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294: This Game-Changing Sentence That Works Like Magic

My conversations with Michaeleen Doucleff are so much fun that sometimes I forget to hit record!

Usually it doesn’t even matter what we talk about, but this time it’s extra good. 

You know those times when your kid is acting like a little contrarian. You say up, they say down. You say yes, they say no. And around and around and around.

Michaeleen has come up with an amazingly simple sentence that shifts this dynamic like magic.

It will turn them not just into collaborators but actual co-creators.

Listen as Michaeleen and I discuss oh so many things. I love my time with her so much and I think you will too!

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How to encourage your child to contribute ideas and collaborate in planning activities.
  • The messages about our values that we send when we choose recreation for our kids.
  • Why things that keep kids engaged aren’t always as fun as they might seem.

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

About Michaleen Doucleff:

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!

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


[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. 

Hi everyone. I have a fun conversation with our favorite Michaelene Duclef, the author of Hunt, Gather, Parent. This week, uh, we covered so many things. Um, we actually were talking, talking, talking, and then I hit. record because we’d already been talking for like 45 minutes and really these episodes were that she and I just catch up and I said, we should just record our conversations.

Problem is, is that you have to remember to hit record. So I hadn’t hit record. We’ve been catching up and talking about all the things that she’s excited about. I’m excited about. And. 45 minutes into our catch up, I hit record. And so I didn’t even introduce the episode at this point. I’m like, doesn’t everyone recognize her voice?

So this is my introduction for our conversation. Um, let me. I’m, I’m trying to remember all the things that we talked about. Oh, she shared, y’all are going to love this. She shared a game changing idea and a sentence, a very specific sentence. And we kind of riffed off this and gave you different options for sentences that has really helped her.

She said, it’s like magical to, um, turn kids into cooperative team members. So when you have a kid that you say yes, they say no, you say up, they say down. She has a game changing sentence. It’s super simple and you guys are going to love the backstory. She shared several stories in this conversation just from all of the time that she spent researching the book that she wrote, Hunt, Gather, Parent, and she, she shares some fun stories that I hadn’t heard before.

So this, y’all are going to love the little. Magical tip that she gives you on it, help on how to help kids to really not just become more cooperative, but become co creators with you. And we unpacked that concept a little bit. So, You’ll, you’ll, you’ll know what, what I’m talking about when she listens to the conversation.

Um, what else did we talk about? We talked about food. Um, we, she, she was, she told me about this, this survey that they did, um, in the eighties and nineties and this article that was written all about something called restrictive parenting. And so that got us talking a little bit about food and food restriction and that led to screens.

Um, Okay. She’s, you know, it kind of ties into this next book that she’s writing, which She’s not ready to talk about yet. She’s in the process of writing it. Um, but I have been learning so much about it. It’s going to be incredible, of course, because everything she does. Oh, I have to say, before we started the episode, I was telling her.

about this tool that I teach parents called the Tall Tale Tool. And I said, you know, it’s actually, we’re talking about something else. And I said, it’s actually, I read this article. It was before, it was probably a few years before Hunt, Gather, Parent came out. And I read this article about the Inuit people.

And it was talking about how they teach kids through story. And I realized that’s what I do. That’s what I had always done with my kids. So I created a tool and, um, and I was telling her, she was like, I wrote that article, Randy. And I was like, I don’t even read things. I don’t, I’m not like an NPR person.

Typically. I was like, that’s wild. She’s like, yeah, you’re quoting back the article that I wrote. So I thought that was kind of hilarious. Um, we talk about video games. And she, and, and then we really went down a rabbit hole talking about the concept of fun, right? Talking about the concept of fun. We talked about, I mean, We, we kind of went back and forth on it, but then I think we realized that we were maybe saying the same thing in different ways.

Um, so we talk about video games, we talk about fun, uh, there’s just so many topics. There’s so many topics. And once the conversation’s over, a lot of times I don’t even remember because we’re just so busy. We’re just sort of so in it with each other. So I’m recording this intro right after we record the episode because I don’t want to forget what the heck we even talked about.

So enjoy this fun conversation with our favorite, my Colleen Tuclef.

[00:04:54] Michaeleen Doucleff: Eating and then, and some of them are just ridiculous. It’s like, I care about what my child eats. I feel like I’m responsible for feeding my child. I’m not kidding you. They’re just like, well, of course you care, you know? Like, and then their, their, um, their conclusion is that the more restrictive the mom is the mom, and they’re all about moms, um, the more likely the child is to be obese. And so this probably freaked out. Like every parent, can you see the headline? Right? If you care about what your child eats and you try to like, regulate it in any sort of way, you’re gonna make your child overweight, right? Um, and that’s where a lot of this thinking comes from. Of course, it’s in the 80s and 90s where like, you know, children are eating like 15 percent processed food.

Now they’re eating like 66%, right? I mean, just the food in the 80s and 90s is very different, very different than now. Calorie density has gone up, like all this stuff. So, um, I don’t know, Randi.

[00:06:00] Randi Rubenstein: So it’s called, it was called restrictive parenting.

[00:06:04] Michaeleen Doucleff: Yeah, it’s like, or food restriction. It’s like a score they would give moms. Moms? It was all moms. It was the score they would give moms from filling out this survey about how, and they still use this survey in like, um, in studies and stuff, but they often use a piece of it or like, um, but interestingly, if you actually look at the original studies, The correlation was only after the child was already like, overweight or obese and for like, healthy weight children, there was no correlation and stuff.

But, you know, I mean, and I don’t even believe the other 1, I mean, because it’s like, you go into the nitty gritty and it’s like, what does it mean to restrict a child’s diet? It could be, you know, you selecting the food, right? And then they could eat whatever they want, or it could be, you, you know, you don’t select the food, the child selects the food, right?

So it’s like, I don’t know, but there is this like. Thinking in the psychology world that like, restricting children’s diet in any way is like, doesn’t teach them regulation.

[00:07:05] Randi Rubenstein: Right, right. When, that’s crazy to me. I mean, I think it’s the, just so you know, there’s, there’s a decent amount of background noise. I don’t know if there’s

[00:07:16] Michaeleen Doucleff: oh is that, that’s the children. Let me go, um, hang on, I’ll go tell them. No, no worries.

[00:07:20] Randi Rubenstein: Okay. Okay.

[00:07:23] Michaeleen Doucleff: Hey you guys, I, I’d like to introduce myself. Okay, She’s a beautiful owl.

[00:07:34] Randi Rubenstein: We’re not going to record for a whole hour. We’re not going to record for a whole hour. Um, no, I, I, I would, I would guess that that’s the school thought of it’s like, and we just had this conversation today, maybe on another thread about, and it was about technology. But I said, it’s kind of like they were saying, you know, she was saying that her husband was like, if we don’t give them.

Any access to like, maybe we should get a PlayStation. Like they already are obsessed with their iPads, but maybe we should get a PlayStation because if we don’t, then they’re just gonna obsess about it more. And so we should just, you know, and then they’ll go over to people’s houses and they’ll just be so obsessed that we should just make it not such a big issue.

And I said, You know, listen, I said, it’s kind of like the people who think that because they knew one kid when they were a kid that had like one of those super pantries where there was like

[00:08:32] Michaeleen Doucleff: right, right,

[00:08:34] Randi Rubenstein: food. And it was an eat to live kid that could have cared less about the junk food in their pantry.

And you went over there and you were like, Oh my God, I’m like, This is heaven. Like what happened? And, and so everyone thinks about that one eat to live kid. And then they’re like, well, I don’t want my kid to go and gorge and binge and obsess. So I’m just going to stock my pantry. And then they’re

[00:08:56] Michaeleen Doucleff: That’s like what Virginia Silsmith does. She, she was in the New York Times about it.

[00:09:02] Randi Rubenstein: That’s

[00:09:02] Michaeleen Doucleff: She’s like, yeah, you, you could check out that article. It’s fascinating. It’s all about how her pantry stocked with just like Oreo cookies. But at dinner, they have, the kids have a select choice of like the brownies or the chicken and broccoli.

[00:09:16] Randi Rubenstein: And I mean,

[00:09:19] Michaeleen Doucleff: I mean, she’s like, you know, she has a New York Times bestselling book on fat and called Fat Talk, you know, so I mean, but it’s fascinating

[00:09:27] Randi Rubenstein: just, I mean, I said, I said, you know, like, why would you put all, like, it’s just, it’s just a stupid argument to me because you’ve got, you know, you’re going to give your kid access to cocaine level highs. And then you’re going to be like, but really I want you to learn how to interact with other people.

And I want people to come before screens, but. Here’s this thing that gives you cocaine level highs and interacting with people. It doesn’t necessarily give you cocaine level highs. It’s just, then you’re not, you know, we talk about the obesity epidemic and the, and the loneliness epidemic. I’m like, what about the fact that we’re not, we’re not focusing on how to connect with other humans.

And so if you give all of that. Access to all of these things, why would your kid choose human interaction? Why would they choose eating an apple over a sleeve of Oreo

[00:10:25] Michaeleen Doucleff: I mean, I also, I agree, like, I also believe it’s like, you’re, you’re pointing, you’re showing that, like, we show children what we value and what we find important in their lives and what we want them to spend their time on by our purchases. You know, it’s, it’s not what we say, it’s what we bring into the home and shove in their faces.

I mean, right? Like, it doesn’t matter what we say. But if you buy a child of whatever gaming console and like, you’re telling this child, this is important for me, this is important that you do this. And you spend your time this way. And I, I think we lose that connection of like what we do, what we give our child is actually a vote of like what our values are to that child.

[00:11:10] Randi Rubenstein: Mm

[00:11:11] Michaeleen Doucleff: Not to mention what you just said. I mean, I totally agree. Right. That like, you’re kind of putting the cupcake in front of them and saying, don’t eat it. Right. But like, and you’re just building neurological pathways of wanting for gaming, right. Habits, which are very easy to form. And, and, and, and like you say, like habits of interacting with people, habits of reading, playing, playing instruments, all these, these things that kind of improve.

Our cognitive skills in some gaming can, certain ones, I don’t know about on PlayStation, but all these other things that really improve our lives and make our lives rich. They, you’re right, they can’t compete with a video game designed to, you know, keep you there as long as possible.

[00:11:55] Randi Rubenstein: Well, I, I, yeah. I, I, I mean, and look. My kids loved video games, and I, and what I said to this mom, is I said, you don’t introduce something new when It already, they’re already upset. Like if they’re obsessing about the iPads, if you decide, like, we’re going to get a family Christmas present and we love playing, you know, we love playing these games and we’re going to play them together, we’re going to do away with the iPads.

We’re going to bring in this PlayStation station. It’s going to be a gift for all of us for Christmas, but the rule is there’s no solo games we have to play together, I said, so if you choose to incorporate it. You know, just do it in a way that isn’t going to drive you crazy where you see your kid on the, you know, on the game by himself and it’s, you know, a huge pain in the ass to get them off.

Like you already know he can get super addicted to all the stuff on the iPad, like introduce it into your family, not to take away summer boredom, like do it in a way where you really plan for it. Um, and

[00:12:58] Michaeleen Doucleff: I mean, I think it’s like asking,

[00:12:59] Randi Rubenstein: around it.

[00:13:00] Michaeleen Doucleff: mean, it’s like asking, like, I was just reading, um, where it talks about asking why you’re doing something. It’s like asking why you’re doing something. Versus if you’re doing something, right? Like, why are you bringing that into your home? You know?

[00:13:16] Randi Rubenstein: A lot of times it’s because they, um, really because the kid, because the kid plays it at someone else’s house and then the kid’s badgering, I think it’s just a boundary issue because people have such a hard time with boundaries that when you have your kid that’s begging and begging, I’m the only one, I’m the only one.

Why can’t I have it? All my friends, I want to go over there. And I think a lot of times for parents, especially moms, they’re like, Oh, I, and this mom said it. She’s like, Okay. I’m like, it’s like I worry that, you know, I get all this, um, pressure from everyone that I’m, I’m too strict. I have too many rules. Um, I need to let up.

I need to let them have more fun. And I was like, you, you talk, y’all have all kinds of fun

[00:13:58] Michaeleen Doucleff: Exactly! Why is a video game being the fun? Just the fun. That’s just the, I mean, there. There’s the, the exact thing I’m talking about with the, with the cupcakes. Right? Is that like, we’ve been taught and conditioned to think that children have fun. And there’s the best fun to be had on a screen. That that is the best fun children have.

When actually, if you ask nine year olds, like I have asked nine year olds about their iPad usage, and they will tell me that they would rather be doing something else. That it is not the best fun that they have. They’d rather have a friend over. They’d rather have cook. One of my, our neighbors says she comes over so she can cook because she wants to, you know, cook.

So we put it in their minds that this is the most fun that they get to have is this screen. And then we tell them not to do it. You know, it’s like, we’re getting this reward for cupcakes and now you can’t eat them. I mean, come on. This is like the worst thing you could.

[00:14:55] Randi Rubenstein: Right, but when you’re, but, but the re, but if you really back it up, when it makes, you know, it makes us all crazy when you see your kid rotting on that screen, but what,

[00:15:08] Michaeleen Doucleff: And, but you’re calling it fun. You’re calling it to the child fun, And you’re, you’re, so you, you’re crazy because their minds are rotting on the screen. And yet what you’re, you’re also telling the child is that they’re having fun. And so it’s like, well, what is it rotting or fun? You know? I mean, it’s really a very push pulley, like confusing thing.

And so I would say like, let’s, let’s say what it is. It’s a device meant to keep the child there infinitely. Can it be fun? I think so. Yes, for some kids it’s fun. Is it more fun than say going and riding their bike with their friends? No, I don’t, I don’t buy it. It’s easier and it builds like stronger desires to do it.

But in my experience, like what’s more fun and makes the child feel better are these other experiences that we cache as like somehow below a screen in terms of fun, but. I think it’s like one of the like biggest cons of our, of our, of our, the last 20 years is like that the screens are so fun.

[00:16:17] Randi Rubenstein: But it’s, if you really measure the fun, it’s like, well, it might feel fun immediately because it gets exciting immediately. And the fun of a bike, of a bike ride is. Are we gonna, like, what are we gonna, what adventure are we gonna find? Like, the fun might be more afterwards, where you were like, that was so fun.

I haven’t seen that many kids afterwards be like, oh my god, that was so fun playing PlayStation for three hours today.

[00:16:48] Michaeleen Doucleff: No, they feel exhausted. They feel exhausted and either they feel exhausted mentally or they want more. Right? But I mean, I would also like push back against it. Like it’s fun immediately. I mean, Look, I’m not trying to say that video games aren’t fun for kids, but I just think the amount that we Prescribe to it, subscribe to it as that is, is way, way, way off.

I mean, you can just ask them.

[00:17:16] Randi Rubenstein: you look at, when you hear a kid that immediately they get on the game and all their receptors are going crazy and you hear them, they seem super alive and they’re engaged and they’re yelling at the screen and you’re like, oh, like they sound to us like they’re having so much fun. But if I measure the fun, like, and check in with them afterwards.

You usually have a more dysregulated kid versus if your kid had, you know, cooked something or played something outside or created something or whatever, hide and go seek afterwards, the kid is not more dysregulated. The kid just had an experience and. The fun could be measured that it’s way more from that other thing that they might not have been Seeming as alive or seeming like they were having as much fun, but it actually was more fun for them

[00:18:14] Michaeleen Doucleff: So it’s really fascinating that like you, you like. You describe fun as screaming.

Because like, I don’t know. I don’t know if that’s the definition of fun, like screaming. I mean, let me looking like they’re alive, screaming. Um, I, I don’t know. I, I, I, I don’t know. I think at first it’s a novelty and novelty is exciting. And you know, it’s made to like. Set their brain kind of on fire at first.

But I think if you talk to a kid who’s been doing it for like five or six years, that even if it is, it’s, you know, I mean, they show this, right? They’re like, things are pleasure centers light up at the beginning and things go down, but I mean, I would just ask yourself this question. How much fun do you feel like you’re having when you’re like three, four hours in on like binging on Netflix?

Maybe you’re having like a ton of fun, but like, I don’t. I feel kind of like shit afterwards. I feel like kind of shit during it too. And it’s like, and that’s what a kid’s doing like three or four hours on the Nintendo. It’s the same thing. In some ways it’s worse because it’s like, a little, you know, a kid, they, they don’t even have like the control to like, I don’t know.

I just think that there are a lot of assumptions we make. About children and screens that might not be true. That’s where I’m gonna leave it. And then we can talk about the other thing! And that we shouldn’t just like, assume, you know?

[00:19:36] Randi Rubenstein: right. I’m not disagreeing with you.

[00:19:38] Michaeleen Doucleff: Yeah, no, I think we totally agree.

[00:19:40] Randi Rubenstein: Yeah, yeah, I’m not disagreeing. I’m saying, I think in this, you know, you see your kid having all this personality seeming super engaged and your brain equates that with fun. But the truth of the matter, if you measure what the real fun is, Afterwords and you talk to your kid about it like and you compare that to an actual, an experience where they went on some kind of adventure or created something or played with another human.

I think you’ll realize pretty quickly that the fun. Is in the second one, you know, the fun is is not with the screen,

[00:20:20] Michaeleen Doucleff: Yeah. I mean, I,

[00:20:22] Randi Rubenstein: super alive and engaged doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily going the end result is going to be a fun one

[00:20:29] Michaeleen Doucleff: mean I think it’s just made to make them feel that way. It’s just made to do all that stuff, and it’s like, It, that’s what it’s, that, that’s what it’s for, is to make, to, to stimulate their, Their amygdala to stimulate their, which is like excitement and like intensity and to stimulate their domain, which is like desire and wanting more and to kind of induce a flow state, which is this like, oh, time is lapsing and escape.

I mean, it’s just, it’s designed to do that. Um, and little else, right? I mean, like one of the people that I was reading talks about how, like, it’s like a shell of fun, right? It’s not, you know, fun is this like very complex. Emotion right that we prescribe to certain that we associate with certain certain feelings in our bodies and our minds.

And and I think that it’s. I think the screen activities are the shells of that emotion. Like, they make you feel like they’re providing, fulfilling that need and giving you that emotion, but it’s missing these big chunks of, of activation of different parts of your brain. And it’s, it’s, um. It’s the ratio of wanting to reward is just way off, you know,

[00:21:45] Randi Rubenstein: what I I that’s what I really want to I I want you to talk to us about today because I I think I think we need a re education about I mean, a lot of things and I love how you look at words and you kind of pick them apart. Um, but you touched on something when we were talking about this, about, you know, your school

[00:22:08] Michaeleen Doucleff: yeah,

[00:22:08] Randi Rubenstein: last episode, which, um, everybody was like hungry for more.

And when we left, we were talking about, you were like, Oh, I really want to talk about enjoyment process. Like how, you know, how much you enjoy it and how you sort of got there. I think that’s where you were going. And I think that, you know, I don’t think that I, I think we, we, we think about quite often like being with kids as a lot of work and not, not, I mean, I don’t know that anyone really admits this, but it’s like a lot of work and not that enjoyable.

[00:22:47] Michaeleen Doucleff: I mean, there was a book, right? Called something like something. No joy, right? Jennifer senior’s book. What is it called? I mean, it has that title like no fun. What is it? Let me see. It’s it was a bestseller like 10 years ago. All joy and no fun. All joy and no fun. There you go. Raising children. All joy, no fun. So there’s your definition of fun. I’ll tell you one thing. When we’re raising children and we’re with toddlers, we’re screaming a lot. And we’re really engaged. But we’re not having fun.

[00:23:26] Randi Rubenstein: is fun. Yeah. Yeah. Let’s, let’s, yeah. I want to hear, I want to hear just about you and what, you know, did you know that you were going to enjoy your time with the kids to the extent that you do?

[00:23:44] Michaeleen Doucleff: No, not at all. I mean, especially because, like, you know, I have an only child. And so it’s like, you know, these other kids seem like total wild cards, right? Like, what’s it gonna be like? But I think over the last, like, 3 years, since we’ve been kind of working up to this 2 to 3 years, and now doing it, it’s like, I think if you learn to connect with a child, right?

Like, in a way, um, that you learn to connect with an adult, but, um, it, it’s, it’s, it’s more enjoyable than an adult because they are, um, Their thinking is more flexible and they’re more sincere and more, they’re more honest, you know? And, um, and so I think that there are these huge advantages of working with children than with adults.

Um, but you have to learn to like, can like to connect with them. And I think that once you do that, children are pretty easy. Like adolescents, I’m not sure yet. I’m still working on that. But, um, but you know, the, the, the two, the two to 12 year olds, I will say they’re pretty, I mean, we had one kid at our school that was, has, was really challenging.

I mean, it was challenging at the other school. He’s challenging everywhere he goes, but even him, like once I started connecting with him, like he, he’s wonderful to be with and fun.

[00:25:15] Randi Rubenstein: Mm hmm. So is that the secret? Is that

[00:25:19] Michaeleen Doucleff: Oh no, no, I haven’t said the secret. So you have to connect with them, right? You have to.

[00:25:24] Randi Rubenstein: Yeah.

[00:25:24] Michaeleen Doucleff: You have to get them on your team, right? You have to, you have to show them that you are respecting them and you’re listening to them and you care about what they say, and you want them to be part of what you’re doing.

And I think the secret to that. is simply, these are the words you have to say at least ten times to them. That’s a great idea. You know, she’s right. Let’s do that. Just say that to a child five times. Let’s do, you know, if we’re like planning on something, oh, how about, you know, they come up, children will always give you ideas, they’ll contribute, they’ll, you know, And you just look at them and you say, you know what?

That’s a great idea. And then you say to everyone else, she’s right. Let’s do that. And I’m telling you, if you’re having a problem with the child, do this five times. I might’ve mentioned this before, but it is like, if you’re having a problem with an adult, do this five times. Oh, that’s a great idea. He’s right.

Let’s, let’s try that. Or, and I’m, I’m telling you, that’s all children want to hear. That’s all they want to hear.

[00:26:35] Randi Rubenstein: okay. So now I want your smarty pants brain to explain why, why, why is that so impactful? Why is it a game changer? What does it tap into? Okay.

[00:26:52] Michaeleen Doucleff: to adults treating them like it’s a, it’s like a one way information ideas or like this one way street, right? It comes from the parent and the parent tells the child what to do and they’re expected to do it. They’re expected not to say anything. I mean, even the most liberal progressive parents, this is the way it works, right?

And I think all human beings are hungry for cooperation for contributing for working together for, like, making a difference in the world that they’re living in. I mean, this is their education being a part of it. Right? And I think that this is a signal to the child that, hey, I respect you and I care about what you think and you’re going to contribute to this.

You’re going to contribute to this school. You’re going to contribute to what we’re doing. And I’m going to listen to you, you know, and this is a team, this is a team effort, right? And we all feel good when somebody says, you’re right. Or you have that, that’s a great idea. And so I, I’ve been telling you, it’s just magic.

Every kid I’ve been with, it’s like,

[00:27:57] Randi Rubenstein: but I know, you know, I, I do like to explain the why and I think I, I also have some ideas about why, and I think it’s the same thing. So it’s about this idea of, of, of co creativity, right? And, and so when there’s, there’s something called the IKEA effect. Have you ever heard

[00:28:19] Michaeleen Doucleff: Yes, I know. The things that when we work on something, we like it more.

[00:28:25] Randi Rubenstein: So we, when we have some ownership, right? So even something as simple as, as some, a kid brings you an alternate idea. And you’re like, that’s a great idea. You know, that’s a great idea.

[00:28:42] Michaeleen Doucleff: Let’s do that.

[00:28:43] Randi Rubenstein: So now, right. Let’s do that. Let’s do that. So now all of a sudden, it’s like, so for anyone who does, isn’t familiar with this study, it was that they had a bunch of people making that IKEA furniture, which everyone knows it’s, there’s always like missing things, extra screws, it’s not going to be perfect.

It’s just, you know, the

[00:29:03] Michaeleen Doucleff: It’s kind of cheap.

[00:29:05] Randi Rubenstein: And yeah, right. And afterwards they said, okay, so here you can, you have a choice. You can either take the thing that you put together or you can have the exact same piece of furniture that the Ikea employees, the professionals made, made, you know, exactly right.

Um, so, and it’s your choice, which one would you like to take home? And an overwhelming percentage of them took home the piece, the imperfect piece that they made. Because. Their blood, sweat and tears had gone into that and they drayed over this extra screw or what the hell these instructions, these Swedish instructions are trying to tell them to do.

And they invested themselves. And so when we’re letting kids be co creators in all of these teeny tiny ways, and then we’re like, that’s a great idea. Right.

[00:30:01] Michaeleen Doucleff: right. I mean just tiny and it’s like even if we’re doing it a different way sometimes. I just say that’s a great idea We’ll do that next you know or we’ll add that on to it, or just that’s another way. That’s a great You know it’s just I don’t know it’s just about being heard, too. I Think kids are so used to parents not hearing them like really listening

[00:30:24] Randi Rubenstein: right. Like, I like to say things like, why didn’t I think of that?

[00:30:29] Michaeleen Doucleff: There you go. That’s perfect

[00:30:30] Randi Rubenstein: probably. Cause I, yeah, probably cause I have an adult brain and you have a magical thinking kid brain, and that’s why you guys know things. Thank you. Thank you for that.

You know, thank you for that. I’ll say that to my eight year old niece all the time. And I said to her, you know, that was kind of, When she was over here one day and she was, um, she hadn’t been here in a long time and she was doing the, what should I do? What should I do? I’m bored. I’m bored. And, um, and I sat her down and I had a talk with her and I said, listen, I said, being bored, is super good for you because I said, I said the mistake that so many adults make is they hear a kid saying they’re bored and they are like, Oh, well we could do this or we could do this or how about this?

And they, they really are, you know, they mean well. They do. But the problem is, is when the adults swoop in, the kid now all of a sudden isn’t left to find the creativity in the boredom. Because kids are going to come up with way better things to do than the adults ideas because they’re kids and they’re still in that magical time.

And I said, so I don’t want to ruin. All your little kid magic by giving you some suggestions or playing with you too much. YI, I believe in you. I’ve seen you come up with some things, we’re gonna leave you to it. And

[00:31:55] Michaeleen Doucleff: I love that because you’re, you’re flipping around something that we come at in our societies being very negative, not knowing what to do, boredom, and you’re actually like turning it into this magic. Right? You’re turning it into this like, Advantage, right? And you’re saying it’s your advantage. And I, you know, I love that because it flips the, in her mind, she’s going to hear that, Oh, this is like my time where I can be met.

I have this magic power and I can do, you know, actually the neuroscience supports it. When you’re quote unquote bored, it starts to light up all these like creative parts of your brain. So I tell, I tell kids when they say they’re bored, I’m like, that’s the feeling of your brain starting to figure out cool things.

What is it telling you? What is it telling you? Because that’s the feeling that like cool things are coming. Oh my God, you have it. Go do it. Let me see it.

[00:32:46] Randi Rubenstein: and, and, you know, and she was so like, and then. She was so like, she was just immersed in whatever. And then she was so proud of herself afterwards. She’s like, I came up with all of the best things. She was like, can I just have a few more minutes? Like she was begging them to, to, you know, she had more things she wanted to do, create.

She was like, I, you know, she, and she was like, and I came up with things that.

[00:33:10] Michaeleen Doucleff: stuff. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:33:14] Randi Rubenstein: up with things that no adult would ever be able to come up with. You know, she’s proud of herself. was and so I think that I think that that that ownership over ideas Right like that ownership over ideas.

I think it’s just so beautiful

[00:33:32] Michaeleen Doucleff: And contributing. I think, but you know, Randy, parents have a hard time doing it. I’ve watched parents where they like their, their teaching or their. They’re running something or they’re in front of a lot of people and the kid will be like, but what if we do it like this? Or, Hey mom, what about this? And the mom, it’s hard for, I think, parents to say, I don’t know how to do it perfectly and kind of let the child in.

This is what I’ve observed. I mean, it was hard for me before, um, Before writing Hug Other Parent, I had a hard time, like, admitting, like, the kid would know more than me. Right? But, but it’s, it’s, it’s a powerful, um, it has a powerful effect on them to just let that down. Like, who cares? Who cares if they know more than you?

Of course, they’re going to know more than you in certain ways. And, like, But I, I, I think it is hard for parents, some parents to do. Hang on one second. Can you get that out

[00:34:21] Randi Rubenstein: Why is that

[00:34:24] Michaeleen Doucleff: What? Okay. All right, sorry. We’re, she’s got to go to Jiu Jitsu.

[00:34:31] Randi Rubenstein: no, sorrys

[00:34:34] Michaeleen Doucleff: hard?

[00:34:35] Randi Rubenstein: Oh,

[00:34:36] Michaeleen Doucleff: I know, it’s empowering. Very empowering. Um, I think it’s hard because we think that the information flows in one direction and somehow if we admit that the child has. Can something better than us? I don’t know, know something more than us than like, it’s kind of a weakness or I don’t know that we’re not the authority then, right?

Or somehow we’ve lost power. But I saw parents all around the world do this and heard it and. And, um, you know, we also have, like, in Western society, Western culture, we have this very interesting view of collaboration. I don’t know if we’ve talked about this, but it’s, um, I think that this is part of the problem.

So, like, in Western culture, when people say we’re collaborating or working together, it typically means that, like, we’re sitting around trying to convince each other. Our ideas are best. Right. So like in a meeting, if you bring people and you say, okay, collaborate and figure out the solution for this problem, people will come in with their own ideas.

And in Western culture, they all like debate each other to try to convince the other people that their idea is best. And that’s kind of collaboration. Whereas in other cultures, it’s, it’s, you know, collaboration means coming, presenting your ideas, hearing the other people’s ideas and coming up with something that’s different, but incorporates maybe both the people’s Right.

And so I think, I mean, I didn’t really know that form of collaboration at all until a couple of years ago. So like, I think somehow we’re taught that like, we’re better, we’re smarter. We’re somehow we’re weak. If we take other people’s ideas and use, you know, work together in this way. So I think it is something about like how we think collaboration comes about or what it is.

[00:36:20] Randi Rubenstein: That’s interesting. I guess, I guess the, the term that we typically use, I don’t know, tell me if you agree with this or not, that we typically use the, if it’s going to be like an ideas party, um, where everyone’s ideas are going to come together and then we’re going to create something. It’s more called, we’re going to work, like, let’s workshop this.

[00:36:44] Michaeleen Doucleff: Right. Right. Right. But I mean, with kids,

[00:36:48] Randi Rubenstein: So maybe that’s the term that’s right. But

[00:36:51] Michaeleen Doucleff: do you workshop things with kids? Like, maybe that’s what I’m saying. Like. Workshop things with kids then,

[00:36:57] Randi Rubenstein: no,

[00:36:57] Michaeleen Doucleff: you know,

[00:36:59] Randi Rubenstein: right, right, right. No, I’m just, I’m just saying like in our culture, I’m wondering, I mean, it’s very interesting because to me, collaboration means no, let’s come together and let’s create something, you know, like when you and I collaborate and have a conversation, it’s. It’s, it’s a co creative conversation.

We don’t even know where it’s going to go. You have ideas. I have

[00:37:19] Michaeleen Doucleff: right,

[00:37:20] Randi Rubenstein: and we’re going to have a conversation, right? Like,

[00:37:24] Michaeleen Doucleff: And you build, you build off of each other’s,

[00:37:26] Randi Rubenstein: said, he said, yeah, like he said, he, early on when we were recording episodes, he’s like, it’s interesting. I can tell you’re not waiting for your turn to talk.

You’re really listening to Michaeline. you’re, and I,

[00:37:43] Michaeleen Doucleff: right, right.

[00:37:46] Randi Rubenstein: I was like, well, yeah, cause I want to hear what she has to say. And then it spurs my brain into saying something else, you know? And so I think that’s the, I think you’re, I think you’re right. I think it’s like when people think about collaborating, it’s like, Oh, let me just prove my point and then

[00:38:01] Michaeleen Doucleff: Right.

[00:38:02] Randi Rubenstein: wait to stop talking and practice what I want to say next, and then I’m going to prove my next point.

[00:38:07] Michaeleen Doucleff: That’s right. That’s right. And I think we,

[00:38:09] Randi Rubenstein: Yeah.

[00:38:11] Michaeleen Doucleff: we already have that in our minds with the child. Like, okay, I’m going to show the child this and we’re going to do this. And we’re going to, it’s like already this preconceived pathway, right. That the child’s not involved in because we know, we already know we’ve been here.

We know, we know the parent knows. And I think. Stopping for a moment and allowing the child to like, come in that and maybe take it in a different direction is like, it’s, it’s magic for a child. It’s just magic because I think that’s what we all want. We all want to, to feel that way that we, what we say is important and what we say makes a difference.

People are listening to us and you’re right. I think it begins completely with, like, listening to the chat, like, really listening. I don’t know if I’ve told you that exercise. I did. I talk about it in her other parent where I accidentally. Recorded me and Rosie for, like, 20 minutes 1 day when she was like, 3, I think 2 or 3 and in the morning and I went and I listened to it in, um, at work and I started crying.

Like, I literally just start crying because I could hear. In the recording that I wasn’t listening to her, like, she was talking and she was trying to tell me this thing. And I was just like, I already knew. I already knew what was right. I already knew. I didn’t need to hear because I already knew. Right a 1 way valve right information.

Um, and she was very frustrated by it. Because it wasn’t even an important thing. It wasn’t like, it was, I forgot what it was, but I had already known what we were doing and we were doing, we’re going. We had this goal and we were doing it and I didn’t need to listen because I already knew and, and, um, and I, I see that a lot with parents, like, they know, they know what they’re doing.

And, and I think stopping and listening and hearing, oh, you’re saying this. I mean, I hate that talk, but like, you kind of had to do it when you’re first, like, oh, I hear you. And then, like, finding some way to incorporate their idea into whatever you’re doing, even if it’s tiny, tiny. Yeah. It just, then they’re on your team and they want to learn from you.

They want to be motivated. They want to, they want to be with you.

[00:40:20] Randi Rubenstein: Well, you use this magical trick and talk about the connection piece, this term that everyone’s like, what does that mean exactly? Again,

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

[00:40:30] Randi Rubenstein: you’re the kid’s going to feel connected to you because you’re on the same

[00:40:32] Michaeleen Doucleff: right.

[00:40:33] Randi Rubenstein: Right? Right? Because now we’re both here and we’re having an idea. My idea was a great one.

She said it was, it was, it was an amazing idea and now we’re doing that or we’re not doing it this time, but we’re going to do it next time. And she told me I was right. And so she sees me and now I, you know, I want to be right next to her. I want to be right next. I mean, I can

[00:40:56] Michaeleen Doucleff: it feels good.

[00:40:57] Randi Rubenstein: at your school, they’re probably, yeah, it feels great

[00:41:00] Michaeleen Doucleff: And it’s not lip service,

[00:41:02] Randi Rubenstein: connected to you.

[00:41:03] Michaeleen Doucleff: right? Like, I think this whole, like, Oh, you feel this way, and I hear you. You know, this, like, kind of script that we’re taught? Like, you’re saying this, and I hear you. I think it’s, like, lip service. No, it’s like, I’m gonna take your idea. We’re gonna use it. So, the kid sees that, right?

It’s not fake. It’s not a fake connection. It’s a real connection.

[00:41:23] Randi Rubenstein: it’s a real connec I mean, it’s, it’s, I don’t know if I told you about The thing Corey said to me recently, maybe, I don’t know if I told you, but he said, he, he told me that we were talking about something. He was venting about something from his day and I, we were just having a conversation and I said, well, maybe I gave him like a suggestion.

Right? I was like, maybe you could, I don’t know, maybe this is what’s going on with that person or maybe you could say like, it’s a, I think I was talking about like, it’s okay to speak up for it. It was a teacher that was getting onto him for something stupid. And I was like, listen, you could respectfully advocate for yourself and disagree.

And um, and I was like, and so maybe you could say, you know, and I just kind of role played it a little bit. Maybe you could say something like whatever. And he said later, later on, we were talking about it at dinner, my older son was there and he said, Like, no offense mom, like I know you’re really trying to help, but whenever you give me your, like, maybe you could say this, like, it’s pretty cringe and it’s never anything that I would say.

[00:42:31] Michaeleen Doucleff: At least he’s honest. Yeah.

[00:42:33] Randi Rubenstein: and I, and I said, well, That’s not the point. I know that. Like, I know you, you’re my kid, you’ve been my kid for 18 years. And I said, and I, you know, now he’s old enough that I can kind of explain to him a little bit behind the curtains of why I do what I do. And I said, I know anytime I do that role playing.

You’re never going to do the thing that I offer. But what it does is it gets your brain thinking, because I know that then you then think, well, what would I say?

[00:43:02] Michaeleen Doucleff: Right. What would I say instead of that? Yeah.

[00:43:07] Randi Rubenstein: I said, and then the next time, whatever thing happens, we’ll, we’ll do it. Now you have a plan because you thought of what to say and whatever you came up with is going to be way better than anything I would come up with.

But I’m just kind of prompting you to think about that. He was like, and he got, he goes, that’s actually pretty smart. Cause that’s exactly what I do.

[00:43:26] Michaeleen Doucleff: You know him well. And

[00:43:29] Randi Rubenstein: I, but you know what? He, He, he doesn’t know, he doesn’t want me to feed him lines. He doesn’t want me to be the sage on the stage, the all knowing parent.

He wants, he’s a, he’s been raised to think for himself. And he’s like, well, that’s like, he goes, you’re kind of a cringe Lord. That’s what he told me. You’re kind of a cringe Lord when you tell me, I’m like, I’m like, well, of course I’m 50, you know, I’m 53 years old. And I was

[00:43:56] Michaeleen Doucleff: I love that you’re a Christian.

[00:43:57] Randi Rubenstein: think. I know I’m a cringelord

[00:44:02] Michaeleen Doucleff: I have to say that I like,

[00:44:03] Randi Rubenstein: know like yeah,

[00:44:05] Michaeleen Doucleff: I, this trick, this trick, this, I mean, it’s not really a trick. It’s just, like, listening to somebody. But like, but, you know, acknowledging their I use it on my mom. Yeah.

[00:44:17] Randi Rubenstein: mm hmm, that’s right.

[00:44:19] Michaeleen Doucleff: It makes her feel good, I can tell.

[00:44:22] Randi Rubenstein: Yeah, that’s a great idea

[00:44:24] Michaeleen Doucleff: And I always say, you know, Grandma’s right. You know, and like, or if we’re having anybody, anybody that I want them to feel like they’re part of things. Right. And they’re, they’re part of whatever we’re doing. It’s magical. Just listening to them.

[00:44:40] Randi Rubenstein: you And, and something else, because I know, you know, people are so conditioned with all of the things that they, all the parenting things they see and hear out there, like, what exactly do I say? What exactly do I say? And what I want to say is, is, you know, You can practice the way Michael Lean says it or the way I say it, but when you know, you really are Building mastery and you’re really listening like really they’re listening is when you start to say it the way you would say it So it’s okay to practice, you know something else like you can say.

Oh that’s interesting or Hmm. I like that sometimes you guys it’s yeah. Mm hmm. I like that Hmm. Okay. Yeah,

[00:45:30] Michaeleen Doucleff: think, you know, it’s interesting because I think I just started saying like, that’s right. Um, that’s a good idea. That’s you’re right. I just, um, because that’s like one of the ways that my translator treated me. I talk about this a little bit in the book. No matter what I said, he would just say, that’s a good idea.

You’re right. And like, even though like the ideas would never happen in there, like they were the dumbest, they were like, I was like, you know, we could just live with this family, like three more weeks. And then we can, we can like record everything they do for like 20 hours. Oh, that’s a good idea. Yeah.

You’re right. And like, I just realized like how magical it was because like, He was never going to do all those things, but it just made me feel like he listened, he respected me. And so it’s funny because I just started saying that because that’s what he said. And then I saw Randy, like the effect it had on people and like, and then I actually started listening to the kids and I started realizing that like, wow, they sometimes really do have great ideas that I would never think of.

Like you said, they have these magical brains. Right. And like. And, and so, yeah, I think you’re right. Like, just say what you need to say when you, but you can also just fake it at first and then it comes, you know, when you start to see the reactions. Um, so interestingly with the 12 year old at our school.

So in the last like couple of months, the 12 year old boys have changed a lot. They’re like almost 13 and they’ve changed a lot. It’s been really spectacular. And not just I’m saying like, you know, lower voices and things like that, just their like attitudes and. I don’t know if I told you this before, but I was just like, wow, this, all of a sudden this one trial, this boy just started arguing with me, everything like everything, but no, it’s not like that.

No, it’s not like that. And so I just started saying to him, you’re right. You’re right. It’s not like that. You’re totally right. And then walking away. And it was incredible. Like after a day of it, he was like, stopped arguing with me. I think he just won. I don’t know. I don’t know what it was, but I was like, I’m not going to argue.

And like, if he wants to be right. You know what? I don’t care. You know, like, it doesn’t, there’s no, like, doesn’t hurt me any in this situation if he wants to be right about whether the pea plants are going to grow in that corner or not, or whether there’s, like, you know, the chickens are like this or that, like, I don’t know, you know, or whether the math problem is right, because I know the math problem was right, but if he wants to be And it was like, it was like magic too.

Like, it was like, I’m not,

[00:48:06] Randi Rubenstein: well it’s it it’s it’s fascinating that you’re seeing it Like you, you’ve seen how like adolescence is setting in and not only are their bodies changing and their voices changing, but now there’s this part and, and it feels to me evolutionary, because if you think about it, like these boys. They’re, you know, they’re, they’re going to go through adolescence, but they’re supposed to grow into men who are using discernment, questioning things, trying to have, you know, they have some of their own ideas.

They’re not just taking, they’re not a little tiny child that’s like absorbing, absorbing, absorbing. They’re like, Wait a minute. I don’t know if I agree with that or I like this idea. So there, you know, that’s the thing. I think so many people get wrong with teenagers. They think teenagers are such a pain in the ass, but teenagers are supposed to challenge everything.

And when, you know, thank God you had that amazing tour guide or translator, whoever that was, who just, you know, You know, you’re like, I didn’t even realize that we never carried out any of my ideas, but

[00:49:20] Michaeleen Doucleff: Well, in, in retrospect, I did.

[00:49:22] Randi Rubenstein: and that felt good.

[00:49:24] Michaeleen Doucleff: But yeah, in the moment, like, like 95 percent of it is just in the moment of being seen. Right? And like, and like, they were good ideas, but we weren’t going to do them. You know, I mean, and,

[00:49:36] Randi Rubenstein: Right.

[00:49:38] Michaeleen Doucleff: and it’s interesting because I, I, I agree. I think that teenagers like, We’re supposed to, like, question and, but I’m still not gonna argue with them.

I mean, like, I just, I just, I’m not gonna argue with people. I don’t care what age they are, , you know, it’s like,

[00:49:53] Randi Rubenstein: Well, you’re

[00:49:53] Michaeleen Doucleff: like, okay.

[00:49:54] Randi Rubenstein: you’re not a teenager. You’re not a teenager. He’s supposed to question and then he’s right now supposed to work on like his own discernment. So he might do it his way. Right? And then, but he comes to it and sees Oh, this isn’t really working, maybe because you’re not, you know, you’re not the other team anymore.

You know, he, he tried to challenge you, but you just dropped the ball and walked away. You’re like, Oh, okay. That sounds good.

[00:50:23] Michaeleen Doucleff: You wanna be right. You can be right.

[00:50:26] Randi Rubenstein: right. So then he tries his thing and if it doesn’t work now, cause he doesn’t have anything to prove to you, he’ll probably then be like, well, maybe I’ll try it the way she was.

You know, he, so he may get there on his own, but he gets to feel like he’s the one in control. And he’s, you know, he’s powerful. He’s not feeling like a baby that’s being dictated to.

[00:50:46] Michaeleen Doucleff: right. And you’re right. I think it is kind of proving energy. Like you’re talking about earlier, right? It’s like this. I want to prove that I know this. And so I just let him know it. And, and then it became, it was incredible. It became like nothing. And then he kind of went back to like, the same.

It was really strange, but I struggled with it for like, a couple of days. I was just like, what do I do? And then I literally Googled it and it was like on Reddit. And one of the like top things was like, just tell him he’s right. And I was like, okay, that fits with my philosophy. So I’m, you know, I mean, it’s, it’s, you know.

[00:51:24] Randi Rubenstein: Yeah. I mean, I, I love it. It’s, it’s just sort of simplifying. You know, because, because parent, you know, I think a lot of times we, we just, we overthink so much when the truth is, is of course, a, a boy going through puberty is all of a sudden gonna be challenging his teacher. I think it’s actually a sign of a healthy.

boy or girl. I think it’s a kid that’s like, Oh, I’m growing into this more independent human being. And so I’m trying to, I’m trying to figure out what it is that I think, and I’m trying to prune away extraneous information. And I’m trying to work on my, you know, all these different skills. Nobody knows that that’s what we’re doing.

All we think is, is that whatever happened to my agreeable, cooperative little kid, who’s now everything is a. You know, everything is an argument with you. Well, it doesn’t have to be. That’s right. You’re right. Yeah. Do that.

[00:52:23] Michaeleen Doucleff: Yeah. Great.

[00:52:25] Randi Rubenstein: Great. Great. I love it. Um, so, okay. So, so last, I would love for you to explain to everyone just to kind of bring it home. You were telling me how that, you know, your, um, You know, the co founder of the school, she handles the nine to 12 block and then

[00:52:45] Michaeleen Doucleff: Mm hmm.

[00:52:46] Randi Rubenstein: for lunch. And then you handle the one to three

[00:52:49] Michaeleen Doucleff: Mm hmm. Mm hmm.

[00:52:51] Randi Rubenstein: you, and with all that you have going on, I mean, every single day, one to three, you’re there with the

[00:52:58] Michaeleen Doucleff: I think it’s now 30, I should say. It started off as 1 to 3, but things have crept. It’s 1 to 3. 30.

[00:53:05] Randi Rubenstein: And I asked you like, like, how do you feel after that? And you were like, energized. Great. Like it’s not draining. It’s not exhausting. It’s a part of your day that you look forward to.

[00:53:16] Michaeleen Doucleff: Yeah, I mean,

[00:53:17] Randi Rubenstein: us about that.

[00:53:18] Michaeleen Doucleff: I mean, okay. I would lie if I said, like, I never feel kind of tired, maybe sometimes, but not, not usually. Usually I feel good. I feel like energized. I think when we really find things that are rewarding, and maybe this will come back to the video game. When we find things that are really rewarding to us, that really, we enjoy and fill us up, they’re not these shells of experiences that we have in our lives right now.

Okay. They energize you they energize you even if you’re physically tired. You’re still mentally energized. You feel you want to do it again You you know this idea that we’re like we have like limited energy. I think is not right I think when we really engage with people and we enjoy being with them and we see them grow and we see them You know, like learn to read like I taught two little girls to read including Rosie.

So three I mean it just is like yeah, it energizes you, you know now I will say that we stopped two weeks ago and I was ready for a break. There’s no doubt I was ready to like, you know, really work on my book and But by the time, you know, August comes around, I can already feel I, like, we’ll be, you know, be ready for wanted last summer.

I missed it. I think I mentioned that, like, even though it was kind of really hard the 1st semester, I really missed it. And I, like, miss the kids and, you know, many it’s interesting, because, like. It’s the one thing really in my life besides my marriage that, um, I do and I don’t, there’s no putting it out to the world, you know, there’s no, like, I’m doing this and we’re going to like, I’m going to use it in a story.

I’m going to like, you know, and I think nowadays people do so many things and put it out there on social media, right? Like everything’s put out there to the world. And it’s like this whole performative kind of living thing that we’re doing. And for me, it’s like about. Writing and NPR and, and I, and I just love that this, this, this two hours, two and a half hours every day is, it’s just about for this, for this thing, this three dimensional real world.

And that’s all that matters is what happens with these five kids or six kids and me and their mom, their parents, you know, And like, it, it’s um, so much more predictable than social media, or what my book is doing, or these emails that come in, and these strangers, and interacting with strangers, right? It’s like this very predictable reward every day.

That’s what kids are missing.

[00:55:56] Randi Rubenstein: Yeah Yeah, and You’re having real life experiences with other human being like you don’t know You know, they’re coming to you and you don’t know if they had a great night’s sleep, if they’re going through a growth spurt, if they’re, you know, like, like they, you don’t know if they’re having an extra curious day, if they all of a sudden just got into some new thing that like, you don’t know what they’re going to bring to the equation.

And so it’s sort of like every day you’re. co creating with these other human beings who you’re connected to. And so they want to be with you. Like, I think that’s the thing. Yeah. That I, it’s like, I, you know, now that I’m on the other end, my kid is, my youngest kid is graduating and I have a little bit of like, Oh, coulda shoulda woulda.

[00:56:53] Michaeleen Doucleff: Mm.

[00:56:55] Randi Rubenstein: I was just talking to my daughter about this yesterday and, And I was saying, gosh, it’s amazing hearing like how much, you know, there’s just so many different ways you can educate your kids. And it didn’t really occur to me. It was different back then. Um, And, and Avery goes, she, she said, yeah, but I would have been such the weird kid.

Oh, I know what it was. She was telling me about Game of Thrones trivia that she went to last night and all the dirty details of it and how her and her friend Dustin, who are, Like obsessed with game of thrones and that he’s read all the books multiple times. They’ve watched this. I mean, they’re like those people.

And she’s like, we dominated. And she was so proud of herself. She’s senior in college. She’s like, we dominated. I was like, you have become that. Weird girl, haven’t you? And so we were laughing and she was like, I’m so weird. I’m so weird. I love it so much. I love it so much. So then I, I was telling her a little bit about, you know, gosh, I should have homeschooled you.

And I was like, but it was different back then. Now it’s becoming so much more mainstream. There’s all these different ways you can, you know, you could, you should hear this author that I, you know, my friend that, you know, she’s running this school and it’s so cool and they’re, and I was like, it would have been so much more engaging.

I wouldn’t have heard it. You know, day after day, year after year, how freaking boring it was. And I kind of feel like a lazy ass that I didn’t, you know, I was, I said, I think I was a lazy ass

[00:58:25] Michaeleen Doucleff: But you were like super involved in the school! You were like shaping it, from like

[00:58:29] Randi Rubenstein: was trying, I was, I was trying, but anyway, whatever she said, she was like, yeah, but it was different back then. She was like, can you imagine? She’s like, I’d be so weird. She’s like, she goes, I go, but all roads have already, like, Led you to weird and she’s like, I know, but like, I like back then if like, I really didn’t have any mainstream, she’s like, I’d be super weird.

[00:58:55] Michaeleen Doucleff: But that’s the like, that’s the, that’s the like prejudice against it, right? I mean, that’s what I was taught too, that like, it’s weird and it makes kids weird and you don’t socialize them properly. And, but I, I think it’s kind of

[00:59:10] Randi Rubenstein: it’s changing. It’s shifting. I have

[00:59:12] Michaeleen Doucleff: you know, but I think it’s, I think it’s what you do, right? I mean, I think that you can homeschool kids and make them weird, right?

No doubt. Right. But I think you can also homeschool kids and give them a socialization that’s. Maybe better in some ways than, you know, I, I don’t think it’s about homeschooling. I think it’s about what the kid actually

[00:59:32] Randi Rubenstein: will. And

[00:59:33] Michaeleen Doucleff: in both directions, right?

[00:59:36] Randi Rubenstein: right. I said to her, I was like, first of all, I said, dad and I are pretty with it. So, you would’ve, you, you were learning the most from us. I was like, I just think that you, a person who is so inquisitive, like, there could’ve been so many ways that we engaged you and, like, you would’ve just loved learning so much more.

Cause you love learning. And, and I said, and that, that’s where I have regrets. Um, but, but the truth is, is, I mean, I have two moms right now who’s, who have kids that have some neurodiversity and the mainstream schools haven’t been meeting their needs and they’re homeschooling their kids next year.

They’re not sure if they’ll do it forever. They’ve, you know, so I think it is becoming way, way more mainstream. I

[01:00:24] Michaeleen Doucleff: it is, especially in Texas.

[01:00:26] Randi Rubenstein: starting to make this choice. Mm hmm.

[01:00:28] Michaeleen Doucleff: No, I think so. And I

[01:00:30] Randi Rubenstein: are moms else. These are moms elsewhere. Yeah

[01:00:33] Michaeleen Doucleff: I mean, I think the more conservative, I know it’s more, more common now also with families of color and like, you know, like you say, like, the school just doesn’t. Right. Meet their needs, but I also think you can think you you can think about it as like an experience or an experiment, right? I mean the moms can try it for a year.

I mean, it’s nothing is permanent, right? I know a family that come kind of goes in in and out of it and like, you know The middle school didn’t work, but the high school was better and it’s like, you know It’s it’s nothing is like, you know, you’ve got 12 years 13 years to work with you Um,

[01:01:11] Randi Rubenstein: in and out and and when I talk to her about a little bit more She’s like, oh my god, I would have loved it. She’s like I would have loved it I would have eaten it up and I said I know I said I said I just I wasn’t up for all that. Um, so

[01:01:27] Michaeleen Doucleff: it is a lot and,

[01:01:28] Randi Rubenstein: of, yeah.

[01:01:30] Michaeleen Doucleff: and I, and I, like I said to people, like, I could not do it without this other mom. Like, it, you know, it would not work. It would just, I couldn’t work and, um. I don’t know. I think I think it’s also like what you talk about. It’s like having confidence and you knowing what’s right for your kid.

Right? And like assessing the situation and being like, this isn’t working or, you know, asking the kids, they get older. Like, we asked Rosie a couple of days ago, like, do you miss going to school? And she was like, she said, I miss physically leaving our house or like, you know, our yard. She said, but that’s it.

You know, and so like she’s going to camps this summer and like now camps are like way bigger deal. Right. Because she gets to physically leave the house, you know? And, um,

[01:02:18] Randi Rubenstein: Yeah.

[01:02:19] Michaeleen Doucleff: in the end,

[01:02:19] Randi Rubenstein: No, I, I love

[01:02:21] Michaeleen Doucleff: who knows? It probably wouldn’t make that much difference. Right. Avery still loves to learn. Schooling didn’t take it away from me either.

It tried. It tried.

[01:02:31] Randi Rubenstein: I mean, that’s what, that’s what, that, that was her point. And I was just, you know, really more than anything, I just have enjoyed sort of learning about what you’re, do you know, I, what I love so much about you is that. You just do cool shit. You know, you’re like, you get an idea and then you do it.

[01:02:50] Michaeleen Doucleff: Yeah,

[01:02:51] Randi Rubenstein: you’re like, Oh, I learned all these things from all these indigenous people.

Um, okay. So I’m now going to move and set up my life and put into practice all these things that I wrote a book about. I mean, that’s, it’s pretty freaking cool.

[01:03:07] Michaeleen Doucleff: Oh, Randy, you’re so nice. I mean, it’s also, it’s kind of amazing that my husband did it. That’s what I like. You know, that was kind of that. We both wanted to move to a town of 6, 000 people, two and a half hours from a, from an airport, you know,

[01:03:27] Randi Rubenstein: mean,

[01:03:29] Michaeleen Doucleff: but I love it. I love it.

[01:03:31] Randi Rubenstein: and, and you were big city people. I

[01:03:34] Michaeleen Doucleff: were big city people, our whole lives, our whole adult lives, but we both grew up in small towns. So we had it like in us.

[01:03:43] Randi Rubenstein: So you got,

[01:03:43] Michaeleen Doucleff: Um,

[01:03:44] Randi Rubenstein: you got, you got back to your roots. Um, okay, well we’re gonna wrap this up and as always, I love my time with you

[01:03:51] Michaeleen Doucleff: oh, thank you, Randy. Me too. I learned so much.

[01:03:56] Randi Rubenstein: Oh, I learned so much.

[01:03:58] Michaeleen Doucleff: I did!

[01:03:58] Randi Rubenstein: okay.

[01:04:00] Michaeleen Doucleff: You’re

[01:04:01] Randi Rubenstein: I don’t believe you. I don’t

[01:04:03] Michaeleen Doucleff: I

[01:04:03] Randi Rubenstein: Yeah, you’re right. Maybe so. I know.

[01:04:07] Michaeleen Doucleff: If I ever say that, no, no, I’m totally kidding. I’m totally kidding. I mean it, though. I think there’s like 10 percent of the time I don’t mean it. I just want to like, alright, you’re right.

It’s hard for parents, though. I watched this parent, I watched this parent at the homeschool group, who homeschools her kids. So she’s like, You know, she’s pretty connected to them, but like, she couldn’t do it. She couldn’t just say to the kid, like, you’re right. Let’s do it that way. She like argued. She like, it was so fascinating to me.

And there was all this tension

[01:04:41] Randi Rubenstein: Was

[01:04:42] Michaeleen Doucleff: and it was like over some barn dance music. I’m not kidding.

[01:04:46] Randi Rubenstein: So interesting,

[01:04:48] Michaeleen Doucleff: It’s very interesting. I think you’ll see it. Like, if you pay attention, you’ll see, like, parents have a hard time. I mean, maybe you’ve already paid attention, you know.

[01:05:00] Randi Rubenstein: Well, I, I, I think, I mean, look, I, yeah, I think so much of the time it’s like people just want to feel like they’re a good parent and they think it’s their job to teach and impart all the wisdom when. The truth is, is really, you know, really you’re hoping to raise a person who thinks for themselves and the only way they’re going to think for themselves is you give them an opportunity to add ideas and think for themselves a lot of the time.

Like that’s really the skill that we want to foster and I don’t, I, you know, I don’t think that, but I think that’s not as tangible as here’s the curriculum, teach them to do math this way, right? It’s

[01:05:44] Michaeleen Doucleff: And I don’t think my parents ever said it to me. Maybe that’s where the root cause is of, like, and that’s what I think when parents are, like, pushing, pushing, pushing, pushing, pushing, and kids are pushing, pushing, pushing, pushing, pushing. It’s like they want to be heard. They want that.

acknowledgement, right? It was like, I think, what’s her name said? What’s her, Lori Godlip? She said like, you know, the deliciousness of being seen. I don’t know if that’s what she meant, but like, I think it, that’s what I, it’s like, when, when another, when an adult sees a child, it’s like, like what you’re talking about with your niece, you know, it’s like, it’s delicious.

[01:06:21] Randi Rubenstein: It is delicious. You’re delicious.

[01:06:23] Michaeleen Doucleff: right, ready? I have to go cook dinner for the whole clan,

[01:06:27] Randi Rubenstein: Me too.

[01:06:29] Michaeleen Doucleff: but it was

[01:06:29] Randi Rubenstein: I know. For the whole clan. It was fun. Okay. Thanks everyone for listening. Bye.

[01:06:35] Michaeleen Doucleff: Okay.

[01:06:35] 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.

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. 

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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Creating A Happier Household

by Randi Rubenstein