We are going to continue with our lovely theme of bullying and boundaries and all things back to school. I know these are not fun topics. I’ve been working with some different parents, and I just feel like it seems that when things really seem to go south, most of these parents are kicking themselves, and blaming themselves. And they feel like there were lots of warning signs and they put their heads in the sand.
I always have only compassion and never judgment. I know it’s an impossible position to be in. And I just feel like with so many of our strong-willed kids, I think there’s a deep-rooted fear that if this is what this looks like at eight or at 10, or if this is how they’re behaving towards a sibling, or towards the family members, how are they going to be out in the world? And what’s it going to look like when they’re 14 and 16 and 19?
I think just so many parents of kids that are struggling and not doing well or showing up with aggressive, mean behaviors that would get them punished, these are the kids that quite often fall through the cracks. Because even these kids that, you know, even when it’s your kid, like you love them, but quite often they’re hard to like. So, it’s a really tricky position to be in when you are deep-down worried, wondering what if one day my kid harms themselves or someone else or both.
My ultimate goal is to help these kids. Because when you help these kids, guess what happens? They don’t show up with bullying behaviors. They start to feel better. And when they start to feel better, they start to do better. Today’s episode is focused on when kids just refuse to stop some of these behaviors and strategies you can employ to help them.
As always, thanks for listening, and be sure and head over to Facebook and you can join my free group Mastermind Parenting Community, where 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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My name’s Randi Rubenstein, and welcome to the Mastermind Parenting podcast at Mastermind Parenting, we’re on a mission to support strong willed kids and the families that love them. You’re listening to the Mastermind Parenting podcast with Randi Rubenstein episode 1 98. Hi guys. Okay. We are going to continue with our lovely theme of bullying and boundaries and all things back to school. And I know these are not fun topics. I’ve been working with some different parents and seem to go south.
Most of these parents are kicking themselves and blaming themselves and feeling like there was lots of warning signs and they put their head in the sand. And I guess I have always only compassion and never judgment. And I know it’s an impossible position to be in. And I just feel like so many of our strong world kids. I think that’s a, the deep, deep, deep rooted fear is this is what this looks like at eight or at 10, you know, or if this is how they’re behaving towards their sibling or towards the family members, how are they gonna be out in the world?
And what’s it gonna look like when they’re 14 and 16? And I think just so many parents of kids that are struggling and not doing well or showing up with aggressive mean traditional behaviors that that would get them punished. And some version of the dense cap. I think that these are the kids that quite often fall through the cracks, Because even these kids that, you know, even when it’s your kid, like you love them, but quite often, they’re hard to like, and, and so it’s a, it’s a really tricky position to be in when you’re deep down worried, like what if one day my kid harms themselves or someone else or both.
And these are not easy things to talk about or easy things to look at. And I wanna have a different conversation. Like My ultimate goal is to help these kids. And Because when you help these kids, guess what guess what happens? They, they don’t show up with bullying behaviors. They start to feel better. And when you start to feel better, you start to do better. And so the only way we can really start helping these kids is if we start to wiggle some of the sentences running through our heads, when we start to think differently, well, then we feel differently and we start to do different things.
And that is ultimately how we help them. I think so many people like Marie, it’s like, they’ve been, you know, you’ve been hearing, you have a kid that’s not doing well. And you’ve been hearing how much they need consistency and boundaries. And you’ve heard these terms, but you’re not exactly sure what it looks like in real life. So that’s really what I’m hoping to accomplish this month is if I can, if I can impact you in any way, I want you to start these topics on a deeper level. I wanna go beyond the surface quick fixes the surface bandages.
I wanna help you to start thinking differently about these problems, these very serious problems, or potentially serious problems. Like having a kid that is bullying other kids, or is not respecting the personal space of other members of your family, including you showing up with badgering behavior, really demanding. Won’t take no for an answer. Won’t stop touching other people. Won’t stop touching other people. Even when they’re asked over and over and over again, I don’t know one person that is like, Hmm, I’m a proponent of rape culture, but how do we teach consent?
Ultimately, like how do we teach consent? Well, we start to teach consent by having a little tiny child who is showing up, touching, getting on your lap, getting on your lap, getting on your lap. Like Marie talked about last week. And ultimately not knowing how to teach your child, that when you touch someone else’s body and they don’t want you to touch their body, that is crossing their boundaries.
That is not respecting their personal space. That is against our rules. It is never okay to touch other people when it’s not okay with them. So if someone asks you not to touch them, or if you would like to hold someone’s hand, you would like to kiss someone. It is respectful to ask permission. Like that’s how we start teaching little kids consent culture. So when we have kids that don’t understand other people’s personal space and won’t stop, it’s a problem.
And it might seem like a little teeny tiny problem, and it can grow into a much bigger problem because kids aren’t receiving the right messages. Even if they’ve heard the words, even if they’ve heard the words, but if no one’s ever held them accountable, because we haven’t known how to have those boundaries. Well, then we’ve got a kid that’s been used to coming and sitting on our lap and sitting on our lap when we don’t want them to sit on our lap or touching their sibling and bugging their sibling and continuing to touch them and touch them and touch them and touch them until finally like, we’re like, okay, fine.
Just get up here. Even though we don’t, it’s not working for us to have them on our lap in that moment, or the kid who you’ve told them the rule is, is that they’re not gonna be sleeping in your bed. And then night after night after night, they’re coming in your bed and you’re not getting good sleep, but you don’t know how to have that boundary of there’s. You’re not sleeping in my bed or you’re not coming on my lap. No, I said, no, not this time. Absolutely not. And when we give in, because it just seems easier in the moment, whatever we send our kids, the wrong messages, we send them the message that if they just continue at it long enough, other people eventually relent that is not the messaging.
We wanna be sending our kids. We don’t wanna send that message to our girls or our boys. No one. Okay. So I want you guys to take these topics seriously because they do grow into other things and you can’t teach what you don’t have. So these things have never occurred to you or you’re, you’re the woman who eventually just gives in and, and the consistency. It does seem elusive. And you’re just not like I am begging you to get support, right? Because somewhere you received the message that you weren’t allowed to want, what you want or tell other people what was okay with you or not okay with you.
And when they Refuse to comply, you felt powerless in making sure that your words were taken seriously and following through. And like, no, I said, I was gonna walk you back to bed. There’s no talking. And then the person has a complete conniption fit and a temper tantrum and okay, it’s not your job to fix them or make them happier. And if they wake up the whole house, they wake up the whole house. And then the next day you follow through on the consequences that you said you were gonna follow through on, which is yeah, last night, didn’t go well.
And so today’s oops. Day rules. You’ll be in your bed 30 minutes earlier. And it’s a screen free day. Now there’s no play dates. We’re we’re gonna, we’re gonna buckle down and take this seriously. Well, you Don don’t know how to do that. I know it sounds simple when I say people always say, it sounds so simple when you say it. And in that crazy, that like, it really is simple, but it’s so hard for so many of us. And it’s because we, we, this is just not what we have come from. We don’t even know we’re allowed to want what we want. And this is what ultimately will help kids to have more impulse control. I mean, don’t, we all want things like, think about it, like from, I mean, what if you like somebody, if you, when you were a kid and you had a crush on someone and they didn’t like you back, and it’s a big bummer, and sometimes people aren’t gonna like you back, or what about when you, and you invite someone, you know, that you really want to go with you to this movie or out to dinner and they have other plans.
And so you had this, you know, you, you, you really had your heart set on, hanging out with this other person or going to this thing with this other person. And they have plans and you have to experience the disappointment. Like if we never hold our kids accountable and allow them to experience the disappointment, then how do they have the skills to handle the disappointment, right? Like, it’s, it’s, it’s an interesting thing to look at and think about. I just think we’re doing our kids a disservice when we don’t develop these skills.
And I’m a person who, I didn’t even, I remember like 15 years ago, a therapist telling me that, you know, what boundaries and I was like, what do you mean by that? Exactly. Like, I didn’t know what I, I, I came from a codependent family. Like there were there, there were no boundaries. I didn’t even know that. I don’t know. I didn’t know. It was a thing. Like, I didn’t know that my family of origin, like I thought, of course they should have keys to my house now. And they should just be able to come over whenever they wanted, without giving me a heads up. Even though when somebody came and just opened, you know, unlocked and opened my, my door to my house, it would start only, I wasn’t expecting them.
They didn’t gimme the heads up. It kind of like, was, was it sent my nervous system into alert, like who’s coming into my house. And then it was just like my sister or my dad. Like, I didn’t know that I was allowed to have the boundary of, yeah, if you wanna come over, just, you know, gimme a call, make sure it’s a good time and not giving them a key to my house. Like, I don’t want you just letting yourself in whenever you want. Like, it scares me. Like, I didn’t know I was allowed to do that. I didn’t even know what boundaries were. So I’m speaking from experience here. Many of us haven’t known how to have boundaries.
And then all of a sudden we’re we hear that kids need boundaries and they need consistency, but we have no freaking clue how to have them ourselves. Like many of us don’t realize that when someone texts or calls you, you don’t have to respond right away. Even if that person is like, you know, your mom or your dad or your spouse. Like, if it’s not a good time for you, you don’t have to answer. And if they just keep calling back, calling back, calling back badgering, and then finally you’re like, what what’s is something the matter? And they’re like, no, why weren’t you picking up?
And you’re like, cause I was busy. Is this an emergency? No. Okay. I will call you back. Goodbye. Many of us think like, God, that’s so rude, right? Like I want you to think about those things. Because if it’s not a good time for you, you don’t have to pick up, you don’t have to text back right away. And having those boundaries, listening to your body, like, there’s a reason why you’re annoyed when the person’s calling and calling and calling or texting and texting and texting and acting so demanding. We have to learn these skills.
We have to learn these skills. And this is what ultimately, our kids need us to learn because they need to learn these skills too. And when there are clear boundaries in place, it’s actually super generous. Cuz then other people know like when you call them or when you text them back, you’re never doing, they’re not a to do for you. It’s a want like they trust you. And you’re clear about things, right? So, so boundaries are always about you. They’re not about the other person. They’re about you showing up in your life and effectively communicating. What’s okay with you. What’s not okay with you.
You’re allowed to want what you want and communicate it to other people. So for kids, when we get real clear on these are the rules and when the rules aren’t followed, this is what happens. Well, there’s, it’s just, it’s so clear. So they don’t have to wonder constantly, like, is she gonna walk me back to my bed this time? Or is she gonna let me sleep in her bed? Is she gonna let me watch a show if I beg beg and beg and beg, even though I’ve already gone over on my tech time today, cuz sometimes she does. And sometimes she doesn’t. So they’re always gonna push and push and push. But when the rule is the rule, like they feel more grounded in their nervous system.
Now I know they’re gonna fight it at first, cuz they’re used to a lot of wishy washiness, but ultimately it gives them more certainty. It helps them to feel safer in the world. Boundaries are generous and loving and the better we get at ’em the more there’s they’re not loaded where we’re like guilting other people for crossing our boundaries. Like if somebody else is crossing our boundaries and they’re testing us, it’s just up to us to hold firm on our boundaries. And it’s hard to do because many of us are just learning this skillset. So just give yourself, just give yourself some grace and realize if it’s a brand new skillset, it’s gonna take a minute or two or three or four.
Hey podcast listeners. I’m super excited to tell you about something new that I’m doing called the weekend warmup. It’s gonna be on the third, Friday of every month and I’m gonna coach you live. I created this because I know a lot of you guys feel like you know me, but I wanna know you too. So you’re gonna come. You’re gonna get on zoom with me. I’m gonna coach you and we’re gonna get you warmed up for your weekend. What do I mean by that? We’re gonna hunt gather parent our weekends together. If you don’t know what hung gather, parent I’ve turned it into a verb. Just so y’all know. Hunt gather parent is a book that came out not long ago. I’ve had the author on the podcast.
I make it required reading for anyone that comes and works with me. And it’s just about the fact that many of us, especially those of us who come and listen to things like this. Our weekends are just filled with too many kid activities and there’s no adult time. You know, maybe you’re going from birthday parties to just nonstop, nonstop, fun, nonstop memories. And you’re finding yourself depleted and exhausted. Maybe even more so on Sunday night than you were on Friday. And it’s just not supposed to be that way. So we’re gonna hunt gather parent our weekends together. I’m gonna coach you live. I’m so excited to meet you guys.
And I want you to sign up. It’s free. I’m offering it for free. So just go to Mastermind, Parenting dot com slash weekend Mastermind, Parenting dot com slash sign up, sign up. Okay. So the theme of the day when it comes to Marie’s post that I’m gonna read When Kids Refuse to STOP. So she says any tips on getting in almost eight year old to stop. When told to for example, he and his four year old brother were playing outside and the eight year old got the four year old pinned in the top of the Fort.
He blocked the only exit. And then he started growling right in his face. The four year old had nowhere to go and I could hear him screaming stop from across the yard repeatedly. The eight year old just continued doing what he was doing until I intervened. I calmly, but firmly told the eight year old that I could clearly hear his brother telling him to stop and that he needed to listen to other people’s boundaries. He ignored me. So I made him get off the Fort for five minutes. He literally didn’t even care about that consequence. So I’m gonna give this to Marie she’s. She’s trying. Okay. She’s really, really trying.
He didn’t care. So why did he do it? Why was he growling in his brother’s face? Why was he holding him against his will? Why, why, why, why, why? My hunch is that eight year old has learned that when he tortures his brother, when he refuses to stop, ultimately he’s gonna get mom’s attention. And my hunch is, is that he’s been wanting to get mom’s attention for many, many years. And the only way he’s known how to get mom’s attention is through these negative behaviors.
So therefore no consequence is really gonna help him. Mom has to get to the root of what’s really going on for him. So this is a two-fold answer. Number one, when siblings are fighting, I teach something, I teach a sibling fighting tool. One of the most counterintuitive things I teach and it’s really, really powerful is it is in our nature to of course, defend the victim, right? To go after the aggressor.
It’s in our nature too. And what we focus on grows. So what happens then is we focus on the hurting and we accidentally reinforce that negative attention seeking behavior. So it really ends up working for the aggressor. Cuz a lot of times the aggressor is wanting the payoff in some way of, you know, mom, mom or dad’s attention and now they’ve gotten it. So they’re going to continue bullying the younger child, right? They’re gonna continue bullying the younger child. Look when kids are bullying it’s because hurt people, hurt people.
It’s because something’s going on happy people don’t go around spreading misery, a kid that’s bullying and holding another kid hostage and blocking the exits is wanting the world to know, or at least mom to know I’m not happy inside. There’s something going on with me. I am not happy right now. And I figured out that when I torture my younger sibling, I’m gonna get all of your attention. And this is a pattern that I’ve been doing for four years now. And it kind of works for me cuz when I hurt my my, or ignore my younger siblings request, you come running. So why would I not keep doing that if I get your attention?
Okay. So there’s that? Okay. So when we focus on going after the aggressor, which of course makes sense to defend our child, that’s being victimized. It accidentally reinforces that pattern. So we wanna disrupt that pattern and we disrupt that pattern by focusing on the healing instead of the hurting and by, And what we do there is we empower the injured party and I say injured party because I don’t wanna reinforce any kind of victim narrative. You know, when we go after the bully, we are reinforcing a victim narrative. We are turning our other child or the other child into a victim that needs defending when we empower the injured party.
Well now all of a sudden we are talking in a different voice. We’re speaking in a different voice. We are empowering the more injured party. How do we do that? We go in there and we swoop up our younger kid. We get our younger kid to safety and we say, Hey, was that okay with you? Was it okay with you that he was keeping you in the, because it sounded like you were saying some things now that might sound like a dumb question, a dumb thing to say, but we kind of wanna build a little fire in the child that was just getting victimized.
We wanna build a little fire cause we want them to know. We don’t think they’re a victim. We think they’re super capable. And now we wanna empower them to defend themselves the right way. Was that okay with you? No, I was telling him to stop. Yeah. I thought I heard that. And what, And what was going on? He, he wasn’t listening. Yeah. And you kept saying stop and stop and stop. And he still wasn’t listening and you couldn’t get out. No, I couldn’t get out. He had the exit blocked. Hmm. Yeah. So what do you do when somebody is not listening to your words and refuses to listen to your words?
What do you think you could say to them? When, when they’re not hearing the words stop and they’re not hearing your words, what else do you think you could do? And your child may, you know, just look at you and say, what, what else do you think you could do? And, and, and they may say, I don’t know, say, well, I’ll tell you what and say, start with, it’s not okay with me, for you to hold me in here. I’m ready to go. It’s not okay with me, for you to keep me in here. I’m ready to go. You can tell them exactly. What’s not okay with you And what you wanna do.
See. So now we’re actually empowering the injured party to use their words, to communicate their boundaries. It’s not okay with me. This is how we teach boundaries. Really? It says practice with me. Now, if you have a really non aggressive kind of passive child, they might be like, it’s not okay with me. If you you’re like, Ooh, Ooh, whoa, hold up. No, one’s gonna hear you or take you seriously with that voice. I wanna hear your big, strong voice. It’s not okay with me, for you to keep me in here.
I am ready to go say it like that. Say it like you mean it. Make sure your words are heard. See? So now all of a sudden we’re like modeling pack leadership, assertive of language. Like we’re telling this child like, Hey, I believe in you. Like, you’ve got some Gusto. I know you can do this and that child, if nothing else is now realizing they are not powerless. And they’re hearing this new sort of way to communicate. Okay. And so then you may have a child that’s just been bullied so much by their aggressive sibling.
You might say, well, he never listens. You know, they may have just like Marie some yeah. Buts. But he, but he never listens. And you may say, yeah, he’s not listening. So when you, you use those words and you clearly let him know, what’s okay with you And what, what’s not okay with you. And he doesn’t listen, what can you do next? And your child might go, I’ll know you say I’m always close by that’s when you say, mom, I need your help. I want you to say it just like that. Not in a whining voice, in a serious voice. So I know you mean business mom, I need your help. Okay. So you’ll use your words to let him know what’s okay with you.
What’s not okay with you and give them an opportunity to do the right thing and to hear you right. And you’re saying it in a big, strong voice, not in a wimpy voice, in a big, strong voice. And then if your words still aren’t heard, then you ask for help. Does that sound like a plan? Okay. There’s more to the tool and I’m not gonna go into the rest of it here. But if you just start with that, that is huge. Okay. That is huge. My hunch here is that this eight year old has learned this pattern to get mom’s attention. So her disrupting it with that is gonna be huge.
Her also proactively spending some time connecting with the eight year old so that he doesn’t have to constantly seek attention from her in these negative ways. So something I teach is present engaged time, five to 15 minutes a day. I can already tell you if I were to suggest this and I’m sure other parents have suggested this. Marie would have a lot of, yeah. Yeah. Butts about the five to 15 minutes, even though she’s spending so much more time than that. Putting out fires with this one, she’d have a lot of yeah. Butts because her brain is going to a place of he’s.
I think where she’s gone is he can’t, he’s got ADHD. She’s waiting for a diagnosis. She’s not gonna be able to help him until she gets into the right professional. There’s her hands are tied. There’s nothing she can do. He doesn’t have an ability to listen. He’s too impulsive. He just doesn’t have the skills. There’s no way she’s going to be able to turn things around. If she’s thinking those thoughts, because those thoughts are making her feel at the mercy of everyone else. She feels completely powerless. So until Marie starts realizing, Hmm, I, I was given the exact perfect child and I am the exact perfect mother for this child.
And there’s something to figure out here. What is this child here to teach me? How can I help my child with his or her problem? How can I show up for this child? What am I supposed to be doing here? That is feeling, why do I feel so powerless? Okay. What are moments where I can connect and bond with my kid? How can I proactively give my kids some positive attention? Hey buddy, I’m a little lonely doing the laundry. You think you can come be my helper. Let’s do this together. Should we listen to a little something?
Got some music in mind. Should we turn this into a laundry folding dance party? Okay. I’m I promise you, Marie would be like, oh, he would never. And you know, like all of a, like, like still an eight year old, an anger wants to be with mom and dad all the time. So now all of a sudden we’re including them in the things we have to do and we’re making it playful. We’re making it engaging. We’re adding a little music. Okay. And then all of a sudden, your eight year old y’all are folding some things together and you have a couple laughs and afterwards you’re like, well, that went, that was so much more fun. Normally folding laundry, so boring. And you just made up fun. Thank you. And you give a little kiss or a little gentle cares.
Okay. There’s your pet time. There’s your present engage time. So now all of a sudden we’ve, we’ve replaced some of that negative attention with just some positive, proactive attention. It’s really simple. And as long as you’re feeling powerless and thinking that you don’t have the strength or the tools or the resources to help your child, chances are, Marie’s not gonna be able to show up like that until she is able until something, something shifts within her.
Okay. Here’s another one from her. She says any tips on getting my eight year old to stop antagonizing his brother this morning, as we were getting in the car, I told him numerous times to stop firmly that had no effect ended up degrading into them, hitting and kicking each other. I had told the eight year old repeatedly to stop before it got to that point. I couldn’t really separate them as they were both in their car seats. Okay. So again, she’s going after eight year old going after eight year old, I mean that shift of empowering the injured party is gonna be huge. It would be huge. And so see kids learn by our example.
So when setting boundaries in your own life allude you, your kids, aren’t gonna know how to respect other people’s boundaries. Okay. This is really how we teach consent culture. When we teach our kids how to have boundaries, how to respect other people’s boundaries, including our own from a very young age. Well guess what? They’re not going to grow into impulsive hormonal teenagers that won’t take no for an answer or have no impulse control and force themselves on another person because they’ve grown up with boundaries.
I feel like this is a critical, critical issue. And I know that this is a hard skill and many of us don’t naturally have it. And what I wanna do. And what I hope this episode has done is inspired you guys to practice, to practice and practice, cuz the only way you ever get better at anything is just through lots and lots of repetition. Okay. That’s what I’ve got for you guys. Thanks for listening today, guys. I hope you picked up some tips tools, maybe some baby steps for creating more balance and boundaries in your life.
And I just wanted to let you know if you want to continue moving the needle forward in creating this for yourself, having a happier household. I want you to go to my website and check out Mastermind, Parenting dot com. We have three beginning programs and if you need some accountability and more support, then please look for the one that would be a good fit for you. And As always, we’re on all the social channels under Mastermind Parenting on Instagram, it’s Mastermind, underscore Parenting. 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.