[00:00:06] Speaker A: Welcome to the Empowered to Connect podcast, where we come together to discuss a healing centered approach to engagement and well being for ourselves, our families, and our communities. I'm JD. Wilson, and I am your host. And today on the show, we've got our longtime friend of the program, Robin Goebbel, and this is her third time coming on the show with us today. We first had her on talking about the article she wrote for her blog called There Is No Such Thing as Self Regulation. Today, she's going to come on and talk about her brand new book, which is raising kids with big baffling behaviors, brain body sensory strategies that really work. Robin is nothing short of brilliant. She's a brilliant writer. The way that she's written this book is incredible. You're going to hear all about it and how she came up with the idea, even, as well as we're going to talk more about some of the ideas and some of the principles that she lays out in the book today.
This is maybe the most helpful parenting book I've ever read before in terms of just practical strategies that really work and are really helpful and explain the science going on behind some of the behaviors that we see with our kids. So without any further ado, I will remind you that you need to stick around until the end to hear how you can win a copy of Robin's book today. So at the outro at the end of the program, we're going to talk about how you can win a copy of Robin's book, and we will do that after we talk to Robin. Here she is now.
All right, as promised, we're here with Robin Goebel, and Robin has a new book. It's in her background, too, if you're watching this, so you can see that she's got know, conveniently placed in the back. But Robin's got a new book. It is will. I told you I was going to say this before we start recording, so I'm not saying this because she's on here, but this has been the most helpful parenting book that I've read, and maybe I would say The Connected Child kind of introduced these ideas to us when we had no idea what was going on. The mixture of science and practicality in the book has been a godsend for me, and I host a podcast for a living where I talk about this every week, so it's not like this is all new information, but the way presented is super helpful. So thank you, first of all, for the book and figured just make you really uncomfortable with that at the beginning.
[00:02:27] Speaker B: Well, thank you for saying that. I mean, that's really meaningful for me. That's very impactful that it's feeling that resonant for you. I know you've read maybe one or two other parenting books in your.
[00:02:42] Speaker A: I mean, you say that as if I've read hundreds. No, usually I read a little bit. And I'm like, this is bull crap. I'm not reading this.
Like, Tana has told her story before of literally they were trying to have a bonfire in the backyard during winter at some point, and she was so frustrated with something she had just read that she took all the parenting books that she had on equational Parenting. And I don't want Aims to disparage anybody. Sure, but if then kind of parenting and making it sound easy kind of parenting and took them and she put lighter fluid on them and burned them all. And so it is not just me, but it's hard to find parenting books, especially dealing with connection and attachment that are resonant and down to earth and not too sciency and not too kind of mystical, whatever. So anyways, it's really great and we really enjoy it.
Why don't we do this?
If you are listening to this and you don't know who Robin is, we're going to have her introduce herself. If you have heard before, just stay and listen. Or you can skip ahead 30 seconds, whatever. But for people who are not familiar with your work, will you just kind of introduce yourself and who you are and then we'll talk more about the book after that?
[00:03:50] Speaker B: Absolutely. So I worked as a therapist for 15 years in Austin, Texas. For some reason, that feels important to say. Being from Austin, Texas, is so flashy. It's like people are like, OOH, that's cool. I live in Grand Rapids, Michigan now. For some reason, I don't know, something about being from like makes me feel more legit.
[00:04:09] Speaker A: I mean, people say that Grand Rapids is the new Austin, so I guess that's probably why.
[00:04:13] Speaker B: You're right. I've heard that. Just okay.
And have always worked with these kids, stepped out of graduate school even before going to graduate school. These are the kids I didn't know exactly that these are the kids I wanted to work with, but these are the kids I've always wanted to work with.
The kids that just nobody else knew what to do. And also they kind of weren't willing to be super curious about what to do. Right. So at the ripe age of like 25, I'm getting referrals from families who have been discharged, fired from handfuls of clinicians, also at the age of 25, had no idea what I was doing.
But I'm nothing if not exceptionally tenacious, especially relationally. Truly, there's nowhere else to send these people to. So I guess I have to figure this out, what's going on here with these kids. I mean, I was kind of that therapist eventually, who is kind of the end of the line, right before families are starting to look for higher levels of care considering residential or last line of defense. Kind of. Absolutely.
So I've worked almost exclusively with kids who have experienced complex trauma adoption, significant attachment loss, and have had lots of privilege in my life to really focus, my training and my learning and my practice and my mentorship all around, very specifically these kids and their needs. I've had so much privilege to deeply study first interpersonal neurobiology and then kind of the growing field of relational neuroscience, which is like Dr. Perry's work and Holly Vagal theory, if anybody listening, is familiar with some of that stuff.
So I was a therapist for 15 years. Decided to move from Austin, Texas, to the next Austin. Grand Rapids, Michigan.
[00:06:27] Speaker A: Yeah, I grew up here.
[00:06:29] Speaker B: People are like, why did you do that? I was like, well, we went home, and that was right before the pandemic.
So when the pandemic happened, I was in this really unique place with my business and my career of just having moved. I was starting over anyway. It's like, what am I going to do exactly? I was going to start a new practice. Then I'm like, well, I can't start a new practice with kids and families in the middle of a pandemic. It doesn't make any sense, right? So I really shifted focus. And now I train up professionals because I know you hear this too, right? Every day parents are saying there's nobody to help us. Nobody gets my kid. They tell me to give them a sticker chart. They tell me I should set better boundaries. They even know what that means.
So I train up professionals now so that hopefully one day parents feel like there's people who can help them. And I run an online community for parents so that they have a place to go for connection regulation and maybe a little education too.
[00:07:41] Speaker A: Yeah. Awesome. So the first time we had you on was talk about an article that you had written. Blog article on your website, right?
[00:07:50] Speaker B: Yeah.
[00:07:51] Speaker A: And it was entitled there is no such thing as self regulation. I'm going to link it in the show notes. You can go back and listen if you want. It is fascinating. It was also one of the things that for me, I think was an introduction into the idea of self regulation really has been poorly marketed, right? Like self regulation is the finished product of co regulation with another healthy figure, hopefully know as you're growing.
So that was something that when we had you on the first time and we were all kind of sitting there like, this is our people, Robin's. Our people. We're glad to have you back.
Mean, I know we joked earlier about all the parenting books that exist, I think literally hundreds of thousands. If you search on Amazon, you can find any number of them on every topic, whatever. So why did that feel like the next right move for you to write?
[00:08:45] Speaker B: That great question. I have no idea.
I mean, some of his timing again, we're in the middle of a pandemic. I had, I wouldn't say free time, but my life was just a little different than usual as far as what I had been doing before writing a book has been I mean, really, truly.
When I was 16, I wrote a paper in creative writing, and on it was that I wanted to write. Part of the paper was about the fact that I wanted to write a book. I've been a writer. I've wanted to write. I really love writing. I like connecting with people that way. It's always felt like something I'd probably do eventually.
It felt a little bit outside of my skill set. I don't have a very organized brain, and people, when they read books, they like them to be organized.
[00:09:39] Speaker A: Look, I will refute that and say somebody has helped you organize, because this is the most organized table of contents on Earth.
[00:09:46] Speaker B: Somebody helped me. And so I realized one day, like, oh, someone can help me with this.
But why I kind of did it when I did it was actually I've never heard the story about tona before, but I never wanted to create something that somebody just wanted to throw in their bonfire.
And literally and figuratively, I never wanted to waste anybody's time. And then that's like the least of it, right? When you read a parenting book and it's not helpful, there's always these feelings of either something like, I must be terrible at this. I am such a failure as a parent that even this expert can't help me, right? Or there's something so completely wrong with my child that even this book can't help me. Not to mention just the wasted time and the wasted hope and all those kinds of things. And so I didn't want to do that. And that was really important to me. That was like, if I'm going to spend time writing a book and if I'm going to create something people are going to spend time reading, how is it going to be different? How is it going to be impactful in a way that it could actually be useful? The truth is that I've got a cute, fun little metaphor, and that's really fun and that's unique about me. But I'm a curator of information.
I'm not a theorist, I'm not a researcher. I've taken other people's stuff and I've put it together in a way. And I guess people say I have a knack for explaining super complex things in useful kinds of ways. Yeah. But the truth is, I'm not talking about anything new, right? And so I wanted to make sure if I was going to put something new into the world that it didn't waste anybody's time, right? So I really thought hard about that and hard about why are people throwing books in bonfires, which I didn't know until just five minutes ago, and why are people reading great information and it not mattering to them? And I thought about that, and I used my relational neuroscience brain and what I understand about learning theory and also how information shifts from something you learn to something you can actually do.
[00:12:23] Speaker A: Yeah.
[00:12:25] Speaker B: And then I thought about, like, and how did the parents in my office make that shift? Right.
I helped all these parents in my office take in information, and it mattered to them they could use it. How did they do that?
Is there any way I could do that in a book? Because then it can reach wildly more people, right? Right. So I wrote the book in a pretty unique way. I'm not sure if there's been another nonfiction book written in this way.
If there is, I'd love to hear about it. But I did two things. I took a character and created, like, every chapter then starts with this fictional story of a parent who comes for parent coaching. And so the reader really gets to see this in action, like how I really teach parents. But even more than that, I wanted to write it in first person so that the reader could hear my thoughts.
Because there's two reasons people can take an information and then use it, integrate it, and implement it. And one is that they internalize it.
Truly, their brain changes. A neural network is made of that information. And I knew that would be done if they felt like they were actually in relationship with me.
So that was one thing. And then I also wanted to give them kind of this reader, like, this third person ability to hear my authentic love for this character. Yeah, because that's the other reason their brain changes, is when it's held inside this compassionate, resonant relationship, people can get the information anywhere. You can do a Google search and get the information.
[00:14:25] Speaker A: Right.
[00:14:25] Speaker B: And so I was like, that's what happens in the office. Can I do that in a.
[00:14:33] Speaker A: Like well, I don't think you just mean I think it's an incredible approach. But also, I think people learn through stories. Right? They learn through metaphors.
Being able to see science applied is how you learn science, in my opinion.
Just seeing theory written out or equations or whatever.
We don't want to do the deal where we say, well, tell us about it, and you just give us the overview of the entire book. And then people feel like they don't need to read it. You can't do that anyways because, like you said, there's a lot of narrative in there and all that. One thing that was really helpful for me in particular, the book is broken into sections. And so section three is why knowing isn't even half the battle. Will you tell us why was this the third section, and then after well, yes. First, why is knowing not even half the battle?
[00:15:26] Speaker B: Because if it wasn't, nobody would need to read another book.
[00:15:32] Speaker A: Right.
[00:15:34] Speaker B: Why would anybody even pick it up? Because they had already learned it. And if it was as simple as learning something was doing something, I mean, seriously, they wouldn't even be reading the book. Yet people make a lot of meaning of why they can learn something and not be able to do it. And it's always bad, right? Like, I'm failing at this. I'm a terrible person. I'm a terrible parent.
My kid is terrible. My kid is so broken they can't even be fixed. We make all this meaning around why we can't do the things we've been taught, and there's just no learning that happens. There's no change that happens in the brain if it happens in a state of shame. None.
So we have to help people be able to be with themselves in a place of compassion.
[00:16:31] Speaker A: So tell us then, in light of that, about the owl brain.
[00:16:35] Speaker B: Yeah, so the owl brain so I have an owl and a watchdog and a possum, and the owl brain is certainly the wise thinking, cognitive part of the brain people often think about when they think about the owl brain. But the owl brain is also the part of the brain and the nervous system that's feeling safe and connected and compassionate and curious. And it's really a state, it's a neurobiological state of safety and connection and openness again and curiosity and everything we want in ourselves and our kids comes from the owl brain, essentially.
So when people tell me, I want to change this thing in my kid, sometimes I say this out loud, but also in my head, I'm thinking, well, what you really want to do is grow their owl brain. Same for parents, but if they know a bunch of stuff but can't do it, it's because their owl brain is not strong enough. I mean, I'm assuming your kid, generally speaking, knows the right thing to do, but maybe doesn't always do it.
[00:17:51] Speaker A: Sure. Well, other people's kids, mine always do, but fair.
[00:17:54] Speaker B: Yeah, totally fair.
That's such a parent. I was like, does your kid really do not the quote unquote right thing because they don't know what the right thing is and almost always are like.
[00:18:05] Speaker A: Well, no, rarely, if ever. Right.
[00:18:07] Speaker B: Right. Exactly. Same with us.
[00:18:10] Speaker A: Yeah.
So how do we grow that? I mean, that's one thing that I think is the next immediate question, right, is you see that and you're like, yes, I want that there in my kid.
Like you said, that is kind of the goal of parenting and the goal of self care, too, is like, I want that there for myself. So how do we for our kids? What are some ways that you've seen it? We can help to grow that and foster that type of healthy thinking for them?
[00:18:37] Speaker B: Well, broadly speaking, we grow the owl brain with co regulation, connection and felt safety, and that's really it. We grow that part. The owl brain is a metaphor for the ventral vagal side of our autonomic nervous system and an integrated middle prefrontal cortex. When we think about brain development and we strengthen those parts of our brain and our nervous system through regulation, connection and felt safety so then we can break down.
When I'm working with a family, for example, I'm looking at what is this family struggle, what's the parents struggle, what's the kids struggle.
Those things always occur together in some way, shape or form. But some families do struggle more with their regulation regulatory circuits or knowing how to respond to challenging behavior with co regulation. Some families really need support with connecting either with each other or themselves.
Some families really need a lot of help, like just doing the detective work around where could we increase the felt safety that your kid is experiencing?
[00:19:57] Speaker A: Yeah, well, okay, along those lines too. I think one of the things that has been a conversation for us in the office a lot and we've been getting tons of requests online. I would imagine that you have been too around current events. So if you're listening to this in real time, there are multiple pretty big wars happening around the world. Coverage is not in short supply, right? And our kids be it access through social media or just seeing the news on, like, we Elizabeth and I, my wife, we are very old on Sunday mornings. We like watching CBS Sunday Morning. That's our favorite show. CBS Sunday morning goes off pretty abruptly. There's a nature scene. Everyone's regulated. It's amazing. We're looking at trout swimming in the Great Smoky Mountains and there's birds calling and the next thing you know, it's like President Biden wants to kill America. And it's like you'll get straight into politics and horrifying news and images that you can see from around the world. So no matter how that's coming in some way, shape or form, our kids are being bombarded with information that, for lack of a simpler term, it's just not fair for them to have so much on them right now.
Are there some ways that you're seeing or that you're hearing families have success right now in the midst of so much chaos, not being dismissive of those things, but being able to create some felt safety in the middle of a lot of unsurity right now?
[00:21:23] Speaker B: I would kind of look at this like two different ways. One specifically to what you're talking about. One is, okay, so there's floodings of cues of danger. We're going to talk about felt safety when we actually just consuming media. And the way media is created in 2023 is kind of bombarding us with cues of danger anyway. Even if the information itself isn't scary or dangerous, simply because of the intensity of which we're receiving information, like the fastness of it, how fast our brain is being asked to process information, how quickly it's shifting colors. Sounds like media. And the amount of data we're all processing every single day is astronomical compared to decades ago, right? Even if it was all good information, it actually still would be what our nervous systems would interpret as a cue of danger because of the amount of information that we're getting.
And then, of course, the images are scary. They really lack a lot of context.
Kids with vulnerabilities in their nervous system. They don't have very strong owl brains. And so it's hard for them to separate there and here and then and now and real and not real and not that none of those things are not real, but just like real, which is what's happening in My. House and my neighborhood versus something that is terrible happening on the other side of the world, but isn't happening in my home and neighborhood. Right? And so all those things get really complicated.
So I think there's two approaches. One is we drastically reduce media, and that's somewhat a little bit laughable. How possible is that? Especially if we had teenagers. I mean, I have a teenager. I'm not in charge of the media that he consumes. I see him like an hour a, right?
[00:23:26] Speaker A: Right. Yeah, that's and for anybody who rolled their eyes when Auburn said that, you got to keep in mind activities and school and all that, she's not saying she's just not checking up on this kid, right?
[00:23:37] Speaker B: No, of course not. He's literally not here very much because he's launching. Right. So it's developmentally appropriate, but yes. So, yes, let's limit media. Let's do it for ourselves too. Right? Like, how much media do I need to be consuming? And it's very privileged to decide I'm not going to consume a lot of scary media. These are people's lives, right, that are being destroyed. So I recognize the privilege of being able to say, like, no, I'm not going to consume that.
Also, my life is about providing felt safety for people. And so if I'm going to do that, I have to be just really aware of what I consume. Okay, so number one, media consumption, can we decrease any of it? And the second one is, how are we increasing our authentic conversations about it?
We can bring safety into things that are not safe. When we bring in presence attunement Connection, even if the thing we're attuning to is bad, right. We're still bringing in attunement connection felt safety regulation by having the open conversations, by talking about it. What is this? Like, how is this do we need to turn it off?
That kind of stuff.
[00:24:58] Speaker A: Yeah, I think about that. When I was kind of growing up in my childhood, there was some Cold War coverage there's, some Desert Storm coverage. There was no Internet.
It was not covered in the same way that things are covered now. Where? At any one single moment, if you want, you can watch a GoPro of somebody who's on the front lines like a live feed of it, or you can watch whatever partisan broadcast you want, and you're not guaranteed to know if things are being checked. Fact check. So it's a dangerous time to consume that stuff. And so the need for those conversations I think you're dead right. Is so much higher, which I don't like, because sometimes those conversations are super complex and difficult to have and can ruin a perfectly good night. Right?
[00:25:49] Speaker B: Totally ruin a perfectly good night. Smart media consumption is certainly something our kids need to be educated in. When you and I weren't I assume you and I are about the same age.
I can remember the TVs being pulled into the classroom as we're watching, like, OJ drive down the freeway.
That was the media. That is so totally different right now. You turn on the Internet and you can see horrifying things happen with no things you're like.
Consuming imagery is traumatic.
And so as much as we can, like, safeguarding our kids from that and then what we would do after any traumatic experience, to talk to our kids about what they experienced, what they saw, things like that.
[00:26:41] Speaker A: All right, so this section talking about when being honest is dangerous.
Possibly, Robin, if I'm calling you out, a little bit misleading in the way that it's worded, but why don't you talk about this story I thought was great in the book?
[00:26:53] Speaker B: So when my kid was probably about eight or nine, he, like all kids, decided he loved a certain kind of food. So granola bar. And I, like all not very smart parents went to Costco and bought 9 million of it. Right?
[00:27:16] Speaker A: Biggest box possible.
[00:27:17] Speaker B: Exactly. He also went to a school sometimes I'm embarrassed I even consented to this. He went to a school that had very rigid food rule rules.
Food rules. There was this ridiculous list of what we were allowed and not allowed to send to school. And then my son also had very limited things he would eat, and making those two things match was tricky. So when he says, Mom, I like this granola bar. I'm like, yes, thank gosh. It meets the food rules, all the things.
[00:27:53] Speaker A: Right?
[00:27:54] Speaker B: So that is a relevant piece of the story, because I was so, oh, thank goodness. Finally, right? And then after one day I mean, it's obvious where this story is going.
After one day or two, maybe, I don't know, we're packing lunches, I'm getting the granola bar out of the pantry, and he's like, mom.
And I'm like, what?
Because I knew it was coming.
I don't like those granola bars after all.
And I'm so sorry. I mean, I wrote this in the book, so I'm sorry, dear readers or listeners, to have to hear this, but I chucked that granola bar at my kid hard.
My owl brain flew away, got the.
[00:28:48] Speaker A: Talons out and went forward, actually.
[00:28:51] Speaker B: Yeah.
So, number one, I always like to be really clear when I tell this story, that was totally not cool. Sure.
[00:28:58] Speaker A: Right.
[00:28:58] Speaker B: Should not throw things at your kids.
[00:29:02] Speaker A: Right?
[00:29:03] Speaker B: And I was able to repair that instantly, thankfully.
But what happened for me was it took me a while to just deconstruct this. I don't instantly know that this is what's happening. But what happened for me was he demonstrated a behavior that when I was a kid would not have been safe.
[00:29:30] Speaker A: Yeah.
[00:29:32] Speaker B: And yay us, right? I'm sure just like my husband and I have worked so hard to be really aware of our own stuff and know the great stuff we wanted to pass on and know the not so great stuff we didn't want to pass on. And having honest, authentic communication is certainly a huge value in our relationship. But also knowing yourself and making decisions for your own bodily autonomy and not because they're going to please or not please other people, really big value in our house, theoretically.
[00:30:10] Speaker A: Right.
[00:30:11] Speaker B: And that isn't what I learned when I was a kid. Right. Like a lot of us in our generation, right, we really learned how to prioritize other people and how to read the cues of other people and know what was about to happen. And I also grew up in a culture that there is lot of inauthenticity, lots of everything's fine on the outside without a lot of truthfulness to that. And so what I learned when I was little is that being honest isn't safe.
And so what happened in that moment for me is because I think I had my own just nervous system vulnerability in that moment of being super tired, not having slept well. My own window of tolerance was much smaller than usual.
And so the stress impacted me more than another day in which I'd be like, fine, right? But the stress got to me in a way that it really pulled that out. This lowest I think of it as low, deepest held core, implicit memory from childhood, which is it's not safe to be honest. So even though I have all this explicit belief around wanting to teach my child, not only is it safe to be honest with me, but it's safe to be honest with him. Right? Like his authentic, I don't like this, it's valid, you don't have to eat food you don't like.
[00:31:49] Speaker A: And the tenderness of him bringing that up, right? Like knowing you just brought a lot of them, this is not to Reshame you, but no, that is such a precious thing to be brought into. Right? And so what I hear you saying, when we can see that and when we can think about these things, so when those moments happen, we can see them as beautiful instead of like, oh my God, I just bought so many of these. I could have paid school tuition for a year with the amount of Gorilla bars I just bought instead of that moment. It's like, hey, thank you for telling me that. Golly. And that must not have been easy because you know how many of these we bought?
[00:32:30] Speaker B: Guess what?
[00:32:31] Speaker A: I love these granola bars. I'm going to. Eat the crap out of these.
[00:32:35] Speaker B: Absolutely not. Just, thank you for telling me and trusting me, but really, truly, I'm a play therapist. I really talk like this. Right. Thank you for trusting yourself. Thank you for knowing the sensations in your body that tell you actually, like, that's a different sensation than, oh, I love that. And there's a lot of grown ups in the world who don't know the difference.
[00:32:59] Speaker A: Oh, maybe the majority.
[00:33:00] Speaker B: Yeah.
And so you're right.
There was an opportunity there to see that as such a gift.
I'm not shaming myself. I mean, I wrote about in my book so because I was just so vulnerable in that moment and all my owl brain strength was so weakened that instead of being able to see this new information, which is like, oh, it's so cool. Somehow I've raised a kid who can tell me that even though he knows I just bought this 70,000 bar box.
But instead of that, I just went to old, old stories in my mind of it's not safe to tell the truth. Now, it might feel a little bit confusing, like, why did I react so volatilely if I felt like it wasn't safe to tell the truth? Shouldn't I have responded with lots of compassion for him? Sometimes that does happen. Sometimes a flip does happen with our kids, but actually, it's very common for us to have huge fight, flight protective behaviors when our kids do something that would have been terrifying when we were small. We want to protect them. Which is so ironic, I know, because I just chucked a granola bar at him. But part of my intense reaction is a protective response of, no, that's not safe.
But there's also a part of me that's protecting, like, little Robin who still takes up space in my heart and yeah, and there's so much fear there, right, of like, no, no, it's not safe. You have to yeah.
[00:34:53] Speaker A: And in that funny mean I know Dr. Cross from TCU. You've heard him say this a know there there is such benefit and possibly more benefit in the break and repair in that moment versus just getting it right all the time, right?
[00:35:12] Speaker B: Well, yeah, I mean, that's super well documented. I'm not suggesting we should throw things at our kids.
And again, we don't have to mess up on purpose.
Let's not mess up so that we can repair. But when we do mess up, which is inevitable because we're human, we can notice that we do have skills to repair that connection and that the repair is actually the experience that tells kids, like, oh, you see me. Oh, I matter to you. Oh, you're willing to be uncomfortable to do something that's good for me, because it is hard to apologize.
[00:35:51] Speaker A: Oh, so hard.
Even as we've got teenagers now and just one actual one, and then a couple of preteens, and so it's all the same. And that skill is so rare at that age to be able to do it, that to watch it happen in the wild is pretty incredible.
So if you do not get started practicing that early, it is hard. The older you get, the harder it is to acquire that skill. Right. Which is the big push for while your kids are young, just practice that repair and doing that with yourself too, right, okay. One more thing I wanted to ask you about are toward the end of the book we talk about doing bicep curls for the brain and your different exercises and stuff that you can do.
Why don't we kind of wrap up talking about that and have one more question before we end?
[00:36:46] Speaker B: Yes. So when I'm working with parents again, there's always this question of why am I still flipping my lid? Why is my owl brain still flying away after all this stuff? I'm like, well, you're tired, right? There's a muscle that we can grow and strengthen, we can do with a lot of intentionality, the same way we would grow muscle for anything.
And we have to find the sweet spot of that growth. Which is why I think the idea of bicep curls or some sort of exercise is a really great metaphor because if I just did one two pound bicep curl every day for the rest of my life, nothing would change, I wouldn't grow stronger. Yeah, but if I was like, oh, I'm going to get strong, and I went and bought like 50 pound free weights and then was like, I'm going to do 30 in a row, I would hurt myself. I wouldn't full force, but I wouldn't be able to.
And then if I tried, I'd hurt myself. So there's the sweet spot of practicing something that's slightly hard and doing it a lot so that you can build a muscle. And I think looking at our owl brain as having the capacity to build the muscle to stick around a little bit longer instead of getting scared so quickly and flying away, I think that is actually super empowering, like, oh, I can actually do something that could change this and I don't feel hopeless. It's not hopeless or helpless.
There's lots of things we can do to strengthen our owl brain. In the book I talk about four very specific ones connection for ourselves. Like as adults, where are we getting our connection? Needs met from other people, but also from ourselves.
Noticing the good.
There's a lot of research that shows that one very stressed out brain only notices things that are bad and we can be really deliberate to help notice the things that are not bad.
And that is extremely important for helping our brain shift out of that negative mode. So connection, noticing the good, play and self compassion. And I picked those four. I mean, those are not the only four. I just had this conversation with somebody who's like, whoa, whoa, whoa. No. There's lots of ways to grow your brain. Those aren't the only four promise, right? But I picked those four because I actually find them to be the most kind of getting the most bang for your buck, also the most accessible, right? We can take all of those and find ways to do them without spending money, without getting a babysitter. Even though there's a lot of sadness in the fact that maybe I can't leave my kids for an hour to go do something I really like to do. We can grieve that while also realizing I actually don't need an hour to do these things for it to be impactful. And in fact, the research is really clear. Doing them in micro moments actually is better for us. And so I find that that feels more empowering to people like, oh, maybe I could do something or this little tiny thing that I can do maybe that actually can matter.
[00:40:29] Speaker A: And doing those things also in tandem with our kids and teaching them how to do it kind of effects for them, right? Like helping them grow that brain, accelerates ours, accelerates theirs, teaches them how to stand on their own and be able to self regulate one day. So it's a huge cycle is so important.
I think one thing that I'd love to get your thoughts on as we finish is again, kind of unique time in history to be parenting with the accessibility. We have this kind of wild west where there's stuff happening all the time and it's very hard to figure out controlling it. You do tons of parent coaching, right?
Are there two or three things that you hear consistently more than everything else that people are really wanting help with or really stressing out about?
And what do you say in response to those things?
[00:41:26] Speaker B: The first piece that came to mind is, and this does feel a little bit new is people talking and using the word boundaries a lot. How do I set better boundaries? I set this boundary and they're not doing it anyway. And then how that moves into oftentimes some kind of collapse in shame. I'm terrible at setting boundaries. My kid just walks all over me. I'm awful at this. This is my fault somehow. Or it moves sort of into the blamy more rigid like I'm in charge. You have to follow my boundaries. And if you don't and then there's this like what will happen if you don't? And so boundaries and just the word boundaries, what it really means, which is not mean what people I mean, you said at the very beginning something about self regulation and how I think kind of what you're getting at is like we've just turned the idea of self regulation into another behavior management tool. We do that with everything.
Yes, we've done that with trauma informed care. We've done that with everything is still, if we're honest with ourselves, just this maybe better packaged way of trying to control and manipulate somebody else's behavior. Yeah, and that's also true about the word boundaries. Is there's this buzword and what I have found is in that parents are really feeling very shamed. Like, everybody's making it sound like I should be able to set better boundaries code for I should control my child's behavior better.
[00:42:59] Speaker A: Right.
[00:43:00] Speaker B: And if I don't?
[00:43:02] Speaker A: Yeah.
[00:43:03] Speaker B: So I've been doing a lot of talking about what does that really mean? What are boundaries, really?
And we work with the same families here. Again, they're at the end of the line here of desperation, of being in these really hard spots. It's like our families know more than anybody else, if they are real honest with themselves, that they have absolutely no control over anybody's behavior, probably even their own.
[00:43:31] Speaker A: Yeah, absolutely.
[00:43:34] Speaker B: And helping people just play around with that idea and that concept boundaries are a huge one.
And then kind of the same hot topics are always lying, stealing food.
[00:43:54] Speaker A: Yeah.
It is insane, by the way. Like, I would say that's something that, as parents, also doesn't get easier. I was talking to a friend on the phone the other day, and there was the express need to get rid of X, Y or Z behavior in the house. And it is coming from this deep desire for this child to have peace and to feel, to feel safe and to feel at home and to not feel the need to act on impulses all the time and drive the parents nuts. Right? And so for the parents, there's this cortisol level that stays on nine out of ten because they're like, oh my God, wait, why are we having to fight these battles over and over again? I thought we should be past this. I thought, whatever.
There was a great reminder for me just remembering that even as we're having that conversation, I'm recalling things that I'm saying or doing at home that I'm having to go back and repair or undo or whatever. And this learning strategies and learning tactics and learning neuroscience and building all of these things is a great way to give ourselves a framework for how to parent. Parenting is still the hardest job on Earth. Like, being in relationship with another human being and learning how to manage the ebbs and flows of that into repair and to forgive and all of those things when we're hurt is hard. It's impossible, right? Like, it's impossibly hard task. To do so well is difficult at any age, any skill level with any amount of education or background or whatever. And so all these things we want to make sure we're giving the disclaimer, like Robin's book, Dr. Purvis's book, no matter what book you grab, how great it is, it's not going to solve the problems for you, right? Like, it's going to help you to understand the challenges and give some practical strategies for how to meet those needs, which is still hard.
[00:46:03] Speaker B: Oh, it's impossibly hard. I mean, I'm constantly telling parents, of course, you quote unquote screwed up. I don't use that language, but parents do. And you're going to for the rest of your life, like, you're going to freak out at your kid, you're going to yell, you're going to scream, you're going to do things you won't even tell me about. And that probably isn't going to change. That's not exactly my point. My point isn't to get all that to change. My point is, can we grow your owl brain? Grow your child's owl brain so that there is some more connection, that maybe those things happen a little less often, and then the repair afterwards is easier, and also that we get out of focusing on the actual behavior. Right. You prefaced your last question with everything that's going on in the world. It's like the truth is that as the stress increases, that's increasing all sorts of behaviors, because as stress increases, all of our unique, challenging behaviors, I have them, too, they grow again. Doesn't matter if it's lying or stealing or hoarding or inappropriate Internet usage or back talk. It doesn't actually kind of matter what the exact behavior is. That the more stress we get, the more our stress responses is firing, and we're going to see more behaviors.
[00:47:29] Speaker A: Yeah.
Robin, thank you.
I appreciate you coming on today, and thank you for the book. And if you do not have your copy of the book yet, you should get it. One, that's my instruction to you. Two, you should hang out for the outro and find out how you can win one that we're going to be giving away, maybe two or three or five that we're giving away. So read the show notes, check out the outro, and we will let you know how you can win your own copy of Robin's book, raising Kids with Big Baffling Behaviors. And so thank you. I appreciate it so much for coming.
[00:48:11] Speaker B: I appreciate you for having me on and always and just so appreciative of the work y'all do. It's really good to have a thank you.
[00:48:25] Speaker A: Awesome.
Well, again, just a huge thank you to Robin, just one of our favorite guests. And I will tell you, she is 100% genuine and sincere in everything that she talks about on here. And so if you are wondering, does she really walk the walk and talk? Yes, she does. She really does. For you to win a copy of Robin's book, here's what we need you to do. We need you to put on social media, either on Instagram or Facebook, a screenshot of you watching or listening to the podcast from today and some kind of nugget of something that you learned from the podcast and then tag empowered to connect and tag Robin Gobble. So post something on Facebook or on Instagram today, talking about something that you learned on the podcast from Robin. With a screenshot of the podcast and tag us, we will get a book to you. We will pick two people today, and we will post those winners as they come up. So that is all for today. For Kyle, who edits engineers all of our audio. For Tad Juicy, the creator of the music behind the Empowered To Connect podcast. I'm JD. Wilson, and we will see you next week on the Empowered to Connect Podcast.