— Podcast

Ep #133: Putting in the work and becoming a parenting master


You can become a parenting master who knows how to help your child best. It just takes a little practice.

We hear from parents constantly that Role-playing, aka the practicing, is the hardest part of learning a new skill.

When we are little, it’s common for us to practice new things. We practice them in school. We practice them at home. As we grow, though, we practice less, which can make Role-playing a new skill awkward or uncomfortable.

The practicing is where the magic happens. Practicing allows your child to create muscle memory and be confident in what they need to do. Practicing is where you will see how well your child understands what is taught.

Practicing doesn’t have to be scary. Practicing should be fun!

There are many ways to practice something new, including using games or activities. We encourage parents to be creative when practicing with their children. Some methods will work better depending on your child.

We’ve turned picking up clothes into a game. We’ve used reverse Role-plays where we’ve become the kid, and the kid has become the adult. We’ve used props and puppets. We’ve also done Role-plays where we didn’t use anything special.

As you practice with your child, your child will become comfortable practicing and will be more inclined to practice new things in the future.

We know you want your child to be successful. Adapting a practice to your child’s needs is what parenting masters do, as it focuses on helping your child find success.

You can learn more about practicing at SmarterParenting.com/

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Podcast Transcript

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

This is Episode 133.

We welcome you to the ADHD Smarter Parenting podcast. Here to heal and elevate lives is your Parenting Coach, Siope Kinikini.

Well, hey, everybody. How are you? I hope you’re doing well. Thank you for joining me today. I am so excited about today because we are talking about an issue that a lot of parents are running into in implementing what we’re working on in Smarter Parenting, the skills that we have. And the skills are fantastic. Obviously, they work. They’ve been around for decades, professionals, parents. It’s worked in all types of settings with all kinds of families, even cross-culturally.

I’ve talked a little bit about that during previous podcasts, but one thing that I noticed is that some parents are calling up and saying, “Hey, this isn’t working the way I thought it would work.” And as we evaluate what they are doing with their child, with the skills, I start to realize that there are certain components that they are not following through with. So I do want to state that your success, your success is equal to the output that you are willing to do in following through with what I’m asking you to do.

It’s kind of like when you go to the doctor, and the doctor gives you a list of recommendations of things that you should do and then showing up to the doctor, and he’s like, “How are you feeling?” And you’re like, “Well, it didn’t work.” And then he’s like, “Well, did you do what I asked you to do on the list?” And the patient’s like, “No.” And so the doctor’s like, “Well, it could be better if you just would just do what I’m asking you to do and following through with that.”

I know it’s hard. It’s not easy to start uprooting tradition or things that you do as a parent that has been there forever. However, it’s possible, and you can do it, and you can do it well. In fact, I’m going to give you some insight into how I helped a client, his name is Clint, work through this. So I’m excited to talk to you about that.

We’re going to be talking specifically about Role-playing because Role-playing tends to be the biggest issue a lot of parents have. They’re like, “My child doesn’t like Role-playing. I feel dumb Role-playing with my child. I don’t like it.”

Look, I hear you. I totally get it. It’s hard. It’s not easy to do. And yet, at the same time, you find ways to do it that you don’t realize you’re actually doing it. There are ways that you can work with your child to help them through this whole process. Because if we are to take apart the steps, the Role-playing part of the steps that we use in the skills that we have, that’s where the rubber hits the road.

If they can practice a new behavior, that’s where things make sense. It becomes part of their brain. It becomes part of their body. They’re used to hearing it. They can see how it works. I mean, this is where your child is doing the most learning. And if you skip Role-playing, you’re just throwing information at them. You’re not really guiding them and helping them integrate new ways of being.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had this conversation with parents in either a presentation or in groups, or even with clients where we talk about Role-playing as being a stumbling block because it feels fake and it feels unnatural to practice something that’s not happening right now. And yet, we do it all the time. We do it all the time. We just don’t realize that we’re doing it.

So this podcast, we are going to be talking about how I worked with Clint in implementing Role-play and helping him see it in a larger sense than just what he feels it’s like. I know a lot of parents are like, “Role-playing. Role-playing, it just seems so cumbersome and so flat.” But let me explain how Role-playing can be implemented in other parts and how we can understand it in other parts of our lives.

And then, I want to talk about the playfulness that you can include and the personality that you can include when you’re Role-playing with your children. It doesn’t have to be robotic. You can be playful.

In fact, I’m probably one of the most playful people when it comes to Role-playing because I like to push it. I for younger children right now, because we’re doing Zoom, I have filters on my computer. And so I will turn it into Shrek, and we will Role-play as Shrek. And we will Role-play as Papa Smurf, and sometimes I’ll Role-play as Cousin It from The Adams Family.

I mean, I use these filters as fun ways to interact and teach these things to kids. So there’s a playfulness that you can include in this. Or there is a method that you can use based off of your personality and your child’s personality in order to make Role-playing work. That’s the second thing that we’re going to talk about.

Then we are going to go over Role-playing, specifically Role-playing and how Clint was able to implement this with his children in order to get over this idea of, “I hate Role-playing.”

So I want to be able to replace this idea in your head that Role-playing is awful to, “Hey, Role-playing is where it’s at, and I need to be able to do this with my child, and I need my child to be able to do it with me in order for it to make sense.” This is where everything is going to make sense for your child. Role-playing, it is so essential.

Let’s start off with the first thing, and let’s just talk about Role-playing in general and how it manifests in different ways. Clint had called me up, and he said, “Everything else makes sense. It’s just the Role-playing. It’s just awful. I hate it.” So we started to talk about Role-playing, and he’s like, “It just feels fake. I just don’t feel comfortable doing it. I don’t get it.”

I started to talk to Clint about his interest. What are some of his interests? Because I wanted to work with Clint’s personality in order to help him. I could just give him information, but it’s always better when you’re working with someone to collaborate with them, and children are no exception. But with Clint as a parent, I’m like, “Hey, tell me more about you. What are some of your interests? What are some things that you like?”

Now, I came to find out that Clint loves the movie, The Karate Kid. Like the very first movie. Not a fan of the other movies that have come along. And I guess there’s been a resurgence because there’s a Netflix series that’s called Cobra Kai that continues the story. Anyways, he loves The Karate Kid. We started talking about movies and that was one that he really enjoyed. And so as we talked about it.

And I decided to watch it later that night because I too love that movie and I think it’s a good movie. And after I watched it, I started laughing. It was hilarious to me. Not because of the acting or anything like that. Like nothing is hilarious about The Karate Kid. I think it’s a wonderful movie. It’s well acted. It’s meaningful and emotional.

What I was laughing about was the whole movie implements Role-playing. I know, don’t be shocked right now, everybody. I think you are. But I was like, “Are you kidding me right now?” The whole movie is focused on Role-playing. This interaction between Mr. Miyagi and Daniel-san. There is a Role-playing going on throughout their relationship that is fairly amazing to watch.

Now, would I have been able to pick this out if I wasn’t a parent coach? No, of course not. Would I be able to pick this out if I wasn’t already conditioned in my mind to see these types of relationships? I don’t know. Maybe not. However, when Clint called the next week, and we started talking, we talked about The Karate Kid. We talked about Mr. Miyagi and Daniel-san. It’s kind of funny when you can see it, and then you’re trying to explain it to somebody and then they’re like, “Oh, yeah. Okay, I get it.” Really, really hilarious.

Anyways, so I was talking to Clint the next week, and we went over the movie The Karate Kid. I told him I had watched it and he’s like, “It’s so good.” I’m like, “It is good. It’s fantastic.” Mr. Miyagi is probably one of my favorite characters ever because he’s just this really chill, calm teacher who’s able to help someone in need. And there’s a ton of humor in the movie too. If you haven’t seen it, go check it out. And if you have seen it, watch it again and laugh with me because you’ll be like, “Oh my gosh, they’re Role-playing through this whole movie.”

As Clint and I were talking, we started to look at the relationship between Mr. Miyagi and Daniel-san. Daniel-san needs to learn skills. Isn’t that interesting? What do we teach on Smarter Parenting? Skills. Yes. And Mr. Miyagi, instead of just sitting down with Daniel-san and teaching him what moves that he needs to have for karate, he actually does it in a very creative way.

He has Daniel-san work and implements work into this whole interaction. So there’s a couple of things happening throughout this process. Is that you watch him teaching him how to do simple things upfront first. So whether or not it’s wax on, wax off, paint the fence. I mean, these are simple movements—very, very simple movement.

And throughout this montage of him learning how to do these chores, sand the floor, he’s learning and getting muscle memory. And this is a term I use quite a bit. Muscle memory in the way that he is doing the work that he needs to do. Now, could he do the work differently?

Yeah. In fact, in the movie, you notice that he starts waxing on and waxing off, and he’s doing it his own way. Mr. Miyagi walks in and he’s like, “No, no, no, do it this way. Big circle,” is what he says. And so he does it in a big circle and he continues to do that. This is training him, and it’s becoming part of his muscle memory and part of his overall being for Daniel-san. And he thinks, “Hey, I am doing chores.”

There comes a point in the movie when Daniel-san is so upset because he’s been working so hard in the house and in the yard. Doing all these chores, washing the car, sanding the deck, painting the fence, that he confronts Mr. Miyagi, and the confrontation between them is pretty epic.

He’s like, “I’m just doing chores. I’m sore.” And there’s a part where Mr. Miyagi, like his arm is too short. Mr. Miyagi says, “Well, here’s where we’re going to test you to see if you really got this.” And so he tells him, “Okay, sand the floor.”

Daniel-san goes down to sand the floor, and he’s like, “No, no, no, stand up. Sand the floor. Sand the floor.” And he shows the motions and the movements, and Daniel-san starts to do that. And then, Mr. Miyagi begins doing his moves to try and harm him in karate. So fascinating, fascinating study.

Pretty soon Daniel-san realizes the muscle memory, the work he put in, the little tasks that he had to learn along the way were all ways to connect his brain and his body into a new way of being, a new way of doing things. And what we see during their interaction is, he practices the simple moves first individually, and then Mr. Miyagi begins to attack him. And Daniel-san, because he has these movements memorized, is able to block all of the moves. It was amazing. So I’m sitting there watching this, and I’m like, “Holy cow, that’s what Role-play is. That is exactly what it is.”

You, as a parent, are Mr. Miyagi. You are teaching your child little simple things that they may not understand immediately, but you’re helping them learn it so when the time comes, when they need it, they can automatically do what they need to do. I was explaining this to Clint and Clint was like, “Oh my gosh. Wow.”

So we started talking about Role-playing. I’m like, “Okay, in what ways can you be Mr. Miyagi in implementing this? What can you do?” And so we started to talk about that. Now, Mr. Miyagi, again, he could have done the whole lecture thing. Cobra Kai in the movie did it by, “Okay, we’re going to be in this building, and I’m going to teach you all these punching moves and these kicking moves.” Whereas Mr. Miyagi went around and did it a different way. They’re both learning karate, but Mr. Miyagi felt like, “Hey, I’m going to teach him in a different way rather than this confrontational way.”

And so you as a parent can look at the way that you Role-play with your children, either as the confrontational things or you can find creative ways to teach your child the skills that they need. Fascinating.

If you haven’t seen The Karate Kid, go back and check it out. But you as a parent, you are Mr. Miyagi. Yes. Isn’t that amazing? You are Mr. Miyagi. You need to find, “In what ways can I teach these skills to my children so they become second nature?” And then, we test it out through the Role-playing.

We tested it out if they’re able to implement them and do them. And then we make adjustments on the way. We start off with simple things, wax on, wax off, we start off with Observe and Describe. We start off with the smaller skills and then we start to build on them. And soon it becomes so ingrained in our children that they’re able to function using these behaviors.

Congratulations, parents. You guys are all black belts. I’ve elevated you. Great for you guys.

In working with Clint and in helping him understand this, we started to explore in what ways he could be more like Mr. Miyagi and add some playfulness or some nuanced ways of implementing Role-playing into what he was doing. What we came up with was he was going to break down the chores in the home in order to help his son know exactly how to do things.

So one of the big areas of contention for them was his son was given chores that he needed to do, and he would not do them well. So Clint would give him instructions and he would say, “Okay, I need to go do it.” He did the skills. It’s just the practical implementation of how he needed to do it that he needed to fix. So we focused on cleaning the bathroom.

There are specific steps, and I had Clint break them down very, very specific. You need to wipe the mirror. You need to clear off the counters. You need to clean the sinks. And it’s top-down for those of you clean bathrooms all the time. That’s always the best. And then you start doing the toilet, is near last and then the floors. So he broke down the list, and we decided to focus specifically on cleaning the mirrors.

We started to explore this Mr. Miyagi approach. This is how we’re going to do this and how we’re going to make it work. And so he said, okay, so I’m going to teach him how to do the mirrors, how to clean them, what the expectation is and making it very specific. And then he was going to Role-play it with him.

Let me go to the steps to Role-playing because it’s important for you to know what those steps are. There’s only six steps to Role-playing. The first step is you need to practice at a neutral time. So Clint was going to take his son into the bathroom and teach him how to do it when he was calm and ready to receive instruction.

Step number two, Clint was going to show him how to do that. So he’s going to show him exactly what he needed him to do.

Step number three was to have him child practice it at least three times. So after Clinton demonstrates how to wash the window, then he needed his child to practice it three times. Now, if you remember, I mentioned in the movie, Mr. Miyagi came back and made some corrections while Daniel-san is washing the car, because he wasn’t doing it exactly in the motion that he needed to.

This is where you practice watching your child do it. They need to know that they’re doing it correctly and you need to know that they’re doing it correctly by being able to give them correction when they need it upfront. You don’t want to wait until later where they’ve cleaned the mirror and they think they’ve done it exactly the way that you think, and yet they’ve done it their own way and not the way that you expect them to do it. So practice at least three times washing the mirror. We broke up the mirror into three sections so he can demonstrate how do wipe the mirrors and what to wipe.

And then be flexible. So they were going to practice it and see how well he does. And he was making it playful, just talking to his son and implementing that.

Now we are talking about a physical act of Role-playing how to clean windows. And it’s very relatable to Mr. Miyagi and the chores that he gave his child to do. But we did this for Clint in order for him to see that Role-playing really is a natural part of how we interact with our children.

There’s nothing really different about this than what we normally do for children. When we’re to teach them how to do something correctly, it’s always best if we demonstrate it. First, it’s always best if they can see it from us first. And then they can practice it, and we can guide them along them doing it because it’s new for them. Absolutely. So we went through this and we practiced this. That’s step number five. And then step number six is to keep practicing.

When we broke it down into this simple interaction, and he was able to see him Role-playing this whole process with his child, Clint was like, “Uh-huh, I can Role-play anything that I need to Role-play with my child. If we need to Role-play Effective Communication with the child, I can absolutely do that.”

We’re going to practice it at home. We’re going to show the child how to correctly communicate. We’re going to practice it at least three times where the child can demonstrate that they understood what I did. And then I’m going to be flexible and make it fun.

So will we talk about serious topics when we practice? No. Clint’s like, “Let’s talk about fun things. Let’s talk about things that are of interest to my child in order to make my child more accepting of what it is I’m trying to teach them. And then just keep practicing it over and over and over again.

This part of the skills that we teach, the Role-playing piece is absolutely essential. You have to do it. This is what made Daniel-san in The Karate Kid who he was. He had to practice.

If Mr. Miyagi said, “Just move your hands in this motion, round and round.” Yeah, you could do that, but it wouldn’t have any muscle memory behind it. I mean, you think about Daniel-san on the floor, sanding the floor, and the muscles required and the toning and the memorization of how to do it. This whole process of it becoming very natural to him. That’s when the truth power came in the way that he learned how to fight.

What’s interesting is after he learned those basics, those chores, the movie picks up super fast because he knows the movements and now he’s implementing, “How do I integrate this into everything else? How can I take what I did in chores into other areas?”

I can promise you that when you start doing Role-playing this way, your children are going to be able to interpret what they’ve learned into other areas of their life.

Again, it’s this whole system’s belief. We all live in these systems, and if we alter just one part of the system, the entire system changes. So you make small changes here the system has to react to it. They have to adjust.

During this podcast, we’ve talked about Clint and his child and this idea that, “Hey, the skills aren’t working, but we’re not Role-playing.” I’m telling you, you’ve got to Role-play people. It doesn’t matter how old your child is you’ve got to Role-play. You’ve got to practice these new things with your child in order for them to get it.

You need to be the Mr. Miyagi in your family and lead to this ultimate wisdom of how do we do this? You’re learning things that you don’t really fully understand until later. That’s such an iconic movie. Seriously, go back and watch it as a parent with your child. You can learn a lot of things from it. It’s a great movie.

But you are Mr. Miyagi. In what ways can you teach? Do you need to sit there and be like Cobra Kai and teach them very strict movements and have it be super robotic? You could. Is it effective? No, it’s not. It’s not effective. Mr. Miyagi taught in a very different nuanced way. Every family is different. Every child is different and you can make it nuanced for your situation. So Role-playing again, super important.

If you want to know the steps and see the steps in action, go over to the Smarter Parenting website. There is a video there. It’s roughly around eight, nine minutes long. It walks you through each of the steps. It gives you examples of what it looks like and it helps you really comprehend how to do this.

Once you get the information, that’s where the transformation on your part comes in, and you start applying, “How do I make this fit for my child, and how do I make it work?” And you know exactly what’s going to work with your child. You really do. You may think you don’t, but there’s no one that knows your child better than you do. That’s the truth.

Again, the skills work, but you have to put in the work. Don’t be that patient that shows up to the doctor’s office and says, “I’m not better.” And the doctor’s like, “Well, did you do what I asked you to do since your last visit?” And you’re like, “No.” Because things don’t change unless you’re willing to put in the work. Put in the work.

Now, if you need assistance in how to do this, contact me, reach out to me. We have coaching on our website, grateful for the sponsors who make it possible for us to offer this to families of different financial means. I mean, it is super generous. And I have to give a shout out to those wonderful sponsors of Smarter Parenting who really care about families. They care about transformation in society by helping families improve.

So take advantage of it. It may not be here forever at the price that it’s available, and we can work with you. We can make it work for you based on your situation and what you’re working on with your family. So Role-playing, super, super important. I want you to be able to take that.

We’ve covered kind of a lot today. I’ve given you a movie recommendation as well. So, there you go. There’s an assignment for you to see that.

Once you start thinking this way, you’re going to notice that any movie where there is a younger person, like Star Wars, for example, there’s Role-playing happening in Star Wars. When Luke is in training and Yoda is helping him figure out his skills. And again, this is all applied to parenting. I mean, you can be Yoda, you can be Mr. Miyagi.

Think about it. That’s pretty amazing, really. You have the keys to guide your children to learn the skills they need to do in order to be successful. You do, you absolutely do.

We have the skills. We have them ready for you. We have them easy, accessible on the SmarterParenting.com website. I love the podcast because I can go in-depth into how this works with families. I mean, we are providing you with all this information on a silver platter, and we’re saying, “Run, go with it. We’re here to help.”

So I love this. I love this. I love you. All of you, wherever you may be, I love you. I want you to know that parenting is a difficult job, but it’s a wonderful job and there are just so many blessings that come with it though.

That’s it from me for this week. Hang in there. You got this. Until next week. Have a wonderful week.

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The ADHD Smarter Parenting Podcast with Siope Kinikini