We might deeply love our children, but what happens when we just don’t like them!? Host Amelia Phillips speaks with Child and Family Therapist Jennifer Kolari about how we can foster a deep connection and communicate effectively with our kids, even when they drive us crazy! They discuss some simple strategies for overwhelmed mum’s to manage ‘goliath’ kids and reconnect with the love again.
Below is an unedited transcript of the podcast episode:
It’s not something I’m proud to say, but lately I’ve been feeling like I just don’t like my kids that much. Is that bad? I mean, I feel terrible about it. I told my husband the other day cuz I was feeling awful. Of course I love them and I would go to the ends of the earth for them. But they have just been a nightmare to be around lately, and I haven’t been looking forward to spending time with them.
Angus, my five year old relentlessly annoys his siblings and when they retaliate, he just falls on the floor and loses it with these massive meltdowns, I think. What sort of an adult am I raising here? Anyway, I really hope I’m not alone in these feelings. Mums, I hope you can maybe relate to this because I’d love to get back to.
The time that I spend with my four kids,
this is healthy Her with Amelia Phillips. I know that we all deeply love our children and will go to the ends of the earth for them, but what happens when we just don’t like. When they are a complete pain to be around, are they too similar to us? Are they too different? Are they the retribution for the grief that we caused our parents?
Or are they simply crying out for that connection that somehow got lost in our busy, messy lives? One woman who is all too familiar with this conundrum is child and family therapist Jennifer Kaari. Jennifer has dedicated her career to connected parenting and the techniques to achieve this. She’s written three books on the topic, including one titled, You’re Ruining My Life.
She runs online programs, has a fantastic podcast called Connected Parenting Runs workshops, and one-on-one sessions. Jennifer, thank you so much for joining me today. You’re so welcome. Thank you for having me. Let’s kick off with when you have a parent and a child that come to see you with this consistent butting of heads, disagreements, and maybe tension between them, what is usually at the core of what is going on?
So this is such a good question, and before I answer that, I wanna kind of just say to parents out there, it, it is so normal to feel this way. Sometimes parenting is so hard. It is the hardest job you will ever do and you’re not actually parents. Okay? This is, this will help a lot. You’re actually substitute frontal lobes.
I love this. I love this. So what’s the job of the frontal lobe? That’s the, that’s the part of the brain that inhibit. Organizes, prioritizes, motivates, shifts, perspective, all of that stuff. So that really puts into perspective what we do as a parent. Cuz what are we doing all day? Motivating, inhibiting, stop that, right?
We’re shifting, helping them shift attention. We are moving them throughout the day all the time. The mid brain’s job, that’s the part of the brain that, you know, goes into fight, flight, or freeze. It’s the security and safety part of the. Its job is to push back. No, you’re mean, not now in a minute. That kind of captures every single day what we do as a parent.
So we have to understand that you are a substitute brain function, which means their job is to push back. The other thing that’s really important is often parents who feel this way are parents of what I call gladiators. Okay, so these are sassy. Oh yes. That is Angus. Yes. They’re sassy, they’re feisty, they’re funny, they’re smart, but they’re a pain and they, you know what?
Right. . And they’re always, But no, not now. In a minute you’re mean. Why? It’s all day long, right? Yes, yes. And the thing we have to understand is someone like Angus is concerned with freedom. And sovereignty and curiosity and exploration. And you have to keep him safe and organized. Yeah. And on track. And those two things are not pretty, Those things do not go together.
Yeah, right. Kids like this, honestly, like Angus. Are built to change the world. Yeah. Right. They’re built to push back on boundaries. They’re built to create change. They’re, they’re built to say, Why would I do it that way when I can do it this way? Which will make them hopefully wonderful adults that will save us all.
but impossible to parent. It’s really great game changer when you say that we are basically the frontal lobe for our child. We are their logic. We are that, that voice of reason, and that’s why we have to also do things on repeat all the time because the frontal lobe of kids is not fully developed yet, and it, it does make me feel a bit better knowing that, you know, you have to repeat these things over and over and just kick that frontal lobe into thinking.
Yeah, that’s a brain function. You’re a prosthetic frontal. That’s what you are, right? So this answers the question why I do I have to say this to my kid 50,000 times? Why have they had a, a timeout for the same thing over and over? Because you are constantly providing that function and you are co-regulating with them until they can regulate on their own, which I gotta tell you is not like into the late teens, maybe twenties, right?
Yeah. So when you do have these, Parents and kids that are just at loggerheads all the time. How do you coach them to make that paradigm shift? Because I can imagine it can be really upsetting for both, you know, both the child and the parent. What are the first steps that you, um, that you take to rebuild that?
That’s a really good question, and I can’t tell you how many parents come into my office in tears saying, I love my kid, but I hate him. Forget, not like him, Like I. I get a stomach ache when I know it’s three 30 and the school bus is pulling up and no parent wants to feel that way. You’re not supposed to feel that way.
But the truth is, kids who push back, who have what’s what’s called a very strong counter will are exhausting. They’re exhausting. And part of it is adjusting your expectations, right? Expecting that you’re gonna say something once and then they’re gonna listen, is part of the problem. And then what you have to do, which is critical to all of this, is you’ve gotta take care of that.
You know, I recommend connection and baby play and tickling them and snuggling them and, and I have parents that say to me, Oh, I don’t know. I’m so mad at ’em all the time. I don’t feel like doing that. But truly, the child that you least feel like doing this with is the child that needs that the most, right?
Because they’re pushing back, they’re being difficult, they’re driving, and they’re not stupid. They know that they’re causing these problems. They can see it on your face. You’re literally like, And it doesn’t matter how empathic and wonderful you are as a. They come running in the room and you’re like, Oh, great.
What Now? What’s it gonna do now? And even if you don’t say it, it’s all over your face. Right? And they know that they can derail things. They know that they can suck all the oxygen outta the room. Part of the way they’re responding is because they’re anxious, because they know, put it this way, they know they’re loved, but they don’t always feel lovable.
And because they don’t feel lovable and because they’re not lovable, sometimes they get panic and they think, Well, if mom’s not gonna love me, if dad’s doesn’t love me, I’m gonna sure know. So I’m gonna behave in a way that will help me understand that when they get mad at me, it’s because of my behavior and I controlled that behavior.
It’s very subconscious. I don’t suggest that they wake up every morning with a checklist of horrible things they’re gonna do to to put you on edge, But it becomes a bit of an attachment issue, a push pull, like this crazy dance that you get into. So the very first thing is you are the parent, you are the frontal lobe.
Parenting is an inside job. We can talk about ways that you kind of check yourself and ground your. So that you can do this. If your child had a physical ailment, if your child had some awful disease, you wouldn’t say, Ugh, I’m too tired. I don’t know. This seems exhausting. You would find a way and for your child’s mental health and for helping your child grow into the person, the amazing adult who’s gonna change the world kind of person.
They need to be, This is what you need to do. Is it easy? No. Are you alone? Nope. You can find lots of parents who are parents of really. Sassy, feisty kids like this, it will get easier and it’s connection. First you must always connect before you correct, and you’ve gotta up all the snuggling baby play, show them baby pictures, rub noses, all of that stuff, cuz it’s the first thing to go when your own brain goes, Oh my God, here we go.
Here we comes. You’ve developed a technique called the Calm technique, which I absolutely love, and we’re gonna go through that in a moment. But tell me the purpose of this technique. Why did you create it? Uh, so the purpose of the technique, and it’s really based on all kinds of amazing contributions and people that I admire and, and a particular kind of therapy called self psychology, but I sort of honed it in and, and developed it into my particular brand.
Because I know that everyone thinks they’re connected to their children. They think they’re a good listener. We often think, Oh, I’m good. I’m a good listener. People talk to me. But we’re actually quite terrible at it, especially with our children, . So we’re always telling them why they shouldn’t feel that way.
And you know, there’s children in the world are worse off and. Why don’t you try this, or we try all of these ways to cheer, lead, to talk them out of how they’re feeling or to distract them. Um, because we feel pain when our children are upset and to be, if we’re being really honest with ourselves, and this is the truth, we often need our children to behave a certain way so that we can feel okay.
Right? And that’s the truth. And if, and if you understand that you need to be there and present with your children, putting your own issues aside to create safety, to create connections so that they can feel safe enough to make better choices, to not wanna hit their siblings, to not say no every time you ask them to do something.
now you’re going to have a joy and a freedom and you’ll get back to that place where you’re like, Oh, my kids really are fun. And we really did have a great day today. That was amazing. You’ll get there, but it’s connection that gets you there. So it’s, I think for me it was really laying it out in a very practical way so that people had a, not a script necessarily, cuz he, there isn’t a script you have to go based on what your child is expressing to you, but it’s, it’s structured in a way that people can really use it and feel really confident.
Well, it made perfect sense to me. So let’s run through it. It’s an acronym, CALM technique. Mm-hmm. . Let’s start with C. How does it work? Okay. So the first thing you’re gonna do with that C is you’re going to calm yourself down first, right? You’re gonna collect, You’re gonna operate from a place of love, not fear.
So often with our children, we’re parenting from a place of fear. Stop that. Get over here, cut it out. We’ve got that front. It kind of sound in our voice. And we’re e whenever we parent from a place of fear. You’re giving the child the impression that you’re not in control. , like, Why would I listen to her?
She looks pretty nervous, right? So, So it’s really about calming yourself. It’s about connecting before correcting, and it’s about taking your agenda, which is how dare you talk to me this way, and come on, we’ve gotta go and What do you mean you’re not doing this when I’ve asked you to? It’s taking that and putting it aside temporarily.
People start learning about connected parenting. They think it’s all about mirroring and connection and listening. It’s also about setting limits, reasonable, loving, predictable limits, which also mean love to a child because you are a frontal lobe. And setting those limits in a way that’s really lovely and really meaningful.
That’s coming from a place of love. So that’s the first thing. That’s what you do with the C. The letter A is for affect matching. So this is where the look on your face kind of needs to match the look on their face. It can’t be exact cuz that’s. But it has to be really close. So the example I often give is, if you have a, let’s say have a little five year old and I don’t know, he came home and he is upset cuz he, he thought a girl really loved him and it turns out she loves someone else.
Okay. Jillian loves, I thought Jillian loved me and she loves Josh. So you’ll do what we both did. We just smiled. Right, but that smile to Josh or to your child who feels like the love of his life just dumped him, that smile is not gonna match, right? So we have to make sure that our face is representing urgency, not panic, urgency, concern, connection, and really trying to get what our child is feeling.
And what they’re experiencing, really stepping into their world. Exactly. You know, imagine if you just got dumped, how would you be feeling right now? Mm-hmm. . Would you want your best friend to be giggling at you saying, I told you that loser was never gonna be the right person for you. That’s a perfect way to put it.
Right. And we do this a lot to children. We somehow think because they’re five or they’re seven or they’re 10, that they don’t actually hear what we say and experience what we say in the same way that an adulthood. , if you were unloading the dishwasher and your husband said, I’ve told you 50 times not to what the cops like that, you’re going to freak out.
You’re not gonna accept that. But how often do we tell our children and speak to our children in ways that we would never tolerate for a second being spoken to by someone else? Right. So it’s really, it’s like tuning into their emotional channel. You get to be the frontal lobe, I promise. But what we’re doing first is we’re creating this beautiful.
Where your children feel seen, where they feel heard, and they feel very loved, and you’re doing your best to get them, the next stage is out. So this is where you can listen. You can paraphrase what your child just said. You can summarize what your child just said. You can clarify what your child just said, or you can wonder out loud.
And the M is when you’ve done all of those things, when you’ve incorporated all of those steps, you should have had a pretty good mirroring moment, which is basically that connection moment, that moment where they get that you. What they’ve just gone through exactly. No matter what, whether it’s, you know, whether they’re in the wrong or the right.
I have to say I have used this in the last, just in the last week or so. Mm-hmm. , and it has been absolutely game changing. Because what I found is that it totally diffuses a situation. Mm-hmm. . So instead of just flip, which I would usually flip my lid, let’s face it in, you know, not the best parenting moment, but instead I am now just taking a step back and going, Oh, I get it.
So, You know, Lachlan came in and ruined your castle and you decided to pick up the brick and you hit him on the head with it because you were so upset because you’ve spent all day building this castle and it meant so much to you. And suddenly you just say, Yes. Yes. Oh, you get me. Okay, I get it now. . And then you go on to Correct.
Yes. Well, and what often happens before you even have to do that is your kid goes, I shouldn’t have hit. I guess that wasn’t a good idea and you didn’t have even have to say it, right? Yeah. So it, you know, it’s tricky and your mama bear comes out when you’re, when one, one child hits another, and obviously if there’s hitting and they’re grabbing each other, you have to keep them safe and separate them first.
But in the moment you, you can say after you’ve sort of done that, you can say, So tell me you’re a good guy. You’re a really good person, and you care about things. And I could see that that castle was really important to you. Tell me what happened. Why. Why was hitting your brother the only thing you felt like you could do in that moment?
And watch how the conversation shifts, right? Instead of, you can’t do that. Wow. And you know what? We’re gonna take these toys. Am we gonna pack them up? Am we gonna give them to children who really can use whatever? Right? We go to that place. You do my parenting voice way too well, Jennifer. That’s scary. We have all been there.
And listen, this is also what I love about this cuz people are gonna think, Oh really? Like how am I gonna do that? And the truth is, you’re not going to sometimes, sometimes you’re gonna flip your. , you’re gonna hate what you did. And then you can go back and you repair. You can repair. Do you remember yesterday when your castle fell down and you hit your brother and I freaked out on you?
I didn’t actually stop and think about what was going on for you. What was happening for you in that moment? That tower was pretty important. Now I, You can’t hit, we won’t allow that in our family. But help me understand what happened to you in that moment, and watch how the conversation shifts. Watch what comes out of your child.
You discovered the impact of the power of connection when you worked in a group home for street kids. Mm-hmm. earlier on in your career, and I mean, these were, as you described it, emotionally damaged poor children who had suffered abuse in all its forms. Mm-hmm. , what did you discover? About connection working in that home.
Mm-hmm. ? Oh, that’s such a good question. That was really the origin of when I really began to understand how powerful empathy is and compassion and, and I really wanted to know more about it. So yeah, I started working as I’d finished my undergraduate degree in psychology. I ended up working in this group home for street kids in Toronto, Canada.
and these were kids who had been through terrible abuse, awful things, a lot of trauma. They were pretty scary. They, you know, they were pretty tough. They had a pretty thick veneer and they were, uh, pretty intimidating. And I have no idea what I was doing whatsoever. Um, and we were taught in this group home to be very military like, Don’t turn your back on these kids and make, you know, be pretty tough with them.
They have to know who’s the boss. I just saw babies. I just saw kids who were 11 to 16 years old who had been through hell and back, and none of that made sense to me, especially at night when it was time to put them to bed. You know, when the makeup came off and the jams came on, and the teddy bears came out, which always happened at night.
Oh, I mean, they’re so young. Oh, they, And they’ve been through such terrible things. So I would just sit with them and I’d rub their back. and I would tell them bedtime stories and I would sing them lullabies and these children would melt into this bedtime routine. Now, the next day, they were embarrassed and they didn’t wanna talk about it.
But what I discovered was the next day when I needed them to flow through their day, when there were things that I asked them to do, when there were rules that they needed to follow, they were much more likely to follow them for me.
Exactly, yeah. One story really comes to mind and that is this little girl who had been quite behavioral, we’d actually had meetings for several weeks before she came to the, to our group home and you know, sort of bated down the hatches cuz she was really quite, quite aggressive and she was only there for a short time and she particularly loved.
The bedtime routine. It was quite meaningful to her and it was quite lovely. Um, and she was only there for a short while. And I remember her leaving. She, I can see as clear as day, she was walking down the sidewalk, going to the car with her social worker to change settings. She stopped. I can see her put her hands on the handle of the car and there was a pause and then she turned around.
She came running up the sidewalk. She put her hands on my cheek. She looked straight into my eyes and she said, I just wanna remember this. The face of someone who actually cared about me. Wow. And I never forgot that moment. And that was the moment that Connected Parenting was born, right? That was the moment I knew, Okay, we’re onto something here.
This is huge. Oh, I’ve got tears in my eyes. I mean, that is how you change someone’s life. That’s so beautiful. And what happens when you use that calm technique and when you connect deeply with another person, Oxytocin. Oxytocin is a very powerful hormone slash neurotransmitter. Um, it does some pretty incredible things.
It blocks cortisol, suppresses cortisol, which is the stress hormone that causes us all to be anxious and angry and upset. It speeds up neuroplasticity. It makes kids smarter and stronger. They learn faster and they remember things better. How great is that for your child’s brain? Yeah, the middle of a crazy time in the world when we’re, we’re fighting.
A virus and there’s a pandemic going on, it strengthens the immune system. It upgrades your immune system. So I mean, if that’s not enough, it’s free. You don’t need prescription. You can’t become addicted to it. and all of those amazing things, all of those amazing benefits bounce back into your brain when you use them.
Yeah. That’s the connection element. Yes. Yes. So I teach parents how to use language, and that’s what the calm technique. as medicine and as you said a few minutes ago, it’s a superpower. Yeah, it’s unbelievable. And here’s the other thing I want people to understand too, is the more you use this and to use it as a de escalator is just the bonus.
When you use this regularly in your parenting repertoire, you build up children’s emotional resilience, those emotional shock absorbers start being formed. Those shoulders get back, that chin comes up and they can handle things when you do a lot of this mirroring with them, when you do do that, like get out, I’m.
It doesn’t injure them as deeply because you’ve built up this padding, right? This, this resilient coating of times when you have listened and been present. And so when you lose it, because you will, and we all do, it causes less damage and you can go back and repair. So let’s say we’re trying the calm technique and it just doesn’t seem to be working for us, what could possibly be going wrong?
The main reason is people aren’t using the calm technique. They’re not actually mirroring, they’re using active listen. And that’s what I call the customer service response. I understand, ma’am. That must be very frustrating. I’m hearing that this is very difficult to you. Do you feel, you hear that feels like a
It feels like a technique. Yes. Right. It feels kinda patronizing and often that’s what people are doing and it takes time. This takes time to practice and really get the nuances. But it’s when you kind of sound like, I know you don’t wanna go to gymnastics, but I You hear that. It’s got that sound, The kid already knows where you’re going with it, and it’s not about understanding them, it’s about checking that box off so they get out the door.
Right? It’s about using a technique so you can get compliance, and it will never work that way. The key is to truly, genuinely put your agenda aside and try to understand what your child is going through. So the best way to explain it is there’s no observational. No. It sounds like No, it must bes. No, I’m hearing that.
No, no, nothing that has to go through the language center first in the brain. It’s directly, so I don’t know. Your kid freaks out because their Lego tower fell down instead of saying, I understand. That must be so frustrating. You worked hard on that. I’m sorry that that fell apart. It’s got like, What? Are you kidding me?
You worked so hard on that, and it went from being all the way up here to being like a rubble on the floor. Feel the difference. Yeah. One is so in the moment, one is so genuine, one is so real, and by the way, this is the best friend response, right? If we’re, if we’re talking to our best friend and we’re complaining about our husband or something, and they say, Well, I understand that, that must be really frustrating, but you know, you’re lucky to have a husband that’s not gonna work.
It’s like, Whoa, that’s not what I needed in that moment. You need someone going, What? Are you kidding me? You’re what? That’s what you want. And that’s where you get the oxytocin, the opiates, the natural endorphin. Releasing and biochemically altering that experience, which is why it’s so magically de. And I think that was what was so powerful to me, was that I didn’t realize how often we will just jump into fix it mode.
Yes. And whether it’s fix it mode, because it’s our own agenda, so you’ve gotta get them out the door. Um, so it’s just, oh, oh, it didn’t hurt that much, or Oh, we can always build another one. Or, you know, you’ll get another girlfriend one day or whatever. You, you wanna leap into that, fix it mode and, and even if you just are able to do that connection before you Correct.
I think that it can make such a really big difference. It does. It changes the trajectory, and a lot of parents will say to me, I don’t have time for that. I’ve gotta get them out the door. My answer to that is, you don’t have time not to, because if you don’t do it, you’re gonna have people screaming and your child yelling back and being stubborn and, and not wanting to listen to you.
When you actually take that time and you front load it, you put that energy in at the beginning of the Interac. , the payoff will be that the whole thing is over in half the time or less, and everybody gets out the door happy versus everybody crying on the way to school and then you slam the door and then you ball your eyes out all the way back home.
Vowing to never do that again, right? Yes. Oh my goodness. We’ve all been there. Jennifer, we’ve spoken about when we don’t like our kids, but what about when they don’t like us? And I’m thinking of. Poor parents out there that are going through the transition into teenagehood. Mm-hmm. that feeling when we step towards them and then they step back.
Yes. What’s the best approach to reestablish that connection in those years? That’s a really excellent question and I’m gonna answer that, but I’m gonna back up for a second cuz I would tell parents this, if your kids aren’t mad at. The time. You’re not being a good frontal lobe, okay? . So you, and you don’t need your kids to like you, and you don’t need your kids to even love you.
You need to love them. You can even say that to you. I love you enough for you to be mad at me. I love you enough for you to hate me right now. That’s actually how much I love you, because I know that it’s not safe for you to go to that party, or I know that it’s not okay for you to be running around on the top of the fence or whatever they’re doing right.
You. It’s having it’s parenting from that place of solid, neutral, strong love that you don’t need them to approve, like you for it. That’s how you know you’re being a really good friend to Logan. That’s how you know you’re not operating from fear. If you’re trying to get your kids to like you, if you’re afraid they’re gonna be mad at you.
Then you’re operating from fear and it’s not gonna work and they’ll know it. And as long as you’re doing the connection stuff that we’re talking about, the baby play, the rubbing nose is the finding cute pictures of them connecting before correcting, using the calm technique when they’re upset, that will take care of itself.
And your children do love you anyway. They do, but you don’t need them too. And that’s a really important part. And then for teenager, , they kind of move into this phase where they have to retract from you a little bit. They’ve gotta figure, they’ve gotta go inward and figure out who they are, and they can’t do that while they still are super attached to you and need you.
So it’s quite an overnight thing often to have your child, you know, running up to you and wanting to sit on your lap and tell you all kinds of things. And then they hit 13 and they’re, What, what do you want? Get out? Like it’s pretty fast. Especially with girls. Yeah. You know, and they just retreat and then they hear your step, your footsteps outside the door and they’re like, Right.
So, and part of that is being strong enough to know that you’ve gotta love them through that, That they love you anyway. And that it’s an important part of their development as well. That’s what they need because they are maturing and growing up. We need to be able to let go, but I think it would be a lot easier to let go if you trusted that deep connection and you weren’t feeling that kind of desperate need to connect.
Absolutely. And then the answer to your question, You can use, if they have a phone, you can send them little icons and little hearts and you can send them little memes. You can put stick, you know, stick a picture of that you found on the bathroom mirror or put it on their pillow at night. Most teenagers, especially at night or on drives, they do really well on drives if you let them DJ and you try not to talk too much.
They want that connection desperately from you. They’ll act like they don’t, but they very much need it. And so you remind them of how beautiful they are and you’re still my baby, and you kind of get in there and do that with them and, and you’re connecting before correcting. One of the things that happens with teenagers is they’re in their rooms all the time.
they ignore you. Then they come out and you’re all over them. Have you done your homework? You’ve been in there for four hours. What have you been doing in there that’s not good for you? And we sort of attack them as soon as they come outta the room. And where do you think they’re gonna wanna go after that?
right back in their room. Right? So when they come out, you wanna connect and if they open the fridge and say, Oh, who drank all the chocolate milk? Instead of saying, You did. And how about you let me know next time you say, You know what I hate. When you open the fridge, you expect something to be there.
You’re looking forward to it, and it’s not there, and then walk away. It doesn’t have to be a whole moment. It’s just a moment where you drop this little wonderful experience where they feel deeply heard and they’re like, Huh. that was different. That felt kind of nice. And then build on those. What about deceit?
How do you repair when you’ve just discovered a really big lie and have got an account that, an Instore account that you didn’t know or, or some horrible lie and you just, you feel broken, that this child that you love so much will lie to you? So first thing I wanna tell you is that children lie. . Um, and all teenagers to some degree are mostly kind of honest, but they all will tell stories and part of that is finding their and lie.
Part of that is finding their sovereignty. part of that. And there’s a difference between privacy and lying, right? And secrecy. And if you have a connection, if you’re good at listening, your children are gonna tell you things. They’re not going to lie to you. And if they do, they’re gonna come back and say, I feel terrible.
I told you this, but I really have this like, And when you teach your children to be in their integrity instead of out of integrity. So when they tell a lie, how’s that? How’d that feeling in your stomach? Isn’t there like a gross feeling that goes with that when you know you’ve just lied to someone you love?
That feeling is not gonna go away until you come back and tell the truth, right? So, but the truth is, the same formula applies. You find out your child’s had a secret Instagram account or something and you told them not to. Every parent in the gonna run in going, I cannot believe this. Are you kidding me?
That’s it. Your phone’s gone. This is unsafe. We’re gonna unleash. , all that’s going to happen to a child and, and again, parents’ main concern is safety and security. , a teenager’s main concern is freedom and sovereignty, . So those things do not go very well and be a bit of a clash. . Right? And remember, you’re a frontal lobe, so especially when they’re in the younger teen years, you have to set these limits for them.
You have to control those things because they don’t have a fully foreign frontal lobe. They’re not ready to make those decisions. But you start with, Okay, I love. You’re a really good person. You care about human rights, you care about animals. None of this makes sense to me. Like, help me understand why you felt the only thing you could do here was hide this from me and lie to me.
Now watch the response you’re gonna get. Wow. Right? Yes. It’s such a difference. And then if they keep lying, then you say, I love you and I know who you really are, and I know the truth. So those messages of competence. Yeah, I know what you really believe. I’m gonna leave you for a. , I’m gonna take my own panic, which is, oh my God, she opened a, you know, Instagram account.
You can even say that right? To your child. I’m gonna go in, I’m gonna give you some time and, and give you some space because I think there’s more to this story and I think there’s more that you think I should know and get out of there and then watch. They will come back, They will tell you. Or when you come back and check later, or they’ll send you a text.
Yeah. About it. That’s how you create honesty and truth. And when you catch your child, And you’re standing over them saying, I know you’re lying. None of this makes sense. Children get just as upset if you don’t believe their lies, as if you don’t believe their truth. Okay. It’s the same feeling to them. So they will, if they will just double down and the lie will be so ridiculous, but they won’t even hear how stupid it sounds because they’re just feeling like they have to defend.
Yeah. Digging that whole deeper and deeper and deeper. So don’t stand over them. Say, I’m gonna give you time to make a really good. And I want you to just think about this. Is your body telling you that you’re in your integrity or out of your integrity now? Right now? And I’m gonna come back and I’m gonna check on you later and watch what happens next.
The depth of the conversation. And then you have to be able to hold onto, Okay, well now I understand and you have to own the part. What is it about me? How did I conduct myself as a. That created a situation where my child felt like they can’t be honest with me and through the teenage years, because you can’t follow them around.
You can’t go to parties with them. That’s weird. You have to travel with them in their heart. Yeah, and you can only do that when you have that connection. Yeah. Finally, Jennifer, for a parent who is feeling really overwhelmed with managing their life child or just their child’s big emotions, what’s one simple strategy that they can take home tonight and implement to really build on that bond?
Honestly, hands down, the easiest one, the best one is baby play or what I call limbic bond. go right up to that child or all of them if they’ve all been difficult. And I’ll be honest, like a lot of kids are feral right now, like they’re just losing it because of my online work that I do with families, I, I’m working with families from basically every corner of the planet and they’re all saying the same things.
So, you know, kids have spent a lot of time online, so if they are back in school, they can’t focus anymore cause they’re used to being on their phone every five seconds or getting up and getting a snack whenever they want one. And so even if they’re back in school, they’re struggling if they’re back online, which a lot of places.
they’re over it. They’re exhausted, they’re tired. They’re picking up on that collective anxiety. So I would say if it’s one child that’s causing you problems more than the other, or if it’s all of your kids, go and spend 10 or 15 minutes. And if your spouse can do this too a day, just making them feel delicious, come here.
I don’t care what kind of day we’ve. Let me see that little nose and look at those little js. And it doesn’t matter how old they’re, even if even teenagers will fall into this to a certain degree, and if they don’t and they go, Ew, what are you doing? Don’t do that thing where you say, I hope you have a kid one day.
And they’d make you feel like this. You say, You know what? I forget. I forget sometimes that you don’t like this, but you will always be my baby and I love you so much, and then walk away and I promise you they will come back in half an hour or the next day and you’ll get a little bump, or you’ll get a.
Erm or rather drap themselves on you, and little kids will just melt into it. That is literally the greatest medicine. Oh, I love that. That’ll help. It’s so easy to do, and my kids love it when I show them baby photos, or I tell hilarious stories like, You were the slowest eater. Wait like a sloth, and then they, you know, start to mimic it.
Baby play. That’s something we can all do and something that will get that oxytocin fir. Exactly. Jennifer, thank you so much for coming on today. You are so welcome. Thank you for having me.