In this bonus episode on the podcast, I respond to a mom who’s 6 year old son becomes explosive when it’s time to leave the park or stop playing legos or come to dinner. Transitions can be really hard for kids. And when they are doing something they are enjoying, it often becomes intensive and even violent.
I coach this mom on getting to the root of the unbalanced behavior and what to do to support her little guy in learning better self regulation skills to improve this stressful issue for better balance in his body and their relationship.
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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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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 families that love them. Your listening to the mastermind parenting podcast with Randy Rubinstein Bonus Episode for June. So this month we’re talking about having a balanc summer. And in the last episode, if you haven’t listened yet, I would highly encourage you to go back and listen. But basically I delved into what does it mean to have a balanc summer? What does it mean to have a balanced life? What does it mean to feel balanced in your body? Like we have to start before we start having like the balanced, the balance in terms of our schedules and our activities.
Like we need to show up as balanced humans, like the big people and the little people. So I thought it would be fun to include a bonus episode of me coaching someone in my private group. And this is in response to an assignment she did for our sibling fighting program. And so every week in our sibling fighting program, the program is about, I think it’s four or five weeks long. People have homework assignments, and then I give feedback on it. So the coaching clip that you’re about to hear will make a lot more sense when you hear what the homework questions were and what her responses were.
0 (1m 32s):
I didn’t include all the homework questions, but just a couple. And, and let me just say this ahead of time. Number one, remember if you’re listening to this around little people, I don’t know if I drop any expletives in this particular coaching scenario, but I do a lot. So this podcast is about children and how to support children and it’s not for children. So we’re your earbuds or AirPods or listen to it or not around your kids, because you never know what’s popping out of my mouth. So the other thing I want to say is, is that quite often in my coaching program, I respond to things like while I’m driving.
0 (2m 17s):
And so I had just dropped off Corey at school. One of my favorite times to dig into some coaching is on my way home. So the audio is not podcast perfect, but it’s good. It’s good enough. But just know if you hear some background noise it’s because this is a real clip of me coaching and the audio is imperfect. So, okay. So, so here was, was the questions that, and here are a couple of Rebecca’s responses. So number one, I said, name a person or situation that causes you to feel anger, resentment, and or lack of control. She said, well, my five-year-old almost six year old son gets upset when an activity smaller, big comes to an for example, it’s time to clean up the Lego or it’s time to leave the park.
0 (3m 3s):
He, he begins by yelling and crying and then gets physical with me. I’m calm. And then he hits her, kicks me and I lose my calm immediately. Understandable, right? Like we’re all human. When somebody attacks us or physically hurts us, even when they’re only five or six, I, our nervous system, all of a sudden becomes unbalanced and we react. So it’s understandable that that happens. So then she says, so then the next question is, if you could control the situation or person, what would they do or say in an ideal world that would resolve the situation? She says he would express that he’s upset.
0 (3m 44s):
He would take deep breaths along with me. He can cry and share his emotions. And he would, he would keep his hands and feet to himself. So she’s basically saying I’m not here to shut down his feelings. However, like violence is not okay. Like how do I get this kid to stop being physical, being violent? You know, it it’s, it, it, it hurts me, you know, so super reasonable. So then the, the next question was, now let’s say the situation was resolved, even though the other person wouldn’t comply, what would the solution look like? So even if you have a kid that’s hitting and kicking and getting physical and you can’t get them to stop, what would it look like?
0 (4m 33s):
She says, we would agree on an amount of time for him to do an activity. I would give him a heads up that the activity will be ending soon. He would end it agreeably without drama when the time comes. So she’s basically saying, you know, even if he gets physical, I want him to understand that this is not okay. Like, I want him to understand that when an activity is coming to an end, an activity comes to an end. So she’s just basically sort of arguing with reality here. Like, like I just want him to get it. I just want him to get it. But see, the scenario that she’s describing is that he’s having a really hard time transitioning, which is pretty normal for kids.
0 (5m 21s):
And he, when he’s having a hard time transitioning, he’s dysregulated in his body and she’s, you know, she’s basically saying, I want him to just learn how to regulate his body. She wants to jump ahead and get there, which I think is so common. I think that’s what so much, so many of us do. And it’s like, let’s slow our roll and go back and take some baby steps. So then I said, what standing in your way of having that outcome, just like having him agree on a time and stop without getting physical and violent. So what’s in your way of having that outcome. She wrote when activities come to an end, after the allotted time with a warning about the time, about the time ending, he begins to cry and fights that he needs more time or somehow I was being mean or unfair.
0 (6m 16s):
So those are her answers. And next you’ll hear my response enjoy.
1 (6m 21s):
Hi, Rebecca. You know, it’s interesting what you wrote. It’s, it’s actually a pretty simple fix. You’re doing all the things it sounds to me, right? You’re giving him a heads up and your, you know, he has a hard time transitioning. You can understand it. He has a hard time transitioning. Let’s look at, you know, when he reacts the way he reacts, which is he cries, he hits.
1 (7m 2s):
Why is he doing those things? Why is he doing those things? He has a hard time transitioning when it’s time to transition. Even when you give him a warning, even when you empathize with him afterwards, he still cries and hit. So see, we’re going back to the nice wings here and we’re investigating why? Because he experiences disappointment, a rush of hormones in his body when it’s time to transition, when it’s time to stop doing the thing he’s doing, he’s enjoying, he, of course, is enjoying his legacy.
1 (7m 51s):
So guess what? Now we need to go to school or we got to go brush your teeth to go get ready for bed. You know, he experiences a rush of, of, you know, stress, inducing, hormones, cortisol, and he feels unbalanced dysregulated in that moment in his nervous system. So what does he do to balance his nervous system? He, you know, lets out his big emotion by crying, carrying on, you know, getting aggressive, fighting with you, pushing you, pushing you to hopefully explode back and then it’s game on screaming time.
1 (8m 44s):
Well, now if it becomes game on screaming time, I’m not just releasing all of this cortisol, racing through my veins with tears or anger, I’m actually going to be getting fighting with you. So now if I get, if you match my emotion, well, then it’s like the, you know, it’s like the end all be all because then he actually co-regulate with you. And now he doesn’t even have to feel all alone in his anger because you’re matching is angry and you met and you meet him there.
1 (9m 25s):
And that is even though it’s not anything, any of us consciously one, you know, he’s just get looking to get back to that, you know, balanced period of status. So he’s just looking, it’s like, he’s just looking to feel better in his body when you co-regulate with him and matches emotions. It actually works for him and reinforces the pattern. The bottom line is, is he has lagging skills, right? So he does not know how to breathe and calm his body down when he’s feeling dysregulated in his body, because he has to transition out of something he’s really enjoying in this present moment and go to something that he doesn’t want to do as much.
1 (10m 22s):
If at all, there’s the investigation piece. When we move into the C wing pack, leadership and empathy, the communication way, what he needs when he’s in that dysregulated, unbalanced state is very little input, very little input. If at all, the timer goes off and then you go and you stand in front of him and you look at him. This is like where you tap into all your non verbal communication.
1 (11m 4s):
And then if he starts carrying on you, okay, I’ll be in the car, I’ll be upstairs running your bath and you walk away, disengage, you walk away, you disengage. That’s what it looks like. Then he’s left to have to get himself together and join you or continue playing. And you may be saying, well, of course it will just continue playing. However, if you’ve had a productive conversation in a non-relevant time where you have not just wished he would take a breath, how cross your fingers and hope for the best that he would take a breath and do what he’s supposed to do?
1 (11m 51s):
No, you took the time as a pack to have a conversation and set the boundary about this exact issue and what the consequence will be. So you were like, Hey, I noticed that when you’re really having a good time enjoying things and you know, and it’s time to go to school or go to a bath or stop playing. Like I was like, it can be really hard. And when really hard, sometimes I end up getting frustrated and you know, I yell at you. I do this or that. Now that’s the best way to start a productive conversation is by owning anything that maybe you could have done differently. And if you’re like, no, I don’t yell at him.
1 (12m 33s):
I don’t do any of that stuff. Then you say, you know, I, I give you a warning that I haven’t done such a good job, really talking about this ahead of time. So we can have a plan in place and, and talk together and figure out how we can make this easier and better when you’re doing something you love doing. And then it’s time to stop doing that thing. Like, I don’t think I have, it seems like we’re just constantly arguing about this and it’s stressful. And I haven’t necessarily like handled it the best way. Is that how you feel like you’re just having fun playing Lego’s and the next thing you know, like there’s all, it’s like stress asphalt. And so like, you know, maybe I’ve been adding to that stress, right?
1 (13m 15s):
It’s already stressful enough stopping playing Legos. And next thing you know, like it just, I make it even more stressful. Is that how it feels, you know, that’s how you started productive conversation. Usually pretty productive. When you get ’em to talk to you, reflect back, you actively listen when you get to the problem. So to what could help you. So we’ve already set the timer. What else do you think would be helpful? You know, when it’s time to like quit playing something. Well, you tell me how you really need to warning. Okay. So maybe it’s that we have like a seven minute warning and then like, I don’t know what, like a two minute warning, would that be more helpful at to warnings?
1 (13m 56s):
Just to give it, you know, maybe eventually might be one more warning, but right now, because it is hard, you’d rather have two mornings. Okay. I think I could do that. What else would be helpful? Do you think I have it where I come in and say, cause it seems like when I tell you the warning, if you, you know, that’s when the tears start and all that. So would it be better if I didn’t even talk, if I just came in and like, just put the number of fingers on it in terms of like how many minutes were left. So when it, you know, it’s a seven minute warning and then, you know, no, when I set the timer at seven minutes after you five minutes, I’ll kind of, yeah.
1 (14m 41s):
Put it like to up and then, you know, you have to minutes and then when it’s time, I’ll just come and stand in front of you. Maybe don’t even talk. Would that be more helpful? Okay. Well, what are you going to do when the two minutes are up and you were like right in the middle of building something right in the middle, like you just got figured something out. What are you going to do that you’re going to want? If you want to cry, if you want to scream, if you want to hit, what are you gonna do? <inaudible> okay. Yeah, you could breathe. All right. And I’m going to tell you, I’m going to walk away. I’m going to let you know, like, I’ll be running the bathroom.
1 (15m 23s):
I’ll be in the car waiting. What happens if, oh, okay. That sounds like a great plan. Now what happens if you just can’t stop doing your thing and you never come to the car, you never come up to the bath and I have to come downstairs and gather you up. What happens then? What’s the consequence for not taking your breasts and getting with the program and following the rules of, we gave you the warnings. It’s time to switch to a different activity, takes, you know, get yourself together. You can do hard things and come to the next activity without making it into a whole big drama without making it into the crying and the screaming and the whatever.
1 (16m 10s):
It’s like giving yourself that space and taking some breaths and saying to yourself, I’m really having fun here, but I it’s time to go take a bath or it’s time to go to school. What if you’re not able to do that? And you just keep playing and I have to come get you again. What that, what’s the consequence? What will help your brain to remember? I don’t know. Well that tells me you’re having a really hard time and you’re not being responsible by following our rules in the family that helps us to run smoothly. So it will be a no-tech day that day for the rest of the day.
1 (16m 50s):
And if this happens at bedtime, just know it means a no tech day tomorrow. Okay. This is going to help your brain to remember. Or, you know, if it to, I mean, you can, you know, tech, you could call it oops, day rules, no tech early bedtime. But if it’s already bedtime, you know, mean you just make it simple, but have a consequence where you could walk away. And then when you come back and you gather him up, you still say nothing. You just like, okay, it’s bath time. Put it away. You need to walk to the bath. Or did you want you to Kerry you? Because we just haven’t. Oops. Let me, if it carries on and you just do, you just carry him up there and follow through on the thing.
1 (17m 37s):
Now, then you got to follow through with the no check rules or whatever, whatever consequence you came up with. But remember like, all you’re going to say is, oops, say rule, like say very little, his is dysregulated and unbalanced. He’s going to look for that fight, that outlet. He has lagging skills. The more you disengage and refuse to throw the ball back when he throws the ball to you, the more he’s forced to have to develop better impulse control and work it out in his own body. But if you co-regulate and power struggle with him, then you continue this cycle of him using you to regulate his body, to regulate his nervous system.
1 (18m 23s):
And that ultimately keeps him in this state of lagging skills where he doesn’t have the impulse control and he doesn’t develop it. So at five and six years old, right now, you can’t remember please five or six, you can help him develop this life changing skill for managing his own nervous system. Something that I just witnessed on Saturday night, my 75 year old father doesn’t have, like, what if you gave him this by just following the simple, the simple rules of disengagement, not so simple. I know when you’re in the moment she got to manage your mind.
1 (19m 4s):
You got to stop making his behavior mean all kinds of things. You got to follow through. All of it, you know, sounds simple, but there’s more involved in the backstory of actually executing it. But this is the gift you give your child when you learn to disengage the right way. Let me know if that makes sense.
0 (19m 24s):
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 than 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, uhm, and you know, periodically I do pop up on different Instagram lives, Facebook lives, where I gave you teaching and coaching.
0 (20m 17s):
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.