communication

Ep 057: Communication in Marriage with Brian Casazza

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Communication is something Brian and I get asked about a lot. We don’t have it down, we are far from perfect at it, and we certainly are not experts. But we have learned and grown a lot over the years. One of the biggest areas our communication has evolved is understanding one another’s personality type and the way we communicate best. Be encouraged - communication will never be perfect, but I think what matters is that it is existent, a priority, and is always growing.

 
 

In This Episode, Allie + Brian Discuss:

  • The various types of communicators and how knowing the type of communicator you and your spouse are is important when it comes to navigating communication in your marriage.

  • Her and Brian’s problem areas in communication and the solutions that have worked for them.

  • How some communication issues are simply a male/female difference, which isn’t something we can change but can learn to appreciate.

  • The importance of finding the root of issues instead of staying on the surface or temporarily fixing it. This takes intentional communication!

Mentioned in this Episode:

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Motherhood is hard. I am not going to lie to you about that. 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!

It is a guide that will help you go from drowning in the sea of stress and overwhelm, to owning your time and living the best version of your motherhood. So you can live abundantly while intentionally focusing on those who matter most.


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


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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 Purpose Show.

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Hey guys! I'm extra excited for this episode because today I'm bringing on my husband, Brian. He's been on with me for a few different episodes in the past and they're always really fun and really well received, which makes me happy.

The other day we were having a conversation around our kitchen counter and going over feedback that we've gotten on the topic of marriage. It's not something that I really love talking about or feel super pulled to talk about, but it's definitely something that has to do with our roles as women, moms and having families. It's there and it's something that we need to talk about. And so, when I get questions about it, if they're really good or I feel really lead toward answering one of them, I'll of course bring the topic to the show.

We recently have been getting a lot of questions regarding communication in marriage. It's probably because I’ve said a few things on Instagram recently about how we've worked on that over the course of our relationship.

Anyway, today we're talking about communication in marriage. How to communicate effectively when you're different personality types. There's different types of communicators out there, verbal and internal, and it can get tense. Brian and I know all about that, so I asked him to come on the show with me and he was really excited to do this episode.

So, let's give a warm welcome to my hubby and dive in.

ALLIE: Hey Baby, I love when we do episodes together.

BRIAN: I like it too.

ALLIE: Okay. So, we're gonna talk about communication in marriage. A disclaimer from both of us, I think. We have kind of shied away from talking about marriage, actually not kind of, we have deliberately shied away from it because we don't feel like, “Oh we're so good at this and let's talk about it. Let's tell other people how to do what we do.”

But it's something that we get asked about all the time. God's really been working on both of our hearts, wanting to open up and have a conversation, not from a preachy standpoint…

BRIAN: Maybe more from the point of we have gone through this and experienced this and now this is what we know. Everything has been good and we've learned a lot.

ALLIE: What works. We used to struggle with this and now we don't. Definitely for this episode specifically, that's kind of where we're coming from here and it's something that we're always evolving in and working on.

Even just this morning I had a total meltdown and needed to communicate. It's always a point of tension, I think, in any relationship with how you communicate. So, having said that, we put together just a few really straightforward points. We sat down over coffee together the other day to outline this episode and we were like, “Okay, what works for us? What communication stuff do we have to say?” And I came up with a few things and actually I feel like you wrote this episode more than I did. I contributed two small things.

Brian, actually that's what always surprises me about doing episodes with you is that we sit down to do it and I think, “Okay, I'm the one that writes podcasts all the time so I'll be the one to do this and then you just kind of show up and you're like, “Oh, also this super wise, amazing Gandhi-style piece of wisdom.” And it’s like, “Oh, I didn't know you knew so much about marriage now.”

Okay, now let's get into the first point.

BRIAN: I guess the first thing that matters I feel like is knowing each other, the type of person you are, that person I am. I feel like that has fixed and helped so many things in our marriage. Knowing, first of all, there's two different tests. I forget what they are.

ALLIE: The Myers Briggs and  Enneagram.

BRIAN: Ok, so we did both of those and then knowing you're this type of person and I'm almost the opposite. So, we worked together well. But I know how you are and I know the things that you like, that you don't like, that bother you, that don't. And you know those things about me. So that helps when we break down the communication with those things.

You like it when you're talking to me and I'm doing certain things to show you that I'm listening. Whereas, I don't have to have those same things when we're talking.

ALLIE: It doesn't bother you if I'm cooking at the same time as listening to you. Or sometimes even if I'll be in the middle of writing an email and you're talking about something, I can still retain what you're saying, usually, while I'm writing that email. For me, I think it's half that I've seen proof that you can’t do that and retain it and half that it's just a quirk about me that I really like it when you are looking at me and showing me “I'm listening. I'm engaged. The noise that the kids are making isn't affecting me. I'm here and I'm focused on you.” It really helps me feel loved and listened to.

I think also that Love Languages is a huge thing, knowing that. Even if it's not directly related to communication, just knowing that about each other helps and communication types. So, for an example, I'm an external processor. So, guys when I'm dealing with something or I need to work through something, the way that I do that is by talking it out, out loud. I don't really know how I feel about something until I'm talking it out. Then I realize where I stand with something or what I should do about a problem while I'm talking it out. I don't usually need Brian to help me or fix it. Actually, I really don't like it when he tries to do that. I just need to talk it out to somebody.

BRIAN:  And I am the opposite where if I hear that then I'm thinking, “Okay, you want me to fix this problem. Or there’s a problem or there's some sort of advice or solution that you want.” I'm just that way where I want to fix it right away or I want to help you right away. So, I have to know that you’re like that or know that you’re talking to me in that way so that I don't make you feel not listened to by just trying to solve your problems and have it be done, because you just want to talk it out and talk about it.

ALLIE: Yeah, and I'll say, “Okay, I do kind of want to talk out what I could do here.” I'll tell him I want his input.  

For Brian, he is a very internal processor, physically, all-the-time internal processor. So, something will happen or I'll be saying something and it looks like he doesn't care or he's zoned out, but he's just thinking. He's processing it. And that's really hard for me.

BRIAN: Before we knew all this, that caused a lot of communication fights.

ALLIE: Maybe even our #1 fight because it was just so hourly that that would happen. Especially, too, after you quit your job and we were home together all the time. I noticed a big spike. That's when we figured it out – “Okay, we want to be home all together, all the time, and give our kids this great life, but it's not great because we're fighting all the time.” It was stuff like that. Just figuring out stuff like this.

And so, knowing how each other is and then respecting that and I think coming up with an agreement like who's going to give in here? Are you going to kneel towards what I need or am I going to kneel towards what you need? Finding a balance for yourself as a couple.

We'll link in the show notes to the personality tests we mentioned. Especially the Enneagram. I feel like it's more helpful than the Myers Briggs. It was really helpful. And in case you're wondering, I'm an 8 and Brian is a 2, so we compliment each other and also opposite.

It really comes down I think to respect because being opposites can be good, unless you're disrespectful, then it just becomes “I'm better than you” or “you're better than me.” It becomes a finger pointing fest and it sucks and it makes things hard.

Okay. So, let's go over some of the problems with communication. We touched on it a little bit, like I feel like you don't listen.

BRIAN: Yeah. That one was hard and that's been a problem a lot. What we've figured out and worked through is that I'm listening when you're talking, but if I'm not showing you physically, then you feel like I don't listen.

ALLIE: Right.

BRIAN: And I get frustrated because I'm listening, but that's just the way that you are. You have to see me listening.

ALLIE: So, here's a practical way that we have handled this problem. When I feel like Brian's not listening, I will just ask, “Are you listening?” Or sometimes I'll say, “Hey, are you able to listen to right now?” It's more respectful. I know that you have a life and stuff to do. I used to just walk in and be like, “Okay I'm here!” I'm definitely more of the self-centered one in the relationship. Brian's really giving, humble, and sweet and I just am not naturally like that.

So, I used to come into the room and say, “Okay this is what happened,” and just start with my problem. He would be in the middle of something. And so, I've started to ask beforehand, preemptively say, “Are you able to listen to me right now?”

And he will say “Yes” and drop everything. Or he'll say, “Why don't we feed the kids lunch and then get Emmett down for nap and we can sit and talk?” And I'll wait even though I'm frustrated. We have balanced it that way. It's not just him catering to me. Sometimes he can't listen right now and so I will have to hold onto it and that's just the way things are.

Okay. So, one of the other problems that we talked about was that I need to finish talking something out, all the way without interruption. And really pretty much early on in the conversation Brian will feel like he gets it, and it can be done now. “Okay. I get it.” And I have to keep going all the way until I get my whole point across. And then I just want him to be like, “Yeah, that sucks.”

BRIAN: I'm like an interrupter where right when you say something that I have on my mind, that I can answer that thing right then. Even though you wanted to finish all of your stuff, I want to say something about that thing.

ALLIE: Or you see where I’m going with it and you’re like, “Good. I got it.” But then that makes me feel unloved and not listened to. And that's been like a big one for us. What would you say that we do about that? Because I feel like we don't really struggle with that as much anymore. I feel like that one I would say, I don't know about you, but I would say that with that one that's been one that you have to kneel and give in to. I've cried over that before. “Just let me finish!” It's frustrating. And so, you've learned to let me finish. And once I get it out, that's all I needed to do. Would you agree with that’s how we've solved it?

BRIAN: Sure.

ALLIE: Okay. Do you want to go over your problem that I have that’s hard for us?

BRIAN: Yeah. Figuring out problems or you coming to me with something, I just sometimes need to sit and think. Or even have time by myself for a minute to sort it out. It's how I figure things out. You have a hard time with that. With all the tests, you know more about me now, know the type of person I am, the way that I am, and you understand. Just like how I understand you have different things, you understand that I have different things and we work with each other back and forth, you know?

That's one of the things that you give me a little bit of space to solve something or just think it out in my head. But I have also come to understand that you like to talk things out, even when you're processing something, talking it out while you're thinking about it, I will kind of do that with you if we're both trying to figure something out. Because I know that's how you are, I try to put my thoughts out so you see what I'm thinking, how I'm thinking, so we can work together instead of me thinking about it and coming to you with an answer.

ALLIE: And I appreciate that so much. I can't even tell you. It helps me feel really loved and known. And also, it's funny because it’s like you are “externally processing” and you’re not. You're just repeating the problem. So, Brian will be trying to join in and make me feel like “Okay, we're gonna work through this together,” and I will externally process, popping out possible solutions. Even if they're crazy, I'm just working through it. He'll just keep repeating the problem. “Okay, she sent you this text and it really upset you and you're really annoyed about it. Okay. So, she sent you…you got a text…” He repeats the problem and it's so cute because he is trying.

Okay. But I think, too, we'll have things where if it's something that we need to make a decision on, we'll table it - even though that's so hard for me - because you need to process internally, and because how you feel about the thing really matters. Like if it's not something that's just for me, for example, if I did get an upsetting text from a friend and I didn't know how to respond, that's really my problem. It's nice that you care and you want to listen to me. It might help me form a response, but that's really my problem. But if there's a family thing that we have to work through, it matters what you think. It matters that you have space to get to a point where you know what to do or you know how you feel because you don't even know how you feel at first. That's what you're processing, right? Just letting it sift a little bit. And I don't need that.

I see the balance. It depends on what it is and who needs precedence here. Who needs what. Whether we take a beat or we just dive right in and start, I’ll externally process it.

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If this sounds like you, I encourage you to check it out. You are probably the person I created it for. I want you in there. I want it to help you.

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ALLIE: And so, kind of circling back to the problem that I think most couples have, it's a communication problem, but it's also more of a male/female problem. It’s that I want Brian to listen and not try to solve, and he wants to fix it.

BRIAN: I understand that. And I can do that. Even the other day, you talked to me about a bunch of things that were bothering you. I so badly wanted to just answer because I knew the solutions to some of them. I wanted to say, “Okay, do this, do this, do this, do this,” but I held it back and sat and let you finish. Then later you came to me and we talked and I helped you with some of those things.

ALLIE: It's not that I, or we as women, never want help; we're just not ready for it yet. I have to just get it out. It's almost like a venting session. Even if you have an amazing fix-it solution, I just am not ready for it. I know it's weird, it's weird to even say it, but it's just how I feel. It makes me feel unloved when you give a solution at that point, even though you're like, “If this will just fix your problem...” I just don't want it. I'm not ready.

BRIAN: I am just like that. When I'm thinking of something, I just want to think of the solution.

ALLIE: Yeah, well maybe it’s logical but it's just not how I operate. So, coming back… we listed the problems and kind of grazed over what we do about it.

But I really think, like Brian said in the beginning, understanding how one another operates. Brian knows to look at me and show physically, in some way, that he is actively listening. It's not like he doesn't do anything and just stands there and stares at me. If he's making the kids’ lunch while I'm talking and I'm really stressed, I'm just talking about a problem or something, he's actively making eye contact. As he makes the kids’ lunch, he's looking up every few seconds and showing me that he's listening. Maybe repeating what I said a couple times to make sure he understands and it just really helps.

And if I'm venting something out or externally processing something, I've learned to say, “Okay, that's it. I'm done talking about this.” And then I'll say, “So what do you think I should do,” if I'm open to solutions. If I don’t, then he knows to wait. So, he is giving me what I need and I'm also giving him cues because ladies, men are not mind readers and they can't know what you want.

So, having those marital cues where you say, “Okay, that's it. I'm done talking about this. I don't want to talk about it anymore,” and leaving is so much better than having an argument, like, “Can you stop? Why do you have to fix everything?”

Saying “I'm done talking now; what do you think I should do” is such a great cue for him to go ahead and offer solutions. I just think it really helps. We've had conversations where we decided we would do these things, and now we do them. It helps to have open communication about your communication.

And I'm learning to let him process internally and not demand talking right away. I would say that this gets stressful for me when we're talking to someone else, like the adoption interview that we did. We were sitting there and they asked such intense questions and you're just expected to answer. And so, they asked us, I forget exactly what it was but it was a really personal, intense question. I'm sitting there and Brian's literally just sitting and staring. And I'm like, okay, I guess I'll take this one.

I can see that he’s internally processing, but I'm wondering if this lady thinks that we're keeping a secret or we did something bad in this area and we don't want to talk about it. And he's being weird and silent. So, then I fill the silence trying to make it not awkward and just start spouting off all of this personal information to answer her question. Then Brian put his hand on my leg and took over with the wisest, calmest, most wise answer ever because he just needed a minute.

So, I think it's funny that I'll get stressed when someone else is present. If we ever did a press interview together, I think it would be hilarious because I'd be like, “Oh my God, answer!” It's just funny.

But everyone is different and I think that those differences sometimes need to be worked on honestly. And sometimes they just need to be celebrated and bent over backwards for. Because you're married and you have to make this work, right?

Yeah. Okay. So, you want to go over the last point. This is not really, really exactly communication, but I loved that you said this when we were talking and it's definitely important.

BRIAN: Okay. So, you know, there's a lot of areas that we used to have problems with or fight with communication and I feel like we've figured out solutions to all of those things. If there's something that we're talking about or that's a problem, we won't just let it “be there.” We were driving somewhere the other day and we were starting to argue about it and we stopped and pulled over and fixed it before we even continued going instead of “deal with this later.”

ALLIE: Yeah. We pulled over, paused and just talked it out while the kids played in the car because it was going to ruin our day. We're on our way to a fun family day. And guys, isn't that when things always happen? Like you're going to have a really good intentional day as a family or date night as a couple. And it's like the enemy just gets in there and makes a problem.

And it's like, “No, we're not going to let that happen. We're not going to ignore this or push it aside, but we're going to deal with it like adults and just pull over. Calm down and just work it out.” It's so often just a miscommunication and the way to fix those miscommunications (it can even be a miscommunication of body language even) is to (hypothetically and literally) pull the car over, press pause and check in. What do you think I'm saying? How are you feeling? And then that was one of my points, like for me to say, “I am feeling like you don't care about my feelings or you don't care about what I'm saying.” And for Brian to say “That's not it at all. I'm sorry, I just looked at my phone because I'm waiting for a really important phone call about our finances or something,” whatever it was. It’s just a miscommunication so much of the time.

BRIAN: Yeah. So, another big thing that we figured out and the way we will communicate and talk about fixing a problem or if we're having a problem, is really digging down and finding where the root of this is coming from. Because a lot of times, we will be fighting and it'll be completely about the wrong things, where we won't even know what it is. We have to stop and say, “Hold on a second. What's the root problem?”

Digging down and getting down to that point instead of surface or temporarily fixing it. “Oh this is just fixed for now or maybe I don't want to deal with it right now” or whatever. But actually, it helps so much. Just spend the time, go all the way down, figure it out, and then it's just done, figured out. It's made us closer because we have both worked through it in a way.

ALLIE: Instead of just trying to sweep it under the rug. The only way over it is through and just working through it.

And I think also talking about getting to the root of the problem, it’s easy in a marriage - especially when you're like us and you're together all day, every day - it can get easy to poke at each other and make snide remarks if you're frustrated, or to be honest, kind of sick of each other, maybe a little bit. That’s rare for us, but every once in a while there's a lot going on and we're involved with each thing about each other's lives all the way through, and that's just a lot on a marriage.

So, I think sometimes making it easy to poke at each other and irritate each other or say something negative to each other when you really need to get to the root issue. What is the actual problem? “Well, it really hurt me this morning when you said this or I felt like you didn't care when you did that and that's why I'm having this attitude towards you today.”

And then it's like, “Okay, well then let's talk about that.”

BRIAN: And then it's so much better when we dig down and just work it out.

ALLIE: Exactly. I know this episode is about communication and marriage, but just saying in general to communicate with each other about everything is so huge. It's everything. You've got to be able to come and say, “I really need to talk.”

I know at any time if I come to you and I say, “I'm really frustrated. Can we just talk about this?” It might not be right then and there, but we'll talk about it. You're willing to at least hear me out and I'm willing to hear you out, even if it's something that I don't think is a problem, I didn't understand, or I don't really want to talk about.

And we do that for each other. And that kind of goes into making time for that. Not going a long time without talking, which was hard for us when you were gone all the time. But we always made time for that. Just staying connected, communicating, being honest about how you feel, but being honest respectfully and lovingly. I think that is how you have successful communication. Even when there's flaws, even when there's disagreements, if you can communicate and you openly communicate, that's where you have successful communication.

BRIAN: Especially, when we're both having that understanding of we're both “like this” and “like that” and we're going to work on something or talking whenever we come together. Having all these tools and knowing all these things about each other, it just makes it so much easier.

ALLIE: Yeah, and I think successful communication in your marriage is not perfect. It's just there.

BRIAN: We're still learning. Every time we communicate about something, we get better and better and better at it. We learn more and more and more and better ways to do it and figure things out. I know that's just the way it's going to keep going.

ALLIE: Yeah. For sure. It'll never be perfect, but I think what matters is that it's there and that communication is existent and it's happening.


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This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Did you know there is an exclusive community created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions surrounding The Purpose Show episodes? And to get you to actually take action and make positive changes on the things that you learn here? Go be a part of it. To join go to facebook.com/groups/purposefulmamas.

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, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.  

I am always rooting for you, friend!

See ya next time!

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

 

Ep 038: Compassionate + Effective Parenting with Wendy Snyder

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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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The Supermom Vault is a library of inspiration I created for you. It holds replays of my very best online workshops that aren’t available anywhere else, tons of really actionable pdf’s that are downloadable with just one click, more than 20 audio and video trainings from me, and professionally designed printables for your home to keep you focused and inspired. Check it out! It’s a really good simple start. 


who doesn't love a GIVEAWAY?

Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com 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 hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


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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.

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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 freshstartfamilyonline.com. 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 freshstartfamilyonline.com.

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.

WENDY: Yes!

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.

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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 alliecasazza.com 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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