Ever have a vague sense that your interactions with your child aren’t quite aligned with your values…but aren’t quite sure what to do about it?
Have you been to a protest and shouted “Black Lives Matter! Fight the Power!”…and then gone home and forced your child to brush their teeth?
Have you chastised Grandma for ‘stealing’ kisses from your child because it disrespects their body autonomy…and then pinned them down for a haircut?
You’re not alone. We’re in this weird place where we know we want to do things differently than the way we were raised. But cultural norms are still telling us: we need to be in charge. (Because if we aren’t in charge, who is?)
A conversation with the hosts of Upbringing
My guests today, Hannah and Kelty of the Upbringing podcast, see this dissonance more clearly than almost anyone I’ve met. In their podcast they explore how we live one way as people (who believe in freedom! respect! consent! empathy!) and another way as parents (timeouts, shame, control, consequences), and how we’re unwittingly undermining the very skills and values we hope to promote.
But blaming and shaming helps nobody (not us…and certainly not our children). By instead approaching the topic with compassion and optimism, we can get out of an us vs. them relationship with our children, and take back our parenting practices from our cultural conditioning, and parent in relationship with our children in a way that’s deeply aligned with our values.
Hannah and Kelty describe their RESIST approach (Respect, Empathy, Sync up, Innovate, Summarize, Trust) and also have a new guide to navigating sibling conflict (use discount code MOJO at checkout for 15% off!) on their beautiful website. If our conversation strikes a chord, I’d definitely encourage you to check out their podcast and weekly Q&As on Instagram.
Finding Your Parenting Mojo is open to new members
I know many parents are struggling right now. Even if you feel like you know how you want to parent, the stresses of being around your child so much can really wear on you.
Parents who had been working with me before the start of COVID lockdowns reported feeling tired and emotional about all the uncertainty we were experiencing back in February – and yet at the same time confident that they have the tools they need to not just survive, but thrive as parents when everything else seemed like it was falling apart. Member Denise said:
“I feel like we’ve spent the last year training for exactly this moment.”
And the good news is that you don’t need a year to train. I’ve restructured the memberships so you can now access 12 modules of content as soon as you join. You can watch the whole lot in one go if you’d like…or we’ll support you through it one module at a time.
You’ll learn how to find an end to the meltdowns over Zoom-School, getting dressed, and what’s for dinner. In fact, if your child regularly has meltdowns about the same issue over and over again, I can pretty much assure you that you won’t have to go through another one on that topic.
You’ll get aligned with your parenting partner, and you’ll set goals for your family that are uniquely grounded in your values. And from that foundation, you’ll address what seem to be the most pressing challenges right now – screen time, raising healthy eaters, emotional regulation – knowing where you want to go, so you’ll be able to work confidently with your child to solve problems together, always keeping your relationship with your child (and not their obedience) at the center. When you have the core tools, the answers to the problems that seem so difficult right now begin to fall into place. And you’ll get all the support you need along the way.
The Finding Your Parenting Mojo membership is open right now. Learn more here.
Click here to read the full transcript
Hi, I’m Jen and I host the Your Parenting Mojo Podcast. We all want our children to lead fulfilling lives. But it can be so hard to keep up with the latest scientific research on child development and figure out whether and how to incorporate it into our own approach to parenting. Here at Your Parenting Mojo, I do the work for you by critically examining strategies and tools related to parenting and child development that are grounded in scientific research and principles of respectful parenting. If you’d like to be notified when new episodes are released and get a FREE Guide to 7 Parenting Myths That We Can Safely Leave Behind, seven fewer things to worry about. Subscribe to the show at YourParentingMojo.com. You can also continue the conversation about the show with other listeners in the Your Parenting Mojo Facebook group. I do hope you’ll join us.
Hello, and welcome to the Your Parenting Mojo Podcast. We actually have two special guests with us today, but I wanted to record a separate introduction to give this episode some context. So my guest for this episode are Hannah and Kelty from the Upbringing Podcast, and I was recently introduced to their work by listener of Dana (Thanks, Dana!), and as soon as I started listening, I knew that I had to get them on the show. Their worldview is really similar to mine. And I hope that you enjoy hearing some of the ideas that have come up before on the show discussed from a new perspective. And if you find yourself nodding along to a lot of the ideas you’re hearing about in this episode, but you see a gap between those ideas and the way that you’re currently interacting with your child, then I also wanted to let you know that my Finding Your Parenting Mojo Membership is now accepting new members. In the membership we take a lot of the ideas that you hear about on the show and turn them into tools you can actually use and really implement to help your real-life family. If you want to learn more about it, you can find all the details at YourParentingMojo.com/MEMBERSHIP.
Now, if you’ve looked at the membership before, but you haven’t joined, then I’d encourage you to check it out again, because I’ve actually restructured it to make the content even more useful to you. I’ve broken it down so that you can just get the first three modules of core content if you’d like to do that, without committing to a whole year of the membership. I’m calling this the “First Aid Kit Option” because it has all the tools that you need to take care of some of your most pressing problems, and you get access to all of that content at once. In those first three modules, we dramatically reduce the incidence of tantrums at your house by focusing on the underlying causes, rather than just the behavior that you don’t want to see, or by distracting your child from feeling their true emotions. After we’ve created a bit of mental and emotional space, we take a step back and we think about the ways our relationship with our partner is impacting our parenting. So where are we on the same page – and things are going pretty well – and where are we not on the same page and we need to be more aligned. And where is it okay for us to have different ways of doing things and how can we have a conversation about those things with our partners so it doesn’t make them defensive, but instead invites them to share their real feelings with us so we can share ours with them, and figure out a way forward that works for both of us.
And once we have those tools to interact with our partner, we can work on defining our family goals and values together, so we actually have an idea about what direction we’re heading in. We’re not just setting arbitrary limits and the moment and then we find ourselves giving in on them. We’re setting limits that are grounded in what’s really important to us. We now know how to have a conversation with the in-laws about something that’s been really bugging us, because we’ve identified the fact that it’s super important to us. Or on the flip side, maybe we even realize there are some things we can just let go and stop micromanaging. To make sure that you’re able to put these ideas into action, you’ll get access to short Q&A videos that you can watch anytime to get immediate answers to the questions that parents most often ask. For three months you’ll be welcomed into our private community full of parents who have chosen to raise their children intentionally just like you. And you’ll be able to work directly with a small group of them to translate the big ideas into the tiny steps you need to take to achieve what’s really important to you and your family. And that is the option to get what is basically a parenting insurance. This option takes everything you get in that first aid kit option and says, okay, now we’ve got the basics under control. Let’s see about doing things like raising healthy eaters, moving beyond the constant sibling squabbles to our supportive sibling relationship, navigating screen time, both parental and child anxiety. And let’s take a year to really move the needle on those topics. So, you’re looking at a total of 12 topics in total over the course of the year. And the reason I consider that first aid kit to be the core content is because without that, you can’t really make progress on the other stuff that seems like they are more immediate problems like food and sibling squabbles and screen time. They may seem more pressing right now. But if you don’t know how to have a conversation with your child that takes their feelings and needs into account, and looks for solutions that worked for both of you, you won’t be able to understand why they’re eating so few foods right now. If you haven’t developed the skills to have conversations that don’t get your partner’s back up, you’re not going to be able to talk with them about why they force your child to clean their plate at every meal. And if you haven’t done the work on your values and goals, then you won’t know whether this issue is one you need to address with your in laws before you next visit their house, or whether it’s something you’ve just decided to let go.
So, in the Parenting Insurance, you get all of that core content plus the nine additional modules the Q&A, a year in the private community, and the small group support. And once again, you can access all of this content as soon as your first login. You also get a host of bonuses like the Setting Limits Course that I ran earlier this year and a set of conversation starter cards so you can have meaningful interactions with your child and even your spouse over dinner that gives you some insight into their world. It includes the Getting Back on Track Pack which contains seven beautiful home screen images for your phone with mindfulness reminders. For specially recorded five-minute meditations to help you in those moments when your child’s behavior is driving you up the wall, and you retreat to the bathroom to regroup. And there’s a fantastic one-page infographic to summarize your plan of action for when that happens, you can post it over the toilet if you’d like. And it includes a discount on the Your Child’s Learning Mojo Membership, which is also open for enrollment, which helps you to support your child’s intrinsic love of learning, which I would say is more important now than it ever has been when our children are primarily learning in an online environment that’s not supporting that intrinsic motivation to learn, as well as an option to get a 33% discount on a package of private coaching calls with me.
And I actually didn’t pick those names for the packages out of thin air. About 18 months ago a parent in the Finding Your Parenting Mojo Membership, so she started to think of it like Parenting Insurance for times when things get rough. And at the beginning of the COVID lockdown, so I hosted some calls for members where we didn’t aim to brainstorm solutions to problems or to fix Anything, but we just held this space for all the difficult complicated things that we were all feeling. One parent who spoke was just in tears, and she explained that she was in full lockdown in a very small apartment in Madrid with a partner and two children. And it actually turned out the children weren’t able to go outside at all for over a month. She was exhausted and very emotional but through the tears, she said she felt that she had been spending the last year that she’d been in the Membership in bootcamp, preparing for exactly that moment. She was able to acknowledge all of the things that she was feeling and be present with those things rather than stuffing them down and support her children’s anxious feelings and find solutions to problems and have difficult conversations with her partner instead of having these little squabbles turned into major problems.
And in that moment, I knew that this work that I’m doing to support parents is really helping, even in the most stressful conditions we can imagine. And the good news for you is that Finding Your Parenting Mojo isn’t exactly like insurance, which won’t take you if you have pre-existing health conditions. We welcome pre-existing parenting conditions. We meet you exactly where you are, and we help you move toward where you want to go with as much support as you need to make it happen. So, if you’d like to join us, just head on over to YourParentingMojo.com/MEMBERSHIP for all the details. And now let’s go and meet Hannah and Kelty!
Hello, and welcome to the Your Parenting Mojo Podcast! Today we have two special guests. Here with us is Hannah and Kelty from the Upbringing Podcast, I’m so excited that you’re here. Thanks so much for joining us.
Thanks for having us. We’re excited to be here.
So, I wonder if you could start by introducing yourselves please because there are two of you and you look similar except for the hair. Your voices are similar for those of you who are listening on the podcast. So yeah, please, please go ahead and tell us who you are and about the Upbringing show as well.
Yeah, we usually introduce ourselves as twins, moms, but works in progress, feminists…
… tired [people] and parenting coaches who are basically working to empower parents and empower one another, to grow up alongside our kids for what we call sanity and social change. That’s our primary goal. So we do that through our podcast, which has been going for a little over a year, and through one on one coaching and then through our Instagram community where we do live Q&As and videos and have just a wonderful community of folks that we’re growing up alongside. What about our trainings and backgrounds just so people can…
Yeah, we’re trained in simplicity, parenting, and positive discipline, and RIE foundations training.
Then we have, we’re currently parenting in captivity on a farm that we share with our partners. And then between the two of us we have four kids ages 3, 4, 5 and 6. And so that is another one of our biggest teachers, obviously, is our brood of children. Yeah. Mm hmm.
Yeah. Okay. And you sound similar for those who are only listening. For those who are watching on YouTube. Who’s Hannah and who’s Kelty?
The hair. Yes.
Okay, right we’re clear on that.
The color is…
I’ll answer to anything impossible. Thank you…
It’s like an interesting pandemic Hombre situation right now.
And we should give a hat tip to our mutual listener as well, Dana, right? She, she connected us, she reached out and said, hey, do you want to be connected? And I hadn’t heard of your show before. And I looked at your website. And I said, Yes, yes, yes, I want to be connected.
And then Meanwhile, we’ve been fans of yours for years and never thought we would end up getting to actually talk to you on your podcast. We feel so lucky it’s like we’re pinching ourselves. I might wake up any moment.
Well, thank you very much. That’s very kind. So, so you describe yourselves as feminists, which can be difficult word. About 20% of my audience is male. And so, I wonder if you could tell us a little bit about whether you’ve always been feminists or is this something that is more recent development.
I think that we call ourselves feminists because it is, in some ways a buzzword. Feminism is kind of a lifestyle brand these days and a lot more people are, are kind of moving their mindset and their thoughts about what feminism is from the bra-burning type… You know, yeah, that type of situation to the like, Okay, everyone is a feminist who believes in women’s rights. And I think that we to expand on that. I mean, we’re more like, humanists. If that’s a thing, I think that we would identify as humanists because it, it all is about equal rights for everybody, not just women. So that’s kind of how we identify I would say, but we haven’t, I wouldn’t say we’d always identified as feminists. Would you Kelty?
Man hating, yeah. No, I think, I think the way we we’ve explored it is that we our kids have kind of made us feminists. Having kids who, at a certain point, maybe in early toddlerhood began resisting us, at every turn, kind of made us look at our resistance and the things that we were passionate about and our outreach and our communities and what we really cared about, right?
Mm hmm. Yeah, I think that kids are born feminists in that way. They are fiercely able to advocate they’re unapologetically advocating for themselves all the time. They haven’t when we call really strong inner wisdom and inner authority to see to their needs. And I think that that’s something that we are re-kind of-kindling in our mid-30s. I never remember how old we are.
It’s closer than that.
Okay. And that raising them in this way and thinking about the ways we’re raising them to be and stay connected to that inner wisdom and authority. That human spirit has allowed us to reconnect to our own human spirit, our own feminism, our own humanity in that greater sense of the word.
Yeah, thanks for sharing that. I think it really speaks back to the patriarchy episode that I recorded with Dr. Carol Gilligan and one of my listeners who’s a male and working on feminism and dismantling patriarchy and yeah, these we set these arbitrary boundaries room – this is a male quality and its valued and this is a female quality and it’s not valued, and intuition and knowing ourselves and knowing our bodies really falls on that feminine side, doesn’t it? And but there’s so much value for all of us to understand these things that our children know that and it’s through interacting with us in our culture that they forget it, they learned that it’s that should be tamped down. And if we can, if we can actually listen to them for a change, then we can actually learn something.
Absolutely. And I think to that talk about intersectionality within feminism, that feminism isn’t just for white women, feminism is about everybody. It’s for everyone. And I think that the intersection that Kelty and I like to talk around feminism is parenting, that parenting absolutely intersects with feminism in how we’re raising our kids, how we’re attuning and supporting and disciplining their body, their feelings and their voices. Those are feminist issues. Those are human rights issues those are social justice issues, and they happen in our homes multiple times a day.
Okay, so let’s talk about that. Then let’s talk about some super practical examples maybe of ways that you see these things intersecting. I mean, we’re talking about feminism and intersectionality and all these big concepts, but how does this play out in your homes?
Well, I remember going to, gosh, what was it was a fundraiser of some sort of, downtown in Portland where we live. And you know, we’re talking about how we got to resist. It was probably during #metoo, the Me Too Movement, and we’re talking about consent and we’re raising money for a foundation. And then I remember coming home and my, she must have been four-year-old daughter at the time, just did not want to get in the bathtub. And I just remember saying get in the bathtub, or and I was thinking of like, what or else or because I said so, or whatever. And it occurred to me in that moment. Like I was just at this event where we were saying resist, resist the system, resist control resist people feeling like they have the ability to control our bodies as women are for anybody’s. And then I go home, and I tell my kid, don’t resist me. You know. And I think in that moment, in some ways I realized and then Kelty was having these similar experiences at home with her highly spirited, highly sensitive kids. So even probably more experiences that I was having, that we were the authority. We’re the parents, therefore, we were in some ways, the system. We were the institution…
We were the man! Oh my gosh! And I think in that moment, I just, I had always thought I was the feminist. And you know, everything I was doing outside the home, I was doing the same inside the home, and didn’t realize that my role is completely the opposite, that I was the authority, the potential oppressor in my home with my kid that I love so much. And that was a point where we realized oh my gosh, we have got a bit of an unconscious hypocrisy on our hands. And, you know, we are not the only ones. And so, I think that’s what kind of started this.
I think that’s why we started. We’re like, we’re gonna organize We’re Virgos. We’re like, we just have to figure out where all of the places that this unconscious hypocrisy might be unfolding. Okay? And we look to our kids’ resistance. Where are we seeing their resistance the most? Okay, around their body stuff. So getting in the tub, diaper changes, brushing teeth, like trimming hair, brushing those knots out of the hair around there, they’re eating in their food, how many bites they need of this, how much water they need around and still around their body, what they should wear and when. Got to bring that coat got to put that on. All of these places around their body. And then their feelings, right? their big, splashy, messy feelings. There’s so much resistance associated with those and we had to sort of start analyzing how do we come into this how are we showing up in this is this feeling aligned with who we are and what we expect for ourselves and other people. And what else? And their voices. Voices were maybe like the first signal of resistance because that’s where it would come out and saying no, over, and over. Absolutely not. Not like that Why? Explain to me this, right? So, those are children’s resistance became these incredibly valuable clues to us of where we might be overstepping, maybe overcontrolling, maybe not giving enough agency, or autonomy or information or connection or support and scaffolding. And so that’s how our Freedoms Model came about. We have these 10 realms that just helped bring sort of awareness and consciousness to our interactions with our kids in these areas of their lives that start very much ours when they’re little babies, but change in that dynamic as they get older, and thinking about the way that we show up how we can sensitively support instead of maybe getting in there with our very, very natural, well intentioned efforts to build them to help them along. To just get stuff done.
And their voices. That’s the practice, right?
It’s so easy. Just pay attention to all those things.
Just pay attention. You’ll be fine. So, it’s a practice for sure.
Okay. So, I want to get into the practice. But before we do that I’m thinking okay, so so so many of these things, I can see that yeah, if we could just let them go, our lives would be so much easier. You know, the whole, it’s cold outside, you need to wear a jacket kind of thing, why not just let the child figure out if they want a jacket and maybe bring the jacket and when they get cold they can put it on. Or when they get about get a bit older than they become responsible for that decision making. And if they don’t want a jacket and they want to take the jacket, then that’s a decision they’re gonna live with. What about something like tooth brushing where it’s you know, the teeth aren’t gonna fall out if we skip tooth brushing tonight and maybe even tomorrow as well. But at the end of the day, we kind of do need to get the teeth brushed. So how is that kind of situation different to you from the, yeah, okay. I’m on board with not forcing my child to eat more than they want to eat. I’m okay with them. Not taking a jacket that say they’re not cold.
I think that each one of us has our sticking point on a different thing. And I think the big the big thing we need to be doing that we’re trying to practice is asking ourselves why? I remember calling my mom and being like I’ve just gone 10 rounds with my toddler about the coat because it’s cold and their heads wet, will they get sick? Why am I doing this? Mom, please. And she was like, No, I don’t think so what do you think? And I was like, we used to do it for me. So. So I think, asking ourselves why is one person might say, well, toothbrushing every few days, I’m comfortable with that. Another person might say it has to happen every day. And I think that checking in with ourselves about like, does that have to happen? Does the code have to come? Am I comfortable carrying it? Will they get an infection if they don’t get in the tub and trying to seek those answers?
Well, and questioning, I love that, Kel. Questioning that voice inside our heads that’s telling us to do something or why something must be done in a certain way with another person who should really have a say in how it’s done or why it’s done. What we call a conversation should be happening. But I think that’s part of it is saying with this unconscious hypocrisy with this growing awareness we’ve been having that we talk about so much in our work now. We’re saying, Wow, who’s that voice in our heads? Who is that? That’s our culture, that’s our greater culture. That’s the external gaze and external voice that we’ve all been raised to focus on and prioritize. And then we come into this parenting sphere. And we’re struggling a lot with all of this resistance is toothbrushing resistance, for example. And we feel like it has to happen for exactly two minutes morning in the evening flossing, but you know, 80% of the time, let’s say, and like, Oh, my gosh, I’m coming up with this expectation, this voice in my head with this expectation, and then I’m in front of me, is this little person who’s saying no, how do I get that done? And I think part of that inner voice is also saying, they don’t need to be part of the conversation. Our culture says, ‘We’re the parents. We’re the authority. We’re the power. We’re at the top of the hierarchy here.’ So, the way we want to do it, the expectation we have, whatever our brain is telling us – our reality, what we call it goes, it goes right. And so, I think that’s a huge part of, for example, in a toothbrushing situation or struggle saying, Wow, this isn’t just me setting this out. I’m not the only actor on stage creating this reality. My kid is also here to what can they play? And how can this be? We’re to humans here together, I have a lot more privilege, right? I’ve got more power. But I will ultimately want them to know how to use their privilege and power someday. So, I got to get real with my own and bring them in on this conversation earlier. Do you want to play out what that would look like with toothbrushing?
Yeah, go for it. This is so awesome! You can do a roleplay.
We should use Hannah’s kids because mine are spirited and insensitive and we don’t brush our teeth every night. Right? And I think just really quick, the way that we go into a lot of these, these kind of resistance moments where we’re like, but at the end of the day, and we have one of those feelings is trying to balance out the skill building versus the value building. Right? and trying to figure out which one ultimately is more important, and our approach is going to be reflected in that. And so, for me, when I’m getting a lot of resistance around tooth brushing with my children, the value is more important to me. So, the value of clean teeth and good hygiene becomes elevated in that dynamic because the skill is not going to happen without me holding them down or forcing them or well…
And if you force the skill then it undermines the value.
Is that what you’re saying.
And creating a positive association around whatever it is, and conversations around it, all those things becomes priority for me, right? But maybe just go with a more a little bit more of a…
Role play! Role play!
That’s why the two of us. We can get into our little twintoverse for a long time here, so you might have to pull us out of it. But I think that’s where we use what we call our resist approach. We’ve, we figured out, okay, we don’t want to use control, like blind control with our kids, that teaches them to use blind control when they’re an authority in power, right? We want to be using nonviolent communication. We want to be practicing what we call powers beyond control with our kids, because kids don’t just learn from us, oh toothbrushing is really important. They’re learning Well, how does mom use power to show me that tooth brushing is really important. And that’s the thing that’s invisible about parenting that we oftentimes forget, is that it’s not just what our intention is that we want our kids to brush their teeth for two minutes every night. But if we go about it using incentives and consequences, and shame, and isolation and all these very normal conventional parenting practices, then that’s actually what they’re learning how to do with a little bit of the tooth brushing stuff, if they even can absorb that, because all of this discipline usually just blows out any of the actual learning that could be taking place. So, the Resist Approach anyway, is what we kind of established, which stands for what we’re in it. We’re resisting conventional discipline when our kids are resisting us. So that’s why we call it the Resist Approach. And it stands for Respect, Empathize, Sync up, Innovate, Summarize and Trust. And so that’s it. It’s Not like a, you know, two minutes for each step. This is not a one size fits all thing. It’s a very fluid, open process of just engaging in a conversation with our kids. So, for example, around toothbrushing, we would respect I would respect…
Oh wait, let’s talk about the struggle first.
Oh right, go ahead.
So, one of one of my kids is like, ignoring me when I say let’s, you know, hop like bunnies into the bathroom, or how are your teeth feeling? Maybe let’s go head in there. So, we’ll read these couple books. After we get those teeth brushed, whatever it is trying to segue them in there.
Or we can just like, it’s time we’re brushing teeth.
Yeah, and I’m like, it’s been four days. We’re heading in there now. And they’re just like, no, yeah, no, not tonight or no of the book you’re gonna decide on the book. And so then what would what happened through the Resist?
Well, I think the Respect step which is our it helps prime our brains for this interaction being a conversation where it’s not a domination, it’s a conversation. So, we’re going to be using connection instead of control. We’re going to be conversing instead of correcting and thinking of our kids as their own human self with their own personal reality with their own developmental skills that and their lack of developmental skills that they have yet to build. Right? And so, remembering that we don’t you know that cracking down can sometimes get results but that it’s ultimately not supporting their learning it’s not supporting our relationship etc.
It’s funny that we’ve focused on the lack of lack of developmental skills. So, we get mad about it and worked up instead of the lack of developmental skills being like a mitigating circumstance.
And something we can actually lean in and support. And then I move on to E which is empathize and I would just connect with my kid not wanting to brush their teeth. I think so much of resistance is saying I’m asserting my personal authority I have wisdom about myself. This is fierce and awesome. I’m four years old, hear me roar. And you know, our kids want to feel secure in that strong sense of self we want to support that. We also if they’re feeling a little uncomfortable or struggling a little bit for whatever reason to be feel motivated to brush their teeth. We want them to feel like their ally, we want to show them that their feelings are totally normal, right? So that they don’t grow up having when they have resisted inner resistance to something. We want them to be kind to themselves. We want them to know how to calm themselves down. That’s what we’re modelling through an interaction like this. So, we would be like, Oh my gosh, you don’t want to brush your teeth. What’s up with that? Tell me more.
It’d be like tooth brushing is stupid. Yeah, I already did it.
You already did it, okay. Okay. You know, and just listen about that a little. And help them feel like we’re here collaboratively, we seek to understand them all that stuff. And then we move into Sync up and be like, okay, so you’re not wanting to brush your teeth. But, but and instead of but, and this is this is kind of tricky. How’s it been going?
Can I tell you something?
Can I tell you something about what we’re eating for dinner? Can I tell you something about the dentist, you know, not trying to scare her.
I was noticing it’s been a few days. How many days has it been?
Right? We’re bringing them in on our information. So, we’re getting on the level with all the information. And then we Innovate, we move on to Innovate. And we start thinking of things, How can we support our kids now when they don’t want to brush their teeth, so when they don’t want to finish a college essay, they can rely on those same innovation strategies, when they are really struggling to finish their taxes or something else that they don’t necessarily love to do someday. They don’t avoid it. They don’t you know, curiously lovingly check out that, you know, curiously, that resistance and say, how am I going to work my way through this? What’s going to help me? You know, we’re helping them attune to their inner needs, so they can move forward. So, what would be a few quick ideas?
Yeah, I mean, we would offer like, Well, I was thinking I would look in there with the toothbrush and see if there are any dinosaurs or how I brush with you. And we’ll both try to stand on one foot at the same time and…
Have you ever brushed upside down? Like, would you want to try that tonight?
Let’s put on this favorite song of yours or let’s pick out one extra book. We could do one more book and I’ll start reading it while you brush your teeth. And I think this is the moment where a lot of parents are like, why do I have to bend over back backwards to do this thing for my kid, when I say it, they should just do it, they should know. And then we remember that they’re two or five or eight. And it’s at the end of a long day and toothbrushing isn’t fun. We struggle with it too sometimes. Right?
But it actually lightens the mood by the time I get wrung through all the feelings to the innovation step, innovating actually helps me to help me connect it helps me keep things light.
Mm hmm. Using the humor and creativity which we want to be that’s that’s a skill that we’re actually modelling and teaching. It’s not just the be all end all did their teeth get brushed or not remember? And this is an area where we decide how we want to go about it. You know, so
If they’re still resisting, and they still don’t want to.
If they’re still resisting, you know, or say I’m gonna scoop you up and help you into the bathroom and maybe we can talk about it there.
It’s often where a boundary set, but yeah, it’s ours to decide whether if we want to set a limit or a boundary in this situation.
And I tend to set the limit or boundary with my kids where we won’t have time for stories. If we can’t get our teeth brushed right now. And I say it in the loving way because we want to create a positive association with this whole conversation so that they want to engage in it with us for another five years, possibly. And then Kelty will sometimes say, well, what’s our plan then? Let’s summarize what the plan is for tomorrow, we need to talk about…
Can we put a little like tooth drawing on a calendar for tomorrow, and we’ll do it then. , Right? And then that night is a story about me going to the dentist where I got drilled, I’m just kidding. But like, but no, I work it into my storytelling a little bit, right? And so, the conversations not over and not in a, you know, they’re gonna get grilled or gonna hear about it again, but that we’re gonna keep talking about it. And that’s sort of what segues into the Trust step which is that we’re playing the long game. All of this skill building takes time. And it’s value building too. And that’s why if my kids are still resisting by summarize, I usually don’t enforce a boundary, I usually let it go with the trust and with the experience that they’re going to get there on their own when they’re ready.
Well and that fine middle way where we just went through a conversation with our kids where we didn’t go to either extreme that we technically and typically go through. Where we either crack down with control without consequence, or moving them into the bathroom and brushing their teeth for them, right? Or we didn’t let it go.
So, we blow it off from the beginning, right?
Right. We weren’t overcontrolling and we weren’t letting them control which can be really destabilizing for a kid to always be in charge of everything. And we said, well, I’m, I’m the person in charge, but I’m not in control of your body. So, let’s have a conversation about this. And it has to be multiple conversations. That’s the practices. This doesn’t just get fixed in one day. There is no quick solution. It is scaffolding slow growth type stuff. Yeah, we can talk for a long time.
Yeah, I’ve mentioned on the show before I think, or at least in a blog post or somewhere that my daughter Carys and I have a catchphrase between the two of us and we say, let’s talk about this later. And it’s not a let’s talk about this later, young lady. It’s a phrase that has come to mean we’re going to come back to this when we’re fresh and when we’ve had a break and were each gonna bring ideas about how this can work differently next time. And so that’s kind of our signal that we’re gonna have some thinking in the in between time. And then when we come back to it, we know we’re bringing it with this fresh perspective where we’re looking to understand, you know, what are the feelings going on here? What are the underlying needs? Why don’t you want to brush your teeth? And then the solutions become apparent.
Yeah. And the template of Resist Approach doesn’t happen in that actual moment. It happens talking about it later. But I think in conventional parenting, we’re taught that like, everything must happen in the moment, otherwise, we will forget about it, or we failed, or will be like that was so traumatic. I don’t want to talk about again until Oh, 24 hours from now and…
12 hours from now.
And so, I think that, yeah, that that’s brilliant. We call it the circle back where you know, and not like you said, the grill back that most of us grew up with where a lot of magic can get done outside of the moment for sure.
Yeah, and one of the things that I really I wanted to draw out in your work that made me want to connect with you was the idea that these conversations are happening in our house. But these are the conversations that also shift society. Right. Can you talk a little bit about that and about how you see parenting as being this engine for social change?
Yeah, absolutely. I think that it’s been an evolution for us personally. But little by little day by day, we’re starting to realize, Oh, my gosh, parenting is so political. It’s not just personal. And I think that that’s what the system, not to sound like, total, you know…
…wants us to think that we’re all individuals, little families, nuclear families in our own homes, living joyfully. I mean, suffering alone, with our families with this discipline situation, and not feeling like there is a collective feeling of not just support but of purpose behind what we’re doing. And I think we started our early parenthood being like Okay, I’m parenting for sanity I need to get through this day. Like, we’ve all been through that with young children, babies. And then we got to the point where we’re like, Well, okay, so…
This is when we kind of came onto your podcast.
Right, we’re like, okay, getting my footing. Okay, I’m a little more sane now I can get through the day. But now, I also want to really support these things in my kids is going to help, like, create an individualized support an individual who’s happy, who’s successful, who’s respectful, who’s empathic, who’s, you know, self-motivated, who’s resilient. So, we started thinking, Okay, now my parenting practice isn’t just around surviving. And being sane, it’s now through supporting our kid’ ‘success supporting them. And then little by little, and basically once our kids became toddlers, and we started realizing that our discipline was being controlled by this, these cultural influences that did not align with who we were as people and as women. And as parents, ultimately. We started realizing oh my gosh, like this is so much bigger than just our own little homes and our own little families and that we have this opportunity like we’re privileged white women, you know that we don’t, it’s not just about us our day, it’s not just about raising kids that we love. It’s about moving through the world in a way that is supporting more people than just ourselves. You know that these skills that we’re supporting in our kids through respectful discipline, is teaching them to move, go into the world and not just live a privileged life, but also to live for social change as well, because people who are although I mean, you’ve done all the research for us, Jen, because of that, you know, kids who are showing unconditional love and respect and being, you know, brought into the conversations and be given support and all those freedoms that Kelty and I talked about, they have, you know, better mental health, they have stronger relationships. They, you know,
They’re more secure.
They’re more secure people. You know, they do better work they’re more satisfied in their careers. And people who are happier and more secure in themselves, are actually the ones that are able to support other people. Because they don’t have to be constantly looking, oh are my needs getting met? Oh my gosh, that person said that thing. Oh my gosh, I just messed up this relationship. Oh my gosh, I’m so anxious, you know that that actually allows them to go out there and be thought leaders and innovators and change makers, and just really important people hopefully. And if we can all raise a generation of that what can be done for our society, which is in real need of a movement like that right now?
Yeah. And just to make that even more explicit, I mean, the use of power is something we don’t even think about, right? It really in our homes, but we see it play out in the world every day when a white person has a power over a black person when the white person is able to call the police and have a certain outcome happen when the police arrive. A male is able to have a certain power over a female and how does that play out? Where does that come from? And it comes from the decisions that we make today. The way that we interact with our child today is what’s shaping Our children as they go out into this world and make these decisions about how they interact with other people.
Exactly. I think that’s the opportunity and also the responsibility that we’re feeling. And when all of the Black Lives Matter stuff kind of started gearing up again, we saw so many parenting resources saying, okay, we, we need to be raising these antiracist kids. Let’s get out there. Let’s buy those diverse books. Let’s broaden our play circles when we’re able, let’s go to the rallies and have our kids hold the signs and understand what this is all about. And we love all of those things we’re like, AND let’s think about all the hundreds of opportunities and experiences we encounter with our children around the actual implicit learning around power and privilege and dynamics. Right? What are we telling them about? You know, how to treat another person when we feel like we need to tell them to go to their room, or when we tell them to stop whining, you know, when we shut down their emotions or when we tell them to stop arguing like We’ve made the decision and we shut down their voices or their will, like this is the system of power that they’re growing up with. This is the incubator, that we have this this opportunity to change so that we’re not perpetuating these inherited legacies of control that are really like, mainstay and all of these systems in our lives. And I think that just opening our eyes to that idea of in our parenting in the realm of parenting can be really intimidating and overwhelming. But I think that all of us are victims of it, and that we have to move past that fragility and say, Okay, what am I going to do now about it?
Yeah and I think it’s ultimately can be really empowering to because we feel like we’re all stuck in our homes, we’re struggling to feel like we’re making a difference in the outer world. We’re feeling like our hands are tied in so many ways, and realizing that, that whenever our kids scream, gnaw at us or have a tantrum, or resist our good intentions are fleeing their food in our faces, every single one of those is an opportunity to be making that change outside of the home building, you know, scaffolding, one conversation, another conversation, another conversation, right? We get those chances.
Mm hmm. Yeah.
Yeah, it’s an investment for sure. And it’s a daily practice. We call it our fail forward approach. And also, part of that to that. Lastly, dimension, I think, is that it’s not just this investment and this sacrifice that we make as parents to just do the right thing. I think it’s also raising our kids in this way, where we’re honoring their inner wisdom and their inner authority through all of these struggles with them, is really helping to raise awareness of our own and nurture our own inner wisdom and authority that has been kind of dampened over the years where we are looking outside more than inside. We’re finally in our mid 30s being like, I deserve a voice. What do I want? What about me? And I think parenting allows us it’s that catalyst that brings up all of these questions and brings that inner child up in us that says, What about me? What about me? My needs. What about my voice? What about my body? And I think that’s the beautiful opportunity of it, that we get to be kind of nurturing and rekindling our own spirits as we’re supporting our kids on this journey together, you know that it’s way more collaborative and egalitarian than we ever thought it could be, while also getting teeth brushed at the end of the day.
Yeah, I think we have this feeling like with this growing awareness, the path to those greater ideals will reveal itself. And I think that we’ve been realizing that it’s a path that we forged together with our kids.
Yeah, yeah. And the idea of learning this stuff yourself at the same time, I think is so powerful. And it’s definitely something I’ve been working on for the last year or so and realizing really, for the first time that my body that my physical experience has something to tell me about what’s going on, you know, that I can pay attention to it and it will tell me am I about to make a decision that isn’t right for me, whereas previously, I wouldn’t have even noticed or if I’d noticed that wouldn’t like I would just dismiss it. Whereas then I would write for logical reasons. What are the logical reasons to do it this way, the logical reasons do it, well, then I’m going to do it that way on. And just not pay attention to this gut feeling that says, this is the way the decision needs to be. And to figure that out, and am I going to confess how old I am, I’m going to confess to being older than you, figuring that out at this age. I mean, how many decisions would I have made differently if I had known that as a child, if someone had taught me that, or even if someone just hadn’t squashed it out of me when I was a child, because I probably had that, as all children do when I was a child.
Yeah, and we get that opportunity now, right? Yeah, I think that that’s you were describing attunement to yourself, which I think is intuition and I think that gets confused for instinct and people are always like, go with your instinct with parenting and Kelty and I are like no, no, Your instincts tell you to run from tigers, and put kids in timeouts. No, go some levels deeper. That’s the practice is rediscovering that intuition and that inner attunement, and our kids are leading the way with us. There are a few steps ahead of us even because they’re so purely connected automatically. They’ve been so protected from society’s external pressures and expectations, like, we should be following their lead, not the other way around.
Mm hmm. Yeah. Yeah. And I know that that can be a difficult thing for parents to even conceive of, right? Because it’s the idea is, well, we’ve been around the world longer, we know what’s up. It’s our job to raise you the way you should be raised. And, and to step back from that and say, Actually, my kids have as much to teach me as I have to teach them is a really profound shift for parents, I think.
Yeah, we got to check our privilege, right.
Yeah. And then I think it also takes a lot of pressure off though. And we I think we’ve all had those preconceived notions of the parent; we should be in the responsibility. We have to XYZ with everything and it’s been such a relief for us when we found RIE at the very beginning, Resources for Infant Educarers as you know, it was just such a load off. Realizing Okay, I don’t have to be up all in them when on them when they’re playing, okay? I don’t have to entertain them all the time. Okay, I don’t actually have to, you know, force them to get dressed when I want to all of this. I can just be a little more neutral and see it and see what they have to say and see what they have to give and see how what they have to want to do. It was like it was such a relief.
Yeah, while they’re learning, we’re unlearning so much of this control paradigm. That’s the beauty of it, where they’re learning, we’re unlearning and we’re meeting in the middle.
Yeah. Before we wrap up, I wonder if we can spend a few minutes talking about siblings because I’m guessing you have a perspective on that. And I think you also have a new workbook out there and you to help parents.
We do. We set up a guide. It’s called the sibling Survival Guide. And anyone who has siblings will know why the word survival is in the title.
Right next to the word siblings.
Try getting two kids to brush their teeth right at night. Like that’s a serious situation.
We have quite a group too with when are all four of our kids are together. And there are different dynamics. If they’re four kids, they’re six different relationship dynamics, right? You would probably do the math better than us. A lot, a lot of chemical reactions and relationships and, you know, age splitting and temperament clashing. And it’s been a lot. It’s been an experiment.
And I think that I mean, for so many folks, a lot of our coaching clients, the community we talked to on Instagram lives and stuff, they, they have many of them have never spent this much time with their kids. And many siblings in these families have never spent this much time together. And I think that talk about thinking about control in a different way. I mean, that is when I tend to lose it. The worst is when my kids are fighting with one another. And I think it’s like, it’s one thing to be the person who’s helping with tooth brushing or getting dressed, but like when kids are hurting one another and constantly bothering one another. It is just another level of torture as a parent and so it’s been something Kelty and I as like very close twin sisters talk about a lot and think about a lot and have read a lot about like, what is a sibling relationship? How can we be supporting that sensitively? How can we be considering the sibling relationship, another one of the freedoms that we want to be really sensitively collaborating with, with our kids. And so that’s why we created the guide and it’s broken down into 10 steps to just kind of help us all gain some awareness and move through struggles with our kids a little more adaptively so that they can be building those skills too. But it’s a lot. Yeah, I think most of us you know, think that our job, talk about jobs as parents in general, but when it comes to our sibling relationships, I think we automatically assume the like, we’re judge or jury or referee. We’re EMFs, first responder…
We are we are the manners police. It is a lot of hats to be doing and on top of that, maybe full time working right or full time looking for work. There’s so much going on in folks lives right now. So, I think that we flip a few beliefs about, you know, our goals as parents our role as parents. I don’t know how much time we have to talk about that. And then we just go into kind of some ideas about how to approach a struggle, so that our kids can learn about themselves and one another, rather than what’s right or wrong to do, again, the habit versus the value. Mm hmm. That same toothbrushing example with a sibling relationship.
Mm hmm. Yeah. I mean, I, we are slightly over the time that we normally go for this. But I think that the one of the key ideas that I would like to draw out and this is that you don’t see conflict as a bad thing. Can you tell us about that? And why that is? Because I think the typical approach is, well, if the kids are fighting, then something’s wrong. And I’m failing and the family is not doing well and, and things are not good right now. So how do you see that in a different way?
Yeah, I think that we’ve been raised to think that conflict in general is negative. And so much of what we’ve been learning and practicing in upbringing out within sibling relationships and outside of it, just with all of our parenting struggles is that the hard stuff is the good stuff. Because that conflict is an opportunity. Every single conflict is an opportunity to connect and to run the resist approach and to have a conversation to be building skills, building connection, tuning into the inner wisdom and authority. There’s ours at the same time. And I think that something that we learned in a lot of our kind of coaching conversations and some Montessori School talks we did was that everyone really believed that the ultimate goal between siblings was harmony. We just want harmony in our home. We want friendship when we see this fighting, it’s not just annoying or stressful are triggering, or an impediment to my day. But it puts me in a fear spiral about their relationship and what they’re going to be like as people as friends, like they need to be, you know, college roommates and giving toasts at each other’s weddings and calling each other when I’m gone, right. So, we kind of rewrite that goal and talk about how our ultimate goal isn’t harmony, but it’s connection. And that can only happen when we can lean into these challenges and sort start rewriting our mental wiring. When we hear that scream or when we hear that thing break, or when we hear that MOM or that whining. Instead of thinking, this is bad, this shouldn’t be happening. This is the worst, either they’ve are failing, or I am failing. But to start replacing those automatic negative thoughts with this is valuable. This is good. We’re gonna get to the other side of this. This is an opportunity for connection. All of us are going to learn from this, right?
Yeah, it’s a lot of work though. Luckily, our siblings give us so many opportunities to practice. I mean think about that we have 30 something years of neural wiring to be backtracking. And they have so many, you know, they have a very small prefrontal cortex that they’re building. And so again, finding a way to meet in the middle where we’re unlearning they’re learning. And every time we go through it, we start seeing the results when we start seeing our kids, using the same words we’re using. When we start seeing them setting a boundary lovingly with one another. We start seeing them it creatively innovates through an issue were like, Oh my gosh, this is happening. And it wasn’t from creating a victim and an aggressor. It wasn’t from telling them again for the hundredth time that they shouldn’t do that, you know, it wasn’t from losing our shit. And I know that we’re not. That’s not what we always want to do. But thinking of what else we can do has really helped us. And so that’s what the guide is about is saying, okay, we know we don’t want to do that. What can we be doing instead? That’s more helpful for all of us.
Even like 10% of the time.
We should actually count the number of like conflict-filled interactions with our kids and just make a little tally and just be like, how many times a day, even once a day is valuable, if we can get in there. We’re feeling a little more primed, a little bit more patient a little bit more self-regulated. That’s an opportunity, like dive into the room when I’m feeling good. Like I’m gonna get in there and nail it right now. A little easier the other times when I’m like hiding plugging my ears and being like, it’s gotta stop. I know.
Our personal capacity definitely plays in a lot.
It should. Yeah.
Well, thank you so much for being here. It was so awesome to meet you. I’m sure our paths would have crossed at some point anyway, but thanks again to Dana for helping us to make the connection because it was it was so amazing to chat with you.
Kindred spirits. Among kindred spirits for sure.
So, can you tell listeners where they can find you and all of your work and like what’s the best way to connect with you?
Yeah, it would be to go to our website at Upbringing.co and then we’re also on Instagram at up_bringing. And that’s pretty much where we can find all.. Yeah, our Resist Approach and our Freedoms Model you can download there we have a shop with a sibling guide. And we’re mostly around on Instagram. And we just love talking about the hard stuff. Some come to us to talk about the hard stuff. We love it and we’re in it with all of you who are listening and we know you are too Jen.
And your stuffs are pretty as well. Your designers amazing. Whoever helped you to put all that stuff together and it’s just it’s just beautiful to look at too. So, follow for the eye candy and then stay for the for the messages.
Thanks for joining us for this episode of Your Parenting Mojo. Don’t forget to subscribe to the show at YourParentingMojo.com to receive new episode notifications, and the FREE Guide to 7 Parenting Myths That We Can Leave Behind and join the Your Parenting Mojo Facebook group for more respectful research based ideas to help kids thrive and make parenting easier for you. I’ll see you next time on Your Parenting Mojo.
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.
Her Finding Your Parenting Mojo membership group supports parents in putting the research into action in their real lives, with their real families. Find more info at www.YourParentingMojo.com/Membership
She also launched the most comprehensive course available to help parents decide whether homeschooling could be right for their family. Find out more about it – and take a free seven-question quiz to get a personalized assessment of your own homeschooling readiness at www.YourHomeschoolingMojo.com
And for parents who are committed to public school but recognize the limitations in that system, she has a course to help support children's learning in school at https://jenlumanlan.teachable.com/p/school