This is episode 135.
We welcome you to The ADHD Smarter Parenting Podcast. Here to heal and elevate lives is your Parenting Coach, Siope Kinikini.
Hello everyone. How are you? Welcome. Thank you for joining me today on our Smarter Parenting Podcast. I’m Siope. I am your host here at The ADHD Smarter Parenting Podcast. Thank you for being with me wherever you may be, running errands, exercising, with your kids at home, wherever you may be. I’m glad you’re here.
Today we’re going to talk about a very deep parenting issue, but this is more about the parent than it is about the child. I’m speaking specifically to you as a parent. Today we’re going to be talking about recognizing our own weaknesses in parenting.
Now I’ve found that while I’ve been coaching parents, that there is education that’s happening in two ways. First, we are educating parents on how they can use skills to address negative behaviors. Second, we’re also exploring what it is that parents are struggling with internally when they’re implementing new ways of doing things.
This podcast came about in response to a conversation that I had with a friend of mine. His name is Ryan, and he’s allowed me to use his name to talk about what is it about parenting that is so difficult and why do we continually struggle in certain areas? It’s extremely rewarding because Ryan has children he loves, and there are wonderful times. In fact, Ryan tells me that for the majority of the time, things are fantastic. Then there’s roughly around 15% of the time where there’s always correction and trying to teach them and help them along their way.
We started talking about parenting as parents. Let’s talk parent to parent and why it is important for parents to recognize that we all come to parenting with weaknesses. We come with things that inform us as parents. That’s what we’re going to talk about today.
Now there are three points I want us to focus on specifically.
First, I want us to focus on that we come to parenting with our own baggage.
Number two, that our baggage influences how we parent.
Then number three, learning a new way to do things takes time and patience.
These things are all encompassed in what I want to cover today during the podcast. The benefit for you is that this will help you understand why making these changes, implementing skills is going to have the longest-lasting outcome, the best outcome for you as a parent and for your child.
Because if we’re going to invest in anything in this world, we should be investing in our children because they’re the ones that give us and help us feel joy and happiness and connection and give our lives an additional life, additional meaning.
You know, I shared this with Ryan. I said, watching my daughter grow up, I feel like I’m going through growing up again in a second way. I’m able to see it from a different view and it keeps me young. It keeps me excited about things. I want to continually experience that whole cycle of life as she gets older and she starts having a family of her own, or she starts just living her life. I want to be a part of that.
The only way to be a part of that is to be sure that we have a stable, strong relationship. Our focus, obviously, in Smarter Parenting is strengthening relationships. We know that through relationships, we make the changes we need to. We strive for strong relationships. Again, we’re going to talk about recognizing our own weaknesses as parents focused in on those three points.
First, we all come to parenting with our own baggage.
Second, our baggage influences how we parent.
Then the third, which is learning a new way to do things, takes time and patience.
Let’s talk about we all come to parenting with our own baggage. I want to start off with an example. Let’s say that there were three men who were on a train and they were going to a farm. You have an astronomer. One man is an astronomer. Another man is, let’s say he’s a geologist. The other one is a botanist. They’re sitting in the train and talking about, “Hey, we’re excited to go to the farm. We’re going to look at the farm and evaluate everything that’s there.” They get off the train. They walk over to the place where the farm is and they’re standing there.
All three of them are looking out across the farm. Now, as you can tell based on their study, the astronomer is looking up at the sky, and he says, “What a beautiful sky. I mean, it’s going to be dusk soon, and soon we’ll see a lot of stars. I’m excited to see that.”
The botanist says, “Wow, look at how tall the corn is. That’s really amazing corn. The color is great. They look healthy.”
Then the geologist says, “Wow, I’ve noticed that on the earth, it’s really rich. There are some really nice rocks around the area.”
Now, the farmer who has these three there notices that they are each focused on something very specific and that is based on where they came from. They all arrive to the same spot to look at this farm. However, they also brought with them everything else, all their experiences, all their knowledge, everything that they knew in order to see the world that way. That’s how they viewed the world based on their expertise or based off of what they know.
How does this relate to parenting? I think it’s pretty obvious. When we come to parenting, of course, it’s this broad view of this is what parenting is and this is what the media says it is. This is what our parents say it is. But when we get there, we come with our own perceptions about it. We come to parenting with our own baggage about it.
Things that we focus on and that have informed us from our past experiences, and sometimes those experiences can be negative. When we come to parenting, to say that we come to parenting and it’s a clean slate and we’re just going to start over and nothing has influenced us is hogwash because we do not live in a vacuum. We all come to parenting our children in very specific mindsets, in the ways that we perceive the world. Now, being aware of this is so important because you need to understand what is in your baggage.
Once you understand what you were lugging around in your baggage, the things that you bring to this experience as being a parent, you can better evaluate how that plays out into everything else.
Now, if we take the example of the three men at the farm, are any of the three men wrong in what they observe? No, they’re not. They’re only observing based off of their experience. However, they can still be taught about different things that the others are looking at on the farm.
The astronomer can learn about rocks and learn to appreciate rocks. The geologists can talk to the astronomer and learn more about stars. They can all learn something about corn. There are so many different things that can be learned on this journey once we understand where we come from, what we’re looking at, what baggage we have. Then we allow ourselves to say, “You know what? I came with this, and now I need to expand so I can absorb more information to help me appreciate more of this experience.”
When I was speaking to Ryan about this whole concept, I used this example in order to help him better understand that when he talks about parenting, he sees it from a very specific point of view. When I talk about it, I see it from a different point of view. And that working together, we can actually help each other by expanding our understanding of it and also helping each other through it, right? Appreciating everything that there is about it without missing anything. Very essential. You have to understand your baggage.
Now, as I mentioned before, there are some things that are super negative. There’s things that happened in your past that may make you cringe or really struggle. Those things also need to be present.
You need to be aware of what it is in your own past that influences the way that you see the world of parenting. It’s very important. This really does help you. Now, there is one part of coming to parenting that I haven’t discussed, which is the cultural influences that influence our parenting perceptions. I come from a culture which is new to the United States. My parents were immigrants.
And so, as I was being raised, my parents still used a lot of parenting viewpoints from where they came from. They come from an island in the South Pacific. Parenting is done in a very specific way. I absorbed that as a child. Then when I became married and had a child of my own, I brought that cultural element into there. What I’ve learned when I’m working with parents who have cultural things that feed that whole baggage, and baggage isn’t bad. Baggage is baggage.
I mean, we use baggage to carry a lot of useful things when we go on trips. There are some things that we may not use during trips. It’s not a negative connotation. It’s just saying we’d come with stuff to parenting as an experience. But when we come with a cultural perspective, it does form how we perceive what a child should do and how they should interact.
My parents came from an island that was not wealthy. They were very driven by gratitude and gratefulness and giving thanks was very important in our home. I learned to always express gratitude. My parents always expressed gratitude for the things that we were able to attain and have in the home. I came with this perception. Now, when my daughter is growing up in the United States, for her, it’s normal to see some things go to waste. Whereas when I was growing up, it was not normal to see things go to waste.
Food, for example. You have food. You have leftovers. You put it away. It sits in the fridge, and then it goes bad, and then you throw it away. Well, when I was growing up, you had food. If you had leftovers, you kept them in the fridge, but you use the leftovers. It was just a form of gratitude and giving thanks for what you have. I grew up with this perception.
As my child is growing, some of the frustration I felt when she was younger about her wasting food stemmed from that whole experience. That’s the baggage I brought into the parenting experience. Being aware that we all come to parenting with some baggage is very helpful for you because you can learn to understand what informs you. What are some things that trigger you? What are the things that enlighten you? Then in what ways can we expand from there?
Now that also led into the second thing that I talk about, which is our baggage influences how we parent. I shared an example of that with my daughter and food. Food was very important in my family growing up. My child is now older, and she lives in a different world.
When I was younger, we would maybe go out to a restaurant every once in a while. Now, as a parent, because of schedules and the way things are, my daughter has probably been to more restaurants in the first part of her life than I ever did went when I was a young adult, a child and a teenager.
It influences the way that we perceive how we parent. When I see wasted food, I struggle with it, but I recognize that. That helps me because I know, okay, that stems from there. I need to learn to understand my child doesn’t live in that mindset. She’s in a different mindset. She has a different way of perceiving things because of the way that we live now. It’s a little bit different.
Our baggage influences how we parent. I always think it’s interesting when I was speaking with Ryan because Ryan said, “Well, there’s somethings I absolutely will not do like my parent.” As we explored further, the statement, “I will never do what my parents did.” It’s such a fascinating statement because I’ve heard that so many times from parents. They say it, but they don’t have a clear way of stating what it is that they’re going to do in place of what they’re not going to do.
In a way, by saying, “I’m not going to do what my parents do,” you’re still keeping that in your baggage because you don’t have a replacement for it.
You say, “I’m not going to do this.”
Then I ask, “Well, what are you going to do?”
It’s like, “Well, just not that.”
“Okay, but then what are you going to do?”
“Well, I’m just not going to do that.”
“Okay. There’s no clear plan on what to do instead.”
Usually, the answer is, “Well, no, but I just won’t do that.”
That is fraught with a lot of issues because you’re still keeping that part of the baggage with you, and because it’s part of you and it’s still in your brain, and it’s occupying rent in your brain, it’s still very much a part of how you perceive parenting. You have to come up with alternatives, different ways of doing things to replace them. Otherwise, you’re still stuck in this idea, “I’m not going to do that.” You’re rejecting it while at the same time holding onto it.
It’s very fascinating when you start talking to parents about what are the approaches you’re going to use in order to work through these—being able to recognize how our baggage influences how we parent.
I want you to think right now, what are some of the things that you carry with you that irritate you about your child and find out if it’s linked to baggage that you had as a child or your perception of how your parents raised you. What is something that you were raised with your child doesn’t understand?
I’ve noticed that gratitude tends to be a big one for a lot of parents. That children don’t seem grateful for what they have because parents are able to give them so much more than they had. At the same time, we have to understand that they’re growing up in a different time and they are growing up with a different idea of what is normal. What we perceive to be normal as we grew up they don’t have context like that. They don’t understand that.
It’s not going to be baggage for them, but it is baggage for us. It makes us upset. Makes us angry. Makes us retaliate. Makes us wonder. Argue with them about certain things. What are the things that you carry around that are influencing your parenting that is a weakness? What is a weakness? I want you to think about that.
We’re going to get on to number three, which is learning a new way to do things takes time and patience, but we’re going to do that after this break.
Do you need to take a parenting class? Do you need a certificate for that parenting class? Sign up for our online parenting class. Watch our lesson videos, complete quizzes, and download class assignments all from your home. Visit the Smarter Parenting website under the coaching tab and sign up for the silver, gold, or platinum level to access the class.
Let’s talk about learning a new way to do things that takes time and patience. As I mentioned before when I was talking to Ryan, when I said, “Hey, so you’re going to try something new?” He’s like, “Yeah, well, I don’t know, but I’m not going to do that.”
What I’m talking about is you have to be deliberate in what you are going to do instead of what you are not going to do. Now, this is an example that I use a lot when I’m working with parents about being very specific about your intention. What do you want your child to do? Stating to your child that you do not want them to hit their brother will never be as effective as saying, “Put your hands to your side.” Now, as you can tell, “Don’t hit your brother is in your brain,” and what you are seeing if mentally is this restraint happening.
When I say, “Put your hands to your side,” what you’re seeing is an action that is devoid of the connection of hitting with the brother. You have to find alternatives. You have to find the intentional way you are going to engage and interact that is different.
Don’t focus in on what you’re not going to do. Focus in on what you are going to do. What are you going to do? Learning a new way to do things takes time and patience. You have to take some time to think of this.
The skills that we use on Smarter Parenting are a new way of doing things. A new way of communicating. A new way of making decisions. A new way of preparing your child for events that may be difficult for them to deal with.
All of these things, all of these skills are learning a new way to do things. When you’re learning something new, it takes time and patience. Expecting things to just automatically fall into place, is not going to work.
If we use the example of the three men at the farm, again, how long would it take for a geologist to really teach an astronomer the amazing things about the earth and about rocks? It will take some time. It’ll take patience on the part of the geologist.
The same with the astronomer and the botanist. It will take time for them to teach. It’ll take patience for them to teach. Just understand that these things take time and they take patience. Now, if you are an impatient parent, take little bits of it every day and do it consistently over time where you’re implementing something new until it becomes a habit and then implement something else new.
The beauty about parenting is that you can have one day working out fantastic, and the next day not working out so great. And so every day is new, and it has the option of being better than it was before. Evaluating where you were before and where you are now and where you’ll be in the future are helpful in helping you understand that this will take a little bit of time. It’s going to take patience, but in the long run, it’s going to pay off. It’s going to completely pay off. The skill that I want you to focus on is Decision Making.
I want you to spend some time recognizing the baggage that you come and that you bring into parenting. I want you to understand how that influences what you see when you parent, what you do when you parent and then learning new ways.
What skills do you want to use in order to address those weaknesses? What are the things that you want to do in order to improve? Do you want to communicate better? Well, the skill of Effective Communication is there. Do you want to prepare your child for difficult events in the future? Well, the skill of Preventive Teaching is there. Do you want to correct your child more effectively, Correcting Behaviors? The skill is there.
All of these skills are on the Smarter Parenting website. You can visit the Smarter Parenting website and access all this information.
Now in communicating with Ryan, I love having conversations like this with people that I love and that I trust because we are open, and we can talk about some very deep issues and then recognizing our own weaknesses and being upfront about it.
Recognizing your weakness is a strength because when you know where you need to shore up and become more strong, you actually are becoming stronger. You’re becoming better. You’re becoming more resilient to the parenting experience. You’re leaving it open so you can do a lot more good with your child.
Let’s go back to the example of the three men who go to the farm, and they all see different things. With time and with patience, understanding that everybody comes to this with their own nuance and allowing other people into the experience can be so rewarding because we can learn a lot from each other. This helps inform us and have a greater experience.
In my mind, I imagine all three of those men sitting on the porch of the farmhouse looking out across the field. I see them enjoying every part of the farm. They’re all enjoying the wind blowing on the crops, the beautiful earth, and the sun setting—all of them with some lemonade. No words are spoken. They’re just sitting there rocking back and forth and just soaking it all in. They all feel blessed to be there.
I imagine that parenting will be that way once we learn to recognize our weaknesses, recognize our own bias, the way that we see things open up, and allow new ways of being to be a part of how we learn and how we grow with our children because we’re growing with our kids. Yeah, it’s great.
That’s it for me. I will see you again next week. Thanks for joining me, by the way. Have a great day.
Join the Smarter Parenting Club
Facebook Coaching page
ADHD Smarter Parenting Podcast Instagram
PODCASTS MENTIONED IN THIS PODCAST
Ep #104: Investing in your child and your relationship
Ep #63: Parenting skills are essential
Behavior skill: Effective Communication
Behavior skill: Decision Making (SODAS Method)
Behavior skill: Correcting Behaviors
Behavior skill: Preventive Teaching
Podcast sponsor Utah Youth Village
Support the ADHD Smarter Parenting Podcast. Donate.
The ADHD Smarter Parenting Podcast with Siope Kinikini