Eps 478: Meeting misbehavior with enthusiastic curiosity

Episode 478

You and me and enthusiastic curiosity – WOOHOO! It may sound crazy but when we can really connect with the experience we are having while navigating our kids’ mischief, regulate, and shift into curiosity, there is space for much deeper connection and learning for all. Truly. Listen to this show for tips on all the things – and let me know what you think!

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Takeaways from the show

  • Things that show up during the teen years that leave us feeling scared, angry, reactive
  • Pause, ground, regulate when you feel out of contro
  • Determine what do you want to create and what you want your kid to walk away with – the quality you want to bring to life in your conversations and interactions
  • The practice of curiosity, lightness, critical thinking
  • Useful language
  • Emotional honesty
  • First time offenses vs cronic behavior and when to get outside help
  • Interrupt, intervene, interfere
  • Remember the iceberg – what is happening under the surface

Today Joyful Courage is being in curiosity around what’s hard, being honest with myself, and willing to share my truth with the people I care about.

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TRANSCRIPT - JC Solo 4.11.24
Wed, Apr 10, 2024 9:25AM • 37:08
conversation, kids, behaviour, teen, talk, curiosity, kiddo, move, parents, engaging, mischief, place, consequences, responsibility, noticing, mistakes, lightness, realised, listen, invite
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 at Sprout double. 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, everybody. Welcome back. Welcome back to a solo show. I am really excited to be sitting down with you. I am sitting down, you might not be sitting down. But I am sitting down. And I have some things to share. And I'm so grateful that you are tuning in to listen. So first of all, did you hear the interview this week with Emily Churkin and did you love it because I love being in conversation with her. I really appreciate how knowledgeable she is about the screen situation. She does her research. And I love what she brings. As far as just being intentional. You know, the screen conversations never end seeing it posted in my community space on Facebook. There's conversations in my membership programme, my one on one clients are talking about screens. Screens are a nightmare for all of us. And, you know, I love that Emily also calls out the grown ups around their use and their limits. And it was a really good interview. And my favourite piece of what she shared was this little ditty that goes less is more later is better relationship first. I really appreciated that. And yeah, so big make sure you check it out. If you haven't listened to that interview, it is such a good one. And thank you for the reviews. Thank you for the reviews. I love getting new reviews on Apple podcasts, and hearing that the show is useful to us. So I recently got a review that said, so good five stars. Having Casey's voice to guide me through parenting. My teen is such a blessing. She is real and speaks from the heart. She gives practical tactical support and advice to ensure I feel less alone on the parenting journey. Thank you so much for leaving that review. I do try to speak from the heart. I mean, I don't know how else to be with you all I value authenticity. And like I said, I just I don't know how else to be. So I'm going to keep it real with you. I'm going to share with you my experiences, I'm going to keep searching for voices that I think are useful to the space and share them with you. Yeah. So keep leaving reviews, keep passing the show around, helped me have an even broader reach through your testimonials and you're sharing with your circle. It's so appreciated, and the teenagers really appreciate it too. Because what we're doing together when you share the work is supporting ever more parents in being more aware and more conscious and more intentional around how they're showing up for their kids. And I think this is so important. I think it's so powerful when we can share what is helpful to us with others because here's how the world becomes a better place. The world becomes a better place when we care as much about all the kids as we do about our own kids and there are definitely things happening in the world right now. Or in your neighbourhood or in your school. is where kids are being hurt, they're being harmed. And when we hold that as well, I'm glad that's not my kid. Versus I want to find out more about the systems that are getting in the way. The systems that are creating an environment of harm for some of our kids, that's when we really start to make a powerful difference in the world. We got to be in it for all kids, not just our own. And speaking of our own kids, I'm come in hot out of a weekend in Tucson with my son I mentioned this in my newsletter on Friday, we went to the U of A for the admitted students day University of Arizona. And guess what? Ian's going to be a Wildcat. He is a wildcat. He has said yes to the University of Arizona, which is crazy exciting. Because guess who else went to U of A? Me? Me, me, me. We had the best weekend together. Super fun time I took him to one of my old haunts O'Malley's on fourth. And we played pool and I beat him, which was very satisfying. And, yeah, we had a great time. So you know, life keeps unfolding. You never know where things are gonna go. And yeah, for my second kid, this traditional pathway towards college is the path that he's on. Just a reminder, my first kid took her own path. And she is engaging in higher education. Now, however, as her is her brand, it's very unique to her. And she continues to invite me into, you know, noticing my own narrative, noticing my own places where I'm attached, right, but she's killing it too. And whatever is happening for your kiddo, just remember to stay open. Right? And speaking of staying open, this is where we're headed today. So there was a post in the Facebook group recently, that I really appreciated. Because we've all been in this feeling of, oh, god, how am I going to navigate this? I'm super irritated, pissed off, whatever. And so what I want to bring to our conversation today is some work around enthusiastic curiosity. And to me what that means, right, so here was the post that prompted this conversation, parent rights, I am almost 100% sure that my nearly 16 year old took our car out after we went to sleep last night, he is still asleep. So I'm trying to ground myself before discussing it with him, when he wakes up, I find myself very triggered. I know that's not a good place to come from. I know that I don't want to try and trap him in a lie that will just get us in a power struggle and will be unproductive. Does anyone have any suggestions on what to do? Consequences for this needed? Or no, I don't want to feel like I need to keep the keys in my room at night. So I love just this post tells me some things about this parent, like the self awareness is there. They notice like I am feeling triggered, right? And I know that in this activation, I shouldn't be having conversations with my child, this is not a good place to come from. So there's awareness there, which is awesome, right? And I love that they write that they don't want to try and trap him in a lie. How often do we see this with adults? Right? We know or we have an inkling around what's happening, or what has happened. And then we say, Hey, did you do this? And our kids, right with no warning might say no, I didn't do that. Because self preservation. And then the conversation becomes you lied to me. Right? And that's not useful either. Right? And she the poster sees like, she wants to avoid power struggles. She wants to have a productive conversation. So I love love, love already where this poster is coming from. And there are so many things that show up during the teen years that lead us to feel scared, angry, reactive, right? There's plenty. Sometimes it's on the daily during certain

Casey O'Roarty 09:46
points of time in adolescence, right. I think the hardest thing is when we find things out after the fact right finding things out after the fact that our kids have gotten into is just First, the worst, right? And it might be like this poster wrote about, it might be finding out that they've snuck out. Right? It could be that they've snuck technology Hold on, it could be finding out that they're engaging in substance use, right? Or experimentation, vaping, weed, alcohol, the things right, it might be finding out that our kid is the bully, or our kid has been engaging in Super unkind behaviour or that group think that group gang up, we might find out after the fact that they've been disrespectful to their teachers, right, or other adults in their life, there are so many things. And it really depends on who you are, which of the things are the most activating for you? Right, depending on who you are, and what your values are, you're going to have some things be more activating than others. What is the most important thing to do in this situation and the poster, the person that shared the post in the group gets this

Casey O'Roarty 11:16
the most important thing to do after you've found out information that you're not excited about is to pause, ground, regulate, centre, whatever word works for you, the most important thing you can do is to get yourself together, so that you can have a fully functioning brain for the conversation that you're going to invite your child into. When we are activated. When we're triggered when we are dysregulated, we don't have full access to all the parts of our brain, what happens is, we become very narrow minded, because we've moved literally from the prefrontal cortex, where all of our higher functioning skills exist, when we're activated, triggered dysregulated we move into the amygdala, right? We move into the limbic system, the emotional part of the brain, we might even move into that survival part of the brain. Right? That freeze, fight flight fine, right? So first thing we need to do before having conversations with our kids, is to hold on, right to regulate our body, to ground ourselves to find that centre right to calm down. So how do we do this? Well, if you're new to this, the first place that you can go is just start noticing how you feel when you are emotionally activated by something you found out about your kid, right? How do you feel? How does your body feel? Where does it live? Is it a belly experience? Is it a tight chest? Right? Do you feel it in your jaw and your shoulders and your glutes? How does your body feel? Right? Because this feels neutral, right? We can pay attention to our body and start there with loosening things up, right? Okay? My belly is really tight, or my chest is really tight, I'm gonna breathe into those places, and I breathe into those places. And as you do this, you can kind of shift into what are my thoughts? What am I thinking right now? Right, and the mom of the post in the Facebook group, she even was like, I don't want to feel like I need to keep my keys in the room at night. So thoughts could be, oh, now this is a thing, right? When we find out our kids are vaping, or sneaking out, you know, or not, you know, whatever mistake they're making, our thoughts quickly go into, oh, now this is something they do all the time. Or now this, you know, dead in a ditch. This is going to spiral out of control, we go into worst case scenario. So we start to notice that, like, what are our thoughts? What are the feelings and emotions that are showing up? Right? And a lot of our kids behaviour when they get into mischief, can invite Of course, anger, embarrassment, maybe some shame, right? Maybe some shame, maybe some disbelief, right or deepen discouragement or fear. We're just going to identify what are the emotions that are coming up, right? We're going to notice, noticing the experience that we're having body thought emotion. And then while this probably comes before, too, but we'll pop it in here, and then we get to lean into some willingness. Right? Because we have to be willing willing to take however long it takes to loosen up the tension that we're finding in the body, right to feel it and let it move through us, we have to be willing to try something new. One of my mentors, Krista Patti says right now is the only place something new and different can occur. Right? So this is really important to me to think about when I consider the patterns of dynamic that can show up between teens and their parents. If we don't interrupt the pattern, the pattern will just carry on. So we get to be willing, we have to be willing to try something new and different. And for you trying something new and different might look like okay, I'm not going to handle this right now. Even though everything in my body wants me to march into their room and give them a piece of my mind. How dare they take the car out? How dare they bring drugs in our house? How dare they think they can sneak out at night? How dare they treat people that way? Whatever, right? Whatever your How dare they is, we get to be willing to try something new and different. You might be someone who's actually like, Oh my God, I don't want to deal with this. I'm not gonna say anything. You might be someone who's who doesn't confront your kiddos and their mischievous behaviour. So your new indifference is okay, I'm going to find my strong back soft front, I am going to animate my confident authority. And I am going to have this conversation, right, most of you probably fall somewhere between those two extremes. But we have to be willing to try something new and different if we want something new and different to occur, right. So there's the noticing, then there's the willingness, we get to practice calming the nervous system, right. And there's lots of ways to do this. With willingness. You can use breath, I really like box, breathing, shorter inhales longer exhales, you can inhale for four counts, hold it at the top, exhale for a six count, hold it at the bottom, inhale for a four count, and do that cycle over and over until you start to feel some of the tension leave your body movement is another great way to practice calming the nervous system. Right? Get out for a walk, that was something I did a lot of when things were totally spiralling over here, did a lot of walking. And it was really helpful. And even when it wasn't, at least I was moving my body, right gratitude. Having a journal right. And considering instead of writing about, oh my gosh, I can't believe my kid did this thing. I want you to write all the things you're grateful for inside of that context, right, which might be a stretch, but it might not be and with practice, it'll get easier, right. And then of course, if you want, you can search my website for the three B's breath, body balcony, that practice of lifting up and out of the situation to see the whole picture. These are some ways to get your brain right, so that you can move into what's next. And what is next? Well, I would encourage you, right, I would encourage you to remember we're moving towards this idea of enthusiastic curiosity. So to get there, I want you to think about what do you want to create? In the conversation with your kiddo? What do you want your teen to walk away with? What is the quality that you want to bring to life in the exchange that you have with them? Right? When I think about these questions, what comes up for me when I have hard conversations with my kids, and this was actually really helpful to write out today because I'm moving through some stuff with one of my kids. So I'm in the practice to peeps. So what do we want to bring to life in the exchange, I want to bring to life connection, a sense of deep caring about my kid, right? Not about image or, you know, accomplishment, I want my child to feel cared for and accepted. I want to create a space of emotional honesty, which also means I want to animate and generate a sense of safety like this is a safe place for you to be you child of mine, to be honest. And I can handle it, right? Like that's what I want to infuse the space with, right? And when I say space, I literally mean like if I'm having a conversation with my child as if we're in this energetic bubble, right? And inside the bubble, there is this energy of connection and care and emotional honesty and safety. Right? This is what I want. I also want to go into this conversation. You guys have heard me talk about this a lot lately. I'm gonna keep talking Think about it. What's most important to me is that my child, my teen, my adolescent, my young adults, is being invited into their own critical thinking, right? I want them to continuously be stretching and strengthening that reflection, consideration, critical thinking muscle, right? And I'm gonna bring curiosity, I'm gonna bring even some lightness, which might sound kind of nutty. If your kids are, you know, engaging in risky behaviour, why would you bring lightness, but it's not the lightness isn't about the behaviour, the lightness is about creating inside the relationship with our kid, you know, I want them to realise I want to send this message of like, I trust that you can move through this, I have faith in you. I know this was a mistake, I know that you're trying to figure things out, I see you right lightness is not the same as dismissive, or this isn't a big deal, right. But I can connect with some lightness to the teen in front of me, which I feel is a little elusive to put into words. So we'll just hold it there. So curiosity, lightness and curiosity really like oh, my gosh, I am dying to know what your thought process was last night. So Right. I think you took the car. Tell me about the adventure that you went on? Can you hear the invitation? They're like, I want to know what went down. Right? And I can hold it, I'm here for it. How was that for you? So I'm just gonna go through some questions. And you can, you know, substitute these questions, I was talking about the, you know, the post around taking out the car, but you can substitute these questions into whatever kind of mischief you're finding out your kiddo is engaging in. So how was that for you? How do you feel now? That must have been pretty exciting. Wow, living on the edge? Could you have made a different choice, if you wanted to write this is about, you know, talking about peer influence and navigating it I want my kids to consider is it easy or hard to make your own decisions amongst your friends? Right. And if it's hard, let's talk about, you know, ways or things you can have in your back pocket that will support you in getting out of situations that you don't want to be in? Right? So that's just kind of a side combo that you can have, right? So you want to really be curious about their experience? And then you get to say, I am so glad nothing went sideways, right? What was your plan? If it had? How were you considering safety? were you considering safety? What was the plan if you got into trouble, right? So you get to continue to engage them with questions. But really bringing that enthusiastic curiosity? Can you hear that energy coming from me as I asked these questions, so it's not an interrogation, because there's a lot of judgement and messaging that comes from the energy that we bring into a conversation and I want things. When I'm talking about tough choices and decisions and mischief making with my kids. I want to make sure that the energy I'm bringing feels inviting and safe, and I want them to feel like they can talk to me and I can handle it. Right? And that I'm not necessarily judging them. Right? I'm really trying to understand them. And that's really what they want.

Casey O'Roarty 24:06
And finally, you get to say, here are some of my concerns about last night, including being very direct, it is absolutely not okay for you to take the car out without asking first and first. Sure. Not before you're fully licenced, right? We get to be clear and direct. This is really important. This is something that I definitely learned over time. And my kids will even tell you like mom or tell me you know, Mom, you're being really confusing, like, what do you actually want? So, we get to be clear and direct. I am not okay with this. Right. I had a really crazy conversation with my son. Was it last year, start of his junior year where he shared something with me and you know, I really leaned into that enthusiastic curiosity with him, tease it apart. and said, Hey, listen, don't let the fact that I'm not freaking out at you are super upset, give you the wrong idea because this is really scary to me to know that this happened. And it does worry me, but I want to be engaged with you in the conversation. So we get to be emotionally honest, right? It might sound like, here's how I felt when I first heard about this, right? And you can say, Man, when I realised you took the car out, I was super triggered, I was so upset, right? We can talk about that. Without it being, you know, finger pointing, but just being emotionally honest. And then we get to talk about, here's what I want for our relationship, right? I want us to be open, I want to know what's going on with you. It's important to me that we talk about all these things, because, you know, you're going to make mistakes. But the most important part of making mistakes is what you learn from it, and having, you know, processing mistakes with me. And my hope is that, that's the place where you get to learn from it and really be in reflection and consideration. What I want for you is, right, and this is where you get to say what I want most for you is good health and well being right, I want you to be safe. I want you to be a critical thinker, I want you to be thoughtful, I want you to consider the safety of the people around you, I want you to be confident, you know, this is what I want for you. And you get to talk about privilege coming with responsibility, right? So specifically to the car situation, hey, listen, driving a car, having a licence is a privilege that comes with responsibility, and the laws of the land, right, give you this privilege, with the assumption that you're going to drive the speed limit that you're going to follow traffic laws that you're going to, you know, you're going to follow the rules basically, in our household, right, in our household, having a car to drive comes with responsibilities, like asking first following the curfew, filling it with gas, whatever it is at your house. Right? And, you know, we get to talk about what happens when the responsibility is falling off. Right? What happens to the privilege, when there's no responsibility? Well, the privilege can go away, or the privilege can be more contained. That makes sense. That's not like, How dare you do this thing. Now you can't have this other thing. It's really a conversation around, you know, this is a big privilege. And you get to be responsible, you get to show up in responsibility. You know, that's how it works. That is how it works in our family. And that's how it works in a lot of ways in the world. Right privilege comes with responsibility. So then what does responsibility look like? Right? You get to launch into a conversation and ongoing conversation with your kiddo around that. And this is for screens. Driving this is for being out in the world curfews, all the things, right privilege comes with responsibility. What does responsibility look like? And getting ever more clear on that is going to be helpful to all. And the other thing is to your teenager is going to make mistakes, they're going to, you know, throw responsibility to the wind and do the things. So again, you get to start at the top regulating yourself. Right coming at it with curiosity, and then leaning into this conversation around here. My concerns, let's find a win win. What does responsibility look like to you? Here's what it looks like. To me. One of the questions that the initial poster asked was, is there a consequence right for him taking the car out? And I know a lot of you out there listening are probably thinking like Hell yeah, there should be a consequence, but I want to play with it. Right? So first time offence, kids get into mischief and make mistakes they do. They will, if they haven't, and they don't. That's concerning to me. Based on whatever goes down, you get to make a judgement call about what is necessary. The conversation in and of itself is a consequence. Just ask my kids who think I'm super strict and I don't do punishment. Right. I don't do punitive consequences. But we do have a lot of conversations and the conversations the processing, it has the potential to bring you even closer to your kiddo. It sends a message that you are there for them. Right and that you can handle whatever comes up. conversations like this are a deterrent because they solidify The connection, the bond that you have with your kiddos, right? When you can really lean in with this enthusiastic curiosity. It's not like perfect, right? It's not as if you can have a conversation and then everything is, you know, they never do the thing again. But the same is true with punishment and consequences, right, you can have whatever harsh punishment consequences because of a mistake your kiddos make, that is not a guarantee that they're not going to engage in the behaviour. Again, it is, it is absolutely going to create a rift in your relationship, it probably will send them into a place of underground getting sneaky, they definitely don't trust that you can handle what they're going through and are willing to listen. So you get to decide, ultimately, you get to decide. And I would say also get some one on one time in with this kid, make it a habit and a routine to spend time together, hold them close, hold them close. And the other thing those of you that have been listening to the podcast for a while, you know, I've got these this little mantra to I'm going to interrupt intervene and interfere. When I feel like things are really becoming an issue with my kiddos. We had a situation with vaping. God now it's been like six or seven years, with my oldest and you know, I realised one, it is not like her addiction to nicotine is not my responsibility. Right? She gets to determine her relationship with nicotine. And when I know that it's coming up, I'm going to interrupt intervene and interfere, right, like I'm going to take the things. So there's been some talk in some of the communities that I'm in where parents will find their kids stash of weed or alcohol or whatever, take it, you get to take it, if you find it, you are responsible for taking it, take it away. Right and have conversations, just like the ones that I just moved through that enthusiastic curiosity. Tell me about this. Tell me what it's solving for you. Right, here are my concerns. And remember the iceberg, right. And if you're unfamiliar with the iceberg, search iceberg on my website, and you'll see some shows where I dig deeper into the idea of the iceberg. What is happening under the surface at the tip of the iceberg are those things right sneaking out bullying, substance use disrespect, defiance, whatever, what's happening under the surface? What are the problems that those problematic behaviours are solving for your kiddo? Right? And maybe it is, you know, Hey, pay attention to me. Maybe it's, you know, watch this, I can do what I want, right? That power struggle. Maybe it's comes from a place of hurt, like, I don't believe anybody cares about me. Why should I do the mischief Right? Or that deep discouragement and feeling like, well, just doesn't matter anyway, or remembering that the teen brain is wired for novelty seeking, they're wired for social engagement. Like I say to n, the more teenagers there are, the dumber they get right. And so keeping all of this in mind, this is where you want to dig in. This is where you want to get curious is under the surface of the iceberg. Tell me about what's gone on for you. Right. And sometimes our teens are like, I just wanted to see what it would feel like, or it seemed like a good idea at the time, right? And you get to again, bring that lightness like yeah, I get it, I get it. And maybe if it's appropriate, share your own mischief that you got into as a teenager thinking like, won't be a big deal, right? Connect around that connect around that. It's less about the behaviour. And it's more about what's driving the behaviour, what is the belief about belonging and significance that your teenager is holding? That is what you want to explore? Right? That's where you want to connect. And then you get to move on. Right? You get to move on. I will add, you get to decide when things are taking a turn into a new conversation. Right? If you're navigating extreme defiance, substance misuse or abuse, you know, is there an indicator of perhaps some mental health struggles, these are different conversations and for sure requires seeking out extra help, even if you're the one that's getting the help to start to be with what you're moving through with your team. Right? There's the extreme of all of the behaviours, right? There's the mistakes that they're all going to make and how we show up to those mistakes matters. And then there's our kids that really kind of go they're the outliers, right? I had one of those I get that. And that's when we really get to do our work and seek out more support. So there's parent support groups, there's therapy, there's coaching, there's energy work, there's a lot of different things that you can do to take care of you and that you can invite your team into, so that they can also feel supported. Right? Yeah. Okay.

Casey O'Roarty 35:25
I would love to know your thoughts on all of this. I hope that it was useful. I hope that it was useful. I know the gauntlet. So those of you that are navigating the hard things right now I see you, they see you and it won't feel like this forever. It won't. Here are the prompts for this week? What were your biggest takeaways from this podcast? What is a current situation with your teen that's sending you into reactive activated states of parenting? And how might you use enthusiastic curiosity to navigate whatever situation is coming up for you? Thank you so much for listening. So don't forget to write a review to help other parents find and follow the show. Make sure you are subscribed in all the places so you don't miss any episodes. Drink some water, take wok fried some fresh air. I'll see you next week.

Casey O'Roarty 36:28
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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