Through relationships, children discover who they are and learn to understand others, which is why it’s important that we build strong, positive, and nurturing relationships with our kids that will last a lifetime. In today’s episode, Kelly and Megan speak about relationship-building from their personal perspectives as parents of young children, teens, and adults. We share some tips for improving your relationship with your own children, no matter how old they are or what stage of life they are in, including the importance of really listening to them, showing an interest in their hobbies, and meeting them where they are at. We also touch on the value of setting healthy boundaries, navigating your relationship as your child gains more adult independence, and why it’s crucial that you allow your children to make small mistakes, as well as our advice for minimizing your expectations, putting your children first, and showing you care in the little moments. All of this contributes to building a resilient relationship founded on trust and mutual respect. After all, your relationship with your kids gives them cues about how to treat others, so let’s lay the groundwork for healthy, lifelong relationships!
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Key Points From This Episode:
The conflict Megan feels about giving her nine-year-old space while also staying involved.
Kelly highlights the need for transition in your relationships as your kids become adults.
Our first tip to build healthy, long-lasting relationships with your kids: really listen to them.
The value of showing an active interest in what your kids are interested in.
Find out why Kelly didn’t teach her kids not to interrupt adult conversations.
Megan emphasizes the need to also set healthy boundaries with your children.
How to navigate your relationship as your child starts to learn more independence.
How it can hamper your relationship if you don’t treat your adult children like adults.
Why you have to let your children make small mistakes and figure things out on their own.
Our second tip for fostering a sense of trust: when you listen, don’t react.
Kelly shares her advice for parents whose first reaction tends to be an overly emotional one.
The benefits of explaining how your child’s actions made you feel rather than blowing up.
The biggest mistake Kelly sees parents making: having too many expectations.
Hear why we don’t suggest giving your young adult and adult children unsolicited advice.
Remember that this is a lifelong relationship; invest your time, love, energy, and effort in it!
If Kelly could give only one piece of advice, it would be: put your children first.
How your relationship with your kids gives them cues about how to treat others.
Our last tip for learning and growing with your children: meet them where they are at.
Megan suggests treating your relationships with your kids like your ideal friendship.
How showing you care in the little moments will lay the groundwork for the big moments.
Why it’s never too late to start implementing some of these tips with your kids.
“You have to care, and you have to be enthusiastic, and you have to listen – and not just passively listen while you scroll your phone. You actually have to listen.” — Kelly Castillo [0:06:11]
“One of the biggest, greatest things about going away to college or going away to the military or moving away from home on any kind of volunteer mission is that you’re forced to figure things out for yourself because of the distance.” — Kelly Castillo [0:16:33]
“It is a good thing to explore how to have a healthy relationship with your child, no matter [their] age.” — Megan Block [0:20:04]
“If you let them be who they’re meant to be, they will turn out to be absolutely amazing.” — Kelly Castillo [0:32:35]
“If you pay attention to certain cues in the beginning, then the reward for you is that, when [your kids] are having some sort of emotional moment, they are coming to you versus [going] to their best friend, their boyfriend, their husband. They have a feeling of trust in you.” — Megan Block [0:37:25]
“We’re teaching them lessons on how to be good people in life and how to respect people, how to have difficult conversations, how to respect boundaries.” — Megan Block [0:40:47]
“[Your home is] supposed to be the place where [your kids] can explore who they are and be who they actually are and share that with you. It’s not supposed to be a place where they don’t feel accepted.” — Kelly Castillo [0:47:53]
“These are the little things that, when the big moments come, they will come to you. The little things are these moments; after school, car rides home, the follow-up questions. Show that you actually care.” — Megan Block [0:52:13]
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
[00:00:02] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to She’s A Full On Monet, a digital lifestyle magazine for women. Every week, our editor-in-chief, Kelly Castillo, along with Megan Block, and special guests participate in a deep dive discussion about recent articles and topics we have covered. We invite you to become part of our community where everyone’s welcome.
[00:00:27] KC: Hello, everyone. Welcome back to She’s A Full On Monet. I am your host, Kelly, and I’m here with Megan, as always.
[00:00:34] MB: Hello. Hello, Kelly.
[00:00:36] KC: We are here today to talk about something I think that’s super near and dear to both of our hearts and kind of ties into last week’s empty nest syndrome topic. Today’s topic is how to build healthy relationships with your kids that will last a lifetime. At least I know from my friends and family members, that’s something that a lot of people really have issues with and struggle with. As their kids become adults, they don’t necessarily have the relationship that they had hoped for. A lot of that might be distance, but I think some of it you have to kind of lay the groundwork when they’re little. This topic is really for everyone, but, I mean, I think it would be of most benefit to people whose kids are still in the home and on the smaller side.
[00:01:22] MB: I agree. Yeah, I’m excited. I think that this is something that – I mean, not to toot your horn or anything, but I think you’re really great at this because you have a very close relationship with your kids that seems mutually respectful on both sides. I struggled growing up with having a really good relationship with my mom. It wasn’t until I became an adult again that I had any sort of actual relationship with her. But growing up, we butted heads all this time, and I never felt respected or this or that.
We all are products of what we grew up in, right? I’m definitely not wanting to have the same relationship with my daughters that I had with my mom, so it’s something I’m excited to hear your perspective on it because my daughters are nine and four, and I feel this is the time where decisions are being made on my end and their end that can turn into a great friendship, a great relationship, a great healthy relationship, or distance. It’s kind of at that age.
Fourth grade’s weird. They’re so moody. I’m trying to navigate how to do that because my four-year-old, I can do no wrong in her eyes, so that’s easy. But my nine-year-old is on that cusp of almost a teenager, and I’m trying to figure out how to give her her space, while also being involved and showing that I care. So I’m learning on this one.
[00:02:39] KC: That’s very – I would say 9 to 13 is probably the most difficult time because they’re going from that phase of thinking that you are the greatest thing in the world to wanting to be with their friends and to have their own little lives. They kind of start to be annoyed by you, which is a new sensation for most parents.
[00:02:58] MB: I’m not into it. I’m like, “What did I do? I just walked in here and gave you the apple you asked for. What is the problem?” I know it’s – But then you hear from your friends that have the kids that are the same age that it’s normal. But even when you hear that, it doesn’t make it feel great. So, how do you take those feelings and not – I know some parents will just not want to engage after that because it just did hurt. For a minute, it hurts. Then you also don’t want to feel like you’re pestering them. Then that distance kind of starts to form. So I’m like, “I have no clue how to do this.” So any insight because you’ve done nine years old four times now.
[00:03:35] KC: Four times over now.
[00:03:36] MB: Four times over, so you know all the different weirdness of the ages. I’m sure you have good insight on how to –
[00:03:42] KC: Yeah. For those of you who haven’t been with us since the beginning, to do a recap, my four children are adults now. My oldest is 27. Then I have a 25-year-old, a 23-year-old. Well, he’ll be 27 on Halloween. He’s not 27 yet. I have a 25-year-old, a 23-year-old, and a 19-year-old. So I’m officially done with child rearing, but it never really ends.
[00:04:03] MB: No? [inaudible 00:04:04].
[00:04:06] KC: Megan’s daughters are – You can tell them.
[00:04:09] MB: Nine and four. Yeah. So, she just started fourth grade, my nine-year-old, which I heard is just – We’re in a weird part of life right now where we’re moving, so she’s just extra sensitive and moody. I’m just trying to do – Yeah. We have kids, but they’re all different ages. So you have a really good perspective on where I’m at and how to go and navigate that, but then also how to navigate having a relationship with adult children because that’s a new – That you can’t treat them the way that they were when they were 11 [inaudible 00:04:40], so it’s a new thing.
[00:04:40] KC: No. If you want to have that friendship-type relationship with adult children, you do have to transition. I’m in the midst of transition with my 19-year-old. She still needs me in a lot of ways that a teenager needs their mom, so I’m very much still playing the mom role, but we’re working on our dynamic so that we can be more like I am with the other three, which is – My kids are my closest friends.
I talk to every single one of them every day, and we really do enjoy spending time together and choose to spend time together. I know that’s not everyone’s situation, and that makes me sad. Because, for me, I mean, I don’t know where I would be without my kids. I would love to take trips with my kids. We love to have dinners together. I genuinely want to spend time with them.
[00:05:26] MB: You like their company.
[00:05:27] KC: Yeah. I mean, if they weren’t my kids, I would still choose to be friends with them because they’re just cool people.
[00:05:31] MB: That’s nice.
[00:05:33] KC: So, our first tip – I wrote this article, so I should say my first tip is just listen. I think this starts when they are just beginning to talk and babble and all of that. I mean, you just – Someone told me once when my boys were toddlers, if you don’t listen to the small stuff, they won’t come to you with the big stuff. That really stuck with me, and it’s something that I have kept in my mind their whole childhood. So, I mean, every single one of them went through phases where they were obsessed with something that had very little to no interest to me dinosaurs or trucks or – Yeah.
[00:06:07] MB: Oh, no. The – But you have to care.
[00:06:11] KC: You have to care, and you have to be enthusiastic, and you have to listen and not just passively listen while you scroll your phone. You actually have to listen. I was super invested in Disney shows when the kids were at that age because that’s what they were wanting to talk about. So I could talk about the characters from Wizards of Waverly Place, or what was the Nanny’s Jessie, or whatever they were watching at that time. Now, I mean, my partner has grandchildren, and his oldest granddaughter is nine. She was born just a month away from Emma’s birthday, so she and I will talk about Descendants.
[00:06:46] MB: That is so rare.
[00:06:47] KC: – forever.
[00:06:48] MB: You keep up with the relevance of what’s important to them because they’re not going to talk about where you’re going. You know what I mean? You have to have a base level of going with their –
[00:06:59] KC: Yeah. I mean, that’s a big change from past generations when kids were meant to be seen and not heard, and you weren’t supposed to interrupt adult talking, and you just had to go occupy yourself. Then the adults were talking about adult things. I really, from the very beginning, tried to include my kids in everyday conversation and to just listen to them when they wanted to tell me every single different dinosaur.
My son is 25, and I still have long conversations about dinosaurs because he cares about that. Or rocks because he studied geology in college, so he wants to tell me all the different kinds of rocks, and I’m like, “Okay.” I do. Actually, at some point, it does get interesting and you –
[00:07:36] MB: That is so cool. I did not know this. I had no idea that that was a passion. How did I not know this because you know? But for the listeners who do not know, I also nannied for Kelly’s children, so I was with them every day for an extensive period of time. It’s like I feel like I know a lot about them, so to hear this made me go, “Wait, what?” I’m just like, “Hold on,” but yeah. No, you’re right.
I mean, my kids are really into Roblox right now. This is [inaudible 00:07:59], and it’s kind of Minecraft. I don’t know what it is, Sims, whatever. But they’re into it, and I don’t care at all. I’m whispering because my kids are in the other room. I don’t care at all but I have to care a little because if I want to talk to them – I want them. I see the excitement on their face when they’re telling me about it, especially my nine-year-old. I know that she’s at that age where I’m like, “If she’s talking to me about anything, I’m going to listen, because that means that she’s trusting me and she sees that’s an opportunity for us to bond.”
If I’m scrolling my phone while she’s telling me about it, she is noticing the fact that I don’t care. That’s going to be a sign for her to go, “Okay. Next time I want to talk about it, I’m not going to talk to her.” Then that distance starts to form, and I’m sitting here going, “What happened?”
[00:08:44] KC: Yeah. I think that’s a really big thing because when they want to share something with you, and they’re trying to engage on something that’s important to them, and you don’t seem to be interested, that gives them a signal that what’s important to them isn’t important to you and that you’re not the person to go to.
When it’s later in life, and there are other things that are really important to them, they may not feel as comfortable coming and sharing that with you. I mean, my lord, the Twilight years I went through with my daughters.
[00:09:12] MB: Oh, my gosh. [inaudible 00:09:13] if I remember that.
[00:09:14] KC: Oh, my god.
[00:09:15] MB: Yeah. That was hardcore. We all had to care.
[00:09:17] KC: I did not care whether it was Edward or Jacob. I did not. But I watched those movies over and over again with them, and we read the books together, and we talked about it, and we had philosophical debates over Edward versus Jacob.
[00:09:31] MB: But you’ve bonded. When you guys are 30, you can tell them those stories, and they’re going to laugh and crack up, and those are moments. You have to care about the things they care about. You have to care about the small stuff because if you don’t, the big stuff is just – That’s a real thing. I’m not big on playing with toys. I’m not. I don’t like to play as much. Dan, my husband is huge on it. After the fourth or fifth time of me not being as engaging or not wanting to say yes, they just don’t ask me anymore. It’s probably because I was putting some silent cues out there that I was not the person for that type of fun. Then I’m going, “Why am I not asking to be played with?” “Well, hello. You’re not as fun as him, and he always says yes.”
Same thing goes with conversation. If you’re constantly disregarding whatever they’re talking about, they’re not going to come to you anymore. I don’t mean to be rude, but you only have yourself to blame because you didn’t give them the time that you would give your best friend. If your best friend was talking to you about something, you’re scrolling your phone, they would be mad about it, understandably upset about it.
[00:10:28] KC: Understandably, yeah. Kids are very intuitive, and they’re very naturally empathic. So, even if you are sitting down and listening to them talk or playing with them, and they will pick up on the cues that you’re not engaged or interested or you’re mildly annoyed by it, they will pick up on that and they will store that information for the future.
I also wanted to touch on my kids, like I mentioned, my kids would interrupt adult conversation. My partner and I, when we first started dating, my kids were very small, and we would be out to lunch or something, and they would interrupt our conversation. He was like, “You need to teach them not to interrupt when the adults are talking.” I was like, “Absolutely, I will not,” because here’s the thing; I don’t want my kids to ever think I’m too busy for whatever they have to say to me.
If it’s incessant and they demanding something of me, that’s rude, and we always have respect for other people’s experience. That was another thing I taught my kids. But if they want to tell me something or they need something from me, they’re allowed to interrupt me, no matter what I’m doing in the whole world. That stands for today. I tell them all the time, “If you need me, call me. I don’t care where I am in the world. I will get on a plane. I will take a rowboat. I will hitchhike. Whatever I got to do, I’ll get to you.”
They know that they don’t have to think, “Oh, I don’t want to bother her. Oh, she’s too busy. Oh, I don’t want to be a burden.” They never feel that way because, from the very beginning, they were allowed to come in my room and ask me for something. Even if I was busy, they were allowed to interrupt me to a limit, obviously. We respect other people’s experience.
I would tell them ahead of time, “I’m going to do this thing, so you need to give mommy this amount of time because this is a business thing. Or she’s having time with her friend,” or whatever it is. So they knew that. I carved that time out. But other than that, I mean, they could come to me anytime. They never were made to feel they were bothering me.
[00:12:16] MB: That’s good. My kids bother me for the silliest things. I don’t know if if I just had that role. No. I’m just thinking of all the times have gone in for just more ice water, and I’m just [inaudible 00:12:26].
[00:12:30] KC: I remember many times where this exact rule backfired on me horribly because I would be at the end of a long day, trying to have a bubble bath or something. After I had to remove all the decapitated Barbie heads and the [inaudible 00:12:41] and all their junk out of the bathtub, finally get it cleaned out, take my bubble bath, and then the little toddler fingers come under the bathroom door. “Mama, Mama.” I’m like, “Yes, honey. What is it?” “Brother’s breathing my air.” “Okay. Well, you’re not going to suffocate because the house has lots of air. So, give mommy a little time.”
[00:13:01] MB: I would be – My kids would get – That’s ridiculous. They come up multiple times. But you made a very good point, if your kids understand to respect other people’s experience. My kids have a really hard time understanding that, at the end of the day, that’s mom and dad’s time for each other. Just to hang out, adult talk, whatever. They get up five, six times because they’re breathing the same air kind of [inaudible 00:13:21]. They, for a while really didn’t understand the fact that they were really dampening our experience as adults, and that was our only time together. So, once they started to understand that, but they knew if it was a true emergency. Of course, they could always come in if something hurts, if something was going on. I never wanted them to feel like, “Oh. If we got up, we would get in big trouble.” But there is a line of just utter ridiculousness.
[00:13:46] KC: Yeah. No, for sure. For sure. You have to have boundaries. You do, for sure.
[00:13:53] MB: We’re on the same page with that one because – Yeah.
[00:13:56] KC: Otherwise, they will. They’ll need sticks of cheese and glasses of water.
[00:13:59] MB: Ridiculous.
[00:14:00] KC: Yeah, a million times a day.
[00:14:02] MB: When does the shift of the adult – Is it an age thing or is it a gut thing when you start to notice that you need to shift your relationship with your kids to a more adult form? With your youngest, she’s 19. Was that – she just started to act a certain way or she hit a certain age, and you realized that that relationship needed to shift? Is it an age thing or –
[00:14:22] KC: It’s an age thing and it’s also a life experience thing. So, she went away to college last year for her first year away from us and she went all the way from California to Alabama. That’s a very far distance. In that time, she had to figure out how to do her own laundry in a laundromat type facility. She had to learn how to live with roommates who had totally different personalities than she did, so conflict resolution, right? She got COVID and was extremely, extremely sick.
[00:14:46] MB: She grew up fast, even in that time frame.
[00:14:48] KC: She had to – and I couldn’t be there, so she had to advocate for herself and her physical needs with the hospital staff people. Usually, I speak for her at doctor’s appointments. She has a lot of health issues. So, I usually run down her health history, allergies, all that stuff with doctors. But she had to speak for herself. I was there but I was over the phone, talking to her, telling her, “You can do this. I’ll be right here if you have any questions. If you don’t remember something, ask me.” But she had to speak up for herself. A lot of times, when she’d call me and say, “My roommate’s being this way with me, and I don’t know if I can live with her or whatever,” I would tell her, “There’s going to be a lot of times in your life when you have partners, roommates, even in-laws, people that you work with that your personalities don’t go well together, but you have to figure out a way to respect that person’s space and have them respect yours and figure out how to resolve issues.”
She had a roommate that wasn’t doing – letting all the other roommates do all the cleaning, and just leaving her dishes out. My daughter’s a very clean person, and it bothered her, and so she would just end up doing it. I told her, “That’s fine. If it doesn’t bother you to do it, do it. But if you’re doing it and building resentment about doing it, you’re going to explode at some point. So you need to sit her down and say, ‘Hey, I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I’ve been cleaning up your dishes. It might not bother you to have them sit in the sink overnight. It bothers me. That’s why I’ve been doing it,’ and have a conversation about it. She may not even realize that it’s a problem for you.”
She had to grow up a lot in that year. Now, she’s back home and she’s comfortable back in her space with me doing things for her. But I do think that the distance –
[00:16:27] MB: But she has a skillset though. If she needed to go back to that skillset, she has that skillset to be able to be independent.
[00:16:33] KC: I do think one of the biggest, greatest things about going away to college or going away to the military or moving away from home on any kind of volunteer mission or whatever it is, is that you’re forced to figure things out for yourself because of the distance. You can ask over the phone, but maybe I didn’t pick up because I was on the other line. Maybe some – I’m not there.
[00:16:52] MB: It has a Google in or something. You know what I mean? You don’t have to get crafty. That’s – You’re very true about that.
[00:16:56] KC: Yeah. You become much more capable over that. Usually, it’s four years your way at school. You become much more capable over those four years. My 23-year-old is getting ready to graduate, and I cannot tell you, she’s a completely different person than she was when she moved away.
[00:17:11] MB: I want to be her when I grow up. You know what I mean? She is very mature for her age. To be fair, she’s always been a little – she’s had it together forever. But, really, though, I mean, you’re right. Moving away, so far away that it’s not drivable for you to go bail her out because a plumbing issue is happening, to move away just causes you to grow up.
[00:17:33] KC: Yeah. I mean, I’m not going to come and squish a spider in your bedroom because I live a six-hour flight away.
[00:17:38] MB: It’s so true, so you have to buck up and do it yourself, and that’s very true. I did not move away from college and I rely on too much from people because – I probably would mature a lot faster if I did. So, yeah, I guess it is life experience. But I was just curious of, okay, now she’s out of high school, so now we shift that relationship. Because some people, they don’t move away or maybe they’re not as far advanced in life as their other peers are. Parents tend to treat them younger than they actually are. So, that could also hurt their relationship as well because they’re not seeing them as adults, even though they are adults. You know what I mean?
It’s hard to see your adult children who are still not making those life choices that you wish they did, or they’re not moving as quickly in life as you wish they would. It’s hard to still treat them adults, but they are adults, because that can also damper a relationship and adult relationship too, if you don’t treat them, adults, despite whatever they’re doing in life.
[00:18:38] KC: Yeah. Sometimes, you have to let them make mistakes and learn from their mistakes. When I first moved out on my own, I didn’t go away to college either but I did move away. I was loading the dishwasher for the very first time in my life and I put dish soap in it because it said dish soap.
[00:18:52] MB: I’ve done that.
[00:18:53] KC: Liquid detergent. My whole apartment filled with bubbles. I realized, “Wow. I’m not a capable adult. I need to figure my stuff out.” Those kind of mistakes, I mean, it’s not going to have long-term damage. Let them make some small mistakes. They will figure things out on their own. They will have no choice but to do, so that helps a lot. Since you’re removed from the situation by distance, they have to figure things out on their own, and it’s not, “You could have helped me, Mom, but you didn’t.” It’s, “No. Actually, I’m hours and hours away.”
[00:19:23] MB: Because you’re not 11 anymore, and I shouldn’t. That’s a serious struggle. I personally struggle with that sometimes with my – I do need help from my dad sometimes. But I also do want him to see me a 30-something-year-old. It’s like, “Well, which one do you want?” I see the dynamic between my brother and my dad, and I’m like, it seems to me sometimes it’s he’s being treated like he’s 11 or – It’s just that dynamic can be funny sometimes when you’re an adult, and you have a relationship with your parent that’s not always so solid. It’s been a weird couple years. Some adult children have moved back in with their parents, and now they’re trying to figure out what their dynamic is because they haven’t had a dynamics since they were kids or something like that.
It is a good thing to explore how to have a healthy relationship with your child, no matter the age, but I do firmly believe it starts – If you start doing certain small practices young, the ones we discussed and the ones you listed, then those will help you in the long run because there’s such a line of respect with you and your children. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like they know that you respect them, so they don’t ever have to – I mean, I’m sure every relationship has its ups and downs and craziness, but you guys maintain a good friendship because you respect them. I think the respect issue is big, and that starts young.
[00:20:41] KC: I think that ties into, what, number two in the article, which was when you listen, don’t react. Because, obviously, that doesn’t apply to toddlers and young children as much. It applies more when they’re teenagers and coming to you with stuff. My kids tell me everything. I actually think they tell me too much. They’ll overshare on some things I don’t want to know that I know.
[00:21:01] MB: They overshare. You’re like, “Oh, okay!” But that’s good. I don’t know. I feel overshare is kind of goals for parents because we always want to be over involved in our children’s lives, even if we don’t want to admit it.
[00:21:14] KC: I appreciate it. I don’t have to wonder what’s going on and I feel like they trust to confide in me, so I really love that. But when they were middle school and high school, there were a lot of instances, I mean, almost with every single one of – Actually, yes, with every single one of them, where they made a huge mistake, a huge mistake, like being expelled from school mistake, getting a call from the cops mistake, big mistakes.
The thing is they didn’t try to hide it from me because they knew if they told me right away, I’m a problem solver by nature and I’m not an overly emotional person. That helps. I understand not everyone is that way. But when they would call me or I would get a call from the school or the cops have called me before saying, “I have your child here,” I immediately switch into problem solving mode. What do I need to do? How can we get this resolved? What’s the next step?
Okay, your child is getting expelled from school. Instead of reacting, “Oh, my god. How could you do this? What are we going to do now? You knew better. You were warned,” blah, blah, blah, that’s not productive. That’s how I think. It’s not productive. He knows he screwed up. This is not news to him. He’s getting expelled. He knows that’s a really big screw up. For me to yell and scream right now, that will not solve this problem at all. My response was also not to try to save them from their own actions, not to go to the school and say, “Well, hey. Will you reconsider?” No. He got consequences. He did something he was told not to do, and these are the consequences. I don’t believe in special treatment just because I can be persuasive, right?
The problem solving comes in. Okay, where can you go to school now? He needs to complete his education. “Honey, what are your options? These are your three options. Which one do you think is better?” We talk through it calmly, no reaction, because he knows he screwed up. Later, when everyone is calm, and we’ve found a solution, then we have the conversation of, “Okay. Look at what happened because of what you did, and you had all these other choices you could have made. What would you do differently back in that situation now? Would you make the same choice? Would you make a different choice?”
Those are the longer, deeper conversations we would have once all the dust had settled, and everybody was calm, and we could talk about how things got to the point that they got.
[00:23:23] MB: For me, who is a naturally emotionally reactive person and who thinks of you as like, “Oh, my gosh. That’s incredible,” is there any advice to someone who isn’t naturally like that? How do you – Because of your natural reaction, especially with some of the things you might be bringing up, is to just rage, embarrassment, disappointment. It’s like natural human emotion kind of takes over, that caveman brain almost, and you don’t want to – You’re right because that makes it worse, right?
We all kind of know, if we raised our child right in our eyes, they know they were wrong. But our natural reaction is to lash out. So, do you have any advice for anyone whose natural reaction is to first lash out and then problem solve, rather than problem solve and then have a calm talk about it because it’s never good to lash?
[00:24:11] KC: Well, first of all, I think it helps if you believe that your children are, by nature, good people. I mean, you have to believe that your kid has good intentions in general, is a good person in general, I made a mistake. That’s a different reaction than how you would react to a person who is malicious in their behavior, right? Kids make mistakes. It’s part of growing up. It’s better to make these mistakes before you’re 18 where the consequences are still solvable than to make the mistakes after you’re 18 where you have adult consequences.
I know there’s wiggle room for kids to make mistakes. They need to in order to figure out right and wrong, to learn consequences, to have accountability. Some level of mistakes are important to have in your teenage years. I made a ton.
[00:24:58] MB: Yeah. We’re not perfect people.
[00:25:00] KC: Right. If you live some kind of –
[00:25:01] MB: [inaudible 00:25:01] have perfect people, but we are not.
[00:25:04] KC: I can tell you this from four kids worth of experience. All their friends, all the people they knew and went to high school with, the kids who didn’t make any mistakes and were the charmed, perfect children all the way through, when they got to college, they went absolutely insane, absolutely insane. Some of them died. I mean, a lot of my kids have lost friends to things like overdoses, car accidents involving alcohol.
[00:25:27] MB: Because they just get let out of the cage.
[00:25:30] KC: Yeah. They held back, they didn’t make any minor mistakes, and then they had a huge traumatic mistake because it only takes a second to make a decision that changes your entire course of your life. When you’re younger and those mistakes that you’re making have less serious consequences, it’s a learning experience and it’s something – When bad things happen to my kids when they were younger, whether it was their own decision making, we would always have a conversation about, “What was your percentage of responsibility in this situation? What could you have done differently to give yourself a better outcome?” Even if you – If something bad happened to them that didn’t feel like they had responsibility for it, like their car got hit or they got mugged or something, I mean, that feels external. Maybe there was something they could have done to be in less dangerous circumstances or situation.
[00:26:20] MB: Learning – Yeah. Or to be more aware of their environment or something like that.
[00:26:25] KC: We would also talk about how every decision that you make either gives you more choices in your life or narrows your choices. So, if you’re making a series of bad decisions, your choices for your future are going to get less and less and less, until you really don’t have very many at all. So that’s a conversation that you can only really effectively have if your child makes mistakes. If they don’t make mistakes, then it’s all theory, and they’re not really going to grasp it in relation to them, if that makes any sense.
[00:26:53] MB: I love that. We’re not encouraging to make mistakes. But we as parents just think that they have to just be so – But you’re right. If they’re so perfect, that just makes – They need those moments of small mistakes to learn, so that when they’re older, it doesn’t turn into a massive, traumatic one or a big one that’s maybe not traumatic but a big one because they have no experience. You never let them fall. You’re always like, “I got you.”
[00:27:20] KC: Or if they have made mistakes, your response was to save them from it.
[00:27:22] MB: Erase it. True, true.
[00:27:24] KC: That’s the wrong response because they do need consequences. I have had those experiences where I got calls and I had to respond to – the cops called me, and one of my kids was being held at the police station, and it was a very serious issue. I was very emotional, and I was very angry and disappointed and all the things you can imagine. But then I saw my child, and there were tears running down their face. I could tell that there was nothing I could say to them at that moment they weren’t saying to themselves probably 100 times worse.
[00:27:55] MB: Such a great note too to have because –
[00:27:58] KC: Because I know they’re good kids.
[00:27:59] MB: They beat themselves up too, and yet you’re still going to want to try and – I mean, my mom never got that insight, and it’s like I was already beating myself up before she got to that point. Then I just got reified and I was , “Well, cool. Let me confide in you.”
[00:28:15] KC: Sometimes, they genuinely didn’t know how it felt for me when they were – They would say they snuck out, and I would catch them coming back. I would say, “You know what? I’m really upset, so we’ll talk about this in the morning.” Then, in the morning, I would explain to them once I’m calmer, “When I don’t know where you are or I can’t get ahold of you or you’re not where I thought you were going to be, my mom brain goes to the worst-case scenario. I imagine you’ve been abducted. You’re lying in a ditch somewhere, someone’s doing something terrible to you. I love you so much that that’s my worst nightmare. Don’t create these scenarios in my imagination, where it’s a Law and Order episode.”
[00:28:58] MB: Yeah. Oh, my gosh. That’s so accurate because that’s the real problem.
[00:29:00] KC: I’m not sitting there feeling, “Oh, she’s so selfish. She missed curfew. She snuck out. How could she?” I’m thinking she’s with a serial killer, for sure.
[00:29:10] MB: There’s looking at you like you’re an actual crazy person. But wait till you have a kid and wait till it’s not even in your control because, like you said, watch one episode of Law and Order and be a parent and that’s what is happening. Okay. It’s not but it is.
[00:29:26] KC: Sometimes, when you are a little bit emotional and you’re explaining how you process what the behavior that they did, they’ll see it differently because they don’t always know that you’re – They’re like, “My mom’s a hard ass. My mom’s this.” They don’t think it’s coming from necessarily a place of genuine concern and that you’ve seen humans can do the worst possible things to each other, and you’re just trying to protect them from that. So, I mean, it helps if both sides think that they each have good intentions.
[00:29:52] MB: That’s true because you’ve got to hold back that rage and go into ‘how can we fix this?’, and then ‘let’s calmly talk about it’ because it doesn’t get anywhere. Respect.
[00:30:04] KC: Yes. Mutual respect. Exactly. I think, also, an important thing from the time they’re little though is – This is probably the biggest mistake that I see that parents make is you should have zero expectations and not necessarily zero. I always hoped and believed and tried very hard to make sure that my children were going to be productive and good citizens of the world and nice human beings. But, beyond that, I didn’t have the mindset that I see a lot of parents have where they tell their kids from the time they’re Kenzi’s age, “Oh, you’re going to be a doctor, just like your dad,” or, “You’re going to be a lawyer, just like your mom,” or, “You’re going to go to USC because we both went to USC,” whatever it is. Or, “Oh, I can’t wait till you have a big Catholic wedding in our church.”
[00:30:48] MB: Oh, my gosh. Or I can’t wait until you have kids or – It’s just to have zero – You’re right. Zero expectations on their life –
[00:30:53] KC: Zero expectations.
[00:30:54] MB: Because it gives them the freedom to choose their life.
[00:30:57] KC: Well, and honestly, for me, as a parent, one of the best things about being a parent, to me, and one of the most exciting things, was to watch this little tiny bean pod of a human turn into the most amazing person. You have no idea what they’re going to be. It’s do you remember those toys you would buy in the 25 cent machine? It looked like a pill. But when you put it in water, it would turn into a creature. You didn’t know what you’re getting.
[00:31:19] MB: You have no clue what you’re – Yeah. That’s parenting.
[00:31:20] KC: It’s that. Yeah. You don’t know if they’re going to be artistic or they’re going to be kind of bookish or they’re going to be really athletic.
[00:31:27] MB: They’re really into school or they like to sleep in or – You embrace whatever beautiful form that comes in. It might not be what you are. It might not be what you thought you were going to have. When you were a kid, you’re like, “Oh, I’m going to have, what –” Believe me, they pick up on that if you share those things.
[00:31:43] KC: If you say things to them , “You’re going to play football, just like your dad,” or, You’re going to be a dancer, like your mom,” or, “You have the great, perfect piano playing fingers, just like your grandma.”
[00:31:53] MB: “You’re so fast. You’re going to be a track player.”
[00:31:55] KC: They want to please you so much that they will try to conform into that expectation of them, instead of letting them figure out what they genuinely are passionate about and love. I see mostly that comes from parents who maybe didn’t have the experience that they wanted to have, maybe they never got a big wedding.
[00:32:13] MB: It’s so generational. That’s probably what’s instilled in them as kids is they had to do that or that’s just all we know. It’s a cycle.
[00:32:21] KC: You didn’t go to college, so it’s really important that your kids go to a great college. Or maybe you never had the big fancy wedding so that you talk about what you’re going to do for your kids’ big fancy wedding, or whatever it is. But you have to let them figure it out for themselves because they will turn out to be – If you let them be who they’re meant to be, they will turn out to be absolutely amazing.
[00:32:39] MB: Yeah. If we want to go another layer of past, it’s like, “Oh, I can’t wait for you to have kids,” well, what if they don’t want to have kids? “I can’t wait for you to get married.” Well, what if they’re trying to figure out what gender they identify as at that moment, and you’re acting like a traditional household? Then all of a sudden, you’re putting up a barrier you didn’t even know. You just go in, letting them be the perfect being that they are. As long as it’s not harming anyone physically, then that’s perfect as it is.
[00:33:09] KC: I mean, how many times have you seen, especially older people with a little boy who’s maybe two, telling him, “Oh, what a handsome boy. He’s going to be a ladies man. Look at him. Such a –”
[00:33:19] MB: All the time. All the time.
[00:33:19] KC: “Oh, that little boy smiled at me. Such a flirt. He’s going to be a real ladies man.” Maybe not. Maybe he’s not going to be a man at all. Maybe he’s going to like boys. We don’t know. So, that’s an expectation we’re putting on them. Or we’ve talked about this a lot, but telling little girls that “they’re pretty, they’re pretty, they’re pretty,” instead of, “they’re smart, they’re a good friend, they’re amazingly capable,” because it’s very –
[00:33:41] MB: I love telling my four-year-old how cute she is because, I’m sorry, she’s really cute. But it’s easy. That’s an easy thing for me to say. When I talk to my nine-year-old, I – She’s super cute too. But I talk about how kind she is, about how funny she is, about how she can tell how she can do something that she’s really proud of in gymnastics. I bring that up to build her confidence up in areas that I feel are the most important. I never ever – Unless she’s got a new outfit and she just needs a confidence boost, I never focus on looks because I feel that’s just putting focus on the wrong things.
[00:34:15] KC: Yeah. One thing we didn’t touch on with the listen and don’t react, I meant to say this, as my kids have grown into adults, I’m still a problem solver. It’s my nature. I want to jump in and fix everything for them all the time. I want to make their lives as easy as they can be. I would love to be able to make all their decisions for them, but that’s not healthy.
[00:34:34] MB: I’ve said it once. I’ll say it 45 more times. Adopt me because I love – I need a person who’s just like, “I just want to make things right.”
[00:34:43] KC: I just want to fix everything. But sometimes, when they call me and they have a problem, they don’t actually want me to fix it for them. Sometimes, they just want to vent to someone that’s safe for them to vent to. As they’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to ask them, “Hey, are you just venting or do you need help? Or do you need advice.” They’ll tell me, “I’m just venting.” This is probably the biggest challenge. It’s been really hard for me as my kids have gotten older. But now, I mean, they’re in their 20s, they’re full adults. Unless they ask me for my advice, I do not give it because they know I’m there. They know I have a wealth of knowledge about a lot of things. If they want to know my opinion, they’ll ask for it, and I will happily share it and I’ll guide them and I’ll do all the things.
But if they’re trying to figure out something on their own, then my only job is to tell them they’re capable of figuring it out and be a cheerleader. I will tell them, “You’ve been through worse things than this and you handled it totally great.” Or, “I know you’re going to figure this out. You’re so smart.” I know the answer in my own head. I know exactly what you tell them to do. But if they are looking to just vent, that’s all I say. I say, “You’ve got this.” It’s so hard.
[00:35:43] MB: That’s good because it takes the pressure off of you and it takes the pressure off of them. Because I don’t get asked that from my parents, and sometimes he’ll think I’m calling for advice, and he’s saying all the wrong things. Or I will be calling for advice, and he’ll just be like, “Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.” I’ll be – So he never starts a conversation with are you asking for advice or are you just venting? Sometimes, I’ll be like, “Dad, I’m just venting. Just hear me out. I’m about to just word vomit at you,” I’ll give him a heads up. But sometimes, it does feel like there’s a wall because if you give the wrong advice when advice isn’t warranted or wanted or needed, and they’re just coming for someone that they can trust, then it can really get the conversation going in a direction that it didn’t need to go, if you would know – Because if you get the wrong advice, the natural reaction in that emotional state as your child is, is to kind of get defensive or to now talk about that. I’ve seen a lot of bad conversations with my brother and my dad because my brother was just venting, and my dad felt the need to give advice when it wasn’t needed.
[00:36:48] KC: Sometimes, too, they already know what they want to do and they’re just trying to give themselves permission to do that. If you jump in and you give them advice, that’s the opposite of that, they’re going to be really defensive and angry. Sometimes, they already kind of know the answer, and all you need to do is just ask them a few little leading questions, and they’ll get there on their own.
Then, they’ve built the confidence that they solved their own problem. They came to the solution themselves, and that is how they grow as people and build adult level confidence is by having the if you do everything, fix every problem for them, answer every solution for them, they won’t have that kind of competence.
[00:37:24] MB: This seems super complex, but if you really pay attention to certain cues in the beginning, then the reward for you is that, when they are having some sort of emotional moment, they are coming to you versus coming to their best friend, their boyfriend, their husband. They have a feeling of trust in you. That’s the gift right there because you know that you don’t have to worry about – I mean, you have their location on. We’ve talked about this. You know that if there was a real problem, they would come to you because you’ve put in the time, the energy, the love, the effort to build that relationship to a point where they know that they can count on you for that.
This type of relationship is a lifelong one. If you don’t work on certain things, it can be a very up-and-down rollercoaster style. One, it can cause children and parents to not speak for moments in their life. What’s the point in that? So it may seem complex. It may seem silly, some of the things. But at the same time, this is a long-term lifelong, hopefully, relationship you have with this individual or multiple individuals, your children or your parents, that you want it to be as healthy as possible. Because, if not, if so many moments have happened where you regret, you don’t want to have a moment where you’re not speaking to your child in a time where they needed you most or something bad happens. It’s not worth it. Work on this relationship, above all, because it’s the most important one to have.
[00:38:50] KC: Yeah. I think our jobs as parents, it’s the most important thing we’ll ever do. I mean, we’re really creating a legacy for generations to come and how we parent and how we fix our own shit that we have from our parents so that we don’t hand that down to our kids. There’s a lot of generational trauma, and we are responsible for not saying, “Oh, well. Yeah, I’m screwing up but I’m doing better than my parents did.” That’s not good enough. You need to be the absolute best that you can be for them. They didn’t ask to come into this family and this situation. You have to put them first. You always have to put them first.
I think when parents who are expecting their first child, I get this a lot, they ask me, “Oh, give me a piece of advice.” That’s my only advice. Put your kids first. Every decision that you make, prioritize your children. I mean, they’re only children for 18 years. That’s not the majority of your life. That’s a slice of your life, right? If you live to be 80, that’s not even 25 percent.
[00:39:49] MB: That’s the days are long but the years are short.
[00:39:50] KC: Not even 25 percent of your life. You can do whatever you want after they’re adults with whomever you want. But while they’re small and living in your home, they need to be the priority. I think that, for everyone on this planet, if you have one person who you know prioritizes you and that you are the most important thing to them, that’s such a safety net underneath you when you’re walking this tightrope of life that’s really shitty half the time.
Just knowing you have that safety net that there’s somebody out there who’s in your corner no matter, that you can call no matter what, is your person. They don’t have to be a parent. Mine was my grandmother. Everyone just needs that one person. It can change everything for someone. Yeah.
[00:40:32] MB: Also, giving them very good tips on how to handle their bosses, management. I mean, if you have a really dysfunctional relationship with your parent, your adult person, then they’re going to have probably a hard time understanding how to have a dynamic with – we’re teaching them lessons on how to be good people in life and how to respect people, how to have difficult conversations, how to respect boundaries. I’m now learning that I shouldn’t just walk in the room. I should knock because she’s nine and she deserves boundaries. You have to evolve with them and respect their boundaries and do all that stuff. But you also have to understand that we’re teaching them little cues on how to just be good people.
[00:41:15] KC: The new generation, that is your generation, my kids’ generation, and the generations that are coming, they do not have this older generation idea that having a relationship with your parents is automatic, and it’s earned, and you have to. They don’t have to. They know that. There is no rule that we owe our parents a relationship. If this new dynamic that’s out in the world now, I mean, if you don’t build that respect level and communication when they’re younger, they will just choose not to have a relationship with you.
[00:41:46] MB: It’s not a given because you gave birth to them, unfortunately. It should be. [inaudible 00:41:50]. That’s very different.
[00:41:50] KC: No. I mean, back in the 1950s, that’s how it was. You’ve dealt with your parents, even if they were physically abusive, even if they had addiction issues, even if they abandoned you. They were still your parents, and you – automatic respect and ma’am and sir and all that. It’s not a thing of the past. Our kids don’t owe us a relationship, so we –
[00:42:07] MB: It’s because me, I have kids and I have changed that perspective, that mindset. Now, I’m raising my kids to think that way. We’ve just shifted. Now, there’s a whole shift, so we have to be aware of that.
[00:42:17] KC: Right. If you’re putting your kids first, then you wouldn’t want them to have a relationship with someone who was toxic for them. You don’t want to be that toxic person for them.
Okay, the last tip is to meet them where they’re at. This is more as they get to be teenagers and adults. So we have a tendency as adult humans to want younger people to kind of make us feel comfortable to reframe the environment for us so that we’re happy and comfortable. But if you want to get to know your kid, especially when they’re an adult, you have to meet them where they’re at, and that can be small things. If your kid hates talking on the phone, don’t make them call you. Don’t say, “Oh, call me once a week,” and they don’t like talking on the phone. They can text you. They can FaceTime you. They can Snapchat. There’s a million ways to communicate. Meet them on their level. If they’re a super busy person, and you’re constantly trying to get in touch during the day, and they’re working 70 hours a weeks.
[00:43:10] MB: Or you guilt them because they were too busy – meet them. [inaudible 00:43:14].
[00:43:14] KC: You don’t have time to call your mother?
[00:43:18] MB: You hear that probably some more times than not. Actually I don’t. I don’t have time to talk to my own kids, let alone for you.
[00:43:24] KC: The last thing in the world that I want is for my kids to think, “I got to call my mom.” I don’t want to be a chore. I don’t want to be on your to-do list. I want you to be like, “Oh, I have 10 minutes. I’ll call my mom.” That’s great. That’s what I want.
[00:43:36] MB: It might suck, by the way, to give in a little because you feel as parents, you are entitled to whatever you want when it comes to your children. I might be wrong. I’m not – I’m only a seasoned parent of nine years. But I feel like that doesn’t change, because sometimes I talk to my dad, and there’s this sense of entitlement, I owe him because I’m his child. I’m like, “Wait a minute.” So, yeah, they don’t owe it to you.
[00:44:00] KC: They don’t owe it to you. Or if you go visit them in the town where they live, don’t make comments about how they live. Don’t criticize anything that they’re sharing with – They’re choosing to share their space with you. They’re choosing to share a piece of their life with you. Instead of having any kind of judgment, I mean, have interest.
Ask them, “Where do you guys to go out to eat? Take me there.” Don’t make them take you to a restaurant you would have chosen. The point is to get to see a glimpse of their life, not to have them accommodate you. So, go there and stay in their house if they’re comfortable with that and ask them to take you to their favorite places and ask them to – Introduce me to some of your friends. Share a part of your life with me. I want to get to know you better.
There’s going to be times where this is uncomfortable for you, and there’s going to be times where they share things with you that you may not be ready to hear or that may not fit the version of them that you had in your head because if people change us, they become adults. They may share things with you that you don’t understand at all. I have zero tattoos on my body, not a single one, never have been even thinking of getting one. I don’t have an issue with it. It’s just not for me.
My son is a tattoo artist. He has tattoos over his entire body, and the tattooing world is not something I ever knew anything about. But I think he’s an incredibly talented artist. He knows I don’t have tattoos. If he thinks of a design for me, he’ll paint it for me. But he does share the meanings behind the tattoos he’s gotten, interesting tattoos he’s seen recently. Tattoos are not my thing, but he shares it with me because he knows it’s important to him. Because it’s important to him, it’s important to me. So, that’s a good example.
Or if they introduce you to friends who you think are strange or different, or if they share something about their life that is opposite of your lifestyle and values, and you don’t know how to react, first of all, again, listen and don’t react. That was tip number two. But it’s okay to just say, “Hey, this is new for me. I don’t completely understand it but I really want to thank you for sharing it with me.” That’s all they want to hear. They just want to hear, “I’m interested in your life. Thank you for sharing it with me.” It’s not that hard.
[00:45:58] MB: Well, think about it. The best friendships, adult friendships come when two people just fully accept the other person for who they are and love on that person. No best friend is sitting there trying to cater to that other friend, “Oh. Well, they like this, so we –” Those friendships are dysfunctional, and they don’t last a long time. If you want a long lasting friendship – I’m sorry. I’m going to call it a friendship, and it’s weird for parents to hear that because they’re like, “They’re my kid. We shouldn’t be – ” No. At some point, you are on a very same level of person where, of course, you’re always their parent.
Of course, you’re always going to probably know what’s best for them, but you don’t need to rub it in their face when they’re in their 40s. You want a friendship with them. You want an adult style, interacting friendship with them. If you treat them in a way where they feel they have to completely cater to you because you’re just that kind of parent, it’s not going to be the type of relationship you wanted. You have one, but it’ll be forced. It’ll feel because they feel like they have to, and that’s never what we ever want as a parent. We want to be involved if they want us to be involved.
[00:47:02] KC: Yeah. If you don’t react with enthusiasm and an open mind for whatever they’re choosing to share with you, then the version of your kid that you’re going to get at holidays is not even the real them. You’re never going to even know.
[00:47:14] MB: [inaudible 00:47:14] to be someone for you. They’re rolling their eyes as they’re walking up to the door, they don’t want to be there.
[00:47:21] KC: How many holiday movies have we seen where the basis for the movie was, “I’m going to bring you to my family holiday. You pretend you’re my girlfriend because I can’t tell them I’m gay. Or we’re going to go and I’m going to pretend that I’m – Don’t tell them I changed careers two years ago. They still think I’m a doctor,” or whatever. It’s a holiday movie trope, right?
[00:47:39] MB: It’s a movie but it’s also a lot of people’s real actual life because they’re afraid to be who they are on their parents, so they’re –
[00:47:46] KC: Our parents, our home, as far as our nuclear family home, is supposed to be the safe space for your kids. It’s supposed to be the place where they can explore who they are and be who they actually are and share that with you. It’s not supposed to be a place where they don’t feel accepted. I mean, this is their home. You’re their parent. It’s hard. I get it because sometimes it’s totally not what you were expecting. But it’s important because it’s the only way to have a meaningful relationship with them for the rest of your life.
[00:48:15] MB: It’s a lot of letting go of expectations and a lot of accepting and just being. Because, I mean, like you said, you never thought that you were going to be the mom of a tattoo artist, and yet here you are. Yet you guys probably have a nice – probably because I don’t know the ins and outs. You probably have a really great relationship, and he’s probably not afraid to talk all about what he does –
[00:48:38] KC: Yeah. He sends me pictures of the tattoos he’s doing, and I say, “Oh, my gosh. Babe, your line work is getting so good.” I mean, years ago, I didn’t know what line work was.
[00:48:44] MB: [inaudible 00:48:44] genuine about your comments. If you’re like, “Cool stuff.” He’ll be like, “Just mom being supportive.” He really thinks you’re interested. Whether you are not, that doesn’t matter. They think you’re interested, and he’s an adult. My four-year-old, I don’t have to convince her very much that I’m interested in her stuff. All I have to do is just sound enthusiastic a little bit. But if I were to sound like, “That’s my nine-year-old,” she’d be like, “Bullshit.” She’d be like, “You don’t give a you know what about what I’m talking about.” Worse for my four year old, though, barely have to try.
The older you get, the harder that is to keep that connection of, “They think what I’m doing is great,” versus, “They’re just being that supportive parent role,” which we all just naturally think our parents love everything we do. Not maybe everything we do, but they’re not going to be – Well, my parents weren’t super critical, but it never felt – If I talked about Disney to my dad, there’s no genuine questions coming back. Or if I try and tell him about a new thing at Disneyland, he’ll be , “Uh-huh. Uh-huh.” But it’s never a deep conversation. I know it.
At that point, I’m just talking to me, which is fine. But I would like a deeper connection because then it makes me feel the person actually cares about what I’m saying, and that adds a whole new layer to the relationship. I don’t fault him for it. It’s not his thing. But maybe had he had listened a little bit to what I was saying, he could pick up on a few things he was saying. You said, lines. It sounded like you knew what you’re talking about there for a second, right?
[00:50:12] KC: Yeah. Because I’ve been paying attention. I’ve been asking him questions like, “How do you get better at that? What is your boss saying about this?”
[00:50:17] MB: [inaudible 00:50:17] kind of great because then you further know more about it. Then they feel , “Oh, they’re not just listening like a mom. They’re actually listening to the words I’m saying.”
[00:50:28] KC: When I ask questions related to it and I show genuine interest, then I can ask them questions about other parts of his life, and he doesn’t feel like I’m prying. He knows I’m just interested in his life. I’m not asking him questions because I’m nosy or prying or being a nag or any of that.
[00:50:42] MB: It’s a delicate thing, but we all know what we would like to have a great friendship with someone as an adult. Treat it kind of that. Unless they’re – I mean, when my child is nine, I’m still going to be doing a little bit more than just the friendship level.
[00:50:55] KC: For sure.
[00:50:56] MB: But I am starting to convert now, like I said, to knocking on the doors. Or when she talks about something, instead of doing the “uh-huh,” like I do with my four-year-old sometimes – I’m sorry. I’ll admit it. But sometimes, it’s nonstop nonsense. But when she talks about something that happened in school, I’ll try and really listen to what she’s saying and ask follow-up questions because then that tells her I’m listening. Then that builds a form of connection, where she’ll just naturally start to tell me about what happened at school without me having to ask. That’s my goal, is her to get in the car and just start talking about what happened in school, rather than me being like, “What happened at school today?”
[00:51:30] KC: Once you open that door, where on the ride home from school your child says, “Emily’s not friends with Katie anymore because Emily said Katie called her this name.” Then, this is not your drama. This is not your friend group. But a few days later, you can say, “Hey. Whatever happened with Emily and Katie, did they work it out?” They know, “Hey, they were listening to me and they care about what I said because they even remembered to ask me about it again later.”
It’s little things like that that, I mean, show – The same way you would a friend. The same way you would a friend. If a friend came and told you that they were struggling with something, a few days later, you would follow up and you’d say –
[00:52:05] MB: Follow up on them.
[00:52:06] KC: “How’s everything going? Is it getting better?” You just have to lay that friendship groundwork when they’re young and keep it –
[00:52:13] MB: These are the little things that, when the big moments come, they will come to you. The little things are these moments; after school, car rides home, the follow-up questions. Show that you actually care. They’ll be so shocked. They’ll be like, “What?” Because they know as a mom, you got 50 things going on. Why would you remember about that drama between Emily and so-and-so? But if you do, that’s showing them that they really – They know they’re a priority but they really want to know that they’re a priority.
They want to see it through your actions, through your words. It’s so easy to naturally assume that, “Oh, a mother and a child, that bond, a mom will do anything for their kid.” But it’s another step of actually knowing your kid and being there for them and bonding with them, rather than just relying on the “you’re my kid, so you’ll naturally love me” thing.
[00:52:55] KC: Yeah. I think all of these tips, if you follow them as best you can, I know they’re not all easy, will create the kind of relationship that we all want to have with our kids when they’re adults and will also create an environment of respect, where your kids will have that respect with each other as well as siblings because that’s the model in the house. That’s important because you’re not going to be here forever, and your kids have each other, and that’s such an important relationship as you get older.
I know my grandmother has passed, and my sister and I got closer and closer through that. I think we’re going to be a great support system for each other as we get into our old age. I hope that for my kids but I think it helps to have a home environment that’s based on communication and respect and all of that.
[00:53:41] MB: I totally agree.
[00:53:42] KC: Yeah.
[00:53:43] MB: Easier said than done. But if you apply some of these tips and just apply them repetitively, it will get better. It’s never perfect. I’m sure that you guys aren’t perfect all the time. But it certainly helps with the overall long-term goal of having a relationship that’s healthy.
[00:54:00] KC: Yeah, exactly. If your kids are already middle school, high schoolers, it is definitely not too late to implement any of these tips and get involved with the things that are important to them. I’m sure they have a favorite TV show they’re watching. Maybe they’re watching something for the 20th time –
[00:54:13] MB: [inaudible 00:54:13] down the line somewhere that you can start the conversation and start. You can make the change anytime. Even if they’re adult children, you can still try and find ways to reach out and build that relationship that’s still going to be great and lifelong.
[00:54:29] KC: Yeah, exactly. This is a great topic. This is important topic for me. Hopefully, it helps some people out there who are struggling with this. We always appreciate you guys for showing up each week and listening to us. It is definitely something that is very important to us. We hope we’re bringing you valuable content. So if you are enjoying the show, as always, subscribe, like, rate, review, all the things you’re supposed to do.
We always have the discussion board. If you guys want to just talk about it further, it’s on Facebook. You can start She’s A Full On Monet. We have a Facebook page and an attached discussion board. Yeah, thank you guys for joining us. Every week, we just love to see you guys coming back.
[00:55:06] MB: Well, have a good one.
[00:55:07] KC: Bye. We’ll see you next week.
[END OF EPISODE]
[00:55:12] ANNOUNCER: Thanks so much for listening to this week’s episode. Don’t forget to bookmark our site, shesafullonmonet.com, and subscribe to our newsletter. You can also find us on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. If you’re enjoying this podcast, it helps us a lot if you can follow, rate, and review. See y’all next week.