Eps 394: SOLO SHOW Making room for our older teens to practice independence

Episode 394

Showing up today to tease apart an email from a mama of an older teen. How do we maintain relationship, AND expectations, AND room for independence and practice with our older teens? I dig into all of it in this week’s solo show.

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Takeaways from the show

  • The Joyful Courage mamas request for help
  • How to parent when our kids are over 18 but still at home
  • Co-creating expectations
  • Reframing chores and helping out around the house
  • Thinking about the purpose of curfews
  • Letting school be theirs
  • The importance of PRACTICING freedom while still at home

Ahhh, today Joyful Courage is accepting the feedback and being with the fact that I am not always my teenagers favorite person. Joyful Courage is course correcting, making the pivot, biting my tongue when I become aware that I have been coming on too strong.

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kids, teens, parents, work, home, hold, talked, expectations, grades, school, tweens, share, feel, podcast, behaviour, closer, conversation, space, independence, relationship
Casey O'Roarty

Casey O'Roarty 00:04
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 routable. 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 01:32
Hey, everyone, welcome back to the show. I'm so excited. I get to hang out with you today. How's it going out there? It's exciting times over here. I've been mentioning this a lot. And in my newsletters and here on the pod. It's the end of the school year. That's the season we're in over here. And there are a lot of fields that are coming up for parents. I'm hearing it from parents, my community. I'm seeing it online. Kids and parents moving into this summer transition is Yeah, it's good times. It's challenging. It's all the things right. For me, I'm just kind of tripping out that my son just finished his junior year that my youngest kiddo is moving into his last year of high school, his last year that he'll be home with us full time. It's so crazy. This one is totally college bound. So I know that unless something drastic happens over the next 12 months, this is an appropriate expectation that he will be leaving the nest. What a time. What a time of life for our kids. Right. I have vivid memories of the summer between my junior and senior year of high school I went away to camp. I was a camp counsellor at my beloved Catalina Island camp. Oh my gosh best time. Best sleepaway camp and I waited all year, every year to head back I was 16 years old. Between my junior and senior year, I was really aware that I was heading into this last year of high school. I was so excited. And I felt pretty grown up. Right? Pretty grown up even as I was kind of on the younger end of my peer group. And some of you have graduates this year. Some of your kids may be turned 18 over their senior year. And as our kids get older, there's definitely this tension right of oh, I'm 18 now so I can do what I want.

Casey O'Roarty 03:41
Right, that mindset from them. And then our mindset of well hold up, you still live in our house, you still live under our roof. And there can become some conflicting mentalities. Right, some conflict that shows up between our kids really pushing out and us really kind of trying to pull them in. And it can feel like an either or, versus a both. And so I got a message at Spotify, we do have this opportunity for people to write in questions, and we use some of the questions for blog posts or for podcasts. And I got a question from a mama and I wanted to bring it on the podcast because this mom definitely is experiencing that tension. And so I wanted to tease it apart here on the show for everyone so that we can kind of play around and roll around in how to be in relationship with our growing teens getting closer and closer to young adulthood, while continuing to hold expectations and boundaries in the household which can feel really tricky. So here's what this mom wrote. She said, here's this

Casey O'Roarty 05:00
situation, my son will be turning 19 One week after he graduates from high school in June. So I'm guessing he's probably enjoying a birthday right about now. So he's been 18 his entire senior year, this has become a problem because he wants to exercise his newfound independence and not care about school, challenge us on his curfew, have no chores and be able to come and go as he pleases. All of this is compounded by his bad attitude rudeness to as reckless driving poor choices, here are our expectations. One, as a family, we shared the chores around the house, it's been like this for years. We feel like it's just part of being a family and living in the same household. Number two, we think that since he's working and going to school, being out with his friends, three nights a week is reasonable is Friday, and Saturday curfews, 12am weeknights, his 10 his grades are suffering. Okay. So now here's my question, says the mama are these too many restrictions? He's really challenging us by saying he's depressed because he can't hang out with friends. We feel like he's trying to manipulate us. Should we be stern and hold our ground? What kind of consequences should there be? Thank you for reading. I want to start off by saying I have not talked to this mom. There's lots of things I don't know about the family dynamic. But I'm going to do my best in sharing what comes up for me when I read this question. So I want to start with the idea that once our kids are 18, they get to do whatever they want. And we have no control. Right? So it's so funny, like 18. I mean, it's just hilarious to me that that's like, now you're an adult, like 18 year olds are babies, their children, like, they are still so young. And so even though we do send them off to war, and they can do crazy things, once they're 18, it doesn't really line up for me with like, you know, their ability, their emotional intelligence, their experience of the world. Anyway, that side note, let's kind of dig into this idea. So first of all, we didn't have control to begin with, right? What we have is influence and that is directly related to the relationship we have with our kids.

Casey O'Roarty 07:18
Okay, I'm gonna say that, again, we don't have control, whether they're 16, or 18, we don't have control, we have influence and influence is directly related to the relationship that we have nurtured over time with our teens, we think we have control. Because sometimes when we hold things like the phone or the car or allowance hostage and dependent on our kids behaviour, well, it can feel like we have power over them. Even then we don't, all they really need to say is, you know what, keep the phone I'm out of here to let us know that this is a short term tactic. Right? Once our kids move into 16 1718, we really should be moving into a co creation of expectations and agreements with them. Like, hopefully, we've been doing that all the time, right? Because that's just what we do in positive discipline, we co create. But really, this becomes really important in the later teen years. There are behaviours and choices affect us and them. This is how we get to hold it. This is where we get to say, Hey, what is important to you to create and achieve in your life, right? while also holding space for here's what works for us as a team or a unit. Right? And you are you teenager, you're a part of this team.

Casey O'Roarty 08:42
So the co creation really is around helping our kids decide, and figure out and look at what is important to you. Right where you want to create, how do you want this to feel and be while also holding space for conversations around the hole? Right? There's the me and there's the we Denzil calls it, the muy putting both together. Also, we parents get to up level our expectations and move away from thinking that our teens should do things because we tell them to and move towards a more authentic mindset around courtesy and contribution because we all live together. Right? And all of this requires conversation and deep listening on our part, more listening than we're probably already doing. We really need to hear what it is that our kids want and what's getting in the way. And yes, they want their independence. And it is getting increasingly more important for us to offer up the space for practising independence.

Casey O'Roarty 10:00
As time moves closer to them leaving the nest,

Casey O'Roarty 10:05
right. And independence is not the same as entitlement and complete neglect and dismissal of the people that you're living with, that's not a part of independence.

Casey O'Roarty 10:23
Keep in mind, they've experienced us making up all the rules until now. Right, they've experienced us having the final say, and doubling down when we feel like those rules aren't being followed. Even those of us that are really committed to positive discipline and to co creation. You know, over time, most of us, many of us have also held sway as far as like, I mean, I'm thinking about myself, okay. So practising positive discipline is always my goal. And, yeah, at the end of the day, if a note needs to be stated, I will state the No. And that's that, right. And now I've got these kids that are 17. And 20, I mean, the 20 year olds out of the house, but if I want to be a no on something, I have to have a really quality reason. And even then, I've got the 70 year old who's gonna push back, he's gonna negotiate. And while sometimes it feels like, Oh, my God, are we negotiating? Again, like, I'm over this, just take the now. At the same time, what do I want for my kid, I want my kid to be able to negotiate, I want him to feel confident. And to state what it is that he needs. I want him to push back, right to push back and to fight and to advocate for himself. And that's really what he gets to practice with me. So there you go. Good times. Keep in mind, also that our kids, you know, they've experienced us throughout their whole life. So it makes perfect sense that they're pushing back against that as their days of freedom approach. Their behaviour makes sense. And as they see their days of making their own decisions and choices on the horizon, right, one day, I'm going to get out of here, I'm going to be on my own, their eyes are more open to the ways that we may be trying to tie them down. And they can experience that as dismissive, disrespectful, not valuing them being out of sync with what it is they want. And this is a hard place to be. And it isn't necessarily in their consciousness. It's not like our teens are like, you know, I mean, I feel like we're just a drag, right? That's really how it manifests for them. My parents are such a drag, and they don't want to be around us. And they feel like we're always on their case. Right? So it makes sense that as we're trying to navigate this space of freedom, within structure, right, and giving them space, but also holding them accountable. It makes sense that they're irritated. And it can come across as rude towards us, and really not wanting to spend time with us. So again, behaviour makes sense. It's important to keep that in mind. So let's get back to the rest of the Mama's share. So she says, as a family, we share the chores around the house. And it's been like this for years, we feel like it's just part of being a family and living in the same house. Yes, awesome. Yes. This is encouraging to me to hear contributions are something that has been the fabric of this family, right? What I would also encourage all of us to do is to hold the mindset that we live together, we contribute, right? We live together, so we contribute to the space that we share. I would also say that as our kids get older, we're shifting into more of a roommate situation when it comes to chores and contributions, and really how we treat each other. So really come at it from that mindset. What would a roommate consider logical expectations? So you could have this kind of combo with your kid? Hey, babe, I know you're one foot out the door. And we totally get that you're ready to jump the nest, and it's a super exciting time of life for you. Our job at this point is to hold space for you to practice being on your own. Right, our job is to create a place where you get to practice being a good roommate. So what does that mean to you? What does being a good roommate mean to you? Right and then ask him about what he thinks a roommate should be responsible for. My thoughts on this would be like, absolutely clean up after yourself. You don't leave your shit everywhere. You're willing to help out with dishes or clean up on a project or a meal that you've been a part of you do your own laundry. Right that is what is courteous to the other people that share the home with you, right

There may be a list to choose from like vacuuming once a week or emptying the dishwasher or taking out the garbage. But this needs to be a conversation that includes him and isn't dictating what he has to do. It's really like shifting from, you know, the dynamic of your child in front of you and the finger being pointed in, here's what you need to do to like coming alongside him and taking a look like here's our shared reality.

Right? Here's our shared reality, what makes sense? What makes sense as far as how we are treating each other, and treating our space? Right. The mom also writes, we think that since he's working and going to school being out with his friends, three nights a week is reasonable. His Friday and Saturday, curfew is 12am, weeknight is 10pm. So School's out at this point. So I'm a little bit late to this question. But I want to talk about curfew. And I think I've mentioned on the podcast, I've definitely talked about it in my newsletter, we are actively having this conversation in our house, I want my kid to have a lot of repetition, with thinking about what he's got going on what he needs to do the next day. And then considering what makes sense for him to come up with, I want him to think about sleep, you know, I want him to build up the consideration muscles, I want him to think ahead and make his own decisions before he's out on his own without, you know, a parent telling him when he should be home. So right now, it is expected and kind of alive in our house that he shares what's going on, he shares where he's going and who he's going to be with. And that's just how we roll over here. I don't know that I necessarily made it a thing. Like, we have to know all the things. It's just kind of how it's come about. And Ian lets me know what he's planning on doing. And I asked him what time he's going to be home, depending on what the thing is, you know, like, I'm going to share in a minute, he went to like a party in the woods, and I knew there would be drinking, I knew there'd probably be some pot smoking. And so we talked about that we talked about staying safe, and you know, making choices that were good for him, right? So when he tells me about what he's going to do, and I say, Well, what time do you think you're going to be home? lately? He'll say for some things. He'll say, well, when do you want me to be home? And I tried to pitch it back to him and say, Well, what do you have going on tomorrow? What makes sense to you? What's going to support you and getting enough sleep. And you know, I might say a time and then he'll say a time and then we'll figure out something that works for him. The beauty of this exchange is that the idea of thinking about the next day, and getting enough sleep is embedded into the conversation. I want him like I said, I want him to get used to these considerations. As he inches closer to being out there on his own. And a year he will be 18 He will be thinking about going away to college, you know, there's going to be all sorts of fun, exciting things that he's going to get to choose to do while also

being in school. So I want him to really practice being with all the things and making the best choice for him. My hard line? Well, before I get to that one of the big lessons, right, I think this is important to state, one of the big lessons is not getting it right is having too late of a night. And then the following day feels a certain way because of lack of sleep. giving him the space to connect those dots and having those experiences teaches him what he wants to do that next time. And maybe living through the tire day, is what he chooses if the event or experience that he wants to have the night before is a big enough reward. So keeping that in mind, too. And how many times have we done the exact same thing? Right? I've gotten to midweek concerts and have to show up to work the next day and it's brutal. And I had a great time at the concert. So it's about accruing experiences to make evermore informed choices. Right.

My hard line though, is knowing when he's going to be home and having him follow through, right, because that's safety. We recently had a situation just this last weekend where he went to a party in the woods, knowing there would be no cell service. We knew that too. And he committed to coming home at a certain time. Great. And then his car got blocked in and he wasn't home until really late. Like he says he got home at 3am I was awake at 145 He was supposed to be home by one he wasn't home yet. I couldn't see where he was. I couldn't text him Why did text him but I knew it wasn't going to go through. I had

To all the dead in a ditch scenarios, I knew there was nothing I could do in that moment. So I went back to sleep, I woke up at five, I looked at my phone, I still couldn't see his location, which was really scary. So I got up and I peeked in his room. And sure enough, he was in his bed. I did wake him up and said, What did you get home, I was so scared. He said, Oh, we got blocked in the woods, we couldn't leave bla bla bla. And then I left it because he was asleep. And we talked about it later in the day. So this was a problem for me, because I couldn't reach him, I couldn't see where he was in my head went crazy. Once he woke up, and we talked more about it. He was really receptive and remorseful about what had happened. And I, you know, I just think about my own experience as a teenager and how much I lied and stuck around and never told the truth, and has been a kid who has been really forthright and really open a conversation. So when we had that talk, and he was like, I'm really sorry, and I couldn't believe it when we got blocked in and I believed him. He told me, he had two white claws, he wasn't the driver. I believed him, I trust him. And I feel like this is another experience for him to put in his back pocket. Right?

On to the share from the mom. So one of the things she also mentioned is that her son's grades were suffering as well. So I just want to say, because I've done a lot of shows about this, I just want to say, we're in the summer, grades, grades are theirs, I know we want to be in charge of how they do in school. While we don't say that out loud, but we sure have expectations for what their grades are going to look like. And we see their grades as a reflection of so much more. And not all of our kids have the internal motivation of others, to pull really good grades and want to be top of class. Not all kids are like that. And they're going to be just fine. Most of us have kids that when they're interested in what they're learning, when they see the benefits of showing up and doing the work they do it. When I say see the benefits, I don't mean you telling them the benefits, but when they can really actually see the correlation of what they're doing getting them closer to what they want, their motivation is going to go up, right, their motivation is going to go up. So that's a big ask from schools. Right? The other shows that I have that I'm going to encourage you to listen to if you want to hear more about me talking about grades in school, and it being their work, I have a great interview with Ned Johnson Episode 242, nurturing a self driven child's, I have a solo Show, Episode 292, it's being present with your teens school discouragement, and then just recently, Episode 385, where I talked about school avoidance, with Jane Dembski, also a really useful conversation. So that's really all I'm gonna say about the school and grade stuff. But again, we have influence when we have relationships with our kids, and when we have relationships with our kids, where they're willing to sit down and talk to us and let us know what's going on. Right. And we can stay neutral and curious. And really support them and hold a space and a container for them to connect their own dots. That's the goal, right? So the listener then writes, so here's my big questions. Are these too many restrictions? He's really challenging us by saying he's depressed because he can't hang out with friends. We feel like he's trying to manipulate us, should we be stern and hold our ground? What kind of consequences should there be? Thank you for reading. Well, Mama, thank you for writing in. Here's the deal.

I love the word manipulation. I love it. When parents bring this up, we get so worried about figuring out if our teens are trying to manipulate us that we forget, or we don't really see all the ways that we parents are really working to manipulate them. The rules, the consequences, the if then this is all manipulation as well, getting them to do what we want. Right? And it makes sense that they've learned us over time, right? They have learned us over time. They are working best they can to live the life that they want to live, and they know us. And they know what to say and how to say it so that we will loosen up and hear them. Right. And for some kids in some dynamics that might look like manipulation. But it's how they've learned to be with us. So really, what I would encourage all of you to do is to keep peeling back those layers and getting to the realness of relationship and the core of where you're at with your kiddo. There may be there often is some cleaning up to do around how things have been handled in the past. Write messages that perhaps were hurtful to your teen, they'll tell you what those were I promise so that you can see

really be in a safe space where you can come to an understanding around what you both need. Right? You might need to make amends, there might be things for you to own are 1617 1819 year olds, they should have freedom, they should have a lot of freedom. They need the practice so that they aren't totally going off the rails when they leave us, right. I mean, I was definitely a kid that went off the rails. And I could have used a lot more practice with freedom prior to leaving home, right, and we should be continuing to nurture a relationship that allows us to say, hey, you know what, I'm noticing some stuff that I'm concerned about. And I'm hoping we can have a conversation. The consequence, that is the most powerful at this age is taking a real and honest look at if your decisions are helping you or hurting you. Right, that is going to be the most powerful thing that our teens can do. And what happens is we've created a dynamic where parents insert themselves into that process. And teens then get to put all of their angst towards their parents. They don't have to sit with an honest look about their decisions, and the effect it's having on their life. They get to sit inside of being pissed at you, because you just don't get it. Right. So sit next to them and curiosity, in neutrality and non judgement, so that they can see the outcomes of their choices beyond how maybe they're disappointing or challenging. Yeah. All right.

That's what I've got for you. That's what I've got for you. I hope that was useful. I hope that's helpful to the mom that wrote in thank you again, as well as for all of you that are listening. I'm with you. I'm walking beside you as we move in to the summer. And please, do not listen to this episode and hear me saying hey, you know what everything goes, do whatever you want. This is not about being permissive. This is about being realistic, connected and helpful to our teens that are moving ever closer to being young adults. If your kiddos are younger, if you have like 1415 year olds, middle schoolers, listen to what I'm saying here. And know that this is the direction you want to head in. So work on relationship work on CO creating agreements and expectations. Now with your younger tweens and teens, so that as you move towards these older teen years, you feel ever more comfortable around opening things up a little bit. Okay.

If you have questions or challenges that you'd like for me to tease apart here on the podcast, I encourage you to go to www dot beasts, bro audible.com/ask-us and fill out the form there your questions might be picked for a future show. That's really fun. All right. So as we close out, I invite you to take some breaths.

Nice, big deep ones. Close your eyes, visualise your teenager, your tween ager and all of their light and all of their glory. And trust that they're going to be just fine. You're gonna move through whatever challenges are currently alive in your relationship. You're going to move through it.

And everybody's going to be just fine. I'll see you next week.

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 BT spreadable.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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