Ep 038: Compassionate + Effective Parenting with Wendy Snyder


Like adults, kids need to feel like they belong. They need to feel powerful. They need to feel loved unconditionally, and they need to feel like they're valued. Compassionate + Effective Parenting (or Positive Parenting) is a style of parenting that highlights our kids’ needs so that they feel powerful, loved, and valued.

This parenting style helps us understand that when kids’ needs aren't met, it comes out as misbehavior. Misbehavior equals communication. When our kids are misbehaving, they're not just out to get us. They're not trying to tick us off. They are not trying to be naughty. Is it a part of their development to push boundaries? Absolutely. However, when we see it as communication and we try to help them communicate that in a healthy way, parenthood becomes more joyful. It becomes more about connection over correction. It becomes more about relationships and strengthening our day-to-day interaction with our kids.

Wendy Snyder is a Positive Parenting Coach who dedicates her life to helping parents navigate parenting through compassion. Because it does beautiful things for families, and it does amazing things for kids too. She brings so much wisdom to the table in this episode! Enjoy!


In This Episode, Allie + Wendy Discuss:

  • What led Wendy to become interested in Positive Parenting.

  • How Positive Parenting correlates with communication.

  • The ways Positive Parenting can be effective from toddlers to teenagers.  

  • The power of Positive Parenting with a strong willed child.  

  • Ways you can prevent and handle those big toddler tantrums.

Mentioned in this Episode:

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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to.  I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days.  I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it.  Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and i know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood.  I’m Allie Casazza and this is the The Purpose Show.


Hey ladies! Welcome back to another episode of The Purpose Show! I am so looking forward to opening the floor and sharing today's guest with you guys!

Wendy Snyder is here and she is the founder of Thank you so much for being here with us. I can't wait to dive in. I have so many things that I'm excited to hear from you and ask you. Thank you for taking time to be here with us.

WENDY: Yeah, thank you so much for having me, Allie. I really admire what you're doing and the community you're building, so I am grateful and humbled to be here.

ALLIE: I actually got a chance to meet Wendy on Saturday (at the time of this recording.) I don't know when this episode will air at the time right now.

We were together a few days ago and we went to the Macramé Making Class together and it was super fun and nice. Wendy lives near me and we were able to connect. She has the sweetest personality. She's a really warm, amazing person. You're one of those people that I want to have multiple coffee dates with and talk with you.

It was nice to hear your philosophy on parenting. We had talked about this at the class. It’s rare to find somebody that's in that place, especially as a Christian parent, where it's very much “spare the rod, spoil the child” and get to talk with you about compassionate parenting that works. It was so refreshing. I'm really excited to amplify your message by pulling you onto my platform and opening my listeners’ ears to all the good stuff that you have to share.

If you don't mind, I'll just let you dive right in and share your background and your story.

WENDY: Absolutely. Well, first of all, let me tell you a little bit about how I came to work and my backstory. I got super lucky and blessed young. I fell in love with my husband and my best friend, love of my life at 17.

We moved across country from Maryland to California. We set out to have careers in the surf industry. We set our goals. We felt like at that point in our life, if we set out to do something, we could accomplish it. We felt like a great team and life was going great. We were able to build really great careers that we were so grateful for.

And then we had kids and quickly realized that parenthood was definitely the hardest job that we had ever had in our entire lives. We were really surprised by how hard it was to influence little human souls to do what you want of them. And especially because we had been gifted and blessed with a really strong-spirited little girl.

When I decided to leave my career and stay home with my kids, I had been in the surf industry for a decade and really loved what I was doing.

And I thought leaving and coming home and being with my kids full time was going to be dreamy. We were going to be on the beach. It was going to be like, “Ahh!” I quickly realized that I was thrown into the day-to-day life of navigating toddlerhood and the many challenges that come along with that. I also had a colicky baby at the time and I was challenged to my core.

Every day was filled with time-outs and punishments and I just didn't know what to do to get this little girl to listen and behave. I thought at the time that I was supposed to get control of her. Thank God I found the work of Positive Parenting during that really dark valley of my parenting life where my days were really filled with depression and anxiety. I just could not believe that this is what parenthood had become.

I was exposed to Positive Parenting. I started taking a class called “Redirecting Children's Behavior,” which is one of the programs I'm now certified to teach. It brought the light back to my day. It enabled me to see my little girl in a whole new light and start to be able to seek to see the integrity in her.

Before long we started practicing the work in our home and she started to respond. You could just tell this little girl's spirit reacted so much better when we learned new ways of working with her that were respectful, kind and compassionate instead of focusing on how to force her to change or trickery about how to get her to do what we wanted.

It was solid work. I became so intrigued with it. I ended up taking this course seven times before I became a parent educator of it. It took me a while to become fluent in the language. I'm so happy that I hung in there. Seven years later, my daughter is 10 and my son is seven. Gosh, the seeds that this type of curriculum plants in families and it's planted in our lives are now, they've just blossomed.

For example, with my daughter, the relationship I have with her is rock solid. I look at her every day and thank God for her because it's just changed my whole perspective on humanity, let alone parenthood.

The work is incredible and I can't say enough nice things about it. I love teaching parents this work because, it does beautiful things for families and it does amazing things for kids to.

ALLIE: Thank you for sharing all of that. OK, I have so many questions!

Can you tell me a little bit more about what you called it, the work of positive parenting?

WENDY: Yeah. A backstory on the work. Positive parenting is really based on positive psychology. The “grandfather” of this work was derived from a child psychiatrist by the name of Dr. Rudolph Dreikurs, who is a renowned child psychologist from the 50’s who wrote a book called Children, The Challenge. He was ahead of his time with the way he saw children. He studied their development and helped parents to understand what's behind their misbehavior, which is all based on our needs.

Kids, just like adults, need to feel like they belong. They need to feel powerful. Feeling powerful is actually a really healthy need that we need people to be comfortable with and figuring out how to be strong leaders with integrity, right? They need to feel loved unconditionally, and they need to feel like they're valued.

Dr. Rudolph Dreikurs helps us to understand that when these kids’ needs aren't met, so to speak, it comes out as misbehavior. Parents are taught to become detectives and start to try to understand that misbehavior equals communication.

When our kids are misbehaving, they're not just out to get us. They're not trying to tick us off. They are not trying to be naughty. Is it a part of their development to push boundaries? Absolutely. However, when we see it as communication and we try to help them communicate that in a healthy way, parenthood becomes more joyful. It becomes more about connection over correction. It becomes more about relationships and strengthening our day-to-day interaction with our kids.

From his positive psychology, so many amazing programs have come about from his work. Redirecting Children's Behavior and The Joy of Parenting are the two programs that I'm a certified parent educator in. However, now there's Positive Discipline, there's Mindful Discipline, there is Jesus, The Gentle Parent. There’s so many programs out there now.

Parents really have a choice with how they work with their kids. There's so many ways to learn more about this work and that wasn't always the case. I love that parents can now go to the library or the bookstore and find just as many books that will teach them how to work with their kids using positive psychology, seeking the integrity in them, pointing out the good qualities about their kids, guiding them towards the light versus the other stuff.

ALLIE: Right. Yeah, absolutely. One thing that I wanted to ask you about, and we had discussed this on Saturday when we were together, was we're both Christians. Being “in the church,” I guess for lack of a better term, very much the prominent belief is you're kind of off on your own if you're not “a spanker,” if you're not that harsh. Like I said, “spare the Rod, spoil the child” belief. You approached me and when my assistant sent me over your stuff, I was just kinda like, “oh boy, parenting. Here we go.” Because it's so hard. It's hard in real life, let alone on a platform where people are already very judgmental and there's a shield there with a screen so they can say whatever they want.

I always shy away from talking about parenting because the way that we do things is very much, I loved how you said “connection over correction.” Of course, we correct our kids and we don't allow disrespect. Disrespect is a big hot button issue for me. Our kids respect us. They need to follow the way that things go in a house. But it's not this harsh discipline thing where we don't care about where their hearts are at. And that is where there's a difference in a lot of our friends, in ourselves, and in the community that we are raising our kids in.

I guess the fear that I see that I used to have and that I see in other friends and stuff as a parent is, “Well, if you're not doing it that way, the harsh way, then you're being friends instead of being parents. We're not supposed to be “friends” with our kids and have these amazing relationships with our kids. They need parents and they need structure. They need discipline and that's your job.” It's this idea that if you're not doing it that way, then you're being a bad parent because you're worried about being close with your kids and being friends. And I would just love to hear you shine the truth on that idea.

WENDY: Absolutely. One of my dear friends and incredible positive parenting advocate is Susie Walton. She is the founder of The Joy of Parenting Program. She wrote the book, Myths That Affect Family Lives. That's actually one of the myths that she writes about is that we're not supposed to be friends with our kids. Right? The problem is if you look up the definition of friendship, it actually is an advocate. It's having someone on your side. It's having someone believe in you. It's having someone support you and lift you up. Of course, that's what we want with our kids. It doesn't mean you have to be “Lindsay Lohan friends.” It's just not true. We want to be side by side with our kids.

We want our children to talk to us. And that's what happens when you take away the fear and the force elements from parenting as much as you can. I mean, we're all human, but when you take that away, you build true connection with your kids. When you build mutual respect in your home, your kids cooperate and listen to you because they want to, not because they have to.

I encourage parents who are maybe doing it a different way and have been taught that that is the only way, that kind of oppositional thing, the “other way.” What we call it in Positive Parenting, is there's three different styles, three main different styles of parenting. There's autocratic, permissive, and then right in the middle is what we shoot for, which is firm and kind. We want to be firm with our kids and we always want to be kind and compassionate.

Autocratic is that way of “my way or the highway.” You never question me. What I say goes no matter what. That’s the autocratic method that has to rely on a lot of fear and force, because otherwise it just won't work. What we find is parents have to keep upping their game. When you lay your head on your pillow at night, it's a hard way to parent your kids your whole life.

I love teaching parents that they do not have to do it that way. I like bringing my own personal testimony into it because I've walked the walk now for seven years. I've taken a little girl who a lot of people would have looked at as out of control, defiant, disobedient, that you have to “knock the will out of her” and have used this curriculum to help shape her, help her grow and mature.

She’s a normal kid. She still pushes back and she's still pushes buttons, but holy smokes, she's an incredible human being. I'm just so grateful that we got this message that we didn't have to “knock” it out of her. That we didn't have to be so heavy-handed. That we could actually grow alongside of her, because she has taught us and, God has taught us through her, so much about life. I can't imagine if I didn't get handed this strong-willed kid.

Then one more thing about that Allie and I just, I connected with you so much about it too, because I think those of us who have this approach with our kids it can be scary to think that people are going to judge you, or that they don't get it, or that anybody thinks one of us is doing it wrong.

I like to encourage families that no matter where you are, no matter where you stand -  whether you spank or you don't spank, or you are really autocratic, or maybe there's families that aren't even permissive, that are trying to figure out that middle ground -  we're all in this together. Parenthood takes a village and there should be no division here.

I love getting parents on board with this idea to reduce judgement, to eliminate judgment. Come to the table and have conversations. At the end of the day be OK trying to work towards influencing each other to see each other's perspective, having empathy for one another.

We all have our own backstory, right? You don't know what people are bringing to the table from their childhood. That's what I try to do. Right now, I'm creating a course called Jesus Guided Parenting. I'm trying to have that approach of helping everyone understand that we are on the same page. I am going to advocate that you really dive into the work of Positive Parenting. Get your tool belt filled up with choices, so you're at choice when you parent and that you feel confident pouring into empathy, respectful methods, compassion and building relationships and then that you stay in the work and you get to see success that way.

ALLIE: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. What you were saying is so true. All of it is so good. We're all going towards the same goal of trying to raise good people. Very rarely do people set out to raise awful people, raise kids who resent them and are in therapy. We're not all going towards that.

Accepting that and seeing that it may look a little bit different. A lot of this really stuck out when I was reading your stuff. But that is one thing that really resonated with me. Guys, when we have a guest on the podcast, we kind of grill them first. Ashley really asks some hard things. For example, what would you say to a parent who's currently doing things the opposite way that you teach? What would you say to a parent who's currently, and I gave examples like spanking or this or that?

Your answers were all so laced with grace and acceptance. You said, “I would definitely not say to stop doing everything, but here's what I would do. And you try that freely, and you see what works.” It's very much not “this is the right way to do it and you're doing it wrong.”

That is what so many parenting books and parenting experts are about – “this is the wrong way. Why would you do it this way? You're going to end up like this, or your kid's going to end up like that.” It's really fear-based and that's the opposite of what this type of parenting is all about. And it's the opposite of how this type of parenting is taught to the parents, which I love.

I appreciate that about you and your mission, the way that you speak in your course and in your website.

When you answered that questionnaire, it was very much “this is real.” This is very gracious. There's room for error because we're human. There’s room for growth and acceptance if you want to keep doing that and that works for you. Great. But here's other things that could help as you do that thing.


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ALLIE: OK. I want to just give space to the different kinds of like phases of parenting. Can you give us a few examples of how this type of compassionate parenting goes into the toddler years? You can just be general, whatever you want to do with that general question.

WENDY: The toddler years. Oh my goodness. Well first off, I always like to encourage parents who are in those toddler years that they are seen and they are admired for their hard work. Holy smokes, those are the years where you feel like you're never sitting down, your kids are always pushing back, especially if you got handed a strong, strong, spirited one. It so exhausting and it can feel like it's never ending.

But it does get better, you know? Knowing that you are seen and you are admired for the service that you are pouring into your kids, well you know, it will pay off. I promise you. I always say get everyone past the age of five and you'll actually be able to sit down and the fruits or the seeds that you plant will start to really create this beautiful fruit trees and flowers.

But you’ve got to hang in there. And you've got to have faith in this work. And you've got to have faith in your children.

Let me give you an example of some of the things that we teach, some of the tools. One of the biggest things that we really look at is modeling. We want to make sure that we're modeling what we want our kids to learn by what we’re doing. We always say kids often don't hear what we say, especially busy toddlers, but they always see what we do.

It really starts with us and it's a nice way just to look internally and say, “all right, what could I be doing differently tomorrow?”

For example, if you're trying to get your kids to stop screaming, but you're screaming at them consistently from the other room to come put their shoes on. You want to start with walking up to them, actually using kind, physical touch, looking in their eyes, and saying, “shoes.”

Toddlers really respond well to one word or no word. A lot of times we call it “less talking or no talking.”  A lot of times as moms we become exhausted because we're talking so much and maybe some of us, like I did, got into a pattern of nagging. I thought the more I nagged my kids, the more they would do what I say. And then at the end of the night I was annoyed because I “had to” nag them all day. They “make me” but really it's not true. It's a choice.

One of the tools we give you is, for kids who are nonverbal, you can take little pictures of a kid putting their shoes on, or a picture of Broccoli, or the carseat buckles, and put it on a little key chain, laminate them, walk up to them and show them the picture. Give yourself a break from all the nagging and the talking.

Kids will respond a lot better often to eye contact, physical touch, your hand on their shoulder looking right in their eyes.

Another good example would be asking for what you want instead of telling kids what you don't want. This is basic positive psychology of pointing kids in the right direction, redirecting them. This works really well and it’s one of the more easier tweaks of positive parenting. There's a lot of things that took a lot of practice. For example, yelling. That took me years. But challenge your brain, “how can I ask for what I want here?”

For example, instead of “Stop pulling the dog's tail,” you would say, “Please show me how you pet the dog gently.” Instead of, “Don't take that kid's toy.” You could ask for what you want and “Say, may I please have a turn when you're done.” That's one of my favorite ones with toddlers to teach kids to ask for what they want also.

Again, you're modeling what you want there. You ask your kids for what you want instead of telling them what you don't, and then your kids will follow suit. Then you'll see them at the park or in the church nursery saying, “May I please have a turn at that when you're done?”

I've found kids even in the two-year-old toddler room, they always say “yes” to that question because it's not a threatening forceful question. Toddlers are onto a new thing in two minutes and they put that little item down or they hand it to their friend.

Those are some examples: “No words, less words,” asking for what you want.  

With power kids especially, which is my favorite group because I have such a heart for them. I think they’re such a blessing to the world, but they're often seen in a really negative light. They are often their whole life told that they're wrong and that they need to change.

For “power kids,” some tools that they respond really well to is asking them questions instead of giving them compliance statements. Instead of “put your shoes on, brush your teeth, get in the car, eat your Bagel,” it’s “What do you need to put on your feet so we can go to the park? Can you be in charge of the seat belts? Let us know when we're thumbs up, ready to go. What do you need to do with your teeth, so you don't get fuzzy cavity teeth?

Those are questions for power kids. Power kids are kids that have a strong desire to lead. They have that need. If we don't fill it, they're going to go seek it inappropriately in the world. When we can fill that in the home, they act out a lot less than the world.

They know the answer. Our kids know what they need to get on their feet to get to go to the park. So, when you ask them, that need gets filled and they think, “shoes!”

ALLIE: Yeah. And I love also how you phrase that. I did an episode by myself where I opened up and shared my struggle with my son, Leland. He's my oldest son, but my second child. He was a very difficult toddler. I wish that I had found this sooner. I figured it out myself by stopping the yelling and the screaming. It was making him fight back and also breaking his spirit in a way. We came full circle and had some big realizations there. But it really bothered me when people would tell me, “oh, he is so strong-willed,” like it was bad. And I said, like in the other episode, that it really bothers me that people use that as so negative.

I hope that all of my children are strong willed. Why would you want that to be a bad thing? I hope they can be their own person, be confident, know what they want and tell people what they want, especially my daughter, as a woman in this world, but all of them. I want them to be strong willed.

You don't say “strong” or “leader” in a negative way. And again, in our community I feel it is like, “oh yeah, you got a strong-willed one” or as somebody once told me, “everybody always gets at least one strong-willed one.” Like it’s a curse; that’s how it is. There is so much negativity out there.

The power in the words that we say to our kids and about our kids and the way we describe them. It matters. It’s doing something to you. I notice that you’re very careful and positive in the way that you describe them. It's OK that it's a difficult child. It’s OK that it’s a difficult time while you’re raising them. The way you talk about it as so positive. I love that.  

WENDY: And that episode that you're talking about really blessed me. I loved that episode about Leland and it really engaged some critical thinking skills in myself on how I can talk truth over my kids more. That was wonderful.

And one more thing about that, Allie. One of my favorite authors in positive parenting, L.R. Knost, she's the author of five books. One of them is called Jesus the Gentle Parent Book. She really talks all about that. How some of the world's most incredible leaders have the same traits as our so called “strong-willed kids,” but when we describe the “strong-willed” kids it’s all negative words - disobedient, defiant, testing, out of control. But then the world leaders, and some of the greatest people have founded companies or incredible nations, they are described as persistent, perseverant, bold and tenacious.

I love challenging our brain to see it differently. It does take time; it does take practice.

ALLIE: Well, it's funny because it's like, what do we want?

I started a business and I shared on another episode of the trials that went into that and that was so hard. What do you think the traits are going to have to be for somebody to lead a country, to lead a nation? To start a huge business to lead a bunch of people, to be a missionary, to lead a family? Like what do we expect? Of course, these people, they need to be question-askers, button-pushers and envelope-pushers. They have to stretch everything thin and see how far they can go because that's what's going to make them amazing. It makes them hard to raise, sure, depending on how you're parenting, but it's worth it. It’s our job to raise them into who they're meant to be, not try to force them to comply to what is easy for us day-to-day.

WENDY: Absolutely. And empowering yourself with different ways to do that is just the way to go. There are so many things that work well with those kids, but they're often counter-cultural. The world wants us to never let those kids have an inch because you think they'll take a mile, when really they need it. They need a little wiggle room because they have incredible self-management skills. We just have to support and guide them.

ALLIE: Totally. Since we talked about toddler years, and I know that neither of us is there yet, but I do have some listeners who are, and I'm curious, how does this look in the teen years? Everyone has such a negative view, “Oh, well, wait till she's a teenager.” I hear it all the time. Because I have three boys, people tend to give comments about how they're all going to be super wild. They're all close in age so they're going to conspire against me together. Then I have a daughter, so I get the other end of the spectrum, “you better have a gun.” No, I'll just raise her to respect herself enough to make good choices.

But it's such a negative connotation with teen years. I would love to hear your take on what this sort of parenting translates into when the kids are almost adults. When they have all these opinions and they want to video chat with their friends, talk to boys and all these different things that come into play.

WENDY: Yeah. Gosh, I have a heart for teens also. My dear friend and good teacher who is the person who certified me in this work, Susie Walton. She found this work when she was a single mom and her four boys were teens. She used to joke that she would yell and yell and try to threaten them and they would all laugh at her because they're 6’4”.

And she was like, “Oh gosh, this is not working.” And that's when she found this work.

Those men are now full-grown men and are happily married. One of them is the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. I mean, they're incredibly successful, good men and they were raised on this work.

She speaks a lot about the teen years and how what an incredible opportunity we have when we use parenting and focus on developing great relationships in a strong way to be our child's advocate and be a solid support system for them when they're teens.

Because once our kids are teens, they're no longer kids and using fear and force to drive and control them for most families doesn't work as well. It doesn't feel good. And teens have a tendency to revolt from that. It just doesn't make sense for them.

Using relationship-building things where they listen and respect you because they want to and not because they have to, provides this opportunity to be a real mentor for them. And that's our job when our kids are teens. We’re no longer “parenting” them; we are now “mentoring” them. They're young adults. They should be, by that point, prepared to make really strong decisions. And when you use Positive Parenting Curriculum, you are always helping to mold your kid’s critical thinking skills.

We teach our kids to check in with their own gut, their own heart, to create intrinsic control methods. Everything from discipline to communication. It's all about guiding them to develop their own voice that is respectful and kind, but also that they can communicate what they want, they can say what they believe in, and be able to say “no” to their friend when their friend wants to do whatever drug.

It’s beautiful work that builds kids up and builds self-esteem. You want to make sure you are using this work because it’s such a great opportunity to guide them.

There was a great study done here in San Diego, in La Jolla, California about a decade ago. In this study about one thousand teenagers were asked, “Who would you love to go to when you have a problem?” And almost all of them said, “my parents, I would love it if I could talk to my parents.” And then they asked them, “well, but who would you really go to when you have a problem?” And almost all of them said, “anybody but my parents because they'll either lecture me, punish me, stay up all night worrying or just nag me. I just feel like I can't talk to them.”

It was eye opening to realize that again, we're “at choice” and we want our kids to be able to come to us with challenges. We want to be the ones guiding them and mentoring them, not necessarily their buddies or others.

ALLIE: Exactly. In trying to control, we lose control. We lose that connection.  

WENDY: You do. I've seen it over and over again in families and it breaks my heart. It's really is a strong motivator for me as I'm teaching this work. I just want to bless families with strong relationships, so when their kids become teens, they can navigate the highs and lows of life.

There is a big misconception about this work. Well, I think two. One of them is that it's permissive work, which it absolutely is not. And the other one is that you have to be perfect and bubbly and your kids are going to be perfect. It actually does not create perfection. There is no perfection in parenting. It does put you at choice with how you handle your kid’s mistakes, how you handle their learning and how you teach them.

One of the biggest elements of this work is understanding this core concept that mistakes are actually a beautiful opportunity to learn. They're really a problem when you keep doing the same mistake over and over again. But when you have a strong relationship with your child, you can mentor and support them, and you have strong, effective and compassionate discipline, that really guides them to new behavior tomorrow, it's incredible the things it does.

We’ll see, right? I'm very open and honest with my own journey and you know, I'm praying that this holds true with my own kids. My daughter's 10 now and she's definitely a tween, but I feel confident in it. You want to be able to navigate those highs and lows with integrity. And if you practice this work, it allows you to do that.

There's going to be bad days. Our kids are going to make mistakes. There's going to be times when they get bad grades, make a bad decision or date a weird person. How we work with them is really our choice.

ALLIE: Absolutely. I would like to get practical on that. Let's say you’ve got a teenager and they're making a mistake that's freaking you out. Maybe they are getting involved with the wrong crowd or maybe they actually make a pretty large mistake. They start to sleep with someone. Maybe you find out that they were drinking at a party or something. Maybe they're making a mistake currently. One of the ones that you're like, “please no.” How does handling that look like within this type of parenting?

WENDY: Well, the first thing is that we want to make sure we have established a relationship built on trust. So, if our kids come to us and tell us the truth, which is what we want, right? Because, let's face it, there are going to be times when they make mistakes. We want them to be honest with us. And so, the first rule, if you want your kids to not lie to you at any age, especially when they're teenagers, is you've got to stop reaming them when they tell you the truth.

We teach something in Positive Parenting called “heart connector,” or a pause button where if a kid tells you some freaky information, like, “Mom, I did this, or I'm hanging out here. I went to this party, I got wasted.” Whatever it is, you put your hand on your heart. Your heart starts to beat (I call it the volcano effect) and you’re thinking, “what the heck were you thinking? Oh my gosh!” And you just want to blow up on them. But what that does is it shuts a kid down and you have eliminated or extremely diminished your chances of them coming to you again and being able to mentor them out of that situation.

So, the first thing you want to do is do that heart connector. Go take a walk, go take a bath, go pray, whatever you need to do to get yourself into a place of neutral emotion. And often that will look like silence.

Then you come back to the table, maybe later, once everyone's settled down and you say, “Thank you for telling me the truth. Thank you for telling me that you did that. That means the world to me. And now I want to talk to you about what's going on.

Why did you make that choice? What were you thinking? How did you feel? How did you feel when you knew you were wasted or you drove with somebody that was drunk?” And most likely you're going to be able to mentor them to understand that they felt scared, shameful, guilty and yucky.

Then you're going to say, “Well, how would you like to do it next time? Because I know you and that's not who you are. You are a strong decision maker and I know you care about your own life. You know I care about your life and we can't have you driving in the car with people who are drunk, honey. So, here's your options for next time and this is why you want to make a different decision next time. This is why you want to think about what you’re saying “yes” to when you say “no” to getting in a car with somebody who’s drunk. You're always saying “yes” to something when you're saying “no.” You're saying “yes” to your safety and tomorrow and not getting in trouble or whatever it is.

That's the type of conversation that we have with them in a calm time. That really lifts them up and out of a behavior instead of forcing them. “Well if you do that again, you're going to be grounded. Wait till your dad finds out.” My favorite these days is all about “screen time”, “I am going to take away your phone.”

That's really the compassionate and effective discipline that we do in this work. We guide and coach parents how to make what we call “the four R’s.” It has to teach responsibility, it has to be relative, and it has to be respectful, and I often forget the fourth one…

Using those together helps kids understand that if you are going to give a consequence that having it be relative has them actually learn from it instead of making it like, “Gosh, my mom's mean.”

ALLIE: “How many more days until I get my phone back?” That’s all they care about.  

WENDY: Yeah. And also you want to make sure you're pouring into that need that they belong, that they are valued, that their voices are heard, that they have a powerful part in the family because those needs that Dr. Rudolph Dreikurs taught, it's the same for toddlers as it is for teens. Figuring out how you pour into that in those teen years is big. We do have the ability to be strong influencers on them.

ALLIE: I know we're going long. I had a feeling this would happen with you because it’s such a good topic, but going back to toddlerhood and little years, how do you handle a kid that does big, big tantrums? What if people are listening to this and they have a kid that's doing that right now and they want to start this? How do you handle public, awful tantrums?

WENDY: Great question. All right, so backing up a little bit, this work will help you get out of it. There's a few things that tantrums usually come from when kids are toddlers. Some of the biggest ones are tiredness, hunger and thirst, and sickness.

So many times we find that with toddlers, those are behind the tantrum. So, that's where the responsibility from the parent really comes in. Us seeking to look internally. What can we change in our schedule? What can we change in our expectations? What grace can we give over these children to not set them up for failure? But the fourth element of tantrums is also powerlessness that you see a lot in kids. And again, feeding into how do you empower these little guys? One of the favorite and best ways to do that with toddlers is choices. A lot of parents are, “Yeah, we give choices,” but this really becomes a fluent language with your toddlers.

And I just worked with a dear friend on this a little bit ago with her toddler who was tantruming so much. He was two and she started to incorporate more choices and sure enough it worked. But that's just one element of preventing power struggles and then dissolving them with integrity once they arise. That's just one little element; we give parents so many.

But then another thing that I would speak to with the tantrums is, a big learning experience for me that changed a lot with my daughter when she was three, was this idea that I had to fix her. That she was broken and that it was my responsibility to make sure I got control of her. Because God forbid someone saw me in the grocery store with a wild, tantruming child.

I really did a lot of work around it and I'm also a life coach in training. The more I did work around it, the more I realized that it wasn't so much about her. It was more about me, what judgment I thought was coming down on me, and what I thought other people were thinking of me.

I had to clean that up a little bit and just trust that parents get it. 99% of the world gets it. And I know everywhere I go, I try to give a mom a smile or pat on the back, and say, “You’re doing an amazing job. Hang in there. Go get yourself a latte.”

Trusting that and being able to give compassion, kindness and empathy, you can do that better when you trust that humanity is behind you.

There is the 1% who will make those comments and you're just like, “Come on, please!” But I love this idea of not feeling like your kids are broken or that you have to get control and fix them.

Sometimes you just gotta scoop your little one up, leave the grocery store, put them in their car seat and go for a drive until they fall asleep. And that is OK. Tantrums are, like I said, most of the time about how to empower these little ones so they don't feel like they're powerless.

They are also about the hunger, thirst and the sickness. A lot of times when my kids have had the worst tantrum when they were little, the next day they came down with a cold or they got sick, and I was like, “That's why!”

ALLIE: Yes. Oh my gosh. I was going to add but I didn’t want to interrupt you. But I was going to say, do you know how many times a huge freak-out happened and I would go home? “What is wrong with my parenting? This was so awful!” And then the next morning they are throwing up.  Do you know how many times I had an abandoned cart at the grocery store that I had to say, “I'm so sorry I have to leave,” and I wouldn't get my groceries because we had to leave from a freak-out.

Everybody does get it. It's OK. It usually is a heart issue. You think, “They're just such a difficult kid. Oh my gosh, I need to really deal with this.” But then it’s usually that they feel really stuffed up and they have a cold coming on, or it's something simpler

WENDY: Or overstimulated or you just thought you could push them 10 minutes on their nap to get some groceries.

Yeah. I was just in the grocery store the other day actually. We talk a lot in this work. We do a lot of paradigm shifting and we give this example of Stephen Covey on the subway. But I actually had the same perspective shift that I was in the grocery store and I had three little girls with me who are friends of ours, they go to our elementary school and they just lost her mom to cancer. I had my little guy with me, so we I had four kids with me in the grocery store. I bow down to you; I don’t know how you go it. But we’re going through and I just wanted to get some frozen food for them so dad could empower them to make their own snacks.

And they're like, “Can we have ice cream?” And I'm just like, “Sure, sure.” And they're running around and they're wild and someone did do that look at me. And I just tried to reach in and have compassion for that person who I thought probably was judging me, and think to myself, “They have no idea what's actually going on in this situation.”

Everybody has their story, whether it's kids being wild or kids tantruming. You don't know what's going on with that mom or that kiddo.

One more quick story, Allie. Years ago, I was in a little café close to my house. I've had many moments where I'm not patient with my kids, but this particular day I was working to be patient with them. They were doing something annoying and I found the energy to be calm and patient with them.

And the young girl came up to me and said, “I just want to tell you that the way you talk to your kids, what you're doing with them is so inspirational. You don't hear a lot of people talk to their kids like that.” And literally I started crying because all these years of hard work of trying to find compassion and grace on how to work with these kids, especially in public, to have someone see it, admire it and acknowledge it; I was blown away by that.

So that's how I try to be nowadays for those moms who have those kids tantruming is just to acknowledge their hard work and say, “You are seen and admired. This stage will pass. They will get a little bit older and won’t do that.”  

ALLIE: Yeah, because it feels like it never will. And I know what you're referencing with the Stephen Covey, with the dad on the subway and it's so true. You just don't know. You don't know where they just came from. You don't know if this is her “off day” or she's just “done.” She's just received terrible news. It's almost cheesy because that example is out there for everything, but none of us are acting like we know that. We don't know where this person is coming from.

It’s funny that we care what people think of when we are out with our kids. We're all doing our best. We're trying to raise good kids. Your parenting. You're having a hard day. You do you. The last thing we need to be doing is worrying about what somebody else thinks. If we can all let go of that and those expectations we have of ourselves to meet other people's expectations when we're out in public and with tantrums and stuff, it would just be so much easier.

That's the best thing I think we can do for ourselves right now is just simplify and make things a little bit easier for ourselves.

I feel like we could talk for hours that we may have to have you on for another episode or something because this is just so good and so full of hope, and empowering. That's what moms need.

Thank you for taking so much time to be here with us. I so appreciate it.

And guys, we’ll link to everything, where you can find Wendy, it's

She's got an amazing course that she gifted to me and I have been looking through. It's so good. If you think this interview is good, it’s a million times better.

And then you also have the Bonfire, right? Which I think is a monthly membership.


ALLIE:  So we'll link to everything. If you want more of Wendy or the amazing work that she's doing, we'll link to everything. I encourage you guys to go and check it out.

Thank you so much, Wendy!

WENDY: Thank you Allie! I’m glowing! What a great conversation. This was awesome. Thanks again.


This was an episode of The Purpose Show.  Thank you so much for tuning in.  If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, head to for free downloads, courses, classes and to learn more about what the next step might look like for you.  I am always rooting for you. See ya next time!

Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.


EP: 032 Kids Who Rebel vs Kids Who Don't Rebel feat. Rebecca Lindenbach


Rebellion is seen as a cultural norm, but Rebecca Lindenbach begs to differ. Rebellion is not a mistake, it is a habitual behavior pattern. Yes, bad things can happen, but that doesn’t mean there isn't hope. In her book, Why I Didn’t Rebel, she shows how rebellion is not unavoidable and how it is often misunderstood. She offers incredible research partnered with her own story and the stories of others. Her foundation stems from reasons over rules, giving parents a new paradigm for raising kids who don’t go off the rails. Because rules create a power imbalance while reasons cultivate a healthy parenting relationship. Her book is the best parenting book I have read, so I know you will enjoy this episode!


In This Episode, Allie + Rebecca Discuss:

  • What rebellion is and what it is not.

  • How you can effectively work discipline, training or teaching into your parenting to help your kids void rebellion.

  • Why rules create a power imbalance while reasons cultivate a healthy parenting relationship.

  • The power of the words you speak over your children, as they are a self fulfilling prophecy.

  • How discipline works when your kids are really young and how you can set them up for success as teenagers.

  • Their perspective on whether or not how you choose to school your children impacts their behavior.

Mentioned in this Episode:


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Motherhood is hard. While it is servitude and giving to your family from yourself, it doesn’t have to be something that we are waiting to be over. Something that we are counting down the minutes till naptime, or bedtime, or waiting for the next day to start. If you are wanting to sort through the clutter in your mind, your heart, your home calendar, your health, routines, and relationships, I created Unburdened just for you!

who doesn't love a GIVEAWAY?

Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email with a screenshot of your review on iTunes. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's amazing courses for FREE!  

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to.  I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days.  I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it.  Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and i know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood.  I’m Allie Casazza and this is the The Purpose Show.


ALLIE: Hey ladies. Welcome back to another episode of The Purpose Show. I am so beyond excited for this one. I am sitting here with Rebecca Lindenbach. She's the author of Why I Didn't Rebel and it is a book that I have been talking about so much lately because, as I said on Instagram, it is the best parenting book I have ever read. It's not even written by a parent and I think that's what makes it great. I'm so honored to have you here. Thank you so much for being here!

REBECCA: I'm so excited for this! Seeing all the Instagram feedback from you as well has made me even more excited for today.

ALLIE: Yeah! And everybody is like,"No pressure, but everybody's been waiting for this!"

REBECCA: OK, I'll try to deliver.  {laughing}

ALLIE: I am so looking forward to this conversation. You are like me in the way that you speak very directly and you definitely have a "no BS" for lack of a better term, attitude about the way that you speak and I love that. I really respond to that. I think it's really good for people to hear that kind of talk in this sugarcoated, overly-fluffed society that we live in where everybody gets a trophy and everything's "It will be fine. You're just doing your best." No, it won't though. We need to be intentional. We need to know where we're going and I love that about you and your book. Before we dive in to all my post-noted questions, why don't you just tell us a little bit about yourself first?

REBECCA: Well, I am Canadian, which is one thing a lot of people don't know about me. I don't know why that always seems to be such a huge thing when people find out. "Oh my gosh. You're Canadian, right?" Yeah, we exist.

I've been married for almost three years now. The beginning of our marriage was me writing this book, which as anyone who's ever written a book knows how incredibly busy and stressful it is to write a book, and that was on top of being a newlywed. So that was fun. It was a lot of fun, but it was definitely very emotional at times. But, it's been a topic that I've been so interested in for such a long time. I've always just been one of those people who loves to see themes and patterns, especially when it comes to human behavior, which is why when I studied psychology in school.

And so as soon as I got this book, my mom was telling me, "You have to write this book!" And Connor, my now husband, was like, "well, of course you have to write this book! This is your book!" And so, I wrote the book and he was really good through that. Pretty much my life these days is talking about a lot of parenting issues online, but mostly I'm working with my mum online, which is also pretty fun. I do most of the parenting side on her website.

ALLIE: I love that because you're her daughter. If you haven't read the book listeners, it's funny because it sounds kind of funny. You think, "She doesn't know anything about parenting," but, no! That is what makes this book so amazing is because it's coming from your perspective and you didn't just talk out of your mouth and just about your own childhood. You brought in other people. I think every chapter has a story from other people.

REBECCA: Every chapter has at least two other people and psychological research. I was a psychology student like I said, and the research side of me was "I can't just have this be a case study of Rebecca." Because, first of all, no one wants to hear an entire book just about me. And also it just wouldn't be that interesting. Right? But I wanted to make sure it was representative of it. The curiosity was, "Is this the thing that I found helped me,  going to also help other people? Or was I just an outlier? Right? So I really wanted to address that question.

ALLIE: Yes. And I love too that you're a Christian and your family is Christian. I'm a Christian. But you do not have to be of faith at all to take something incredibly valuable and powerful from this book. You're very unbiased.

No, you're totally unbiased. I feel like you've covered all the bases. There is no way that somebody (and it'll be really irritating if somebody finds a way), but I don't think there's any way that anybody could read this book and be, "Well, she didn't think of this or she didn't cover this kind of parent. You cover incredibly, incredibly strict, very rules-based, to the level of unkindness, really crazy strict parents. And very loose parents. You cover everything. Christians, not Christians. Church-going, not church going. Church-going, but didn't really get involved. Every type of parent that I can think of that. I love that. So I just want to get right in.

ALLIE: I just highlighted some things that I wanted to ask you about more towards the beginning of the book because I don't want to get the whole thing away. People need to get your book. I love how the first chapter is "What is rebellion?", and how you preface the entire book perfectly by addressing that. And it's quite a large chapter, too, of what rebellion is, defining it and saying what it is "not." I think, this is where myself as a mother, I tend to freak out. Especially when I hear parents or other people talk about that "something happened", a mistake is made. And I'm like "Oh my gosh. I can't believe that happen to them." But then after this big thing "happens," there is a lesson learned and the person or child and they go on to live a great life. A mistake is not rebellion. Rebellion is rebellion. Can you talk a little bit more about that, what you say in the book about that, and your thoughts on actually defining what rebellion is before we freak out about it?

REBECCA: I wrote the first chapter after I had done all of my interviews, right? I had already talked to all of these people. I had really delved into this and really thought about, "OK, what makes me think that this is one of the kids who rebelled versus this kid who may have gotten really drunk at a party once, didn't rebel. What's the difference?" Right? Because there was a difference in how they lived their lives and how their relationship with her parents was.

And what came back to me again and again was just this idea of who are you living your life for? Are you living your life for God or are you living your life against God? Because we all sinned and we all fall short. Teenagers are very lovable, but they're very dumb and they make mistakes. I say in the first chapter that everyone goes through extreme hormones, hormonal swings during teenage years. I had a lot of people in my life growing up and I saw all my friends who would get punished for being really moody when they were PMS-ing like mad when they were 14 years old.

I just didn't really see that as necessarily being a bad kid, and I thought, "I don't know, that just seems really rough." So I really wanted to address that to make sure that we didn't see all sorts of misbehavior as rebellion because there are two different types. There's the mistakes you make once and you say, "OK, I can be a better person than this." And there's that habit. There's habitual stubbornness to go your own way, even when you know that it's wrong. Then there's also rebellion of the heart. All three of those look very, very different. But all of them need to be addressed.

ALLIE: Yeah, absolutely. And you did it beautifully in that chapter. It brought a lot of clarity and it was really great. You could tell that you wrote it after the rest of the book, which is good. It was as if you were saying, "OK, I've done all of this. I've gone through everything you're about to read, and you need to know what you're looking for here." You brought a lot of clarity to a hazy area of parenting. It's really sad and myself included. I think a lot of parents kind of get thrown into this whole gig. Everybody is super planned. Personally for my husband and I, I was told, "You're either not going to be able to have kids or it is going to be super hard." So we were just chilling together and pregnant eight months into our marriage.

And it was shocking and so you kind of fall, for lack of a more professional term, backwards into parenting. You just have a lot of fear of "I don't want to be too harsh. I don't want to be too relaxed. I don't want to have all these rules without reasons." But then, especially in the Christian atmosphere, very spare-the-rod, spoil-the-child. I'm very strict. My husband and I tend to stick out in that regard, which you address as well. And I love that. It's like you just have all these things. You're just trying your best and it's not enough. I think it is very important to shine a light on what we're looking for, what we want and what we don't want. And what is that verse? It's in Proverbs. "Without vision, the people perish." That is so perfect for parents, for everything. But for parenting, if you don't know what you're looking for, how can you effectively discipline, train or teach?

REBECCA: Even in parenting the added element is that what if you do have one of the kids who has like a "big mistake" in high school, you're in the middle of the emotion of it as well, right? You're in the fear, in the middle of the uncertainty of the "is this going to become a perpetual habit or is this just a once in a lifetime kind of big mistake?" And I think that sometimes parents need to be told there are kids who just make mistakes and it turns out OK. Kids who don't go into full blown rebellion.

And that was a big thing I tried to do with the book in general. It was just kind of showing parents that, "Yes, bad things can happen, but that doesn't mean there isn't hope. That doesn't mean that even if your worst case scenario comes true, it can't be used by God."  And that was kind of a point I was trying to strike, trying to hit again and again and again with the book because it's really scary. And that was one of the biggest revelations coming out of all the interviews that I did was just, "Holy cow parenting must be really hard."

ALLIE: So is being a kid, which is something that I took from your book. You forget so quickly what it was like. I read this book with two different trains of thought - which is why I had to read it a couple of times and will probably read it again - one was how I was raised and then how I want to raise my kids. And so it was really interesting to just notice, "Yeah, I did feel like that or I didn't." I didn't realize that's why I had done that or felt that way and then to reverse it and think forward with my kids. It's just so good in so many ways.

OK. Basically after chapter one, I think the rest of the book is really what made these kids rebel and what made them not. And what is the common denominators here? What happened? And so one of the first things you talk about is rules. I'm just talking out of memory. I think it's the chapter where you gave the example, which I loved, of your dad being allergic to all your dress up clothes and the feather boas and others.

REBECCA: Yeah, the really fluffy ones.

ALLIE: Yeah, and you had a sister, so girly things everywhere. It's just the way she handled it and it's simplest example, but I love it. It's so perfect and applies to everything. And your mom saying, "Let's not bring these things downstairs (or upstairs) because Daddy's allergic and we it sucks for him to come home and be allergic. Just keep them over here." And it was a reason instead of "I've told you we do not bring these things downstairs!"  Instead of having these set rules and nobody understands why. Kids are not dumb, they can handle it. They just want to understand. If you lay out for your kids, "oh, we're not going to do this in our house just because we need to respect Dad and that really sucks for him to come home from work after a long day and then have an allergic reaction. So let's not do that." And then you never did it because you understand why. It wasn't just an unwritten rule that was "because I said so." So can you talk a little bit more about that and how you saw that played out in positive and negative in the people that you interviewed. And in parenting in general, and why that's important?

REBECCA: Exactly what you said. Kids aren't dumb. What they really understand is cause and effect relationships, right? I do this, I get a cookie. I do this, I have a timeout, right? That's why we use positive reinforcers and positive punishment. Sorry, that's psychology talk. But that's why we use "the carrot and the stick" kind of mentality a lot of the time with kids. And so what I saw in a lot of these families is you have the two sides of the spectrum. You have families who have a ton of rules and you don't give any reasons at all. It's like "You do this because I am your parent I told you to." One person in particular who I talked about in the book, I call him Nathan in the book, the problem that he found was that the rules didn't have a clear cause and effect relationship, and the cause and effect relationship that was there didn't change as he got older.

REBECCA: For instance, he would be allowed to go downtown 45 minutes on his own after dark, but he wouldn't be allowed to go over to another guy friend's house and watch a G-rated movie unless there was parent supervision when he was 17 years old. 13 years old? That's one thing.17 years old? That's another. And for him it just felt so unfair because, as he said in his words, he was going to move out in five months anyway, so why wasn't he allowed to have at least a little bit of freedom. Was it that his mom didn't really respect him? Did she just like having the control? What was it? Of course, looking back on it, he understands a lot of the fear and the uncertainty that his mom must have been facing as a parent.

He was the first born as well. And I think it's always harder with a first born because you don't really know what you're doing. But it's really hard when you're the kid who is sitting there and you feel like, listen, I have the ability to get myself a job. I could legally move out if I wanted to. I'm going to be living on my own really soon. And I feel like my parents don't even see me. I feel like they can't see what I'm capable of doing and I feel like they're just trying to control me instead of getting to know me. That's what a lot of the really strict rules do because they create a power imbalance instead of a relationship.

ALLIE: That is so controversial. I thought it was, "I'm the parent of a child. You can do whatever I say because I said it." Really that is kind of what's happening, but it's not in that tone. You can’t come at them like they've done things wrong when they haven't. It's like being treated like a convict when you haven't done anything. You just want to go for a bike ride and if you can't that's fine. But can I know why?  

It's just changing our tone and our perspective to have these conversations with our kids, to have a relationship with them, to build trust and closeness, but also you're still being authoritative. You still are their parent. I love that you break it down to where you end up saying that authoritative parents are the ones who have the balance of warmth and respect in a relationship with their kids, but they're also the ones who laid down the law and say, what is, what goes and what doesn't. Yeah, go, who are you going to be there with? That's where you land is that's what our goal should be, is to be that type of parent that has the healthy balance.

REBECCA: Precisely. Here's what I've come to the conclusion after talking to 25 young adults, it was a lot of interviews. Yeah, there's a lot of footage out there. What I've found is that if the ultimate goal of parenting is blind obedience to the parents then what happens when they hit 18? Right? But the thing about authoritative parenting, is that you still have rules. You still have things that you do and you do not do as a family. Like my family, we didn't bring feather boas outside of our dressup room. Of course we had other things we didn't do as well, like swear and party and all those kinds of things. But on top of that we didn't only have the rules, we had the relationship and when I didn't agree with my parents or something, we could talk about it and there were a lot of times where I changed their minds.

There were a lot of times I did not. And then there were a lot of times where I didn't change their minds and my little sister got to not have the rules because I realized later that they were a little bit strict there. But having that mixture of the solid "No, there is an authority here" that makes you feel safe as a kid. You know what's expected. But that authority is going to listen to me and isn't going to put my needs and my rights second to anyone else's. Because the rules aren't there to put the kids' needs and right below the parents. It's there to help the kids stay safe and become the kind of person who God wants them to be. That's why that relationship is so important.

ALLIE: Right. And I think it's just a focus shift where if you're focusing, like you said, on just getting them to listen and obey to every single thing you say all the time, well yeah, there's ways you can get that. But it's going to turn sour eventually sooner or later.

But if your focus is, like you said, having the relationship, raising good humans who can think for themselves and know who they are. That's the thing too, is that if you're focused on just obedience, you're missing each child. I have four, so I know something about how different they each are. What works for Bella will not work for Leland, for Hudson and Emma and all the other thousands of kids (that I can just keep listing because I have so many kids), but it doesn't. They're all different and if I'm focusing on obedience on rules and I'm missing an opportunity to listen and see each of them in their hearts and their gifts and their struggles and then adapt. It's so much less pressure as a parent to do it that way too, to just play it by ear and follow the Lord's Spirit.  Play it by ear and listen to your kids and have a relationship with them and know your gut what's right or wrong for them right now.

REBECCA: Well, that's exactly it. It's a lot less pressure, but it can be a lot more intimidating to decide not to parent by parenting gimmicks versus parenting by the Spirit, right? Because how do you ever know for sure? There's no checklist if you're parenting by the Spirit, right? There's no formula. There is no group of people who can judge you and say, "Yes, you are parenting exactly like the Spirit." That's why it's so much harder for a lot of people, you know? That's why it can be so much more difficult, but it's so important. It's such a huge testament to kids to be able to see their parents who are living by their convictions and by the Spirit versus by a rules-based version of what they think the family should look like. I mean, I know that my prayer life and my faith is so much impacted by my parents, seeing them deal with the times that we really tested them.

ALLIE: I love that you said that you think there's a big gap in our generations of raising kids because we're like the first wave of parents raising kids in this overly tech-saturated, terrifying season. I was much like you. I was the oldest. My parents were great. Everybody has their flaws. I had a great challenge, great parents. I did not rebel, and they didn't have to worry about any of this stuff. I didn't have a phone until I was 17 and it was a little flip phone and it was ten cents per text or whatever. And now if you accidentally hit the microscope for the magnifying glass icon on Instagram and there's full on pornography right in your face. It's so accessible.

I've got three boys. That alone would send me careening into a pit of despair. It is so crazy. And on the girls side, the comparison game is at its peak. It's so hard and I don't have an example of how to raise a kid in that. And so you specifically chose kids who were raised in this tech-obsessed time. None of them are my age or older, they're all in their early…

REBECCA: They were all under 25 when I interviewed them.

ALLIE: Yeah, so after post Facebook, cell phones, all of that.


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ALLIE: The next thing that I wanted to ask you about and just bring to light is the section about expectations, that children are a self-fulfilling prophecy. I love it so much. I want to bring up Monica and how you talked about her and her mom almost flippantly jokingly saying, "Oh, I only have a couple more years" until she starts to do whatever these awful things that teenagers tend to kind of do.

REBECCA: Sneak out the windows?

ALLIE: Sneak out the windows to be with boy. I thought, "is that normal?" And there's another episode of my podcast where I talk about the power of words (I have seen it so many times in my life) and speaking positive things over our children, speaking blessings and abundance over their lives and Jesus over their lives in their hearts. And it was so painful to read that section.

REBECCA: I was kinda the opposite of that, right?  

ALLIE: Parents say that all the time as a joke almost. I wonder if it's almost like a self-defense thing. "She's going to do it because every teenager does that." "She's such a troublemaker." Or my least favorite thing about boys, "Oh, he's going to be a heartbreaker. He's gonna be a lady killer." Even on onesies now like it's supposed to be cute.  Maybe you can talk a little bit more about that and maybe some examples that you saw, what that looks like, how parents were doing that and what we should be doing instead.

REBECCA: Yeah. Well the big thing about expectations is that kids feel it very, very, very hard. Parents, I think. A lot of times the kid’s perspective was that their parents were always disappointed in them if they had those expectations of failure. So I had one girl in particular, we call Haley in the book, she said that she had never once heard her mom say "I'm proud of you" except for at her figure skating recitals and competitions and stuff like that. But her mom was always on her case about what she was doing wrong, if she had done anything wrong. What did you do wrong? I know you've done something and I know you're hiding it from me, but I haven't figured it out yet.

And it makes the relationship go from tense to bad to non-existent. It just does.There's no sugar coating it with that. For the expectations part, the thing is that we tend to treat kids like they're little juvenile delinquents before they've even done anything wrong. I see this over and over again where kids just want their parents to like them and all they get is this message of disappointment. Why can't you be more like your friend? Didn't I raise you better than this and all those kinds of messages of disappointment. Where as in families where there was a lot of expectation for the positive, even when there was failure, it went well, if that makes any sense.

So I had one girl named Parker in the book, her parents were very much like my parents. "Our kids aren't going to rebel because they're just not. They have Jesus, we trust Jesus and we fully expect them not to rebel." So when Parker would do something really dumb and screw up or gossip on a friend, or maybe she didn't study for a test and failed it when she really should have passed it with flying colors, it doesn't become this, "I'm so disappointed in you. I knew that this was going to happen. You are just like your father'" or any of those kinds of messages. It was more of, "Hey, we know that you can do better. You did so badly, but we know that you're better than this because we know who you are. We know who God has made you to be."

It isn't a shaming thing. Whereas like, "Man, you can do so much better than this. What's wrong with you?"  But more of a, "Hey, what's up? How can I help you? It's a symptom of a greater problem.

ALLIE: Exactly, a symptom. That's a perfect word. I love that.

OK, so my last question for you is in light of all of this and in light of the book and getting into why kids do or don't rebel, how does discipline look when your kids are young? Is that too general?

REBECCA: No, this is great. People ask me all the time about the book, "Is this a book on "teenagers?"  Really it's just a book about parenting in general.

ALLIE: Yes, because most of our listeners their kids are young, nine-ish and younger. Most of them.  I tended to think, "Oh, this is so good for when they're older," But no.

REBECCA: It's actually just the kind of thing where I had a lot of parents of teenagers email and say, "I wish I had this book 10 years ago when my kid was five years old." It's not a teenager book. It's just the kinds of things that helped us as teenagers, which goes way back into childhood. Most of the questions I asked kids (they're all adults at this point) but I asked the children was actually about the elementary school years.  

ALLIE: And I think discipline is one of those things where there are so many things that you can do or shouldn't do and it's just overwhelming. It really is. Especially when something doesn't work for one of your kids that worked with the older one.

REBECCA: That was the story of my parent's life, I was like the perfect kid and my sister was a little bit more difficult as an elementary school kid.

ALLIE: Maybe just give us a general idea of what does a plan would look like in terms of, you know, why I didn't rebel?

REBECCA: Yeah. Well the overarching principle behind discipline that I found works best from my interviews and I also talked to a clinical psychologist who specializes in parenting psychology with children with behavioral problems. So these are really difficult kids to work with. And I talked to a theologian. I really, really, really did my research. What I found is the major principle behind it is we need to work on discipline, not punishment. Discipline is all about teaching kids what is the right thing to do and punishment is about teaching kids what's the wrong thing.

REBECCA: Right? When we focus on discipline, the issue is always the end goal. What are we aiming for? We're aiming for a kid who is loving, who is caring, who is considerate. And so when we're talking about these kinds of issues, we can have five million kinds of things. "This will have your kid be the perfect kid at the end of the day. " But really it comes down to understanding what is your child's feeling at that moment? Why are they doing what they're doing? That's a conversation that needs to happen. Like I share in the book, I had a lot of emotional control issues my entire childhood and I still deal with emotional ups and downs. But a big thing my parents always did was, "What are you feeling?" "When we are feeling angry, what can we do instead of hitting our sister?"

And then also letting kids deal with the consequences of what they did. That's not the same thing as a punishing them harshly. A big thing in our family was if we didn't eat our dinner, we didn't get dessert because that's a natural consequence. If you don't eat your healthy food, then you don't get your unhealthy food. You have to eat the food that mom prepared for you first. That was a big one for me because I love dessert and I did not like peas. But these ideas of how can we teach kids what's the right thing to do instead of simply harshly punish them for the wrong thing. And that's something that can be really difficult to figure out in the moment. But the biggest advice that I can give, based on the interviews, is focused on what your child's perspective is.

Because molding behavior won't really do anything if you don't get to the heart of the matter, right? If they're hitting their sister because they're really, really, really angry and they learn not to hit, but they don't learn how to deal with the anger, then the anger is going to come out in other ways. But the other thing too is just relax a little bit and just let them deal with what comes, OK? I gave the example of one little kid who really didn't like putting on clothes and wanted to wear pajamas all the time, and so mom was like, "OK, you can go to preschool in your pajamas" and all the kids made fun of him in his pajamas and then he put on clothes after that. And he's not scarred from it. Just relax a little bit.

Your kid doesn't need to be perfect. It's not going to be horrible if other parents see your kid bearing the brunt of their own actions. So what if your kid has ripped pants because they ruined their pants and didn't take care of them properly? Then? Well, you don't get to have nice pants while everyone else has nice pants. These kinds of ideas where it's about doing the right thing, not about harshly punishing so they don't do the wrong thing. And a lot of that just comes down to getting to the heart behind it.

ALLIE: And that simplifies the brain clutter that we feel so much. This book was just a breath of fresh air and it really lighten my load as a parent in all the different ways, especially doing what I do. I talk to a lot of people with a lot of opinions and a lot of different methods for things. Really there is no one-size fits all method. You have to just, like you said, relax and take it as it comes and look at the heart and where you want to go.

REBECCA: Yeah, and get to know your kid. There are so many parents who don't really know their children because they don't take the time to really talk to them. And something I found again and again, (I wish I'd had more space to put this in the book), but out of all of the kids that I've talked to who rebelled, I asked every single one with them what their biggest regret was. And these are kids who had a lot of things that went on and their number one regret for every single one except for one kid was that they didn't have a good relationship with their parents.

It wasn't what they did in high school. It wasn't living with the ramifications of what had happened in high school. It wasn't anything like that. It was all about the parents because what kids really, really want is their mom and dad. They really want is that relationship and that is like simultaneously incredibly heartbreaking, but also so incredibly helpful I think for parents, just knowing that you are what your kid needs.

ALLIE: Absolutely. Absolutely. And one more quick thing I would love to ask. You were homeschooled?  I'm homeschooling my kids. We've done public school, homeschooling flopped back and forth as needed and there's all different kinds of ways to raise your kids in that regard. Christian school, private school, Public School, Charter school. How much do you think that has to do with how your kids end up or do you think it doesn't matter at all? It's all about you as the parent.

REBECCA: A mix, and I know that's such a cop-out answer, but I know kids who are homeschooled who are terrifying now. We're talking terrified, like I don't want to be in a room alone kind of situation and that's OK to say because it's true. I'm not exaggerating. But I also know kids who are homeschooled and are like me and who didn't rebel and that kind of thing. Also the same thing with public schools. I think no matter what you end up doing with your kids, if you aren't talking to your kids, if you aren't spending time getting to know them, it's not going to end up well. With homeschooling, it is easier to spend a lot of time with your kids and get to know them. I think that is a big factor and that was a huge factor in my parent's relationship with me. I am trying to think of all the kids who didn't rebel and how many were homeschooled and I think there was only one other kid.

ALLIE: You mentioned a lot when you were talking to them there was circumstances that came up at school.

REBECCA: I tried to get a really big cross section of different demographics as well because again, psychology research mind, but I didn't only interview homeschooled kids. It wasn't like all the homeschool kids were good. They're actually one or two kids who rebelled who are homeschooled in the book.

ALLIE: I get asked that a lot, especially because we put our kids in school last year and pulled them out halfway and everyone assumes "something happened." What happened? What were you afraid of? We just missed our kids and it just works out better for us. It's really convenient and flexible.  But yeah, it's good to hear that. I think people put a lot of weight on the parenting world on that decision and I think it will matter for sure, but it's not it. That's not your only job is to make sure you educate. They spend most of their day in the right place.

REBECCA: I'll be honest here, I didn't have a single kid who rebelled or who didn't rebel say that it was because they went to Christian school, didn't go to Christian school, were homeschooled or not homeschooled. I think that when we put so much emphasis on the kind of schooling kids are getting it's easy to put a lot of the blame or the "ownness" on what your kids are learning on the school, if that makes sense? Not just educationally, but in terms of their faith, spiritual development, personal development. Which is why to say no matter where your kids are going, if you just don't have time to talk with them, then change something.

ALLIE: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I love that. OK. Where can people find you? Where are you at?  Where are you writing? Where can they connect with you outside of your book?

REBECCA: My personal website which is updated sporadically at best is The best place to find me right is my mum's website, which is I know you have had her on the podcast.  I post pretty much once a week on there, once a week or once every two weeks. That was a place to find me right now.

ALLIE: Yeah, I love that. Well, we'll link to your site. We'll link to your mom's site and, your book for sure. But thank you so much for taking so much time. I know this was a longer episode, but thank you for being here and taking your time and sharing with us. We just are so grateful. I'm so grateful to have you and I'm really grateful that you took the time. I know you initially didn't want to write this book.

REBECCA: Write the book? Yeah I was very, very hesitant.

ALLIE: Yeah. Thank you so much, Rebecca. You are amazing. I'm so impressed by you. You just, you shine and I know you're going to do amazing things. Continuing to do amazing things. So thank you for being here.

REBECCA: Thank you so much for having me.  


This was an episode of The Purpose Show.  Thank you so much for tuning in.  If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, head to for free downloads, courses, classes and to learn more about what the next step might look like for you.  I am always rooting for you. See ya next time!

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