S04|02 - THE BEST of the podcast - Radical Connection 2.0Mar 07, 2022
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What we cover in this episode:
- Radical Connection and how it works in the real world (aka my crazy life)
- Tools to help with our emotions instead of yelling/reacting
- The #1 issue I see in parenting
- PDF Podcast roadmap for YOU to get you started on your healing journey: Get it here
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I would be honored to be your coach and help you get the changes you want to see in your life. The tools that I talk about in my podcast and use in my coaching have completely turned around my life and my relationships with my children. I know what it takes and how to make it happen. You can use the links below to get more of my content and to learn what we do in my program By Design. I love helping women tap into their inner expert and build radical connection in their relationships with their children.
Crystal The Parenting Coach: Hey, I'm Crystal, a certified life coach and mom of four. In this podcast, we combine radical connection and positive parenting theories with the How-To Life Coaching Tools and Mindset Work to completely transform our relationship with our children.
Join me on my journey, unleash your inner parenting expert, and become the mother you've always wanted to be. Make sure you subscribe wherever you listen to your podcast and rate this podcast on Apple, and check out my transformative monthly membership for moms in the show notes.
Crystal The Parenting Coach: Hello. Hello. Welcome to Episode 2 of Season 4. Today is a very special episode because this month is two years in business. So, it's my two-year business anniversary. And also, one year of the podcast. I have so enjoyed putting on this podcast for you. I've enjoyed meeting people and interviewing them. I've enjoyed delving into really interesting topics.
And, I've loved hearing messages and reviews from you saying that the podcast is helping you on your journey, that it's changing your relationship with your kids, and it's helping you to see things in new and different ways.
That is why I do this and why I'm going to continue doing this. And, I'm excited for the next year ahead. What I would love for you to do is to leave me a review. I know that it's not always easy to do. You scroll down to the bottom and you can put five stars and then you can also type Write Review.
I would love for you to just to say maybe an episode that was one of your favorites, or if it's helping you shift or change anything in your relationship with yourself or with your kids. I would really appreciate that.
I'm going to be having a little giveaway. I will post about it over on Instagram, and I will also have it in the show notes here as well that is going to be based on podcast review. So, submit a review and you can enter to win.
A List of My Favorite Episodes
All right, what we're going to dig into today is a list of my favorite episodes, why they're my favorite and what we can learn from them, especially when it relates to frequently asked questions. So, oftentimes, on Instagram, my new followers message me, and they'll say things like; “How do you deal with mom guilt? Or how do I be less emotionally reactive? Or how do I get my kids to listen if I'm not using rewards and punishments?”
You know, if you've been listening here for a while, that I don't give catch-phrases, or How-Tos, or specific facts or science that's going to help you in a, I guess, more overt way. What I do is I help you from the inside out. I help you tap into your intuition, into your own expert power, and into your own unique answers so that you can feel confident on your journey.
So, digging into today, my first and most favorite episode that I have done so far is Season 1 Episode 4, Radical Connection. So, that's what I'm going to talk about for a lot of the episode today. And then, I'm going to dig into a few others that are really helpful as well.
S1 E04 - Radical Connection Review
Radical means going against the grain and also getting to the root of. So, radical connection is a huge focus on connection, and it also is very intuitive. It doesn't necessarily feel intuitive because we're often parenting from more of a wounded space, and there's a lot of healing that needs to be done there in order for it to feel intuitive and natural.
Most parenting styles that we see around us and that we have been parented from are very authoritarian.
Authoritarian means rewards and punishments, timeouts, spanking, yelling, grounding, taking things away, rewarding people with sticker charts, or, you know, extra money or allowance to do what we want them to do.
And oftentimes, we'll see this happening in our parenting and we're like, ‘oh, I really don't want to parent this way.’ So, then we swing all the way to the other end.
And, on the other end, we have permissive parenting. We feel bad for the way that we're parenting, so we start to become more permissive.
We don't want to ruin our kids, so then we're like, ‘I just won't do anything at all.’ The problem is on both ends is low safety and low security, which means low attachment. Our children don't feel seen, they don't feel heard, they don't feel accepted no matter what.
We're not giving them the safety and security that they need in order to grow that connection and that attachment that we want from them. If you think back to your childhood, likely you felt that a little bit of the way. Although your parents may have loved you and may have shown you that love, sometimes you weren't safe to be entirely you around them because of all of your big emotions.
Maybe your big emotions weren't accepted. Maybe when you were feeling really strong feelings, instead of coming alongside you and understanding and showing you empathy, maybe you were sent to your room or spanked or yelled at. Maybe you were taught that children should be seen and not heard; that we should be quiet and just sit small, little in the corner.
Maybe you were taught that you were in charge of others' emotions by saying things like, “You hurt your sister's feelings,” or maybe your parents told you, “You're making me angry, you're making me do this, you're making me feel this way.”
Those are often things that we were taught as children and our parents were taught from their parents, right? It's a kind of a generational cycle that we have gotten into that are a little bit misguided and definitely not helpful for our emotional health.
Our parents parented that way because they were parented that way or in a very similar way to it. It was also prevalent in culture at that time; if you look at popular books, popular parenting books - it was very strict. It was very disciplinarian as to how two parents-- So, if your parents were going to the experts at that time, that's how they would've been told to do it.
It was also really prevalent in popular fiction. I love to read my kids' books from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s. We just really enjoy reading old classic fiction. And, when we do that, I notice so much of this, children should be seen and not heard. “You just need to listen to me just because I'm the adult. So, you need to do what I say, just because I'm smarter, I'm bigger.” All of those things.
If you want to do things differently than how you were raised, it really has to kind of start with this major paradigm shift, looking at all of those beliefs that have been passed down to us through past generations and through culture, and do things a different way. I see this even now in my own group of friends and on my own private, social media accounts where people will say something like, “I don't know how to deal with this issue with my kid.”
And, I'll notice that all of the comments, maybe most, I would say almost all of them, maybe not all of them, are very strict; “Have you tried taking away this? Have you tried doing this? Maybe you need to be more firm here. Maybe you need to punish in this way. Maybe you need to try this kind of reward system.”
Connection, Attachment, and Relationship in Parenting
Very few are connection-based and relationship-based. So, I still think this isn't really the norm, this isn't the norm way of parenting yet. I really hope that it does, and I think it is going to continue, but it isn't yet. So, cue radical connection.
This is a focus on connection over anything else. A focus on connection over behavior modification. Behavior modification is wanting your kids to yell less, wanting them to listen more, wanting them to clean up their rooms.
You know, whatever it is that you want them to do, we often focus on that more than we focus on connection. And it's swapping this, so the focus is on connection above everything.
What's interesting is that when we make this our focus, our children do change over time. We develop that attachment, and that relationship, and that connection with them that we desire. And, as we feel that connection with them and they feel that connection with us, they have a desire to listen to us, to be close to us, to do what we ask.
It doesn't mean that it's going to happen all the time. It definitely won't because they're human and they’re children, and that's fine. But over time, you will see this change. Why does this happen?
Well, one of my favorite parenting gurus is Dr. Gordon Neufeld. He explains based on attachment and developmental science that it's like we are our child's sun. We want to be their sun where they're the earth and they're rotating around us; they want to be close to us.
When this happens, they're going to be looking at us for direction. When we're their sun, that means that we have that attachment and connection with them; and they're going to be looking at us as to how they should behave, what they should be doing. And, if we are modeling those positive behaviors to them, that is how they're going to learn.
Now, this is opposed to what he calls peer-oriented attachment, where children are actually looking to their peers for that attachment to how they should act, how they should respond, how they should be interacting with others, whether or not what they're doing is okay.
That feedback they're getting from their peers instead of from their parents, we want to switch that attachment and that focus from us to them instead of on their peers, because we don't want their peers teaching them how to do things and be, and how to respond because their peers just like them, haven't gone through that emotional development, so far.
So, how does this play out in every day? How does this idea of radical connection, where we focus on attachment and connection with them, we focus less on behavior modification, what would this look like in real life?
I'm going to give you a real-life example that literally just happened in my house. Our dishwasher broke. As you know, with four kids and work schedules and homeschooling where my kids are home almost all day, we're all washing our dishes by hand.
I know it's a first-world problem, but I was still very frustrated by this. I was trying to deal with my child, and a couple of my kids have some learning and developmental delays. One of them, specifically, was just not willing to wash his dishes. We told him our expectation. We talked to him about it.
He started to get overly frustrated and started to say, “No, I'm not doing this. I don't understand. I don't want to,” you know, all of those things. Now, typically in normal typical parenting, I guess, what we would do is just kind of push the issue, force the issue.
Maybe we would start to threaten him with some sort of punishment, or maybe we would bribe him with some sort of a reward so that he would do this, so that he would have some sort of reason behind wanting to do it. Instead, what we did is we just kept mentioning it over and over again.
We just kept saying what our expectation was; “Okay, we're done dinner now. Everybody's expected to wash their dishes.” We would be understanding. We would say things like, “I know this is really hard, but you know, this isn't going to be forever, but we all have this responsibility to wash our dishes.”
Now, did he wash his dishes? No, he definitely did not. I could have gotten so frustrated and so agitated and just really kept trying to push this issue, thinking that discipline is going to be what teaches him. But coming from a more understanding and connection-based point of view, number #1, I focus on relationship above all.
Washing dishes is not a make-or-break in our life, but relationship is. Number #2, I focus on understanding where he's coming from. He has some extra sensory needs, and washing dishes actually bothers him quite a bit. He likes stability. He likes for things to be the same all of the time.
This is a pretty big new shift in schedule, and he didn't love that. He's not great with transitions; and so not giving him a lot of time or a space to get this done, probably made him feel a little bit more frustrated about it.
Now, I know because we've done this so many times in the past that this could have been blown into a huge deal where he totally freaked out and we totally freaked out, and it really could have damaged our relationship if I had focused on getting him to do what I wanted to do at all costs. It has happened in the past where I haven't responded in this way.
And, I haven't always dealt with it in the way that I wanted to. I still don't always deal with it in the way that I wanted to. But in this moment, when I did, focusing on our relationship and having that be of the highest regard means that I still gently and firmly teach; ‘this is the expectation, this is what we're doing.’
But also, it means that I'm not going to it, I'm not going to force it, and I'm not going to put our relationship at risk. One night, I was putting him to bed and I thought to just chat with him about it. And, I just said, “I know this is so hard for you. What are you thinking?”
And, I just sat and kind of listened to him for a bit. And then, I said, “Yeah, it is really tough. I wish I didn't have to do it too. It is such a bummer, but also it needs to be done.” And, that's all I said; and by Day 3 or Day 4, he started washing them. He didn't do it great.
It wasn't like all happy rainbows and daisies, but he did start to do it. So, radical connection might look differently in your house. You might feel inspired to respond in a different way than what I did; doesn't mean my way, you know, was the only way to respond.
But if your goal is to place the relationship at the top of the ladder, that is radical connection. Whatever words you say, how you respond, what you do, what you feel coming from that space of connection above all and relationship above all - will be radical connection.
A great tool that I like to use in my life is telling myself what's really important here. And, in my mind, my answer is always relationship. So, if relationship is the most important thing here, then I can zoom out of that just moment; that moment that seems so urgent, that moment that seems so present.
I can decide how I'm going to be, how I'm going to respond in that moment. When I can think of the bigger picture, I always respond better. I always respond with relationship first. Now, I'm not saying that this way of parenting is easy, it's definitely not easy.
And, there's a lot of healing that needs to take place to parent intuitively and naturally from this way. It is intuitive and natural from a healed space, but we first need to kind of dig into our own healing and uncover some of the reasons why we're triggered, some of the things that are going on behind the scenes.
And, that's what this season is all going to be about. We're going to be diving deep into these concepts and into this healing journey for us, so that we can become those cycle breakers that we want to.
Other Podcast Episodes to Aid Your Healing Journey
I'm going to mention a few other episodes to go back to and listen that have some great tips in your healing journey. One of them is how to get your kids to listen. I'm also going to have a little PDF roadmap that you can download on the show notes below so that you can have a list of these with links and everything.
So, one of them is how to get your kids to listen. So, I did that episode, and it's all about what rewards and punishments really teach. We often think that, you know, going back to that dishwasher situation, that if I were to push it through a reward or punishment, that I would be teaching them that skill.
But what it's really teaching is that they need to listen to us because they're going to get an external reward or they need to listen to us because they're going to get an external punishment. They're doing it out of fear, or they're doing it out of wanting that desire for a reward.
It's not actually teaching them the skill that we want to teach them. It's teaching them to behave from fear. Now, instead of this, going back to radical connection, what we can do is connect before we direct. We can take time to look in their eyes, to have a conversation with them, to have open communication, to ask them questions, and to have that connection time first before we tell them what we want them to do.
Another thing we can do is teaching the skill that's lacking behind the behavior that we see. So, if I notice that my child is unwilling to clean up after themselves, or is having a hard time listening, if I can go to an understanding space, a curious space, a compassionate space, then I can think, ‘okay, what is the skill that's lacking behind this?’
Maybe they have a hard time listening. Maybe they have a hard time listening because they're so engaged in something. And then, the question can instead be, how can I support them to learn what needs to be learned to help this skill or this behavior that they're struggling with?
And sometimes, it's not something that we can necessarily change. Sometimes it's just the way that their brain is working, and we can help them come up with some coping strategies for that.
But getting our kids to listen has so much more to do with connection and with being responsive than it does with just getting them to listen because we need that, because we want them to listen. So, I would go and listen to that episode.
Another one is emotions and how to feel them. This is one that I find myself constantly sending people in the DMs in Instagram. Oftentimes they're like, ‘Ah, how do we deal with emotions then?’
I don't know. Right? So, it talks a lot about how emotions came to be, how we were shamed for them often when we were little, right, which means maybe we were sent to our rooms or yelled at any time that we felt a big emotion. And because of this, we had that subconscious feedback that emotions were a problem; instead of emotions just are a process, they're just a feeling.
There's nothing wrong with them. We're thinking it's a problem, and we have to fix it. Fixing it usually means reacting to it, or pushing them down and pretending that they're not there, or numbing out because we don't want to feel that feeling.
The key to emotional intelligence is learning how to name, allow, and feel all of your feelings; the whole spectrum of human emotion. It's not something that is taught in schools, although it should be. And, it's likely something that we all want to teach our kids. We teach them this through role modeling the behavior.
So, go back and listen to that episode where I go step by step - how to process our emotions, how to process our feelings. And, as our children age, we can take small teaching moments to teach as well. I would say that role modeling the behavior is probably 80 to 90% of the teaching.
And then, another 10 to 20% could be from more overt teaching. So, when our kids are little, this is going to be things like playing with them, reading books to them, having small little conversations. But most of the time, it's going to come through books and play and stories.
With older kids, you can have sit-down conversations and open communication, and you can talk to them about this. I will also have a link in the show notes, where you can find a course there on emotional intelligence for teens and tweens. It's about for ages 11 to 15.
All right, next is zones for us and for them. When our emotional brain is high, our logical brain is low; noticing how we're feeling throughout the day and finding things to help us feel better, can really help us to parent better and to show up in the green zone, what I call ‘the Green Zone’ more often.
There's some easy things like deep breaths, thought work, dancing, music, so go check out that episode and figure out how zones can work for you, and also how you can help your kids through their zones.
Another one that I want to mention is parenting hack Number #2. We dig into shame, which is the number one issue that I see in parenting. We talk about the shame cycle; how when we feel shame coming from thoughts like, ‘I'm ruining my kids, or I'm doing a terrible job,’ that we actually perpetuate that shame. And, the way through shame is self-compassion, uncovering our own triggers. Usually in uncovering our own triggers, shame will be there somewhere.
All right. The next one that I'm going to mention is getting on the same page. So, if you struggle with a partner who parents differently than you do, then this episode is for you. So, those are what I would start with. That's my PDF roadmap for you that you can download below.
I also want to mention, I had some really great interviews in Season 3, Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife taught us about how to find ourselves and our own identity outside of motherhood, and how that's the best thing that we can do for our motherhood. It is a great episode.
Dr. Deborah MacNamara taught us that we can get into our heads a lot about parenting, look for other experts and other sources and start to second-guess ourselves. And, instead of staying in our head, let's get out of our head and into our hearts.
Jody Moore taught us about how to deal with difficult relationships and gave us tools that we can use before we even go into a tough situation where we know we're going to be a little bit more triggered, kind of like pre-medicating our brain. So, make sure you check out that episode as well.
Dani Spies taught us about loving ourselves no matter what, that we can't hate ourselves into weight loss and into body love. It all starts with loving us first, accepting who we are and where we're at, and having that learning be what promotes us to change.
Thanks for being here. Thanks for listening into my past three seasons. I am so excited to dig into all of the episodes I have for you in Season 4. And, if there is a specific topic that you want me to address, make sure that you reach out to me on Instagram, and make sure you check it out the giveaway below.
Thanks for being here. I hope you enjoyed today's episode. Make sure that you give it five stars on Apple, and check out my monthly membership for moms in the show notes.