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Randi Rubenstein

MMP166: A Story about “HOTT Todd” and Boundaries

MMP168: A Convo with Jennifer Friedman, Physician & Therapist, on Women’s Health & other Hot Topics!

By Mastermind Parenting Podcast

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 64. Hi guys, you’re in for a treat treat treat today.

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How to Help Kids Mask Up

How to Help Kids Mask Up

By Parenting the Strong Willed Child
How to Help Kids Mask Up

Do as I say, not as I do”, and other convenient old-school parenting sayings might come in handy right about now…now that we need kids to continue wearing masks, even though many people have decided to ditch theirs.

With the recent surge in Covid cases, we find ourselves in a precarious situation as we enter the new 2021 school year. Many believe that the current state of the pandemic may be even worse and more divisive than the last year and a half when we were all on the same team fighting the war: People vs. The Pandemic.

Kids of 2021 know they have rights. I doubt many of you remember the show from the 1980s, Kids Are People Too? (I spent A LOT of time on the couch as a kid…good for you if you were actually playing outside.) Nowadays, kids are treated like people too AND, we need them to understand that even though they are “people too”, the rules for other people may be different than the rules for them… especially when the other people are vaccinated.

You may find yourself yearning for yesteryear – a time of, “Because I said so. Case closed.” It would be SO much easier if these empowered little people, growing up during a deadly health crisis, would just stop arguing and put on their freaking masks. Sigh.

And since kids learn by our example rather than by what we tell them to do without doing ourselves, be prepared to be called out by the obvious hypocrisy.

Your kids may ask why they are required to follow different rules than their grownups or older sibs, “why should I wear a mask?” they ask. When it’s a matter of health and safety, it can feel extra exhausting to go round and round with them. These progressive little humans, raised with voices and worthiness, are making life very inconvenient for us by questioning the validity of the mask rules when other people are choosing to go maskless. I think it makes sense that they might push back about following rules that many people have decided are now arbitrary.

To avoid unnecessary power struggles and mask drama, here is my guidance when it comes to navigating this issue with your kids:

The 3 Step Productive Convo with Kids About Masking Up: 

1. See Their Perspective – I think I can speak for most of us when I say we crave fairness and are incensed by injustice. Personally, I will immediately see red and become defensive when someone imposes a rule on me that they, themselves, choose not to follow. I highly doubt I’m alone on this. Our kids are no different. Therefore, begin the conversation by seeing your child’s perspective rather than attempting to parent with controlling methods or justifying why the rules only apply to them. This will allow you to work together, create a plan and diffuse potential mask drama.

  • The different rules for kids when it comes to wearing masks doesn’t seem very fair, huh? You’re probably sick of wearing a mask and now with so many vaccinated people not wearing masks, maybe it doesn’t seem fair that kids are still required to wear uncomfortable masks? It might seem like we should all just continue wearing masks until everyone is vaccinated. Do you feel okay about wearing a mask to keep yourself safe from the virus regardless of whether other people are masked or not? What are your thoughts on this?”

2.Actively Listen – Listening and really hearing another person is one of the most loving and generous acts. All humans seek validation…we want to feel seen and know that we matter. When you actively listen to your child, they will feel connected and much more likely to problem solve rather than argue and power struggle. Active listening requires attention, presence, and mirroring. This step does not involve your words of wisdom or teaching about the vaccine or mask rules. Simply listen attentively, reflect and mirror back in your tone and facial expression that you really hear their words and their message.

  • You’re sick of wearing a mask. It does feel unfair even though you understand it’s for your health. Ya, makes sense. I get it. This pandemic has gone on for way too long. You’re. Over. It.

3.Problem Solve Together – Collaborative problem solving creates a team or “we” mentality rather than one involving “me vs. you”. Begin this step by asking “what” and “how” questions to encourage your child to be the leader on their mask plan. This will empower them to take ownership of the choice to keep themselves safe and mask up!

  • What will you do if you are in a public place and other people aren’t wearing masks?” “How can I help you remember to bring a mask before you leave the house?” “What do you think our plan should be to make sure you always have a mask available?

“What we focus on grows”, so remember to end the conversation with hugs and “atta boys”. Letting your kids know how responsible they are for always wearing a mask, continuing to be patient during such a “less than awesome time” and keeping their bodies safe and healthy can really go a long way in building your connection and ensuring cooperative behavior.

Kids are smart and resilient and when we communicate with them in respectful ways that treat them as people too, they buy-in. You got this!

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by Randi Rubenstein
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Teens. Tech. Consequences.

By Kids Using Technology
MMP Blog Feed Image Master

I walked by and noticed Cory watching videos on his computer in our game room. Don’t get nervous…I didn’t bust him with porn or anything inappropriate. I think the videos were of other boys playing the video game that he likes to play. It seems boring to watch someone else playing video games but apparently, it’s normal these days. THESE. Days.
In our family, the kids have a set amount of tech time allotted each day. Our system is for Cory to keep track of his time by using the timer on his phone because, as we know…the minutes become hours become days in that Youtube, XBOX, Tictoc rabbit hole. Right?

And the rule is: No timer counting down, no more time on screens for the day.

I asked if his timer was set? He said no.

My immediate thought was probably, “Dammit. Now I have to expend energy on this shit.” Plus, it’s so hard to enforce consequences with a kid like Cory b/c he’s really such a delightful little person the majority of the time, and therefore, it’s easy to justify why it’s okay to let the rule-breaking slide.

Cory is also our baby, and we’ve been parenting for like a million years. And the discipline thing is the genuinely exhausting part, and we’re rather tired.

But I love the Cor too much not to suck it up and do the suckiest part of parenting. So, I FOLLOWED THRU with the consequences (established ahead of time, btw…a consequence introduced the first time in the heat of the moment is not a consequence. It’s a punishment). I told Cory that tomorrow would be a new day, and he could try again to follow the rules and enjoy his tech time.

He argued. He begged. He made a decent argument, but I won’t bore you with those details. AND I told him that tomorrow and beyond, he’d remember to use the timer bc of losing his privileges tonight. It will significantly impact his brain, and he’ll remember, and that’s the goal: self-monitoring himself on screens over the long haul.

He wasn’t happy. It was tense. He was muttering under his breath and maybe even a little teary (oy, it kills me when this particular sweet baby is weepy).

I walked away and left it.

About 10 minutes later, he calmly asked if he could watch a cartoon in my bed on the old-fashioned thing mounted on the wall…also known by us “boomers” as a television.

You may be surprised by my answer to his cartoon request. I said yes. It was an in-the-moment judgment call.

It was my way of compromising. As we watched, he laid next to me, and there may have even been a little hand-holding – our non-verbal way to say we had let go of the unpleasantness from the consequence convo. Plus, his dad and sister ended up watching too, and it became my favorite thing, a family bed party. I decided to give an inch without worrying he’d try and take a mile. I chose to feel connected rather than confused about my parenting rules.

I share this with you bc I want you to know that parenting involves lots of judgment calls. You know your kid best; these things are not always black and white. AND Cory is not a black and white thinker. I knew I could follow through and compromise, and he’d still get the lesson.

Parenting judgment calls lead back to your main intention. My main purpose is to help my kids grow up feeling healthy and whole and navigate the big world. The tech boundaries put in place are to help him learn that boundaries around technology are important to keep tech in check. I made a judgment call to connect over cartoons surrounded by family during his break from his preferred tech time…until he has a chance tomorrow to hole upon his device again. Sigh.