333.5: When you feel small, helpless, and afraid, listen to this.

(FYI: about 10 or so minutes in, I use the word “jackass” once or twice… it’s not enough for an E-rating, but I want you to be aware just in case you want to listen away from sensitive ears.)

Hi Friends,

I had planned for, and drafted, a very different kind of post today for you (I got about a dozen spider bites while sleeping Saturday night, and we’ve got a very large ant invasion going on in our kitchen; my abandoned draft was largely about these.)

But as I wrote I realized how truly small and insignificant these concerns of mine are.

There is a lot going on in the world, and a lot going on in the news.

And I wanted to start the week off with a simpler message.

I wasn’t sure what that message would be, except somehow I wanted to transcend the fear, the worry, and the struggles that we are seeing in the news, and even in our own homes.

My family and I just finished virtually attending the closing ceremonies for the year at my son’s school, and the Executive Director George Popham teared up saying the following:

“If there’s one important thing we should be doing, it is to put good, kind people in the world.”

Immediately I knew that that was the message I wanted to share. Continue reading “333.5: When you feel small, helpless, and afraid, listen to this.”

318: Parenting-Style Smackdown

Welcome! To listen to today’s episode, scroll down to the very bottom of this post and hit the triangular “play” button. Enjoy the show!
Recently an NPC member brought up a hugely important issue, and it sparked a whole line of thinking for me that led us to this video!

Here’s the issue: “It would be interesting to hear some data/facts on how harmful NOT disciplining your kids can be. So many times we focus on the negative effects of discipline – spanking, timeouts, etc., but what’s easy to forget is just how dangerous it is to take a backseat parenting your children.”

So let’s have a parenting-style smackdown:
Which is worse, Passive or Dictatorial Parenting?

The winner is… Both!
The worst parts of passive parenting – the lack of boundaries and having any expectations about our children’s behavior – and the worst parts of authoritarian (which here I’m calling dictatorial or autocratic) – exerting control, simply for control’s sake – both amount to a kind of neglect.

  • The passive parenting amounts to neglect because it is terrifying for children to not have any boundaries or expectations for good behavior.
  • The authoritarian parenting amounts to neglect because in this style, no thought is given to the child’s experience, thinking, or ability to reason.

What should we do instead?
We should try to hit the middle of the spectrum. Somewhere between the extremes of Passive, and Authoritarian, lies Authoritative, also called Wise. It’s the kind of parenting that will help you raise healthy and happy kids.
“The children of psychologically Wise parents,” Angela Duckworth writes in Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, fare better than children raised in any other kind of household.”

We dive into all that today!
I hope it helps you garner the courage to make any necessary changes in your parenting style.

Links and notes at: weturnedoutokay.com/318
Special thank you to the ninja parent who asked this question. I hope this helps <3

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I just wrapped up a series on “Kids gone sideways,” all about what to do when with meltdowns, disrespect, and potty training challenges…
Useful stuff!
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Today’s episode is sponsored by the amazing Janine Halloran, expert in teaching kids coping skills, who has created some great resources to help your child handle it when the going gets tough!
Listen to today’s show to find out how to get 15% off your order, and then
Click copingskillsforkids.com/okay to check out Janine’s Coping Skills for Kids Cue Card Decks.

Continue reading “318: Parenting-Style Smackdown”

Kids and Autonomy

“What did I care [about the future], if in the here and now you were alive, and well, and happy? I never dreamed that I would have such a person on my hands.” – Albus Dumbledore

My oldest child, Max, always hated timers.

From when he was really small, whenever I would set a timer and say “you’ve got two more minutes,” it sent him all to pieces.

He’d spend those two minutes staring at the timer, and crying as often as not. He just could not forget about it and go back to whatever he was doing.

I think it was just the idea of this clock ticking down: Tick. Tick. Tick.

So, we stopped using them very early on. It was not worth the struggle, especially as he did so much better when I would say “you need to be all done with that in two minutes” without the timer.

And then, in his tweens in early teens (he is 18 now, and has given me permission to share this story), Max confronted the scourge of the alarm clock.

He hates coming and going to the dictates of an alarm, an alert. It’s just too much like a timer for him.

But even though it’s like nails on a chalkboard, he has figured out how to use it.

He’s also figured out how to schedule his life, so he gets to class, and work, on time.
He gets himself and his brother to school on time.
He even schedules and gets himself to his own haircut appointments.

In short, Max is a very responsible 18-year-old.

A fact that I failed to see, and which has caused much conflict in our home as we try to figure out how to live together, 3 adults in one house.

“I need more autonomy.”

Early in the year Max asked for a meeting with his Dad and I.
He scheduled it to tell us that he wants “more autonomy.” He wanted us to help him figure out how to get that autonomy.

Together, the three of us figured out a system that would work.

And it was working, until I went and screwed it up this week by getting too worried.

I started obsessively tracking: what time did he get in last night?
How long did his alarm have to go off this morning before he shut it off and got up?
Did he eat anything before he left the house?
Would he get to his destination on time?

In talking to people whose opinion I really respect, such as my therapist, I decided it would be best to take a hard line:
“Max, don’t make your Dad and I ratchet back the hours you’re allowed to use OUR car.”

To us – maybe to you – this sounds eminently reasonable.
What I was really saying was “keep towing this line… Keep showing me you are safe. That’s how you can have your autonomy.”

But what Max heard and felt was very different. He felt that he could never just be private, keep his own hours and do what he wanted to do.

It turns out he felt that his Dad and I didn’t trust him.

So, what did he do about his feeling that we were keeping too many tabs on him?
Did he “show us” by staying out too late, deliberately?
Did he rail at us, and shout and yell?
Did he swear and scream and throw things?

He did none of the above.
Instead, he did something that showed me how truly grown-up he really is:
He kept bringing it up with us. Even through tears and his obvious frustrations, even through his anger with us and his feeling that we don’t trust him.
He kept his part of this conversation open, and (maybe most importantly) he kept upholding his other responsibilities.

One thing that really resonated: he said “roommates don’t tell each other where they’re going and when they’ll be home.”

I suddenly realized, he’s incredibly trustworthy.
He doesn’t drive while intoxicated.
He keeps himself and his laundry clean.
He cheerfully chauffeurs his brother around.
He contributes to the chores around here.

Max engages with us in conversation even! He spends quality time with us. (To me, this is the most important one.)
He enjoys the banter around the dinner table, and loves to go really deep on a whole bunch of topics.
Max and his girlfriend came out to celebrate with us over the weekend, because younger brother Jay scored his first-ever soccer goal.

All this really came to a head in our most recent discussion just this morning. While we spoke I remembered how much he hated timers as a boy.

Max hates anything that he feels is a restriction on him.
And he always has.

This is so completely different from the way that I think. I like the security of a finite amount of time!

I like knowing when something will end, and when it will be time to move on to the next thing.

It never occurred to me that somebody would not like that.
But the next thought that followed logically was: just because you don’t want somebody looking over your shoulder, you don’t want to be timed, does that make you a bad person?
Does it make you untrustworthy?

Of course not.

As soon as I realized all this, like just a few hours ago, I knew what I needed to do. I needed to ease up on the restrictions that Max felt were most egregious, mostly about continually being in touch via text message.

I realized that I needed to change my current relationship with him. He’s no longer a child.

He’s a trustworthy man, who can be responsible for his own schedule, sleep, and life. I must support him in that – but not by monitoring.

“I never dreamed I would have such a person on my hands.” Albus Dumbledore said those words about this child that he loved.

But when he said those words, the child was no longer a child. And in that scene Dumbledore’s mistake (as he shares with Harry) is the mistake of an older person, trying to control a younger person by messing with his autonomy.

I wanted to share the story with you today, because you may have a child who hates timers.
Or not – maybe it is you who hates the timers, and your child loves them. And maybe you cannot understand that.

Even if you don’t understand your child’s preferences, do your best to keep those lines of communication open.

Because someday your child will be no longer a child.

What’s up on the podcast this week:

If you’ve ever struggled with less-than-quality childcare, whether in daycare or in a school setting, today’s episode is for you!

Because you are not alone. I’ve been working closely with people whose childcare providers do inscrutable things – one mom tells of an “aggression journal” her 3-year-old son’s childcare teachers are keeping about him! – and another who found her most recent parent-teacher conference frightening and overwhelming.

Which is why today I’m bringing you, in audio format, the class I taught just last week, all about “How to get quality childcare.”

Click the link below to listen:

What’s up on my YouTube channel this week:

Extending on this theme, the live YouTube (I do one every Thursday) is called
“3 crucial factors for quality childcare”
Check out my YouTube channel by clicking here.

What’s up in the We Turned Out Okay Facebook group this week:

Each Monday at 10:30 a.m. EST, I do a superquick Facebook live that I call “Magic Words for Parents”… And this week I share one single question you can ask a child care provider, in order to ensure that your child is getting good quality childcare.
This, and all the back episodes of Magic Words for Parents are available 24/7 in the We Turned Out Okay Facebook group, so  click here to view or (if you haven’t yet) join!

Wishing you a wonderful parenting week,
Karen of https://weturnedoutokay.com

Continue reading “Kids and Autonomy”

Want successful kids? They’ll need this. | Podcast Episode 268

If you’ve been listening to our Successful, Fulfilled Kids series (of which this is part 7), I know you’re implementing some great tactics, like making sure your child does chores, and doing something besides “parenting.”
But today’s episode gets into a concept that is really key.
It’s a mindset shift that parents need to make, if only to show our kids what is possible.

Yup: we’ve finally come to the topic of Grit.

Listen in to find out why it’s important and how you can make sure your children have it!

Go to weturnedoutokay.com/268 for:

  • A cheat sheet on Grit
  • Key links from today’s episode
  • The video of the week: Off this week! Returning March 28

And thank you so much for listening!

How to Get Quality Childcare: Free Online Class!

– The keys to finding the best child care for your young child
– To avoid one crucial factor that can derail your efforts to find good childcare
– Which questions to ask – and which not too – to assure your child thrives in others’ care

We cover this and more in the FREE online class I’m teaching on Thursday, March 28!
Sign up today – even if you can’t be there live, the replay will be available for several days after.

Get the best child care for your kiddos by taking this class, for free! Sign up here and I will see you on March 28: )

Continue reading “Want successful kids? They’ll need this. | Podcast Episode 268”

Firmness or Flexibility: which is more important in parenting? (Podcast Episode 225)

Welcome! To listen to today’s episode, scroll all the way down to the bottom of this post and hit the triangular “play” button. Enjoy the show!

Maybe you have said to yourself,

when you’re watching a parent fail miserably to bring a recalcitrant child under control, “that will NEVER be me. I pride myself on order and discipline in my house!”

Or, maybe you’ve heard snide comments from teachers or relatives about your child “ruling the roost,” and it’s frustrating because you don’t want to be a disciplinarian. That’s not why you had kids, to order them around!

So, which is it? Do you need to be firm? Or do you need to be flexible?

Listen to today’s episode to find out!

For notes on this episode including:

– The answer to this dilemma of flexibility vs. firmness
– The sign-up for the 3 Secrets of Happy Parenting FREE online class, which distills everything I’ve learned into 3 simple lessons for true enjoyment of this parenting life
– Key Links and every back episode of We Turned Out Okay

Go to weturnedoutokay.com/225.

Thank you so much for listening! Continue reading “Firmness or Flexibility: which is more important in parenting? (Podcast Episode 225)”