Skip to main content

MMP166: A Story about “HOTT Todd” and Boundaries

By December 14, 2021November 8th, 2023Mastermind Parenting Podcast
MMP165: Supporting Your Kids By Understanding Their Natural Temperament

If you are a mom who struggles with establishing rules/boundaries and then holding the people around you accountable by actually following through on what you really want to do, this episode is for you!

I’m sharing my newest teaching metaphor about “Hott Todd and Brenda from homeroom”…my Mastermind Moms loved this one and I think you will too. Enjoy.

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.

Don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher.


(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 66. Well, hi guys, welcome to this week in December for the rest of the month, I am actually going to be in all the episodes. They’ll all be different, but we’re going to be covering like unpacking boundaries, more about boundaries, which I feel like is a term that everybody’s using these days. But most of us have no clue what it really means or how to do it.

(45s): And so I am going to be having some fun conversations for the rest of the month and telling you some stories. I really like to teach through stories. So I’m just going to be sharing some teaching with you. I’m really just going to be sharing some teaching. I am going to be doing my thing and the way I like to teach the way I like to learn is really through story. I just find that it’s more fun. It’s more fun. I mean, there’s lots and lots of data as to why we are designed to be storytellers.

(1m 25s): It’s funny that story. Just thinking about this, as I’m saying this, like, isn’t it funny that being a storyteller or are you telling a story? Why have we made that synonymous with lying? Like we are human storytellers. Like that is how we’re designed to learn, but now we’ve made actually telling stories and the way we’re designed to learn mean lying. That’s how it’s just so interesting. Like how we’ve put negative connotations on things that we’re supposed to be doing anyway. So yeah. So this week I want to share a metaphor that I used with two different moms.

(2m 9s): It popped into my brain when I was coaching. I’ve never thought of this metaphor before, but I think when I’m coaching people, I, I want it to be fun. I want it to resonate. And I think I want it to be something that might stick with you. And I think you’re just more inclined to remember a fun story then to remember concepts. So today’s story is about Hott Todd Hott, Todd. Okay. Todd, the hot guy in middle school or high school. Okay. So HOTT Todd came about was created in my brain because first I was coaching a mom and she had a family member, but like, like the, like the third or fourth tier extended family member contact her.

(3m 5s): And he reached out to her first to eat. He emailed her and this was someone she was not in contact with. It was just someone, she had no desire to be in contact with. He had a shady past, something about him, felt slightly dangerous to her, no desire to have a relationship with this fourth tier, a family member who reaches out to her. He reaches out to her because he had had two recent deaths in their family that affected him more than it affected her. His mom had died maybe six months ago and his wife had just died of an aneurism.

(3m 53s): Okay. So this is a guy who was going through some major grief, trauma, all the things. And he reaches out to this mom and she now is in a dilemma about what she’s going to do. Okay. Because she feels badly for him, of course. And so she doesn’t want to just ignore him and dismiss him. Like she’s a, she’s a kind person. She’s a kindhearted good person. And here’s this guy, this guy has legitimately gone through some really painful stuff.

(4m 35s): So she’s like racking her brain beating herself up because she feels like she needs to be compassionate towards him. But she’s spinning because what happened is she responded to his email and she didn’t realize that her, her phone number was in her email signature. And he then proceeds to start calling her and leaving her messages. And his messages are, I really want, you know, to be closer, I’ve always really liked you. And I want to be closer and I appreciate you responding to my email, right?

(5m 19s): It’s a really hard time right now, yada yada yada. And she does feel compassion, but in her body, she is like, I feel badly for the guy, but I never wanted him to have my phone number. I don’t want to cultivate a relationship with him. He’s saying, when he’s passing through Houston for work, he wants to get together. I don’t want to get together. And, and she’s like, but he’s going through a hard time. So she really was, and she kept giving us all these details. She was really sitting in a lot of confusion because here’s, you know, like I want to be a good person in this other human just went through is going through a very hard time and suffering.

(6m 6s): And he has asked me for my support, but what we unpacked is that everything in her body was saying, I don’t want to have a relationship with him. So what do I do? Okay, what do I do? What do I do? And I said, okay, let me explain something to you as women we are. And maybe for those of you, who’ve been listening to the podcast for a long time. You’ve heard me talk about our conditioning as women. Why so many women struggle with people pleasing approval seeking. We have such a difficult time with boundaries.

(6m 47s): We have such a difficult time following through on rules that we’ve laid out with our kids. And, you know, we told them that bedtime was a certain time. And then that time comes and goes and they don’t go to bed. And there are no consequences. We don’t even know how to have consequences. And then we find ourselves going off the rails, 30 or 45 minutes past that time. But it happens night after night. So what we know is that we’re not establishing those boundaries and those consequences and following through on it. And it’s because we were conditioned not to.

(7m 28s): We were conditioned as women to constantly make all the people around us happy and not to listen to ourselves, right. Not to follow through because when you fall through, in that moment, you know, you’re going to be causing the people around you, discomfort by forcing them to follow the rules, to go to bed right now, it’s not an option. And if they don’t follow the rules, then the consequence like following through on whatever, that consequences, they refuse to go to bed. Then the next day, maybe your consequence was, if you’re not going to show up responsibly, following the rules of our family and the consequences, you’ll be tech free all day tomorrow to help your brain.

(8m 17s): Remember why it’s so important to follow the rules, because that’s how this family runs smoothly. And you get the rest you need. I love you too much not to do it. So it sounds so simple when I lay it out like that. Oh, and, and then I say, am we have to establish the real rules? Oh, and tomorrow when we’re having a tech free day to help your brain rest and remember why it’s so important to go to bed, even though you’re having so much fun, not going to bed, right? Like doing the things that you really don’t want to do. Guess what if you plead and Badger and bag mom, but please, can I please have it? I know.

(8m 57s): I promise I’ll go to bed on time. I won’t do it again. Like if there’s any of that on a tech Bree day, just know you’ll be tech free until further notice. There is no begging for it. Won a tech free day. We’re tech free and there’s no begging pleading negotiating. And if any of that monkey business happens, I’m not even arguing with it. Just know it’ll be tech-free until further notice because your brain needs more time to help. Remember why we have these rules in place. See, it’s super, it sounds so simple. And yet I see mom after mom, after mom had such a hard time doing just that following through why is that?

(9m 42s): So it’s this mom who is sitting in confusion about this family member who I think we can all agree. We, you know, of course like terrible, lost his mom, lost his wife, abruptly each. This is a human going through a terrible time. And, and, and the dilemma she has, which is, he really wants a relationship with me. He really wants support from me. Who am I not to show up for him in his moment of need? Even though I have this whole history and all these reasons, this whole history with him and all these reasons why he feels unsafe to me, I don’t want him around my, my, my family.

(10m 33s): I don’t want them around my children. I don’t want to have a relationship with him to feeling compassion. Like, does that make it so that I now can’t stick to my boundary of not having a relationship with him, not doing anything more than sending him a kind email, telling him, sending him love and healing hugs. Like why does she feel it is her duty to do what he wants her to do to have a relationship? Because she feels compassionate and you might be saying, well, it’s called being a good person.

(11m 16s): And what I want to challenge, all of you guys to ask yourself is, is why does being a kind compassionate person mean ignoring your body, ignoring your boundaries and constantly serving the needs of the other person. Why? Right? Like you might be going. I’m confused if you’re super confused right now. And it’s really unclear. I want you to know that there’s a lot of conditioning on the scene that will make boundaries following through, on boundaries with your kids.

(11m 57s): Very difficult, very, very difficult. Your brain is going to talk you out of doing that. And, and, and so, you know, so the story that I told her that popped into my head, I said, I want you to think of like the hot guy in middle school or high school. We’re going to call them HOTT. Todd. Okay. HOTT Todd, everybody wanted a piece of HOTT. Todd Hott. Todd was the guy guys loved her guys. Loved him. Girls loved him. Everybody loved him. So everyone loved HOTT. Todd and everyone wanted a piece of him and Brenda from home room, she really wanted a piece of HOTT.

(12m 45s): Todd, like she would have loved for HOTT Todd to, to ask her out. And HOTT. Todd was like the good guy. Like he wasn’t like the hot douchey guy. He was like, like the whole package, like, like kind and good on the inside. Raised by great family. Taught to be just taught to be a nice kid. Nice guy. So homely Brenda, when he was passing by her desk and home room and they made eye contact, he said, Hey, he acknowledged her existence. He smiled at her. He was nice. He was a good guy.

(13m 25s): Okay. So he’s a good guy. Just like this mom is a good person. Who’s fourth tier family member wants more of a relationship with her. But HOTT Todd, just because Brenda from homeroom homely, Brenda wants her, him to ask her out. Does anyone think HOTT? Todd is obligated to ask homely Brenda out anyone, because he happens to be a nice guy because she happens to dream of him asking her out. No, no one expects that from Hott.

(14m 7s): Todd, it’s not an option. She’s she, she’s not in his league. It’s not going to happen. And nobody thinks he’s a jerk or bad person. Cause he’s not going to ask her out. It wouldn’t even be on anyone’s radar. It’s almost like it would be like, who is Brendan? I think that Todd, like, she has a chance with Todd who is Brenda, to think that she deserves for him to ask her out. Like Brenda’s not going to walk around, feeling entitled. Look at Todd, asked her out. I’m sure she’d be pleasantly surprised. She’d be over the moon, but she doesn’t expect it. Okay. She doesn’t expect it. And I promise you metaphorical HOTT, Todd, he it’s, he wouldn’t even consider it.

(14m 53s): Nobody’s ever put that expectation on him. But yet this mom and I said, who have you been in your family? Have you been a nurturer? She’s like, yes. So she’s the character she’s taken on the caretaker role. In fact, this works to your family member. She actually took care of his mom before she died. I don’t know where he was when his mom was dying. But this, this mom that I know she took care of of fourth tier family members, mom. She did that. She takes care of everybody in the family. That’s who she’s been she’s. And so I said, you’re HOTT, Todd, everyone in the family wants a piece of you.

(15m 36s): They know when they’re going through a hard time, you’re the nurture. You’re going to make everyone feel safe and loved and special. Of course he wants a piece of you, but just because he wants a piece of you, it doesn’t mean he gets a piece of you. It doesn’t mean that he gets a piece of you. And when he calls you now that he has your number, do you have to call him back? Do you have to pick up the phone? Do you have to respond to his phone calls? Or can you continue communicated with him in a way that honors your own boundaries?

(16m 20s): Which sounds to me like it’s through email and she was very clear. She was fine with email and getting together with him when he comes through town. Sounds like it’s not an option. So what would it look like? What would it look like to be HOTT Todd acknowledging his existence. When you pass his desk, smiling, being a good person and in no way possible asking him out on date, right? What does that look like? I want you to channel your inner HOTT Todd, and you know, I just think that it’s interesting because I think as women, we don’t understand why our kids are acting, especially are strong-willed ones.

(17m 19s): I mean, all the kids, we’ve all heard. Kids thrive with structure, yada, yada, yada. But what does it look like? Like, like what does it look like? You know, close up to actually provide that structure. Okay. So when you have a kid that’s constantly having meltdowns, having a lot of behaviors that show you that they feel out of control on the inside. So they act out control on the outside. What do they need from you? They need pack leadership. They need assertive communication. That’s what I pack leadership is really assertive communication.

(18m 1s): But I think it’s more fun to say it as pack leadership. So they need pack leadership. They need boundaries. Sometimes they need consequences when they just, their body is so out of control and dysregulated that they are digging their heels in and they refuse to stick to the boundary to stick to the expectation that you set out for them like bedtime being at eight o’clock period. End of story, lights out. And at 7 55, they’re off the rails. They’re jumping on the bed. The lights are on and an eight o’clock when you come in and turn the lights out and say, it’s lights out.

(18m 43s): There’s no more talking. And they go into a full-blown meltdown. They just can not get with the program. That is a kid that needs there to be a consequence. So that the next day you have something to refer back to, not in a shaming way, this’ll help your brain to remember so hard to settle down at the end of the day, it’s hard to want to lay down and go to sleep when you’re not ready for the party to end, I get it. And this is how you give your body, the rest that you need. This is how you show up responsibly. This is how this family runs smoothly.

(19m 25s): And it’s going to be hard. It’s hard to go without the privilege for a day, but it’ll help your brain to remember. Okay. Why is that simple consequence? So difficult for so many of us so, so difficult it’s because you were conditioned not to do that. So I want you guys to take a lesson from HOTT Todd to channel your inner HOTT Todd. And to know that just because you’re a good person and a good mom, and you want to show up compassionately, it doesn’t mean that you ignore your own boundaries and avoid the people, the other people feeling uncomfortable.

(20m 23s): Okay? Because you’re protecting the boundaries that you have established and keeping your promises. So you said there’s discomfort. I want y’all to remember there’s discomfort when you at eight o’clock, when you go in and turn off the lights and say, there’s no more talking and your child goes into a full blown meltdown. That’s, that’s a lot discomfort. Okay. You know, this person that you love, he’s super upset. If you didn’t stick to the thing that you said you were going to do, and you just let them stay up until you finally had had enough, probably 45 minutes later.

(21m 7s): And then you start yelling, threatening shaming, and doing all the things that are way more harmful. Well, it’s not harmful to just follow through on the boundary that you’ve established and lights out and no more talking and let your child go into a full-blown meltdown. It’s way more harmful for you to shame and get aggressive and yell and threaten and do all the things and call names and what have you. Okay. But it’s so hard, so hard for so many of us. (21m 47s): So, and so sometimes I think it’s like, we can’t see things when it’s too close. Sometimes we can see things through someone else’s scenario or through a story or through a metaphor. So I want, I know, I know so many of you guys are not establishing boundaries in that way or not following through on those boundaries. And you may, it all may feel just way too hard. You know, it’s just so uncomfortable to do it because it says it’s a new skillset. And so if you haven’t been conditioned to live your life like hock, HOTT, Todd, who knows he’s worthy of being a good guy and honoring his own boundaries.

(22m 38s): He doesn’t want to ask. He’s not attracted to Brenda. She’s perfectly nice. And he likes saying hi to her in home room, but he doesn’t want to spend time with her and take her out on a date. And he knows he’s worthy of asking people out on a date that he actually wants to go out on a date with. But if you don’t think you’re worthy, you know, you may in your conscious brain, think I’m more than I know I am. But if you’re not following through on those boundaries, I want you to dig deeper and get honest with yourself because all change begins with awareness until you’re aware of the issue and you can see the issue and you’re ready to admit that there’s an issue and bring self compassion.

(23m 25s): Of course, these things don’t come naturally. I wasn’t, I wasn’t taught to lean into the discomfort. I was told, be nice to your brother. Why do you always have to be so mean? Why are you always coming in saying a problem in this family? I was, if you were conditioned that you was your job to manage everyone else’s feelings and your family, like there’s some stuff to undo. Okay? So I want you to have some self compassion for that and know it’s time to get to work. These kids, all kids, but really our strong-willed kids need this type of structure the most.

(24m 8s): So that’s what I’ve got for you guys this week. Hope it was helpful. 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.

(24m 57s): 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. 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.

Happy Household Cover

Sign Up for Our Newsletter and Get Our Free Guide

Creating A Happier Household

by Randi Rubenstein