[00:00:10] Speaker A: Welcome to Carpool Q and A, where we give you one topic, one conversation in about 15 minutes to get you from point a to point b. And I'm here with Becca McKay and Tana Odinger, and we're going to talk today about something that Tana is going to bring each time we get together. We bring one topic the others don't know ahead of time, so we just talk about it as we go. Satana, what are we talking about today?
[00:00:32] Speaker B: So a question or comment or thought or pushback, I could even say that we get a lot around here is, well, what about this connected parenting thing and the real world?
So I would love for us to talk about this idea of, like, what about the real world? The real world doesn't treat kids this way or people this way. So can we just start there?
How about the real world?
[00:00:58] Speaker A: Well, step one is figuring out how to insulate your child so they never have to experience the real world. That's number one.
[00:01:04] Speaker C: Totally.
[00:01:05] Speaker B: Wouldn't that be so nice?
[00:01:08] Speaker A: Yeah. This is a conversation that I think a criticism that I had of my own or a question I had in my own mind. We started out because I could identify with, like, yes, this feels right to be compassionate and loving and empathetic in this way in our home and to create a safe space and all of that. But we're going to have to do a measure of code switching, teaching in our house for how to turn on the toughness when you leave the house. Right.
Obviously there is a measure of that that happens, but I think when this conversation comes up, it's assumed that we're teaching our kids in this context to expect this from everyone else in the world, to expect being treated as you are by your parents in your home when you go everywhere else in the world. And I don't know that that is.
Well, I can say with Shirdy, that's nothing that we've ever taught firsthand to ourselves. So you might catch somebody speaking about this who is leading the charge to make sure that everyone treats every child in the world with a homelike safety. But that's never assumed. In fact, the opposite, I would say, is true. What we have found is creating that safe space and creating a layer in a relationship built on trust allows you to prepare your kids for the real world in maybe a much more aggressive way than the way that a lot of us were parented traditionally.
[00:02:42] Speaker C: I would say that question is fair because it's from this protectiveness that you have over your kids. So the question is coming from a fair place. But what about they have to listen to fill in the blank. Coach, teacher, police officer, boss, one day, police officer. And so I think that it comes from a protective place.
But if you play that out, what you're usually saying is, I think I want my kid to instantly comply 100% of the time, and I think that that actually is a dangerous precedent to set for kids. If you play that out, do you really want your kid to comply with whoever is bigger or stronger 100% of the time versus the connected? And I won't even say connected parenting. I'll say empowered to connect parenting with empowered to connect parenting.
We're teaching kids to advocate for their needs with respect. We're teaching them to be able to speak.
I think if you play that out, if you play out instant compliance, that can lead to young adults who are in really horrible work environments, being treated badly by their bosses. It can lead to young men and women being in romantic relationships where they're enduring a lot of abusive behaviors. And so I just think the real world that we're preparing these kids for it does exist. But I would be careful to think that the answer is they should instantly comply with authority. I think authority is so important, and there's so many reasons why parents have to set up those guardrails to keep their kids safe while they grow, but we're doing that in a way that empowers them to use their voice. So that would be my, like, man, off the cuff. These conversations are so funny because, like JD said, we don't know what's coming. So this is not, like, from page seven of XYZ. This is just, like, from our hearts and our minds. So there's so many directions you could go with this, but that's the first place that my mind goes, is. Yeah, that's a real fear. And think about how you're living into that with your mindset. And are you really preparing kids the way that you want to?
[00:04:55] Speaker A: I think one of the.
[00:04:57] Speaker B: Sorry, go ahead, JD.
[00:04:58] Speaker A: Well, to piggyback on that, Becca, one of the things that immediately comes to mind is that you talked about wanting instant compliance. That's something that people are kind of connoting. I think the other thing they're connoting is that we're raising kids to be soft and not be able to handle any kind of criticism, scrutiny, whatever.
[00:05:20] Speaker B: Adversity.
[00:05:21] Speaker A: Adversity. And I think the thing that I would say there is when you have a completely safe place where you're able to go and ask your dumbest, most ridiculous questions, that you think nobody else would allow you to ask without making fun of you in life. Like if you have a home environment where you can ask every question, you can be as safe as possible, or.
[00:05:48] Speaker B: Behave in a way that wouldn't be acceptable elsewhere.
[00:05:51] Speaker A: Maybe you are opening up the world for your parent, for your home to be a place where you can teach very openly and honestly about the world and prepare kids for those specific environments. I think the hilarious insinuation is we parent out of empathy and kindness and respect, and there's compromise and all of that. And then we're not talking to our kids before. In fact, we're probably more prepared than most of the ways that people are being taught to parent now, because we're having to think through the layers of what our kids are going to encounter. So they're being taught intuitively how to think through their day, what they're going to need in each place, what to expect in each place, and therefore then being prepared with how to respond to adversity, how to regulate in adversity, how to ask for compromises when they need to get needs met in a way that's not being offered.
[00:06:46] Speaker B: I think this question, when I think about it, some of the things that sort of float through my mind are we really need to take a beat and think about human development and child like the development through childhood and adolescence, and the role of felt safety and emotional felt safety and co regulation, and learning about yourself and understanding yourself and being curious with what's going on inside of yourself. Like all of those things that are.
I appreciate what you're saying, becca, because I do feel every time we've encountered that question, it really is coming from such a place of love. It really like I do believe as parents, we long and desire to be good parents. Very rarely have I met a parent that wants to be a bad parent.
So we are coming with all of these really big questions about what I'm doing today. How is it impacting my child's future or their adulthood or whatever? So I do honor the question for sure. I think it's going a step beyond that and unlayering it and saying, and sometimes, not always. This question might come in a situation where it might be a parent that is trying to parent, or supporting a child with more outburst emotional, or they are struggling with more meltdowns, or what would look to be behavioral problems or outbursts. And in an effort to set their child up for success, they just want those behaviors to stop. And so I think there's a concern that it could perpetuate them. And how is that really helping them be respectful when they get older? That kind of thing. Like, I can't let my child be mouthy at home because they can't be mouthy in the real world. So I think it's usually tied to some sort of behavior they're seeing or feeling or experiencing that they are hoping to see change and growth in. So that's when I come back to, okay, what is behavioral change? How does that really happen? And what supportive role can we as parents and caregivers play in seeing long term change and growth in our children? And to your point, usually obedient, quick compliance doesn't actually help in the long run. It's more like I'm only complying because I have to in this environment, but I don't necessarily have the internal motivation, desire skills, ability to self regulate, ability to have enough insight in my own to avoid situations that aren't healthy for me. All of those skills that are required for them to actually not respond that same way when they're an adult, right? So let's say that we all have a stress response. So let's say that your kiddo has a fight stress response.
What they need at home is a curious, compassionate, insightful caregiver that is equipping them with the ability to regulate in stress so that they don't fight right. So that when they get out on their own, that's been modeled and experienced and repaired and they've gotten to try it again. That's that muscle motor memory, that's the scaffolding, that's the human development side of things that really does set them up for the real world.
I think both of you all's points, you can't just punish out behavior and expect that it won't come back again.
[00:10:36] Speaker A: Yeah, well, and I think the big difference in my mind of do what I say the first time with a happy heart, which was kind of something was brought up for us, the difference in that and then having an environment where kids can ask and get some back and forth and question and ask for negotiation and all of that. The difference is what we are attempting to do through empowered connect. We're attempting to help our kids understand the why in everything foundationally. So we've got some curious kids at home. I will not lie to you. At times I want to just go back to compliance world because I'm tired of questions.
But what I'm finding as they get older, too, is this wild, seemingly out of season maturity that's growing, other friends noticing other people. And some of this is personality, I get it. But noticing other people, noticing other people's needs.
We have one kid who probably will be a lawyer one day and is great at arguing at home, and I do realize that's a gift, sincerely, but is able to spot when teachers are just doing things and they don't know why.
She had no idea why we're doing this. And it's because we allow those questions to come at home. Because if I'm doing something without reason at home, ultimately I want to know more than I want to keep my authority intact with this child who I'm needing to dominate in that moment or whatever.
I'm happy for if something I'm doing is not working, and we can figure out why.
If that can happen through a respectful channel, I want to know and figure out so I can make changes to those things. If we teach kids how to figure out the why and how to source things from the root when they're having these meltdowns and we're teaching how to regulate behavior three stages, back. Back here, then in the classroom, when so and so says something or throws the eraser, or there's that trigger moment that comes up, that kid is able to go, I need to go to the restroom, or I need a second to calm down or quietly go to the teacher and say, miss so and so. I'm feeling really upset right now. Is there a way that I can go, whatever?
[00:12:54] Speaker C: Yes.
[00:12:54] Speaker B: You weren't helping them advocate for themselves.
[00:12:57] Speaker A: Yeah. Which leads healthier adults, right?
[00:13:01] Speaker B: 100,000%.
[00:13:02] Speaker A: Becca, I want to ask you a question, something that is part of this conversation, usually when it's been brought to me, and we are a transsexual adoptive family, so I have two kids who are african american. Becca, your spouse is.
I. One of the things that's brought up a lot is, yeah, I get that, but that doesn't work for all kids. Some kids need to know how to be blindly compliant in the moment to stay safe. And so, Becca, what would your answer be to that as we're having this conversation?
[00:13:32] Speaker C: Yeah, I think you said code switching earlier, and I think it is. And you mentioned it, too. Tana. Kids are smart enough, even little kids, to know that in different environments, there's different expectations. Because kids learn that the first time you go to grandma's house, and you have to be careful with the glass porcelain figurines like kids learn at home. We can stand on our couch at grandma's house, we can't. So I think that when we say that kind of thing.
I would say it's important if you're parenting kids of color in the United States to be very aware of the dangers that that brings and to be very open and honest about those conversations and to teach from a very early age in appropriate ways how to comply when you need to comply. That is fair.
I don't think that that means that that kid needs to learn how to hop and comply in every single setting, every single time, every single place. Because I think most parents would say yelling is probably not my favorite strategy. Okay, if my two year old is running into the street and I'm on the porch, I'm going to yell. So we have this innate ability to kind of differentiate our approach based on the real dangers that exist. So what kids need is they need to be educated about a real danger that they may not know exists. They need to know that that is out there. They need to know that there are situations that could be unsafe for them, particularly in transracial adoptive families. It's important that your kid understands that if they're the only person of color, that brings different challenges and associated risks. And so there's so much more to unpack than we could do in a carpal Q A. But the principle, I would point out is that we differentiate the strength of our approach based on the danger. And kids are pretty smart. They can pick that up, they can understand it, and we can model for them.
What are situations where it's appropriate to push back with your words respectfully, and what are situations where you say, yes, sir, yes, ma'am. And that could be with, you're talking about, I think, specifically law enforcement. But there's other situations where it is appropriate to just say, yes, ma'am. And then there's other situations where it's appropriate to say, you're trying to get on a flight and you're stranded in a snowstorm, and the lady is saying, I can get you on this flight. That might be the time to just say, yes, ma'am. Okay. There might be a different situation where you could negotiate and push back, but sometimes it's better for us to just say, yes, ma'am. So I want to acknowledge that that's true outside of law enforcement. In other situations, we can model it. We can talk about it. We can trust that our kids are already, from a very young age, a lot of times interacting, whether it's with teachers at school or at the co op or Sunday school teachers or babysitters, they're learning that there's different expectations and they can adapt to that. Sorry, that was way too long of a question. I mean, answered your question.
[00:16:40] Speaker B: I felt that. Becca, I'm glad you highlighted that. I think that what I'm hearing you say, I think, really does go hand in hand with kind of sort of the essence of what I was bringing, which is they have to learn, like, whatever their stress response is that might come out in a moment of frustration or stress or danger. If they haven't had opportunities to practice what to do instead in a safe way, they may not actually be able to comply. They might actually not be able to comply. Right. So instead their stress response might be what is activated. So at home, in our approach to parenting, it's like, help them get to know that stress response so that they can, in essence, be master over it and understand it and advocate for themselves and be able to master it when it is time to comply. Because I often think what's happening is they're getting in trouble and or in situations that are not healthy or safe because they haven't had an opportunity to really practice regulating that place of stress.
I think they go hand in hand, if you will.
[00:18:03] Speaker A: Yeah, well, last thing I'll say about that, too. As parents, we had to be aware of the dangers that exist, which is a whole battle in and of itself. If you grew up in a majority culture, in a way where you are not finding that to be a struggle for you, if you're unaware or if you believe these things don't exist, you probably have a good bit of homework to do to figure out first what the actual dangers are, what the challenges are. And again, this is also a separate, probably ten part series we could do.
We've talked about this some with Rhonda Rorda, that the challenges of growing up in that setting, and a lot of times you're not aware of the challenges until you actually face them in the real moment. I think step one is a parent, prepare your kids.
This is a poor example, but as a broad, macro example, if it's going to be 20 degrees outside, I'm not sending my kid a jacket to school without a jacket, but I've got to be aware of the weather before I send my kids out to school to help prepare them. Right? So I've got to be aware of the challenges, I've got to prepare them for them and then go from there. So it is not that simple, obviously, but we're using kind of broad, and.
[00:19:16] Speaker B: You wouldn't say go to school without a jacket now, so you can build up tolerance to withstand cold in 15 years. Again, simple analogy, but there are some parallels that we can draw there. Anyway. Okay. I think that's probably all we could say about this without going, but I think where we could land the plane is. It is a valid, really thoughtful, good. Right. I would say. Right. I would petition it's the right kind of question to bring to anything you're thinking about doing in terms of how we're interacting with our kids. I think what I would invite you to do is take that question and explore it some more and then explore it some more and then explore it some more and find your way to what's the root concern that you have if that question is stirring in you? And then are there ways you could see that you want to be supportive and build resilience and healthy negotiation and advocacy and self reliance and curiosity and all of those really good things that are part of our parenting approach? So, anyway, great discussion. I appreciate you guys.
[00:20:31] Speaker A: Likewise. Likewise. All right, that's it for us this week. We'll catch you next week on carpool. Q and A.