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#44: Where am I emotionally?

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Before being able to teach behavior skills effectively, parents need to ask, “Where am I emotionally?” Understanding where they are emotionally is vital in teaching your kids. Remember, our first role is parents as teachers. If we are frustrated, angry, upset, or stressed, we aren’t effective in helping our children change their negative behavior. 

Parents need to take time to make sure they are emotionally aware. It can be difficult when we are dealing with situations that can be stressful. It may mean taking a few minutes to decompress, allowing yourself a treat, breathing exercises, or going for a walk, etc. Each of us will have a different way to regulate.

Asking ourselves, “Where am I emotionally?” allows us to approach teaching behavior skills without the emotions that would sabotage and to be aware of what behavior skill we need to teach our child. Being calm allows us to walk our children through the steps of behavior skills. It’s using the steps where change happens. If you want to be successful in changing negative behavior for positive behavior, you have to use the steps of the behavior skills found on SmarterParenting.com. We can’t stress enough that change happens when using the steps. Learn the steps of the behavior skills if you want to see change happen in your family.

Raising children isn’t easy. Children have their own thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Dealing with those can be hard if we aren’t emotionally aware of where they and we are. If we are angry, stressed, or frustrated, often we pass those feelings onto our children and make the situation worse. The same goes for our children. Understanding where our children are emotionally makes teaching behavior skills more successful. If they are frustrated, angry, or upset, they won’t be in a place to learn or make changes.

Learning behavior skills require patience, but the payoffs hard massive. The behavior skills found on Smarter Parenting help parents make the changes. 

Need help implementing behavior skills? Sign-up for a free 15-minute ADHD Parenting Coaching mini-session.

Episode Transcript

This is episode 44. Let’s get started.

Smarter Parenting welcomes you to our podcast series, The Parenting Coach For ADHD. Here to heal and elevate lives is your Parenting Coach, Siope Kinikini.

Hello my friends. How is everybody? I hope everyone is doing well and I am doing fantastic. I’m super excited about today because we’re covering the second element in your coaching process, which is answering the question of, “Where am I emotionally?” Now, I do need to clarify some things.

I’ve been doing some coaching over the last couple of weeks and it’s been fantastic to meet you and to talk to you and to hear what’s going on in your families and then to provide avenues for you to use in order to help your child. So, thank you for those of you who have reached out for coaching and if you haven’t already and would like, please reach out to us and register for a free 15-minute session and be happy to answer questions.

During this process of coaching, there was some questions about the Teaching-Family Model, which is what we use, and this coaching approach. So, the Teaching-Family Model is actually the core and the basis of the skills that you need in order to effectuate change in your child. The skills that you need to teach to change and to shape behaviors. Everything. That is the core, that is the essence, that is the focus of what we do. Now, the coaching part of it is a map and that’s to help you ask questions to assess where are you, where’s your child and how do we implement those skills and teach them effectively so we can see the change happening.

So I just want to clarify those two things. The skills is where you are going to see the change, and the skills come from the Teaching-Family Model. And again, this Model is being used worldwide by agencies, professionals, therapists, by parents who are trying to help their children shape and change their negative behaviors. Okay? So the skills, those are the meat and potatoes of what we do here and those are the skills that you will find on the Smarter Parenting website. Teaching-Family Model, super, super important.

The coaching elements that we’ve been talking about, there are five questions that you should ask yourself, are actually a roadmap for you. If you’re using these skills, what are the questions you should be asking yourself to guide you along and to teach these skills effectively so you can see the change.

So, I just needed to clarify that because I think it’s super important for parents to understand that concept, specifically that it is the skills themselves from the Teaching-Family Model that you will see changes start to happen. And then the coaching elements are for you as a parent to implement so you know how to do it, how to do it on your own.

Because my goal in doing the podcast, in the creation of the Smarter Parenting website, is actually to help parents be able to implement these things on their own in their home. Right? I don’t want to keep anything a secret from anybody. In fact, I just want to share everything that I’ve learned over the years and also that others have learned over the years using this Model. It’s super, super effective, the Model itself. Okay? So, we’ve talked about the five elements and of your self-coaching and questions you should be asking yourself, and actually questions that I would ask you if you were to call me in for a coaching session. These are five questions I would ask you.

First is we’re going to observe the behavior, but the first question is, “What skill do we need to teach to this behavior?” The second question, which is what we will cover today, is, “Where am I emotionally with what is happening?” Okay, “Where am I emotionally?” The third question, and we will cover this in the future, is, “How can I teach this effectively?” And then we will move onto the fourth question, which is, “When will I know my child understands this and really gets it?” And then the last question, the fifth one, is, “Why are we doing all this?” And the Teaching-Family Model answers that by saying, “The answer is always relationship.” That is the goal. Having a strong, confident relationship.

Let’s jump into what we’re going to talk about today, which I’m super, super excited about, which is let’s talk about, “Where am I emotionally?” The second part of that whole process. After you determine what skill you need to teach because you’ve identified the behavior and you’ve identified and paired it with the skill from the Teaching-Family Model, you have to ask yourself, “Where am I emotionally to deal with this?” Where are you emotionally when you’re dealing with a behavior?

The reason that this question is important, and I think you already know the answer to this, is because if you are in a space or you are in a place where you are upset, you are angry, you are frustrated, you are overwhelmed, then teaching this skill will not be as effective. Being able to teach your child something requires a parent to be calm. It requires a parent to be able to teach them and be patient enough to walk them through each of the individual steps.

So, it’s funny because I was watching a movie, Mission Impossible. What’s fascinating about the Mission Impossible movies is that they seem to have all these things that are on timers, these massive things, like, “You better fix this or the bomb’s going to explode,and you only have, like …” It’s under a lot of stress and it’s under a lot of pressure and it drives this adrenaline for them, for the characters in the movie, right? And everything works out in the end.

Well, that’s a movie and everything works out in the end when you’re under pressure. When you’re under pressure in real life, it can go great or it can go completely awful. And a lot of times, it doesn’t work out. I mean, can you imagine being under that type of pressure and only having 15-minutes to diffuse a bomb and yet they’re able to do it? Okay, that’s Hollywood.

So the idea that we can address a behavior and be frazzled and be tense and frustrated and pressured, it’s difficult. And when you’re dealing with a child and you’re under those constraints, it’s actually even more difficult because, instead of dealing with an inanimate object like diffusing a bomb, you’re actually working with a child who has his own thoughts, his own process, and will respond in various ways to whatever it is that you’re doing.

I know, kind of a weird example, but I was watching the movie and I just thought, “You know, in movies that that is exciting and it’s like, ‘Oh.'” What we want to do is take the excitement out because if we’re dealing with a negative behavior, we have too much excitement. We need things to calm down and we need ourselves to calm down. Now, I want to share an example of a coaching situation that happened actually just last week. So I received a call from a mom who’s dealing with behaviors with her child at school, and the school would call and say, “Okay, your child is acting out, your child is throwing things across the classroom and the teacher has given instructions and the child continues to throw things and does not listen to the instruction.”

Okay? So as I was coaching her through this, we identified the behavior and then we identified a skill to pair with the behavior. So we decided to pair it with the skill from the Teaching-Family Model called Correcting Behaviors. Right? And so she was able to watch the video on the Smarter Parenting website to guide her along with the steps. Okay. So we practiced it and so she knew exactly what skill to pair with it. Now, when she would receive these calls, it was actually in the middle of the day and she was at work.

Now, she didn’t work too far away from the school and luckily she had a job where she can leave and come back. So, as these calls were happening during the last week, she received two calls during the week, and she had to go to the school to address the behavior because they had actually pulled her into the principal’s office. So, we were like, “Okay, we know the behavior, we’ve paired it with what skill you need to teach to address the behavior,” and then we started working through the, “Where are you emotionally when you arrive at the school?”

And what she found out is, she didn’t realize this, but on her way driving to the school, her temper would elevate. She would just become so upset. Now, when she got to the school and she’d meet with the principal, things escalated even more internally. Now, they didn’t manifest, according to her, in her presentation, so she was able to appear calm and communicate, but inside, she was overwhelmed, frustrated and upset as any parent would be if they had to leave their work to go address a behavior. What we did was we had to get to her to a place where she could calm down before she actually saw the child and started teaching to the behavior.

So, we decided on a few strategies to help her calm down, but she had to ask the question of, “Where am I emotionally when I’m going to be teaching this child this skill?” One of the things that we did was we, I suggested that on the drive over she listen to a very specific type of music that would help calm her down. And we also worked through some breathing exercises to help relax her body before she entered the room to communicate with the principal. We also worked on some breathing techniques that she could just use Wallace speaking to the principal and speaking to her child as she’s teaching.

This happened twice again last week, and the first time it was a struggle for her to implement those things because the default was to be upset and get there and be super upset. However, we worked through it and she had to continually ask herself, “Where am I emotionally?” And what she found was when she approached her child with a more calm and a more peaceful presence, her child actually responded better.

So, the child was receiving a lot of the frustration and anger from teachers and from principals, rightly so, their role is to protect the class and be sure everything is safe and a good learning environment. And so, they were working with this behavior and this child was reacting to that, but when the mom came in, it was almost like this shift and this is how she described it.

It was a shift, and she became more accepting of the instruction that she was doing and the teaching that she was doing. So she was able to actually teach the skill while she was there in that short time. And what she found is it didn’t take as long to get her child to comply with practicing the skill that they were trying to learn together. Super, super fantastic that she was able to recognize that.

But that is the type of thing that will happen when you ask yourself that question, “Where am I emotionally?” And if you can approach the issue and the behavior and teach what skill you’re going to teach in a calm and peaceful way, your child is more likely to adapt and accept it. Now, there’s also a flip side to this and the question is, “Where’s my child emotionally in order for me to teach this skill?” You do need to assess that as well. Where is your child? If your child is out of control, then teaching to them that skill, you may have to adapt to a different skill on there. You have to evaluate where are you all emotionally, but specifically for the parent, you have to ask yourself, “Where am I emotionally to deal with this behavior?”

If you can approach it in a calm and peaceful way, neutral and in a teaching way, your child will adapt to that. And it may not happen the first time, but it does happen as the child starts to recognize, “Okay, this is a different dynamic that I’m dealing with here and I can adjust to this and I can do this and I can learn from this.” So it’s super important for parents to ask this question, “Where am I emotionally?” Now, if you are unable to be calm, you need to find some strategies that will help you to calm yourself down before you begin teaching to the behavior. Sometimes it doesn’t take very long.

I worked with a parent once who, one thing that helped calm them down was actually hot cinnamon Jolly Rancher candies. Kind of weird. Right? But it was a good childhood memory that they had that they could always recall where they were when they first had it and they just loved the flavor of it. So what we did is I recommended that the parent keep it in their pockets and then they could pop one in when they were feeling frustrated and as it dissolved, the heat from the cinnamon flavor dissolved, they’d just imagine that their temperature, their anger would actually decrease as well.

I know it sounds super weird, but we all have different things that help us to calm down. And some of them will take breathing exercises like the mom, and some will take really quick things like just some type of sensory change will do that. So, being able to taste the cinnamon and then feeling it dissolve in your mouth and then calming down by the end of that.

We all have different coping skills and different things that actually help us realize how to calm down, and we can implement those things in order to help you get to a point where, when you’re teaching, you can answer this question, “Where am I emotionally?” You can answer that by saying, “I’m okay. I’m calm, I’m relaxed. I can do this. I can teach the skills effectively, step-by-step,” instead of approaching the situation like you would a Mission Impossible movie where you’re trying to diffuse all these things all at once and it’s super frustrating.

Remember, that works well in movies because it’s scripted, but it’s not real. Okay? So you want to approach things in a very calm and systematic and plotted, planned out way. That will be the most effective for you. Now, I did work with a father once who had a teenage son. He was a single father. He had a job that required a lot of manual labor and so he came home exhausted from work. He was super tired. And then he was dealing with his son who had behaviors at home, just really struggling at home. And so, he came home and he needed some time to decompress before he could address any of those issues.

However, when he was coming home, he was, as soon as he opened the door, he was met with behaviors that he needed to correct. And so, what he found was he’d go to work and it would be high stress and then he would go home and high-stress. Right? Which actually caused him to shut down. Where he would shut down was actually at home because there was a lot more leeway. He couldn’t shut down at work because he would lose his job, but he chose, “Where can I shut down for a little bit to kind of decompress and actually get the energy to deal with what’s happening?” So he would do it at home and unfortunately that escalated the behavior in his son.

We talked about that and we talked about, “Where are you emotionally when you are at work and how can we decrease some of that there, some of the things that are happening at work, to help let off some of that steam and then how can we continue to do that on your way home? How can we do that at home?” So, instead of approaching it with just one systematic thing that we can try like breathing and so forth, we actually tried to implement different things he could do throughout the day that would help him decompress.

One thing was going out for coffee. He loved to go out for coffee in the morning, but he had a very specific place that he would go and get his coffee from. So, he would fill up gas, he’d usually grab a donut and a coffee. And so, we almost created this routine where he could ask himself this question all day, “Where am I emotionally?” And then he would do things throughout the day and that would help to calm him down. So he would get a coffee in the morning. Then in the afternoon, he would treat himself to something else for lunch, something that he would look forward to. So it took a little bit of planning on his part, so instead of just throwing whatever or buying whatever sandwich, he actually planned out a reward that he could get for himself during the middle of the day.

And then the evening, we’re all different, all parents are different. We all adjust to things very differently and we need certain things to motivate us and to help us make it through our day, I think. I know a lot of parents use Diet Coke, they need some Diet Coke throughout the day in order to function. And that’s a way of helping them to replenish. Now, I’m not saying food is the only way that you can do this, but these are things that I’ve heard from parents over the years of ways that they can deal with things that are highly stressful to help bring them back and calm down or refocus or some sense of comfort for them.

So with this father, we implemented things he could do throughout the day in order to help him, when he got home, be in a more resourceful place. Now, it wasn’t perfect for him. However, over time, he was able to develop a routine that actually made it more possible for him to teach when he was home. What would happen before is he would come home, he’d get frustrated, he would yell, ground his son, and then he would just disappear into the couch and watch a TV show and just avoid everything and then start the day over.

Over time, that built up more frustration and more attention in the home, which is why I was called in to help work through some of these issues. So, these are techniques that we use, but the purpose, and this is, again, something that I emphasized at the beginning, the purpose of all of this is actually so we can pair a skill with a behavior so we can change the behavior so everything else is working better in the home and with your children.

Super, super important question for parents to ask, and it’s one that I recommend most parents ask multiple times throughout the day because your child may misbehave, but sometimes that behavior sticks with parents and they’re thinking about it all day long and they’re worried about it reoccurring all day long. So assess yourself, ask yourself that question, “Where am I emotionally? What can I do to calm myself down so I can deal with this, teach a skill to this behavior in the most effective way possible?” Right? So, super, super important.

Now, if you call me up for a coaching session and we go through a coaching session, I will be asking you these questions. I will be asking you, “Okay, you’re telling me the behavior, what skill do we need to teach to correct the behavior?” Then I will follow up with, “Where are you emotionally?” That’s the second question I will ask you. “Where are you emotionally to teach what we’ve decided you need to teach to correct the behavior?” Right? Once we get you to a point where you can be calm and collected and resourceful, then we will move on to the other elements of this coaching pattern.

So I will be asking you these questions. After that follows the how. “How are we going to teach this? Will we use a game or an activity? Will we sit down and talk about it? Will we do an example? What are we going to do? How am I going to teach this effectively? Because all children learn differently.” The fourth question I’ll ask is, “When will you know that they understood it completely? And when will I know that they’ve grasped the concept?” And then the last one, again, is, “Why?” The relationship.

So, that’s it for me for this week. Remember, you have to do some self assessment. You have to ask yourself, “Where am I emotionally to teach this skill to my child?” Right? Also ask, “Where’s my child? Is my child in a place where they can be taught?” Sometimes they will be, sometimes they won’t be. And you can teach sometimes to both, but you have to be sure that you are in a good place yourself.

So, thank you again for joining me. If you haven’t signed up for a coaching session, please do. I would love to hear from you. I’m learning a lot from you and obviously I’m sharing a ton of information from here at Smarter Parenting and from other professionals who have been using this Model, the Teaching-Family Model, for over 50 years with various populations around the world.

I’m super excited for what is to come. I’m super excited for what this podcast is actually transforming to be. As I continually coach, we’re starting to find some very nuanced ways to reach out and share this with you in very, very profound and concrete ways that you can learn and do on your own.

We want you to be successful. We want your children to be successful and we’re looking forward to helping you get to that point. All right? All right. I will see you again next week. Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five star rating if you’re listening on whatever application that you’re listening to this podcast at, and share it with a family or a friend who is dealing with children who struggle with ADHD or with somebody who doesn’t understand what it is you’re going through so they can understand it a little bit better. All right. That’s it for me and I’ll see you later. Thanks, bye.

Episode 26: Relationships–the Why of the Teaching-Family Model

Episode 39: Avoiding ADHD parenting burnout

Episode 41: When do I need ADHD Parenting Coaching?

Episode 42: What parents need to teach–behavior skills

Episode 43: When–teaching to negative behaviors

The Teaching-Family Model

Our Teaching-Family Model Family

The Teaching-Family Association

Behavior skills of the Teaching-Family Model

Behavior skill: Correcting Behaviors

Free 15-minute ADHD coaching mini-session

Podcast Transcript

The transcript text is below. You can also download the PDF file of the transcript here.