This week we’re talking about preparing for the teen years with a strong-willed kiddo…and if you’re already there, you’ll still find great takeaways to begin seeing your situation differently and improving your relationship with your child. This is a must-listen for every parent that has or will one day be a teenager.
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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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You’re listening to the Mastermind Parenting Podcast with Randi Rubenstein episode 84,
My name’s Randi Rubenstein. And welcome to the Mastermind Parenting Podcast where we believe when your thoughts grow the conversations in your home flood.
I’ve been thinking about a lot about parents of teenagers lately. ’cause in the August group that came into my private Mastermind. We were testing out some different things and we had, I would say 80% of the group was parents of kids, two through 12, and then 20% were parents of teenagers. And it was very interesting to kind of assess the differences I had to put every, we use this M we use a tool in our Mastermind called Voxer, which is this very interesting, kind of like audio texting apps so that I can do lots of real time Coaching and people can leave me their scenarios and I leave it back in the whole group.
0 (1m 6s):
So its kind of like we were doing coaching all the time and because it’s a big deal, you know, its, I feel like if I do have a coaching call every week, which is what I do in the, in the Mastermind and it just seems like, especially at the beginning, people need more people coming to me are, you know, I wish that it was a, a proactive thing that people are like, I just want to be a better Parents. So I think I will go and take a parenting class. No, usually you’d have to have a strong kid. And so when people come to me, usually they’re like, okay, I’ve seen lots of other resources and we’re at our wits end. So finally I’m okay, fine.
0 (1m 46s):
I’ll take a parenting class. And, and so people come to me and they are in the fire. And so I’m always playing around with how can I help people to get to a better place as quickly as possible so that then we can just keep building and building and building on is we use this thing called Voxer and, and I had to put the Parents the Teenagers on a separate thread, ’cause it? It’s just a bigger deal. You know, it’s a much different situation. When you have a two to six year old, who’s digging their heels in on something. It’s a different situation to help them turn their behavior around than it is for, you know, 13 through 18 year old.
0 (2m 33s):
Who’s had years and years and years of a certain pattern and dynamic and the household and, and it, it takes a little longer to make those changes. And you’ve got in an older child at that point, who is a lot of times they are, they’ve gotten physically aggressive and their sizes, maybe the same as you, if not bigger. So sometimes it can feel scary and there, they usually have their own technology by that time. And there’s usually a lot of kind of technology addiction going on. So it’s, it’s a different its a different situation. And, and so I just was kind of really noticing what was going on in the group and the thing that came up time and time again with the parents of Teenagers was the kids were so defiant.
0 (3m 30s):
So like by the time they’re teenagers and you try to change the rules of now we’re going to have technology restrictions. They’re like, no, you’re not absolutely not. Which when a little one digs their heels in, we were able to kind of shift and turn it around and assert our pack leadership differently than when you’ve got a teenager digging their heels in. And they’re like, absolutely not. You’re not doing that. And so it’s a different conversation. It’s a different thing to assess. And what I found over and over is that many of these teenagers, they really are so hooked on this technology.
0 (4m 11s):
And it’s just a constant source of contention, which it’s, it’s a constant, I want to say a source of contention, but it is a little bit of a source of contingent in my own household, uhm, with my teenagers, especially my 13 year old cause he loves it. You know, they love, I mean, look there it’s, it’s a whole different world that we don’t even fully understand and they, they engage their social lives are online. So if there is, there are pieces to figure out for us and its kind of a, a, a new it’s a new day for all of us. We’re all trying to figure this out. And it seemed like the Teenagers they rely on the technology for so much.
0 (4m 56s):
And the parents were all just trying to figure out, like we don’t want to take the technology away because we don’t want to isolate them socially because we know how painful that is. And there it easily crosses over into that addictive tendency and it’s too much tech and that’s not healthy for their brain. So finding that balance seems to be a constant dance that parents of teenagers are going through. And so when you’re starting to make shifts and somebody comes in and they start learning, Mastermind Parenting well, the conversation starts changing and, and there’s new parameters and the household and there’s new rules and there was a new way we’re communicating those roles and it’s just it’s if the brain seeks to familiar, right?
0 (5m 42s):
So the Kids from the get go, or like what, who are you? What happened? And where is my parents? And I’m, and they’re also used to a dynamic of, of fighting of tension and I, and something. I think that’s interesting and kind of understanding where, why I think is important because when little kids, when they are three years old, little kids quickly learn that, you know, they can get negative attention much more easily than positive attention. Like there’s been studies about how many times the kid hears the word no in a day. And it’s like, like it’s depressing. How many, how many more times a kid hears the word?
0 (6m 24s):
No than, yes. So, so little kids don’t care if it’s positive or negative attention, all attention matters to them because really the human condition is, do you see me? Do I matter? And at Free, they’ve just started to learn developmentally that they are a different entity than mom. Like I’m my own person. So, and that’s why we have that whole, threenager three majors in Teenagers like, they’re trying to figure out where you stop and where they start and how much power and control they have in the world. And they’re just trying to figure out relevant. And so to help a three-year-old channel that in a more positive direction and understand it, it’s pretty easy to do.
0 (7m 7s):
Like I, that’s where I get to teach like the S the easy Parenting monkey tricks that I can do with my eyes closed. And, and three-year-olds are super malleable when you’ve got a 13 year old who learned early on all attention is attention since, for the last 10 years. And I learned at the age of three that I’m going to get negative attention much more quickly and easily and feel relevant in the world. You know, much more. It’s going to be a quick hit I’m way more. When I, when I act out, because when I act out, I get mom and dad’s full and divided attention.
0 (7m 50s):
Oh, so it becomes a pattern where there they’re not doing it purposely or intentionally. It’s just what there used to doing. And its the way they get their love cup filled, which sounds weird. But they feel relevant. They feel seen, they feel like they matter. And so They, so this pattern of negativity begins then. And by the time they’re 13 man, that’s a, that’s a really solidified pattern. So, so to disrupt that pattern, it’s going to take a little more finessing and an, when you start to disrupt that pattern by using different language, not losing your cool over every little tiny thing, having conversations that non-relevant times where you establish what the new rules are going to be and the why behind it, which we teach people to do.
0 (8m 43s):
’cause if you come in and just say, this is the way we are doing it now in this day and you just seem like a control freak and a drill Sergeant and nobody’s going to, it’s not, that’s not how you feel build your family team, right? So there’s a way to do it. And, and so even when you do it, the Mastermind Parenting way still it’s unfamiliar to this child that for the last decade has been used to getting tons of attention through negative behavior. So they’ll kind of look at you like you’re crazy and they’ll dig your heels in and your like, so we’re going to do things a little differently and, and too much technology for your brain and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And so here’s going to be the new tech parameters and we’re going to go over this and they’re like, no, you’re not.
0 (9m 25s):
No, because it feels scary to them. It feels unfamiliar and they’re going to resist. And of course they’re going to a lot, like they’re are hooked on their technology. So they are gonna pull out all the stops to make it stay the same as it has been. ’cause they just want more of that. So what I want to say is if you are the parent of a child who is not yet a teenager, but going to be a teenager, I implore you to start using the Mastermind Parenting tools immediately as much as possible coming from a place of yes, doing proactive, a positive attention type of bonding moments with your child, showing them that they don’t need to act out to get your attention.
0 (10m 14s):
And when they act out knowing how to talk to them and help get to the root of what the behavior really means, rather than just attacking the behavior when your child hits, like they didn’t just hit for no reason. Like why did they hit, what was the reason? How do we get to the root of what brought on the hitting behavior, rather than just focusing on the hit, don’t hit your sister, don’t hit your sister. Like why did he hit his sister? What is you really frustrated about? How do we get to talking to him about how he was frustrated? And he didn’t know the words to say in that moment, he couldn’t think clearly. And he needed to know he needed his sister to know how, you know, he was fat up and he forgot the word.
0 (10m 58s):
So he smacked her. He didn’t know a better way in that moment. Like we have to learn how to help them improve future behavior for Real. And we just focus on whatever the behavior was rather than getting to the root of what is underneath the behavior. We missed the boat and by the time they get to be Teenagers well now you’ve just got a kid who acts out all their big feelings in aggressive ways, either aggressive language, aggressive actions. And you’ve got just a whole bunch of negativity. And, and what that really means is, is it’s everybody’s living in a state of survival, high levels of stress, hormones, racing through all of your body’s.
0 (11m 46s):
Let me tell you something, you guys it’s terrible for your health. All of you, all of you, it’s terrible for your health. So if you still have kids that aren’t yet Teenagers I encourage you to start now. And if you have kids that are Teenagers what I want to say, is this be realistic. Chances are you’re You you’re going to be wanting to seek some form of support and sending your child to a therapist. Although therapists can be very helpful and give that child a safe space to express themselves and not hold everything inside and a resource for them.
0 (12m 30s):
If you send your child to a therapist and the households still a war zone, that’s not going to support your child’s long-term or your relationship longterm and getting to a healthier place. So that’s not the only answer you’ve got to change how you are doing things at home too, because the goal is, is really in the follow-through. The goal is, is that you’ve got to figure out what are the rules in our house. And now I have to communicate those rules in a civilized way. I’m gonna have to repeat those rules often. And I’m going to have to follow through consistently when the rules aren’t being followed to help my child. I remember that there’s a, there is a rhyme and a reason to the way we do things here.
0 (13m 15s):
And we don’t have to fight about everything. I’m just, we establish the rules. We’re going to repeat them often. We’re going to follow through consistently, which ultimately helps kids feel safer and more grounded in the world because they know what to expect and they will fight you tooth and nail. When you’ve had a decade of this negative dance between the two of you, they will fight you tooth and nail on it. So you need the right support to be able to do it. But following through is really the answer and following through is the hardest part. That’s what I’ve seen with all my parents is that it’s the follow-through, it’s the, you know, you’ve established the rules of when they don’t plug their phone in by eight 30, then tomorrow night, the phone is going to be plugged in at eight o’clock and you have established this ahead of time and you see the FA you know, it’s eight 45 and the phones not plugged in and you go on to their room and you say, why is your phone not plugged in, out in the hall?
0 (14m 17s):
Because I hope everyone is making sure that the technology does not sleep in the bedroom. There’s, there’s lots and lots and lots of reasons as to why it’s you have to make sure the technology is not sleeping in the bedroom and, and the child fights you on it. And you say, so you’re already turning it in at eight o’clock tomorrow because a member of the deal, this will help your brain to remember. And for every, you know, for every 15 minutes, you’re going to go earlier by 30 minutes. So it’s your choice is now eight 45. So it’s going to be plugged in tomorrow at eight o’clock pretty soon, it’s going to be plugged in at seven 30.
0 (14m 57s):
It’s your choice. And you walk away and you follow through your kid’s hurling, insults, and doing all the things. Cause they’re used to a 10 years of a negativity dance between the two of you and you just follow through. And then the next night, the next day comes and you have to, you know, so you’ve established the rules, which you are now following through on, you’re going to have it repeated often. So in the morning, you’re like, Hey, remember, and tonight that your phone gets plugged in at eight, you went ahead and you’ve got it plugged in before it got rolled back, but it’s going to be eight. And they’re like, Mama, you’re like, so rules. So help your brain to remember. And Hey, remember tonight, your S your stuff’s good and plugged in at your reading it.
0 (15m 41s):
And they’re like, Oh, well, I could hear you fine. If you don’t take it personally. And you’re just like, yeah. And then that night you go into the room and you’re like, Oh, it’s eight. The phones not plugged in. And they like, ma I just need you to finish one more thing. I need this for my homework, blah, blah, blah. I’m here. So tomorrow night’s going to be seven 30. If it’s not plugged in ASAP and you walk out and then the next night, it might have to be seven 30. And eventually it may be you go phone free. I’m the phone gets taken on. The phone is a privileged. The technology is a privilege, not a REIT.
0 (16m 22s):
So the following through have, there is a new day here. We are doing things differently. I’m going to follow through. I’d love you too much. Not too. Mmm. That’s the hard part. And of course, they’re going to fight you on it. And that’s how you help your children and yourselves get to such a better place. And, and You, and you really, you, you turn things around in your family because nobody is meant to live in a high, stressed out state. It’s not healthy for anyone. And if you guys Are, you have to start now, you deserve it.
0 (17m 6s):
You deserve to live a much better life in your living. If your life, if your household feels like a war zone and your children do two, and I know that you want more for them, I know you want more for yourself. So remember, you’re going to establish the rules repeated often follow through consistently, it’s going to be uncomfortable. It’s going to suck. There’s going to be a lot of discomfort in it or anything important that you work for. There’s always some level of heart in discomfort. You’re just going to say to yourself, I can do hard things. You’ve got this. And if you have no freaking clue how to do this in real life, then you need to get on the wait list for the Mastermind.
0 (17m 50s):
We are enrolling next year. If you were re enrolling in 2020, we have a wait list going. We keep our groups relatively small and, and there was a whole reason for that. So if you know that 2020 is going to be your year to be in the Mastermind and to finally really turn things around and you need that accountability and support to make this happen. Then I want that for you to, so you want to reach out to us and email Lindsay on my team, we’ll have the link in the show notes. Lindsey at Randi Rubenstein dot com. That’s L I N D S E Y at Randi Rubenstein dot com.
0 (18m 32s):
Let her know you want to be on the wait lists. And a, we will run a one to two groups for parents of Teenagers. Next year, you will be in your own separate groups and still a whole different animal. And, and those groups are going to fill up fast. So, so if you know that you get on that, if you have a child is not yet a teenager, but you know, it’s coming and you need that accountability and support, please email Lindsey and find out if the mastermind’s right for you. Okay, guys, have a great week.
1 (19m 6s):
Hey guys, if you want to close the gap between the parent that you currently are, when the kids are pushing your buttons and the parent’s that you always attended to be that calm, cool, and collected parent, no matter what’s going on around you. I have my recipe for you. I wrote about it in my book, the parent gap, and I’d love to give you the free audio book version. All you have to do is text the number or for 2022 that’s four for two to two, and put the message. And Mastermind Parenting best to all one word, all caps Mastermind Parenting to For for two to two, and we will send you over a free copy of my audio book, the parent gap ASAP.