Eps 414: Joyful Courage Book Club – Chapter Seven

Episode 414

Join me in chapter seven 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

  • Be willing to let the train go by
  • The importance of being present in the moment
  • Control is an illusion
  • Letting go is not passive
  • Learning to let go and trust our children
  • Boundaries that are not set in stone

Joyful courage today means being in celebration of the transition time and trusting that we will find our flow. Thinking about all of us that are sending our kids off to school this week. Expecting the wobble for a bit as we settle into routine.

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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 the 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 browsable.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, everybody, hi. Yes, what we have gotten to part three of joyful courage, calming the drama, and taking control of your parenting journey. Thank you so much for writing this out with me. This has been so fun. And I'm really excited to just be here with you for another chapter. We've got three more chapters to go. And, yeah, it just feels good, feels good to be here with you, and to be sharing and revisiting, really revisiting this book, this project that I had all those years ago. So the third chapter is called staying off the emotional free train. You know how if you go to a popular hiking trail, it is worn down and typically pretty easy to follow. It's so easy that you can have a conversation with your hiking partner, you can look at the trees and the plants around you taking the beauty and maybe even let your thoughts wander. It's nice, right? You don't have to think too much about each step. while hiking. Have you ever looked around and noticed the game trails, you really see it up here in the Pacific Northwest because the forest is so dense. The game trails are the barely there in dense in the forests that indicate where animals have been and where they like to travel. If you've ever tried to walk a game trail, you know it's tricky. You have to watch each step carefully and think about where you put your feet, it becomes challenging to try to talk to your friend or look around at the scenery, you might even trip a couple of times stumble and fall, you might even need to bring a machete to clear the way. But every time you choose to walk that game trail, you wear it down, right you make it easier to follow each and every time the more often you choose this path, the more familiar it becomes I think you know where I'm going with this. And when you stop using the old path, it grows over and becomes a part of the forest again. When we try to learn something new, it's a lot like wearing down the game trail. Only we are creating a new pathway in our brain. At first it can feel really tricky. You are drawn back to the familiar way. It's what you know. It'll feel like hard work to find your breath in the moment to let go to allow and be with your emotions. It's frustrating. It takes practice. This is what the final section of this book is all about Cree Eating a practice that will help you notice the train as it pulls into the station, and help you choose to do something differently to choose a different path than the one that has worn down and familiar. And really, you feel like this, it's really not that helpful, right? We keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting it to be different. Time to do something new. This section is about taking personal responsibility for how you parent, it's about creating a practice to make this work sustainable. Sound good, right? We're on chapter seven friends. And the title of this chapter is be willing to let the train go by Oh, buddy. My gosh, right now, it's not so much my parenting as much as my partnering that I am being invited into this work. I feel like I'm a novice, again a baby. I met the beginning of being willing to do this with my partner. Anyway, as I have mentioned throughout this book, a particularly challenging era with my daughter was when she was transitioning into high school. Again, I didn't really realise what was ahead. But at this point, when I was writing, it was transitioning into high school. That was the hard part. Both of us were taken by surprise by how intense it was. After a couple of really hard weeks. I took her out for coffee after school one day, and I asked her what was going on. And then I listened. What she finally said to me was you and daddy, and in. You're all so happy. And you you you're just so perfect. As tears ran down her face. I was shocked to hear that this was her perspective. And I told her so I told you to eff off last week. True story,

Casey O'Roarty 06:56
not proud. How is that perfect? I said, she looked me straight in the eye and replied, yeah, but you always make it right. And then she burst into fresh tears out I can remember this like it was yesterday, you guys, I share the story to illustrate how we don't have to do the right thing all the time. Clearly telling your 14 year old daughter to eff off in the heat of an argument is not something I would ever advocate. But there is always always room for personal responsibility. And this is something that I take really, to heart, I really take the personal responsibility and owning it when I lose it to heart. And to me, this is a practice. This is what we commit to when we decide to parent with joyful courage. We own our shit, we make it right. While our children may find this incredibly annoying, we still do it. And in doing so we model a powerful life skill. That afternoon I said to my daughter making it right is not something I'm willing to stop doing. I am not perfect, far from it. But I will always take responsibility when I've been hurtful to someone else. She went on to let me know that sometimes I am ready to make amends before she is ready to go there. This was powerful information for me. I may be ready to own my own actions, but she may still be hurting and not ready to receive joyful courage gives me the humility, I need to take this feedback and let it inform and inspire my future interactions with her. So I want to say something about this story. Because I've learned so much about this tendency. Like she said this to me and I heard her and I let her know, I heard her. And even as I read this, I take this feedback and let it inform and inspire my future interactions with her. It was so hard for me to wait until she was ready to hear my amends. And when I really dig into that, and maybe this resonates with you, when I really dig into that, it was because I was ready to move on. I have a really hard time when people are mad at me or hurting like one of my mentors called me the feelgood fairy like I want everyone to feel good. I want to move on I want to move through, you know, I want to clear the air clear the space and be done with it. And, you know, it's really kind of disrespectful because it doesn't allow other people their process. And I did a lot of that with Rowan. When she was a younger teen, I just wanted her to be done with the mood. And it kind of a little bit became a place where she could weaponize that a bit and she knew even more so than I knew that this was about me wanting to move on. And then not even really about, you know, her and the experience she was having. And so to kind of, you know, poke me in the ribs a bit, she wouldn't receive my amends. And she'd get super pissed. And she'd say, I'm not ready get out. And it was really, really hard. You know, and it's showing up again in different relationships. And that's just a testament to the layers, that we get to peel back over and over again, in our interpersonal relating with each other, we get to keep learning about ourselves, right. And back to the book. All of this requires me to be in the moment and to be connected to myself, breath, body balcony, so I can hear what my child or my husband is sharing with me from a place of openness and non judgement, right. As we move into the final section of this book, I invite you to check in with yourself and explore what you're taking away so far, what is landing for you? What questions keep popping up? What is your inner voice telling you, checking in like, this is something we should always be doing. It allows us to be observing ourselves and our learning. It allows us to leave our autopilot at the door and to reflect on what is true for us in the moment. Sometimes, when we are learning something new, or just being humans, and trying it on for size, we expect it to be easy. And then when it isn't, we get all up in our head about what a failure we are.

Casey O'Roarty 11:38
I want to be super clear here. The goal with all of this work is to try to be better, to show up better for our children and the people we love. Never, ever is the message that if you aren't perfect, you're failing. If you aren't perfect, you're human. All right. Mistakes are a gift mistakes teach us so much about ourselves, and they highlight where we can continue to grow and develop, you won't always remember to find your breath, some days, you'll choose to stay in your head. And the conversation you have will be about your ungrateful little shit kids in your head, the balcony seat will sometimes only be an afterthought, when it's too late. And it's okay. What I do invite you to do each and every day is to be reflective, to be responsible, and to own your stuff. Because this matters just as much as doing the work to stay present, loving and available in the moment. And I really want to emphasise this. I mean, I think there are people that are wired. While we're all wired differently, right? Like I mentioned already, I'm really being challenged right now in my relationship with my husband, and the challenge is paying attention to my willingness to self regulate, before I open my mouth. And the challenge is to notice when I am expecting the external environment to meet my needs, instead of being explicit with myself about what it is that I need and creating that myself or being explicit with, you know, my partner around, hey, this is what I'm hoping for tonight. You know, this is what I hope we can make time for instead of being super bugged later on, when what I was hoping was going to pan out doesn't pan out. And he was never actually let in on what I was hoping for. So, you know, I am a believer in really recognising that we are a part of every dynamic that we are in. We are contributing to the dynamics that we're finding ourselves in, sometimes in small ways, other times in big ways. But we always have skin in the game, right? And this work, joyful courage, personal growth development is really about being willing to keep getting up when we fall down. I love it when Brene Brown talks about being in the arena, right? And these tight relationships that we have with the people that are closest with us. This is the arena, right? This is where we get to really decide who do I want to be for myself inside of this relationship. What is this relationship calling for? I'm going to talk about boundaries in a minute, I think but it's just a continuous spiral that we're on to keep learning and growing. Right? Okay, next section. control is an illusion. If you are a self identified control freak, I get you. Parenting for me has been The ultimate lesson in how to let go to realise that control is an illusion. What does it mean to let go? I have had a picture on the wall in my office that said, Whatever you can't control is teaching you how to let go. Well, God, that quote, I should write it down. I don't have it in my office anymore, but clearly I need it. I looked at this often and consider all the layers of letting go. This has been the biggest thing I've learned as a parent. In the end, if I control everything, how will they grow and develop into adults who can navigate their own lives. And yet OMG letting go is so hard. If I'm being totally honest, I thought I had the whole control thing under control. I really believe that I had dealt with it recognise my own limitations and moved on. And then my oldest sank into the teen years holy cow. Here's what I think is important to keep in mind as we learn to let go, know how to fill the gap. When we hold on to control we're holding on to something, even if it's an illusion, when you let go of control, you might feel like you're free falling, as though there isn't anything to keep you anchored. It's so uncomfortable, sometimes even straight up painful, because that's how it feels. And so we often snap back into our controlling ways, because we're too uncomfortable, not being the ones in control, or not having that illusion of control, we're too uncomfortable. And so we try to let go. And then we snap back to our controlling ways. It's just too scary, too unsettling, too unfamiliar, to not feel as though we have it handled. And this is where we can choose trust. Right trust is what we use to fill that gap to support us in the discomfort of letting go. And really, I think the biggest hurdle with letting go is letting go comes with uncertainty. Right? If we have control, and that can look like, you know, being hard asses with our teenagers or just speaking our mind with our partners. There's something about that, that I don't know, that offers up this sense of certainty. Like I'm going to fix this. I'm going to be in charge of this. And it's going to go my way. When we let go. We're also acknowledging and having to sit inside of uncertainty. Oh my god, uncertainty is the worst. I mean, it's not the worst, right? Because inside of uncertainty is the entire gamut of possibilities, right? There's a range of possibilities to every situation, all the goods, all the bads. And then like massive amounts of in the middle, right. And yet uncertainty to us can feel really scary. So yeah, we get to trust, redefining trust, we have to trust that our kids can handle hurt, disappointment and pain, we have to trust that giving them space to do all of this will teach them that they are capable, and resilient. We have to trust that our kids will learn from their mistakes. We have to trust that the relationship we grow and nurture with them is enough. We have to trust that staying calm, taking care of ourselves and avoiding the emotional freight train matters. I'm not suggesting we throw up our hands and watch our kids had down self destructive paths. Instead, I'm offering you the opportunity to relax a bit and to remember that life's lessons can be powerful when we're able to get out of the way. And I think it's really slippery. I'm just going to add a little bit here. I think it's so tough when our kids are on self destructive paths. I mean, post writing this book in the years that followed this book, my oldest was on a self destructive path. It was really hard, man. It was hard. You probably heard all about it. Last week I posted about it on social she was on the pod last week and giving an update. She's doing amazing now but it was hard. And while I didn't throw my hands up and just say okay, peace out good luck with your life. There was so much letting go I had to do because she was completely countering and you know, just pushing against any narrative that I had for what 16 1718 should look like, would look like might even should good, I don't know. And letting go was for me it was giving space. This is where we're at. It was maintaining relationship and connecting with her it was looking for the opportunities to have pointed explicit conversations, it was learning her better. And feeling her out more to know, the good timing for those conversations. It was resourcing her and supporting her with moving through and getting some perspective on the destructive path she was on. So letting go is not passive, it's active. If that makes sense. It's not. I mean, abandoning that's passive. That's what I think of when it's like, okay, bye, good luck, call me in five years, let me know how it all works out, you know, but letting go, we still get to walk beside them. We still get to be in relationship with them, even when you know, and I say that. And I think of the kids that are like, I don't want anything to do with you and slam the door and don't, you know, don't appreciate our bids for connection, even then, we can still show up. Right? And the relationship continues to be nurtured and how we respond to them. And what are the messages that we're giving them? Right, and how are we holding our own boundaries? So yeah, letting go. It's no joke. I

Casey O'Roarty 21:12
think I have other podcasts that are dedicated all to letting go. Let's put letting go and trusting into perspective. I'm going to share wisdom that was shared with me by my dear friend and parent educator, Sahara. Pirie. Sahara is a positive discipline lead trainer, and has been working with parents and parent educators in the Seattle area for close well over 20 years, she created a visual that puts the whole conversation about boundaries into perspective. And I think boundaries is something that lives inside of this conversation of letting go and trust. And then I want to say a little bit more about boundaries. Kids typically come to us as babies, right? Whether we birth them, adopt them, foster them, not always. But let's just assume, you know, our kids came to us as babies. And we hold those babies close. We nurture them, feed them take care of them, we might wear them in a sling or a baby carrier. As they grow into toddlers. We keep their environment safe, putting away things that could hurt them, we allow them more room to explore while keeping a watchful eye. We watch them navigating the world trusting that with practice, they will find strength in those wobbly legs, and eventually learn to go up and down the stairs. We give our preschoolers even more space. While still under our supervision. They may learn to use more tools explore a little further out into the yard. We offer them trust and encouragement as they waved to us from the top of the big slide on the playground, we may catch our breath. But we know it's important for them to know what they can do, and to begin to trust their own judgement. As our children move into the school age years, we look for opportunities to teach, model and practice the life skills with them. We support them in problem solving with friends and siblings. We love them through their losses and celebrate with them through their wins, trusting that they will hear the message around the importance of doesn't matter if you win or lose. It's how you play the game. The middle school years take our children out of our protective cocoon. They move into a new era, and they may not always share with us what's going on. It's the worst right? It is hard and appropriate. Self awareness becomes ever more present and might look like self consciousness, that's for sure. And the perception of their peers takes on greater importance. If our children haven't invited us to let go yet. It often shows up here. And then our kids morph into something new. The high school years arrive. The boundaries we have set are still there, but they have expanded. Our teenagers show up to those boundaries with ladders, pick axes, wire cutters, eager to pull and push and to learn from the experience of experimenting with where the boundaries hold firm and where they give Holy guacamole.

Casey O'Roarty 24:25
I know there are all sorts of variables in the timeline I just shared, where we live family systems choices and the kind of schooling our kids receive. But through it all, we must learn to let go and trust our children. I have learned that I trust you never to do anything stupid or risky. does not make sense. And it sets me and my child up for failure. Teenagers are wired to do stupid and risky things, no matter how much we track them or monitor them. Thank you smartphones, like every generation of teens before them in including us, they will find ways to engage in the stupid and the risky. So what I now am working on, and continue to work on, is trusting that my children will learn from their mistakes. I trust that they don't need me to point out all the places where they're getting it wrong. This is really hard, especially when I'm emotionally triggered, and feel a loss of control, and want to point out those places to them. So I choose to practice the three B's, finding my breath, dropping into my body, and taking the balcony seat to get more perspective, I practice letting go. And I practice trust. Our children are on their own paths. They need us to create boundaries and guidelines, yes. But they also need us to give them room to explore the world. And they need us to stay calm and not freak out. When they inevitably screw up. Our children need us to choose in to our practice. Yeah, there you go. Chapter Seven, be willing to let the train go by, right. So letting go trusting and you know, boundaries I just did a whole evening around boundaries with my membership group just a couple of nights ago. And we did a deep dive into a bunch of different relationships and how boundaries either are or aren't used. And in the book just now, when I was talking about boundaries, it was really like the line of what's okay, what's not okay, it's kind of like in the same ballpark is what are our rules. But I think boundaries are so much more expansive than that. Right boundaries are? How do I want to be treated? Right? What's okay with me? Where am I saying? Yes, when I really want to be saying no, right? Where's that wobble? And oftentimes, when we're feeling a lot of resentment, which can happen in relationships, there's an opportunity there to look at where did I not set up a boundary? Because oftentimes, that's what can result in resentment is, you know, finding yourself in a situation that, you know, you're part of the dynamic. So you were a part of putting yourself in that situation, and looking back and saying, Okay, what could I have done differently? Where could I have set a boundary, and boundaries are so cool, because we get to model what that looks like, with our kids. And part of the conversation we had the other night, you know, we were talking about the experience of when our kids ask us to do something for them. And we just don't want to it's the end of the day, we're tired, we don't want to drive across town to you know, drop them off at their friend's house or whatever. And the conversation, one of the moms said, you know, I feel like I have to have an excuse for why I'm saying no. And it was such an interesting discussion around that. Because so many of us women have been conditioned to believe that right? That we're here to be in service. And to say no, is somehow being selfish. And then a funny thing happened. So I had this whole call. And we just kind of explored that and teased it apart. We talked about how important it is, you know, for our kids to see us set a boundary and that we don't have to have an excuse, or excuse can just be like, No, it's the end of the day. I'm home now. And something came up with my daughter at dinner that night, we were talking about something and she was talking about having to say no, when somebody had asked her for her phone number, I said, Well, you can always say like, No, I don't, you know, give out my phone number. And she looks at me and she goes, or I could just say no, and not have a reason, just like you were talking about on your call tonight, mom. And it was so cool for her to have heard that. And for her to remind me like, this is exactly what we're talking about. So yes, boundaries as the container or the space that we're holding our growing teens in boundaries also as how we're taking care of ourselves. And I would also like to say like boundaries as a container that we're holding our kids in, you know, that story that I shared from my friend Sahara, so it expands as our kids get older. It expands between 13 and 15. It expands between 15 and 16. It expands between 16 and 17. Right, it continuously expands and I gotta tell you, one year away from my youngest going away to college. And so the container that I'm holding him in is pretty darn big. Because he is going to be on his own a year from now. Did I already talked about this on the podcast. Maybe I did. Anyway, he's going to be on his own a year from now. I want him to Have so much practice with decision making, without having to get in the way with my imposed rules. Right? And of course, if you know, he has a weekend where he's not showing up at home until five in the morning, we're gonna have a conversation about that, that doesn't feel safe, how is he communicating with me, but the idea that I'm letting go of curfew, I said it, I'm doing it, it's a declaration, I'm letting go of curfew, and instead really allowing him to feel into what he's doing. You know, what he's got going on? That feels really good to me, for him to be able to practice. So boundaries, you know, shift and change, they're not set in stone, those boundaries that are the containment boundaries, what can be set in stone is like, what are you willing to do? What are you willing to not do? How are you willing to be treated? Right? And I know a lot of you out there, because I work with a lot of you out there have kids that are pretty verbally? What's the right word? Pretty awful. Right? And the backtalk? And I'm, you know, it's not okay. Right? And what is okay is to be having conversations with your kids outside of the backtalk moments and say, like, wow, things sometimes get really heated between us. And I'm not okay with how you talk to me. Or maybe that's not the best approach. Things get really heated between us, or there's a lot of emotion. And I know, I say things that I don't mean, and I know that you say things that actually feel really hurtful to me. So can we come up with a plan on what we can do when you're feeling discouraged? I'm feeling discouraged. And that doesn't mean having this conversation, it doesn't mean that then everything's perfect. And they follow through, probably they want because they're teenagers, and they forget, and we go back to what's familiar, we go to that familiar path, right? The game trail is hard. The game trail is hard. So when we create a new plan with our kiddo, and then the same thing happens over and over. It's because we're on the familiar path, it's beckoning. It's hard to stay off. It's easy. It's what we know. Right? It might not be what is useful, but it's what we know. So keeping that in mind, and continuing to come back to let's try that again. I want to be in relationship with you, you matter to me. Right? And I don't want to say hurtful things. And I don't want to receive hurtful language. So how can we do this? How can we make this better? Right? What do you need? Oftentimes, when our kids are in that backtalk, and reactivity to us, there's a lot of hurt there. So that might be something to dig into a little bit, maybe some baby steps at first. Anyway, staying off the emotional freight train, set the name of the title of the chapter, being willing. Now that's different, being willing to let the train go by. So noticing, noticing when the emotional freight train is pulling in, doing your work. Trusting letting go right, remembering your own boundaries. Let that train go by revisited another time, take care of yourself. Breath body balcony. That's what I got for you. This week, my friends, chapters seven, let me know what you think. Also, if you want more info on communication with your kiddo, check out this week's interview that came out on Monday was really good with Dr. Letterman, about nonviolent communication. That's what it is. We talk all about nonviolent communication, and it is a really great conversation. I'm excited to dig in more. All right, have a beautiful rest of your week and weekend, and I'll talk to you soon. Bye.

Casey O'Roarty 33:59
Thank you so much for listening. Thank you to my sprout double 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 in 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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