you need today. And I know that that will happen for you. Because I hear all the time from my listeners. Oh my gosh, what you said on the podcast was exactly what I needed to hear how to do now.

Casey O'Roarty 07:04
Well, I know because we are on a collective experience. This is a collective experience. So I'm aware of what's happening with you, because it's happening to some extent with me and with others in the community. So that's what we're doing our kids live in response to us, they live in response to what and how we parents focus our attention on and they perceive, they're always perceiving and making sense of themselves, others and the world around them, right. And this has been happening over time since day one. And when our kids are struggling, we get really scared and we want to focus in and figure out how to fix what's going wrong. We want to fix the behaviour. If you've been around for any length of time, you've heard me talk about the iceberg, right? And here's the thing, the behaviour that we're seeing with our teens is a solution or a response, whichever word fits better for you. Their behaviour is a solution or a response to what is happening under the surface, right, that iceberg metaphor what's happening under the surface, how they're feeling about belonging, significance, you know, their peer group, their perception of you and what you expect what you believe we can influence the behaviour by going under the surface and discovering what's prompting it, right, what the problem is that the behaviour solving. Now, I just want to give a little caveat. For some of our kids, there are mental health issues. There's neurodiversity. There are things that it is our responsibility to learn about and understand and to separate. What is a neuro diversity from misbehaviour or mischief. Like, we've got to get ever more skilled at that, as parents of kids who are struggling. So Alfred Adler, who was you know, one of the first individual psychologists and he is like his work is what positive discipline is founded on. So if you're listening to this podcast, you need to know that my training my foundation is in capital P positive capital D discipline. It's an actual philosophy and framework for parenting, and it is based on the work of Alfred Adler. So I'm gonna let you do your research on that. Alfred Adler says that every problem is an interpersonal problem, right? Every problem is an interpersonal problem and our children, our children who are now if you're listening to this show, my guess is your children are adolescents, and they've had a lifetime of understanding themselves through the experience of being in relationship with us being interpersonal. With us, right, they've had a lifetime of making sense of our response to their behaviour and forming beliefs about themselves based on the messages that they're receiving. Right.

Casey O'Roarty 10:32
They have limited skills in interpreting what it is that we've dished out over the years, right. So when we have reached our breaking point, and there's no judgement, because we all go there, in a variety of ways, when we've reached our breaking point, parenting is the hardest job on the planet. So that's going to happen. And when we reach that breaking point, and we flip out, right, perhaps saying or doing things that are hurtful to our kids, our kids don't have the skills to understand, oh, especially our young kids, right? Oh, wow, mom or dad, they really got to their limit, they weren't their best selves, they've got some unresolved issues to deal with, I know that they love me and believe in me, and this is about them and their growth rather than me and my worthiness, right? How many of us full grown adults can differentiate and not take somebody else's attack or bad behaviour. I mean, we have a hard time not taking things personally, let alone these small people who over time on the receiving end of our dysregulation, they are taking it personally. And that makes sense, right? And they start to form beliefs about themselves, their worthiness, right their capabilities. And what happens is they actually develop a sense of unworthiness, they start to feel incapable, disconnected, and like, they don't matter. When this is the dynamic that's happened over time. They make your behaviour about them, and are not motivated by it. But instead, it becomes a part of the fabric of how they make sense of the world. And when I say they're not motivated by it, I mean, like that harsh discipline style, or, you know, and this happens, right? Like I try and I try and I do the things and I stay grounded, or I stay centred until I can't anymore, and then I blow and we might see some short term results. From that, right, we might see a kid who gets it into gear, and follows through because mom just freaked out, right? But what happens over time, is that something that is now required for our kids to move it along, and what's happening to their perception of themselves, right, becomes a part of the fabric of how they make sense of the world. Now, we are imperfect, right? And when the household is one where yes, there's some parental dysregulation, but there's also amends being made and repair is normalised. And the adults really work towards their own growth and personal accountability, that misperception of self for the child is minimised, and the environment can maintain a sense of encouragement and connection. Right. So let me say that again. So because you know, we are imperfect, we are going to lose it, we are going to not be our best selves all the time. And when we can own our behaviour vulnerably, which we're going to talk about in a little bit, when we can own our behaviour, when we can make it right when we can repair the relationship. And when we are actively working on getting better at navigating what activates us, then those mistaken beliefs about themselves that they're creating in response to us, becomes minimised, and the environment can hold a sense of encouragement and connection and love. This is good, right? This is optimal. This is what we want. We don't want perfection, because our kids need to see what the human experience looks like. And the human experience sometimes becomes dysregulated. And so what do you do when you become dysregulated? In your hurtful, you make it right? So they need to see us actively doing this. Right? This is what we want, while also seeing us actively working on ourselves and getting better. We're all doing the best we can right with the tools we have in the moment. And this parenting gig is an opportunity to grow ourselves to get ever more curious about the how and the why we do what we do and to stay focused on what we want to create with our growing kids. Right. This is something I asked my clients, what do you want to create? What do you want to create? And sometimes the answers are, well, I want my kids to be able to sustain themselves. I want them to take responsibility. I want them to do well in school. Course, yes, I hear you. And I see you. And I'm going to ask the question a different way. What do you want to create? In your relationship with your growing child? What are the qualities you want them to receive? Inside of the relationships? What are the messages you want them to feel from you? Right? When I asked myself that question, here's what comes up for me. You know, what do I want to create? Well, what are the messages I want to send? What are the qualities I want to nurture inside of our relationship? Well, I want my kids to feel love and accepted for who they are for me, right? I want them to feel capable of pursuing whatever it is they want to pursue, I want them to know that I believe they're capable of that I want my kids to know and believe that mistakes happen. And they are always opportunities to learn. I want my kids to understand that life is an ebb and flow of ease and challenge. And, you know, ultimately, we live in one place, but we're always moving towards the other. Right? I want my kids to trust that they can come to me with whatever they're struggling with, and they won't be criticised, or made to feel small. I want my kids to develop a belief in themselves, because of my unwavering belief in them. I want my kids to feel validated and believed in the experiences that they're having. Right? This is what I want to generate in my relationships with my kids, right. And when this is what's alive, in those relationships, we have with our growing kids, they have this really solid foundation to stand on. That opens the door to resilience, to putting themselves out there to courage, trying new things, taking healthy risks, self confidence, believing in themselves, right? This isn't about entitlement. This isn't about the idea that we're just sending kids out in the world who believes everyone should do everything for them. And they don't have to work and bla bla bla bla bla, this is about creating a foundation for them to stand on. So that they can access and believe in their self worth and their courage and their resilience and their confidence. And guess what, when this is their foundation, they tend to show up as more cooperative, their decision making starts to become more thoughtful, and they're more pleasant to be around. Right. We are talking about adolescence, however. So we're still dealing with a developing brain. Yeah. And it takes time and patience to dismantle what might be a dynamic that perhaps over time, has closed our young person off to relationship with us. Which by the way, makes sense, right? Our kids, humans in general, are wired to survive, to stay safe. And when the relationship with you has gotten to the point of centering everything that isn't going well, they're going to pull back from it. Why wouldn't they? Right? Why wouldn't they? It's not a character flaw. It's a survival instinct. And friends, we are in this for the long term. Right? Keep that in mind. We're in it for the long term. Don't you want a relationship with your adult kids? Don't you hope that they keep coming around that they want you to have a relationship with their kids? Should they have some? I do for sure. I definitely want that. And don't get me wrong. Again, this isn't about letting everything go and pampering our kids and being doormats. This is about expanding how we are relating to them to include all of them. Right? This is about understanding and trusting that the relationship is really the entry point to help them help themselves. Your kids want you to believe in them. They want to believe that you believe in them. They need you to let them know how capable you believe that they are. And man they're tough, right?

Casey O'Roarty 19:45
Your relationship with your team may be super disconnected. And I know there's plenty of you that are listening who are in that place. It feels like Ah, I've done it all. I've tried it all. They just don't want a relationship with me. Are they just don't care or they're lazy, they're not going to seek you out my friend, you are the one that gets to do the work here. And you can start small, right, you got to crack it open a little bit. So ease up on the talk about what they could be or should be doing better. And instead, replace it with Hey, buddy, I love you. Right, soften the space you exist in together. And what happens then is you're softening, right, and you are giving them an opportunity to soften. And if there's things to own, own it on your part on your side. And maybe you've done this before, right? But do it again, and bring some vulnerability to it. So it could sound like a you know, I really lost it the other day with you, and I let my emotions get the better of me. And I didn't show up well. And I wonder if it felt like I don't believe in you. And I just want you to know that I do. I believe in you. And I love you and I'm here for you. I'm going to work on my temper, and you're gonna see me walk away before I blow up. Because you matter more to me than fill in the blank for whatever the challenge is, right? You matter more to me than school, you matter more to me, then I don't know, whatever your challenge is, right? You want to land that you like really, truly are taking accountability. This isn't a place where you get to say, you know, had you done this differently, I wouldn't have blown up at you. That's not what this is about. This is about you owning your behaviour and your struggle to stay centred and grounded in the challenge that you're in with your kiddos. Right? And could you hear the vulnerability there? It matters. And this isn't a ploy or a tactic or a formula for getting them to do what you want. This is about re building the foundation they are standing on. So as to support them to be fully resourced as they make their way out into the world. Having healthy adults in their life, believe in them allows them to believe in themselves. You've heard me say that before. Right? And you're mending that interpersonal dynamic. So I have another question for you. What are your young person's strengths? Don't tell me they don't have any because I don't believe you. You may have to dig a bit and that is fine. I want you to write down your kiddos strengths. And once you've captured those, look for them throughout the day, right? Look for evidence of your kids strengths throughout the day, even if the context is not great. Right? So it might sound like Wow, you sure are resourceful. You figured out how to bypass all the screen limits? That makes me crazy. But I will say that your creativity to get what you want is inspirational. Right? Can you hear the lightness? Can you hear the connection? Right? You hear the delight I have in my kid. Another example you really commit to what you think is right, even when it riles up, your teachers, your self advocacy skills are definitely going to continue to serve you in the future. Right? Again, not loving that it riles up the teachers, but man, I see that strength inside of this challenge. Statements like these are important. And they are an opportunity for you to name your kiddos strengths. So that they start to identify what their strengths are. You're not condoning behaviour. But instead you're sending the message of I see you, I see you. Right, you have the opportunity to see more than just the behaviour, which in turn allows them to see themselves. Right. So that makes sense. So a discouraged kid may believe, right? A discouraged kid may believe I'm bad. You know, who cares? Or I can never do anything, right? So I'm just not going to try, or I'm not good for anything. So I might as well, you know, again, not try or get into mischief, because who cares? But when they experience us as seeing more of them than their behaviour they're getting into, they have a more expanded view of themselves, and will likely be able to shift those internal beliefs, those internal beliefs will, you know, kind of become dislodged and transformed. So over time, a kid who has a belief of I'm bad, can move towards Oof. I made a bad choice. Right? A kid who feels like has decided why can't do anything right. can move towards Yeah, I gotta get better at decision making. A kid that feels like I'm not good for anything. We'll move towards I'm capable, and they matter. And because of that, I'm going to find a solution to this right. And change happens over time is important. Change happens over time. And it's going to take longer than you want. And in the meantime, yeah, you get to set boundaries, for sure. But you also need to lean into relationship, you also get to work on the interpersonal dynamic that's happening between you and your child. This is actually where the magic happens. This is what matters most. And what will be most helpful to your team. And like I said, I think earlier, you'll enjoy them more. Right? You'll enjoy them more. Change happens over time. So stay committed, right? Oh, I tried that it didn't work. I want you to commit to building relationship with your teen and strengthening relationship with your teen. Okay. That is what I am encouraging you to do. So homework, right? I've been posting in the joyful courage for parents of teens, Facebook group every week, some homework so that we can have some discussion about the solo shows and your thoughts. So homework is one. What are your takeaways to? Where have you influenced the dynamic with your team? And what can you own with them, and then do it right. And three, identify your teen strengths and make it a practice to name them throughout the week. All right. That's what I'm encouraging you to practice to bring this podcast to life in your family. That's your homework. And if you were inspired by today's show, I want to say hey, yay. Did you know I work one on one with parents if you found yourself relating to what came up today, maybe some coaching is the right fit for you. I want you to go to be spreadable.com/explorer to book a 15 minute call. And you can have all your questions about working with me answered. So if you're feeling like you know what I do want to touch base with Casey and I do want to see if maybe some one on one time is the right fit. Do it be spreadable.com/explore Alright, I love you people. I love you go have some water, roll your shoulders a little bit, take some deep breaths and have a really great rest of your day. I'll see you next week.

Casey O'Roarty 27:42
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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