Eps 402: Joyful Courage Book Club – Chapter One

Episode 402

Join me in Chapter One of Joyful Courage: Calming the drama and taking control of your parenting journey, the book I published back in 2019. I will be discussing what holds up and things I’ve learned during the wild years since it came out.

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Takeaways from the show

  • the emotional freight train experience
  • my own story of “losing it”
  • the connection between the EFT and Positive Discipline
  • main Positive Discipline concepts
  • personal development essential for relationship centered parenting


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Casey O'Roarty

Casey O'Roarty 00:05
Hello, listeners. 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. 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, and life skills to be developed. My name is Casey Oh Bertie, I am your fearless host, positive discipline trainer, space holder coach and the adolescent lead at Sproutsocial. Also mama to a 20 year old daughter and a 17 year old son, walking right beside you on this path of raising our kids with positive discipline and conscious parenting you are in for a treat. This episode is part of a 10 part series where I'm reading from my book, joyful courage, calming the drama and taking control of your parenting journey that was published in 2019. I'm sharing the book with you and reflecting on where it holds up, and how the work has been expanded in the four plus years after writing it. If you're finding this series in the middle, I encourage you to start at the first episode, joyful courage book club the intro so that you can follow along from start to finish. The series is meant to be a resource to you and I work hard with everything I put out in the world to keep it real transparent and authentic so that you feel seen and supported. Along with this series is a free companion guide designed to prompt you in reflecting on what you're hearing and taking steps to integrate it into your life. You can find the guide and buy your own copy of the book by going to www dot fece browseable.com/jc book. And please don't forget, sharing really is caring. If you love today's show, please pass the link around, snap a screenshot and post it on your socials or texted to your friends. Together, we can make an even bigger impact on families around the globe. Enjoy. Hey, yeah, welcome back, my friends, I'm so glad that you're joining me on this special edition, this special series going through my little book that I wrote for you all all those years ago. And if you're just tuning in, I encourage you to listen to last week's solo show the first in the series to hear the introduction. And then join us here on chapter one. Because you know, I'm setting context in the intro, so you might want to check that out. Also, like I said, In the beginning of this podcast, I have this guide this free companion guide that goes along with the book. And I encourage you to get your hands on it. It's a downloadable printable guide that prompts you into taking what you're hearing and making it your worse integrating it into your life. So check that out at be Spry audible.com/jc book. Alright, I'm gonna start this episode with reading the little part one blurb, it says All aboard. All aboard, you found yourself on the emotional freight train. Welcome, you've taken your first step you have allowed your curiosity to guide you to purchasing this book or listening to this podcast series well done. Part one of this book will support you in deepening your understanding of the emotional freight train. What makes yours unique to you and the triggers that pull it into the station. So yeah, the emotional freight train is the metaphor of the book. This is big work, my friends, this is an opportunity to look inward at how our toughest moments are affecting the way we feel and think about ourselves and our family. These are places we often avoid, but I invite you to lean in. I invite you to be willing to learn and grow. I will be with you every step of the way. So that's my little welcome to part one. All right, chapter one. The little subtitle is I cannot believe I just did that. Anybody ever have that experience? Where you're just parenting along and you say or do something and have a moment of oh my god, I can't believe I just did that. Yeah. So what is the emotional freight train? You know that moment when you go from calm and happy to totally pissed off when you find yourself blaming, shaming or criticizing others when your body is hot and tense and logic has left the building? Yeah, that moment the That is your emotional freight train when you go from being totally Zen and present, to irrational and mean. Yep, that's it too. We all have visits from the emotional freight train. Some of us have trains that pull up slow, and give us all sorts of signals that it's about to pull into the station. Some of us have trains that zoom in, and leave us no time to prepare. And, you know, depending on the day, you might have had experience with both of those right? Let me tell you a story about one of my own pretty epic emotional freight train experiences. One of many, so years ago, years ago, and as I read this, I acknowledge that my audience is parents of adolescents. And this story is from When Ian is six. And I have a feeling you might hear yourself, even as a parent of a teenager in the sharing of this story. So listen for that, okay. years ago, we would take the kids skiing at our local mountain on Sunday mornings. They were doing a six week ski lesson program, and this particular day was the morning of week five. When we got up to the parking lot, my son, my beautiful boy, Ian, who was six at the time, was really dragging his feet and didn't want to get his gear on. As my husband helped our daughter get ready. I tried to engage him to move it along. He wasn't having it. I don't want to go was what he said, scowling at me with his arms crossed so that I knew that he meant it. Remember that. I went to the back of the car and told my husband to take rowing up to the ski area that I was going to sit in the car within and give him some space to work it out. We had an hour before lesson started, so there was plenty of time. Once Ben and Rowan started to walk away from the car, Ian's meltdown began to escalate. have a hard time now remembering exactly what the problem was to begin with. But it quickly became about wanting daddy to help him get ready. And he was freaking out about it. Let him have his emotions. I kept saying to myself, don't get dragged in. I told him I was happy to help him get his gear on and to let me know when he was ready. He just continued to cry and whine and carry on saying he wanted daddy to come back. That he didn't want to do ski lessons that Rowan could stay up there by herself. This went on for a really long time. For a long while. I was able to maintain my calm. I was able to keep things steady on the outside, even as the tension grew and my body. Was he ever gonna get over this? Didn't he see how hard I was working to stay compassionate and available? Did he think I liked sitting in the car listening to him? How the hell did he think he was anyway? Then it happened? I lost it. I reached back. I took a firm grip on his leg and I said in my meanest scariest mommy voice. Knock it off. You are acting like a spoiled brat. There it was my breaking point. I could feel the heat in my body the lack of control. I sprung like a snake that had been coiled and waiting to attack. I totally lost my shit. And once I lost it, it was like I gave myself over to my emotions right? You know that moment. And of course was sent into a much bigger meltdown at this point crying and disbelief and hurt. I am not acting like a spoiled brat. he hollered at me with the wild look in his eyes matching my own. Did I retreat? Nope.

Casey O'Roarty 08:53
I did get a little bit calmer. But I launched into what I thought he needed to hear. Listen, kids that are spoiled, only think about themselves. You expect daddy to come back down here after he already walked all the way up the hill. You expect Rohan to wait around up there by herself because you want daddy, you don't care that I'm sitting here waiting to help you. As soon as you're ready. You're only thinking about yourself and what you want. Bla bla bla bla bla, right. This was the emotional freight train. This was my emotional freight train. I felt it pull in. Right the tension in my body was a signal that the train was on its way when I snapped. That was me hopping on letting go of being the designer of my experience and handing over controls to my emotions. And as it does the emotional freight train headed straight into victim town. I was there I was pissed. And I was blaming my son for his lack of perspective, compassion and respect for others. How dare he did I mention he was six? Oh man he was mad. Add and why shouldn't he be? I'm the mom, the one who needs to be the adults emotionally available to my kids. And yet I met his meltdown with my own meltdown. I was overwhelmed by my inability to control the situation. And I snapped. Did it help him to feel better now did help him learn to self soothe? No, he was mad at me. There was no self reflection there just anger that Mommy could be so mean. Eventually, he crawled into the back of the van and started to get his gear on. He didn't ask for help just quietly got readied. I gave him some space. And after a few minutes, I climbed back there too. And I said, I'm so sorry that I got so mad at you. It didn't help you feel any better. And it was a mistake for me to act like that. Can we hug it out? He then turned to me and fell into my arms. I could have cried at the forgiveness. I felt in that little embrace. I could cry right now remembering it. In the end, we were able to make amends and move on. But the weight I carried about how I reacted to my son that day, was heavy in my heart for a long time. The emotional freight train is ruthless. Oh, I just got to pause right now, thinking back to that story, picturing it seeing him in the back of the van like his slow move to the back of the van and slowly putting his snow pants on. Like, it just hurts my heart that I broke a little piece of his spirit that day in my reaction to him. And I know we all have stories like this in our vaults, right? We all have stories like this. And I'm here to say I see you. I see you. And like I said last week, we have all done the best that we could with the tools that we have in the moment, right. Okay, back to the book. I try and I try and then I snap. Like many of you reading this book or listening to this series, I have read a ton of blogs and books about parenting. I've also been trained in two different parenting practices. And while the philosophies and ideas that I learned really landed for me, I was still finding it challenging in the heat of the moment to respond in a way that was helpful and not hurtful. Each night, I would put my head on my pillow, and promise myself that I would do better tomorrow. I declared no yelling, more patients more playfulness and more presence for God's sake. And then the next day would roll around and I'd get caught in the same cycle of irritation and resentment. Maybe I'd give those tools I knew a try. But they just didn't seem to help. Or they didn't match the real life challenges that I was having with my kids. And so the emotional free train would show up and take over again. If you're nodding your head and saying yes, yes, yes, know that you're not alone. We parents share a collective experience. You're not alone. Like I just said, we all have visits from the emotional freight train. We all find ourselves with certain things that get under our skin and push us out of our rational mind and into the emotional part of our brain. When we're in the weeds, it can seem like the emotional freight train is impossible to avoid. We should be enjoying parenthood. Isn't it supposed to be the best part of our lives? Is it any wonder that we feel so shitty? This book is going to help you. And the following episodes in this series are going to be helpful. I've been teaching and practicing positive discipline since 2007. And I founded my parent education, business joyful courage and 2012. Because positive discipline is a part of my foundation of parenting. I'm going to take a little time right now to fill you in or remind you a bit about what it's all about. I have two children who are being raised by positive discipline at home. So positive discipline is a parenting program developed by Jay Nelson. I'm gonna pause right there. It's a parenting program, but really, it's a philosophy. What I find how I describe it is it's a philosophy. It's a mindset. It's a way of being. This program is based on the work of Alfred Adler and Rudolph strikers and it promotes the belief that behavior is based on the need for connection and knowing that we matter. The positive discipline parenting style is neither permissive nor authoritarian. Instead, some call it democratic or authoritative. It is founded on mutual respect, being kind and firm at the same time, learning from mistakes and using encouragement as a tool for supporting children to be their best selves.

Casey O'Roarty 15:07
Positive Discipline is all about teaching, modeling and practicing life skills, right practicing life skills, through life experience, and in sight of deeply connected relationships. As Jane Nelson says in her book, positive discipline, where did we ever get the crazy idea that in order to make children do better, first, we have to make them feel worse. Children do better when they feel better, positive discipline shiz away from the behaviorist practices of punishment and rewards, and instead looks through a different lens when considering behavior, as Adler found humans move away from feeling less than and towards a sense of belonging and significance. Positive Discipline invites parents to look at the beliefs children have behind their behavior, and to support children in finding solutions to the problems and challenges they're facing. Thus developing life skills along the way. Easier said than done, isn't it? Positive Discipline, positive parenting, conscious parenting, it all seems so simple on paper. And it can feel so messy when we're in the process of implementing it and integrating it in our homes. Everything I've practiced and learned even with all of it, I can become triggered and emotional with my children. And I'm intimately familiar with the emotional freight train, which is why I wanted to share my story. And what I've learned along the way with you, the articles and blogs and podcasts we read and listen to just aren't enough to make the difference that really matters. As I mentioned last week, during the introduction, I teach classes both live and online. I taught at my local YMCA. For years, I've worked with hundreds of parents. Most of those parents have taken the learning and are practicing it in their homes successfully, right. But every once in a while I run into a mom or a dad who's taken my class, and they're deeply frustrated. They tell me Listen, Casey, I love all the tools you share. But when the anger takes over, I just can't seem to access them. These parents are being picked up by the emotional freight train and are unable to find the controls to slow it down. Getting off the emotional freight train starts with becoming more curious about the way you are reacting, paying more attention to the physical sensations, feelings and thoughts and learning more about yourself. This will help you get better at choosing different responses. It is about learning to broaden your perspective about what is happening in the present moment. The emotional freight train is real for all of us. It shows up, it whisks us away, often without us being fully conscious of it. Choosing to find your joyful courage, choosing to learn and grow and develop yourself as you navigate the emotional freight train will bring you clarity and confidence on the journey. Next week, next chapter, we will challenge you to get a deeper understanding of what's happening on your EFT, I'm going to call it that from now on, it will invite you to discover places where you can begin to shift your way of thinking about behavior, both your kids and your own. And that's the end of chapter one. So four years later, I feel like it still holds up right. Again, thinking back to that experience with n at the ski hill man that was intense, you guys. And he was six. He's now 17 Plus, it's been four years since I wrote this book. We've had other intense moments. As I've practiced positive discipline, my intense reactive, emotional free train moments have definitely lessened mostly in their intensity. And there's been more space between those times where I really lose it. And it looks a little different. Like even just yesterday. Yesterday, we had a big family event that we were doing together we were going to spend time together we were packing up we were waiting for other people to show up. I hadn't had enough to eat. The kids were being funny and driving me crazy killing me. And yesterday, you know when I think about when Ian was six and my kind of more explosive emotional freight trains. My emotional freight train is now more subtle but It is, like, equally as discernible for the people around me, right? Like my irritability, my annoyance, my emotions get in the way, and I get snappy, and irritated and hurtful. And it showed up yesterday, I realized I needed to eat, I needed a little bit of time away. Once we got to where we were going, I was fine. But the emotional free train continues to be something that is a daily practice for me. That self awareness, that accountability, that response, flexibility is still something daily, that I work on leaning into things that have helped, and we're gonna get deep into this later on in the series are my self care routine, how I choose to practice coming back to my center, coming back to my essence, coming back to who it is that I want to be how I practice stillness, right kind and firmness, which we'll talk about, you know, is a pillar of positive discipline. But yeah, I mean, reading this chapter reminds me that the EFT is a part of who we are. It's a part of our experience, but it doesn't have to run the show. Right? And we can learn and get better at paying attention to the indicators that show up that let us know that we're there. So what do you think, right, as you listen to this, and that story about mn, knowing that you've got, you know, tweens and teens, where are you finding yourself nodding your head and like, Oh, yep, yep, yep. Yeah, I know that experience, right. And notice, it's not so much about their behavior as it is about our response, and what happens to us in response to their behavior. So that's really what this is all about. And that's what the podcast is all about. So it's not really anything new. We're going to just look at it through the lens of this sweet little book that I wrote all those years ago. I am so grateful that you're on the journey with me. And yeah, we'll get into chapter two next week. The title of chapter two is what exactly is happening on your emotional freight train. So that's what we're going to explore next week. Have a beautiful day. I'll see you soon.

Casey O'Roarty 22:30
Thank you so much for listening. Thank you to my sprouted partners, as well as Chris Mann and the team at pod shaper for all the support with getting this show out there. Don't forget, get your free companion guide to this series created to expand your learning and your own copy of the book by going to be spreadable.com/j C book. I'm so appreciating you and I'm here to support you and your journey of parenting tweens and teens. Find me on social media or shoot me an email at Casey at joyful courage.com to discover how we can work together. Tune back in on Monday for a brand new interview, and I'll be back with another solo show next Thursday.

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