207: How to not be a permissive parent

Sometimes when listeners write to me, fun things happen! 🤪

 

Listener Diana replied to a recent email because she had listened to quite a lot of my episodes (although more of the earlier ones than the recent ones) and she was generally on board with my approach.

 

But she was having a hard time! Despite doing a lot of things for her children, and trying to remain calm and ‘unruffled’ and show that she loves them unconditionally, but as pretty often when she asked them to do something they sometimes scream at her for offering to help, they attempt to boss her around, and they’re inflexible and rude.

 

So what’s going on here?

 

Have we (finally) met children for whom my approach simply does not work?

 

Of course, as soon as I received Diana’s email I wanted to talk with her. She gamely agreed to come on the podcast, although she did want to protect her privacy so there’s no video for this episode.

 

We talked through the kinds of situations she often finds herself in, and some of the reasons why her daughter, in particular, might be acting this way. It turned out that in her indecision, Diana was drifting into permissive parenting, which meant that her children didn’t know her needs – because Diana didn’t know her own needs.

 

We identified quite a few practical things she could try to consider both her own and her children’s needs, and there’s also a message in the episode that Diana sent me a week after we talked, sharing how things were going.

 

Setting Loving (& Effective!) Limits 

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Jump to Highlights

00:48 Introducing today’s guest and topic

08:58 Diana reflects on challenges with implementing a respectful parenting philosophy and navigating differences with her high-sensitivity, high-intensity child.

13:14 Diana shares parenting struggles, negotiating with her kids, and feeling disrespected in their interactions.

26:51 Diana reflects on supporting her daughter during dysregulated moments, while Jen illustrates the importance of context in understanding behavior.

31:12 They address Diana’s daughter’s need for predictability and resistance to sudden changes.

46:58 The dialogue emphasizes the importance of understanding and articulating individual needs to avoid permissive parenting while ensuring both the parent’s and child’s needs are met.

01:00:57 The conversation highlighted the importance of understanding underlying needs behind a child’s behavior, leading to a shift in perspective for the parent.

01:06:00 Three actionable steps for listeners to implement the concepts discussed

Transcript
Emma:

Hi, I'm Emma, and I'm listening from the UK. We all want our children to lead fulfilled lives. But we're surrounded by conflicting information and clickbait headlines that leave us wondering what to do as parents. The Your Parenting Mojo podcast distill scientific research on parenting and child development into tools parents can actually use every day in their real lives with their real children. If you'd like to be notified when new episodes are released, and get a free infographic on the 13 Reasons your child isn't listening to you (And what to do about each one), just head on over to YourParentingMojo.com/subscribe, and pretty soon, you're going to get tired of hearing my voice read this intro so come and record one yourself at YourParentingMojo.com/RecordTheIntro.

Jen Lumanlan:

Hello, and welcome to the Your Parenting Mojo podcast. A few weeks ago, I sent out one of the regular emails that I send letting parents know about the latest podcast episode. And parent Diana responded with quite a long message that wasn't really about the episode, which was fine. I'm going to read you her message so that you have some context for the conversation on permissive parenting that follows. So she says, "Dear Jen, your podcasts has been the strongest philosophical influence on my parenting strategy of any resource and I'm grateful. I followed your early episodes eagerly. I deviated from the philosophy basically only in so much as I found it sometimes better to be following my gut intuition than any philosophy at all. My kids are in general doing great. They're capable, wonderful, joyful kids who relish their autonomy, and often creatively work with us on problem solving when we need to do so. The only criticism I have felt from the very beginning and still feel is that it's easy to slip into something that resembles permissive parenting. And my kids sometimes act frankly spoiled when they're not acting respectfully back in kind to me. There's limited recourse. I'm supposed to express unconditional love and always maintain unruffled calm, right? But what about when they scream at me for offering to provide help? What about when they attempt to boss me around and are inflexible and rude. When I try to initiate problem solving, I have insisted that I have feelings or needs to yet still frequently also experienced little consideration. I've demonstrated generosity picking up after their mess and asking for help at an amorphous next time quite repeatedly in the gulf between unruffled calm certainty and always being open to discuss and reconsider rules, lies a sea of conflicting messages. My elder kid aged seven now has always been high sensitivity and high intensity. We do our best to talk about our emotions and teach resilience yet we still get an intensely dysregulated kid at the slightest slight. There's a part of me that feels this has all been very wrong, that we are embodying instead of moving away from problematic weird norms. The coping with not being in control of everything as kids might be training for the reality that we are not in control of everything in life ever. Sometimes life's in fact, a b*tch. And it's better necessary, in fact, to figure out how to remain calm, even in the face of other opinions of adversity, have limited options, to face adversity head on, to learn to lose to face fear to put others before yourself at least sometimes. It's hard to know when these things become developmentally appropriate expectations. It's hard to insist that they be respectful back and simultaneously express that unconditional love even if they fail to self-regulate, to even perhaps generate some kind of artificial graded adversity to simulate what I expect they may face in the coming era, despite the ridiculous ease of their current circumstances, to decide if there is a real important problem here, or just my own fears for their future. I wanted to share these thoughts as feedback and where I struggle with your guidance. Please let me know if there's a particular resource on this that you'd recommend. Please note, I did certainly consider enrolling in Taming Your Triggers for support but just do not believe that is the solution for everyone such as me that actually had a great childhood. I don't think triggers are at least my major problem. Thank you for all that you do, Diana."

Jen Lumanlan:

And when I received this email, I immediately wrote back to Diana and I said, "Hey, do you want to come on the podcast and talk through all this?" And she agreed, although she did want to protect her privacy so that's why there's no YouTube video for this episode. The reason I was so interested to talk with her was because what I heard in Diana's message was firstly, she's clearly trying so hard. She's using a lot of the tools, but there's a really big missing piece. I had a feeling it was going to be that Diana didn't understand or articulate her needs. And it turns out that was actually what she was missing. It was complicated a bit because she describes herself as quite indecisive, so she's often willing to let her children make a decision so that she doesn't have to do it. But just because Diana feels indecisive doesn't mean she doesn't have needs. So she ends up going through a lot of her days not understanding or articulating those needs, which means her children don't get to practice meeting Diana's needs as well as their own when everyone is regulated. Then things break down when Diana ask them to do something, And they resist because her needs haven't been met for so long. She's already dysregulated And finds it hard to cope when they use words or a tone that don't match her expectations. I actually want to start out this episode by sharing a message with you that Diana recorded for me a week after we talked, after the ideas that you're about to hear had percolated a bit.

Diana:

Hi Jen! One week has passed since our conversation, and I wanted to share my reflections. There were two big takeaways for me. One was the moment in the conversation, when you said very confidently that permissive parenting will be the result, when a parent doesn't know much less try and meet their own needs. I think that there is a lot I could do to try to become and show up as the best self I can be a role model for my kids. And so I'm motivated to work on that component. The second part was letting go of the judgment. So of course, there's judgment that goes into identifying when you want to work on improving something. But when you really want to partner with other people, with my kids with anybody, to figure out solutions moving forward, you really have to get on the same team and work together on it and bringing judgment to that space is only going to sabotage it. So I really appreciate those insights. I think being intentional about thinking about all this has helped shift the amount of good to negative interactions in a very positive way in this last week. And I really appreciate your time, and openness to hearing me out and brainstorming with me about where I am in this parenting journey. And thank you so much.

Jen Lumanlan:

So we're going to hear a bit more about this permissive parenting that was happening, even though Diana thought she wasn't being permissive. But the really big thing I want to point out here is the role of judgments. You might have noticed a judgment or two in her initial email to me when she said her children are spoiled, and inflexible and rude. And seeing that judgment is really helpful, because it tells us I have an unmet need here. And maybe my child does, too. Then we can do a bit of digging by ourselves to find out what is our need, and with our child to find theirs, then Diana is absolutely right, that when we bring judgment into that space, it's never helpful. It's the difference between me saying to my child: Your room is a mess, get it cleaned up. And me thinking to myself: I'm noticing that my child's room looks really messy to me. And that judgment tells me I have an unmet need. What might that need be? Maybe it's for competence as a parent to know that I'm teaching her to take care of herself. Maybe it's for safety as I walk across her floor, because I don't want to step on Legos. Maybe it's for partnership and collaboration to know that we're on the same team, and then going to my child and saying I'm having a hard time with the toys on the floor in your room, would you be willing to talk about trying to find a way to meet both of our needs on that?

Jen Lumanlan:

Diana was being very permissive and giving of herself because she said she was a go with the flow kind of person. But then she would get overwhelmed and go into you're not respecting me mode. As you're listening to the conversation, I'd encourage you to think about ways that you're not showing up for yourself on a regular basis that is leading you too far toward permissive parenting, which is then so scary that you pull back really fast and become over controlling.

Jen Lumanlan:

Okay, here we go. I'm not sure what we're going to talk about today, which is both fun and terrifying. So we are here with a special guest, Diana. So Diana, if you want to just start by telling us a little bit about yourself, and then we can kind of you know, talk about how this episode came to be. So who are you? Where are you?

Diana:

Absolutely, yeah, I am a mother of course, and a medical doctor. I live in New England with my husband and our two kids. They're seven and four. And I've been listening to the Your Parenting Mojo podcast since my first was a little and so very excited to be here today.

Jen Lumanlan:

Awesome. Thank you. Yeah, that was one of my questions, actually was how long have you been listening? So you get a sense for that. And so you reached out to me recently, and I think you're just responding to a random email, right? It was, you just picked one of my emails that I sent recently, and you hit reply. And the gist of it seems to be yes, I've listened to your podcast for so long. And I'm on board with the ideas and I've tried a bunch of these different things. And I'm kind of not digging the way things are going some of the time. Do you want to tell us sort of a little bit more about what you're thinking when you when you send that message?

Diana:

Yeah, to be perfectly honest, I didn't really expect you to reply. I sort of was in a moment of oh, just needing to think my thoughts through about and now here we are. It was totally spoiled. No, thank you so much for taking the time. But I think I've been implementing these sort of general philosophy for so long. I will admit I was a much more avid listener at the beginning. I found like my notes on each of your first 50 episodes. And I haven't been quoted as avid listener more recently. And it's always important to think to step back and reflect on how well am I implementing this strategy. Is this still right for me or this philosophy, rather, not strategy? And so just doing that in this last week, since I first emailed you and thinking a bit about where I really am and what my questions are, has been actually very helpful. And I'm sure it'll be good to just think further through it together, too.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah. Okay. So what prompted you to send that email? Right. Why? Because it was it was not a short email. It wasn't longest one I've ever received. It had some thoughts in there. So what led to that?

Diana:

Yeah, yeah, my. So I think that I've always had a little bit more of a challenge so far with my relationship, and my parenting strategy with my first child. And so since then, is when I've been constantly revisiting, like, what's going on here, because I think I'm just very different in terms of who I am, compared to who she is. And so that creates a little bit of a challenge for me to just recognize and appreciate our differences. My mom describes I was a placid baby, and I was just always go with the flow person throughout my life, I'm not very decisive at all, which is a certain challenge and parenting and then have an ability to just be like, this is the way things are gonna be and we're gonna move forward from here. I'm, I'm somewhat high sensitivity to so I do sit there, share that with my kid. But I'm also 100% introverted, and so I really need time to myself. And so then in contrast, my daughter, I think, is probably extroverted, I got a good sense, she's very high sensitivity. And she's also super high intensity, that everything is also either a joyous high or a horrible, and there's not much room in between where I want to be. So I'm sort of finding that appreciation of the wonder of her joy, and letting her experience the whole breadth of who she is, without it being something that weighs on me after I've also come home from seeing patients all day. And I'm sort of like, I could use some time to myself now, but there she is, with a lot of emotion to share with me. And, and she's my both my kids are doing great in general. They're healthy, happy kids, for the most part. But I think the thing that I represented to you that I wanted to work on is that both of them can be pretty disrespectful to us is as parents. And so I feel like I've had this respectful parenting philosophy for all this time of trying to make sure I treat her like a whole person. And yet, I feel so often not to get that same respect back. And I think that it's challenging to walk a very fine line in terms of letting them have all these big emotions. And yet, at some point being like, well, you still can't scream at me for trying to help you. So that's where I constantly run into trouble.

Jen Lumanlan:

Okay, thank you, that definitely illuminates things. And I'm just making some notes on what you said. So and that was right, the reason I wanted to talk was because I think you're not alone. And I think there are other listeners who are in a similar boat. And I figured that through this conversation with you, we could support some other listeners as well. And so I came up with some goals for this conversation, like, what do I want to get out of this conversation? And I asked you to come up with some as well. And so my goals were sort of basically firstly, so that I can understand more about how you think what's going on in your mind. Right. So that helps me to understand people who are listening to the show more. And I guess related to that, I want to have listeners who are kind of, you know, in the same boat as you experiencing similar things as you maybe learn some new tools that they can put into practice And try. And then I mean, in terms of the conversation with you, what I want to uncover is some more about your values, right? What's important to you as a person? What's important to you, as you live your life? And how does that translate to the interactions that you're having with your children every day, because it can feel kind of crummy when those things are really disconnected. And it tends to feel good when those things are fairly tightly connected. And so I want to try to help you to make those things more tightly connected if they're not already tightly connected no. So so those are my goals. What are your goals for being here today?

Diana:

My goal is I think are to continue to explore if I'm handling this situation well. How I can improve when I run against issues with her and also I think it is about time to just sit down and have a conversation directly with her about you know, the respectfulness of our interactions with each other and planning how that interaction might go for me would all be helpful for me with my own parenting and I do think I have some values or ideas about society that are different from yours and that have that might be interesting to bring into this because the way we run our families does obviously Interplay a lot with what we want for the wider world. Yeah.

Jen Lumanlan:

Okay. So how about we start there then, right? So tell me what's important to you, right? What are some values that are important to you?

Diana:

So my husband and I made a list when our kids were little that our values that we hatched out what we wanted were curiosity, integrity, respect, mindfulness, loving and health. Those

Jen Lumanlan:

Integrity.

Diana:

Respect, yeah, mindfulness, loving and health,

Jen Lumanlan:

Loving and health. Okay.

Diana:

And so I still have I like, I agree with those values. I think the as I mentioned before, the respect part is where I feel like we've had trouble. So we can delve into that particular one a bit. Yeah, yeah.

Jen Lumanlan:

What does respect mean to you?

Diana:

Yeah, I think it's treating other people as you'd want to be treated is one simple definition. And so I think there's many ways of looking at that what it would mean to treat the other person with respect, but I think it's having also consideration for the people around you to in all of your interactions with them. And that, I think, somehow, in the way I parent, it's easy for my kids not to really treat me with that personhood.

Jen Lumanlan:

Hmm. Okay, so so just to dig a little bit deeper into that. What do you mean by not treat you with personhood?

Diana:

I think one of the challenges is that anytime my kids don't like the way something is going, that I'm willing to negotiate it right, and then not negotiate, but we're trying to always meet everybody's needs, right? And so we're trying to figure out, what is it you exactly want? And what is it I exactly want, then how can we all get it? But that means that anytime you propose something to happen on our family, like we're going to, you know, literally yesterday, we're going to go to the Museum of Science. And my daughter was like: Oh, I don't want to do that. Everything seems to get rejected. And it was not like a nice, no, I don't want to do that. It was like: Why do you make me like, something pretty harsh? And then, you know, I just had to be like, well, we'll go, we'll see if we like it, I'm pretty sure to like it. But if you if we hit it, we can always leave too. And so she was agreeable to that. And we went. And she had a great time as I knew she would. But the reality is, is that because every time I propose one thing, I'm willing to negotiate on it. I feel like that there's this sense that better options might get presented if they just always redacted everything.

Jen Lumanlan:

So you gave an example of the Museum of Science already. And you also said this is not one thing. And so it seems maybe that example is kind of stands for the whole enough that we can kind of work with that. Or maybe there's another one you can think of that is more

Diana:

Like a few more started like snippets, just to start to get a good picture, I guess, dynamic And talking about, you know, like, for example, I also like last night made baked potatoes for dinner. And this is something that my daughter likes a few months ago, last time we had it, but it's been a while. And then when was on the table, you know, she's like: Ah, this is, you know, I don't want to eat this. And you know, my response is like, well, I'm at, you know, that I'm happy to work with you on finding a dinner that you do want to eat, but you need to have some dinner and you know, then she says: Thanks, sweet. And it's like, well, it's like a little bit derailed. And the the, the my problem is not wanting to eat the baked potato, right? It's just the screaming or whining or moaning as the first response as to how to approach that and feel like we've so many times worked through talking about, you know, that we can find a way forward together. That it's surprising that there's that degree of offense at the first solution not being a good one. And then there is plenty of examples, but I will say that I think there was one time so this it's been like kind of a pretty clear month of like, in some ways. But in any event, there was one time when she really got just very distraught. And I literally had to just like hold her and cuddle her for a while afterward, you know, and it was after in the setting where she felt I think a little slighted by us and I think that I you know what I listened to I really liked your episode on What really matters in parenting. And like at number one, it's like that we have to feel seen and appreciated and loved and so one thing I've reflected on a bit is that I went so far in the direction of not saying good job and praising her behavior that I think maybe I don't even do it when it's appropriate, as opposed to, for a sort of a way to shape behavior. It's not the Pavlovian response I'm looking for but I want to let her know, right that I do think she's a wonderful child. And so somehow, maybe finding ways to make that more obvious and just sit down and talk about that more often might be appropriate and important to do for her. So that's definitely one thing that I came to, as I thought about this most recent time period, and maybe why she's having trouble is that it will be you know, as much as we tell her every single night, I love you, no matter how much like no matter no matter what like that, that doesn't always translate into knowing that that's the reality if it's a sort of a rote thing. So looking for opportunities to just validate her, I guess, might be actually important.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, potentially. And I think the one challenge there could be that, yes, if it is sort of this rote thing that you just say every night, then the shine can kind of wear off after a while. And then I'm also thinking about the potential discrepancy that she may be hearing more broadly, right when she has this big reaction to something and you don't like hearing that big reaction, right. And so there's sort of a difficult interaction. And it seems you said, she's a very intense child. So I'm guessing these things are potentially happening multiple times a day. And so there are these difficult interactions multiple times a day. And I think back to I got trained with levels one and two of the Gottman method for couples coaching, and one of their big ideas is, you if you're you want to be in a relationship that feels really good, you want to have five positive interactions for each "negative" interaction. And so you know, five sort of validating interactions for each, each sort of, you know, and obviously, they're talking about couples, but we can think about sort of limit setting and in punishment, if we're going into if we're going into punishment, but something that doesn't feel good to, you know, one or other person in the party in their relationship. And so if these sort of these big responses that you're getting from her are happening fairly frequently, I'm wondering where you are in that five to one ratio. And you know, the end of the day is sort of trying to slide one in right before she goes to bed.

Diana:

Positive one.

Jen Lumanlan:

That maybe that that ratio is a little bit off from where it where you might want it to be, what do you think? Yeah, I

Diana:

think that really, that ratio is definitely not there. And it's not hardly the other way, either. You know, we have great times together, we sit around And read books, And she loves it. And we do all sorts of things she likes. But there's also plenty of times that it goes the other way too. And I think she does know that we don't appreciate those responses. And on the same level, that's I think, John, my big point is, I think that's okay, too, right. Like there's, it's almost like it reminds me of when you're thinking about babies trying to sleep And they're different cries And people talk about trying to learn their different cries, because sometimes they're really, truly distraught, And you should respond to them. But other times, they're just sort of manipulate essentially, like they, they want you to just rub their back a little more, but they could learn to do it for themselves. And they feel like i My perception is is that she's such a wonderful actress that like that's a potential future career path that And she gets so much attention from us by you know, purporting to be not okay, so much of the time that we've caught up to that And we want to help tell her no, it would be really better for you if you did self regulate yourself some of the time. And that's an important life skill that you really need to work on. And I think hold I think for all people, right, we need to be able to hold those two things in our minds simultaneously that I am totally loved. And I am totally enough. And I'm okay right now. And also I have room for growth.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, so I think that's a helpful place to play, right, is that there are times when she is completely dysregulated. And when she has a harder time, you know, maybe controlling her reaction. And there are times when maybe she is more able to control it, And maybe it's more of a decision. So let's take those separately, right, because I think those are very different. So let's start with the times when, when she is really dysregulated, when when she's having a hard time maybe she's screaming at you mentioned a time when you can't scream at me for trying to help you. And so maybe maybe she is really dysregulated there. And I want to bring that back to the definition that you gave me of respect And also something you said earlier about the differences in your personality. So I want to tie some of these themes together. So when you just find the respect, you said you said that you define that as treating others in the way that you want to be treated. And when you introduce yourself,

Diana:

They would want to be treated into it And in case they The difference though, yeah.

Jen Lumanlan:

That's where I'm going with this, right? That's where I'm going with it is that when you introduce yourself, you said to me that you are a sort of, you know, a highly sensitive person, And that you are also very introverted, And you need time by yourself. And that she is a highly extroverted, very intense person. And so if we are sort of wanting, if we see respect, as you should treat me the way that I want to be treated, rather than we should treat others the way they want to be treated, then there's sort of a little bit of a disconnect there between what our value is, And what we're actually doing with our children. Right. And so what I'm hearing you say is that when she is screaming at me for trying to help her, that that is, quote, unquote, disrespectful. Yeah. Is that an accurate interpretation?

Diana:

Sometimes it's, I think, sometimes is, as we've said, you know, sometimes she's screaming And crying or crying because she is just really feeling an intense emotion And I want to support her And appropriately feel your feelings. And then other times she, you know, when she screamed, it was I don't want this baked potato. It's like, well, I made you dinner. And you don't ever say that. Give her that. And that's kind of fine. But at least Could you not scream for making you said dinner? Right. And so there is a time And a place when it feels disrespectful. Yeah.

Jen Lumanlan:

Okay. Okay. So so since we're working with the, like, the times when she actually is dysregulated first, right? So how do you support her in those times when she is really dysregulated? And maybe she's screaming at you, right? Maybe maybe the end result is the same. Bill screaming at you? How do you support her in those moments?

Diana:

Yeah, I mean, of course, is variable, depending on how we got there. But there are times that she really just does need a little bit of time And space to just cool off. That's one thing that we've definitely felt found to be true for her is that sometimes leaning in And saying more things is very detrimental to the situation And that she she needs just a little time And space to process. Whatever is happening, that things didn't go her way that time. But then after that initial moment that usually she does that And want a little bit of reassurance And just touch of like, connecting, reconnecting And, you know, reassurance that we still feel everything's fine And whatnot. after that. I think in in those moments, I think those but I would say I feel that those are the minority of the time that she's truly deeply offended or emotionally hurt or dysregulated in a way that seems like it's severe, or really external or to what she's what she's portraying. Okay,

Jen Lumanlan:

okay, so then if I can translate that what I'm hearing you say is that the percentage of time when she's actually genuinely, really dysregulated is relatively small. But more of the time, it seems as though she is speaking to you in this way, because she's making a choice. It's

Diana:

been a successful strategy for her so far in life. Okay.

Jen Lumanlan:

Okay. All right. So let's, let's go into that piece, right. And so I want to play a little a little, like a, a game to try And illustrate some of this. Right. So if I was to say to you, you know, Dan, I think you're just wrong about this, right? I do. I just think you're wrong. You're not saying this, clearly, you don't know what you're talking about. And if you've, if you actually listen to the more recent episodes of the podcast, you would see that right that there are different ways of interacting, that would be more beneficial. So how would you describe the way I just spoke to you? I'm dismissive. Sure, yes. Disrespectful. Maybe? Yes. Yeah, okay. Sure. Okay. So what I want to do here is just sort of, to illustrate the idea that the labels that we put on these things are not necessarily about the words that are spoken, right. If I was to come to this conversation And say, well, actually, you know, my, my husband just learned that he got laid off this morning, And I have no idea how we're going to pay our bills next month, And I'm feeling scared And distracted And overwhelmed. Right. And so if I explained that to you, what would be different about how you perceived the outburst that I just had? Right,

Diana:

then it gives you the context of knowing that where you're coming from was not about me And our interaction at all, really, it was about something different.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, it was about something that happened in my life, right, that there isn't really anything to do with you. And so the the hypothesis that I want to raise is that perhaps there's something similar going on for your daughter, And that we put this label of disrespect on it right. You initially use the word dismissive And the way that I spoke to you And then I said disrespect if you agree that yes, It probably was disrespectful. And so you put that label on the way I spoke to you, because you perceive that a certain set of things was happening with me. And then once you knew different things were happening with me, all of a sudden, it didn't seem dismissive And disrespectful. Right, then so when? Okay, so yeah, I can see you're having a reaction to that. Let me pause And see. See when that reaction is?

Diana:

Well, there is some sense in which the comment you specifically made still was dismissive or disrespectful. I just cannot understand why that wasn't not taken personally. Right. Yeah. And so I think that that makes a lot of sense. And we should all look for those opportunities to realize, okay, this isn't actually about about this right now, this is about something else. And absolutely, some of the time, that's true, And all of our communication with one another. It's not always about what it seems to be about. So I think it's definitely right to look for what, you know, what is really going on in my own, in my daughter's mind, in my mind, what are each of our needs. I love that framework. But then also there is a fundamental relationship between us that is the fabric of all these different interactions that are sometimes problematic to

Jen Lumanlan:

Okay, sure. So let's, let's take that one step further forward, right. Is it possible that? I mean, I know you work out of the house. Awesome, right. Also, if people don't work in the house, also awesome. You have been apart from her for a good deal of the day, probably by the time it gets to dinnertime. And so maybe she's had a difficult day at school, right? There was some rushing to get out the house in the morning, there was all day kind of being told what you're going to do when you're going to do it. And then she gets home And you may be rushing around to get dinner on the table And also trying to reconnect with her. And you're telling her Okay, baked potato for dinner, which she didn't choose. And yes, I'm not saying that you should be aligned, cook, And you should cook everything, once every night of the week. But it's sort of yet another thing that she didn't choose, right? Yeah, yes. Another thing that she was told this is what it's going to be this is how it's going to happen. And I'm just wondering if it's possible for us to perceive just as we made that shift, when I spoke to you, right, as you were able to make that shift? Is it possible that you could see that what she's saying is something And I'm hypothesizing here, right? Because I don't know her? I don't know her knees. But it could be. I wish that I had got to choose what dinner was because all through the day, people have been telling me what to do And when to do it. And I'm feeling tired And overwhelmed. And I just wish I could have chosen something that would be really delicious to me for dinner. Is that possible? Do you think it's a

Diana:

possible explanation? I, as I have thought about what she seems to need, And within the context of our particular family, I don't think that she needs more autonomy, only in the sense that And so I hear you, you know, could be something else. And it's interesting to think about what else that thing could be. I think that it's almost the opposite. And that ties in to the other thing that I was saying, where we've given her so much autonomy, right that this is a family in which you know, she's been dressing herself since she was able to pick up the clothes out of the drawer. And I'd helped her get it on her because he wasn't able to get it on herself at that point. And she has been making so many choices for so long. And every time we have a rule that she doesn't like we discuss it And think about, could we adjust this rule to make it a rule that you like, or if we have a plan, we're gonna renegotiate that too, if she doesn't like it. And I think that there is a sense in which I clearly have noticed that she actually seems to fare better when I have a little bit more order, And a little bit more clarity for her of expectations. And so And it could be because sometimes, you know, I am variable in the way that I respond to her And those different circumstances, right, because my needs are not 100% always met, And sometimes I can easily snap her And other times I'm like, Sure, what else do you want for dinner? So she doesn't know what she's gonna get? And what because we're all human. Okay.

Jen Lumanlan:

And I'm also hearing you mentioned the museum right at the beginning of the conversation. And she had a big reaction to that. Right. And I'm wondering if there's some sort of middle ground is because I'm, I think that she, she has some need for autonomy that may not be as high as some other children. And she also may have some need for like consistency And predictability. And those aren't either or. Right. So. So when you made the decision to go to the museum, was that was that a decision that she knew about? Like before the day it was happening, or did it happen? Like on the morning? It's like, okay, we're going to museum today.

Diana:

There were two different actually there were even two different activities that they both of which she knew about in advance and that she expressed some reservation about but not total rejection. And so maybe on that day felt like expressing more like I'm still not sure about this. Yes. Yes. And I had to, you know, sort of make sure and be clear that you're not being forced into these things. These are things that I paid for, for you that are very you-oriented again, and we'll go ahead and do them if you're okay with that. And so and then she wants to realize that she wasn't being told she had to do them. She was fine with it in that case. Maybe that is an example of her putting part autonomy into place.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yes, I think it may be. And also, she had expressed reservations about those things, right. And you said, you know, I paid for them, these are for you. And that takes us back, I think, to write loving people in the way they want to be loved. And sometimes we we sort of buy things for our kids, we set up things for our kids, because we think it's good for them. And we want them to learn and grow and develop. And they may have their own ideas about what that means, and have their reservations about that. And so I'm curious as to whether you knew what those reservations were had sort of talked with her about what those were and how she could address them. Like, I could imagine, you know, being in a big group, or how could we make that more manageable? Yeah, my daughter struggles with being in large crowded rooms. So if thinking about going to the museum, okay, yeah, great. I really want to go. Reservation might be but also I don't want to feel overwhelmed, right. And so then we're looking at not are we going to the museum or not, but should we take our noise cancelling headphones? Should we go make sure we're early in the day so that there aren't many people there rather than mid afternoon when we always know it gets really crowded? Right? So those are those are the kinds of things I'm thinking of, have do you looked at ways that you could address her reservations like that?

Diana:

Yeah, so we did for the other activity was like a artistic thing. And it was affiliated with a camp she'd gone to in the past. And it so she actually made that connection and was like, I didn't like that cam. So we talked about that, that it's actually a totally different location with a different person. And that, you know, and so we we talked through that, and I think that her coming to an understanding that it was probably very different than what she first imagined was helpful for her getting past particular. So

Jen Lumanlan:

So let's translate that to need, right she's looking for I mean, I don't know why she didn't like the camp. But maybe she didn't get enough learning out of it. Or she didn't like the teacher, she wanted to feel emotionally safe. She remembered not feeling emotionally safe last year, and now she don't, she wants to make sure that she does right in this camp. And so you were able to in a way without fully articulating her needs, or by saying, Oh, this is going to be very different from that you were able to sort of address her needs. And if we can get more clear, like why is she saying no to this? Right? What need is she trying to meet? Oh, you want to feel safe? Oh, you actually want to learn something about drawing in this way. And you didn't do that in the last camp, then we find ways to meet both of our needs. Right? So that's essentially what you kind of got to there by yourself without actually getting to the to the level of needs, you kind of got there implicitly.

Diana:

Yeah, I think she needed, she actually needed to know what to expect, again, too, he needed to have an understanding of what it is that we were really doing in more detail. And this one, she sort of got a little bit of clarity that this is a totally brand new separate thing that you need not connected with this other experience. And I also don't know why she did like that camp. But then she was kind of fine with trying it out to try one new thing.

Jen Lumanlan:

Okay, yeah. And for the museum, right? There are similar ways that we could address that right? Why does she not want to go to the museum? What need is she trying to meet by saying no to that? Is it the overwhelm like my daughter again? Or is it something completely different? Because she's a different kid, right? So it could be something entirely different. And if we know what that thing is, then we can help her to meet that need. While also if you're actually going to enjoy the museum, you think your other child will enjoy the museum? This is kind of a fun day out, then we can make it something that actually works for everybody.

Diana:

Yeah, absolutely. And that makes a lot of sense. And I think, you know, we do a fair bit of that negotiation of what are you hoping for? And what what are your needs? And often I think we're trying to listen to her about what whatever she has to say and read the implicit cues to and so then it just becomes a question of, you know, why why is that so often the reaction, though, is it is the skepticism towards that we're doing the thing that I'm pretty confident she'll like, actually, and she had a great time at both experiences. And, you know, really trying hard to do the things that she's going to want and meet all of her needs. And yet, I feel this like intense skepticism that, that that's correct. So it's an interesting question why that is to me, too.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah. So so what I'm hearing from you is that she really has a need for consistency and predictability and knowing what's coming. And then when she when she doesn't know what's coming. She often has a big reaction and and sort of the default way that that reaction come out, it comes out is "no." Yeah? All right, and it's a big "No." And frankly, I have a husband like that who I mean, sort of the default answer is always "no," whatever the thing is, if it's a request for me, from Carys, I mean, we got married, and we needed a URL for our wedding website. And I was like, what about hiker marries biker? And because I'm a hiker, he's a biker. And his first response is, "No, that's a stupid idea. I'm way more than a biker." And then four days later, our entire wedding is branded "Hiker marries biker." And so there has to be this kind of no first before he can kind of think about it and get on board with it. And then like, that's a good idea. And so I'm what I don't fully understand yet and I think you could play with this is, if she knew what was coming, would there be that automatic "no," right. It's possible that if she, if she had known that morning, is baked potatoes for dinner tonight, that there wouldn't have been that big? No. It's also possible that there were other needs that she didn't get met throughout the day. And just as we often exploded our kids at the end of the day, right, because we haven't had our needs met throughout the day, And we have little left in our tank, and we get to the end of the day, and they ask for one more thing and it's like, "No, no, you cannot do that." Whereas if we had been able to take care of ourselves throughout the day, we wouldn't get to that big "No" at the end of the day, right. So I do think there's more that we can do to understand her needs throughout the day. And then it seems like there are some people that just say "no" as their first response. And if we can reframe that just as we reframed earlier on when I was "dismissive" and disrespectful to you, right, the whoa, this is not the person actually rejecting this idea, this is this person is the first thing that they say is a comes out as "no" and what it actually means is, I need to think about that. Before I can be sure if it's right for me.

Diana:

That's not what I was expecting.

Jen Lumanlan:

Exactly, yes. I thought we were gonna have something else for dinner tonight. I wasn't expecting a potato. I wasn't expecting to go to the museum. And it's really disorienting for me to find this out at the last minute. And yes, I may even like baked potato, but it's not what I was expecting. Yeah, what do you think?

Diana:

No, I think that's I think that's probably true. I think she clearly does does better when she knows what to expect. And I, you know, I, I guess that, to the extent that I have, like a trigger or fear or whatever. It's largely this sort of fear about her future, right? It's not about anything of my past. It's about this sense of like, how can you reject everything? How can you be so flexible in how you're thinking about things, right? It makes it really hard for me to interact with you. And I do love you unconditionally. But it seems like when you go out there in the world, And you give everybody else like a "no," (but by the way, she actually doesn't). She goes off to school and her teachers, and she's actually like the easiest to get in there. So it's like, maybe I'm giving her the safe space to be saying that "No, I don't expect that from you." But also maybe, you know, maybe she does want something else from my relationship, too. And so I think it's hard to tease out.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, yeah. And it can be a little bit of both, right. And it also can be, you're the ones who are lucky enough to see her in the evenings that most people don't see her in the evenings. When all of whatever has happened during the day, right? Even if you go to the museum, you have an awesome time, maybe it was kind of loud and overwhelming, right? Even if I enjoy Museum, it's like being around other people is really overwhelming and kind of rattling and you know, maybe sibling is poking at her in the car or whatever. Somebody said, "No, you can't have that music that you want to listen to," or when and then we get to the end of the day, and it's baked potatoes for dinner. Right. And it's like one thing on top of another and the people at school see her when she's relatively well rested and has more energy in her tank, and you get her at the end of the day when she has less energy in her tank. So yeah.

Diana:

But, you know, the Museum of Science was like, first thing in the morning, we're gonna do this on a Sunday, you know, it's still like it that like, it's like the, it's when it seems like it's more situationally at home phenomenon, you know, throughout the weekends to? Like, I do think that it would be I would see that interpretation as a possibility. And there probably is some extent to which that's the case even she's exhausted from the week or whatever it is. Yeah, it's, you know, sort of just digging into what it like, what else could we do to optimize that? Like our home life is pleasant for everybody, essentially.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, yeah. And so I think the two big things to explore here are the, the idea of of giving her more consistency and more predictability and exploring the resistance when she does say "no," right. So on the consistency, predictability, maybe I don't know do you do meal planning in advance? Do you do you know what's coming? What your meals are for the week? Yeah. So you could potentially have a chalkboard or whiteboard or something where you write down the meals and there could be sort of a, you know, a scope for flexibility, like, oh, meetings run late today, and I'm not going to have time to cook the one hour dinner, we're going to have a 30 minute dinner tonight, right? There is not going to be this is what we're having. And there's no deviation from it. But in general, this is what you can expect. Right? And so then she would know, plenty of time in advance. We could potentially have conversations maybe on Thursday night or Friday night. Okay, this is what's going on this weekend. We've got so and so's birthday party, we got grocery shopping. What are some other things that we want to think about including so that this isn't a okay, it's Sunday morning, we're going to museum today. What do you think? Yeah, so that she has a chance to air the reasons why she might not want to go to the museum early, and then you can kind of address those beforehand so it doesn't get to a big Sunday morning explosion. And and so that she sees things coming much further in advance and can prepare herself for them.

Diana:

Yeah, and as you're saying that, too, as I thought about making the meal schedule, like I had some anxiety crop up for me where it's like, I'm realizing that I know all of this on some level. And I've tried to tell her what to expect. But I also actually am quite cautious and not tell her something that's not going to be true, because I know that I'll get the even worse. If it's like, well, she really, really well with me today, though is and how we're not going to have them because I didn't have time to make them. So you know, I think that both like that there is this benefit of having this knowledge of this is exactly what's going to happen that I do try to give you the heads up, she knew those activities were going to happen. She doesn't usually know what's for dinner, but maybe we could make that like we could put that down on in writing. But then I just I have this sense of also fear when and I guess it becomes apparent why that's a bit exhausting for me to to be able to give her all of that like expectation setting and then be able to pivot appropriately. When is it going to be able to happen?

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, yeah. So so I think you can have backup plans, right? So yes, we're gonna make changes if we get home by four o'clock. If we don't, we're gonna have this right. So maybe there could be sort of a backup, throw a pizza in the in the microwave, or in the oven or whatever, right. So that so that it's not, this is definitely where happening and there's no deviation from it. It's probably going to be this but if not this, is that right. And maybe it could even be if this would be helpful. I'm not saying you have to do this. But if there were sort of portions of a meal that is not a you know, a treat meal, but as a liked and tolerated meal that was in the freezer, and if it ended up being something that she found really difficult to to pivot to, that there could be the sort of known safe food in the freezer that was available with minimal work for you. Right? Again, I'm not trying to make out you should be aligned, cook and cook whatever she wants, at the moment that she wants it, but that there may be a way that she can have that predictability that she seems to be craving. And also that it not massively increased the work for you. Yeah. Yeah. So so that that backup food is one potential option. And then yes, you know, I had mentioned firstly, the ways to explore her, you know, providing more predictability and consistency as as a way of supporting her. And then the other piece is, is looking for her resistance, right, which right now is being expressed with these these very big reactions. And over time, you may see fewer of those big reactions when her needs for predictability and consistency are met. Right? But But whenever you are seeing resistance from her, that we can interpret that as, oh, I'm not sure if my needs gonna be me if I say "yes" to that, or my "no" my need is not going to be met. And maybe she doesn't know how to express that yet. Right. And so you're getting that big "no" in part because she doesn't know how to say I have a need for emotional safety and this is not meeting my needs. Right? Doing that is not going to meet my need. Because you mentioned you don't you didn't know why she didn't like the the art class last year. You don't know why she didn't want to go to the museum. All we got is the "no," right, we understand the know, but we don't know why the "no" was there. So when we can look at that resistance, then we very often find the need underneath it. And once we find the need underneath that, then we find a way to meet that need. Right? Does that make sense? Yeah, it does. you're pausing, right? What's what's behind the hesitation?

Diana:

I guess I I do have a little bit of reservation to it, calling all of these things in needs. I will say that too, in the sense that I and I've tried to lean into it a little bit and saying, you know, yes, we would need all these things if we wanted to be our most best, like our fullest, best self and that's a great aspiration and certainly something we should strive for and at the same time, like we've worked a little bit on different DVDs, something new and something that I just want and so always knowing exactly what to predict and the that it's the thing that she most wants are not necessarily meaning that that should be what the family does. Right? And so that's where I'm pausing.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yes. Great. Thank you. I'm glad that we got to that. So do you know what your needs are? Do you know what needs are really important for you?

Diana:

A lot of the time, some of the time, it's actually not probably something that I'm great at being somebody as I described, like, that's been very go with the flow, I think I, I also sort of lean into like a very anti-consumerist and whatnot sort of mentality. And I sort of talked to them all my kids a lot about, you know, you really don't need much to be happy in life. And that, you know, when you zoom into yourself, everything seems a burden. When you zoom out to the cosmos, it's unclear anything is important. How do we zoom into like the level of humanity of helping other people and finding meaning through life that way, and that's something we talked about as a family, and, you know, just cultivating an aesthetic of this stuff, or none of this around us really matters if our basic needs are met. And I can find peace and just existing as a human, that's like my best way of being. And I think for me finding that peace and equanimity is like, how I feel good and maybe that's not how she feels good, right? She is this other human being and I'm trying to lean into that, too. I'm saying, maybe you have this really high other joy that comes from this other place, and we'll figure that out over time. But yet, anyway, I've gotten a bit lost my train of thought, but yeah, so

Jen Lumanlan:

So what's important I hear I think, is when you say distinguishing between needs and wants, right? I pivot that language slightly and talk about needs and strategies. So we might have a need for I mean, let's take the art class, right, for learning and growth and connection with other people who are also interested in art, right? That those are needs that can be met by taking an art class. I'm taking my class as a strategy with there are other ways that we could meet those needs for learning and growth. We could do an online class, right. We could talk to a neighbor who who knows more about drawing than we do. There are multiple ways that we could meet those needs. And so so I think the danger about talking about needs and wants is we tend to get them kind of mixed up. And we say, well, if you've got food and water, and like a safe place to live, your needs are met, and everything else is a want, when actually her need for consistency and predictability is just as as real as your need for equanimity and frankly, ease right? Can this just be a little bit easier? Yeah, And peace and harmony and the other things that are important to you.Those are equally valid needs, and we can use different strategies to get those needs met? And so if you're not sure on what's the need, and what's the strategy, we actually have new lists available, YourParentingMojo.com/needs. There is a list of needs for adults. There's even a principle one for kids that has pictures of needs, so that you can like people interacting in a way that that defines the needs. So even for kids who were not reading yet, you can sort of illustrate what the needs are. And so when we work at the level of needs, then we find multiple strategies we can use to meet those.

Jen Lumanlan:

And I think you mentioned how you can sometimes be indecisive right. And I think that could potentially make it difficult for her to understand what your needs are. And so if you can pinpoint, okay, yeah, I really don't care which of these five strategies we use to meet my needs. Right now I have a need for ease. I would like thing for things to be easy. And I can imagine sitting on the couch with a book or going to the park with a book and you can play and I'm gonna listen to a podcast or you know, read my book or whatever, right? These are all strategies we can use to meet your need. But we're articulating the difference between those two is very important. And I think that that's where we get out of the idea of, well, she can't always get what she wants. No, she can't. But also, if you don't know what your needs are, and she doesn't know what they are either, right, she can empathize with you. She sees when you're feeling elated and excited. She sees when you're feeling down, but she doesn't know what needs underneath there. Because you don't either. Yeah. And so when you can get more clear about what your needs are, then you can say, yeah, that that strategy that you're proposing actually helps me to meet my needs. Awesome. Let's do it. Or I'm not seeing it right now. It doesn't feel ease and like harmonious to me to go to a bounce house for the afternoon. Is there a way that I could feel more ease about that? Maybe I could sit outside where the bounce house is right and you go in? So that those are the kinds of ways that working with knees is helpful to us. Does that loosen anything up for you in terms of that, that needs and wants peace?

Diana:

Yeah, I think the strategy the strategy is a whole separate component. I guess I would push back still little on that, you know, that is that is is a neat I have in that moment. You know, I I definitely am able to, you know, be okay, go into the bounce house even when I don't feel like it and are willing to do that for them sometimes. Right? And that's okay, actually. And in fact, I think that again, that you know, for us to all live together and get all of our needs met to the best of our ability, there are times that we actually compromise and don't have our most desire, need of exactly what we would want at that moment to be happening. And that's okay actually, it's okay with me for sure. and I guess I hope that it's also something that she can learn to grow into is a little bit more flexibility about what she perceives to, even in terms of the need, not just the strategy, but also the need of I want excitement at this moment, or I want quiet time, or whatever it is, yes. But also, other people are here too and there may be times to compromise and to not have a meltdown. If you don't get the thing you're thinking that that moment, right.

Jen Lumanlan:

Okay. Yes. Most adults have not learned how to do this. So asking a young child with a not fully developed prefrontal cortex to do this as well is challenging, I think, is really challenging. And most of the way, right we get them to do that is to basically say your needs don't matter, right? If we think about more traditional top down parenting, we're essentially saying, right, you're going to do this thing, you better not have a meltdown, because it's not appropriate to have a meltdown, that your feelings about this are, we're going to set them aside, essentially. And I don't want you to express those feelings.

Diana:

It's we're trying to be this brand new thing of completely equitability, across everything and all domains. And it's very hard to cultivate a separate but equal mentality about people having different roles and everything. And these are huge societal questions of what does this look like now going forward for all these different domains. But as far as where we are any think a lot of other families I see around us are similar? The kids are driving the show right now in so many ways. And then that's why this question I think, that I have that started this all off. And that I think you're saying other people are asking, too is this looks a lot like permissive parenting, right? Where you get to choose what we eat and where we go when we do it. And I can be okay. So we'll just do it that way. And, you know, there is this sense that I and I, and I totally think that you represent that it should be also about what we need to as parents, and we should all get our needs met, and it should all be equitable. And that's a fabulous ideal. But I also think that when you put it forward like that, because it's a much more adult skill, as you've represented, for me to be flexible of you know how to do things, and then there won't be a tantrum when that happens. It's easier for me to default, especially as somebody who is a "go with the flow" type of person to just do that. And so I've started to work on, you know, cultivating a better sense of what are my needs? And that's a hard question for me and an important question for me to be a member of my family who's saying, you know, this is what we're gonna do today, instead of the kids. But I think that there is there is a bit of a flip flop and a role reversal that's happened in a lot of families, and that we are really highly prioritizing our kids in many families these days. And so that's I think, the underlying the the biggest question to me.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah. So I guess the discrepancy I'm trying to work with is that you don't currently understand what your needs are very well. And right, you're,

Diana:

Yeah, I just, I guess I just give you the morons preferences. And I mean, I, because I can be flexible about so many of them, I often continue to be beyond the point that I should,

Jen Lumanlan:

That's where we're going, right? Is if you truly knew what your needs were. And you were able to articulate those needs and say, when something doesn't meet your need, then you wouldn't be flexible beyond the point where you should. That that's, that's that's my point, right is that if you are going beyond that point, where you feel frustration, anger, resentment, I always say other red flags for my needs are not being met. Right? If I'm feeling those things, then we're in a situation where my needs are not being met. And I went too far on this. And I should have pulled back a while ago and said, actually, my needs are for this. And by doing that, by going to the bounce house, whatever, I really don't think my needs are going to be met. And so maybe we can find a way to make that work. Right. Maybe I could sit outside and listen to a podcast and that would be fine. And yes, that would actually help me to meet my needs. In which case, yes, I'm willing to go. But otherwise, to come back from that. And maybe this is partly sort of an interaction of your personality that is very go with the flow that you are willing to kind of put your needs on hold and I'm saying let's not do that. Because yes, that is how you end up with a permissive parenting. Um, so so you are edging toward there by by the fact that you are not able or willing to articulate your need beyond the point at which you think you should have. So I would say to come back from that because that's what gets you out of permissive parenting, because then you're two people who understand each other's needs. And that's not permissive. It's not permissive. Permissive is when only one person's needs get met, and I want your needs to get met too.

Diana:

No, I think that's wonderful. I think that's absolutely part of the picture, there is a question of what each person needs. And I should do some further reflection on how I can have more alone time and all these different things that I knew that I would prefer for myself, and just scheduling our lives that way. So that my, a lot of my wants, and my very basic needs are all being met for me to be the best person I can be and show up the best way I can in my relationship with my kids too. And then I can be more present and attending and aware when I am spending time with them. I think that's absolutely true. And I think that I've gotten through all of this reflection, and through your help to like a lot of points about you know, what probably my daughter's underlying needs are.

Jen Lumanlan:

Cool. Then I wonder as we sort of wrap up, is there anything in particular that shifted for you as a course of like having this conversation, anything you came in with that you perceived differently now, or you've mentioned, you know, some trying some things? I'm curious about what are some of those things that you're interested in trying?

Diana:

Yeah, I think that just of course, they're reminder about that it's probably something different in her head, then it comes off and that she doesn't mean to be disrespectful, as much as it's something that I know, just having said back and heard over and over that it's not actually about me, it's important to remember. So I appreciate that. And, and I think so just being able to voice all of that and say it out loud and have, you know, not feel badly about where we are with things. But just realizing that there is these rooms to pivot and slightly change the way that I'm maybe you know, interpreting her behavior and try and just meet her needs differently after studying and seeing if I'm core if we're both good. Remember my representation about where she really does need things to be a little different in order to be her best self. And I need things differently to And you know, forging that path forward. I think that there's definitely a good path here. Thank you.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, yeah, you're so welcome. Yeah, I'm, And I'm excited to see where that goes. Because I've seen a similar journey with Carys, as well, who would sometimes say things that my husband particularly perceived as just disrespectful, right. And she didn't realize she didn't even realize that that that tone was difficult for him to hear. And by him helping to her to understand that and me kind of helping that conversation along, then she's firstly able to shift her tone. And secondly, we sometimes we all have crappy days, right? When something comes out that we we don't expect to come out that way or somebody takes we are a little careless with her tone. And so sometimes now she'll, she'll say something, and the tone will be like: Oh, really? And then she'll say: Oh, I didn't, I didn't mean to say it that way. I didn't mean to come out that way. So that's been a real journey over probably three years or so. So, so it's not a like an instant, one night fix that immediately, she's gonna start speaking to you exactly in the tone always that you want to hear, because we don't do that either as adults. But probably by articulating that, then there will be some some learning and growth and development as she grows, and as you grow as well, right, and learning and using these concepts. So. So Diana, thank you so much for sending me an email, for calling me out. You didn't really call me in or out, but just kind of said, you know, this is this is what I'm having a hard time with. And I'm so grateful that you were willing to come on the show and actually talk through this with me. So thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

Diana:

Yeah, I really appreciate it too. Thank you so much. It's been really helpful for me, and I definitely feel seen and heard as we've established everybody needs. I really appreciate that I'm meeting my needs right now. I think I have really good skills and really good reflection on what's going on our family and how to do a little bit better.

Jen Lumanlan:

I'm really glad that Diana reached out to me to share her concerns and it was an honor to talk through them with her live and be able to dig a bit deeper into what's really happening with her family. I think that piece of her understanding her own needs better and being both willing and able to articulate those to our children before they become overwhelming to her is really important. Since Diana is an introvert we're going to be looking at things like regular time being spent by herself, balanced by time with her children so their needs for connection are met. And of course there are the needs that most people have for rest and food and movement that feels good to our bodies as well that are probably there for Diana, and other needs like the integrity of acting in alignment with her values and just a little more ease in her life. When more of those needs are met more of the time, Diana will feel better. She'll have more capacity to cope when her daughter uses words or home that are less than optimal, which frankly, many of us do a lot of the time, even when we're adults, and we should, "know better."

Jen Lumanlan:

I began with an initial hypothesis of Diana's daughter needing autonomy, because that is a big unmet need for many children. But here, it turned out to most likely not be the case. When we kept digging, we realized how important consistency and predictability are for this child. The point that I want to make about this is that Diana's daughter's needs are just as important as Diana's own needs. Her daughter's needs for consistency and predictability are just as important as Diana's needs for time alone and for integrity and for ease. Not more important, and not less important. When Diana's needs are met more often she'll have the capacity to meet her daughter's needs. When her daughter's needs are met more often she'll have the capacity to help meet Diana's needs. And that's what gets us out of permissive parenting and strict parenting and into parenting that meets everyone's needs.

Jen Lumanlan:

As usual, we have our three ideas to try if you want to put what you've heard in the episode today into practice. And I'm going to do these out of order this time. And you'll see why in just a minute. So if you want to come in the middle learning level, then you could go to YourParentingMojo.com/needs, and print out a needs list for yourself, and take a look at it and see what jumps out at you in terms of your own unmet needs. You're looking for a feeling that says, Yes, that is a big need for me. It'll be a physical feeling in your body, not just a rational knowing in your mind. Once you find one, try to identify at least five and preferably 10 strategies you can use to meet that need. So if your need is for rest, what are some ways you could get just a little more rest. That might mean asking your partner to work with you to get rest at a time when it means the most to you. For me, that's any I can get between about 3am and 8am, which benefits me much more than rest earlier in the night. It might mean trading off nights of being on call for young children who wake up. It might mean laying on the couch and closing your eyes for 10 minutes while your children play nearby or trading childcare with a friend you can get some time to yourself. Then try and put one or more of those ideas into practice and see how it goes. If you want to try and practice at the advanced growth level, go ahead and take that needs list. It could be the adult long with words or the children's list with pictures and bring to mind a thing your child is doing that you find difficult. It could be using unkind words or speaking to you in a disrespectful tone, or saying no, they don't like the dinner you just cooked. Using that list of needs, can you imagine what need they might be trying to meet by doing this behavior? Can you identify at least five and preferably 10 strategies you can use to help them try to meet that need?

Jen Lumanlan:

And finally, if like Diana was you're on board with these ideas, but the thought of figuring all of this out by yourself seems overwhelming and you would like my help, just like I helped Diana today, then the basic curious level action is to join the Setting Loving (& Effective!) Limits workshop that starts Wednesday, April 24. I will teach you how to set limits effectively because it is an important skill. But I'll also help you understand why your child is doing these mystifying and irritating things and help you to set fewer limits by finding out their unique needs. And meeting those in a way that also gets your needs met to you'll come out of the workshop with an entirely different perspective on their misbehavior and a whole new set of tools to address it. I don't hold anything back in the free workshop, I will tell you all the secrets. We will go as deep as you want to go. Whenever you posted a question in our community, you will get an answer. And if you want to do five live group coaching calls with me and get forever access to the content, you can add the full experience for just $37. Other than that the basic workshop is completely free. You can learn more and sign up now at YourParentingMojo.com/settinglimits. I can't wait to see you there.

Emma:

Hi, I'm Emma, and I'm listening from the UK. We know you have a lot of choices about where you get information about parenting and we're honored that you've chosen us as we move toward a world in which everyone's lives and contributions are valued. If you'd like to help keep the show ad free, please do consider making a donation on the episode page that Jen just mentioned. Thanks again for listening to this episode of The Your Parenting Mojo podcast.

About the author, Jen

Jen Lumanlan (M.S., M.Ed.) hosts the Your Parenting Mojo podcast (www.YourParentingMojo.com), which examines scientific research related to child development through the lens of respectful parenting.

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