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119: What to do if your child is cruel to your animals

By June 18, 2020November 8th, 2023Mastermind Parenting Podcast
119: What to do if your child is cruel to your animals

In today’s episode, I’m speaking to a mom of a 4-year old about his mean behavior towards the family’s new puppy.

Mom was concerned her child might be a psychopath.
She asked for help in a public FB group for parents and the comments of several fellow parents made me mad. GRRRRR.

They gave her incorrect info and essentially confirmed her fear that there was something wrong with her kid.

Not. Helpful.

The child is not a psycho killer. He’s four! He just needed different guidance to become a little boy that could play and develop a deep bond with his new fur sibling.

I want to make a parenting public service to stop posting in public parent groups without official leadership by a qualified moderator.

Parent judgment and shaming is all too real and we aint got time for that!

Protect yourselves people.

As always, thanks for listening, and be sure and head over to Facebook and you can join my free group Mastermind Parenting Community, where we post tips and tools and do pop up Live conversations where I do extra teaching and coaching to support you in helping your strong-willed children so that they can FEEL better and DO better. If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it!

About Randi Rubenstein

Randi Rubenstein helps parents with a strong-willed kiddo become a happier family and enjoy the simple things again like bike rides and beach vacays.

She’s the founder of Mastermind Parenting, host of the Mastermind Parenting podcast, and author of The Parent Gap. Randi works with parents across the U.S.

At Mastermind Parenting, we believe every human deserves to have a family that gets along.

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0 (2s):
My name’s Randi Rubenstein and welcome to the Mastermind. Parenting Podcast where we believe when your thoughts grow the conversations in your home flow,

1 (15s):
You’re listening to the Mastermind Parenting Podcast with Randi Rubenstein episode one 19 in today’s episode. I want to tell you guys about a conversation, sort of a conversation that I have with my mom. Recently, I had seen her post in a group of parents that have strong-willed kids, not a group that I run, but another group I’d seen her post an interesting a scenario. And I read most of the comments, not most of the comments, but some of the comments. And I go into these groups sometimes of parents, of strong-willed kids, because they just kind of want to see what are people really struggling with.

1 (55s):
And sometimes it gives me inspiration for podcast episodes. And I’ll read the comments. I almost never pretty much never comment because I just want to make sure somebody makes a comment that I agree with, like leaving the person towards a positive solution or something about just, just to, you know, some kind of a resource that’s going to be Helpful for the book. And usually somebody’s at some point times in, but there’s a lot of comments that I don’t ever want to comment because there are so many people in these groups that I literally think they stay in these groups just so that they can feel a little bit better about their situation.

1 (1m 37s):
That probably isn’t very happy and, and there’s so much judgment and shame, and it’s almost like, Oh, here you’ve exposed a bruise. Let me poke it as hard as possible. So there’s like a lot of, there’s always a lot of like shaming comments and just, I don’t know, just feels like it’s, there is a dark vibration. And so I don’t want to get mixed up on any of that, but I am always thinking, well, how can I put out podcasts that may be some of these people might come across, that will actually be helpful. So we saw this one post and in the comments were nobody was, nobody was being particularly helpful. So I actually did comment and said, listen, I am the founder of Mastermind.

1 (2m 22s):
Parenting feel free to send me a private message and I’ll let you know, what’s really going on with your kid being mean to your puppy and give you some helpful tips. And so let me read to y’all what her post was. Her post was advice. Question Mark. Question Mark. We’ve got a puppy about two months ago and have a strong word four year old. I lost my last dog when he was very young and I missed having a pet. I got the puppy strictly to make me happy since the rest of my life is full of strife and issues with having a strong-willed child. We, we get it right. My has been nonstop. I mean, to the dog, since we got him, this poor puppy has been kicked mashed.

1 (3m 5s):
He had his legs pulled, et cetera. I can’t stand the thought of what is causing for a puppy for the future of aggressive injuries, et cetera. He’s kicked the dog two days in a row. And tonight it was my last straw. I went off screaming, yelling, throwing toys way I’m at my wit’s end. My husband said, it’s a boy thing, but I’m more say psychopath killer a thing. Any experience with this question? He S he does get disciplined for each time. He does it, but nothing seems to work. Okay. So I, let me just Reed y’all can only an an, let me say this. It turns out the mom, her day job is she’s a vet tech.

1 (3m 44s):
And so she is a major, major animal lover. And, and even reading this post, the fact that she says, like, when her husband was like, Oh, that’s a boy thing. And she was like, yes. She’s like, I think it’s a psychopath killer thing, which really was her fear. But even just seeing that, I was like, she’s honest. I like her. I’m willing to reach out here, but I’m not going to just start spewing off what I really think should be done here, because I’ve seen what happens in these groups. And I’m not interested in all of that drama. So, so I, so I said, Hey, happy to help you. You send me a personal message. And by the way, we’re not even enrolling in my programs right now.

1 (4m 27s):
So I’m not trying to sell you anything. So she sent me a message right away and, and I left her a series of I’m on Facebook messenger. What you can only like Leave one minute little messages. I’m a big fan of the audio message. And, and so I left her like five different little messages. So we’ve spliced those together for you guys. So you can hear my advice for her, but I do you want to just reach you? I think there was like 74, maybe more comments on this thread. And most of them went something like this dad’s comment. That is just not a boy thing. I think it’s more of a killer thing also, but I would get rid of the dog, the dog needs a safe place.

1 (5m 12s):
Like Thanks dude, like really like, Oh, that’s really Helpful, you know, she just, it was like, yeah, you got a psycho on your hands and sorry, squashing, your dreams. You don’t get to have that dog. Several people were like, Oh, only four. I waited until my strong-willed child was six. Or there was lots of people who like, like showed up and it sort of seemed like they were giving her empathy, like, Oh, I’ve been there too. But what we did before we got our dog was we visited lots of shelters and we did this and we did that. So it was basically like, yeah. And I get it me too. And we did our due diligence. And you do, it was just like, there is so much one upmanship and shaming and judgment, and B S it’s just not helpful.

1 (5m 56s):
So first of all, I really want to make a public Parenting service announcement to be very cautious about what groups you go into. And as Bernie Brown says, people have to earn the right to hear your story, make sure you are sharing your story with the right people. And if you’re taking part in some of these public groups, these free public groups, please, please protect yourself, protect your energy and make sure that they’re there moderated by somebody that is qualified. You know, something, somebody who, who, you know, that their parenting philosophy is similar to your parenting philosophy.

1 (6m 44s):
And, and that you’re going to actually be able to get some Helpful responses and somebody who moderates their group and doesn’t allow negativity. Like the majority of the comments I read in this group, there are some Helpful one’s, but the shaming and <inaudible> and nasty comments that I’ve, I would never in a million years allowed that to go on in my groups. And so, you know, I think that leadership takes somebody who really understands boundaries and really understands communication, and really understands how to let people know exactly what is expected of them.

1 (7m 26s):
And so it makes me mad. Can, you know, I’ll tell it makes me mad. Cause I’m like, you know, you have a strong willed child. Parenting is hard enough. And if you have a strong-willed child, it’s extra hard, like they are strong-willed, kids are harder to Parent. So if you go out and you put your stuff out there and you have the courage to be vulnerable and to ask for advice and support and to put, you know, most people keep all of their Parenting worries and things. They’re secretly worried about their kids. They keep it trapped in their body or locked up behind closed doors. This mom had the courage to put it out there and ask for support. And then people co come out swinging or using her as they’re punching bag to make them feel better about their bleak situation.

1 (8m 12s):
Like, Oh, I’m gonna make myself I’m on a pad, my ego, bye, you know, shaming her and, and reminding her and me and everyone else that she’s, you know, she is worse off than I am. And, and I just think that is just, and nobody’s doing it consciously. No, one’s doing it on purpose. Yeah. And I also think it’s hurtful. So just please realize that you are worthy of being treated better and, and I want you to protect yourself like you would, Protect your, your children again, online energy vampires or predators. Like You not allow your children to be an unsafe situation is online.

1 (8m 53s):
So don’t allow yourself either because you deserve protection to you deserve to be safe. So yeah, I think you guys will enjoy what I have to say to her. And, and I will say that she sent me She to listen and she just she’s a, was just so lovely and so appreciative. And she sent me back a message. And she said that you are amazing. Thank you. A thousand times, I feel like it should be aware of these things, but it just seems to all fall by the wayside. When I see the behaviors happen, I’ve taken notes when this all makes so much sense. Thanks again, seriously, so much. And then I responded back to her and I said this, I said, Oh, you’re so welcome. And don’t feel bad. I say everything that I teach has the Duff factor.

1 (9m 33s):
It’s all super obvious. And it doesn’t come actually for any of us has its just not the way we were raised. The good news is, is that we can totally learn it and return our brains. I promise. And that’s the truth. You guys, so listen to this short episode and there’s a lot of really amazing nuggets and weather. You have a situation with an animal or really anything else. The gist of it is we’re gonna shift our focus and we’re going to put our energy into building skills versus into putting out fires and not helping our kids improve future behavior.

1 (10m 14s):
We have to put our energy on the skill building rather than on the constant correcting. Okay. Enjoy it. So let me tell you, what’s going on with your little kiddo. You have a little four year old kiddo. I repeat a quote quite often, what you focus on grows. So when our kids, especially as a strong-willed ones or acting out and we do what we naturally do, we’d Mohnish them, especially when you know, there was a little puppy getting hurt, stop don’t blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. One mom kind of started nailing it. When she talked about how she really focused a lot on how to pet the puppy, what to do. And she realized that she had misinterpreted her child’s behavior.

1 (10m 56s):
So anyways, so she was saying, she spent a lot of time and this is how we pet the puppy. This is how we do this. We attach adult meaning to a child’s behavior and these strong-willed kids at around three. I see them all the time. And let me tell you something. If you can cut this off at, at the age of four, you’re going to be so happy when your little one is 12, because I’m dealing with people who didn’t. And what happens at three is the little kids start to realize that they’re a separate entity from Mom and they started to do anything that they can for our attention. Just like tea is three dangers and teenagers it’s developmentally normal. So they act out, act out, act out to find out where his mom’s start, stop and where do I start?

1 (11m 39s):
And any attention is good. Attention. All attention just means you see me. And I matter what they learn at three is that negative attention is a lot more bang for their buck. And they get a ton of attention for a mom with negative behaviors. So they, they act out, act out, act out, they get tons of mom’s attention and it means they’re relevant in there. We’re worthy in the world. And, and if you know, they’ve done tests on how often kids here, the word no versus yes. And it’s like exponentially higher. So they learned this pattern. So you were a little guy has learned that very quickly, that there’s a ton of validation and the world when he display certain behaviors with a puppy.

1 (12m 20s):
And so he’s going to do more of that. What we focus on grows, and he just wants any attention from mama. So this is lots of moms attention. So he is going to keep doing that cause it is serving him. He’s getting tons of attention from you. So what we need to do is we need to AE. You have to have the puppy with you at all times. And at all times, right now he is not allowed to be with the puppy without you. And you have to not react. We have to disrupt the pattern of negative attention seeking through the puppy. And we need to see, you need to make a pact with yourself. You going to have a puppy right next to you.

1 (12m 60s):
You’re not going to make a big deal about it. And that every time you wants to see you going to say it every time you want to play with the puppy today, puppies going to stay with mommy just said that the puppy is super safe and every time you want to play with the puppy, you’d just say, mommy, can I play with the puppy? And we will, we will play with the puppy together. And I’ll show you all of the ways to play with the puppy to make sure she stays safe and you stay safe. Got it. And he is going to say, yeah, here’s a perfect, okay, we got this. And so you keep the puppy with you for the whole day and any time. Okay. Oh. Did you want to see the puppy? Oh, okay. Okay. Show me how you pet. That’s right with your hand. Open, soft on her for Ooh. What is her first feel like now? Listen, when you handle this the right way, you’re going to bring, you’re going to do something amazing for your child.

1 (13m 44s):
Hold on. You’re going to you. When you say, what does the puppies for a field? Like what is it feel like on your hand? Ooh, it soft. Tell me more. You bring mindfulness. Actually you’re doing mindfulness training. Oh, feel that puppies for our own and take a deep breath in. That feels good. You know, sometimes when we’re really upset, we can do things like pet the puppies for softly and take a deep breath and it helps our bodies to calm down. So, Oh, that’s right. Yeah. Show me what else do you can do that makes the puppy feel good. That makes the chair of the pit puppy safe and you’re a safe, you literally focus on skill. You’re going to do skill building. You’re going to show me exactly how to paint, to play with the puppy.

1 (14m 25s):
You’re not going to use a ton of words. You are going to give it to them through experiential learning and you will be bonding with him and filling his love cup as you bond with the puppy. Okay. So let me know.

0 (14m 37s):
Do you have any questions? Are you ready to start having productive conversations? Have you been listening to the podcast for a while and you hear me go through my three step PRODUCTIVE conversation process to solve any problem. And you’re thinking, how does she do that? Guess what? I made a really cool resource for you guys. I call it the problem solving one sheet. Okay. It’s one sheet front and back. So, you know, take it with a grain of salt, but it will walk you through how to have productive conversations and you’ll practice. And before you know it you’ll be having PRODUCTIVE conversations all day everyday. It really is this solution to solve any problem. So you can download it at Mastermind Parenting dot com forward slash problem-solving all one word that’s Mastermind Parenting dot com for slash problem solving all in one word.

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