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256: Hunt, Gather, Parent Your Family: Dealing With Judgy Adults (Part 1)

When I sat down with Michaeleen Doucleff to record the next episode in our Hunt, Gather, Parent series, I knew it was a meaty topic. We’ve all experienced that feeling of being judged for  our parenting, by grandparents, other kids’ parents, and even random strangers. I’ve coached so many parents through coping with judgy adults. Michaeleen has reported on how so many other cultures teach empathy for other parents, rather than shaming.

There was so much to dig into we couldn’t fit it into one episode! I’m so excited for you to hear this conversation. Join us this week for Part 1, and look for Part 2 next week!

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  1. Why so many of us default to judging a parent who’s struggling.
  2. How to arm yourself against the embarrassment of judgy adults.
  3. How cooperation and a collaborative mindset work to stop judgment before it starts.
  4. The one question you can eliminate from your vocabulary to help you opt out of the culture of judging other parents.

And much more! 

As always, thanks for listening. Head over to Facebook, where you can join my free group Mastermind Parenting Community. 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.

Randi’s Web and Social Links

About Our Guest

Michaleen Doucleff is an award-winning global health correspondent and the author of Hunt, Gather, Parent: What Ancient Cultures Can Teach Us About the Lost Art of Raising Happy, Helpful Little Humans.

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.

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Audio MMP 256 – Hunt Gather Parent Judgy Parents Part 1

[00:00:00] Michaeleen Doucleff: This is what parents are for. The parents are there to help each other. Like, because that’s how they raise their, their kids too. Right? So the parent is teaching the child to cooperate. So the grandparent is teaching, you know, treats the parent with cooperation, right? it’s a very different view. So different. 

[00:00:17] Randi Rubenstein: But I think, you know, the way that translates here, if you’re the mom with the tantruming kid and you see , especially elderly people, it’s like the opposite of what you explain from these indigenous cultures. Especially if it’s somebody that’s like a lot older, they’re super judgy typically. 

[00:00:39] Michaeleen Doucleff: I know. 

[00:00:40] Randi Rubenstein: Right, like they’re, they’re extra judgy and that’s why I’m like arm yourself with a line. It’s hard to be three or it’s hard to be four. It’s hard to be five. You’re, uh, you’re not open for feedback. 

[00:00:53] 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. 

[00:01:03] Welcome, welcome, welcome to a meaty, meaty two part episode with my favorite author of the parenting phenom book, Hunt, Gather, Parent, Michaeleen Doucleff. I had an amazing conversation with her. In fact, it was so amazing, we couldn’t stop talking. It was all about judgment. Grandparent judgment, other parents judgment, just judgment over your parenting, judgment over other people’s parenting, just judgment in general. 

[00:01:39] I knew it was going to be a meaty conversation. and it was like, I want to say about three fourths of the way through, I was like, yeah, this is going to be a two-parter. So welcome to part one of my conversation with Michaeleen Doucleff all about parent judgment. I think you guys are going to love this conversation and I’m excited.

[00:02:04] I’m excited for you to be a fly on the wall of the love affair I’m having with Michaeleen. She is, I just think she is the most delightful human, and a breath of fresh air, and this topic that’s been on my mind lately, which is all about performative parenting. Right? Like, ooh, I need to pretend to be the perfect parent and I’m going to judge everyone else who has normal human children who are having normal human moments and pass judgment and give them the eyes and make them feel worse about whatever it is they’re dealing with.

[00:02:46] Like I’m so over it. You know, I really think it’s, it’s that I’m so over inauthenticity, which I know that’s… even the word authentic, it’s kind of like the word vulnerability. I feel like it’s all been so overused, but what Michaeleen brings is she just, she’s such a breath of fresh air because she’s just such a real person and because she’s a journalist. Every time we’re talking about something, she’s like, I need to write something about that. I need to write something about that. She’s such a journalist and she’s so curious and she’s been in the trenches with all the real people, um, observing them.

[00:03:27] And she just has, I think, a love for humanity. She brings a really fresh perspective and I’m just loving anytime I get a chance to sit next to her. I’m just loving it. So I’m excited for you guys to hear. Here’s part one. 

[00:03:46] Hi, everyone. I’m here with Michaeleen Doucleff and this is our second episode in our Hunt, Gather, Parent series. And today we’re going to be talking about judgy adults. Judgy adults, meaning other adults, grandparents, neighbors, all the people, I think this is a topic that affects every parent I’ve ever known. it’s, it’s a loaded one. So um, yeah. So we’re excited to kind of dig into talking about judgment. It’s hard to detox from judgment. Me and my husband have been like doing a little challenge, like, we want to go one week without judging anyone and…

[00:04:35] Michaeleen Doucleff: That’s good. 

[00:04:36] Randi Rubenstein: Yeah, it’s really he’s like should we like put a penny in a jar? And I’m like, yeah we could put a penny every time we judge we’ll put a penny in a jar.

[00:04:44] He’s like, but where do we find pennies?

[00:04:48] Michaeleen Doucleff: Maybe you need a dollar.

[00:04:50] Randi Rubenstein: Yeah. He’s like, where do we find pennies? And I was like, yeah, but I don’t think it’s enough to just put the penny in a jar. Like, I read a book about judgment years ago that all judgment is a self-projection.

[00:05:04] Michaeleen Doucleff: Yes, I think so.

[00:05:05] Randi Rubenstein: Right. So like we judge other people for things that we secretly judge ourselves for, but we’re looking for evidence out there of somebody doing it even worse.

[00:05:22] Michaeleen Doucleff: Yeah.

[00:05:23] Randi Rubenstein: So that we can feel temporarily better, which I think is a hard thing to look at, right? Like, and he didn’t get it. He was like, he was like, what does that mean exactly? And I gave him an example. I was like, okay, so I have a super selfish mom trigger. Cause I think as a kid, I felt like my mom was a selfish mom.

[00:05:44] Like it was always just like, what she wanted to do when she wanted to do it. And I don’t know, I just felt like. Anyway, so that’s it. So I have a selfish mom trigger. So I would find myself judging other moms that in my brain I deemed as selfish, like more than like self care.

[00:06:02] Like it’s always about them. They’re never looking at their kids perspective. They’re never, and that’s where I go sort of that to that below the line place. And he’s like, but you’re not a selfish mom. Like so, so how is that a self projection? And I was like, but I have been a selfish mom.

[00:06:22] Michaeleen Doucleff: And you fear it.

[00:06:24] Randi Rubenstein: Yeah, I was like, I have been. And he’s like, I was like, and like on something that I’m super ashamed about. And he’s like, what? I was like all my years of closet smoking. To me, that’s the ultimate selfish mom move. Like, here I’m all about trying to be the best mom, and even going into this field of parenting yada yada yada, but like how many years was I so excited to put the kids to bed so I go and sneaky smoke? And

[00:06:59] Michaeleen Doucleff: We all have, though, that how many times have I tried to put the kids to bed so we can go sneaky sneaky something.

[00:07:05] Randi Rubenstein: Yeah.

[00:07:06] Michaeleen Doucleff: You know, mine for a while was go sneaky Netflix. You know, it’s like, get to bed so I can, so mama can watch Succession.

[00:07:13] Randi Rubenstein: Yes, exactly, like I I mean, but I was like, you know and not only is my sneaky sneaky sneaky, you know, the sneaky smoking is like oh and like it is a fact that this is so bad for you, like like this is putting stuff into my body that it’s proven kills people, right, and so I was like so here I’m like jeopardizing my life.

[00:07:41] Like my, one of my biggest fears would be when my kids were little to leave them motherless. And I’m over here after a whole day of trying to be a good mom. And then I’m going and like doing this thing, like what a fucking fraud.

[00:07:57] Michaeleen Doucleff: Oh, Randi.

[00:07:58] Randi Rubenstein: And you know, and so, secretly I felt like the ultimate selfish mom.

[00:08:06] And so, like, I can really look at that now because I don’t, I haven’t sneaky smoked in years. And at this point my kids are old enough that it wouldn’t even be sneaky smoking. They’d be like, okay, right? Like, all right. But I, so I, I can look at it now, but before we’re ready to look at it, I think that’s when we’re in the most judgment is because we, we haven’t, been able to look at it.

[00:08:29] So anyway, so I said, so if we’re going to put a penny in the jar we have to have a conversation about and like, or not even a conversation, but like even just like connecting dots about what exactly was I judging the person for and where do I secretly judge myself in some way for that same thing? He was like, oh, this is getting too heady.

[00:08:51] Michaeleen Doucleff: I, you know, it’s interesting cause like I, I kind of agree with him. I think it’s… I think you’re right. Totally. But I also think that people judge moms, dads, parents, grandparents, because that’s how they’ve been treated. That’s, that’s how they’ve been trained to interact. I mean, when you talk about judgy parents in the way I’ve, I, feel it all the time, right? I mean, a little bit less now, cause I’ve kind of created an environment where I try not to hang out with those people, but when they’re your parents, it’s much harder, but, you know, I think of like mean girls on, on the playground, I think of mean girls in middle school.

[00:09:27] It is what, you know, parents around the world would say is like, this is just immaturity. This is an emotional stunting because a mature adult and a mature parent is supportive of a parent struggling, is supportive and, you know, we go back to like the really core of the book, Hunt, Gather, Parent, is like, how do you teach a child to cooperate?

[00:09:51] Well, a parent that is judging you has never been taught how to cooperate, right? You know, it’s a habit. When you see somebody doing something wrong, you judge them. That’s the only route their brain goes down. Because they’ve never been taught, they’ve never been taught a different way. They’ve never been treated a different way. Right? 

[00:10:11] Randi Rubenstein: That’s interesting. I wonder, I wonder if that also goes into…. Okay, so in the last 100 years in our traditional Western society kids are educated in these classrooms. And, so often they’re compared to one another, they’re graded, they’re compared. It’s all about, right? There’s so much competition.

[00:10:36] There’s so much, you know, about wanting to be seen in a certain way by the teacher. Be the head of the class, be the kid that the teacher adores the, the kind of kid that the teacher loves to teach. Right? And so, 

[00:10:55] if you’re constantly pitted against your peers, like that’s part of your conditioning. And so then you look at anyone who is a peer parent and they’re your competition and you sort of want to take them down to make yourself look better.

[00:11:13] Michaeleen Doucleff: That’s right. It’s, it’s just the way, especially girls, I mean, people have written about this a lot and I’ve been reading about it because I’m trying to understand it. In my life now as a 46 year old, I still feel like this dynamic is happening in my life with other women, but it’s the way it’s, girls have learned to interact with each other, right?

[00:11:32] It’s kind of a relational aggression and, it’s very common and it, and it continues into adulthood. And so it’s unconscious. You know, I don’t think that people are aware. 

[00:11:43] That’s why I love that you’re doing this thing with the pennies because that’s raising your consciousness of it, right?

[00:11:48] Because it’s a, it’s habit. It’s like that’s how you respond when somebody looks like they’re struggling. Which is like, if you think about it, a horrible way to respond. You know, like, like, and I wrote down when I was preparing for this is like, that’s what we’re modeling to kids that when somebody’s struggling, when somebody’s, you know, having a hard time with their kid or, know, the kids having a tantrum in the, in the grocery store. And I goodness knows, have I been there? It’s like, the other moms are modeling like a judgment to this mom?

[00:12:19] I even said to one mom in San Francisco, she was judging me or whatever, and I turned to her and I was like, great modeling for your child, which maybe isn’t the right response, but in the moment like I was really struggling and this mom was like putting me down in public and I was like, what are you teaching your child? 

[00:12:37] And so what I’ve tried to learn is like, to see this person that’s judging me in public or in private as a stunted child, emotionally. They haven’t learned a more productive, a better way of treating people who are struggling. And I feel sorry for them. 

[00:12:56] Randi Rubenstein: I like that. I’ve, I’ve taught a lot of moms, about, you know, like when they’re following through on, the three year old at, you know, the grocery store or Target. You know, they’re always like, like badgering the parents and like, they want this thing and they want that thing and they want this thing.

[00:13:13] And no matter what, it’s always going to turn out to be a tantrum. But they’re, they’re used to getting the stuff and the parent just gets beaten down and so they just keep buying the thing and buying the thing and buying the thing. So this is the thing is that you’re taking what’s quick, fast and easy, which it’s never that quick, fast and easy because no matter what you get them, they’re always going to want something else and something else and something else.

[00:13:37] Um, but everybody talks about entitled teenagers, they don’t want to have the entitled teenagers. And so, if you just buy them all the things and they get all the things, how are you not going to have the teenager at 16 that expects the, whatever car with the big red bow? Like you, you know, so if you don’t 

[00:14:00] Michaeleen Doucleff: You’ve trained them.

[00:14:00] Randi Rubenstein: want that, right, if you don’t want that, then you got to start saying, you know… And so I’ll teach like birthday list, hanukkah and Christmas list or whatever. And I’m like, so whenever your kid wants something. You come from a place of yes, and you don’t buy them the thing. Oh yes. You love that thing. Should you put it on your birthday or your Hanukkah list? 

[00:14:19] And so they’re like, but what do you do when they’re used to getting this stuff and you’re at Target? And I’m like, so you buckle them in and you get through your errand as quickly as possible and you let them do their thing. You don’t make eye contact because you know, if you get, if you make eye contact you’re going to get hooked in. So you don’t make eye contact. You’re pushing along, you’re going, you’re getting through your thing as quickly as possible. 

[00:14:47] And if any other adult in that store makes eye contact with you because you have a kid that’s like losing their mind, all you say is, I know, it’s so hard to be three. It is. It’s hard to be three. And you just keep going. That’s your response to anyone that you perceive to be judging you. 

[00:15:07] Michaeleen Doucleff: You know, it’s so fascinating because this is gets to the like the other point I wrote down is, you know, and in our culture we have this view that the child’s behavior is this total reflection of the parent. That if whatever the child, and especially even these young, very young children, right, a three year old, right, like, we, we think that whatever, if the child’s misbehaving, that’s because the parent is a bad parent. 

[00:15:30] And we expect one, two, three year olds who have no emotional development, no logical brain, like complete bags of emotion. We expect them to behave like they’re, you know, 50 year old women that have gone through like some, you know, a courtesy classes, right? We have these such high bars for them. 

[00:15:51] And all around the world, when I was traveling, parents have a totally different view. First of all, the one through four or five year olds are supposed to act crazy and are supposed to be having tantrums. So if you mom with a kid with a tantrum, well, that’s just a kid, you know, that’s just a mom with a kid. It has nothing to do with the parents. It’s like kids, these little ones are supposed to be wild hyenas with, they can’t control their emotions. That is just a small child. And so there’s no blaming the parent. 

[00:16:24] Randi Rubenstein: Let me say this also, um, the story that you share in the book about when the mom, I think it was the Inuit mom says, like, it’s just the two of you all the time, like, aren’t y’all sick of each other? Right? Isn’t she sick of you too?

[00:16:41] Michaeleen Doucleff: Right. Right. Like, um, there’s a couple of stories that really resonate here from up there. One was, so I was with, um, Rosie in the Arctic for… we were up there like two weeks or so, but the first couple days, you know, I didn’t really know many people and so I was just kind of wandering around with her all the time. And this mom literally ran out her door and said, I see you with her every day by yourself and you need help. Take, let me take her for you. You need a break. Like, this is the difference. 

[00:17:14] Right? I mean, these moms knew I was doing a hundred things wrong. I mean, there was no doubt at the end, they, one of them even said it, right? But they never came out and said, this is all the things you’re doing wrong.

[00:17:26] Randi Rubenstein: Mm hmm.

[00:17:27] Michaeleen Doucleff: They said, let me help you. They modeled the behavior. I mean, that is the job of the family, the job of the neighborhood, the job of community is to support each other. 

[00:17:40] And, um, in the Yucatan, one of the, anthropologists, psychologists that studies indigenous parenting told me, and it took me a little while to understand this concept, but I kind of do, is that everybody is on your team and you’re on everybody else’s team. But you’re kind of the captain of your team and they respect that. And they’re the captain of their team and they respect that. So it’s not like we’re all just kind of the same, but we’re all supporting each other and we’re all supporting each other’s, goals.

[00:18:14] Um, and you, you saw this everywhere, like a little kid would be out riding her bike and she’s kind of too small for the bike. And um, you know, she was kind of stumbling a little bit, stumbling a little bit. And then she kind of rolled off this like hill one time and then three moms came rushing out and like, you know, and it was, this is what parents are for.

[00:18:34] The parents are there to help each other. Like, because that’s how they raise their, their kids too. Right? So the parent is teaching the child to cooperate. So the grandparent is teaching, you know, treats the parent with cooperation, right? So it is it’s a very different view. So different. Um,

[00:18:53] Randi Rubenstein: But I think, you know, the way that translates here, if you’re the mom with the tantruming kid and you see especially elderly people, it’s like the opposite of what you explain from these indigenous cultures. Especially if it’s somebody that’s like a lot older, they’re super judgy typically, 

[00:19:15] Michaeleen Doucleff: I know 

[00:19:16] Randi Rubenstein: right like they’re, they’re extra judgy and, and that’s why I’m like arm yourself with a line. It’s hard to be three or it’s hard to be four. It’s hard to be five. You’re, uh, you’re not open for feedback 

[00:19:30] and that’s your way getting, right? 

[00:19:33] Michaeleen Doucleff: Just don’t care… 

[00:19:34] Randi Rubenstein: have to like… 

[00:19:34] Michaeleen Doucleff: I mean, just don’t care… 

[00:19:35] Randi Rubenstein: right, but I was like, you know, because they, they, they perceive it so much. So I’m like, if you have to say anything and you accidentally make eye contact with a judger, this is your line that will help you to stay out of that negative thought loop and feel so judged and go into that place. Cause that’s not going to be helpful for your kid. This is what’s going to help you to stay grounded. 

[00:19:57] And if you’re the person on the outside, and you’re witnessing a mom with a kid, you know, who’s being a normal developing kid and having a maniacal moment, I will quite often interact with the kid a little bit. Like, if I make eye contact with the kid, I’m like, what do you have there? Oh my gosh. Did you pick out that shirt yourself? 

[00:20:24] You just, because it’s that, it reminds me of the thing of like, it’s just the two of you all the time. Aren’t y’all, don’t y’all need a break? And. And, and when I sort of like make a little conversation with the kid, not the mom, because when you make conversation with the mom, I feel like now you’re just adding to her sensory overload because she’s trying to manage her kids. She’s worried…

[00:20:45] Michaeleen Doucleff: And she doesn’t know what you’re coming at, right? She’s expecting judgment. 

[00:20:49] Randi Rubenstein: Yes! And she’s also now has to make a conversation and so she’s like, it’s like more on her. But if I just like try to sort of light interact with the kid and give each of them a tiny break. Just for even a moment, I find so often that like it works, it works.

[00:21:10] Next thing you know, the mom’s smiling because I just like complimented her kid or talked about it, like did not notice the tantrum and then she’s smiling and then her, and then she kind of wants to be like, yeah, my kid is, you know, and so then she starts to interact with the kid a little differently and something kind of snaps them out of a little… 

[00:21:27] Michaeleen Doucleff: Break the tension, right?

[00:21:28] Randi Rubenstein: Uh huh. 

[00:21:30] Michaeleen Doucleff: It’s fascinating because it reminds me like that’s the role of other adults and kids as well in so many communities. I remember one time Rosie and I were, were in a room in the Arctic and they were probably like five or six kids in this little room and then like four or five parents, just a small living room. So it was very busy! 

[00:21:51] And there was a little baby, I think he was like nine months old and I counted how many different people picked up this baby. And so they would like, put the baby down and within seconds, another parent would come over and pick up the baby and then they put the baby down and then like a kid would come over and play with the baby, and then, like… 

[00:22:08] There was never a moment where this baby was like, more than, you know, cried for more than a few seconds, because that was the role of this network of people was to help the baby. And take care and entertain and interact with and engage with. And so you are doing that for the, that’s what you’re doing is you’re providing this little bit of ex, outside help. And, not only is that helpful to the mom, but that’s so helpful for the kid, right? To interact with 

[00:22:40] Randi Rubenstein: well, I think 

[00:22:40] Michaeleen Doucleff: people they don’t know and like and you’re bringing them out of this tantrum and like it’s beautiful Randi. 

[00:22:48] Randi Rubenstein: Thank you, no, I mean, I feel like it’s also countercultural because I think most parents think the opposite. Don’t talk to my kid. 

[00:22:59] Like if, you know, it’s, and it mostly comes in this state of like some parent admonishing another kid on the playground or something, but like, how dare you talk to my child? I’ve heard like public figures talk about how the one topic that is off limits is parenting because it’s so personal the way people do it with their kids is their business. And if you dare to interact with someone else’s child without their permission, even if the person’s right there. It, even when I do it in this helpful way, it’s almost a little bit jarring to people because you’re really not supposed to talk to other people, strangers, children, everybody’s, children are taught stranger danger. Like, so for some stranger to start just having the gall to interact with your child. Like, that’s not the way we do things here.

[00:23:57] And I’ve even questioned myself at times, like, is this a boundary violation? Am I being nosy or intrusive? But that’s what I mean. Like, so many stories from your books and your research lets me know like, no, no, no, it’s all good. Like keep doing that. You’re breaking the tension and being helpful. 

[00:24:14] Michaeleen Doucleff: I think keep doing it. I think when you feel like a person is struggling and you help, you’re doing so much more than helping those people. I mean, think of it from another perspective. So when we travel, when Rosie and I travel, even not for the book, you know, parents love talking to her. Like, you know, like just everywhere. 

[00:24:34] They just, especially when she was a baby, it’s like, oh, the baby is a cute baby. And oh, hey, baby, you know, this doesn’t happen in America so much. But what I started to realize was these parents are teaching their children that they love little babies and they love little kids and we are kind and gentle and excited to see a baby and a kid. And that’s, that’s, I think, one of the reasons why siblings get along because it isn’t just like, Oh, this baby,

[00:25:08] Randi Rubenstein: Right.

[00:25:09] Michaeleen Doucleff: They’re excited to be around children. They’re excited to be with a kid. And so if you have children of your own and you’re going up and helping this little kid and you’re talking to them in this like, joy and excitement in your, in your body and your, in what you’re saying. You’re modeling to your kids that this is how we treat other little, other kids. This is how we treat people that are younger than us. And they’re, they’re these little creatures that we need to be kind to, and we need to be sensitive to, and we help. 

[00:25:41] Randi Rubenstein: And, I would say that’s exactly the case in my family. Like Corey just said, I want to say two nights ago he said, I think we need to adopt a little kid. And Scott, who, you know, our big joke is that he, he, he didn’t, he didn’t want more than two kids. I’m like, Corey, you’re lucky you’re here. Like, this is a, this is a, this is a two kid dad. Like, I had to squeeze in the third, and thank goodness you’re you, because he was a two kid man. 

[00:26:13] And so, and Cory’s like, I, I think like, it’s just fun. It’s just fun to have a little, I was like, like when Isabel comes over, my niece, you know, she comes over one afternoon a week and I was like, like when Isabel’s here, he’s like, yeah, it’s so fun. It’s so fun to have a little kid around. 

[00:26:30] Michaeleen Doucleff: Yeah, exactly. It’s, there’s a positive association with, with smaller children. Right. And something, and that, I, I, I think it’s one of the key reasons why siblings get along in a lot of other cultures, because I think that there’s this negative association. It’s like, oh, a little kid. Oh, it’s such a burden. Right. And like, and is it tantruming one at that? And, you know, and it’s like, um, so I, I, I love, I love that. And I do it. I do it even when they’re not tantruming around because when Rosie’s with me, I do it. 

[00:26:58] I’m like, oh, look at the little baby, oh. We, you know, the baby’s at the soccer practice. Toddlers. I’m like, oh, Stella’s here, Rosie. Let’s go talk to her. You know, cute little Stella. Hi. You know, and then Rosie, you know, and that’s how Rosie learns to be kind to younger children is through me being kind to younger children. Right.

[00:27:16] Randi Rubenstein: So interesting. Yes, it is so interesting because I have to say like just traveling with Corey, uh, last weekend. So we’re on the plane and we’re on a Southwest flight and it was packed holiday weekend, right? Going to Colorado. And the one time, even those of us who love little kids, the one time that we don’t love them so much is on airplanes and, 

[00:27:40] Michaeleen Doucleff: It’s a trying situation.

[00:27:42] Randi Rubenstein: Yeah. And, and we, I mean, there were these two little kids in line. It was a lot of stories with little kids and I didn’t even notice it, but now I’m thinking about it. We were in line, you know, how you get your number on Southwest and we’re like waiting in line and there was this young family and they had a baby in a stroller in like the baby carrier. And then they had like a, probably two and a half year old. And oh my gosh, like these, both of them were like, she was feeding them snacks and it was this and the baby’s crying and the, and then the two and a half year old and doing all the things. And all the people standing around, crammed, waiting to get on the plane.

[00:28:22] You know, it was almost like, it’s like that awkward moment or whatever. And I looked at Corey and I looked at this other kid that we knew that was there. And I looked at both of them and I said, you guys were those kids. And every parent here is identifying right now with like, even though y’all don’t remember, we remember.

[00:28:43] And so everyone’s identifying with exactly what’s happening and, and feeling. Feel, feeling all the feels and it’s taking us right back to when we were those parents. Um, and I said it out loud to them also because I wanted to break the tension and I kind of wanted those people to overhear it and I wanted the other judgy parents, I could feel the judgment, I could feel the tension…

[00:29:08] Michaeleen Doucleff: Cause they were judged because they were judged in those moments, they felt, right. So that, that it’s just, it’s just the training.

[00:29:14] Randi Rubenstein: Carrying it forward, right? It’s like, it’s like it, yeah, it’s just like carrying it forward. And I’m like, and so I said that, but then I also noticed that Corey kept pointing out the whole time we were traveling cute babies and cute little kids. And, and there was this mom walking up and this pregnant mom walking up and down the aisles on our flight there with a little probably two year old who was running. 

[00:29:39] and Corey’s like, oh my God, look at this little girl. She’s so cute. She’s so cute. And, and the mom was walking by, she was all, you know, like waddling down the aisle and she’s like, we just got to get a few sillies out. And I’m like, oh my gosh, she’s so cute. And Corey’s like, she’s so cute. She’s so cute. And he really does have an appreciation for little kids.

[00:30:00] Michaeleen Doucleff: Because you’ve taught him it. I mean, part of it is that, and you know, the other thing I can, I can say is that when kids are struggling, you know, having an emotional moment or the mom, the parents are struggling. The other thing I say, and I learned this straight from, this is straight from our travels, especially when, you know, when Rosie’s around, I say, poor thing. Poor thing. You know, she’s, she’s having a hard time. Poor thing. Right? And then you’re teaching empathy. Right? You’re teaching that we have empathy for these, these little ones when they’re struggling. 

[00:30:31] And I love that you say, like, you remember, uh, that’s great. Like, I remember when you struggled like that. Look how much you, look how far you’ve come! You know? And then there’s like a proud look on her face or something, you know? But it’s like, poor thing. She’s really having a hard time. You know, I hope, I wish we could help her. How can, could we help her? You know? 

[00:30:50] Randi Rubenstein: Right? Like when a baby’s crying on a plane and, and everyone’s starting to get annoyed and I like, we’ll look at my kids and I’m like, oh, the ears, the ears, they don’t know yet how to pop their ears. They don’t know how to pop their ears yet. So they’re just sitting there with the ears. You know what that feels like? What if you couldn’t pop them?

[00:31:08] Michaeleen Doucleff: And like, it’s an uncomfortable situation for everybody, the planes, right? And those little babies, they’re not… they weren’t designed to be sitting on a plane, you know, they’re like, they’re going through a lot, you know, sometimes I’ll even have Rosie go over, like, if we’re waiting in line somewhere, we’re, you know, I’ll say, go over and, play with the little one, you know, go, go show them this, like, because that is really the role of the older child in a lot of communities is… they, they like playing with the little ones. They want, they’re really built for that, right. And, and, and she loves it. 

[00:31:38] We were waiting in Midland. We had like a two hour wait for the bus and um, this little boy was just going nuts. And I said, Rosie, go over there and roll the, suitcases with him. You know? And they did it for like an hour and a half. Like it was, and you know, and she loved it. So I, I enlist them. Instead of being judgy to the parent, I enlist Rosie as the… 

[00:32:01] Um, there’s something I, I want to, I, I, that keeps coming up in my mind about, about being judgy. And it’s something that I noticed when we were in the Arctic. And then I started noticing it everywhere. And actually I found that this has been documented in a lot of communities is parents and children as a result, don’t ask. Why are you doing it? 

[00:32:22] So we are really, really, really in love with this. why are you doing something a certain way? Why are you setting the table like that? Or why are you cooking the eggs like this? This is a question that is, it, once you start paying attention to it, you find it everywhere.

[00:32:38] And you think about it, it’s like this incredibly judgmental question, right? Because you’re insinuating that the person is doing it wrong, and that you know how to do it better. And so we’ve, like, I’ve come to be really conscious of, of when I use that question and that. And it’s not the why of like, science why, or nature why, or like, why does the bird fly?

[00:32:59] It’s not like that, right? It’s more questioning a person’s actions. And it’s a very judgy question. And I think it breeds a lot of conflict, but I think it also breeds a lot of insecurity and self doubt in a person if other people around them are constantly questioning, why, why are you doing something? So for me, that’s, when I’ve been trying to not be so judgy, I’ve gotten, really gotten rid of that question in my life. 

[00:33:28] Randi Rubenstein: That’s so good. Yeah. That’s so good. Or even, somebody was telling me a story about… something that I can’t remember exactly what it was. It was one of my moms who were, who was telling me their kid did something, something that was clearly not okay. And they called. Um, the, the mom called her mom and she was just venting. And then the mom said, well, what are you going to do about it?

[00:33:57] Michaeleen Doucleff: Mm. 

[00:33:58] Randi Rubenstein: And I was like, you know, there’s this thing that I think we can ask ourselves. Is it helpful or hurtful?

[00:34:05] Michaeleen Doucleff: Yeah, yes, exactly.

[00:34:08] Randi Rubenstein: Right. She’s venting because there’s this situation and it’s an unfortunate situation. And she, she calls her mom for support, which is mostly just empathy, right? And then her mom puts her on the spot. Well, how are you handle this? What are you gonna do? What are you gonna do? And she feels judged in that moment just by that question.

[00:34:34] Michaeleen Doucleff: Right.

[00:34:35] Randi Rubenstein: Right, and so it’s like taking a moment when somebody says something to you, and asking yourself, does this feel helpful or hurtful? And when it feels hurtful in any way? Like just saying to the person. Yeah, not helpful. I’m not you know, like that’s just not helpful. 

[00:34:55] Michaeleen Doucleff: teach. I teach Rosie, I mean, we talk about that a lot. I, and I try to, I try to, um, put the, her in the other person’s shoes, right? If I said this to you, would this feel good? Or would this make you feel bad? And most, you know, most of the time she sits there and she thinks about it. And she knows. Oh, that would make me feel bad. It’s like, well, do you want to make this person feel bad? No, I don’t. Right. 

[00:35:20] But it’s, it’s very subconscious, I think, in our society because it happens so much. We say, I mean, little kid, elementary kids can be so mean to each other. And I think it comes a lot from the parents. The parents say these things, why, why did you put it like that? Why’d you make your bed like that? Why did, what are you doing? What are you doing? Why are you doing it like that? You know? 

[00:35:38] And it becomes just this kind of automatic response and I think the kids don’t really even know that they’re hurting another person. And it’s really teaching them to think a little bit, like, how does my action, my statements, affect the feelings of another person. This is not taught in our society in many, many cases. And, you know, it’s something that me and my husband have had to work with, you know, because we, we have the same habits, right? We’re part of the same training and… 

[00:36:11] But you’re so right. Just stopping for a second and saying, is what I’m going to say now going to help, and boost the person’s confidence and boost their, you know, make them feel good and make our relationship better? Or is it going to undermine their confidence and hurt them and kind of make them question? 

[00:36:27] And I’m telling you, if you pay attention, you’ll see a lot of them are whys. It’s very fascinating. 

[00:36:34] You don’t hear why in so many cultures, you don’t, children don’t ask why, why, why, why, why, why? And it’s because the parents aren’t. If somebody is doing something and being helpful, you accept that help, you accept the way they’ve done it. Maybe you come in and you tidy it up a little bit, but you don’t question it. You know, you don’t question help. You don’t question. When a person’s trying, trying their best, you know, it’s a very bossy question.

[00:37:01] Randi Rubenstein: It is a bossy, it is a bossy question. In fact, I was trained with a coaching tool called the Five Whys, and it’s always sort of rubbed me wrong. But it’s really something to ask yourself. Right, when something is upsetting you and then you say to yourself, well, why is this really a problem?

[00:37:21] Michaeleen Doucleff: Right. Yeah. When, yeah, I mean, there’s a lot of ways of asking why I think that it…

[00:37:26] Randi Rubenstein: No, but, but even when I… like, I don’t have a problem giving myself some tough love. Like, why is this really a problem? And then I dig down and dig down and dig down and then I get to the root of what’s really going on when, when you go through that series of whys. So when I use it. I really don’t use it except with my super advanced, uh, students, right? Because they really trust me and they know, I mean, that’s what they all say…

[00:37:54] Michaeleen Doucleff: That you’re trying to help.

[00:37:55] Randi Rubenstein: That, but they, they just know it’s a judgment free zone. I mean, I share so many of my personal stories and, uh, and teach through story and, and use stories in my coaching, and it’s real, it’s authentic and they know that. And so it’s a judgment free zone. And I think that’s why my community is so beautiful, is because we have figured out a way to sort of bring back this sense of community from these ancient cultures where it’s just love and support, love and support. And we’re not, we’re, we’re all workshopping things together. We’re all in it together.

[00:38:33] And so when I use the Five Whys with my people that totally trust me and know for sure, see me for who I am. I’m like, okay, so we’re going to go through the Five Whys and remember, we’re just trying to get to the root of what’s really going on. So this is really about you asking yourself this, you know, and you may want to punch me in the face for asking this question, but I just want you to know kind of the reasoning behind it. Like I always feel the, feel the need to qualify it just a little bit to let, to remind them. Remember, this is the, the point of this exercise. This is not because I’m really asking you why and putting on the spot. 

[00:39:12] Michaeleen Doucleff: And Randi there’s a very, I mean, something very different than what I was talking about is, these people have asked you for help. They’ve asked you for your help and your insights. And I’m talking about when a person or a kid is just the kitchen trying to do the best they can and you’re just like why are you doing? You know? They’re not at, they’re not at right. It’s a very different. I think it’s a very different scenario. 

[00:39:33] Randi Rubenstein: But even when, but even in the scenario of them at, they’re here because they want me to coach them. I still feel like the word why… is, feels accusatory.

[00:39:49] Michaeleen Doucleff: Exactly. That is exactly that what I was trying to say. 

[00:39:53] Randi Rubenstein: I’m in full agreement. I’m like, that’s why I think I qualify it all the time because I’m like, I know this works if you’re asking it to yourself, but anytime somebody else is asking you a why question, it feels accusatory and it

[00:40:08] Michaeleen Doucleff: And it also,

[00:40:09] Randi Rubenstein: doesn’t feel helpful.

[00:40:10] Michaeleen Doucleff: It comes from this perspective as a parent. If you go back to the parent child of like the parent, assuming they have all the knowledge, right? And, and a lot of really learning to cooperate with a person is like, is accepting that you don’t have all the knowledge and you could learn something from from somebody else.

[00:40:29] You can’t cooperate if you think you have all the knowledge, right? You’re never going to be able to cooperate with your child, if you think you are going to, you teach everything, and all the knowledge flows from you to your child, you have to open up the possibility that they’re going to teach you something. And the question why comes from this, you know, is a standpoint of like, I know how to do it and you don’t. 

[00:40:48] Randi Rubenstein: So So true. But I, I think that’s part of our culture. It’s like…

[00:40:51] Michaeleen Doucleff: Yes, it is. 

[00:40:52] Randi Rubenstein: The parent is the all-knowing parent. I mean, kind of like, it’s like people who believe that you should never apologize to your kid or own your mistake.

[00:41:02] Michaeleen Doucleff: That’s right. 

[00:41:03] Randi Rubenstein: And I’m like, owning your mistake and apologizing is one of the best ways to build connection and, and to have a real conversation. Like, like not apologizing to your kid, you’re missing a huge opportunity and an easy way to connect and be seen, be human to human.

[00:41:24] 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 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.

[00:41:58] And, as always, we’re on all the social channels under mastermind parenting, on Instagram it’s mastermind_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, and I love, love, love getting to know you guys. 

[00:42:31] So thanks for listening. If you like this podcast, please don’t forget to subscribe, rate and review. Super super appreciative 

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by Randi Rubenstein