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257: Hunt, Gather, Parent Your Family: Dealing With Judgy Adults (Part 2)

Our latest Hunt, Gather, Parent conversation was so big and juicy, we couldn’t fit it into just one episode! In part two of this episode, journalist and author Michaeleen Doucleff is back to help us unpack what happens when other adults are judging us for our parenting choices. 

We respond to a real-life scenario submitted by a Mastermind parent, and Michaeleen shares her own experience of dealing with judgment from her own mom. We also talk about some strategies for dealing with kiddos when they’re lashing out, and ways that common parenting advice sets us up to struggle with hurt feelings, whether they’re caused by kids or other adults.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  1. That you can feel plenty of judgment from a disapproving parent, even if they never say a word.
  2. The approach you can use to handle both judgy adults and kiddos who are acting out.
  3. Why it’s okay to acknowledge when your child hurts your feelings.
  4. The transformative power of learning from your kids, and letting them know when they’re teaching you.

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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[00:00:00] Michaeleen Doucleff: If I’m that angry, do I want Matt coming over to me and going, your fists are clenched. I’m sorry, I won’t say it bad. Your fists are clenched, and your face is really red. I’d want to punch him in the face.

[00:00:11] Randi Rubenstein: Yeah, right, right,

[00:00:13] Michaeleen Doucleff: How condescending is that? That’s not 

[00:00:15] Randi Rubenstein: Right. 

[00:00:15] Michaeleen Doucleff: What I need. Somebody telling me that I’m angry? Oh, go on and tell me I’m PMSing at the same time.

[00:00:23] Randi Rubenstein: Right, right, or go, or like the, or like the saying, no one in the history of calming down ever calmed down from being told to calm down, right?

[00:00:31] Michaeleen Doucleff: Like, I don’t know. I want to write something on this topic because I don’t think it’s helping us. And it’s definitely not helping the one, two, three set. Because they can’t even hear you. It just sounds like, AHHHHH! I mean, it just sounds like stimulation. More stimulation. I mean, I used to say so much stuff to Rosie when she was tantruming, and it just made everything worse. If I whispered it, it might work.

[00:00:57] Randi Rubenstein: 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. 

[00:01:08] Randi Rubenstein: Hi everyone. How was your week? If you haven’t listened to part one of episode 257 with Michaeleen Doucleff, my favorite author of the book, Hunt, Gather, Parent. I wouldn’t say she’s my favorite author of every genre, but she is my favorite author in the parenting section of books. Right, because her book doesn’t read like a normal parenting book. It really reads like a journalistic perspective and I just find her fascinating and her research fascinating. 

[00:01:48] Randi Rubenstein: So if you haven’t listened to part one, I encourage you to go back and listen to that first. And if you have listened to part one… she’s just a delightful human, is she not? And I really loved this conversation all about judgment. So here is part two, uh, enjoy.

[00:02:10] Michaeleen Doucleff: For Rosie and I, our relationship changed probably the most when, when I stopped giving her a hundred commands an hour. That was a, that was like a huge breakthrough. But also when I started, it was hard, but really believing that she could teach me something.

[00:02:28] Randi Rubenstein: Hmm. They have so much to teach us. They…

[00:02:31] Michaeleen Doucleff: So much to teach us, but really believing it. And I, and it took, it took months, even like even years for me to, again, it’s, it’s habits, is how I’m trained for me to have to stop and think, okay, maybe her idea is good. Maybe we should try it, you know? But what it did was, once I started really believing that she could teach me something and the knowledge could flow both ways, was I actually started listening to her Right, because if you know all the knowledge and all you are all knowing you’re this all knowing being you don’t need to listen to the person. You nod your head go, mm hmm, but you don’t actually need to listen. 

[00:03:05] Michaeleen Doucleff: But if you start to really believe that this little creature this little tiny poor thing creature can teach you something then you actually pay attention to them to what they’re saying and and they feel that. They know when you’re really listening to them and taking their input and man does it make them feel good and does it make them motivated to work with you and motivated to be on your side and it just changes the whole dynamic of the relationship. 

[00:03:34] Randi Rubenstein: So beautiful, because it’s also like, imagine if you’re a little person and your big people are actually listening, not just listening to you, but learning like, yeah, that’s a great idea. I wouldn’t have thought of that. Like, what a confidence builder.

[00:03:54] Michaeleen Doucleff: Oh, huge, huge. Because you’re, you think about it from their shoes, you’re everything to them, you’re life, you’re safety, you’re food. I mean, you, you, you are so needed for their survival. And for that, those people to take your ideas or just even ponder them, even just say, let’s think about that. That’s a good idea. Let me, let’s think about that.

[00:04:18] Michaeleen Doucleff: Oh, it’s, it’s like they’ve, you know, you’ve hung the moon and it’s like, they’ve come and they’re helping you hang it. You know, it’s, it, I’m telling you, it’s, I think it’s why kids in our neighborhood at Rosie school, like love to be in our house. Because I treat them that way. I really listen to them.

[00:04:37] Michaeleen Doucleff: The psychiatrist, psychologist, 

[00:04:40] Michaeleen Doucleff: Lori Gottlieb, right? The famous pop psychologist. She has some line in her book that I always think about. Like the deliciousness of being seen. Like really being seen and it is, it’s, it’s delicious. I feel it when people, my colleagues, you, my husband really sees me. It’s the, it feels like eating a sundae. It’s that delicious. 

[00:05:04] Michaeleen Doucleff: And that’s what I see in Rosie when I really… sometimes I don’t even ask her. I was like, we’ve got this, I’ve got this problem at work, Rosie. Can you help me with it? She like comes over, you know, she like comes over and like, you know, and like just talking to her helps me, right? And like, I think it really changed my relationship with her when I, when I started really believing she could teach me something. But you have to believe it. 

[00:05:29] Randi Rubenstein: It’s just, it’s like, well, you have to believe it. But it’s also like. When Corey was a counselor at camp with seven and eight year olds and it was such an impactful time for him and they were all homesick at the beginning. So homesick for many days and, and he had never been a counselor before. There was like, it was right after COVID and so there was a counselor shortage. So they were like putting a 16 year old and like without really having a senior counselor, kind of anyway. 

[00:06:01] Randi Rubenstein: So he was running a lot by me that month. He learned so much. I, he, we just talked about it the other day cause that was not last summer, but the summer before he’s, that was one of the times in his life where he felt most alive and, he came home from camp with pneumonia. Like his body was run down. Like he was the mom of a cabin, you know, of kids. And he learned so much. And he was at first at the beginning, he was running a lot by me in terms of the kids being homesick. 

[00:06:34] Randi Rubenstein: And he was like, the adult, like the, like the lady who’s the camp mom, like they’re doing it wrong, mom. They’re lying to these kids. They’re telling him that they’ll call their parents. It’s like, they’re leading them on rather than leveling, leveling with them. So he was running a lot of things by me. And at first, I was giving him advice, right? We’ll say, do this, say this, whatever. And then I shifted and I said, actually, you know what to do?

[00:07:02] Michaeleen Doucleff: Ooh, that’s good. 

[00:07:04] Randi Rubenstein: I was like, you know what to do. Like you have been raised knowing what to do. And so I want you to lean into what feels like the right response. What feels like the right thing to do? And then that’s when I think he really felt that sense of agency and autonomy. And he said to me, probably like midway through the session, he was in love with these children. He said, mom, these kids are amazing. 

[00:07:37] Michaeleen Doucleff: Awww. 

[00:07:39] Randi Rubenstein: he was like, you have to talk to them… like they’re so with it, you have to talk to them like basically like they’re your age. They know they’re lying to them. They know, they’re like, I know she’s not calling my mom. I know she’s not calling my mom. He’s like, and so they don’t want to be lied to. 

[00:07:56] Randi Rubenstein: So when I talk to them and I’m like, yeah, I don’t think she’s calling your mom either. You know, what are we going to do to get through this? He’s like, I have to level, I have to be like, dude, look, I know you’d rather be home. Like how are we going to make the best of it? Like I, I remember, I know how you’re feeling. He’s like, you have to just level with them. That’s the only way they get through it. 

[00:08:18] Michaeleen Doucleff: That’s so great. I love it. I love that he, you, I love that you helped him but then you also, like, pointed out when he had it, you know? Like, that’s what a good, that’s what a good mentor, a good boss, a good coach, what does is like, okay, yeah, you’re ready. 

[00:08:34] Michaeleen Doucleff: We had these little barn swallows in our porch and we watched them get hatched, they had a little nest, and they hatched their, their little babies, and we watched them, and you, you could see the day that the parents knew that the barn swallows were ready to fly, because they just left them, they like, abandoned them, and like, I was like, where are the parents, where are the parents, and I realized that they were getting them to come out, and, and start flying, and that, that’s, that’s what you did, I, that’s, it’s very beautiful, Randi, I love it.

[00:09:02] Randi Rubenstein: Um, okay. So let’s play a couple of scenarios of, uh, where moms left messages in my group, I got permission from them, about judgy relatives. Judgy relatives, right? It’s the worst. 

[00:09:22] Jordan E.: Hi, ladies. I have a kind of question, I guess, for you guys. We went to like a flower farm today with my mom, which I don’t do a whole lot with my mom. Our relationship is kind of weird, but I still try to involve her. So I invited her. 

[00:09:39] Jordan E.: My kids were a little bit all over the place. Uh, Briar was running away and yelling and wanting to do what she wanted to do. And Layla was very hyper. I think she was just super excited. It was really fun. She was cutting flowers, but also was not listening to what I was asking and. Basically, they’re running in opposite directions and not listening to me. 

[00:10:04] Jordan E.: And, um, my mom’s, you know, kind of just standing there. And my mom doesn’t say anything, but I still know in her mind, I know the way that she parents, she watches my nephews on a constant basis. and obviously I know the way that she parented me. It’s like, why, you know, why are you not yelling at your children? Why are you not, whether it’s spanking them, why are you not getting upset and very, very firm with them. 

[00:10:28] Jordan E.: And in my mind, I was like, well, there’s nothing really I can do in public for this, you know, trying to do the whole, you know, give Briar, you know, I can hold you, or you can hold my hand type of stuff. Um, LayIa didn’t really know what to do with, um, 

[00:10:42] Jordan E.: But, how do I deal with the emotions of, uh, I don’t know if it would be shame or what, when it looks like I’m not parenting the way that I know that my mom would and the judgment that I feel about that. I’m just trying to figure out like, a phrase or something that I should say to myself.

[00:11:03] Jordan E.: It’s like, I know I just, I’m doing what I need to be doing for my family. Um, I know this is the right way. I shouldn’t give a crap because what she did. You know, was not super helpful for me, um, but still, kind of just like a mantra, I guess that I could say to myself when I am feeling, whether it feels like shame that I don’t have my kids in, you know, quotations control.

[00:11:27] Randi Rubenstein: Okay. Yeah. 

[00:11:29] Michaeleen Doucleff: Lots of whys. 

[00:11:30] Randi Rubenstein: So that was… Yes. Yes. Yes. I mean, but like, her mom wasn’t saying anything. But she perceived it, right?

[00:11:39] Michaeleen Doucleff: Yeah. And I mean, kids are the same with her, right? They perceive, you don’t need to say anything. We are emotional mirrors of our parents, right? We, we feel it. It’s all feelings. You don’t need to say anything. Kids know your emotion, you know, for sure. So… I have some ideas. I don’t know if to go first… 

[00:11:59] Randi Rubenstein: No, I want, I want to, I want to hear from you. Yeah.

[00:12:03] Michaeleen Doucleff: So, I mean, I think for me, I would probably not say anything in the moment, especially if there’s a tension that she’s picking up and she’s feeling tense and she’s feeling shamed and judged and put down. I think she’s already got enough to handle right there. You know, she’s got to handle the kids. It’s like, you don’t need to handle your, your mom as well, you know? It’s like. I think she will be adding fuel to the fire to say anything in that moment. 

[00:12:30] Michaeleen Doucleff: And so the mantra that I have with my mom. I have a very similar situation with my mom is you know, it’s not gonna help to say anything to her right now. It’s kind of like when the child is having a tantrum and you’re trying, you’re talking to them. It’s the same. It’s like, it’s not going to help right this second to try to teach him a lesson. This needs to be done at a time when nobody feels, nobody has adrenaline rushing through their body. Nobody has cortisol in their body. Right. And it’s like, this, this is a conversation that needs to happen very calmly and in private.

[00:13:00] Michaeleen Doucleff: And, and so I, I would say to myself, it’s not going to help right now, to say anything. I’m going to focus on getting this kids. And then, just like I say in the book with kids, it’s like, then you find a time to talk to to her about how how she’s making you feel, you know? 

[00:13:19] Michaeleen Doucleff: And and it’s almost exactly like I would say to Rosie or I would say to Matt, like just being honest with them, with them and like, I, I felt like a shame from you and I felt like you were judging me and you know, I’m trying my hardest and I’m, you know, I, you could explain what the goals are with, with the kids and, um, but I, I would wait. I would wait. I would not do it at that moment.

[00:13:46] Randi Rubenstein: Yeah. That’s what she did. And so when you’re dealing with a parent that spanked and shamed and

[00:13:55] Michaeleen Doucleff: Yeah,

[00:13:56] Randi Rubenstein: screamed and in their mind – you know, cause everybody wants to believe they’re a good parent. And so in their mind, they have selective memory. In their minds, they had kids that knew how to behave in public, 

[00:14:13] Michaeleen Doucleff: Right.

[00:14:15] Randi Rubenstein: And so therefore it worked.

[00:14:17] Randi Rubenstein: And so when you go and you say to them, hey, this is how I was feeling and it didn’t feel helpful, right? And so you have a boundary. around it. I think, you know, when you’re honest, it’s almost like you just have to expect that, especially a mom that used spanking and yelling and shaming to control you as a child, and now this mom is dealing with the repercussions of that and she has an autoimmune issue and she’s, she’s heightened cortisol mom. Um, right. That’s… 

[00:14:57] Michaeleen Doucleff: yeah.

[00:14:58] Michaeleen Doucleff: Right, right. So another reason to like wait because in those moments We we are going to be more impulsive. It’s just by definition, right?

[00:15:13] Randi Rubenstein: I mean, the fact that she would, she did wait and she had, and she had that, I mean, I’m pausing for applause for Jordan because she didn’t say anything to her in the moment, but when she goes out of the moment and has a calm conversation with her. 

[00:15:28] Randi Rubenstein: It’s almost like you have to be prepared. Like you’re going to be honest because you’re a person of integrity and you show up in honesty. And also, I think you’ve got to also bring your pack leadership, um, and your boundaries, understanding that like there’s a very good chance that your mom that screamed and spanked and did all the things may say, well, I never would have let you act like that. And you knew how to behave in public, right? Like,

[00:15:59] Michaeleen Doucleff: you know, it’s interesting because I had this I mean, I’m not saying that the parent is going to change the grandparent, you know, and I don’t think we can expect our parents to change, But I do, I do think we can tell them how they make us feel and how their actions make us feel. And it’s interesting because I had a similar conversation with my mom.

[00:16:22] Michaeleen Doucleff: So my mom is, um, in many ways, fantastic person. I mean, I, I owe so much of me to her and so much of the, some great things about me. But she has a hard time with Rosie sometimes in the supermarket or kind of similar to what is happening here, where Rosie’s kind of doing too much or not listening to her, you know?

[00:16:44] Michaeleen Doucleff: And I said to her one day, not in the moment, I said, you know, do you remember when you were little and your mom, my grandma, kind of stifled your spirit. You know, cause sometimes she’ll talk about like, she had these plans to like sell all this Halloween stuff and it got, her mom came in and took it all away. Like, so…

[00:17:04] Michaeleen Doucleff: I said, you know, I think you and Rosie are really similar that way. You have all these great plans and you have all these, you know, you have this incredible spirit. I mean, I see them. They’re very similar. Like, you’re going to go and you’re going to go and get something and you want to do it yourself. And you want, you know, you just, you want to do it. And do you remember when your mom took that away and tried to stifle that? Like, how did that make you feel? 

[00:17:28] Michaeleen Doucleff: And she was like, oh, I didn’t like it at all. And I was like, well, I’m trying to let Rosie have more of that and have that freedom to express that part of her. And I’m trying to, to not stifle it like the way your mom did. 

[00:17:44] Michaeleen Doucleff: So instead of putting it like all on just me, I kind of tried to show her a little bit about how she was treated. And kind of what she wanted at, you know, put her back and in the kid, the kid seat and try to remember it really changed her and I wasn’t trying to change her. I was just really trying to be honest. Like, you know, um, it really shifted her. She was like, oh, I see. I understand now why you’re kind of stepping off, so, stepping back a little bit and not being so controlling. 

[00:18:11] Randi Rubenstein: Brilliant. Brilliant. I mean, it’s brilliant because what you did was you actually, you coached her by using empathy, by going into her perspective from when she was a kid.

[00:18:29] Michaeleen Doucleff: Yes.

[00:18:31] Randi Rubenstein: And that was, I mean, that was just a brilliant way to help her to see Rosie’s perspective. Um and humanize it. 

[00:18:40] Michaeleen Doucleff: I mean took like seven years for me to come up with it, but like it did, it did change things. You know, but it was honest. I really feel like if we come from our like a where we like we’re in touch with our bodies and how we’re feeling, and we tell a person that, you know, they might get upset, but it will change the dynamic in the conversation, right? And, that’s what try to tell Rosie, too. 

[00:19:10] Randi Rubenstein: Yeah, you really set the tone for that conversation by also just like, you included her. Like rather than othering her. It makes me feel judged when you yada, yada, yada. Instead you went directly into it by seeing her perspective and touching on something that she could connect with and she could identify. 

[00:19:34] Randi Rubenstein: And then she did what humans do, she was able to connect the dots and, because that’s what empathy does. Empathy brings you up into your thinking brain. And now you are in a place where you’re able to receive information. You’re not in your defensive emotional state, right?

[00:19:54] Michaeleen Doucleff: Right, I hadn’t thought of it like that. 

[00:19:56] Randi Rubenstein: That was so brilliant. Yeah. I love, love, love that. 

[00:20:00] Randi Rubenstein: Okay. So I think because that was such a good scenario, we’re only going to read one, one scenario and I think we’re going to wrap it up. Because we could just do this all day. 

[00:20:11] Michaeleen Doucleff: You know, Randi, I, I’ll say one more thing that I learned this week that I hadn’t. And you can totally edit this out. Um, but I, I hadn’t thought of this in a psychologist that I talked to on their podcast, interpreted it this way. And I was blown away by it. 

[00:20:27] Michaeleen Doucleff: So you know how we’re taught in, in America to validate children’s feelings or, or I don’t know if validate is right. That’s what we call it. But like, um, tell them how they’re feeling is kind of how I see it. Like, I know you’re angry. I see you’re angry. You probably can do it much better than I, I I’m going to do it. 

[00:20:46] Michaeleen Doucleff: Um, But interestingly, I think what I saw and what I learned around the world was a different view of that. I never saw that. And I never, and it gets to a little bit about what we were just talking about. I never heard a parent say that to a child. I see you’re angry. I think that there’s some, like, lack of emotional autonomy there going on. But, but what I did see was the parent respond in a way, It showed the child how their action was making the parent feel.

[00:21:20] Michaeleen Doucleff: So for instance, one of the ways I really got Rosie to, um, stop hitting me was I would tell, if she hit me, I would say, ow, that hurt. Do you not like me? And I have it on tape and everything. It’s incredible. And the first time I did it, Rosie thought to herself and she said, oh no, no, mama, I love you. And, this is in the book, I think, I’m pretty sure it’s in the book, it’s in the, one of the NPR stories too. 

[00:21:47] Michaeleen Doucleff: And the psychologist told me, she’s like, I was so struck by this because, what you’re teaching her is how her actions make other people feel. And it’s not just how her feelings are affecting herself. And um, I think kids should understand how their feelings affect themselves. I think that’s important, but I think maybe just focusing on that we lose sight of this idea that we are in this like communal relationship and with our family and our friends, and our actions do affect other people and then in our emotions do and, and… 

[00:22:25] Michaeleen Doucleff: I don’t know. I just thought that that was such an interesting point of like, how do we teach children to do what you just talked about? Come up into their like, they’re in touch with their empathy and their thoughts and, and I think that maybe that’s one way is being honest with them about how their emotions and their actions are affecting us, you know, not to the point where we’re so upset and like, we’re out of control, but like…

[00:22:51] Michaeleen Doucleff: I think we have this idea in our society that like, you can’t make me feel a certain way. I have a boundary, you know, my mom often says that like, but you can’t make me feel a way because I have boundaries. And I’m like, okay, great. You have boundaries. I think we also need some boundaries, but you do make me feel ways, and I do make you feel ways, because we love each other, and we help each other, and we need each other, and I think it’s important for kids to learn that, as well as like, how are your emotions making, making you feel.

[00:23:20] Michaeleen Doucleff: Anyway, you can just cut that out if you don’t like it, but… 

[00:23:23] Randi Rubenstein: No, I’m not going to, I’m not going to cut anything out. This is the point of these. I think there’s an interesting nuance. We’re helping kids to understand this interconnectedness,

[00:23:35] Michaeleen Doucleff: Yeah.

[00:23:36] Randi Rubenstein: Right? We’re all connected to each other in some way. Right? And whether, even if you think about things in nature, like we are all, there’s an interconnectedness that is meant, that is part of the human, human experience that I think in a capitalistic society, many of us have, have been trained not to think of it, just like you and yours, right? And more and more and more and the competition. 

[00:24:07] Randi Rubenstein: But there’s that, there’s this beautiful interconnectedness that exists in these indigenous cultures. And I think where we get hung up quite often is because of just the nature of Western society. Um, I think there’s so much codependence. Like, I’m responsible for your emotions and you’re responsible for my emotions and, so often parents will say like that, you know, that made me sad or, you know, you know, how do you think that makes me feel when you do this? It makes me sad. 

[00:24:43] Randi Rubenstein: And so I think there’s a nuance what you described, right? And even like, like, I mean, the majority of communication is not words. It’s tone and it’s body language. So your body language in that moment is, is not, it’s not manipulative in any way. It’s honest. It’s, when somebody smacks you, it hurts. When somebody smacks you, it’s jarring. It hurts. Ow. 

[00:25:15] Michaeleen Doucleff: I mean, I think that there’s a, it’s like you’re swinging way to these extremes, right, it’s like we either don’t care about what, you know, other people can’t make me feel a certain way, I have a boundary, which is one view, to the other extreme of like, I am responsible for your emotions. There’s so much in between, right? 

[00:25:33] Michaeleen Doucleff: I mean, there’s just so much and to stay in either set is like, I think I’m responsible for your emotions is like, okay, that’s impossible. There’s no emotional autonomy there. I mean, that’s just, this is a fantasy world. It doesn’t exist. And then the other, I think they both are fantasy worlds.

[00:25:51] Michaeleen Doucleff: We just, we can’t deny the fact, look, these children are born connected. Literally, right? I mean, the child is physically connected to the mom and then they’re physically connected to some source of food. They’re, you know, they need the mom to hold them. They will die. We are born into a connective world.

[00:26:12] Michaeleen Doucleff: And then as they’re little, they absolutely need us. They need connections. They need deep, deep physical mental connections to us. And because of that connectivity, 

[00:26:24] Michaeleen Doucleff: what we do influences each other. Influences. Not responsible for. Influences each other’s feelings and emotions. 

[00:26:33] Randi Rubenstein: The nuance. That’s the nuance. 

[00:26:35] Michaeleen Doucleff: And I think we’re missing that in a lot of our parenting advice. It’s okay for your child to make you feel bad, right? That’s okay. In fact,

[00:26:49] Randi Rubenstein: Right.

[00:26:49] Michaeleen Doucleff: she, absolutely, she’s going to. And I’m gonna make her feel bad at moments. And I think it’s coming and saying hey that mean that made me feel bad that hurt my feelings That’s when we learn how to treat each other with kindness You know?

[00:27:05] Michaeleen Doucleff: I’m not, saying you did it intentionally. I’m not saying that you’re responsible for my feelings, but hey, that, that hurt my feelings, you know, and 

[00:27:13] Randi Rubenstein: I didn’t like it.

[00:27:16] Michaeleen Doucleff: Yeah, you know, or would you like it if I did that to you? You know? So anyway, I thought it was really interesting, like this, because I’ve, I’ve thought a lot about this, like naming of emotions and it’s very fascinating because it’s from some perspective, it’s the parent telling the child how they feel. Like one of the moms here said, parents always say, well, you’re tired. And I mean, of course we do know when kids are tired, but like, it’s like you, you’re in their brain and you know how they feel. 

[00:27:44] Randi Rubenstein: What do you think about this? Like, I was taught when we taught, when we’re looking at a kid, let’s say a kid is in extreme, what seems like anger. To describe, like, if you have a kid tantruming on the floor, screaming, you’re like, and this is from a program for teachers, Conscious Discipline, your face is red, your fists are clenched, you’re doing this. It seems like you’re angry. So it seems like you’re angry. But you describe the way, what the child is physically doing.

[00:28:17] Michaeleen Doucleff: Mm hmm. 

[00:28:18] Randi Rubenstein: And I always felt like you seem

[00:28:22] Michaeleen Doucleff: hmm.

[00:28:23] Randi Rubenstein: this or you seem that leaves room for the child to say, I’m not tired. I’m not angry. And, and then, and then to respond, but then to respond, okay, how are you feeling? What is it then? What’s really going on? 

[00:28:40] Michaeleen Doucleff: Maybe. 

[00:28:41] Randi Rubenstein: You disagree? 

[00:28:42] Michaeleen Doucleff: I just, I’ve never seen this behavior from a, from a parent. And so it really makes me question it. I really question these things that we do that we’ve never done before. And we, and we kind of swallowed them hook, line, and sinker a little bit, like to the point where like we aren’t questioning them. Nobody questions this. I personally am more about emotional autonomy. I made up this term when I got back from traveling of like letting people have their emotional moments. Being there for little kids, being next to them, maybe touching them, maybe holding out a hand, do you need to touch me?

[00:29:24] Michaeleen Doucleff: And you know what touch does to a child when they’re upset? I mean, it’s insane. Your words can never do what the touch does. Never. In my new book, I’m going to talk about that. Like what a, just a, a stroke on the arm will do to your brain. 

[00:29:37] Randi Rubenstein: Or eye contact. Like my daughter was saying when she babysat, like it’s amazing mom. If you just, when a kid is starting to like spin off the rails If you just get them just look into my eyes just for a minute. If you get down on their level and get them to look in your eyes It’s like you cast a magical spell on them and all of a sudden you see their body relax.

[00:29:58] Michaeleen Doucleff: The, the deliciousness of being seen, you know? I mean, I also feel like it’s a script, you know, that you’re kind running through. I don’t 

[00:30:07] Randi Rubenstein: Mm hmm. 

[00:30:08] Michaeleen Doucleff: I’m not, I’m not, in love with it and I will, I won’t do it. 

[00:30:13] Randi Rubenstein: Yeah. 

[00:30:13] Michaeleen Doucleff: We have a kid at our school that had a lot of anger problems and. I don’t know. I don’t think I would ever do that. We worked through a lot of it. Now, could I talk about it later with him? Maybe.

[00:30:28] Randi Rubenstein: It’s interesting. I don’t think it’s really necessary because I’ll tell you why that program is so successful, Conscious Discipline, because they’re all about creating a school family. So give, and they give, and they give kids jobs and everybody gets to have a job and they have all these rituals and there’s, it’s all…

[00:30:44] Randi Rubenstein: And so I think a lot of those scripts. You’re right. I don’t think they’re necessary. I think it’s like, and when one, when one member of the school family is struggling, they literally have roles where other kids, it’s like their job for the day to go and help and to be next to somebody who’s having a hard time and to, and to help them, to be with them, to support them. Right?. And so, yeah,

[00:31:13] Michaeleen Doucleff: I mean, look at it this way. 

[00:31:15] Michaeleen Doucleff: If I’m that angry, do I want Matt coming over to me and going, your fists are clenched. I’m sorry, I won’t say it bad. Your fists are clenched, and your face is really red. I’d want to punch him in the face.

[00:31:27] Randi Rubenstein: Yeah, right, right,

[00:31:28] Michaeleen Doucleff: How condescending is that? That’s not 

[00:31:30] Randi Rubenstein: right. 

[00:31:31] Michaeleen Doucleff: what I need. Somebody telling me that I’m angry? Oh, go on and tell me I’m PMSing at the same time.

[00:31:38] Randi Rubenstein: Right, right, or go, or like the, or like the saying, no one in the history of calming down ever calmed down from being told to calm down, right?

[00:31:47] Michaeleen Doucleff: Like, I don’t know. I want to write something on this topic because I don’t think it’s helping us. And it’s definitely not helping the one two three set. Because they can’t even hear you. It just sounds like, AHHHHH! I mean, it just sounds like stimulation. More stimulation. I mean, I used to say so much stuff to Rosie when she was tantruming, and it just made everything worse. If I whispered it, it might work.

[00:32:10] Randi Rubenstein: Yeah, you know what I’ve been teaching, because I know that it works is, especially with highly sensitive kids who are just, you know, stimulation overload and they start to spin off the rails. And when they get violent, you know, a lot of times it’s like parents are like, what am I supposed to do when he’s trying to smack me in the face and flailing and destroying his room or whatever. And so parents feel powerless. 

[00:32:38] Randi Rubenstein: And so I’ve been teaching this, this thing. I said, well, you have to just keep safety in your brain. Anytime anyone is unsafe, including you, including you, um, your number one job is safety. So if you’ve got a, if you’ve got a kid that is completely spinning off the rails, right? Dysregulated. Then something that’s helpful is to go behind them and bear hug them. And I want you to think, think of yourself as a human weighted blanket, weighted blankets exist for a reason because it helps to ground the nervous system, 

[00:33:15] Michaeleen Doucleff: Well they’re designed after people.

[00:33:18] Randi Rubenstein: Right? 

[00:33:18] Michaeleen Doucleff: It’s a hug. It’s a, it’s a, like 

[00:33:20] Randi Rubenstein: it’s a hug. 

[00:33:21] Michaeleen Doucleff: an artificial hug is what a weighted blanket is.

[00:33:24] Randi Rubenstein: Right. And so if you’re, if you’re from behind and you’re bear hugging them, number one, it’s not predatory because you’re not making eye contact. You’re behind them. And you know, if you can do a little deep tissue, like, like a lot of times that’s what a super dysregulated person needs.

[00:33:43] Randi Rubenstein: And so you’re bear hugging them from behind. And if you have to say anything, because any words is just extra input to somebody who’s already spinning. So, if you have to do any, first of all, I would just take my deep breaths and their mirror neurons will hopefully kick in as you’re breaths. And if you have to say anything, you just say, you’re safe. I’m right here.

[00:34:07] Michaeleen Doucleff: Or I love you. You know, there was a period where Rosie was a little violent, and I just got to the point where I completely ignored it. I literally did not care. I was just like, throw the chair. I mean, she was little, she was like three or four, so it wasn’t like she was gonna, and I knew she wasn’t gonna like, really destroy things, like it wasn’t about that, it was about something else.

[00:34:32] Michaeleen Doucleff: But I’m sure parents would think I’m crazy, but I just sat there working one day. And she stopped, after like, a couple minutes. And it, and she rarely did it again, I mean, once I completely ignored it, she rarely, she, I don’t remember doing it again. 

[00:34:49] Randi Rubenstein: She didn’t get any attention for that, and chances are she was doing something really big and dramatic because if you freaked out, then you would have accidentally shown her, oh, when you do these really destructive things, you get all of Taylor Swift’s attention, right? Like, 

[00:35:08] Michaeleen Doucleff: Like ignoring bad behavior is used everywhere. But it is really ignoring, and this is like a point… I, I don’t know if it got emphasized enough in the book. It is really ignoring. It is looking past the child as if… you cannot give an inkling. Of like, you know, cause they know if you’re like slyly looking or you’re like, it is like deadpan. I don’t even know you’re here. And it is potent, potent,

[00:35:40] Randi Rubenstein: Potent.

[00:35:41] Michaeleen Doucleff: for a child. I mean, the most potent tool and I rarely use it. Rarely use it because it’s so potent. But to not be seen, again, we go back to being seen to completely be like, you’re a ghost in the house. The child will stop, but you have to regulate yourself.

[00:35:58] Randi Rubenstein: Oh, it takes so much mind mastery.

[00:36:01] Michaeleen Doucleff: You know, it is like I just put the head, I put the headphones on. I’ll just go on the computer. You know, I mean I am all for hugging and touching, it’s, but sometimes you’re just like I’ve tried that and I’m like, I’m not getting it. And so…

[00:36:15] Randi Rubenstein: Disengage and walk away is, yeah, this is just for, the bear hugging is when you have a violent child that’s going to harm themselves or someone 

[00:36:27] Michaeleen Doucleff: Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. I agree. I totally agree And it’s what, I think that’s what they need. You’re right.

[00:36:35] Randi Rubenstein: It’s only for the, yeah, the violent, because when it’s, yeah, 

[00:36:39] Randi Rubenstein: disengaging and walking away, not giving any airtime to it, that, it’s going to go away.

[00:36:45] Michaeleen Doucleff: It’s so much more powerful than sitting there saying like, you’re angry at me. I mean, it’s, I mean, it’s so much more powerful. Like to this point, Rosie knows, like if I turn look at her or look through her like above her which is like the signal of like I don’t see you. I saw this all the time. So you look kind of above the child turn your back and walk away. She knows she’ll say to me, no, no, mama. No, no. I’m so sorry. Don’t do it. Don’t walk away.

[00:37:11] Randi Rubenstein: So good. 

[00:37:11] Michaeleen Doucleff: It’s like the worst thing, right? to basically say, I don’t have time. 

[00:37:15] Randi Rubenstein: Well, it’s also works. I’ll tell you it works with um, when you have a little kid, they all go through the potty language. I hear this all the time.

[00:37:21] Michaeleen Doucleff: Oh right yes.

[00:37:23] Randi Rubenstein: Right, and so I remember, because a lot of these things I was just in it when my kids were going through it, and I didn’t know what I know now. I mean, so now when I’ve gone through the last eight years with my niece, I’m much more aware because it’s sort of helped in the reverse engineering of my process. Because now, because I’m not in it every day, I can just sort of… It’s almost like I become like the watcher in my, in myself, right? Like, start to, it’s really cool.

[00:37:56] Michaeleen Doucleff: I love that. The watcher in yourself. Yes. That’s like your subconscious watching your, your conscious watching your subconscious.

[00:38:04] Randi Rubenstein: Yeah, it’s so, it’s so weird when it, when I guess it’s like when you’re in the moment. And I remember when she was like, I want to say she was like four or four. She wasn’t five. I think she was about four, maybe five. And we would, we had taken her somewhere for the day and we were out on this dock. And Scott and I were, it was just like this beautiful scene and there was these, um, little porpoises coming by and we were just kind of hanging out.

[00:38:31] Randi Rubenstein: And then Scott and I were talking about something and she wanted our attention and she started using whatever. She was like, poopy, you know, saying whatever. And Scott and I just kept talking and she escalated and she started saying it louder. And, finally, I just looked at her and I was like, almost like a look of like, disgust or annoyance. Like, and then I just went back to talking to Scott.

[00:38:58] Michaeleen Doucleff: Interesting. Gave her the look.

[00:39:00] Randi Rubenstein: I gave her, I gave her a look of like, not anger, but just like, that look of like, this isn’t landing, like that might be shtick that works on the five year old crowd, but like, you know, the 50 year old crowd, not so much.

[00:39:15] Randi Rubenstein: And so I just like gave her this look. And then I went back to talking to Scott and like, she tried about. Two or three more times and when she continued to not get a response, she just stopped and she never did it again. It was unbelievable. 

[00:39:30] Michaeleen Doucleff: Yeah, I mean, you just told her in that one look, like, this behavior is not acceptable, basically. 

[00:39:34] Randi Rubenstein: Yeah, like I’m not, I’m not, I’m not going to engage with that behavior. Like it’s not interesting to me. 

[00:39:39] Michaeleen Doucleff: No. And it’s not how we act. It’s not how you act. It’s not how I act… 

[00:39:43] Randi Rubenstein: You’re better than this.

[00:39:44] Michaeleen Doucleff: Yeah, exactly. That’s exactly right. I have higher expectations of you

[00:39:48] Randi Rubenstein: Yeah. You’re better than this. Be better. 

[00:39:50] Michaeleen Doucleff: That’s beautiful, I love it.

[00:39:51] Randi Rubenstein: Yeah. Um, okay. I think this is going to, I have a feeling we are going to break this up into two episodes so we’re all good. And I’m loving that. 

[00:39:59] Michaeleen Doucleff: I’m sorry. 

[00:40:00] Randi Rubenstein: No, do not apologize. 

[00:40:02] Michaeleen Doucleff: We were like done and then I was like, and then there’s this whole other topic I want to bring up. 

[00:40:06] Randi Rubenstein: This is why, this is why we’re doing this. This is like so much fun to me. I can’t even tell you. So never apologize ever, ever, ever. So much fun. I think our next topic is going to be about that lovely sibling relationship, and as you’ve seen the sibling relationship, which instead of it being all about sibling fighting, I want to call it sibling cooperation.

[00:40:35] Michaeleen Doucleff: Yes. Yes. sibling support, absolutely. I mean, there always is a little, but I never saw it once. I only saw support. 

[00:40:45] Randi Rubenstein: It’s amazing. 

[00:40:46] Michaeleen Doucleff: And love and generosity, and there’s lots of stories. 

[00:40:50] Randi Rubenstein: That’s what I want to tackle because I’ve always tackled it from a sibling fighting perspective because it’s. It’s, it’s like the bane of every mom with multiple kids existence. Nothing can trigger you more than having two people that you love with all your heart fighting.

[00:41:09] Michaeleen Doucleff: Yeah, and that are living together, I mean,

[00:41:11] Randi Rubenstein: It’s the worst. It is the absolute worst. It’s like, because when two people are fighting and you have to pick a side, it’s like if it’s between someone you love and the rest of the world, you’re like, I’m going to choose the person I love. But it’s like multiple people you love and it’s a, it’s an impossible position to be in as a mom. So I love learning about what this sibling support really looked like. And I think that’s going to be a fun conversation.

[00:41:38] Michaeleen Doucleff: There’s tons, and I need, I need to write, everyone always asks me, and I need to write, uh, I think NPR’s gonna do a sibling series, and maybe we’ll… I need to write something on it, because there are really, there’s things you can do, I mean, it’s not, And they’re not what people tell you. So,

[00:41:53] Randi Rubenstein: Yeah. Okay. We’re going to tackle that next. So if you have a sibling, sibling scenario, you can always send it to And that wraps our episode or episodes. Um, thanks so much for being here. I loved it.

[00:42:09] Michaeleen Doucleff: Thank you so much. I learned so much.

[00:42:12] Randi Rubenstein: Me too. Okay. Bye everyone. 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.

[00:42:49] Randi Rubenstein: 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. 

[00:43:22] Randi Rubenstein: 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