[00:00:09] Speaker A: Welcome to the Empowered to Connect podcast, where we come together to discuss a healing, sensored approach to engagement and well being for ourselves, our families, and our communities. I'm JD Wilson, and I'm your host. And today on the show, we've got Jesse Ferriss and Becca McKay talking about a proactive approach to discipline. Typically, when we think about this one in a traditional parenting lens, it is behavior correction, behavior modification. We're wanting to take a behavior that came in, address it with discipline in this moment in a way that will prevent that action, that behavior from popping out again. Now the problem becomes that when we only engage reactively, we lose the ability to teach all the time. And there's a paradigm shift that we'll have, we'll make in this conversation today that I'm not going to give away in the introduction that is very valuable for making this shift from reactive to proactive. And so without any further ado, let's jump in and hear from Becca, from Jesse. Now, here we are talking about a different way to approach discipline.
Well, as we talked about in the opening, we're here today with Jesse Ferriss and Becca McKay, and we're going to talk about discipline and discipline from a proactive lens today. And so Jesse mentioned before we start recording, this sounds like something you would do to fix your gut. Like a proactive discipline.
[00:01:39] Speaker B: Proactive discipline.
[00:01:40] Speaker A: It's very does. So what I would say is the entire premise, though, and the actual things we're going to talk about today are so needed and so important.
If that just made you get bored, snap out of it, stop, pour some water on your face, whatever, and then jump back in. Because what we actually have to talk about today I think is super important. So, guys, thanks for being here. And Becca, before we kind of really dive into this, will you just sort of frame this conversation today and how we want to look at it as compared to our previous weeks?
[00:02:18] Speaker C: Yeah, so we've looked at a lot of different sides of discipline. We've explored a little bit more of the why. We've thought a little bit boundaries and limits that we might need to set. But kind of an angle that we haven't touched on yet is actually you have more power outside the moment than you might think. So you may feel stuck. You may feel like you're stuck in a season of, okay, I'm trying all these practices, I'm trying all these tools, but when you're trying them is when stuff is not going well, like when the wheels are falling off the bus, the train is devolving and so this conversation is just to empower you with a little bit of some ideas, some thoughts, some practices, some real things that you could try around those tough and challenging moments. So sometimes we think about discipline, and understandably so, we think about discipline as a reaction to misbehavior.
But if we can expand our view and just look at it a different way, then discipline is something that we can really kind of do all the time. And I think Jesse and I were having a conversation at lunch today that was kind of about this topic. So, Jesse, I don't know if you want to jump in here and talk about kind of this idea that we can think about discipline just a totally different way.
[00:03:32] Speaker B: Sure. I don't know about you guys, but when I first became a parent, I mean, there's so many just baked in ideas that we have that we've collected along the way. Maybe it was the way we were parented or the way certain groups we've been a part of, or people we've known, we've just picked up on ideas or the cultures we've been in.
One of these ideas that I didn't realize I held so strongly, but I really did, was misbehavior required punishment. I thought, how is any child?
I was good with the idea that discipline meant teaching. I'm like, okay, I'm on board with that. But also part of the teaching has to be punishment, because then how will kids learn not to do it again?
[00:04:20] Speaker A: Right?
[00:04:20] Speaker B: And even when I was thinking as a brand new parent, a lot of these concepts I came in, like, I was exposed to before I even began parenting. But then becoming a parent, realizing how much my sense of justice, of, like, when something wrong, quote unquote, is done, it needs to be punished. There needs to be a punishment. It was like just this right and wrong sense of justice within me. And I think it was a mindset that really needed to shift for me because it helped me really kind of what Becca's saying. It had me locked into the moment of misbehavior that in order to teach my kids something, I would have to wait for her to misbehave. Right.
You can't punish something that hasn't happened yet. So it was always reactionary. It was always chained to the event, chained to the moment. And when I was able to change my mindset, to believe, you know, what discipline means to teach. And you can teach in ways other than punishment. In fact, in what ways do punishment teach us? Mostly it teaches us to fear. Right? Like, you can get compliance out of punishing, but it's going to be because a child is afraid of the punishment or afraid of you. And that's not the kind of compliance I wanted to raise in a human being in my family. Right? I wanted this innate sense of integrity and doing the right thing for the right reason. Right? I can't teach that just by teaching my kid to fear my response.
It also requires me to catch the misbehavior every time, right. Because if I'm not seeing it, then it can't be punished. So I'm basically reinforcing my kid to fly under the radar or go rogue when I'm not watching.
Changing that mindset was a game changer for me, because then teaching could happen in any moment. I didn't have to wait for misbehavior. And instead of what we call etc. Being an obedience enforcer, I was able to really kind of view, all right, what kind of skills are lagging here or what's happening in these moments? Why does it bother me? Is it actually wrong? Is it my own stuff? Or is it actually something that needs to be corrected? And how can I go about teaching a different way?
That has been really healthy for me as an individual and as a parent?
[00:06:58] Speaker A: Yeah, I cannot agree more with all that you just said.
Before we started out as parents, I was a way better parent than I am now.
[00:07:07] Speaker D: We all were, right?
[00:07:08] Speaker A: I had all these ideals set out. I had all the confidence in the world. I knew exactly how I was going to handle every situation.
And then our kids were born and I just fell into a deep pit of despair and apathy and frustration. And I've told that part of the story a lot of times before. But one of the things that really helps is to pull back and think about this whole issue the way that we would think about teaching a class. Like, if we talk about discipline being a teach, I think for most of us listening, that's probably not a foreign idea. That's probably not something that we have never heard before. It's a pretty common thought, and it's not just in the connected parenting world. But if we think of discipline as to teach, you don't think about in a class, starting a class by just giving tests and waiting until kids get wrong answers and then correcting them on the wrong answers by giving them a.
[00:08:05] Speaker B: Good point, JD, we would be pretty upset with the teacher in an educational setting for doing that, right?
[00:08:10] Speaker A: Yeah. Now, I've failed plenty of classes or tests in my day and got detention plenty in my day. But it was in the middle of stuff I was supposed to be doing.
But in this context, if we think about, we've got big air quotes, if you're just listening and not watching class as happening, starting at when kids come into our home and then class ending, graduating, when that child leaves our home, the idea is that we are preparing that child to leave our home and to be able to thrive in the world as a human being.
That is going to look different for every different child that we're talking about. Every person that you're thinking about when we have this conversation and that I'm thinking about and Jesse and Becca, all of us are thinking about different kids in different situations. There, there'll be varying levels of independence, varying levels of time when you're leaving the home, professions, what happens, levels of school, all that, none of that has anything to bear on what we're talking about today. This is about us being able to prepare our kids.
Also happens outside of the moments of failure or mess ups. It's happening all the times. That's the paradigm shift we want to have, is that we are not just disciplining in moments where there's been wrong action and now we've got to discipline you.
I think of the language in some of the schools as I was growing up, like, there's no more corporal discipline in schools. And I remember thinking, like, what does that mean? And my parents explained it meant getting spanked and stuff in school. And I was like, oh, that's usually the context. Like that you think of discipline in a punishment manner, right? But not in a whole lot of other professions and areas. So all that said, the goals are for our kids to be able to thrive. So that means that if that's what we want, that discipline comes in morning, noon, night, afternoon, middle of the night when they're waking up scared at all times. We're working on that.
[00:10:15] Speaker B: Can I say this too? I think sometimes when people interact or interact with or think about connected parenting, they think, well, it has no discipline. I would argue that it actually has more discipline. Because if you're only punishing for your teaching, that's pretty limited versus disciplining. Like JD just said, morning, noon, and night. It's like your whole mindset all day long is to teach your child.
It's a much more disciplined way of parenting than one might think. And I think we have to give ourselves grace, too. I know from when I talk to my kids, I'm like, I've never been a parent before. You guys are teaching me how to be a parent, I've never done this before and I ask them to give me grace. But guess what? Our kids have never been who they are before either. Like, they've never been four or two or eight or ten and it's their first time. So we're all just kind of learning as humans and that is going to require a little trial and error. So it's not, that misbehavior is not going to happen. And I think sometimes we can get into this mindset of discipline means if it's done right, a kid will never misbehave again. Well, no, we learn from making mistakes as much as we learn from doing things the right way. And so taking all of it, the good and the quote unquote bad, and learning from those things, I think is kind of the point of what we're talking about.
[00:11:50] Speaker A: Well, that idea can be a really difficult idea to get over in your mind. Like if you're trying to make a parenting shift, you've got to intrinsically make that argument for yourself and for whoever you're parenting with to say like, hey, we're going to make this shift and here's why. And you're selling points and all that. But if you're not careful, the intrinsic expectation becomes, and once you make this shift, everything will be better. It'll be so much more peaceful in our home and all that. Well, it's essentially like you're switching schools or switching teachers, right? Like you're changing styles of education. It does not mean that you're now expecting your kid to make a 100 on every assignment, every test, have perfect grades, perfect attendance, all that. So if we keep that class analogy going, that is really helpful. As we start into today's discussion, zero people that are listening to this and are parenting at home are going to have 100 or a's across the board for the rest of their parenting career or kids having perfect days and the rest of their behavioral career. Right? We're all making mistakes along the way. And so what we're changing is from that punishment mindset into a skill building and development mindset.
[00:13:00] Speaker B: In fact, I think we can get.
[00:13:01] Speaker C: Stuck too, on teaching means I should tell them, well, I've told them we don't hit well, I've told them that we're kind, well, I've told them that.
[00:13:09] Speaker D: Care about others and we help others.
[00:13:11] Speaker C: And it's not always about you. So I think sometimes, even if, like Jesse said, even if we've made, if we've bought in, we're like, yeah, I do believe discipline means to teach. Still, we have to unlearn some of the punishment muscle, the knee jerk reaction, and we have to expand our view on how can we teach kids, how can we discipline kids morning, noon and night? And if all we're doing is just saying ad nauseam in our family, we don't hit, we're not actually teaching them, we're just repeating ourselves over and over again. So I wonder, Jesse, if you could talk about a little bit of how do kids especially, but people, how do people like, what are some of those things that we can do to help foster that learning that we want to encourage?
[00:13:59] Speaker B: I think that's a really good trying. What was in my brain as you were starting to speak, Becca, is that I think if nothing changes in this mindset, but our reaction, that's the goal, right? Like, yes, our kids are going to misbehave. I would wonder if punishing kids makes them misbehave less. I don't know, guys. I really don't know. But I think that is going to be a given. But I think our reaction will change that we are looking for teaching opportunities. And I mean, I get as mad or flustered or frustrated or whatever in response to these things as the rest of you all do. But I think when we think about how do kids learn?
That's a really interesting concept. And you guys know your kids, right? If you're listening to this think through, like, what are ways that your kids learn? It's probably as individual as people are, right? So if you have multiple kids in your home, they might study for tests in different types of ways. And I would add there are probably those same different types in the way that they're learning their life skills. And I do think that that brings up one of the major ways that we would use discipline, which is to teach a skill. So let's say I have a kid that is just melting down all the time, and every afternoon this kid is having meltdowns.
I think I would wonder, what skills could I teach this child? Not how can I punish this kid so they stop melting down, but what skills can I teach this kid to help them when they're in this situation again?
And so maybe I would be looking at some co regulating and some ways to help this kid learn how to regulate their emotions, and I would be doing that with them. I'm thinking about, I've had a kiddo in my family who had trouble listening, especially if we were out in public, kiddo would run away from me. And that's really hard because you don't want kiddo to run into the street. You don't want kid to cross the street.
A lot of us will be like, oh, I'm all into this until my kid's in danger. And then whatever, I'll do whatever I need to do. Which, okay, yes. However, I learned that there's something innate about calling out red light and kids just stop because they know how to play that game. Red light, green light, right? Or at least my kids did. So when I go out in public with this child at that age, and we still do this sometimes we play red light, green light, and I know that kid is going to listen to me. And so when you play a game like that, you're teaching your kid to listen to your voice, to listen and follow instructions.
I wonder what other games you could play to teach skills that are lagging. Does your kid have trouble taking turns? Why don't you play a game like a board game that requires taking turns? It's going to be really hard, but you can support them through it and just practice. So much of teaching, I think, requires doing something over and over and over again, at least for me. I don't know about you all, but I've got to practice. I mean, you think about the way that our kids go to sports practices or learn to play the piano. They have to try it again and again and again. They have to practice. And I would say the same is true for a lot of skills that we see are lagging as we observe from this behavior.
[00:17:49] Speaker A: Yeah, that's so good. I think of within this conversation, you talked about having a runner we had years ago. We were living in a neighborhood that would probably be described as the hood, but just a tough neighborhood. Like, it was not always safe on our street, not always safe outside of our house. So we had to have pretty tight rules about when you could or couldn't go in and out of the house because you didn't know if a shooting was about to happen, you didn't know if cars were speeding up and down the street. Whatever and whatever picture you have in your mind, just stick with that for this illustration. But we had a kid who was learning how to open the doors and he learned how to unlock the front door and unlocks the front door, and we're out. The kid was three, so it was not on our radar yet. A locked door was in danger. So unlock the door. Unlocked the storm door and opened the storm door and they start walking out and I mean, there was nothing going on, but this kid walked into the street and ran. I mean, I tear out through there, yank the kid up, bring him back inside, and we had to have a long, long conversation about it. Well, he's still at three. Does not comprehend.
We're also not trying to say, if you step outside, you're going to get shot. That's not an existence that we want to bring him into. Right. But with trying to teach him in a contextualized way, could I have brought him in and used a traditional parenting method with which I was parented to drive home fear of ever opening that door again? Yes. Well, guess what? That's outdated pretty soon, because then that kid's going to have to open the door on his own. When I asked him to. To grab mail or to go get their sister or whatever. So that skill was going to have to be developed to perceive and to listen and just to ask permission for us, it was, you just have to ask before you ever open that front door. Okay? We can't keep you safe if you open the door without us. And so you've got to ask permission before. And so ours was less of a game and it was more trying. This kid responded really great to positive reinforcement. So literally, like a sea lion at the zoo.
Every time that he stopped and was like, can I go outside? Can I open the door right now? And we would say no. He'd say, okay, and we'd throw him an eminem.
We did that several times, and then it just became a game. We'd cheer and give him a high five, whatever. Well, then it just became part of his regular existence. Like, I'm going to go outside when I'm allowed to, but there's a why that's now ingrained, and it's a very simple script for him to remember. Mom and dad can't keep me safe if I go outside without asking him. And so that's how that works. That stuck and was able to be a part of that kid's life way easier and way more logically than if I had brought him in and done what would have happened to me growing up and just scared him out of ever touching the door again.
[00:20:48] Speaker B: Yeah, I think if you take. I love your story, JD, because it could have been just about the door, but you actually taught to ask permission in lots of different situations, and so that's going to serve you beyond that specific situation.
And isn't that true discipline? Right. It's not just this moment, this thing that's happening. It's. We're teaching skills for life.
A story reminded me and I think I've given it on this podcast before, but we had trouble losing games at a certain age stage. Maybe it was me because I'm pretty competitive, you all know, maybe it was me that we were teaching that skill to, but we made it a game to see if we could lose ten times. And whoever lost ten times actually won the game. So it's like, just play into what you're trying to reinforce and see what you can do.
It's this idea of scaffolding, too. Becca and I were talking about that earlier today of like, it might be too big to teach all the reasons, like JD is saying, of why it's dangerous to unlock the door and go out of the door by yourself.
But you can start with the very first piece of that, which is asking permission. Or I'm thinking about, like, if cleaning a room. I think I've given this example before, too. But if cleaning a room is too big of a skill to teach, you know, how to clean up after yourself, then just teach your kid the first part. Right? Like when we've had to clean rooms before, I've drawn a treasure map. And really all that is, is like, breaking it down into smaller pieces. So instead of teaching a kid to clean up after themselves all the time, what if you just start with the shoes?
We're going to put our shoes away after we get home every single day this week. And to your point, JD, that's not a game, but you can start small. It's just teaching these little things.
[00:22:56] Speaker D: Yeah, I like what both of you.
[00:22:58] Speaker C: Guys are saying because I think, too, it just changes so much as kids grow. So I like what you're saying because it's like you're teaching them the bigger skill. So think about like, be kind.
[00:23:09] Speaker D: Be kind.
[00:23:10] Speaker C: For a kindergartner, pretty much is like, share and take turns.
[00:23:13] Speaker B: Okay.
[00:23:14] Speaker C: But if we translate that to our teenager, we might be teaching them, hey, you can be kind to friends, but we don't share expensive iPad with them because it could get broken. So here's how we respectfully set a boundary. Well, we're not teaching that to a kindergartner. We're not teaching. There's different lessons that kids experience throughout life. And so what we're doing whenever we look at discipline, morning, noon, and night, is we're just teaching these bigger picture skills. And I love what you're saying, jesse, because it's so easy to say to a kid, be kind.
There's like 108 things that we mean when we say be kind. We're like, you didn't see that he was crying. You didn't think that you should have asked him how he was doing and how he was feeling. That's a skill. Well, you didn't see that she didn't have the toy that you had one, and your brother had one, but sister didn't have one. We're creating these really simple scripts around really complicated ideas. So we need to really be willing to slow down and teach little pieces. It's kind to wait your turn is one tiny lesson, like, out of 100. And so I just like that both of you guys are.
[00:24:22] Speaker D: And I think parents just need to remember the lessons change.
[00:24:26] Speaker B: Like, if a 17 year old is.
[00:24:29] Speaker C: Not opening the front door without saying, dad, can I open the door? There's some cases where that's appropriate, depending on your kid and your situation. There's other cases where they need to.
[00:24:39] Speaker B: Be able to do it.
[00:24:40] Speaker C: They need to be able to open the door and jump in the car and go to school without asking permission. And that could actually create problems. So I like that you're highlighting, it's not about the specific behavior, it's about the context and what you're trying to accomplish to keep them safe, to help them grow, to help them learn all those types of things.
[00:24:57] Speaker B: And think about this, too. I mean, the older my kids have got, one of the cooler things that can happen is you can actually talk about things that have happened in the past. So having those conversations, maybe you already do that. You all. But when you're doing it, you're disciplining, you're teaching outside of the moment. You're practicing, you can do this before something happens. You can do it after something has happened.
So whether it's like they're worried about going to a social gathering, and so you're talking through, like, who's going to be there? What are you going to do when you go inside the door?
Who are you going to look for? What are you going to do if this happens? Not in an anxious way, but just kind of like talking it through. I know I still do this sometimes when I'm feeling anxious about something or just needing some instruction, like, what should I expect? What will it be like? How should I prepare? I think afterwards, this is probably what we're most familiar with, is like, hey, yesterday you acted this way, and it really hurt my feelings when you talked to me that way. Why did you say that?
Adults can have those conversations with other adults. Adults can have those conversations with teenagers or with kids.
That kind of stuff is just circling back. It's not just brushing over the behavior, it's going back to it when you guys are in a more connected place. So I might do that when I'm in the car with a kid and we are not making eye contact. We're held hostage inside the vehicle because it's moving and we're strapped in. But it is also a little bit less spotlight on the kid because maybe they're in the backseat or they're sitting next to me and they're not facing my face or when you're taking a walk or. I love having conversations like that at bedtime because I just find that my kids are a little softer. Maybe I'm a little softer depending on the way the day has gone.
They're sleepy and you're just kind of open to the types of conversations where you can wander together or have a conversation that's a little more open.
[00:27:20] Speaker A: I wonder if we can talk.
We, we mentioned this before recording, but this is a fascinating thought to me. But there's some thought, and Gordon Newfeld talks about it some in his book or, Jesse, if you want to talk about this, but the thought that attachment, like healthy attachment, actually drives this habit of learning and trusting your caregivers and asking them for help and leaning on them when you need it.
I was going to say hilarious. It's not the word I meant to say. I think it is an amazing thought or idea. And so let's talk about that for a few minutes as well.
[00:27:56] Speaker B: Yeah. I also think it is fascinating that we've basically been wired for connection. Right. We know this. But when kids are attached to caregivers, to safe adults, they desire to receive instruction from those safe people. And I think that is something that happens biologically that I just find fascinating, that it's science, it's the way that our nature works.
And if you think about it, you all think about that. You were probably learned more from the teachers that you felt the most connected to as you were growing up or those coaches versus the teachers that you didn't really like very much. You probably didn't receive very much instruction from them. Right.
Or times when we've received instruction from adults or caregivers that we've really respected or really trusted, that's kind of the way that it works. Now, I'm not saying that if our kids misbehave or they disobey our instructions that it means that they're not attached to us. But I think you can recognize that when you have a connection with a kid, there is something between you two where there is an openness. There's an openness to your instruction. I know I am saying this, and I am currently parenting a 13 year old. So I know that that does not always look the same way at every age.
[00:29:34] Speaker A: Right?
[00:29:35] Speaker B: And let's just take a deep breath and just say, bless all our hearts right now. Okay? But even in parenting an adolescent, I am noticing that when I am connected with that kid, when there's strong relationship going on, that kid is more receptive to what I say, more receptive to my bids for connection.
I think the flip side can be true. And a good question to ask ourselves when we're experiencing misbehavior. A lot and a lot of chaos and a lot of maybe just disobedience or whatever you would call that. I know disrespect can be huge with parents.
I would wonder a question to ask ourselves, what's going on with your connection with that kid? And guess whose job that is? It's ours as the parent, right? It's our job to be the safe adult. It's our job to make those bids for connection. We offer it, right? We can't make our kids connect with us. We can't make our kids obey, but we offer that connection. And I think I have found in seasons when there is a lot of tough behavior going on, that my connection with that kid is on a thin string, right? And the more I have reinforced that connection and the more that I have kind of put in that relational work, the stronger the bond between us grows and the more receptive that kid is to receiving, teaching from me, and even.
[00:31:22] Speaker D: Just problem solving together.
I know I'm the person that always brings up marriage on this podcast, but I think. I think about these principles. When my husband and I are in a season where we are not feeling super connected for whatever reason, we're stressed, we're in a period of grief. There's something going on.
Those are the times when you could call it misbehavior. You could call me, like, snapping at someone, misbehavior, even though I'm a grown adult.
[00:31:49] Speaker B: We don't call ourselves misbehaving, do we, Becca? We don't.
[00:31:53] Speaker D: We don't like to think about it, but that's me misbehaving. And that happens most often when there's not that foundation and it's like, kind of a double edged sword where it's like we're already not connected, then I'm misbehaving more, then I'm getting less connected. And the tendency or the draw. Or the push is like, just leave me alone. Let's just back. Like, which we've talked in other episodes is because I have a flight stress response. So I'm like, get me out of here. But I think it's illustrating what you're saying, jesse, which is like, those are the times when I need to find intentional ways to connect because we need that foundation so that we can problem solve when those tiffs come up. And so I know we're talking about kids, and I think the relationship is obviously different, but I think there's a similarity there of just like, that relationship with the kid that when you hear this podcast, you know the one you're thinking of, that's probably the kid where you need to think about that investment into the connection, and you might need to get super creative. It might be in tiny doses. It might be focusing on an interest that they have that you're investing in because it's important to them, even if you don't care so much about it. That's the relationship that needs more of an investment.
Even though everything within you is wanting to probably back off, duck and run, get away, that's that internal.
It doesn't feel good to be rejected.
[00:33:23] Speaker C: So when we feel rejected, logical Becca.
[00:33:26] Speaker B: Like Gordon, would also say that when we're disconnected with someone, we are biologically wired not to want to listen to them, not with them. So it's like biology goes against us in that kind of way. Yeah, but you're so right. That's when we've got to pull close, and it's our job as parents to do that.
I think this is where connected parenting gets a bad rap because it feels very touchy feely to say, we've got to create felt safety. We've got to strengthen our connection with kids, and that is included in discipline.
To think about discipline as connection feels very like, oh, gosh, that's not my thing. I want my kids to do what I say, but it's leading to a greater outcome. It's leading to an outcome that keeps your kid in conversation with you, that keeps your kid learning from you. I think about even my connection with my mother today and how I am still learning from her as an adult in my. It's because I have that connection with her.
That's what I desire for my relationship with my kids.
[00:34:44] Speaker A: Yeah, that's so good.
One thing that's fascinating to me is the subconscious elements of how these things are being taught. Right. So, like, if our kids, we have a strong connection and they are, then witnessed their witness by participation to a connected approach where you are teaching all the time, you're disciplining out of proactivity, not only out of reactivity as well, but all those things are then setting norms and frameworks in your kids minds as they grow up, that this, at least for them, is how parenting works. And so we want some of these in Memphis, Tennessee, crime and cyclical crime. And all of that is a massive conversation all the time. Well, we want to produce safer communities generationally, year over year over year. Let's find more connected families in those communities, because those cycles also reproduce, right?
Those cycles also then help to produce a child who's growing up with an understanding of how to create felt safety without even realizing that's what they are creating. They're finding norms of, my parents did this, this and this with me and all that mistakes, yes, all those things. But the biggest picture there is of what connected parenting, how it looks like it mirrors as it reproduces, right? So as generations go on, there's some mirroring to that and hopefully some sharpening in each layer of mirrors.
But that is something that I love. The thought of is that subconscious building that we're doing. We're not saying, like, look, four year old, one day you're going to have to parent, and you have to know that in these moments, these are the tools that you'll need to do this. That's not happening. But this subconscious storage system that we're building does hold those things closely.
[00:36:44] Speaker B: We often talk about this kind of parenting as investment parenting. It really is an investment. And listen, I am just like anyone else in that when I tell a three year old what to do, I want them to do it right. I want that three year old to be the best three year old they can be. And I think so often we are wanting to shortcut growth, right? Like, we just want to get to the end. But parenting is a long term investment. Like, when we signed up for this, in whatever way we signed up for it, we knew that it was like a lifelong role in some ways. And there's no shortcut to learning.
I think that is almost unbearable. It's very hard for me to hold that messy middle of listening to a 13 year old say the most ridiculous thing ever and be like, okay, let's talk about that and just know that that person is evolving and going to grow. That person is growing, and this is not the end of her story. And someone did that for me once, right? And someone did that for JD and for Becca and for you. Listening, heard us in whatever age we were or saw us acting the way we were acting. And we're different people now. And I think to recognize that we all get to grow on this lifelong journey, I know I'm kind of waxing eloquent about it. But our five year old, that's not the end of their story. The 13 year old, not the end of their story.
There's more to learn, there's more to grow, and it doesn't all have to happen in the year of 2024.
[00:38:41] Speaker A: Right.
[00:38:42] Speaker D: And I think because this is our final episode on this topic, I think it just has to be said, in case it hasn't been said enough in all the other ones, ultimately, adults cannot control a child's behavior.
We can respond well in the moment, we can be proactive outside the moment, and we can offer support, guidance, connection, care. But if you're listening, which I know some of you guys are from a really difficult season, maybe even with a young adult, I do want you to remember that ultimately, it's so hard, but parents can't control who their kid becomes. There's a lot we can do, and we would like to focus on that.
[00:39:28] Speaker C: Here at the podcast.
[00:39:29] Speaker D: We like to focus on what we can do, ways we can think about things differently or try different things, because it's important to do that, and it's important to set an environment for learning. But I also want us to remember that ultimately, people have autonomy, and people have personalities and people have temperaments, and people have things that they deal with and things that they process as they grow. And so I feel like that needed to be said as we kind of rounded it out is like, it's so hard not to think about discipline in terms of, I'm going to fix that person's behavior.
And I know even today, even in any of our episodes, we do give some ideas that we think might help to support behavior. But that's not the goal. The goal is really more internal. The goal is really more about our adult behavior. How are we going to behave morning, noon, and night to create that environment that is safe for our kids, no matter who they become, as they grow?
[00:40:30] Speaker B: And we get to grow, too, right? So if you're listening and maybe you're feeling a little shame, like I would have in my punishment mindset, days of like, oh, good grief, that is me that's describing me. And I don't know what the next step is.
Just investigate your responses. And how can you teach things in a different kind of way, in a way that remains connected to your kid in whatever way you can offer.
[00:41:02] Speaker A: Yeah, I agree.
Any last thoughts in terms of the last thing you said? Jesse, there are some practical things here. Are there any kind of quick hitter practical things you think about within this conversation that can be just bullet points for us to leave with?
[00:41:22] Speaker B: If you're driving in your car or folding your laundry or whatever you do when you listen to podcasts and you're thinking like, okay, where do I start with this? I think I would encourage you to think about the thing that happened most recently in your family that caused a blow up or caused you to feel, like, extreme displeasure.
What was that thing? What caused it?
I would have you think about, is there a skill there that wasn't present? Okay, so I'm thinking, let's walk through something. I'm thinking about.
The mornings in my house this week have been pretty chaotic.
No one's doing what they're supposed to do. Everything's going wrong. Everyone's getting huffy.
I may or may not have sent a text to my husband just this morning that said, sorry, I came in hot this morning. I just came downstairs and was like, came in big.
What I'm going to think about, as I hear myself say, when is the last time? I'm like, well, it was this morning. Maybe yours was even like, yeah, as soon as mine was, I'm going to think like, okay, what's missing there? Or what is present, or what is missing, and how can I support what needs to be happening? So I'm thinking, okay, I think we probably need to reset our routine, right?
There's something that's not happening, that should be happening, and whether that's going through what we do. In what order is our morning routine off?
Do I need to wake up earlier so I can go down and be present to help with the transition?
My husband and I texted a little bit about it today, too. Like, okay, we probably need to talk through what's happening in the mornings. Those aren't feeling great.
That, to me, is the discipline. That's a discipline that we practice.
My daughter was recently asked, what's the punishment in your family? They were, like, in some kind of youth group thing, and it was like an icebreaker, and she couldn't come up with one, which was hilarious. But I think it's because so often we're teaching those things in the way that we just reset.
I'll give you an example. Last week, I had some trouble with someone listening to directions, and so I have started asking that person, like, in a funny way, will you literally mimic me after I give the instructions and then say, got it. And so she thinks it's hilarious because now she gets to make fun of my directions. But I know at least that they heard what I said, which, like, listening to the directions when you may or may not have headphones in, that's the skill I was trying to build. So just think through. I would encourage you, just think through what was the last thing that you really didn't like? And think through, like, okay, how could I do that different? How can I support what I'm wanting to happen? And that would be the question I would ask.
[00:44:40] Speaker D: Can I add a layer to that? Jesse, as we wrap up here, I think obviously, there's like a behavior iceberg. So when a behavior happens, there's thousands of things that could be happening.
But three big buckets that I think about are skills that need to be developed. Motivation, sometimes the behavior happens because the kid isn't motivated. And then regulation, sometimes the behavior happens because a kid is dysregulated. So I think what I think about in this conversation is we can take proactive steps on all three of those fronts. So whether it's a skill that isn't there, whether it's a motivation, like we're not finding what is motivating this kid appropriately, or whether it's a regulation thing, we can take steps on all three of those outside of the moment. So when we say outside of the moment, we mean outside of that moment of dysregulation or disconnection or whatever is happening right then and there in that little volcano moment, that's happening. So I just would add that layer to what you said. Same thing you said. Think about it, process it. But maybe just add the idea, okay, I can't think of a skill, but I do know. Well, when we stay up late, my toddler in the morning is completely impossible to wake up. That would be a regulation issue. And so the answer to that kind of challenge would be, we probably all need to go to bed earlier. There's some things that you can shift and that you can tweak that are related to those three big buckets, I think.
[00:46:08] Speaker B: And I think that's good, Becca, because you can hear it in the way that I'm kind of workshopping that problem real time.
Do I need to change the environment? Do I need to change my own behavior? Do I need to provide a checklist? What are some things that need to happen?
Guys? I don't know. Stay tuned. It's going to be trial and error at the Ferris house. That's right.
[00:46:31] Speaker A: Well, and yeah, same at the Wilson house, too. I think my only advice as we kind of close this conversation out is just whatever is most helpful for you to keep that framework set in your mind.
All of us are going to have reactions to misbehavior, especially when that misbehavior is particularly annoying or egregious. And so those reactions are harder to control. I can't tell you how to control your survival response, obviously, but if we have a regular way of thinking through, like, I'm not punishing, I am disciplining. And I'm not disciplining. I'm teaching. I'm teaching these behaviors. It will help us to think about outside of the moment, the things that are particular issues. And so, yes, all the things that everybody has pointed out so far.
For me, the bigger deal is my filter. It's less tactical things in the moment. If I had the filter set right, I can take a behavior in a moment and then begin to think through it the proper way, still addressing it. Misbehavior is still not let go, but being addressed in a more holistic, hopefully better long term way than just in the moment, hammering out punishment to break behavior. And so work on your filter, your framework that you have for discipline. And hopefully, this series has been helpful for you for being a person who's on the podcast, talking and listening each week. Wildly helpful for me, especially through the holiday season as we're recording these. And so, yeah, guys, appreciate all of your insight today. Thanks for being with us.
[00:48:13] Speaker B: Thank you.
[00:48:18] Speaker A: Well, again, a huge thank you to Jesse and Becca. And I have needed this every bit as much as anybody else listening because this has been one area that I have always struggled with. And we talk all the time on the show about how our upbringing, how our environment, how all the experiences we have in life play into how we parent. And only thinking through parenting from one lens for so long lends itself to easily forget or easily lose track of ways that you're trying to change. And so taking a more connected approach, a more attachment centered, attachment focused approach in our parenting means that we're going to have to be retraining ourselves all the time. And so today, all I'm telling you was a helpful reminder for me, and I hope it was for you as well. And so I'm leaving today thinking about when I am at home engaged or disengaged. I am teaching, and when I am on it with my kids and when I am making mistakes and having a repair, I'm teaching. So all those things are helping to play into the discipline that I am bringing into our lives, within our family. And so I've got to be mindful of that. And so we're going to shift from only thinking reactively to thinking proactively and thinking about discipline as teaching all the time. So for everybody here at ECC, I hope that today was as impactful for you as it was for me. For Kyle Wright, who edits and engineers all of our audio. For Tad Jewett, the creator of the music behind the empowered to connect podcast, I'm JD Wilson, and we'll see you next week on the empowered to connect podcast.