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193: Anxious Kids and Other Hard Topics with Author and Therapist Christina Furnival

By July 12, 2022November 7th, 2023Mastermind Parenting Podcast

Welcome to this episode with Christina Furnival, a San Diego based wife, mom to two young children, licensed psychotherapist, writer and children’s book author. Christina has over a decade of experience in the mental health field and she’s helped countless families work through anxiety, depression, behavior challenges, and big life changes.

Christina uses her personal and professional experience in her articles and books to support adults and children around the world. Christina’s passionate about supporting parents and children to understand themselves better, navigate challenges with confidence and live the life that they want.

And today she is joining me to talk about her latest book, Fear Not: How to Face Your Fear and Anxiety Head On. We’re covering some topics that can be difficult to talk to your kiddos about and how to have these hard conversations. Christina’s books are wonderful conversation starters, and she provides excellent talking points to help guide you along the way.

I just love these books and know you would too. Listen in to our chat and learn how to tackle your own anxiety around these conversations and other areas in your parenting life. Plenty of golden nuggets here, so enjoy!

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.

Randi’s Social Links

About Christina Furnival

Christina is a mom of two, wife, mental health therapist, writer, public speaker, and children’s book author.

Like every mama, she is constantly juggling all the things. By day, she stay-at-home parents her pretty spectacular and equally exhausting young kids while attempting to work on her social-emotional children’s book series and to write for her blog Real Life Mama and other highly regarded publications. And by night (well, evening, really) via telehealth, Christina is a practicing licensed mental health therapist. And of course she tries to make time for her marriage, and for herself, but it’s not always easy.

Even with her background in mental health, Christina is often overcome by how challenging motherhood and life can be. She is a work in progress, and feels the pains that you do, which is why she cares so deeply about supporting others through all the ups and downs they experience. We all can use a hand every now and again.

When not working, Christina can be found singing loudly, crafting inconsistently, cooking and baking, exercising, going to the beach (her happy place), and having wild dance parties with her family in the living room.

Christina’s Web and Social Links

Links & Resources

Thanks so much for listening to the Mastermind Parenting podcast, where we support the strong willed child and the families that love them!

If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it using the share button in the podcast player above.

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0 (1s):
My name is Randi Rubenstein, and welcome to the Mastermind Parenting Podcast at Mastermind Parenting, we’re on a mission to support strong-willed kids and the families that love them. You’re listening to the Mastermind Parenting Podcast with Randi Rubenstein episode 1 93. Christina Furnival is a San Diego based wife, mom to two young children, licensed psychotherapist writer and children’s book author with over a decade of experience in the mental health field, she’s helped countless families work through anxiety, depression, behavior challenges, and big life changes. Christina uses her personal and professional experience in her articles and books to support adults and children around the world. Christina is passionate about supporting parents and children to understand themselves better navigate challenges with confidence and live the life that they want.

0 (49s):
Welcome to the podcast. I’m so glad to have you.

1 (52s):
Thank you so much for having me on here

0 (54s):
And thank you for anybody. Who’s watching the video. Thank you for sending me this beautiful book.

1 (1m 1s):
You’re so welcome. It’s so fun to see it in other people’s hands.

0 (1m 5s):
I mean, and you’ve written other books besides this book that I’m holding is called Fear, Not How to Face Your Fear and Anxiety Head On. And I think that this is a conversation that’s timely, especially as we’re recording this, the UW valley school massacre just happened and I’m in Texas. Christina is in San Diego. It’s obviously very close to home for me and the reading, a lot of different things. And obviously anxiety is high for all parents and, and many children right now, just with this crazy reality that we’re facing. So, so thank you for writing this book.

0 (1m 47s):
And I want to, I want to hear about your other books too, but what I want to say is, is quite often I’ll have parents ask me, could you speak about this or how do you talk to your kids about death? How do you talk to your kids about, you know, all the hard conversations and what I quite often tell them is yes. You know, conversations off limits. Absolutely. And it’s important to arm yourself with the right way to go about having these conversations and get a good children’s book because they can do the job even better than you can’t. And if it will kind of prime the pump for you guys, then to be able to have more of a conversation if your child wants to.

0 (2m 33s):
So I just think kids books are the greatest way to start the conversation about these hard topics.

1 (2m 40s):
Thank you. I couldn’t agree more. I’ve worked in the mental health field for a long time now and before having my own kids, I always worked with youth and their families and I had, and still have so many social emotional children’s books because they’re so helpful for exactly the reason you just described in the first book I wrote is called the not so friendly friend, how to set boundaries for healthy friendships. And I actually wrote that story for my daughter because I couldn’t find a book that spoke to setting boundaries with on again, off again, friends. And it’s turned into this capable kid of series. And now we have this book, if you’re not, but exactly like you described, if you don’t know what to say, or you’re not sure how to bring it up, or you know, that your kids don’t like when you’re kind of just telling them things, a book is a great way to kind of open that door in indirectly and they can learn from the character.

1 (3m 31s):
And then it opens up the possibilities for you guys to continue that conversation. And these books, The Capable Kiddos series have conversation starters and discussion questions in the back to facilitate more enrichment of the messaging.

0 (3m 44s):
Well, and I think so often, so many of us and I’m guilty of this. Like we over-talk right. And like, we lose them. And I like to tell parents, and I tell myself this too, you know, sometimes when you like know something that you didn’t know at a younger stage or whatever, and I just seemed like a little mortified, like, oh, I can’t believe Like, Ugh, so annoying because it’s kind of like, it’s like that socially awkward person that doesn’t read the room. And they just like, don’t know when to stop talking. And you’re like, aha, you’re at a cocktail party or wherever. And they’re just like, you know, you just wanted to be like, hi, nice to see you.

0 (4m 26s):
That’s such a cute shirt and how are your kids? And before you know, it you’re just like sucked into this conversation and they’re not reading your cues. And then they’re talking about something that’s like totally over your head and it’s boring to you and you just want to get out. Like, I’ve been that person so many times for my kids

1 (4m 47s):
Guilty, guilty as well. I mean, especially when you feel like it’s so important and it’s something you really, really want to like drill in and make sure that they really understand. We definitely overdo it a lot of the time. And my kids are little they’re four and six. So their attention stands not, they’re not stretched enough yet for those kinds of longer more heartfelt conversations

0 (5m 8s):
I’ve gotten, I think so much better at this, you know, over the year. I mean now like the parents in my community, a lot of times we’ll be like, gosh, how do you know how to say things? Just so, and I’m like, I think a lot of mistakes because I think that’s how I’ve just like iterated and iterated, but really like my poor kids who had to be my Guinea pigs through all of that. Over-talking now that they’re 24, 20, almost 21 and 16. Like, they’ll all be like, especially my 16 year old. Cause he’s like beautifully 16 right now, like surly. And like I Rollie and all the things and he says, he’s my third.

0 (5m 53s):
Like, we all just know he’s, it’s just like the stage, but he’ll say to me, he’s like, yeah, no, I’m not doing that. Can you just let me know how many more times you’re going to repeat that exact same point?

1 (6m 6s):
Don’t you just love that? You’re like, I’m your mom. I love you. Yeah.

0 (6m 11s):
Yeah. But then there’s my six year old niece. And like she’s a holding on to every morsel of anything I want to talk. Well, I’m not her mom and I haven’t made all those mistakes over the years with her so I can like talk about it just enough. But I think reading books like this, it’s, it’s sort of like an accountability measure. If I could go back to younger me, I think I would have let books like this, do the majority of the talking. Cause I noticed your, your pointers in the back. You’re just got your conversation, starters and discussion questions. I would have read those and had that information in my brain and then known that this was going to be an ongoing conversation.

0 (6m 53s):
And so when they came back to me or when I saw a moment where I could like put in another little nugget, I could kind of build on what the book had already started doing for me.

1 (7m 4s):
I love that. That is exactly, exactly how to use these books. I actually just put out an Instagram real because I wanted parents and therapist and teachers to know, please do read these first. These are complex topics that I’ve trumped in down into 400 words or so to make it hopefully as clear and simple yet rich as possible so that it’s teaching children, these, these messages. And so by reading it first, you gain the language, you understand the point on it and you might then develop your own questions that then you answers that when your child comes up with those same questions, when you do read it to them, you’re ready for it. And like you said, it is, it’s one of those things in life. These are ongoing conversations and it might just be a couple sentences here or there.

1 (7m 45s):
It’s not necessarily a full sit down, let’s have a chat about this, but it also might be depending on your child and their functioning and what’s going on in your family, these may be bigger conversations where they might be trickled in here and there.

0 (7m 57s):
Well, I love the artwork. I mean,

1 (8m 1s):
Dwyer is amazing.

0 (8m 2s):
I love the artwork. It’s playful. And like, I think that, that a kid even who’s just like flipping through it and looking at the pictures, even like a little tiny kid who maybe isn’t a hundred percent ready to comprehend everything, they would be into the book just because they’d be looking at all the pictures. I think the pictures and the artwork are, is incredibly engaging. Wait, I, dog-eared a couple of pages. I, so I dog-eared this page step one. Okay. So, so you’re talking about anxiety, you’re breaking down anxiety and, and, and the cool thing we all, as humans, we’re all going to have fears.

0 (8m 46s):
Like it’s a survival mechanism that’s built into us. Like we have to have fear, but I think so often, so many of us are just confused by our own fear. People talk about anxiety. Like it’s like, I always say my sister, which I can really level with her. I’m like, okay, it’s not freaking cancer. Like stop with, you know, like understand what the anxiety is alerting you to. And I think so many people, I just think it’s like in our culture, it’s like, oh, I have anxiety. And it’s like, well, Welcome to being a human. And I would say for years, and yes, I know some people are more anxious. Some people are less anxious. I would say for years, I would have told you I don’t have anxiety, but I also now realize that I would take part in over behaviors and do things to numb myself so that I didn’t even have to feel the anxiety.

0 (9m 44s):
And I didn’t know I was doing this until I went through a couple of really hard times over the last couple of years, like death in the family and things like that. And I, I was like, what’s this feeling? Am I like, there was a feeling of my stomach. I didn’t know if I was getting sick. I didn’t know. I kind of felt nauseous. It was, it was, I was having trouble sleeping and, and I really thought I was getting sick, like what’s going on? And then all of a sudden I realized like, oh, this is anxiety because I’m not doing those numbing things anymore. And so I’m feeling all the feelings like I had to get used to feeling the feelings.

1 (10m 22s):
Yeah. I think in today’s day and age and in our culture, we push through and we put on a brave face and we don’t always let people into how we’re doing. And so then related to that on the flip side, we don’t see how other people are doing their true selves either. So we all think we’re all walking around doing just fine. And like you said, the reality is every human has anxiety and anxiety. Like every feeling comes and goes. And I think shaping our relationship with anxiety to understand, like you said, it is a natural and protective emotion in response to something, whether it’s a real danger or a perceived danger, if we can understand that it’s there to alert you and to keep you safe, then we can kind of be like, oh, hats off.

1 (11m 6s):
Thanks anxiety. I got your message. And I’m going to decide what I do with it. Whether or not I take you at fact or whether or not I investigate and decide, you know what, Hey, you know, the, the example I give a lot is if we think of anxiety as like a fire alarm and our fire alarm, one of them is in our kitchen. Well, when I make toast, the toaster smokes. And so often it sets off the fire alarm. And so if I were to take that fire alarm at face value and say, oh my gosh, there’s a fire. I need to call the fire department. It would be a false alarm because I’m just making toast and it’s fine. And so the same thing is true in our own system. If we can allow ourselves to feel anxiety and feel what it feels like for us and feel like what, what our thoughts do in our own mind, when we’re feeling anxious, then we have the opportunity to lean into it, to get curious about it and to say, okay, thanks for letting me know that the toaster smoking, it’s not a fire and I’ll be just fine know, and then the alarm will go off when it realizes that it’s just smoke from the toaster as well.

0 (12m 3s):
Can I read that? Okay. So, okay. So, so I’ll read a couple, I’ll read two pages before the dog ear, as my worries kept fading, I was learning with pride. There were things I could do to make fear, want to hide. I will share with you now my step-by-step plan so that you too can do it. I know that you can. And, and then the graphics says, what did work? So I love that. It doesn’t just even, it talks about what it is, but then it’s like, oh, and here’s a step-by-step plan. So when it comes into your life, you know what to do. So step one first notice except, and acknowledge the fear.

0 (12m 44s):
Now, describe it out loud and a voice strong and clear. Cause by voicing our thoughts, we strip fear of its power. We strengthen ourselves and then fear starts to cower. Okay. So to me, this page, which is, describe it out loud and a voice strong and clear. Okay. So how often, and I know like many families come to me who have kids that we call strong-willed. They was like, you know, it’s, I think it’s just the most honest kids, because they’re just, there’s no way they’re keeping it all trapped inside. They’re going to just like be loud and proud about it. And so they’re the loudest and they’re the most challenging and they’re the most difficult.

0 (13m 28s):
And they act on the outside the way they feel on the inside. So here, I think the mistake that so many parents make is we get scared by that, by that behavior. And so we, we put a punishment or we think we need to put a boundary down right away about it. And we forget that we have to teach, we have to teach new skills. So put words, voice it, you know, telling kids like, it’s like, Bernay, Brown’s new book talking about how people don’t even know how to name emotions. Like many of us have this emotional vocabulary of like three emotions.

0 (14m 9s):
Right, right, right, right. And so here, you’ve got a little kid and you’re saying, step one is to put words to it. So now all of a sudden there’s an emotional vocabulary where it’s like, what are you feeling? I can tell you’re really upset. Something’s happening. Something’s going on? You really want me to know what is it? Tell me what you know. And so instead of just shutting kids down where then they have to just keep their swirling emotions, energy emotion going on in their body, which just causes more chronic anxiety. You’re saying, no, no, no. We want to know, let’s put words to it. I’m here.

0 (14m 49s):
This is what you do. And I imagine a parent of a young child reading this and being like, whoa, whoa, what’s step one. What’s step one member, voice it loud and proud. Tell me what you’re feeling. Tell me what happened. Tell me what it is. And it’s like, what if we all would have learned that how to put words to our emotions and somebody else saying I am here for all of it. Like tell me all the things like, will we still be having a mental health crisis if we had learned that skill. So,

1 (15m 23s):
Right. I think this point is so important for what you just said with parents accepting that, yes, it’s actually good for your child to voice that. And that’s how you guys can solve the problem as a unit and as a team. And then also, like you said, bring it up when a child is holding it in an earlier in the story, it talks about what didn’t work. And one of those things is avoiding and what the danger of anxiety is as much less, the fears that we’re afraid are going to come true and much more that it limits your life. It puts limits on you and you avoid things and you miss out on life and your distress level is through the roof. So by teaching our kiddos, this, in this one step, it’s so, so helpful.

1 (16m 4s):
And I use it with particularly my four-year-old. He sh he keeps a lot inside. He’s a deep, deep thinker who DTP dealer. And I don’t ever want him to feel like I can’t handle it. Now I might inside, you know, he brings something to me. I might have that sensation, but I don’t want him to feel that way. I want him to know he’s safe to come to me with whatever it is. And so this is a good reminder and I do bring it up as well. I’m like, remember, remember our character in the book and how he has to say that loud. And that makes it actually less scary. It doesn’t make it more real. It’s already real to you. It’ll make it less scary for you. And that’s just really, really helpful.

0 (16m 39s):
Do you do that? Like give me an example, like, what is it like monsters under the bed kind of thing, or

1 (16m 46s):
He is afraid of monsters. One of his big fears as being separate from us. So at preschool drop-off is always really, really hard. And he used to channel that into anger. And so he would just be really grumpy in the morning and very, just ready to, to yell or cry or become aggressive if he was feeling the anxiety. So he was feeling in his body. He knew he wasn’t happy about this, but he hadn’t yet figured out how to put the words to it. And so I would try and help him and say, you know, oh, you’re really nervous about going to school. You’re you know, and, and you’re showing it by, by showing anger the better. If it’s, if you’re feeling sad, maybe you show it with some sadness to me, or we can talk about it. We can draw it out.

1 (17m 25s):
And so he’s learned now to express, well, he started into the words of, I hate school, which is a step it’s a step in the right direction. And so I’m trying to get him now to fine tune it a little bit where I liked school. I just really don’t like saying goodbye to you because I know I’ll miss you. And that’s the truth of his situation. So that’s not a falsification, I’m not trying to sugar coat how he feels. He does really enjoy school once he’s there. But he forgets that in those moments. So it’s helped me find the words and express himself in that way.

0 (17m 54s):
Well, I remember my daughter, she like, I really believe in sleepaway camp and like camp was sleep-away camp. Summer camp was just like a big part of my life growing up. And she kept trying, like, she tried four different camps and she just, she would go and then she’d come back. And I was like, oh, it seemed like you really had fun. Like one year she didn’t write us any letters. And I just figured she was having so much fun. I was like contacting the director, like everything. Okay. And she was like, I think she’s having a blast. And my daughter was always kind of that super active kid. Other kids kind of gravitated to her. She’s like, she’s always got like two or three kids around. She’s running, playing, she’s having a blast.

0 (18m 36s):
She came home. And I remember we went and got her from the airport and her older brother had been there too. And I’m like so excited to see our, I can’t wait to hear about how much fun she had had that she couldn’t even write us a letter. And I’m like, I’m so happy. And she like gives me the eyes. And she was like, let’s go. I think she was about eight. I think she was ready. And she’s like, let’s go. And we go and we get in the car. And I was like, what, what, why did you want to go so quickly? Do you have to go to the bathroom? You know? And she was like, oh, we’ll talk about it when we get home. So her older brother was telling us all of this camp stories and singing songs and doing all the things.

0 (19m 19s):
And when we got home, she like crawled on her daddy’s lap. And she just like cried and cried. And she was said I was miserable. And there was a girl in my cabin and she was really mean, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And she just was always following me. And, but she was also really mean, and she was, and I was like, why didn’t you write to us and tell us, well, a lot of camps nowadays have like these where the kids, you send them an email and they print out the email. So you can like send your kids letters almost every day, if you want. So you send your kids in email and on the email is like a thing where they can write a handwritten note and then the counselor scan it in and you get their reply by email, which is super cool.

0 (20m 8s):
And, and I said, why didn’t you ever tell me any of this? At least you wouldn’t have had to have bottle it up all month long. And she said, because like, everyone in the cabin knew this little girl was really mean. And she was like, it was stressful for my counselors. And I was like, I could tell one of my counselors favorites. And I always like, you know, it was kind of a leader and I didn’t want to write on that email that she was going to see. Cause the counselors had to scan it in. I didn’t want to say I’m not having fun because I was afraid it was going to hurt the counselor’s feelings. So I just, I would just wait and tell you when I got, oh

1 (20m 48s):
My gosh, she carried the weight of not only her feelings, but adults feelings too.

0 (20m 54s):
Right. Everyone, like all of it. And I’ll tell you something from then on. I still emailed my kids, but I sent them with some envelopes, you know, like addressed envelopes and some stationary. And I said, so if you ever don’t want to email me and you want to send me a private letter, here’s your go-to resource. So, I mean, I learned from that, but I said to her for so many years, like, you know, okay, well that wasn’t the camp. Then we’ll try a different one. It’s not, if you go to camp, it’s just what camp. And so we’ll just keep trying it. And finally she said to me, she was like, mom, I know you’re a camp person. I’m not, I’m not a camp person. She, and, and she said, I’m just happy at home.

0 (21m 37s):
Like I like it at home. And by that point I was like, you know what? You’ve given it a shot four times. And so I think that might be the case, like with your son, she’s now about to turn 21, she’s went to school out of state. She didn’t know a soul she’s super independent and capable, but at the end of the day, she was like, I kind of have a good gig. I’m close to my family. I love it at home. She entertained herself. It doesn’t mean like, I think a lot of times we’re like, oh my gosh, there’s going to be an issue. And it might not be that there’s an issue. They just love, they love it at home. You know, it’s just hard to separate.

1 (22m 16s):
Yeah. Well, and I think you touched on a point where I think a lot of parents struggle to figure out is my child dealing with something that we need support with or is it okay? Like where do we cross that line? And what I love is you really listened to your daughter about where her heart was on that. She, wasn’t not wanting to go to camp out of fear. She wasn’t afraid of it. She, she didn’t have anxiety over it. It just didn’t appeal to her. Right. And so from her heart and her honest self, it just, wasn’t her cup of tea. And that you respected that. And you know, and that’s, that’s beautiful. And with our children, as a parent, it’s kind of our natural instinct to want to save them and make them happy. And so sometimes we accommodate our children’s fears or anxieties because we don’t want them to struggle.

1 (23m 2s):
But then going back to what you said earlier, then we don’t empower our children to learn what anxiety is or feels like. And more importantly, that they can handle it. And so it’s a fine line and everyone’s situations are different. Every scenario is different, but I think judging, okay, is this is my child’s room from a place of fear in this situation, or is it a like, is it a distaste for something? And kind of playing detective can help solve those situations as well, but good job Cindy, or,

0 (23m 29s):
Well, it took four, four times. And the funny thing is, is by that point, I think she was in like sixth grade. She took the summer off. I was like, fine, stay home. It’s fine. And she stayed home. And at the end of the summer, she said, she goes, I’m going to go back to camp Sabra, which was her, the first camp she’d ever gone to. And right. And I said, oh yeah. And she’s like, yeah, it was nice having a summer at home, but next summer I’m going to go back to camp. And then she went back for the next, like couple of years, she never wanted to be like, both my boys went through and wanted like my, my younger son’s going to be a counselor this year. Like they went the whole way through. So she did end up going back and, and I’ve asked her, I was like, don’t, do you ever want to be a counselor?

0 (24m 13s):
Like, it’s kind of fun. And she was like, you know, camp was fine, but like, again, I’m not a super camp person. No, I have no desire to need to be a counselor. I’m okay. I mean, so, you know, it’s just it’s but the thing I love about this book, Fear Not, and, and the book you just talked about. Cause I think that’s very common with these navigating these friendships and understanding boundaries, which, I mean, I don’t know if you’ve seen this in your PA, I’m sure you’ve seen this in practice. Most of us don’t even understand what boundaries are. And so now it’s like this kind of hot word and everyone’s like, I know I need to have boundaries, but a lot of times people call boundaries, boundaries, but they’re really emotional walls.

0 (24m 54s):
They’re building like, it’s like, I think many of us struggle with this concept if we had all been conditioned. Okay. Really? Because when we’re reading these stories to our kids, especially in the first seven years of life, when the subconscious brain is being programmed. So if we had been conditioned with this term boundaries and we could have like attached it to a story about little girls and friendships, something that like felt very relevant to a stage that we were going through. And then we’re like, okay, got it. Like, I know what a boundary is. I know when a friend is crossing a boundary, this is to me evolution.

0 (25m 35s):
Like, can you imagine if we had all been conditioned with these concepts?

1 (25m 40s):
No, I think, I mean, it would be incredible. I boundaries, I consider to be a personal, super power because they allow you to be your true self and they allow the person who wished to be their true self self. And it allows your relationship to be open and honest because there’s no false pretenses. It’s all this works or this doesn’t work for me. And it’s two-sided because it’s not, oh, I’m going to uphold my own boundaries at the disregard of any of your thoughts or feelings. It’s a, it’s a dance that you do. But you know, I’m so happy that I was able to write this book and that I was able to get it published. And it’s, it’s all around the world because it’s teaching children that we don’t have to just be polite all the time.

1 (26m 23s):
And we don’t have to just like your daughter did it. Can’t think about everyone. Else’s feelings on top of ours, our feelings matter just as much as everyone else’s and we need to honor them and respect them and protect them. And we’re allowed to have opinions and we’re allowed to voice them. Now we want to do so kindly and we want to be assertive and kind at the same time, but we don’t have to swallow our own feelings for the sake of making things easier or better for other people. And I just think, yeah, the world, hopefully this will make a difference in the world. The world would be a better place. If children had stronger social, emotional skills in these ways, they could understand themselves better and have agency over their own experience and their perception of therapy.

0 (27m 6s):
I mean, a hundred percent. You want your kids to feel like they can talk to you about absolutely anything, except you often find yourself struggling for just the right words when life gets sticky. How do you handle it when your kids ask why they can’t have cookies before dinner, or maybe it’s a more serious topic like death of a loved one divorce or how to deal with a mean friend, coach or teacher? Well, I have just the right resource for you. Go to Mastermind, Parenting dot com slash productive dash conversation to download my three-step framework. That’ll help you navigate hard conversations so that they are effective and most importantly productive.

0 (27m 56s):
Yeah. I think boundaries are, are confusing for many people and like the whole like, no a complete sentence. And I’ve heard a lot of, a lot of people who really have like, worked with this in their therapist’s office and I’m like, okay, you don’t have to be so awkward about it. Like Noah really isn’t a complete Senate. It’s like, it’s okay to give a little, like I made a boundary years ago that I don’t like, I try not to go out on weeknights. I just am lame. And I’m a hermit and I want to be in my bed by nine o’clock and I’m right there with you. Right? Like, I mean, it’s my favorite place. And I got my dogs and my husband, and sometimes we’re watching something together and sometimes we’re each on our own screen, it’s a whole shit show, but we love it.

0 (28m 38s):
And it’s like, when people are having, like, they buy the tables at the different charity events and they’ll be like, oh, do you want to sit at my table? And it’s so nice for them to think of you. And like, there’s nothing I would want to do less than go and spend my Tuesday night sitting. And so I kind of made about, I didn’t kind of, I made a boundary with my husband where I’m like, we’re not going to any events, we’ll give money to the events. We’re happy to give money, but we are not, we don’t do galas or fundraisers or charity events, especially during the week, but period.

0 (29m 18s):
And so I started making that batch. So when I would get invited, now I’m not getting invited so much anymore, but when I would get invited, like, I didn’t feel like I could just like, no, thank you.

1 (29m 32s):

0 (29m 34s):
I felt like I needed to at least be like, look, I we’re complete losers. Then we love to be in the bed with the dogs. And that’s like, and so we just kind of made us, took a stance. We’re just not gonna do galas or charity events or go out during the week because we’re honoring our hermit ness. And everybody always gives it a little chuckle, the head of development at my kids’ schools there. She’s like, oh, okay. Like it’s a little bit awkward first sec. But at the end of the day, I’m just kind of owning it, owning my boundary. And, and so I feel like there’s something about boundaries and with our kids, like when we’re teaching them boundaries, the whole no is a complete sentence.

0 (30m 15s):
They’re not gonna do that. Like, I mean, even my kids, when I like say something a little too assertively, they’ll look at me and they’re like, yeah, I would never say it like that. Like that. They’re like, that’s kind of rude.

1 (30m 26s):
Yeah. I think, I think boundaries get a bad rap because people think it’s being mean. And, and I’ve heard people say exactly what you’re saying of no is a complete sentence. And I think it’s kind of a pendulum situation. If the pendulum has been over here, when we’re rebounding, it swings almost just as high on the other side. And so I think that’s where the like trend is right now of people are just trying to teach that you can be brave enough to set a boundary. And so they’re trying to make it simple and clear and like, you know, full stop, just no period, that’s it. But it’s more nuanced than that. And so ultimately the pendulum will make its way back. It’ll find its middle ground, wherever that is. And I agree with you.

1 (31m 7s):
I think there’s no, depending on who the person is and what the situation is, there’s no harm in you giving a description to why something doesn’t work for you. And in fact, explaining more like you would just express your values. We really value as a family staying in army, or just in general, these sorts of events take more out of us. Then we feel like we have to give there’s nothing wrong with that at all. And so owning it and sharing that gives the other person, the person you’re engaging with an explanation where they understand you a little better. And I think there’s absolutely beauty in being able to explain again, if you’re in an abusive situation or if it’s a work hierarchy or there’s different scenarios where it doesn’t always make sense to explain, but no period, especially as a parent, like I said, that doesn’t fly, you know, that’s not gonna work.

0 (31m 58s):
Right. And I even think when we’re setting boundaries with our kids, like, you know, my six year old niece that was over here recently, you know, they’re so reasonable. And so if you just say, no, the kid is like, huh, but you know, like she wanted me to play with her. We had whatever we’d done, whatever. And we were outside and she was trying to get me to play thing after thing, after thing with her. And I was like, I just wanted to sit and like relax and watch her play. And she was like, let’s play hide and go seek and let’s do this. And I was like, absolutely not. And, and she was like, I’m bored. I’m bored. Anyway.

0 (32m 38s):
So we had went a whole conversation about when you’re bored, like creativity lies in the boredom. And so, and I, I taught it to her through a story and I told a story about my youngest son, Corey to, to her is 16 is a big boy, you know, such a big boy. But I saw like, oh, when Corey was, he was much younger than you. He was like three. So, you know, he was like, ah, and he was whining. He was like, I’m bored. And I said, the problem was, was that since he was the youngest kid, just like, you’re the youngest in your family? I said, we had babysitters and older siblings and grownups, there was all bigger people around him all the time.

0 (33m 22s):
And so he was so used to everyone, constantly entertaining him and constantly playing with him. And the problem is, is that he lost his childhood magic, which you have, you know, you have the most of when you’re a little kid, because when you’re a little bit bored and you’re a little magical thinking, creative little kid, you come up with all these cool games and things that big people that have sort of lost that magic would never come up with. So if the big people play with you constantly, you’re going to lose that. You’re going to lose it too. And she was like, oh, like literally, she was like, and then she was just over here yesterday for Memorial day.

0 (34m 3s):
And she had to come and give me an update. She was like the other day I was feeling kind of bored. And then I thought to myself, what kind of magic could I make right now? She goes, and I made up the most fun game. I was like, of course you did, because you’re amazing. And she was like, I know,

1 (34m 22s):
I love it. Fabulous story. Great, great lesson. I love that it had that impact. And I mean, I couldn’t agree more. I’m probably as, as loving and nurturing as I am like the world’s most boring mom, because I’m like, go figure it out, go do something. And so boxes or toys, our kids will draw on paper, glue it on the cardboard. I’ll cut it out for them. And then they’ve got toys. Both our kids made snakes and ladders yesterday. We have a snakes and ladders game, but they drew their own and then made their own players create. And that’s again like the idea of teaching your child to feel their feelings. Boredom’s a feeling. And if you feel it, you realize, okay, I can handle this and, or I can channel this into something. And the creativity that comes with board of is like, it’s not,

0 (35m 5s):
Do you think boredom and anxiety are linked?

1 (35m 9s):
Ooh, that’s a good question. I don’t think I’ve ever thought about that. You know, I have thought about boredom and depression being linked. If your children are bored a lot and say they’re bored a lot. Sometimes that’s a sign that they’re misdiagnosing their own feelings of sadness or like funk. And so, so I have seen it in kiddos with depression. I don’t know that I’ve seen it as much in children with anxiety. Have you seen that link before?

0 (35m 35s):
Well, I’ve just been thinking about it lately. One of my personal crypto nights is boredom. And so a lot of times, like I’m always not that I’m like busy to do listing, but like I’m always entertaining myself. I don’t want to listen to this podcast or I’m learning this thing or I’m, you know, there’s just always something that I can fill the space with. And so when I leave this space open, open, when I’m not running away from the boredom and I have to just sit in the boredom, I think there’s some anxiety. I think there’s some anxiety there because it’s like there’s too much space.

0 (36m 18s):
And so I think all the listening and learning and busying myself and going on a dog walk and now, you know, you know, coaching this person and, and doing all the things I think it’s like avoiding that space where boredom kind of is there’s something that, that I’ve noticed. There’s some anxiety that creeps up for me because I’m so scared of the boredom.

1 (36m 43s):
I think you’re touching on a good point there. And what comes to mind for me is value systems and where we place our value. And I think so often, well, two things, one is, you said you did a lot of over things to kind of numb your anxiety in the past and over productiveness is something that American society does, right? So we might have anxiety about X, Y, or Z. And so we become, we show how much more we can do. We prove to ourselves, we think that, oh, we’re good at this and that, because look how busy I am or how you’re doing. I’m so busy. That’s like everyone says that there was some value placed in being busy. And so on the flip side, there’s this devaluing of not being busy.

1 (37m 28s):
And so I wonder if there’s a component of anxiety there as well as a component of worth, what am I, who am I, and what am I worth if I’m not making the most of my time? There’s so much research to show that that downtime even daydreaming. I think what is one of the studies say something like 40 to 50% of our day is spent daydreaming mind-wandering and how important that is for our brain to make sense of everything and put things where they belong and store memories, the way they need to be stored in order to be able to function at our best. And so boredom and sitting in the nothing is just as important as being active and busy, but we don’t value it the same way. So there, there could be a hum of anxiety under there, as well as this like, well, but I miss the business owner and you know, I’ve got X, Y, and Z to do so if I’m not doing those, am I wasting my time?

0 (38m 20s):
That’s so I think it’s the same thing I was telling my niece really it’s like what you just said, right? Like you have to have that space to, to daydream, to create too. You have to allow the space to let that creativity in. And if you’re constantly busying, cause you’re running away because you’re so scared of being bored or not being productive enough. It’s like you don’t give yourself the space to dream and to create and to grow. And so I think that’s like, that’s what I’ve been trying to lean into more is, is just allowing myself to have more space and not necessarily filling every single second because I’m so scared of being bored.

1 (39m 4s):
Yeah. And I, as with everything, that’s a journey and it’ll have its ebbs and flows where you’re like, oh, I’ve gotten really good at it. Or like, oh, I realize I haven’t had downtime in a long time, but yeah. It’s all I guess, life right. And just a learning, learning game. Lots of mistakes. Lots of learnings.

0 (39m 19s):
Yeah. Yeah. So cool. Well, okay. So tell people how they can get all The Capable kids series. Okay.

1 (39m 28s):
Yes. Got both books right here. So this is the not so friendly friend, how to set boundaries for healthy friendships. And this is Fear Not How to Face Your Fear and Anxiety Head On there, The Capable Kiddos series. And you can find them on my website. If you want a signed copy, you can go to Christina Furnival dot com and place your order. And in the comment box, you can put who you want the book out and I’ll write them a little note. And if you want to get it the easiest, fastest way on Amazon, they’re on there. And they’re also on target online Barnes, noble online and from the publisher, from their website. So and yeah, they’re, they’re all out there anywhere you can buy a book. So

0 (40m 8s):
Can I give you an idea for a book that I don’t know if it exists, but I would love to see it. So I was just talking to a mom today and I’m coaching her on. She was talking to her daughter. Who’s just three and her in-laws were just in town. And she said that her mother-in-law in particular is just like, like a needy person. Just like, like always like sidling up, like everywhere you are. She’s just always there. She’s just like, and so she was sort of just like constantly in her three-year-old daughter’s grandma was constantly in her three-year-old daughter’s space and you know, three-year-olds, they don’t sugar coat.

0 (40m 50s):
So she was like, move grandma you’re bugging me, stop, go away from me. You know, she was trying, you know, so she was like, she was like, so we’re, so I’m talking to her about it afterwards and that you’re listening to your body and your body is needing a little more space. And I love that you’re listening to your body. Amazing. And it’s important to also be respectful, you know? And it’s important to know like grandma, like she, you know, she might want to hug her. She loves you and you’re listening to your body. Your body doesn’t want a hug right now. And remember, grandma loves you.

0 (41m 31s):
And so you say, no thank you. Or my body needs a little more space right now. So anyway, that segwayed into, I said, you know what, a beautiful opportunity to start teaching and conditioning. This three-year-old girl with consent culture. And I’ve also coached other parents who had like little boys about the same thing. Like one, I remember there was one little boy who was three or four. And at preschool, there was this little girl that he was just loved, loved, loved, and he always wanted to hold her hand and he was trying to hold her hand kind of against her will as they do sometimes. And so we were talking, I was like, what a beautiful opportunity to start teaching him about consent culture.

0 (42m 14s):
So hard for parents when like, you know, grandma or grandpa wants a hug or a kiss. And then it’s awkward because, you know, mom and dad are kind of like, Hmm, they wanted me to give me a kiss. It’s kind of like nice bratty children. You’re, you know, like, and so there’s, that’s loaded, but I think like a story all about your body, your business, and how to kind of navigate this. I mean, full circle back to the, it’s not no as a complete sentence in a lot of these cases, but once your kid is a teenager and there’s somebody that’s, you know, really trying to touch their body again. I mean, obviously no is a complete sentence, but how many circumstances are there even when kids become teenagers like in middle school.

0 (43m 2s):
And I mean, you’re far away from this, but I know you probably see people in your practice, like as a mom, you’re far away from this, but it’s really disturbing the hookup culture, you know, that is happening as young as middle school. And so conditioning kids with these messages of consent culture in a way like through story and through like grandparent relationships or the friend at school or whatever your body, your business, I think that is needed.

1 (43m 32s):
I think that’s great. And I know there’s, there’s a book like American girl put it out and it’s like a work book kind of for parents and kids to go through. But yeah, I’m not sure

0 (43m 42s):
Nobody wants to go through that. I mean, I had that whole, my body, blah, blah, blah, American girl. We never read it.

1 (43m 52s):
We’re not sitting down talking

0 (43m 53s):
No that when it was time to pick out books at night or whatever, that was just not going to be a go-to book for her.

1 (43m 59s):
Right. But yeah, I’m not sure as far as like picture books, what’s available out there. And I, I agree. We even talk about that in our household with our kids. My son is super affectionate and my daughter’s not on, he just wants to like attack her with hugs and kisses. And she’s like, Hey, you know my rule. And so we talk about, you can give love. You always have to ask for it so you can make sure somebody wants it before you can just hug them and kiss them. Like, it’s just, that’s the rule that’s in our household. And I think with grandparents setting, it’s different cultures, you know, different generations and different understandings of what parents today are trying to do. And the more parents can be vocal and express on behalf of the especially three-year-old children. And three year old, doesn’t have the theory of mind to say, I think this and grandma thinks this and we think differently as they get older, they will.

1 (44m 44s):
But you starting those conversations now is yeah. Really impactful and would make a big difference, hopefully for a lot of people.

0 (44m 51s):
Well, that’s my special request.

1 (44m 53s):
Thank you. Noted. Got it. On board and I’m, I’m starting to write actually, two more books right now. Maybe you could give your input on, on which angle you like. One of the angles is a book on friendship from the bullies side. So how does that boundaries for healthy friendships? The not so friendly friends, that book is from the side of the person who’s being mistreated. And so I’m looking at a book from maybe either a child who’s socially awkward and comes across as mean, or isn’t as socially confident and competent, or maybe, and, or a bully. So a book for that child or, and, or I’m also working on another book about, because I do therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy is the approach.

1 (45m 36s):
I most often use. One of the things we talked a lot about is cognitive distortions and the way that we think and how our thought patterns help or not help us. And that’s something that we definitely don’t talk with children about, like the way that we could perceive the exact same scenario and how some people come away feeling empowered to some people come away feeling like life’s unfair. So I have an idea about a book of helping children develop healthier ways of seeing things in the world does either one of those,

0 (46m 4s):
Both. Yeah. I think that I’ve heard from several parents that there is a lack of resources. There are so many resources for the parent of the child who is being bullied, like the injured party. And there’s very few resources they find for if your kid is the bully and which really just means that they’re misunderstood and

1 (46m 32s):
A lot of cases. Yeah,

0 (46m 34s):
Yeah. A lot of times, I mean, look like I’ve always said to my kids, happy people don’t go around spreading misery. So if there’s a child who is inflicting harm on another child, what we know is that usually that it’s a child that either lacks the skills like there, like you said, like they’re a little socially awkward and they don’t even know how to get another kid to play with them. So they try to force the child, which, you know, means that, that they’re just so lonely. They’re, it’s like, they’re desperate. They’re going to force you to be their friend. And I said, or you, you don’t know what’s going on in this child’s life and what’s happening at home and hurt people, hurt other people.

0 (47m 19s):
And so quite often it’s the kids that seem the meanest who are in the most pain. So I think that, I think it’s just like, it adds to the, in terms of empathy, which is, we all love a hero and victim kind of story, but it’s not always like that. And I think for there’s, there’s many great families out there whose kids are quite often presenting as the bully and parents are ashamed and embarrassed and they find themselves going into like braiding them and not being helpful because they don’t know what else to do. So I think the bully book would be as much for parents as it is for kids.

0 (48m 1s):
For sure.

1 (48m 3s):
Wonderful. Thank you. I appreciate that.

0 (48m 5s):
Yeah, I know that was, that was, that was my long answer, but, but I think this is the way to teach emotional vocabulary, emotional intelligence. Like this is how we really start to change the conversation. And I think this is a very tangible way to attack this mental health crisis that we’ve like, everybody’s talking about, you know, the kid, just the kid that just committed suicide, but first needed to shoot up, you know, all these, you know, murder other humans because he was in that much pain obviously. And, and so everybody’s like, you know, why is no one talking? Everybody’s just talking about guns and no, one’s talking about the mental health crisis.

0 (48m 48s):
And it’s like, no, it’s it’s yes. And both. Right. And so we do have a mental health crisis. Yes. Also we should not have obviously the assault weapon, like arguments, just so freaking ridiculous. I think that’s making us all so crazy. And we do have to start talking about this mental health crisis. So let’s find tangible ways to start doing our part at home, like reading our kids stories that help them to know that there’s an emotional vocabulary, that they can easily access and they don’t have to keep it all bottled up inside swirling and never making sense of it.

1 (49m 28s):
Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more.

0 (49m 30s):
Okay. So much fun. Thank you for being here

1 (49m 33s):
And for having me.

0 (49m 35s):
You’re welcome. And we’ll include the link to your site in the show notes. So

1 (49m 40s):
Fabulous. And if anyone wants to hang out and chat, I’m on Instagram too. This is where life mama and capable kiddos books.

0 (49m 48s):
Perfect. Thanks Christina. Thanks for listening today, guys. I hope you picked up some tips tools, maybe some baby steps for creating more balance and boundaries in your life. And I just wanted to let you know, if you want to continue moving the needle forward in creating this for yourself, having a happier household. I want you to go to my website and check out Mastermind, Parenting dot com. We have three beginning programs, and if you need some accountability and more support, then please look for the one that would be a good fit for you. And as always, we’re on all the social channels under Mastermind Parenting on Instagram, it’s mastermind, underscore parenting, and you know, periodically I do pop up on different Instagram lives, Facebook lives, where I give you teaching and coaching.

0 (50m 45s):
And I love engaging with you live to help you help your strong-willed kids so that they can feel better because when they feel better, they do better. And I love, love, love, getting to know you guys. So thanks for listening. If you liked this podcast, please don’t forget to subscribe, rate and review super, super appreciative.

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