201: When Your Co-Parent is the Problem – Back-to-School Series

By August 30, 2022September 4th, 2022Mastermind Parenting Podcast
201: When Your Co-Parent is the Problem - Back-to-School Series

Welcome to the last episode of our series about Bullying, Boundaries and Back-to-School. We haven’t talked about any back-to-school typical things, like this is how to set up your binders and this is how to make sure your kids do all their summer work. Anyway, this month we have been following through some of these posts by this woman that I’ve been calling Marie, who has been posting about her strong-willed children.

And we feel bad for Marie and many of us identify with aspects of Marie. We want to love Marie up. We want to help Marie and I really want to just say to Marie, you know what, it’s not your fault. And I wish I could make it all better. The fixer in me is strong. This last episode of this series, which is called “When Your Co-Parent is the Problem,” which is what Marie really believes. And you’ll see in some of her posts why she believes that.

The root of the problem is we’ve got a mom and a dad, and it sounds like there’s a lot of tension and a lack of communication between them. And they’re setting the tone for the household and the kids, these strong-willed kids who aren’t respecting boundaries. Well, it sounds like Dad’s not respecting Mom’s boundaries. It sounds like there’s a lack of boundaries across the board. There’s a real breakdown in this family structure. And these kids are just holding up a mirror saying you can focus on our behavior, our misbehavior, but what we’re really trying to do is to alert you guys, that this family dynamic isn’t working for anyone.

So, Mom, you want to do something? You’re going to have to start holding people accountable. What might that mean? Listen to this episode as we unpack this situation and provide a few tips to help some of you work through this if it’s a part of your parenting world.

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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Transcription

(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 2 0 1. Hi guys, welcome to this week and the last episode of August, 2022. If you’re listening to this in real time, and this month we’ve been talking about bullying Boundaries and back to school yet we haven’t talked about any back to school, typical things like this is how to set up your binders.

(45s):
And this is how to make sure your kids do all their summer work. And this is how to hold your kids accountable for reading every night and all those stupid reading logs, which is a whole other conversation. I don’t like those reading logs. There’s a lot of reasons. I don’t like those reading logs. Anyway, this month we have been following through some of these posts by this woman that I’ve been calling Marie, who has been posting and posting and posting about her strong willed children. And we feel bad for Marie and many of us identify with aspects of Marie.

(1m 31s):
We want to love Marie up. We want to help Marie. And I really want to just say to Marie, you know what? It’s not your fault. I can tell you are seeking and you want to do things differently and better, and you don’t know how, and you’re beating your head against a wall. And I wish I could make it all better. The fixer in me is strong. I really want to scoop Maria. Here’s the thing. This last episode of this series, which is called When Your Co Parent is the Problem, which is what Marie really believes.

(2m 13s):
And you’ll see in some of her posts, why she believes that. And I have no doubt that her husband sounds like he’s an asshole. He does. My daughter has been saying like, she’s like, I think I might be a misandrist, which is the female version of a massagist. She’s like, I think I might hate men. And I’m like, no, there’s some good ones. There’s some good ones. It’s just male privilege is real. And we can sit around whining about it. Or we can just woman that F up, find our voices, empower other women band together and take care of some freaking business.

(2m 57s):
And that’s what we’re doing here. And that’s what I really would do with Marie if I got the opportunity. So I understand why when you’re the one, reading the things, listening to the things, searching for all the right things. It’s like the last episode was like, no consequences work. Does anybody have any ideas? What is the consequence that will finally work with these strong-willed children? I understand the frustration with the co-parent, especially the male co-parents. I don’t know. I can’t imagine that. I don’t think the same thing plays out in lesbian relationships, but I’m not sure maybe it does.

(3m 40s):
And maybe I’m just being prejudice myself right now. I just want to say that I do understand the frustration and it’s real, and we’re going to stop giving them in the power because we have the power. We are the ones who are mostly nurturing, the little humans and caring for the little humans. And we just have to figure out how to help ourselves get healthier so that we’re able to step into this role of, I am woman hear me roar.

(4m 22s):
Hey, little kids, I’ve got you. We’re going to turn some things around with her without him. And because we come from a place of love and because we come from a place of empowering ourselves and not wallowing in victimhood, we’re going to take care of some freaking business. Okay? So that being said, let’s read what little Marie has to say about her husband. She says, how do I deal with battles and meltdowns caused by the fact that my husband can’t pick his battles example, we’re at a cafe and four year old was getting restless.

(5m 1s):
So he started playing with the table number. It was literally a number on a stick. There was no way he could damage it. So then my husband immediately starts with stop, leave it alone, put it back, don’t touch it, et cetera. So then the four year old became even more defiant and he refused to listen to my husband. Then my husband just got so annoyed and he caused even more of a battle. I ended up having to intervene so that we didn’t have a meltdown in the middle of the cafe. I said, what’s the reason that he can’t play with that husband was like, oh fine, whatever. He can play with it. This type of scenario happens constantly. I’m not sure how to deal with it.

(5m 45s):
Okay. So when Marie looked to her husband to justify what is the reason that he can’t play with that? And then the husband fine. He can play with it. What I would say to Marie is why are you giving the power to the dysregulated large toddler in man’s skin? Why are you treating him? Like, he’s not acting like a toddler. You’re clearly the grownup.

(6m 27s):
Okay. So take your power woman up. And like we talked in a few episodes ago when the eight year old was, you know, holding the four-year-old in a tent against as well. We’re going to go to the injured party, which is the four year old, right. Which is the four year old, which we’re not asking permission from the grownup toddler. We’re going to look directly at our four year old. And we’re going to say, Hey, let me see that number. What is it that what’s so fun about this? You a little restless. Yeah. You’re just looking for a toy. Huh? This is the best you’ve got. Your little brain is so creative. You’re trying to come up with things.

(7m 8s):
Let’s go. Let’s go see if we can find something better to play with. Yeah. This is so fun. Maybe the restaurant has a piece of paper. I think I’ve got a pen in my purse. Here’s something else I would say to Marie, you know, four year olds in restaurants, not their happy place, right? The restaurant bag, have the restaurant bag, have the restaurant bag in your car. The restaurant bag has doodles and crayons and little figurines to play with. And the restaurant bag is your success bag with a four year old. You want to go out for an adult meal?

(7m 49s):
I get it. And let’s set the little four year old up for success. Not stop putting the power in the grownup. Toddler’s hands. Let’s just take care of some business. So you go to the, the, the four year old, you put your attention on the four-year-old. You support the four-year-old. You stop asking permission from the ground-up toddler and just turn it around. You know, he didn’t want to be bothered anyway. So take care of some business. Okay. Here’s another one she says, how, when do you talk to your partner about parenting? We can’t talk when the kids are awake because they constantly interrupt.

(8m 31s):
Talk over the top of a seeing, make loud noises, have a conversation. Again, here’s that demanding badgering behavior. See their space invaders. And they’re constantly testing the adults, testing, testing, testing. Do we get to hijack the household? Do we run the show here? And that’s really little kids when they do that, when they show up in those ways, that’s really them saying, there’s a power in balance and we’re not supposed to be the ones in charge, right? It’s almost like a, it’s like a primal thing. It’s like little kids know in their lizard brain. It’s like, they know, Hey, if all of a sudden this scary intruder were to break into the house. Are you guys going to be hiding behind us, expecting us to protect you?

(9m 13s):
I think it’s supposed to go the other way around. So let us know that you guys are the ones in charge. Oh, and can you guys do that with this? With a, from a calm, grounded place and not act like lunatics because that’ll ultimately help us to feel safer in the world. So kids test and test and test and push and demand and Badger and interrupt. Cause they really want to know we got them. We are the grownups. These are the rules. You guys are not in charge here. Mommy and daddy are having a conversation and mommy and daddy stop constantly giving into all their demands.

(9m 54s):
They tune them out. They hold them accountable. Like, Hey they have, I want to finish this conversation. Let me go deal with this. And you take that child. You’ve established a calm down spot where they go to get their body safe and calm. So they can come back into the main areas of the house, where they respect other people’s space and they don’t interrupt conversations. And if they have something to say, they tap you on the shoulder. And they say, when can I talk to you? I have something to ask you, or I want to play a game with you or I’m a little bored. And then you can say, I’m going to talk with daddy for five more minutes. And in five minutes I will come and talk to you.

(10m 36s):
And then you do that thing. And then they learn that they can trust you. And you’re in charge. And they start to realize that you’re in charge and they start to feel more grounded in their bodies. Okay. She says before anyone. So, so here they, they make all the loud noises. And now she says before, cause remember nothing works, no consequences, work, no parenting programs work. All she can do is just sit and wait for the right professional to see her child. That’s what, that’s what Marie has, has led herself to believe. So she says before anyone says it, yes, they get a consequence when they do this. But the consequences haven’t actually stopped the behavior.

(11m 19s):
No, they haven’t. After the kids are in bed, my husband starts doing work. He’s a workaholic. And he works an eight and a half to nine hours a day. And then he so brings work home because he has a deadline or he has no choice. So if I try to talk to him, then he’s just staring at his laptop or iPad screen. And I’m not sure if he’s fully engaged with what I’m saying. Okay. So we got a communication issue. This is not a connected couple. This is not a partnership, right? This sounds like it’s a pretty adversarial relationship. So then if he does engage with the conversation, he says that I’m criticizing his parenting.

(12m 4s):
I just desperately need us to get on the same page with parenting. So you, so she’s beating her head against the wall. He’s not interested in learning the things from her. He’s not interested in doing things differently. He just wants to snap his fingers and have those kids get with the program or overpower them and bully them and kick and scream and act like a toddler. And have the kids behave like robots. He’s unrealistic and he’s not willing to do any of the work. And he’s not interested in talking about it. So Marie’s over here feeling like I’m in a marriage he’s supposed to do X, Y, and Z.

(12m 52s):
He should be a co-parent. And the reality is he’s not. And things have gone off the rails in their house. It’s the opposite of peaceful. And he’s not willing to get with the program and learn new tools. He didn’t even want to talk to her about it, right? So she’s beating her head against the wall because she feels powerless and she doesn’t know how to change things. See? So now we’re really getting to the root of the problem.

(13m 33s):
Hey, podcast, listeners, I’m super excited to tell you about something new that I’m doing called the weekend warmup. It’s going to be on the third, Friday of every month. And I’m going to coach you live. I created this because I know a lot of you guys feel like you know me, but I want to know you too. So you’re going to come. You’re going to get on zoom with me. I’m going to coach you and we’re going to get you warmed up for your weekend. What do I mean by that? We’re going to hunt gather parent our weekends together. If you don’t know what hung gathered, parent I’ve turned it into a verb, just so y’all know, hung out there. Parent is a book that came out not long ago. I’ve had the author on the podcast.

(14m 13s):
I make it required reading for anyone that comes and works with me. And it’s just about the fact that many of us, especially those of us who come and listen to things like this. Our weekends are just filled with too many kid activities. And there’s no adult time. You know, maybe you’re going from birthday parties to just nonstop, nonstop, fun, nonstop memories. And you’re finding yourself depleted and exhausted. Maybe even more so on Sunday night than you were on Friday. And it’s just not supposed to be that way. So we’re going to hunt, gather parent our weekends together. I’m going to coach you live. I’m so excited to meet you guys.

(14m 55s):
And I want you to sign up. It’s free. I’m offering it for free. So just go to Mastermind, Parenting dot com forward slash weekend Mastermind, Parenting dot com for slash weekend. Sign up, sign up. The root of the problem is we’ve got a mom and a dad, And it sounds like there’s a lot of tension and a lack of communication between them. And they’re setting the tone for the household and the kids. These strong-willed kids who aren’t respecting boundaries.

(15m 36s):
Well, it sounds like dad’s not respecting mom’s boundaries. It sounds like there’s a lack of boundaries around the, you know, across the board, right? There’s a real breakdown in this family structure. And these kids are just holding up a mirror saying you can focus on our behavior, our misbehavior, but what re really trying to do is to alert you guys, that this family dynamic isn’t working for anyone. So mom, you want something different re going to have to start holding people accountable.

(16m 16s):
What might that mean? Maybe a third-party professional, maybe you all of a sudden healing yourself, finding your voice, learning how to have boundaries, knowing you are worthy of a loving partnership. You are worthy of respect and a co-parent who is working with you and mom, it sounds like you’ve got some choices to make. Okay? So here’s another one she says, how do I get two strong-willed children to respect me? They are eight and four. Unfortunately my husband doesn’t appear to respect me in a number of scenarios.

(16m 59s):
So obviously they’ve copied him because that’s what he’s been unconsciously modeling. Marie’s more with it than you would think. She says, I’m devastated. As I always wanted to raise respectful boys, sad face leaving my husband. Isn’t really an option right now as I have nowhere else to live. So I need to find a way to get my children to respect me while my husband continues to model the opposite, because he’s never going to change. My husband often won’t listen to me. And my opinions talks over me. He undermines me in terms of parenting and discipline. Then she says, please don’t suggest that I leave my husband. It’s really not an option right now. The rental housing housing market is in crisis.

(17m 40s):
See, she has a lot of the habits. I’ve no hope of finding anywhere else to live. I’m looking for advice which I can to implement while continuing to live here with my husband. As long as Marie is believing all of these sentences, there’s no option. My husband doesn’t respect me. My husband won’t change my husband, this my husband. That is the same thing as her turning to her husband and the restaurant and asking for his approval about the kid playing with the table number. She’s putting all the power in her husband’s hands.

(18m 20s):
Instead of realizing I got to heal me, right? I’ve got to take control of what I can take control of. And the only thing we really have control over is our own minds. We’re never going to be able to control other people. We can have these should manuals. They should do this, and they should do that. And gosh, wouldn’t it be such an easier life. If other people would just do what we think they should do, but it just doesn’t work that way. So what we have to do is we have to dig in, we have to do our own work. So once again, I’m going to go back to, if I could give Marie any resource, it would be, yeah, that husband, that’s a workaholic.

(19m 8s):
Guess what? He’s obviously helping to provide the stability financial stability. So you go, you find the resources for you. Start listening to the things, reading the things, hopefully finding the right therapist to nurture you and to help you find your voice, find your worth. Finally, feel like you are enough and you get yourself as strong as possible, Marie, because that’s what your boys are pushing you to do. And who knows, maybe your husband will get with the program.

(19m 51s):
Maybe you won’t, but by that time you won’t feel powerless anymore. And you will know there are options and you have created those options and it won’t be easy. Marie, you need a network. You need support. You deserve that. You’ve always deserved that. It’s just a matter of you believing that you deserve that somewhere. Marie, you got the message that you didn’t deserve better treatment from people. So you’ve got to start with yourself and give yourself that better treatment first. And then, and then you will teach the other people around you, how you will be treated that you do deserve respect.

(20m 44s):
And you’ll demand that. And if not, you’ll make choices to surround yourself with other people that are more aligned with you and your core values. Because I can tell Marie has been doing some reading about just the right parenting tools, but here’s the thing you’re never going to change your life with just the right tool. Do this, do this, do this. You’ve got to do the work to learn how to think better thoughts and feel better in your body. And ultimately know that you are a person that knows how to woman up and knows how to fight for the life that you deserve and you’ve always to serve.

(21m 38s):
So how does that tie back into our back to school? Well, when we start to do this work for ourselves, we do set our kids up for success because it helps us to show up impact leadership, to know how to have those boundaries, to know how to have that structured bedtime routine and the morning routine, and to stop engaging in nonsense and to set our kids up for success and to get to the root of the bullying and badgering behavior, how to send them the message that we are the emotional grownups and they are safe in the world.

(22m 18s):
And we got them. We don’t need them to take care of us and our emotional wellbeing. They’re not pushing our buttons. They’re not like I always say to my kids, I’m the mama. I take care of you. You’re not taking care of me. I take care of you, but you kind of learn how to take care of yourself first, to be able to take care of other people. And when we do those things, we send our kids off to school and then grounded, regulated place, ready to learn, ready to access their prefrontal cortex, their thinking brain and have all those develop all those executive function skills.

(23m 0s):
We know how to start the morning from a calm, grounded place. And then they’re able to go out in the world and learn and play and do what they’re supposed to do as kids. And that’s how we help our kids have true success at school. So that’s what I’ve taught you guys this week. 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.

(23m 42s):
I want you to go to my website and check out Mastermind Parenting 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. 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.

(24m 26s):
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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by Randi Rubenstein