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269: From Surviving to Thriving in The New Year

We all know that holiday festivities can be stressful. When you’re navigating a sensitive, strong-willed child through extended family get-togethers and seemingly endless days with no schedule or structure, it can be especially nerve-wracking. What your family needs is leadership. The episode we’re resharing this week will give you the tools to step into that pack leader role, set up the structures your kids need to feel safe, and follow through on implementing them, even when it’s tempting to let it slide.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How the holidays can serve up a big side of guilt when things don’t go the way we imagine. 
  • Why strong-willed kids are extra reliant on you to provide consistency and communication.
  • The follow-through skills you need to put all your parenting learning and research into practice.

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.

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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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MMP 269 – From Surviving to Thriving in The New Year

[00:00:00] 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. 

[00:00:10] Well, hi, guys. How are you this week? I know that the Christmas season is here and everybody’s sort of spending some quality time with family, maybe taking some time off work. And if you’re the parent of a particularly strong willed child, I know that quite often these days can feel long, and you can lay your head down at night feeling guilty that it didn’t go according to plan and life was harder than you wanted it to be.

[00:00:47] I was thinking recently my mom was, my mom and dad actually, were sharing a story. It’s very funny because my parents, now that my kids are older… 

[00:00:56] our parents, when we’re doing it differently than they did or knew how to do, I think that it’s human nature for people to sort of be critical. 

[00:01:06] Because everybody, like, your parents love you just like you love your kids. My parents love me just like I love my kids. And everybody, we’re deep down worried, like, that we’re doing it wrong. Like, we don’t want to screw our kids up. We want to believe that we’re doing our most important role in life well. 

[00:01:26] I don’t think most of us think about this consciously. I think it’s just this thing lurking underneath. I think it’s why other people’s judgment can feel so caustic when they make just like the littlest comment or the littlest remark. 

[00:01:40] We can like get so defensive and, you know, my parents used to say, oh, if you feed your kids so healthy, why are they begging for chocolate chip cookies at 9:30 in the morning when they sleep over here? I’m like, because chocolate chip cookies are delicious and they’re available. I would get all defensive about it. 

[00:01:58] But my parents really just wanted validation that they didn’t do such a shabby job. And younger me didn’t really know how to not be so defensive. Every, every little stupid thing that they said, which was like, not a big deal, I would armor up about it and I would get all defensive about it. And it really wasn’t, it never needed to be such a big deal. And so there were these little critical moments, which weren’t even a big deal, but I made a bigger deal out of them than I needed to.

[00:02:27] And now that my kids are older, and I do this, my parents are, um, you know, they see the finished product and they’re proud grandparents. So they shout from the rooftops to every person, every employee that works for my mom, every person they come into contact that have little kids, every relative of mine, cousin with younger kids. Oh, you should be going to Randi. You should be going to Randi. You should be going to Randi. 

[00:02:53] And so they were sharing a story with me about a cousin of mine who has a strong willed child who is not interested in learning from me, which is totally fine. And they were saying like, you know, his son, wakes up at 5 30 in the morning and my mom’s like, you know, I was just saying, you just need to teach him that he’s not allowed to get out of his bed until the seven is on the clock. That’s what Randi did. 

[00:03:18] Which makes me laugh, like now there’s this great thing where it’s like a froggy and a green light and you don’t even have to, like, I remember if I had to wait till my kids were like three and I worked so hard to teach them, this is the number seven and this is where it needs to be on the clock. Now you can just program the froggy to turn green and tell your kids that they’re not allowed to get out of their bed till the froggy’s green. 

[00:03:37] Anyway, so they were sharing this story with me and we were just kind of talking about how, like, really how you can learn these things. And then the hard part is the follow through. You can read a million, because she was saying like, they’ve read a lot of books. 

[00:03:55] And my thought is, is I’ve read, I mean, I’ve spent 20 years reading books by, so many awesome clinicians. Like I’m not the only game in town who teaches these concepts. Dr. Shafali, brilliant, she’s so much more eloquent than I am. I love her. I love her message. Dr. Laura Markham. She, her company’s called AHA Parenting. Love. She teaches so many similar concepts. There’s several, there’s lots of people. Anyone’s. teaching, anything that has to do with conscious parenting.

[00:04:28] I’ve just found that most of the people that come to me, they like my real mom talk, that my expertise is in the field creating this recipe because I had a strong willed child. And I read all the things and then I combined it and give everyone the Cliff Notes and I just know that this recipe works and it feels selfish not to share it. So if you have a strong willed kid, I don’t care if you come to me or if you go to one of these other parenting experts who, frankly, may appeal to you way more. Just go to someone and support yourself in doing what it takes to actually follow through. 

[00:05:11] And what I told my parents was I said, you know, 

[00:05:14] you can know what to do all day long, but the hard part is working on your own mindset, how you actually take what needs to be done to help your child understand, these are the rules of the household. This is why we have the rules of the household for your body to get the rest it needs. And establishing, having that conversation, that productive conversation, knowing how to have that ahead of time, where you establish the rules. 

[00:05:43] And then, what I say is you establish the rules, you repeat it often, you follow through consistently. Knowing all day long that you’re going to show up in your confident pack leadership, and you’re going to let them know what’s coming, you’re going to repeat it often. Remember, tonight bedtime’s at this time, your body’s got to get the rest it needed you got up too early. So we’re going to make up for that. So you, you know how to have that conversation. 

[00:06:07] And then following through. 

[00:06:10] When it comes to bedtime, you can bet a child that’s four or five, six years old, who hasn’t had follow through in this way with this firm and loving pack leadership to let them know, like, you’re safe in the world. I’m the parent. I got this. This is, we’re doing this and I’m, we’re not going to talk, you know, I’m just going to return you to your bed and help you learn that from this time to this time, you’re in your bed getting the sleep your body needs. I love you too much. This is too important not to. And you’re returning them to their bed.

[00:06:42] And I promise you that first night is going to be you know, a shit storm. It’s going to be terrible. And so you got to be mentally prepared for it. And then, night two is a little easier and night three is a lot easier and by, you know, usually the end of that week, your child starts to believe you and you followed through. 

[00:07:05] It’s the follow through that’s so hard. It’s exhausting. 

[00:07:10] And so learning how to do things differently, if you have a strong willed kid, they need that structure. They need that consistency. And I’ll tell you something, they are taking in stimuli at a heightened degree in their environment. They’re exhausted. So if they’re operating on an hour and a half or two hours less of sleep a night than their bodies require, you know, they’re really operating from a deficit. 

[00:07:40] A lot of times sleep deprivation shows up, all the studies say it shows up as ADHD signs. We used to say this about our daughter, Avery, who really was just an easy person from the time she was born, but with an hour less of sleep a night, she required a ton of sleep, an hour less of sleep a night. She was just not as enjoyable. 

[00:08:01] So, if you have a child that really, really needs this sleep and really needs the structure, they need to know what to expect, they need to know what the rules are so that they can feel more regulated on the inside. And you’re not doing it, you’re just doing the same thing over and over again, and nothing’s working, then you’ve got to figure out what you’re going to shift and change. Because everything is figureoutable and these kids need you to. So find your resource to help you know how to follow through. 

[00:08:42] Because, what I was saying to my parents is, the thing that gets me, I don’t care. If, if, if I don’t appeal to someone or my methods, the way I teach them, doesn’t appeal to someone, that’s okay. And 

[00:08:55] if you have one of these strong willed kids, they are harder to parent and they super need structure in place. It helps them to feel calmer in their body and safer in the world. 

[00:09:08] And when they’re not getting that. Then they show up not as their best selves. So they’re being difficult at home for you. They’re going out into the world and they’re being difficult for their teachers. They’re being difficult with their peers. The world receives them less kindly because they are more difficult versus you figuring out how to get that structure in place, how to follow through. Right? 

[00:09:36] Lean into the suckage and follow through and create that stability for them at home. Well, now all of a sudden they know what to expect, so they feel calmer and more regulated in their body. And so they show up differently in the world and the world receives them differently. 

[00:09:54] This affects their inner speech. This affects their self talk. Because a kid that is difficult at home and difficult out in the world, you know what? They start to create this sense of self, which is I’m not that likable. People don’t like me. I get my needs met and attention and I’m seen and feel relevant in the world by behaving in a way that other people find difficult. And so that becomes their sense of self. And I promise you, a kid that is showing up that way and feeling that way is not going to be a confident kid, is not going to think that they’re awesome and deserve to be celebrated. 

[00:10:38] I don’t know if y’all know that the speaker, Marissa Pierre, her whole thing is all about self worth and that we have a self worth epidemic going on and that, you know, most people don’t feel truly worthy. And if you think about it, like think about when you make like the stupidest little mistake and you’re like, ugh, I’m such an idiot. Like you say things to yourself that you wouldn’t say to someone you love and yet that’s how you talk to yourself over something silly.

[00:11:06] Where do you think that comes from? It comes from, there were certain areas where you were shamed as a kid. You know, the adults probably didn’t mean to shame you, but it was just the way it was done. And so then that becomes the way you speak to yourself in your head. 

[00:11:25] So I promise you these strong willed kids who are being difficult at home, showing up in the world, being difficult everywhere, they don’t feel good about themselves. And so that’s going to become their inner dialogue. And they will have a self worthy crisis going on within them. 

[00:11:46] So it’s so important, if you have one of these kids and what you’re doing is not working, to find your resource that’s going to help you follow through in creating that structured, safe, loving environment where your kid can truly start showing up as their best self. Because that’s how we combat the self worth epidemic that we have going on in our culture. 

[00:12:16] So I wanted to share that with you guys and I wanted to say, if you get nothing else from this, I want you to think over the holidays. Life’s difficult. And the days feel, it feel like they’re never ending. And the memories aren’t exactly what you were hoping. And there’s a lot of tension. And you’re just not having as much fun as you thought you were going to have when you’re, you’re off of work and home with your family and supposed to be doing all these things, creating this beautiful connected family dynamic. 

[00:12:52] If that’s not happening, I want you to just have an honest conversation with yourself and to really think about the fact that it does, look, it’s easy to come up with excuses as to why you, you know, this one won’t work and, oh, I read books and I don’t like her method, I don’t like her process. That’s fine. But excuses keep you in inaction. Excuses are the way that you stay stuck. 

[00:13:23] So I don’t care whether it’s me or some other game in town, I’m not the only game in town. Find your resource and get the support that you need. Start taking action and make your year, that you’re truly going to go from surviving to thriving as a family. 

[00:13:41] Okay. Have a beautiful holiday. Bye guys. 

[00:13:44] Randi Rubenstein: 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.

[00:14:18] 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. 

[00:14:51] 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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