Eps 458: Distinguishing between our teens and their behavior

Episode 458

This week’s solo show celebrates Brene Brown’s invitation to have a strong back, a soft front and a wild heart as we move through the season of parenting adolescents. It is so important that we send the message of care, concern and acceptance to our teens, even as we don’t love their behavior. It supports our teens to kow that we see them, and we value them, even as they are stumbling through this time of their life.

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Takeaways from the show

★ Accepting and celebrating kids’ unique identities while addressing unhealthy choices
★ Confident authority while parenting teenagers, balancing integrity, vulnerability, and kindness
★ Embodying a strong back, soft front, and wild heart to support teens’ growth and well-being
★ Addressing mental and emotional health in teenagers
★ Encouragement for taking an active role in seeking help when needed
★ Being a “broken record” of support and encouragement, trusting that out teenagers will move through difficult times with proper guidance and care
★ Reflecting on resilience, and hard conversations
★ The importance of normalizing hard conversations with teens, rather than shielding them from difficulties

Today Joyful Courage means making time to connect with my family. It may sound simple, but it is also a choice every day to put down the to-do list, and make sure the people that we love know that we care enough about them to tune in and be curious about their experinece.

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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 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. Well, hello there, my friends. Welcome back solo show today. I want to know what did you think about my conversation with Luke and throb? He came on on Monday. And I loved listening back. And of course, immediately started searching for something that could mark this time of my son's life as a rite of passage, right. That's what we talked about with Luke, that's what I talked about with Luke is rites of passage for our teenagers, my son is graduating from high school and heading off to college in the fall. And I'd really love to create an experience for him that highlights the depths of this transition and really marks it. So out in the woods somewhere. The circle of other young men, I'll keep you updated around what I find. I loved it Luke's points about focusing on healthy masculinity versus wounded or toxic masculinity. I appreciated those distinctions. I appreciate it talking about power with versus power over, I loved that he talks about supporting boys and men with having one eye in and one eye out meaning assessing the environment that we're in and taking in the external while also staying connected to our internal experience. I think that is the crux of emotional intelligence. And I'm so grateful that people like Luke exist in the world and are creating spaces for boys and men to connect around these things. Because it's a really interesting time to be raising a son, you know, and for me, I've got a white sis straight son, who's also big in stature, and athletic and good looking and, you know, just couldn't have more privilege in the world that we live in. And I really want to help him learn to be in that healthy masculinity, which I mean, don't we all, of course die. But why is it hard? It still feels hard. And it makes sense. Because I mean, when you look out at culture and media, there remains really unhealthy masculine messaging around money and power and sexuality and expression. There is has been such a swing in the conversation and such a highlight on toxic masculinity. I think that, you know, for some of our boys, there's also this pushback against this swing, if that makes sense. I mean, I remember when Barbie came out, which I loved. I don't know how you felt about Barbie, but hopefully you got the bigger picture and message around it, and saw it didn't know what he was signing up for. When I asked him what he thought he was like, well, it was just basically anti man, which, you know, missed kind of the bigger storyline, the bigger picture. They're also individuating. Right? And so they are pushing back against us and trying to find their identity separate from us. And I think for someone like me who really wants to have conversations around healthy masculinity and healthy leadership. You know, individuation could also be like, well, how can I live have different than what you want. And it can just get messy. And then of course, there's our conditioning which sneaks in. So some of this, we have control over some of it, we don't at the end of the day, I think we're all aligned in wanting to send our young people out in the world confident that they're going to make positive impacts on others, right? I also loved Luke's points around appreciating the truth of who our sons our kids are. And that gap, right, that gap between who we are as parents versus who we thought we'd be, and also kind of aligned with what I just said, the gap between who we thought our kids would be versus who they actually are. Right. So these are all kind of things from the interview on Monday, if you haven't listened, I encourage you to listen, that are, you know, coming to life for me and percolating, and I feel like both of my kids have given me and continue to give me opportunities to really accept and celebrate who they are even as who they are, is different than what I expected, right, or the narrative that I created for my son and my daughter. And I think it's really important to be real, and say that it isn't as easy as just like, oh, accept them for who they are, especially when who they are, seems to include perhaps unhealthy mindsets, unhealthy behaviours. And so today's show is really about how we separate who they are from perhaps destructive or unhealthy choices in their lives decisions that they're making. I was sharing with my community, my membership recently, about last weekend, I took my 21 year old, she asked to spend her 21st birthday in Las Vegas with me, which of course, I was like, Yeah, and so honoured to be included. And let me tell you, it was definitely next level parenting, it was wild. And there were moments where I had to decide whether or not to bite my tongue or to intervene, I'm going to spare you the details. All in all, it was super fun. And I feel so honoured that she wanted to spend this monumental birthday with me, our relationship is amazing, and continues to be an opportunity to accept her for who she is, while letting go of who I want her to be. Not even who I want her to be, but letting go of like, these preconceived notions of what would be best, right? Because I think she's rad. Like, she's so cool, and so fun, and so inspiring and so ballsy. And she's really, you know, like, creating the life that she wants for her. And, I mean, it's just, like I said, it's an honour, it's a privilege to witness. And, you know, we didn't walk an easy path to get here, you know, I've been through it with this one, I was pushed time and time again to accept who she was, and let go of my narrative around how things should look and how I wanted her to be. And I had to recognise in our journey, when confident authority was needed, I had to lean in to what Brene Brown calls, having a strong back soft front wild heart, right. And what that means strong back means having integrity, knowing and living by your values, even when they're challenged, and it would be easier to compromise on them. So that's that strong back that soft front means not leading with ego, right, not puffing up to get what you want, but showing vulnerability and kindness, even when you're being tough and brave. And a wild heart can straddle the tension of staying awake to the struggle in the world and the relationship fighting for justice and peace, while also cultivating its own moments of joy. I love this. I think it is a beautiful direction to point our internal compass towards while parenting teenagers. Right and as you know, we sent her relationship here. Nope, we don't use punishment as a tool for behaviour modification. Yes, it's super messy. And sometimes we're swimming in what the hell am I supposed to do with this? Right? super real.

Casey O'Roarty 09:48
And as I shared about my experience in Vegas with my members, I mentioned the importance of non judgement, while also sharing concerns about health and wellbeing when we have them and one of the parents reached out and wanted to tease that apart, how do we remain non judgmental, while also sharing concerns aren't concerns in and of themselves judgments? And I loved this question because it really invited me to go deeper. And this is that confident authority. Right? This is embodying the strong back soft heart, while or soft front wild heart, this is kindness and firmness, right, a pillar of positive discipline, our strong back supports us when there is a health or safety concern, right. And by strong back, like to me strong back is just animating and embodying a groundedness a resolve a confidence in ourselves. And in the situation, right, our soft front allows us to see and celebrate our teens unique gifts and qualities. So that soft front, keeps us in connection with the person in front of us. And our wild hearts, allows us to be inside of the tension of the moment, right? Without letting our emotions get the better of us without dis regulating, or disassociating. Or throwing our hands up, right, our wild heart allows us to be inside of the experience. We can be in celebration of who they are, while also sharing concerns about the choices they're making our soft front keeps us remembering that they're doing the best they can with the tools they have. And that they're making sense of and responding to the world around them are strong back gives us the strength to say, I see there's more going on with you. And I want to dig in here. Because this behaviour or these choices, they're not okay, life isn't meant to be this hard, or this out of control. Right? It's really important to distinguish between accepting our kids for who they are. And accepting the behaviour our kids are engaging in. These are two different things, right? The difference between you are a mistake or you're making a mistake, right? It could sound like this. I love that you take risks. I love that you're so brave. It really inspires me, I'm concerned about how you're using alcohol, it seems like something bigger is going on. And I want to talk about that could also sound like you are you're so social, you have so many friends, I love that you make time for people you care about. I love that you're the connector of everyone and the planner. For your group. It's so fun. And it's really important for your health and safety that you're able to disconnect from your phone. So let's talk a little bit about that. could sound like I love spending time with you. I love that you know what you want, and are expressive about what's happening for you. I also know that you're really struggling with going to school. And I'm totally open to finding the right fit. And not going at all makes me really concerned about your well being and what's getting in the way life shouldn't be this hard. I love you no matter what. And I'm going to find you someone to talk to and work with that will help you move through this time, so that you can go back to engaging with the world. And then finally, I love our relationship. I love how close we are. You're so creative and curious and love to think out of the box. I can't wait to see where that takes you as you get older. I am worried about your pot use it can so easily become problematic and really make an impact on your brain development. I'm curious about what's going on for you. That has you using weed to cope. Right. So those were four examples of this strong back soft front Wildheart confident authority connecting before correcting or redirecting. Now judgement would sound like this. You don't know what you're doing. You're out of control. How could you do this? You're a mess. You're ruining your life. You'll never make it if you keep going like this. Right? Those judgments are great vehicles for shutting down communication and creating ever bigger gaps and divides in our relationship. When we focus on the person instead of the behaviour, this is where it becomes problematic when we have that strong back soft front. That confidence authority, when we're talking to our teens about our concerns, the both and of I see you and love you. And this behaviour isn't okay is unhealthy is scary, can exist, I love you, and this is bigger than our family can solve. So we're gonna rally the experts, whatever that is counsellors, coaches, therapists, tutors, intensive outpatient programmes, whatever our teen needs, we got to lean in. I love you. And this is bigger than our family can solve. And we get to be a broken record if we need to be. And guess what, for our kids that are really struggling, they need us to have a strong back, they need us to embody our confident authority, they might not be able to make the move to ask for or to get help, they may need you to make the move for them. And even as you make the move, they may resist and you get to be that broken record. I know this feels scary. And it's bigger than our family, we have to get you help. Right. And remember, just like we take our kids annually for well, child checks, and when they get sick, or something happens, you know, hurt, we go back to the doctor to find out, you know, how can we help them? What do they need? Right? The same should be true for their mental and emotional well being and their mental and emotional health. It's okay that it's hard. It's okay that they're unskilled at expressing themselves. You get to trust that they will move through the tension of life, whatever that looks like right now. And like I said, some of our kids need us to decide for them. They're waiting for you to be firm about tending to their mental or emotional health. And some of the things that I encourage parents to say, those one liners for the back pocket. This isn't how life should look. Right? You don't have to feel this awful, right? I'm doing this for you. This is bigger than our family can hold. Right? Life doesn't have to be this hard. And I know that it feels like I remember early on hearing like, well, I'm always gonna feel like this. But again, you've heard me say this on the podcast so many times like our kids are moving through their first experience, right? So it might be their first heartbreak. It might be their first depression depressive episode, it might be the first time they have anxiety. And it's scary. Because at that point, they don't understand yet. Because they haven't experienced the other side, that there is another side. And so they do get really stuck. And that's when we get to be firm, we get to be a competent authority and say, I see you and I know that it feels like you're never going to feel better. I know that it feels like it's always going to be like this. But that's not the case. And we're gonna get you some help, so that you can move to another side of this. And as you get older and have to move through heartbreak or depression or disappointment or rejection again, you'll remember back Oh, yeah, I remember this from before. And I got support. And I started to feel better and life continued. I didn't act. Well. I mean, it's pointless and going back and beating ourselves up. But I feel like I could have acted with more urgency. When my daughter started showing signs of distress. I was not super skilled at confident authority at the beginning, but I got better. And she took her own path. There were absolutely intense times where I love you. And this is bigger than our family was something I said over and over and over one particular morning, when we were making a tough decision for her, which she eventually softened to. And I think she softened to it because she truly experienced the resolve that this is happening. We're getting you the help that you need.

Casey O'Roarty 19:19
But even inside of all of that, I was still very much in celebration of who she was. And I looked for those strengths. I mind those strengths. I named those strengths. Even inside of the distress I also held. I just held the faith that we were going to move through this that she was going to move through this. She would continue to grow and develop and get to another side. My strong back developed over time. I think I've always been pretty good at the soft front the kindness and connection with vulnerability piece, but I wasn't as skilled at being in my authority. And I know there are Any of you listening who really get this, having a strong back is trusting that standing in our values and our firmness is okay. staying grounded and regulated having faith in the team in front of us getting over their anger or disappointment towards our confident authority, right, believing in ourselves and in our teen, I think it's a relief when we show up this way for them. And sometimes, all we can say is, wow, you know, this is big. I'm not sure how to handle this. I am sure that I love you. And I know that you're so so capable, and you have so many incredible strengths. I think one final thing from my interview with Luke, I love that he said that in his family, they hold the expectation of facing what's hard in life. I think this is really deep wisdom for all of us teens, and parents alike. normalising That shit is going to hit the fan. That's the nature of this journey of human newness that we're on. And there's going to be time and time again, where we're going to be called into resilience, we're going to be called into doing things that are hard, we're going to be called in to courage, right? In relationship in jobs in life. You know, we get to normalise this, we get to model this, we get to talk about this. We cannot protect our kids from hard things. Right? We can't protect them from that. And we can't shy away from leaning in, when what they're up to is, you know, really destructive, and unsafe. And it's hard. Right? It's hard. It's hard. We're all moving through hard things. And we all have the capacity to learn and grow through them. Right. And so I'm just thinking about those of you out there who have kids that you know, and even as I say this, I'm like, Okay, well, novelty seeking is part of teen wiring. A lot of our teens are going to dabble with some experimenting, and some substance use a lot of our teens are going to have not great relationships, right? How do we be as our teens move through these things? Right? That's what this episode is all about? How do we talk with them about their behaviour without demonising who it is that they are? Because they are who they are, you know, we've got adventurous kids. We've got kids that are really struggling with mental health. And then we have everything in between. Right. And so really doing the work of having hard conversations with a strong back soft front Wildheart. Right, meeting them where they're at accepting and celebrating who they are, and sharing concerns and fears and worries when they come up. Right being willing to be the confident authority that they need, when they aren't able to make those tough decisions for themselves, about getting help finding help. Right. So that's what I got for you this week. That went a lot quicker, though. Oh, good. So here are your takeaways. Homework from this week is one, what were your biggest takeaways from this particular podcast? To what does strong back soft front Wildheart mean to you? Like what's landing for you around that concept? And three, what parts are where in your relationship with your teen is calling for more confident authority? Right? And of course, any questions you have about that, I want you to head over to the joyful courage for parents of teens Facebook group, this post will be right there at the top of the page should be this homework post. And in the comments you can share. And I want to know I'm sure that you have Yeah, but I'm sure that you're thinking well, what about this? It's all good. Ask me all the questions. I am here for them. I'm here for the discussion. I'm here to tease it apart and go deeper with you on these concepts. So head over to the Facebook group. Join if you're not a part of it yet, and share your thoughts. I'm so glad that you tuned in this week. I'm really excited for next week. It's the start of the art of connected parenting limited series on Monday. So yay, appreciating you appreciating our relationship. If you have any questions or You're feeling like yeah, this is something I need support and developing. Don't forget, I'm a coach. I do one on one coaching. I've got us the six week class happening in the fall, I've got the membership. There's lots of ways to engage with me and get more support if you need it. So go to the website, be spreadable.com/teens and check out all the things of things and you can even do an explore call with me and jump on the phone for 15 minutes to see what the right fit is for you. Anyway, okay. Have a beautiful Thursday, a great weekend, and I'll see you next week. Bye.

Casey O'Roarty 25:40
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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