How To Use Positive Discipline To Ease The Stress Of Parenting.
Parenting young children can be wonderful, fulfilling, frustrating and exhausting.
People will tell you “the days are long but the years are short”, but when you’ve got a toddler melting down at the end of the day it’s easy to want to escape by opening a bottle of wine.
Wine mom culture exists because being a mom is hard.
For a lot of us pouring a big glass of wine is the “easy button” to numb out from overwhelming situations and responsibilities. I got into the habit of drinking to reward myself for getting through the day, to transition from work to home and to shut down once the kids go to bed before doing it all again.
But since alcohol is easy to get, highly addictive and embedded in our culture it’s not difficult for a glass of wine to turn into a bottle.
Parenting is hard, but alcohol isn’t the answer.
The truth is, you don’t need a drink. What you need is more help, better tools, a break, a bath, a friend, someone else to cook dinner and do the laundry and time to read a novel.
Since I can’t help with the laundry (trust me I have plenty to do at my own house), I asked a friend and positive discipline parenting expert, Julietta Skoog, to help you navigate parenting in the early years with more ease and less stress.
Julietta is a Certified Positive Discipline Advanced Trainer with an Ed.S Degree in School Psychology and a Masters Degree in School Counseling with over 20 years of experience helping families in schools and homes.
I love Julietta because she’s able to translate research, child development and Positive Discipline principles into everyday parenting solutions for us and her own 3 children.
So what is a positive discipline approach for parenting?
It’s been summarized as “a method where parents clearly communicate what behaviors are appropriate, which ones are inappropriate, and what the rewards for good behavior and the consequences for bad behavior are.”
That sounds way easier said than done, but Julietta is here to break it all down.
Positive discipline is a way of teaching and guiding children that emphasizes respect, empathy, and problem-solving skills. It’s an approach to parenting that emphasizes teaching children appropriate behavior and building a strong parent-child relationship through positive interactions.
Positive discipline also helps parents and children cope when kids have feelings that get so big they lose control of their ability to think and act clearly.
When kids start kicking, screaming, pushing, throwing things or seem unable to move or find it hard to speak, positive discipline practices can help parents and kids understand what’s going on and help the child regulate their emotions.
As Julietta says in our interview “often the behavior that we see at the tip of the iceberg, is actually a solution to a problem that we don’t see”.
If you have a kid between the age of birth and 11 years old, looking for practical and insightful advice, this is a must-listen episode!
In this episode, Casey and Julietta discuss:
The difference between positive discipline and punishment
- How to set clear expectations for children that are motivating to make them want to do well
- What’s happening in a child’s brain when they’re screaming, kicking or irrational
- How to help your child calm down and regain control when they’re overwhelmed and stressed
- Practical tips to implement positive discipline practices for children
- Ideas for connecting with your kids at different ages
- Why to shift away from punitive, controlling & coercive parenting approaches
- How to get buy-in from your partner in implementing positive discipline practices
Resources mentioned in the episode:
How To Encourage Real Motivation In Your Children Free Guide: www.besproutable.com/motivate
Ep. 98 of The Hello Someday Podcast with Julietta’s Partner, Casey O’Roarty | Parenting Teens and Tweens Without The Drama
Dan Siegel’s work: The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind and No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind
Slumberkins Guide: Managing Parental Stress and Anxiety
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Connect with Julietta Skoog
Julietta Skoog is a Certified Positive Discipline Advanced Trainer with an Ed.S Degree in School Psychology and a Masters Degree in School Counseling with over 20 years of experience helping families in schools and homes.
Her popular keynote speeches, classes, and workshops have been described as rejuvenating, motivating, and inspiring.
Learn more about Julietta at https://www.besproutable.com/about-us/#Julietta
How To Encourage Real Motivation In Your Children Free Guide: www.besproutable.com/motivate
Connect with Casey
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Want to read the full transcript of this podcast episode? Scroll down on this page.
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READ THE TRANSCRIPT OF THIS PODCAST INTERVIEW
How To Use Positive Discipline To Ease The Stress Of Parenting with Julietta Skoog
kids, discipline, ease, stress, drink, parents, feel, positive, super, Casey, child, brain, prefrontal cortex, big, people, moment, real, connected, routine, creating, practice
Early Childhood, positive discipline, parenting
SPEAKERS: Casey McGuire Davidson + Julietta Skoog
Welcome to the Hello Someday Podcast, the podcast for busy women who are ready to drink less and live more. I’m Casey McGuire Davidson, ex-red wine girl turned life coach helping women create lives they love without alcohol. But it wasn’t that long ago that I was anxious, overwhelmed, and drinking a bottle of wine and night to unwind. I thought that wine was the glue, holding my life together, helping me cope with my kids, my stressful job and my busy life. I didn’t realize that my love affair with drinking was making me more anxious and less able to manage my responsibilities.
In this podcast, my goal is to teach you the tried and true secrets of creating and living a life you don’t want to escape from.
Each week, I’ll bring you tools, lessons and conversations to help you drink less and live more. I’ll teach you how to navigate our drinking obsessed culture without a buzz, how to sit with your emotions when you’re lonely or angry, frustrated or overwhelmed, how to self soothe without a drink, and how to turn the decision to stop drinking from your worst case scenario to the best decision of your life.
I am so glad you’re here. Now let’s get started.
Hi there. Today we are talking about Early Childhood Positive Discipline and Parenting.
So, if you have a kid between the age of birth or 11, you’re going to want to listen to this.
I love my guest. Her name is Julietta Skoog, and she’s a Certified Positive Discipline Advanced trainer with an EDS Degree in School Psychology and a Master’s Degree in School Counseling. She has over 20 years of experience helping families in schools and home. Julieta draws from her real life practical experience working with 1000s of students with a variety of needs, and her own three children to parent coaching, bringing a unique ability to translate research, child development and positive discipline principles into everyday parenting solutions. Her popular keynote speeches, classes and workshops have been described as rejuvenating, motivating and inspiring.
And I have to say, I actually met Julietta, this is funny, at a New Year’s Eve party gathering something at one of our very good friends’ houses Sheryl. We were sitting around. As we do, basically pulling angel cards for the New Year. And Sheryl brought him out. I do angel cards every year. Sheryl was the first person who introduced me to them. So, we were sitting right next to each other, chatting about all the things, and discovered that I had already done a podcast interview with one of her partners on parenting teens and tweens without the drama, which was fantastic. With her partner, Casey, I’ll link to it in the show notes. And she was talking about how she is the Early Childhood sort of partner in the work that they do. And I personally have a lot of clients who have young children between the ages of birth and 11. I know it is challenging to parent, young kids, I know you don’t have the support you need. And when you are trying to stop drinking, it’s really important to minimize triggers. And some of that is just the way you live with the children in your household, your kids frustrations, how to create that harmonious home and positive relationship.
So, that was a big intro. But Julietta, welcome.
Thank you, Casey, I’m so happy to just have this time to hang out. It was so funny meeting New Year’s Eve at this party and making all these connections. It was like all these dots right got connected. And we were like, wait a minute, you’re THE Casey.
Wait a minute, I think I was like, Oh, you’ve got to interview my friend, or you should be on my friends podcast on my partner’s podcast.
Casey McGuire Davidson 04:14
And I was like, Oh, I already know her. We totally met. I’ve interviewed her this with great. And that episode was all about parenting teens and tweens without the drama. But I actually haven’t done an episode on younger kids. And it was absolutely on my list because I tried to address all the things that women encounter that are that are difficult for them. I think a lot of times we drink because it’s just a maladaptive coping strategy or a way to release that then becomes increasingly problematic because the substances addictive and around us all the time and creates anxiety and depression but, in the beginning, we think it’s a solution to very real challenges in life.
Right? Well, and we talk, we say in positive discipline, that often the behavior that we see at the tip of the iceberg is a solution to a problem that we don’t see. And so, for when you’re just starting out as a pattern in parenthood, it is stressful, it is a long day. It’s relentless, you know, and so it makes sense that there would be some sort of a quick fix or like an easy, you know, coping short term at the surface, that really is the solution to a bigger problem, which is that like, parenting is really hard, you know, it is super stressful, and totally opens up, like, unlocks super, super deep stuff about us as children, the inner child within us the way that we were parented. I mean, it just, like, totally cracks our heart wide open, you know, but their insides on the outside. So it is, yeah, it’s real.
And I so appreciate Casey. I just have to say, I, after meeting, then I got to listen to your podcast and listen to your, you’ve been interviewed on cases, and you’re so relatable, and your stories are so judgment-free and real. And just the way that you share, like, the normalcy of like, well, I was long day at work, you know, I was in like, the corporate environment or like, all those things are real are and the world that we live in. The fishbowl that we live in, the water that we swim in here that makes it so accessible, and a quick fix. So, I just really appreciate your podcasts, the work that you’re putting out to everyone, the support that you’re giving, and the way that you really make it accessible to so many.
Casey McGuire Davidson 06:39
Thank you so much. I love meeting you. And I think that when you meet people, and I know listeners are going to relate to this, like, you immediately, like, pick up on other people’s energy and are like, Oh, my God, we need to talk more. And so, that’s how I felt about you when we met. So, we definitely need to hang out more often. We both live in Seattle, which is super cool.
But to dive in. I know. I mean, my God, you’ve got all this experience. But you also are a parent to three girls. They’re 14, 11 and 5. So, you have both experienced, you know, the reality of parenting and have all this experience working with a huge variety of kids and a huge variety of parents.
Yeah, definitely in the trenches, that’s for sure. And I think, you know, one of the biggest, I don’t know if it was an ego booster, or a wakeup call, or what it was, was actually having worked with so many students for so long, having all these degrees feeling like I knew everything there was to know. And then I actually have my first baby, and I am totally rocked. I mean, she was colicky. It was so hard, it’s hard physically, it’s hurt. Emotionally, I had to go back to work when she was 11 weeks, I still felt like I was so postpartum, like, I mean, there’s so many things that are that are going on. And then suddenly, they get into those twos and those threes, and they’re pushing back, and there’s the power struggles, and then maybe you have another one that’s come along at that point, too. So, then you’re also juggling a newborn and lack of sleep, which is so real, and it’s super stressful. So frankly, I was really grateful to have the framework of positive discipline, the foundation about positive discipline. I’ve been using it in schools. I came really right out of the gate for my training within school psychology and school counseling also been introduced to positive discipline. So, I had a really strong foundation. It’s firmly rooted in Adlerian psychology. So, it’s not just a set of books written by Jane Austen, who happened to have seven kids and was like, This is what works for me. It really is deeply rooted in Adlerian psychology, which comes from a place of understanding behavior.
You know, it’s really like, how do we unlock the code of what behavior? Means, whether it’s a baby that’s crying, or two year old that’s whining or a five year old, that’s, you know, destroying the house, or an eight year old that’s rolling their eyes and stomping away?
You know, I mean, really, it’s understanding that all behavior is a form of communication, and that all human beings are driven by a need for significance and belonging. And significance, meaning I matter, I can contribute. And belonging, meaning I’m connected to others and the neuroscience around that the child development, you know, world really aligns with that as well.
Were these young kids developmentally wired to have autonomy to push boundaries to seek? You know, like, what are the rules to also discover things for themselves? I mean, that’s how the brain grows, you know, to really like, explore and test and try it again and try it in this, you know, different way. And then simultaneously, they’re socially wired.
You know, they learn and grow through attachment and through relationship. And so, Oh, I just felt really grateful to have a lot of that as a framework. It didn’t mean that I did it perfectly, or my kids are perfect, but in quite the opposite, you know, in fact, it actually freed me to accept, there’s going to be all these challenges, always, you know, I could come in with all this experience, I even my husband’s a teacher, he’s like, has the patience of a saint, I mean, even within all that, there still is going to be this list of challenges. So, that’s really what positive discipline gave me – it was like, my own little lab at home.
You know, in order to really test out all of these tools in real life, you know, and I can confidently say that. That the shift from just controlling everything, you know, making everybody be perfect, having my kids just hurry up and get through the routine and get through the day. Like, the shift from that to embracing the messiness. Embracing that the challenges, are all opportunities to teach these incredible list of life skills that every single one of my parents and teachers that come through my programs have. Everyone has the same list, same list that I do. There’s some variation, of course. But we all want our kids to, you know, ultimately, when they’re 25, be responsible and independent and healthy, and have healthy relationships and healthy coping skills and be flexible and have critical thinking skills and problem solving skills and strong communication skills, you know, all these things. And so, when we can start to really zoom out, like, take our ego out of it, like, not get caught up in the muck, I like to say. But really embrace that as this, this time, and this, like sweet vulnerability, especially with our young children have to learn these life skills, you know, through these moments and discipline. I think it’s a word that can be really tricky, and really triggering for parents, in and of itself. Because either of the way that we were raised, or we, we think of it as punishment, or a verb, we’ve got to discipline our kids, it’s that verb, you know, the authority piece. And so, some of those triggers are coming in, like, you can’t talk to me like that, or you can’t do you know, so but discipline comes from the Latin root disciplinarian, which means to teach. And so, that’s the gift that our kids give us, is this opportunity for us to be leaders, you know. Our greatest teachers are people who are inspiring, and hold us accountable, and are funny and bring their whole authentic self.
And so, kids give us that chance to really reparent and grow ourselves. I mean, that’s what it’s all about. It’s about us. You know you want to change your kids. Look at yourself first, you know. Yeah.
Casey McGuire Davidson 12:43
You know, it’s so much. I had so many thoughts and questions when you were going through that. The first one, is it right to say like, early childhood positive discipline? Or is it early childhood positive parenting, like, what’s, what’s the?
Yeah, that’s a great question. So, here’s how I, here’s how I describe it. You know, and I’m, like I said, I’ve been in the positive discipline world for a really long time, I’d like to, I think I need to stop counting, because it actually freaks me out. When I’ve been doing this kind of stuff. I think of positive discipline as a book on the shelf of or a big umbrella within the positive parenting world. So, there’s all kinds of names, there’s n movements that are that are rooted from certain people, right, that have written the books or created the programs. So, there’s conscious parenting, for example, positive discipline, positive parenting, it’s all this umbrella mindful parenting. Positive Discipline itself is its own book on the shelf. It’s rooted in that Adlerian psychology. It’s a series of books that are written by Jay Nelson, Lynne Lott and other authors. Positive Discipline for Parents with Special Needs. Positive Discipline for, you know, Single Parents. Positive Discipline for the Teenagers. Positive Discipline in the Muslim world, like, all that or at home. So, there’s, you know, all these different books within Positive Discipline. And what I like about Positive Discipline is it actually is the only one, that also has a program for schools also. So, there’s a bridge. You know that bridge and that common language for teachers and for parents really support this idea that it is a village, it’s all of these grownups in the child’s life, you know, for how we’re raising our kids. But the big movement is around the shift away from punitive, violent, controlling coercive behavior that we now know, through research and neuroscience and psychological research is not helpful.
You know, it might get kids to do things short term, but it doesn’t help them in the long term. And it doesn’t, you know, the long term impacts of that are real, you know, so it’s just movement away from that, but I think where it gets tricky is that then People are like, Okay, well, I know I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to pick my kids, you know, but maybe it’s okay then to isolate them to yell at them in their face and put them in, put him sit on a naughty stool is not okay, you know that what they do on TV like, so then, then they’re like, well, that doesn’t feel good either. So, then there’s a swing, there’s like this moment as you jump off that one trapeze bar to the other one where it’s like, okay, I’m just going to be really nice, I’ll just be super positive, you know, if I just show up in a really good mood, you know, and like, super happy all the time. They’ll just follow along, like ducklings? Yeah.
So, I like Mary Poppins. Well, and I’ll actually, I could write a whole essay on Mary Poppins, because I will say she actually has brings a lot of firmness, you know. And that’s I do reference her as a great example of positive discipline, because positive discipline is not just being positive, it’s being highly connected. And, and firm at the same time. So, the connected part is, I see you, it’s present. For me, the connected part is understanding brain and child development, it’s getting through the, through their eyes, looking at the way that they are seeing this scenario here. You know, it’s the perspective of through their eyes, how is this little three year old viewing this moment while you’re holding this baby? You know, how are they seeing this. So, we say that kids are good perceivers and poor interpreters. So, they pick up on everything, they make their own little interpretations, that drive a belief system that then drives a behavior, you know, they make that decision that drives that belief and behavior. So, when we can start to shift those interpretations for them, we can. When we can get into it from their perspective, instead of just trying to like, control and stop, you know, and shape behavior when we can really get it from that angle. So positive discipline, you know, has that connection and firmness at the same time. And so, I think where it can get a little muddy for parents is they’re like, Okay, got it. Like, I want to be conscious, I want to be in the moment, you know, but like, they’ve got a parser teeth, we’ve got to get to the house on time. Like, we’ve got to get, you know, to sleep or like, the kid just scream in the middle of a restaurant, you know, or like, say a bunch of cuss words and say, hate you and walk away from the dinner table. Like, where does that come in. So, that’s what I really appreciate about positive discipline is it really does like out, like connection and firmness at the same time. So that the connection is the presence, the love, the unconditional, like, I will always love you. To me, the firmness is the systems, itPs solution focused. It is the accountability, it is the follow through, you know, with mutual respect, mutual respect, we don’t have to, you know, yell right back them and roll our eyes and can be so incredulous that they messed up, you know, when they’re like five, yeah, you know, and they’re still learning, they’re still practicing.
So, a lot of what I teach, I teach in conjunction with Dan Siegel’s work, who was a psychiatrist down at UCLA, and he wrote whole brainchild, and no drama discipline, and his partner Tina Bryson is amazing. She’s a school Counselor, MD, PhD, she co-wrote a lot of the books with him as well. And so, they come at it from just the neuroscience perspective. And I think a lot of my work that’s really helpful for parents is bridging those two and helping parents teach their children and regulate how to regulate together, how to learn the brain, how to really be empowered by where the brains are, what’s happening within the fight or flight system, the limbic region, the prefrontal cortex, recognizing when lids get flipped, and then really having a solid system for how to get back and what to do once it’s regathered. Because I think, especially for a lot of your listeners, it’s that moment that things go sideways, you know, it’s like when the lid has flipped the mirror neurons that are happening with a child’s brain, it’s we reflect that those emotions, it’s called the security guard that’s kind of that gatekeeper within that limbic region that saying, not safe, not safe, not safe. So then boom, we go into that fight or flight response. And that deep autonomic system that’s like, goes into survival mode, and what are we going to do in order just to survive this moment, you know, so happy, especially for young kids, you know, really having that firmness of the follow through and the routine and the safety and the predictability of this kind of a practice that really settles the nervous system over and over and over again. Not to stay super Zen and Buddha all the time, but so that when the lid flips and we regather right, that there is the sense of like a fire alarm that we know what to do.
A fire jolt like, we know what door we’re going out of, you know. We’re not like, I don’t know. Should we get out of the house or not? You know, it’s like, Nope, this is what we do. And let’s not.
Casey McGuire Davidson
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Casey McGuire Davidson 20:04
Yeah, I think that’s super interesting. And I can imagine that doing this work around positive discipline, it would be really helpful to get buy in from your partner. I mean, I know that my husband, Mike, and I are mostly aligned. But I definitely, you know, he gets frustrated much more easily than I do, he would say that I’m pretty relaxed. You know what I mean? Like, I’ve just like ads, not a big deal. You know, like, I don’t know, having giving a kid a phone at a restaurant, you know, and I mean, like, I’m just like, Dude, I want to sit here and have a conversation with you. I don’t want to like shovel my food and run out because the kids about to lose it. And he’s, like, embarrassed and you can tell me that I’m wrong, or he’s wrong. It’ll be okay. Well, of course, I would never say who was right or wrong. I mean, I think what ways do you like?
Mike’s going to be like, “Come on Julietta, take my side?” No, I’ll tell you what I’ll actually say like, I would say neither, you know, and then, because here’s what I love about positive discipline is it’s about intentional parenting. You know, it’s about saying, here are the things and here’s the awesome thing Casey is it’s everyone gets to decide there’s no one way there. Whether you have the phone in the, at the restaurant, or you’re sleeping with your nine year old still, like or whatever it literally, unless it’s a problem for you. That’s it. You get to decide. You know, of like, what matters for you, it goes back to that life skills of like, what’s important for you, what are the values in your family.
So, one of the ways that I help partners get on the same page is creating that list. Like imagine your two kiddos, who are so cute, by the way, I love that I got to meet them. And I also love was New Year’s Eve where I got to watch as you walk your talk in what could have been the most like triggering night I can imagine, you know, for humans, and I just love that you really like model that so beautifully.
For me, for like, my first year would have been really, really tough. I mean, I’m seven years in it was like, literally, I brought my six pack of Athletic Brewing Company. I was like going along. It actually cracks me up sometimes. And because we didn’t know each other, and I think you was like, Oh, what do you do about you know, of course, everyone is holding their wide, right? I do like, read the people in the circle of eight. That was like, yeah, actually, I was sober coach, and everyone whether they drink a lot or don’t drink a lot, like immediately looks at their glass of whatever alcohol they have. And it’s like, oh, okay, like, either they tried to put it away, or they’re like, I actually don’t like they feel like they need to tell me how much they drink. Often. I’m sure they try to like just really absolve them, like explain the entire Oh, yeah, everybody’s all about their drinking. Like, dude, I don’t care. Like, I am.
And also, you’re like, I’m off the clock. Can I just like, I’m off the clock. You know what’s funny? I’m at a state basketball tournament. I told you this earlier for my son. And he got pulled up to the Varsity. And they’re like, eight seniors on the team. All that is to say, he’s a freshman. I don’t know the parents that well, you know what I mean? Like, they’ve been a group for four years. And they are super, super nice. But of course, I mean, I think they know what I do, right? I mean, I’m sure over the course of various seasons, they’ve asked, and I’ve told and I’m, I’m obviously super out, I have a podcast, whatever. But so, we were sitting around after they would their first game and go but overtime. So, it’s like midnight, we’re in a burger place, you know, in Yakima, which is no offense to anyone here like a very small town. And there’s not a lot going on. But there are a lot of wineries around if I know this, because I used to come to this area on my anniversaries to go wine tasting. And like there’s almost nothing else. And so, I asked one of the mods, I was like, hey, what do you guys going to do tomorrow? And she was like, I didn’t. it wasn’t like, I was looking for a friend to hang out with. Like, I had a podcast to record. And she’s like, I don’t know, probably drink all day. And I laughed. And then she immediately like, had that moment. And she was like, I’m just kidding. I’m just…Guy was like, Dude, I don’t give a shit. They’re great wineries, I could recommend what to you? You know what I mean? Like, I’m here to help people if they want to change their relationship with alcohol. Like, if you don’t, I’ve been there, and I honestly could care less. You know, don’t drink it. Drink it, I don’t think it’s right for you. But whatever.
Anyway, that was a huge segue. But it’s funny because like, that moment was like, I’m just kidding. Then like, Dude, stop.
Well, and I think well, just that no judgment piece. I’m just so meeting your kids having it be New Year’s Eve and that I mean, Sheryl, we both share an adoration, love have so much. She is the queen of creating a community of people to feel so good and easy. You know, it’s amazing whenever she hosts those little parties that you just feel so invited and warm. So, I couldn’t imagine a better, you know, situation but I was really impressed by that I have to say. So, meeting your kids going back to like this idea where you know, for you and Mike, right, that you’re creating this list together of like, when you think about them as 25-year-olds, what are those life skills that are important to you, and not that we want to mold them into these kids? Because that couldn’t be like, that’s like the opposite of conscious parenting, or positive discipline, but it really is about how do we embrace each one of these perfect little kiddos for who they are their own unique self, their own essence, true essence for who they’re meant to be their massive amount of potential? You know, how do we give them these skills so that they can realize who that is, for themselves and figure it out for themselves and, you know, have their own light had their own life, you know?
So, going back to the restaurant, it’s not about whether it’s okay or not, it’s saying, like, what matters to us? And then I think it’s been fair to the kids, it’s not fair, it’s sometimes they get it, and sometimes they don’t, right. Or sometimes they get it if there’s a big group, or sometimes they don’t when their other friends have it, or I had it last Friday, but I don’t get it on Thursday, or if it’s always just kind of this little carrot are held over the that’s where you get the whiny and the demanding and the like, but what about last time and the anxiousness frankly, because kids are, you know, they thrive with the predictability with the safety with routine with consistency. This is why Vegas is so powerful, because intermittent reinforcement is the highest drug there is right? It’s like that new, we’re wired for new, you know, so like having that’s my kids who are so bored, start drinking, right? Because it’s that new part. They’re like, zero.
What? That’s new. That’s different. We didn’t do that before, you know. But when you and your partner can sit down and say, what’s our rule about screens at restaurants? Yeah, what matters. And then that’s what it is, every time no matter what, whether you’re out to dinner, just the as a family, or whether it’s with the grandma, or whether it’s with the basketball team or whatever. You know, for us, we decided early on, I’ll just share mine if you want to know what our rules are. I always yes, straight up no screens before too. And that’s just like a hard rule. And even we were on an eight week road trip with a one year old. And still I was like, and the other two kids at the screens. And I was like, the youngest did not.
So, no screens for age two, I thought you meant to pm good Claire, oh, God, oh, God, but
like that’s like the lizard like some drinking rolls around the net. It’s five o’clock somewhere, right? Exactly. No, before the age of two. But then we love to go out to eat and in our life skills list. It’s that we want our kids to be great travelers, we want to be able to go out to restaurants with friends and have a long, luxurious, you know, meal and have a good time and not have them be running all over the place. So, and understanding child development and brain development, that’s a lot to ask for a kid, you know, to be there for three hours and have this whole Euro dinner. So, which we do a lot with our families, I have two sisters who don’t have kids. And so, there are a lot of big grown up long, you know, dinners bring, we love to eat. And so, there’s just these long become these Euro dinners. So, we say we have we bring every kid brings their own little kit for things to keep them busy, whether you’re 10 or 14, or five, and then and from early on. And then and we all were total gamers, so we always roll with like I always have a couple of games just randomly in my bag. So, they even if another kid has shown up and they’ve just got their tablet, we’re like that’s not our we don’t do that before dinner. And also, because I want them to associate eating food, right part of my life skills list is for them to have a healthy relationship with food and with their bodies. And so just wanting to have mindful eating and being aware of how they’re feeling while they’re eating. So, we say you can draw and play games and do all this stuff. And right up until an order while your order for yourself and through the meal. But once the meal is over, and you’ve excused yourself, and thanks to the person who’s paying for the meal or who made the meal, then then have screen go for it have a great time because I want to stay in the restaurant for another hour and a half. Yeah. Okay,
that’s super helpful. That’s great.
So that’s definitely what positively splinters for me is like the firmness of just like, what is what’s the plan here? And it doesn’t mean that it’s like that’s forever and ever, like have those conversations with the kids. If they feel like that doesn’t feel fair, then be like great. Tell me why, you know, and how can we work to a solution? It’s really about being solution focused without blame and solutions are related, reasonable, respectful, and helpful. So how is this solution helping, you know, and how are we inviting that autonomy for kids to be in relationship with us and then we are not.
Casey McGuire Davidson 30:01
When you said like, knowing what to expect, so they don’t feel like they can wear you down. I mean, or they’re just going to like, Well, maybe if I just wind enough for another hour she’ll get in because sometimes she does. That does take away a lot of sometimes the issues and I’ve definitely done it wrong. And I’ve done it right. I’ve done it wrong to you, of course we’re all human beings. I mean, that’s how we learn, we learn through practice, or kids or learning through practice, too. But I think you hit on something, Casey, which is like that, were you down feeling, or I think for a lot of your listeners that that’s the that’s the part where you just feel worn down, you know. And so, when you can lean on, you know, the routine of just we call it let routines be the boss of just being like what’s supposed to be happening. And then I think the big key here also, is letting kids be disappointed, letting them be like, and it’s okay, and you don’t have to be mean about it. And you don’t have to be like, guilt ridden about it either. But just being like, the answer’s no. And it’s okay to be disappointed. And I love you.
Yeah. All right. And really empathizing. I know, I wish I could do, you know, or Wouldn’t that be awesome, and same to go to bed, you know, or whatever it is like, and then going back to connection, connection, connection. And I think when there are the full blown, like, dysregulation, and meltdowns, that’s where I feel so, so passionate about having a positive timeout space, or feel better spot or calm down corner, whatever you want to call it, name it, rebrand it. But really having that place for the grownups for the kids, where this is where we go when our lettuce flipped, and then how to have those things that we practice every day, the coping skills within it, that help our brain get back to here.
Casey McGuire Davidson 31:47
Yeah, I think that’s so useful and helpful and good. Because the other thing too, is, it’s like, and I want to talk about this. And I also I mean, I want to talk about all the things I want to go through each age and all the things but like, a lot of times, you know whether you are at home with your kids all day, which I can imagine is incredibly hard. I used to say like, yeah, I want to stop working, but not before Lila is five. So she’ll go to school, so I’m not home with her all day, which I was like, Yeah, that sounds awesome. But it is dead.
True. But or so you’re home with them all day, which is exhausting. If you have more than one kid, it’s exhausting. If you have a neurodivergent kid, it’s extra challenging sometimes, although I know we want to talk about that as well. But also, if you’re coming home from work, you’re running late, you’ve got to jump on the computer and work again. After the kids go to bed. You’re like, I’m exhausted. And I need time for myself. And I have this guilt. And like, I mean, I used to before I stopped drinking like I would have wine while playing Candyland. Or building Legos because I was like, Okay, I’m multitasking. I’m getting something for me. And it’s allowing me to like, Dear God, Are we really going to play Candyland for the 17th time? You know what I mean? Right?
I know, and how that Yes. And what you’re doing is you’re short circuiting that Jedi mind trick. And that actually, like bigger challenge of like, How can I deeply connect with my kids, because essentially, you’re just disassociating you know, in that like, moment of like, disconnecting from the terror that Candyland really is like, you know, as opposed to saying, I mean, truly, you know, the, if we think about mutual respect, and positive discipline, or connection and firmness, if it is really that bad for you, like having that insight, and really recognizing I don’t want to play this again. And guess what you get to model that with them and say, we played Candyland yesterday. And so, let’s do this instead. And I think here’s a big key, we think that we either. And I think this is true for both of those scenarios that you described, we have to just like, be with our kids playing with them, or getting our stuff done, you know, and so and they and that they can’t entertain themselves either. And so really embracing I mean, again, through this positive discipline lens, this idea of inviting kids to discover how capable they are, means inviting them into your world to and into their world.
And so, if part of your day, let’s say the first scenario of being home, you know, in the morning, and so you’ve got the things to do, you’ve got to put the breakfast dishes away, you’ve got to start the laundry, you’ve got to tidy up the house, you’ve got to feed the you know, feed, or walk the dog or all these things, that rhythm of the day. Kids want to be part of, you know, so often we’re trying to be like, get on my face. So, I can do this or like, you know, push away, push away, push away. But if we go back to that Adlerian psychology that kids want to feel connected, they want to feel seen, they want to feel mattered, like they matter. Incorporate that right, like have them be a part of the rhythm of now we’re going to put load of laundry and now we’re going to feed the dog and really inviting them to be capable and do these big jobs, helps them feel proud and connected and encouraged and a part of the day and the firmness of when all these things are done, then we go to the park and having that routine of like, or our adventure day or whatever it is. Like Monday, we go to the park. Tuesday, we go to the zoo, you know. Wednesday, we go to the grocery store. Thursday, there we go on our, one of the vehicles around the house around the town, you know, we take a bus or whatever, like, really having this kind of intentional, like planning, because kids crave that, you know, and then that firmness of like, Yep, and when this is and maybe they want to go home, let them play. Awesome. You know what I mean?
Then that’s like, growing that into, then you look at your little life skills list in your mind, you know, it’s like, okay, they’re, they’re, they’re being independent, they’re like, being so focused, they’re problem solving, they’re being creative, they’re having fun, awesome, I’m going to go, you know, listen to the podcast for like, a little laundry. Or when we’re, if we’re working all day, now we’ve come home, like even more. So, you know, it’s like, team time, like, we’re all in the kitchen getting dinner together. And we’re or they’re organizing the, the, unloading the dishwasher, while they’re putting the little silverware stuff away or walking one plate at a time, you know, really include them. And a lot of what we say in positive discipline is about connection before correction. And if you and what Jay Nelson says is sometimes connection is enough, you know, sometimes the connection is enough. So, if we find ourselves or you find yourself like you said, I so appreciate that example of like having a glass of wine while playing Candyland. Like, just recognizing, you know, the, your intent here? Is it just to like, get through it? You know, is it that multitasking part or that anxiety around that? Because you’re like, oh, my gosh, I’ve got to do this, because I’m so stressed out about then having to, like, get dinner on table and all this other stuff. It’s like, then just go do it. You know, like, take out the middleman.
Casey McGuire Davidson 36:56
Yeah, I mean, I always say like, especially when you get past like the first two weeks, because of course you’re going to want to drink in the first two weeks? And the answer there is like, lower the bar, let the kids eat cereal, go to bed super early, ask for help, like, try to stay away from everything that you know, you need to build a bubble. That said afterwards, you know, when someone’s like, God, I really want to drink. My question is first, have you eaten? Because that’s huge, like the blood sugar, the hunger, etc. But then like, why? What emotion are you feeling? Or what is the reason that you want to drink? And it can be like, stressed, bored, overwhelmed, I really don’t enjoy joy doing this thing, but I feel like I should. And so, once you know what it is, there are other ways to solve for it. Right? Like, you’re like, Okay, here’s what I don’t want to do, or here’s what is stressing me out or whatever it is. Okay, now that I know that I like you said, I can make a conscious choice, I can decide to do a little of this and a little of that, I can go get my stuff done. Or I can ask to do something else. You know, all those things. It’s like identifying why you want to check out. And I think I can where I can help is that one piece that that’s pretty major that you mentioned, Casey, which is like,
I actually don’t like doing this, you know, I think that is a pretty big one, right? Of like, oh my gosh, actually parenthood sucks, like, you know, which is what I hear from people, you know, we’re like, this isn’t fun, or I go on a vacation with my friends or with my kids. And it’s like, it doesn’t feel like a vacation. You know, so that part actually, is where I offer this, I like to use the phrase like finding this fun, you know, just like you would in any relationship. It’s really unlocking and finding the way to connect fine. Like, how can you find the joy, you know, in this moment with this other person and I think just from years and years of working with kids, I’ve always loved kids, I’ve always been that that kid ever since I was like Montessori wanting to take care of little preschoolers and babysitting since I was 12. And you know, all those kinds of things.
But I think it really is offering you know this moment to like to get to know your child’s you know, and I think so often we come in like expecting one kiddo and we get a different one, we get a totally different personality or temperament.
Or, you know, a kid that really challenges us and finding those strengths, like almost like falling in love with them again, you know, like, really drawing out their little spirit within and finding the things that you can connect with them. And I can say, you know, certainly, I mean all my 1000s of students or every kid that I would work with, you know, I don’t have the real extreme ones at some points, but also, I’d get to go and do full classroom lessons and things I always was able to like to find this Strength and each student are like the cool thing about them. And what you realize is that when you know people feel better, they do better. And when you are able to really connect with them, it draws out who they’re who they really are meant to be, you know, and one of the things in Adlerian psychology is about encouragement, you know that when misbehavior is really a misbehaving child is a discouraged child, and they’re not going to say, Hey, can you please encourage me, they’re going to push back or yell at you, or whine or cry, or you know, all those things? And so how can we encourage our children because when they feel encouraged, all of a sudden, they are confident, and helpful, and sweet and funny. And all these things, you know, so how do we bring out the encouragement and the motivation, you know, within them, so that we then get to interact with that kiddo? More often? You know? Yeah.
Casey McGuire Davidson 40:55
Well, so can we start, like, at the various ages, both kind of where the kid is, you know, developmentally, and some tips that a lot of times parents, like aren’t aware of, or they’re doing the opposite for a million reasons?
Yeah, like, what change would be helpful? What do you mean?
Casey McGuire Davidson 41:18
Well, I’m just thinking like, Okay, we talked about kids, I mean, birth to 11 is obviously a big spectrum, if someone’s listening to this, and they’re like, Okay, I’ve got a two year old or four year old, or an eight year old, like, when you said, you know, understanding who they are, and, and sort of connecting with them and, and helping them at that age. Can you just give us like, the high points? For sure. Yeah.
So, I would say, first of all, for all three of those ages, you want to create a visual routine chart. So, and I know people are going to, like roll their eyes and want to press pause immediately, but don’t do it yet. So, it’s this is not about like, you know, stickers, and check marks and point system and all that. But it really is, and I truly, we have a YouTube channel, I have a video of me doing this with a two year old, creating a routine for whatever is your pain point, like, whatever is the trigger for you. Maybe it is that like after, you know that kind of five o’clock time, or bedtime, or maybe it’s just the morning because there’s a lot of anxiety, you know, when you first wake up, whatever is your pain point, create a routine with your child, and really just say, like, what are all the things that we do during this time, you know, and so for two year old, they’re very sensory oriented. And so, just understanding that they are there. They’re taking in information from a sensory place, they’re looking at everything, they want to touch everything they are, they’re silly and funny.
You know, when you head into the preschool land, they’re really about imagination. And so, the ways to connect with them is going to be through imagination. For the for the eight-year-olds, they love jokes and riddles. And by that time, they are a full, fully cooked almost like you know what they’re into, it’s Harry Potter, it’s Star Wars or it’s like, spies, or, you know, mermaids or whatever, like, you know, so figuring out what they’re into. And then connecting with them about that just like you would with another grown-up be like what their interests are, you know, but I think for those early ages is that sensory piece and that imagination part. So, creating a routine that’s visual, I can show you, AC because you can see me this is one when Leona was three, but we have just little Polaroid pictures of the different things that we do. Oh, and it says like dinner what else is on the list? Yeah, we’ve got like brushed teeth cleaned room do a little house walk, practice music, she This isn’t that she takes piano, but her sister did. And so, her sister on her sister’s routine. It’s practicing piano so she wanted to have it on hers. And book potty and jammies and story and sleep. And so, when you can make it with them, you know, invite that cooperation. And again, like you’re doing this with all kids here all these ages, frankly. Then, once you’ve paid then you’re then you’re a team with them. You’re like I what’s next? What should we do? Right? So, the furnace is like what we’re doing, but the connection point or the transitions in between. So, if they’re actually at this age, not anymore, but she was Liana was super into sound of music. So, we would say hey, let’s go. Let’s go meet all the Von Trapp children. Like, should I be Maria or do you want to be the captain and let’s go to brush our teeth. And then we’ve seen the song while she’s brushing teeth. And then as she’s getting her pajamas on, we’re saying Oh, I hear the Von Trapp children getting ready. Let’s get her pajamas on. So, we can go read books with them, like, you know, any sort of those connection points to help you navigate from through the transitions.
And when they’re older, you know, certainly they’re like more independent through the routine, but the principles are the same, which is that, let them follow their own routine. Stop being so nagging like, get off their case, you know. Invite them. Be like, Oh, where are you on your routine right now? Awesome. Hey, I meant to ask you like what, But you know, what, Harry Potter? Like, what book are you on right now? Or where are you at, like, having those little moments in between to connect with them, you know, so that they’re something a little bit and then they’re a little lighter as they’re slipping off to go, yeah, get their locker back together like thinking about those points in between. And so, I would say definitely, definitely like to start have a routine that’s really visual, visual, visual. We have that as grownups. Kids need that. That’s super important for executive functioning, and allows you to back off, and that you can be really, really lean into curiosity, more and authentically, you know.
And then the other part that I’ve mentioned, you know, earlier is just this idea of really emotional regulation as a focus and culture in your home. And so, starting to maybe it’s just every time they fall down, or they want something, and they’re having a total meltdown, because you gave them the wrong, you know, color bowl, or they want to play with a steak knife, and you won’t let them do that, that you are comforting them in the same spot. So, they really have this association from that sensory perspective of, I’m okay, I’m talking about feelings, you’re saying to them, you were really scared, or you really wanted that or that really hurt for you was really sad, and I’m getting some comfort and, and then taking those deep breaths co regulating with them. And then once their brain is here, they’re saying, Okay, let’s go solve the problem. There are tools here. You can. you know, there’s a blue or a yellow, which one would you like, you decide, right, that autonomy piece. As they get older, it’s really having that designated place that again, that you call like, your full better spot and tricking it out like theming it, you know, my middle, who’s the one that’s super into Harry Potter and Star Wars, and all of that was like, had a whole zombies phase. So, she had her theme with zombies, and also randomly a picture of Zac Efron that she was like, Oh my God, you know, so, um, so really, you’re like, 30 now, but we’re going to go with it.
I know, she really at that time she really, she like, it was like High School Musical. Yeah, it was High School Musical. And, and then my spot is my stoop up front. And my kids know, I have my gratitude journal that’s right by the door. So, my grab that if my letters starting to flip, but also that we then this is key here that you have that time, you know, every day, that’s part of that routine, that you practice one of those with your kiddos, you know, and again, it doesn’t matter whether they’re eight or five or two, that you’re in that little spot. Liana calls it her meditation and just picking something from your little kid or little basket. And maybe it’s reading a feelings book, maybe it’s laying down and putting a stuffy on your belly and taking some deep breaths together or doing a hot chocolate breath. Last night, Leona wanted to just draw out a little character and a feeling so we would get we guessed like I’m like, Okay, think it’s Daniel Tiger. And he’s feeling happy. And then I drew a picture of myself. And looking worried, and I’m a terrible drawer. So, it’s great to see like, can never guess it. So, then I just get to share about it. You know, just like the things that were like I was worried about for the next day, just to model that. And then I was like, Oh, I’m feeling actually a little bit worried about this thing tomorrow. I’m going to close my eyes and visualize myself like, totally rocking it. And then I close my eyes. I took a deep breath, I kind of imagined it, I did it for real. And then I was like, Ah, I feel better. Awesome.
Casey McGuire Davidson 48:27
You know, it’s funny. So, Lila, and I have this thing. And it’s I think it started because I stopped drinking when she was 22 months old. And so, at the time, I would take her up to bed and I used to like rush through it and be annoyed that she would cry. And because I wanted to like get back down on the couch and drink my wine and watch a show and have me time. But when I stopped drinking, I needed to like this safe space. So, I would rock her to sleep like holding her for like a long time I would just put in my earbuds and listen to like a sober audiobook or something and her sound machine was on, and it was totally dark and her breathing like that helped regulate me. And then I would just go to bed. And so, I started doing that with her. And then you know, I still do it. So, I still put her to bed every night. She’s almost nine. And literally we got her a double bed like four years, I crawl into bed with her, and we’d like hold hands and cuddle and scratch each other’s back and like whisper sweet nothings which she does to me to which actually feels really good. And it is in that sort of dark room that I get. She tells me when she’s anxious or she tells me when you know, is my stomach too big. It goes out, it doesn’t go in or we have all these conversations but at the same time, you know. Now, she like, I think being sober like helped her. See me doing like, more healthy ways to decompress. Like, she has an essential oils diffuser, and she picks the different scents. And I was like really stressed about something. You know, we used to listen to like anxiety meditations for kids, but like, I was like, Oh, I’m just really overwhelmed, I’m really stressed. And she’ll either reassure me or she’s like, Mom, let’s do a breathwork meditation, like, for real. And she searches on her tablet, she’s like, for a month on my phone, she finds like box breathing on YouTube, and we do it together. But I’m like, that’ll serve her so well. And she also knows, by the way, that she always wants me to put her to bed. But on Friday and Saturdays, I’m like, No, I want to stay up later, I want to read my book, or watch a show, I want to chill. I don’t, because I fall asleep with her a lot. So, like, she knows that my husband puts her to bed on the weekends. She always tries. And I’m like, Dude, that’s going to happen. And because of course, Mike’s like, tuck you in asleep? Well, he leaves like, which I, which is fine.
You know, we all want just like a little snuggle buddy, of course. And again, it comes down to I think, you know, framing that with positive discipline, it’s like, it’s, is it working for you? You know, for all of this?
Casey McGuire Davidson 51:13
I mean, this is what your whole mission is, is like, is this working for you? Is this behavior working for you? Yeah, no. And honestly, I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t also really enjoy it, you know, not every night, but like, 90% of the time, I’m like, oh, it’s our special cuddle time. You know,
that’s nice. And that’s mutually respectful. If that feels that way for both of you, you know, and there’s going to be different phases and stages, too, as you know, and really, like also being really mindful and cognizant that it’s, it’s not her responsibility to help you through that time, or to make you feel good that it is this like, you know, co special time. It’s your special time, basically, you know, so I think that idea, though, that you talk about all these, you know, coping skills are so powerful. And when we when we just do them, that becomes again, the water that our kids swimming, I mean, I don’t make my kids meditate, but because they see me meditate. And I do I mean, I have three kids, it’s chaos. Like there’s, I can’t always have this like quiet Zen, I mean, sometimes they are, I’m still meditating as they’re coming out and waking up and you know, walking in the room or whatever, like, I’m not like, get out. I’m just like, showing them what it looks like. And so, I do have, like, you know, that’s just part of their repertoire of skills. But I think where I offer through positive discipline of the connection and firmness with these younger kids is being intentional about it, like creating that menu for kids with what are those coping skills to do teaching them about their brain, and again, I use that brain in the palm of the hand model.
Oh, wait, which actually, so this is, I know, I’m like, I should probably have like, lead with that. But Dr. Siegel’s model is the brain in the palm of the hand. And so, and I have it in my download, free download guide that I have. So, tell us about the free download, because you’re going to share this, and then tell me what’s in it. So, the Dr. Siegel palm of the hand.
Yes, and so, so the all share. So, the, the guide that I have for your listeners is at the besproutable.com/motivate. And it’s a step by step guide for how to shift your kids from making them do what you want to wanting them, you’re having them want to do you know it for themselves. So really cultivating intrinsic motivation, and profitable times during the day, you know how to see them, how to give them autonomy, how to help build those skills, and then really have that connection as well. So, I have really specific phrases that you can use, really understanding the intrinsic motivation research. And then I have a video of how to teach your kids the brain in the palm of the hand. So, this is again, Dr. Siegel’s model. And if you, I’m showing Casey here, and you’ll see it in the video. But if you hold up your hand, and you tuck in your thumb and fold your fingers over, so it’s like making a fist, but your thumb is tucked in, that represents your fingers represent the prefrontal cortex. And if you open it all the way back up, the middle part of your palm represents that fight or flight response, that deep autonomic part of our brain that’s there for survival. And if you put your thumb in the middle there, so it looks like you’re holding up four fingers, the thumb represents that limbic region of your brain and that is that emotional Epicenter that is the security guard that’s constantly saying, Am I safe? Am I not safe? Am I safe? Am I not safe? And if they feel safe from all the sensory messages, everything that we’re getting around us, you know, if I feel safe, then my prefrontal cortex is able to integrate, and I’m able to access those kinds of executive functioning skills. So, he uses the acronym faces, which is flexible, adaptive, coherent, energized, and stable basis. And think about that. If you’re feeling flexible, adaptive, coherent, energized, and stable, you’re having an amazing day, you’re able to be emotionally regulated, plan, organize a tune to another person, listen to them, right, you’re able to really be creative, come up with great ideas. But if your brain doesn’t feel safe, and you’re then this regard is like, boom, prefer the quarters go away, when I say the wise leader, and all of us to my students, and my kids, except wise leader is offline, so that we can be here, right that that fight or flight response. And so, this is the part that we’re asking from.
So, when you were asking about neuro divergence assay, you know, this is the part for those kids, that’s really hard. It’s that executive functioning, that prefrontal cortex part that is harder to access for them. And so, when for all this is, this is why it’s helpful for all kids, when we can teach them about their brain, it takes away that shame, that blame, there’s something wrong with me, it just says this is how our brain works. It’s recognizing that certain things trigger us make our lid flip, right. And when we are here, our only job is to regulate is to help our brain get to here, Sam safe, and then re gather so that we can integrate to the prefrontal cortex and then solve the problem. It doesn’t mean that whatever’s happened when our little blips, then they get to just walk away from that train wreck, you know, it means then we get to go back and see what was the problem? How can we fix it, what kind of repair needs to be done, and let’s roleplay let’s get to in our body for a new way to do it differently the next time, you know, what make what happened when our lead flipped. So, this applies to the sibling stuff, this applies to the three year old that’s had the tantrum and just you know, punched the dog, and pulled the baby’s crib down, like major stuff that happens, you know, or the really impulsive kid who’s now you know, completely, like, destroyed something. So, all of that we get to go back when they’re feeling safe, you know, here, so, and this is key, the brain is developed, the brain has grown like a house from the ground up.
So here, we’ve got these little kids, our prefrontal cortex is not totally wired until we’re 25, you know, plus, so no wonder they’re lit, they’re flipping, and we’ve got those mirror neurons, you know, all the time. So, our job as parents is really to like, help kiddos strengthen those prefrontal cortex strengthen that neuro kind of forest that’s in there, by giving them lots of high reps, lots of high reps to think for themselves, to practice to do those kinds of things on a daily basis, when they’re already feeling cozy and happy. And, you know, in the green zone, the breath work, the talking about feelings, that’s not just Kumbaya, that actually changes the amygdala, which is that little part of the brain in that limbic region, that is the radar to help our brain get back to here. So, all of that work, I know, it’s a lot. But, you know, by really empowering our kids, and I teach this starting at age two, I teach this to two-year-olds up, then that’s the language that we can use with each other, you know, to say, up lids or flipping or lizard flips, we’re not going to talk about this anymore, we’re not going to solve this problem until we’re here. And we solve problems with words not with our body. And then what are all these healthy ways to get ourselves back to here, which are the ones that we practice on a daily basis?
Casey McGuire Davidson 58:23
So, question for you, I was mentioning, like just, I have a client who is amazing. She’s got a nine year old who has sort of some version of ADHD, OCD anxiety, who was screening for multiple hours, you know, the other night, which obviously is very, very hard to, you know, it impacts your nervous system, it’s stressful, it’s stressful in your marriage, etc. I know, you don’t know anything about this child or the family, but like, what kinds of things when a kid’s in that fight or flight flooded space around age nine, like, you know, what kinds of things could they do? Because I imagine it’s very hard.
Yeah, well, first of all, I mean, I would hope that it’s like a signal that we’ve got to come up with some new solutions, because screaming for hours on end is not working for anybody. And if a kid’s doing that, that’s because that’s, that’s all they know, at that point. You know, they don’t feel like they have any other resources at that point. So, certainly, step one is saying, that must have been like, so horrible and scary for you. That was, that was horrible and scary for all of us, you know, teaching the model of the brain. Where was your brain at that point, right? Where and then this idea of the sensory messages so how can we change the environment to help support a kiddo that super stressed and scared and when you can look at that screaming as they are, their brain feels unsafe. You want to send as many messages or help to send as many messages to the brain to say You’re safe here. And so that might mean turning off lights turning different music on Starting in the bathtub and getting them in some warm water, giving them a glass of water, maybe they’re then taking the water and throwing it and the glass is shattering everywhere, right? So, then you’re walking them into maybe a new space and you’re setting up some of the cozy places, maybe you’re turning on one of those meditations, maybe you’re just physically taking those deep breaths yourself or walking outside because they will follow you. And so just change during that change of energy, that change of room is going to help them.
I like to do an exercise and exercise called 54321. So, if my kiddo which they’ve it’s happened before, is having panic attack, or totally freaking out, we do 54321. So, I say five things, you can see four things, touch three things, you can hear two things you can smell one thing you can taste, and then repeat again, okay, and I start by modeling it. Okay, five things we can see, we see the branch, I see a pink dress, I see a lamp, I see my, my cup of tea, I see pajamas, for things I can touch, and then help just doing that. And I really like you’ll see kids, they’re scared. And so, they’re trying, right, they’ll try anything at that point. So, walking them through kind of those patterning of just really that muscle memory getting in their body is what I would say, Yeah, I might even with a nine year old, I might just be like, Let’s go for Let’s go, we’re going for a walk or going for a walk, you know, and grab the dog or I don’t have a dog. But come on outside, come with me just really move it move the energy, move the energy, if you don’t already have that kind of a space established where, like I said that you’ve practicing been practicing this fire drill so that when there was a fire, you know what to do? Yeah, I would say, especially for a kiddo who has ADHD, or anxiety or OCD or whatever it is, just like you would with a kiddo that has dyslexia or a kiddo that has a math disability, you’re going to get that extra practice every day, and you’re going to be teaching them in the way that they can understand. And so, it’s teaching the kiddo about their brain. It’s saying, because of the way that my brain works, this is the practice that I need to do every day to strengthen my brain. So, I don’t have three times a day that you’re practicing one of those healthy coping skills to just really settle the nervous system, I’d have some sensory support.
So, for sure, after a long day of school that’s so hard, have a whole menu of the things that they do to help regulate first, before you’re doing homework and these other things, maybe it’s going on the swing, maybe it’s doing the monkey bars, maybe it’s doing some heavy lifting somewhere or riding the bike, I mean, some sort of right brain left brain connection stuff to help them integrate and just feel safe.
Casey McGuire Davidson 1:02:40
And then, yeah, okay, that is super helpful. And so, I know you also have a membership going on, or starting because obviously, when I’m thinking about people, I know who are in those really tough, I mean, Lila still ate, but like you said, I feel like she’s pretty well formed. At this point. I’m going to have lots of new challenges. But she’s decently easy for me right now to deal with. But when you’re in the trenches, I mean, I remember, Hank, you know, everybody tells him to have a timeout, like, put him on his step. And the kid was four, he was really strong.
I couldn’t physically, you know what I mean? Like, I was just like, but also why would you the reason is because why would you do that? I mean, there’s, he’s he is the wise one in this moment being like, this is insane. Why, you know, I’m far You know, so it’s right. It’s not that he’s that it was he was especially tough, he was just a normal child being like, this is not okay, you know, and I’m for him. I have a surgeon right brain development right now. And I’m also like, wired to have my own control and autonomy and all of these things. Yeah. So yes, and I wanted to say also, just one of my favorite things just for listeners if you’ve made it this far, one of my favorite things to remember a great tip for toddlers and preschoolers is the acronym smile. Faith Collins wrote a great book called joyful toddlers and preschoolers and she uses the acronym smile, which is Song movement, imagination, love, and exaggeration. So, when in doubt, if you’re just feeling like oh my God, I am I’ve tried everything I can like what just remember smile. And if you sing a song or movement, like let’s hop or race or, or picking them up and zooming like an airplane, you know, any kind of movement, where the imagination you know, if you’re like, ninjas, and whatever, or just that big love scooping them up into a big hug, or the exaggeration like, oh, no, it’s I don’t remember how to get my boots on either. Like that little bridge to connection for them, turns their lights on. Suddenly, they’re looking at you, they’re connected to you and then you can lead them to whatever it is that you are going to be doing.
So, I wanted to just offer that little tip to your listeners to for those moments that you are feeling super triggered. So yes, I have a membership, I’ve been teaching positive discipline classes for many, many years, a lot of times in this six to seven weeks cycle, so I’d get these cohorts of groups and they would just be like, Oh my gosh, that was amazing and emergency changes. And then they’ve kind of go off. And it’s sort of like learning a new language where, then if you’re not like, keeping it up, you know, then it’s hard to keep going with it. So, it’s like, if you’ve, you take the seven weeks of Spanish, and you’re like, awesome, and you go on a trip, and then you come back, and you kind of lose it. So, I would have these booster workshops. But really through sprout double, I was able to create a big enough capacity to be able to support a group of parents year round.
So, I have a membership, it’s only open one to two times a year. So, it’s going to be open. Now I think the end of April, as this is opening, it’s open now. And you get support through like-minded people who are all working and practicing these skills, that group is amazing. We have two live coaching calls, or you can watch them recorded. It also comes with that six week like strong booster class where you really get solid on the positive discipline tools, comes with book club and a private community group where we support each other with questions in between and have a whole host of resources and library as well. And, and it also comes with some private coaching. So, all of that is within the membership. And what I love about it is that I’m sure you know, in your line of work, Casey, you see this where there are the ebbs and flows, like some weeks, we’re doing great, you know, and like, and then there’s something that changes or something that changes at work, or there’s a health issue, or were a new developmental stage, or like, suddenly, they’re just starting kindergarten or whatever, you know, there’s like something that happens, that’s like a whole Whoa, whoa, came off my groove now. And so, to be able to just have us at the ready is so powerful for all of us, frankly, me included, so that you just were always there, you know, and you can kind of come in and come out as needed.
Casey McGuire Davidson 1:07:14
That’s great. That sounds amazing. And definitely is something that I mean, I was sort of winging it. When I was raising my kids, right? Like I said about the timeout on the stairs, like people tell you things and you’re like, Okay, I’m going to just try this. And then you’re like, Damn, it’s not working. And then you blame yourself or you get mad at your kid or whatever it is. So that sounds like it would be incredibly helpful. And
I think also about like the time in between, because you’d like sure we can have all these tools, and we can want to do these things. But like, when we don’t feel like we are in a space, especially feeling so vulnerable and raw, you know, how can we get to a place of, of that confidence and stability to be able to access those tools.
Casey McGuire Davidson 1:08:03
You know, when you are going through anything I know this is true when stopping drinking. It is so helpful to have this safe space where you can talk about what’s going on with you and talk about what your challenges are and have people both suggest solutions. But other people just being like, oh my god, me too. That is so hard. My kid did X last night. Because you know, of course we all have friends but like everybody’s putting on some posture of what they deal with her don’t deal with. I mean, we all try, especially if you don’t know someone very well to be like, Oh my god, me and my kids did XYZ yesterday and Jimmy’s amazing. And you were like my kids fucking killed me last night. And I screamed at them in this vlog. Yeah. Because I think you know, I mean,
I had the benefit of like, whatever. I’ve always worked with kids. So, I know, I know the reality. There’s a reason we didn’t have kids for a long time. Because John’s a teacher, we’re like, we know the you know, but I think for people who didn’t, who don’t work with kids who never, who never babysat was just like, Yeah, we’re going to have a family of course, like, you know, we don’t care. And then suddenly they’re like, Oh, this is these are kids like, they are assholes. You know, totally like, and you think you’re the only one you think you’re living in your own personal free show. And so, it is extremely helpful, you know, to have a group outside of your kind of cannabis. Yeah. You know, that is really a great perspective. And we have people from all over the country, which I love because you really get to like, talk about normalizing it with people in other in other countries also. So, it’s really cool just to see like, how just the humanity of it all like the common thread the commonality with us all. And also, the perspectives is like, Oh, it’s so therapeutic. It’s awesome. So come join.
Casey McGuire Davidson 1:09:59
Yeah, join the membership. I love Julietta. So, if I had little kids, I absolutely would. And I think that, you know, everyone, I mean, there’s a reason we drink, we have real challenges in our lives. And I’ve seen, you know, this meme or saying or whatever, which I love. And it’s like, I need wine crossed out. And it’s like, I need support, I need connection, I need love, I need Cuddles, I need real conversations, I need a fucking break, I need someone else to do the laundry. Like, depending on where you are in your life, your kid could be the main focus of challenges. It later it could be your work later, it could be like empty nesting and loneliness. It could be parents you’re struggling with whatever it is, or financial, like you need support in your life. And so, the best thing you can do is find it.
Totally and I also do private coaching and parent coaching to, and you know, just even just sign up for our newsletter and get that download, like just even being a part of like, even tapping into a couple of videos on YouTube. Like just that, if that’s the start of this, that first step that you take on this parenting journey, so that you can be that authentic parent. And I think one of the most powerful things that you can be with any child, whether you’re a parent or an aunt, or you know, whatever, or teacher is to be is to show up consistently kids get scared when they don’t know which parents are going to get you know, if it’s going to be the tired hungover one, or if it’s going to be the like, super fun, wild and crazy one that’s like, you know, and so I think what, you know, what these tools help us to do is help us help us be connected and firm all the time. You know, being a mom no matter.
Casey McGuire Davidson 1:11:43
Yeah. And I’ve heard often from women, you know, I feel like I’m a better parent, when I drink. Like, I feel like I’m more relaxed, I’m more fun, I have more energy. And what I’ve seen is, you know, when I don’t drink, aka I’m irritated. I’m less patient, I’m XYZ. And what I want you to know is that is early sobriety. That is not sobriety, right? That is not life, alcohol free in the beginning, you are physically going through withdrawal, your nervous system is shot, your sleep is terrible, you probably have not slept well in years, because drinking any amount of alcohol, including one glass really diminishes your sleep quality. So yes, in early sobriety, you are more irritated, you do need to take care of yourself. But that really is like two, three weeks, after a month, your dopamine levels, reset your sober, sleep is incredible. You will have more time and energy you’ll be less in your head. So, it is not true. That drinking makes parenting easier. I can promise you. I drank through my son’s childhood. I took a yearlong break when he was five. And then I drank until my daughter was two. So, I have done two years old through eight years old, and my son has been eight through 14 Not drinking, I can tell you, it is so much easier. You will be happier; it’ll be easier for you to draw boundaries. And even my husband, I was like, What’s it like with me not drinking, like I was thinking he might be bored. I asked him when I was like maybe 30 days alcohol free. And he said it’s just our houses a lot more peaceful. It’s less up and down. You’re less upset one moment and giddy the next. And when you said that kids really like to know what kind of parent they get. Or they’re getting? Who? Who they’re getting? Are you upset? Are you fun? Are you up? Are you down? Are you harsh? Are you relaxed? Not drink, he will give that to you. It’ll give yourself more peace, but it will also give your family a more peaceful feel.
Yeah, and I think that that what I said earlier about kids are good perceivers but poor interpreters like they pick up on everything and even when you have little kids, and you think they don’t like to get it or see it like they are such sensory creatures. I mean, they are so sensitive, you know, they’re they pick up on just like all the all the messages that are floating around with that, you know, as well so, and I think to that you mentioned something about like the hurry up and get to bed so I can have the meantime like get onto the couch and drink the wine and like, you know, finally decompress. I think you find to like, you know, both with your support Casey and with these tools that then you don’t it’s not that you’re not so depleted at the end is you’re not like needing that knee time so desperately because you’re, you know, it’s like you’re able to be resourced throughout the day from it. You know, you are resourced from the routine. Yeah. So, you.
Casey McGuire Davidson 1:15:00
Yeah, this has been an amazing conversation. Thank you so much. I mean, I’m so grateful to share all that we met but also for that you came on, you have so much information. I know it’s going to be helpful. Thank you, Casey, so much for having me.
Thank you for putting your vulnerability and your voice out into the world to help so many people in so many parents I appreciate I’m so happy to know you. I’m so happy to be friends.
Casey McGuire Davidson 1:15:24
I know. I know. We have to hang out soon.
Thank you for listening to this episode of The Hello Someday Podcast. If you’re interested in learning more about me or the work I do or accessing free resources and guides to help you build a life you love without alcohol, please visit hellosomedaycoaching.com. And I would be so grateful if you would take a few minutes to rate and review this podcast so that more women can find it and join the conversation about drinking less and living more.