Today on The Blissful Parent Podcast founder and faculty member Chuck Anderson, is answering your most pressing parenting questions.
This is a new format we are trying out. If you have a question, please head on over to our website linked below and submit yours for a future Q&A episode. What is it you really want to know? Don’t be afraid to ask, as each submission is completely anonymous.Take advantage of our expertise and submit your question today.
Michelle: Hello and welcome to the Blissful Parenting Podcast. I’m your host again, Michelle Abraham. Nice to see you all here today. I am here with our founder and faculty member, Chuck Anderson. So, welcome, Chuck. I’m so happy to have you here with us again today.
Chuck: Michelle, it’s my pleasure to be here and I’m really thrilled about how the podcast is going so far, so awesome.
Michelle: That’s great. So we’ve been hearing from all sorts of amazing experts over the last few episodes and it’s so great to, you know, hear everyone’s different, take in their different specialties, whether it’s anxiety or back to school stuff or you know, any more medical kind of issues or you know, food issues, whatever our experts have been talking about over the last few episodes has been really fantastic. And it’s really great to kind of then come back together with you, our founder and faculty member. And what we’re going to do today is kind of a check-in and have some expert questions. So you’re gonna answer some questions. We might do this from time to time, now we’re getting lots of questions in to Blissful Parenting. And so this is the new format we’re going to check out today. And if you guys have questions, feel free to head over to TheBlissfulParent.com/ask and you too can submit your question and maybe we’ll answer it live on our show.
Chuck: That’s awesome. And we really encourage you to send your questions in, because you get that this is your chance to program the show. What is it that you want to know? What is it that you want to hear from us? I mean, you know, as faculty members we have so much information to share and it’s usually comments from our own brainstorming or inspiration or whatever. But I always find that that the best sessions are when I’ve discovered this a lot in my live workshops, is that when we do this sort of live Q and A people are asking what they want to ask. Then that’s content that I think you’re going to be a lot more interested in as well. So we are really counting on getting your feedback, getting your questions and we are happy to answer anything that comes in.
Michelle: Yeah. And you know sometimes people might be a little shy to ask a specific question. They don’t want to be judged or you know, they don’t want, you know, it’s a little bit embarrassing asked this question or that question. So this is a perfect platform to be able to do this because it is anonymous and we are just going to read your question out as if it was just someone who sent it in. And it’s a great way to get that answered and why not use the expertise that we have here. It’s great to get their expert advice on all these questions. So Chuck, why don’t we kick it off with our first question here.
Chuck: Let’s go for it.
Michelle: So first question, why do some people get so defensive when you try to give them helpful parenting advice? Is it maybe because they are actually a little bit insecure about their parenting style? What do you think?
Chuck: Oh boy. Yeah. This, this, this is a question. We’ve actually had this discussion, some of our why workshops and you know, I think everyone can relate to that time where somebody gives you advice and it’s unsolicited advice. Meaning you didn’t ask for some well-meaning individual or family member or friend felt compelled to share their wisdom with you even though you didn’t ask for it. And you know, I think whenever that happens, and it wasn’t asked for, I think that that’s a time where it could be one of those automatic triggers where it’s like, wait, wait a minute. I didn’t really ask you for that advice and doing the best I can and therefore, you know, I might, you know, have this reaction like, you know, who are you to be giving me this advice? And and so I think that’s one reason that it happens is that we’re unprepared to get advice and we didn’t ask for it.
And I think that most people don’t want to hear it unless they ask for it. In the coaching world. And when we went through our coach certification in our coaching certification program where we teach new coaches, we teach people like, don’t give people advice. They didn’t ask for it. Ask permission. If you’re going to give feedback, ask permission. It’s a much nicer way to do it and you’re not going to kind of get that resistance or that defensiveness. So I think that’s the first reason that it happens is that we’re maybe caught unprepared for it.
The second reason that it happens is that maybe there is a little truth to hey, we’re not really feeling good about how things are going. You know, I know I’ve certainly had moments where you know, I just didn’t really feel confident in my parenting or maybe I had a bad moment, you know you know my default definitely being controlled freak when I’m not rested and when, when I’m not journaling regularly and I’m not doing all of the things that help me to stay blissful and happy and not angry dad.
When I’m not doing those things, it’s very, very easy for me to have those reactions. And like I said, everyone I think is doing their absolute best. That being said though, I don’t think that when people are being defensive, they necessarily know that they’re being defensive. I think it’s just an automatic autopilot sort of reaction. I know anytime that I’ve done it, it certainly has been. And one of the things that, you know, I’ve learned over the last decade of doing this is, you know, to recognize when it’s happening and then to ask myself, you know, what’s really going on? Like, why am I defensive about that? And my journal is my best friend. So it’s my therapist. It’s where I write everything down and when I have an issue, when maybe I didn’t behave in the most appropriate way or whatever I’m writing it down and resolving that. And I find that when I do that, I’m a lot less likely to be defensive or even to be doing anything that I need to be defensive about. So I do think that that perhaps as a parent who maybe isn’t feeling good about something that’s happened recently, but also may have been receiving some advice well-meaning or not that they did not ask for.
Michelle: Yeah. I mean, there’s nothing worse than it was somebody telling you. You’re maybe giving you some advice that you don’t want when you’re like not rested, not well-nourished, haven’t exercise, not feeling great about yourself, and then it’s like someone’s dumping on you. I think our automatic response is, like you said, it was going into defense note. And I know I’ve done that before. It’s not a good, it’s not a good feeling. Right. And oh gosh, that’s crazy. And you know, one of the things that we’ll, we’re talking about, you know, unsolicited advice. One of the things that I find that the way I get defensive is when people are, who don’t have children, are giving you parenting advice or trying to parent my children while I’m there. It’s like, oh, wait a second. You don’t have kids, you know, and don’t know what it’s like. So that’s my take on it.
Chuck: Yeah, it happens a lot. And you know, I love it when it’s people who don’t have kids but they’re dog owners and they think that having a dog is, is the same as having kids. I love that. What I do with my dogs is one of the reasons too, like even with, you know, our philosophy with the podcast, and I know we’ve mentioned this before, Michelle, is that we only get guests on this show who are actually parents because we believe that only parents really know what it’s like to be parents. And you have had to have been in the thick of it, you know, to really to really understand. But even in our support groups and whatnot, I mean to give someone advice that they didn’t ask for, it’s probably going to get rejected. Right. And so the best thing is, and like I said, with our coaching, we always ask permission, would you like some feedback on this? Would you like some suggestions? And sometimes the answer is no. And that’s okay. That’s okay. If you’re not open to feedback, if you’re not open to advice, then don’t take it. Right. So yeah,
Michelle: It’s a good point. You don’t have to listen to it. Right.
Michelle: Although some of them may be very helpful. You got to be in the right time in the right place to be able to accept it and be open to it too. Right. So I’m going to jump over to another topic that’s kind of similar and this is the question that we got. And it’s why do some people have a tendency to want to blame their parents? Are they unable to accept responsibility for their own lives? So I thought that was kind of a little bit along the same lines.
Chuck: Yeah. And this is something that I’ve experienced two different ways. I’ve experienced parents who blame their parents or the child’s grandparents. I’ve also seen children, especially teens, blame their parents for things. And you know, let’s start with the first situation. So, you know, Oh, if only my parents would have taught me better to do that, or if only they were more nurturing or if only they, this wouldn’t have happened when I was 11 or whatever. And yes, I’m sure that there, that there’s these experiences that have happened. And at a certain point, you know, especially if we’re someone and at Blissful Parenting we kind of believe in, you know, the sign of a great parent is one that, you know, is conscious of their own behavior. And when we’re conscious of our own behavior, then it doesn’t matter where we got it from.
It doesn’t matter if we got it from our parents. I’m sure, absolutely sure that my parents did the absolute best job they could under their circumstances. And just the way things were, I mean, in the 70s, things were done a lot differently than they are now. Consciousness was, I think, different. And the attitude towards nurturing a child and nurturing family was different. And you know, also I had parents who were very, very busy, and were working, 12, 14, sometimes 16 hours a day. And so I, from my own story, I believe that my parents did the absolute best they could. And I believe that’s probably true that your parents as well, I think everyone’s sort of well meaning, even though they might not be perfect, but at a certain point we have to sort of draw the line and say, okay, this is the way things are.
This is an, and this is what’s happening. What can I do about it? And when we shift from a place of blame, which is, oh, this is happening because of this person, or it’s happening because of this circumstance or it’s happening because the government or whatever, when we shift away from that and we go into, okay, what can I do about this? A different type of answer is going to come back to you. A different type of it’s a different type of attitude completely. And it completely disregards any reason why it’s happening. It doesn’t matter why, what matters is, what can I do about this? And even adding some intention into this, you know, how can I deal with this in such a way that I leave my child feeling good about themselves and I can also feel good about myself and the way I handled it.
You know, how can I do this in the most positive way possible? And so when we ask ourselves better questions, we don’t have to blame. And then when we ask even higher quality questions where we set some intention in it, the kind of answer and support we’re going to get back is even that much better. And, you know, give this a try and just notice the types of thoughts and ideas that you have when you start to ask yourself those kinds of questions. So that’s the first part. That’s the parent who maybe is blaming other things. But then I noticed that a lot. I’m raising, um, a, a teenager and a preteen. So almost two teenagers here and they haven’t quite grasped that concept yet, right? So it’s like, well dad, that happened because you didn’t tell me or you know, that happened because you know you didn’t, you didn’t do this or you didn’t do that.
And so that’s something that, you know, with our own children we are dealing with from time to time. And I think it’s natural for them to want to blame their parents. And really my approach to it, and I think there’s no one size fits all answer here, but my approach to it is to be the best example I can be. So if I can demonstrate to my children how I assume responsibility for things, even though you know that might suck and maybe they’re, I’m justified in blaming or it feel justified in blaming, you know, some other person or a circumstance for what, what’s going on. By demonstrating how I take responsibility for the results and for what’s happening and for implementing a solution. I am leading by example. And you know, I know with my own children, they learn more from watching what I do and how I handle things than anything.
I could tell them intellectually they don’t want to be lectured. They don’t want to be told stuff, but they are modeling my behavior. The good and the bad and the ugly, all of it. Right. And so, you know, hopefully more good than bad, but hey, we all have those moments. We all have those human moments and they definitely learn from how I handle things. And so I think that we get to model for them what that, what it means to take responsibility and what it means to not blame others and circumstances and whatever. And that’s very empowering, very empowering. When you can always find a solution, no matter what happens. It’s a, I believe it’s, it’s giving someone ultimate power over the destiny of their life.
Michelle: Yeah, that’s great. You know, and for those of us who haven’t, you know, got rid of the blame game, like to learn it ourselves, to stopped blaming and then to model that for our kids, that’s very empowering because then they’re going to learn that as well and they’re not going to grow up blaming us for, for things that we did. Right. And then you’re so right, it’s the parenting has changed so much over the last few years and topic that we’re going to jump to next is one of those topics that’s changed in the way parents deal with it over the last few years or a few decades I should say. So this question is about how do you deal with the teenage girl 17 almost 18 who thinks she’s entitled to whatever she wants? Free money, a car, car insurance and much more when money’s tight and you’re barely scraping by financially. I’m sure this is a very popular question.
Chuck: I love this one because I deal with this from time to time as well in my family. And that is, you know, look, kids want things right? They want things. And a lot of behavior that we deal with on a day to day basis is because they want things that don’t necessarily align with what we want them to do or our means to give it to them or whatever. So, I mean, great example, if it was okay for my boys to play video games for 12, 14 hours a day without any limitations that’s what they want. As a, um, as a parent who believes that that’s not a healthy thing, I have to set limits and boundaries and sometimes when we set limits and boundaries that might get a backlash. Right? So, in this case with money, right?
So anything that costs money, I mean, you know, we’ve gone through this where, you know, they want to buy something or whatever. And I think that when that comes up, yes, that sentence entitlement or if it is an appearance on, so entitled entitlement, if I’m reading this properly, if that’s sort of what’s happening, it can be very frustrating. And I think as an automatic pilot reaction, it’s very easy to fight against that. Well, what do you mean you want me to buy you a car? And you know, and you want all these fancy clothes. Like, you know, you’re sounding so entitled there. Don’t you know the value of money? Why don’t you go get yourself a job and start making some money. And as soon as we do that, we’ve just created a one of those moments where we’re going to butt heads and we’re gonna fight.
Instead of looking at it as the opportunity that it is. And that is to teach and guide, uh, I think first of all, the value of money and the also the means in which to obtain money and to acquire the things that they want. I mean, this is a person, 18 years old, they’ve got their whole life ahead of them, of earning money and acquiring things. And, you know they’re coming through this period of, you know, mom and dad have given them everything. And you know, those in, but one of the parts of being a teenager is gaining independence over their life. And so I think it’s a huge opportunity here, even if it’s a bit uncomfortable, even if there is a few tears or whatever to say, look, I love you. I support you. You want a car? Great. Let’s sit down and talk about how you could earn the money to get that car, or you want those brand name, designer clothes that all your friends are wearing you know, that are 10 times the price of anything else.
Great. Let’s sit down and figure out how you can get those things. And let’s use this as an opportunity because I, you know, I love you and I want you to you know, be successful in life and being able to raise money and be able to make those financial decisions, I think is a, it’s an important life skill that we all need to have. And so I would look at that as an opportunity to sit down with them and say, okay, how can you do this? Whether it be, you know, support them on getting a job, take them to some job interviews, help them get a resume going. And you know, let them look at, you know, what a budget is. I guarantee if your child goes and works 20 hours and only makes like two or 300 bucks.
And all of a sudden like that’s worth like two pieces of clothing. Then they might stop and think about, okay, wait a minute, I just worked all this time and all I got was this one designer piece of clothing that they might actually start to rethink some of their wants and their demands. So I just see it as a huge opportunity to teach that value of money. And especially I would assume that the person that’s answering this question didn’t like this and probably wanted to push back a little bit, but I would look at it as an opportunity to teach about money.
Michelle: Yeah, that’s a great idea. I totally agree with that as well. It seems to be a good thing to be able to teach kids. I think even starting even younger, if you’re starting to feel it. I know my son is turning seven this week and you know, he wants and wants and wants and you know, you don’t, you want to give your child what they want, but you also want to make sure that they’re not becoming a spoiled Brat. Right? So, you know, I think this is a good opportunity to really teach them some, some value in money too. I think that’s great. And my next question, and the next question that we got in is around the same lines. Do you think that is a parent’s responsibility to teach their children practical financial advice before they move out on their own?
Chuck: Absolutely right. I, and again, that’s my own judgment. I mean, for me, I’m absolutely feel that it’s my responsibility to set them up to be, you know, successful independent adults. That doesn’t mean that they can’t ever come to me and ask for help or assistance or even to borrow money or whatever. And, you know, we’re always going to have a reasonable discussion about, you know, how, you know, how we going to approach that? But absolutely because if I just provide everything and now all of a sudden, let’s say they’re 18, 19, 20 years old and they go out there and they have no skills, they have no budgeting skills, they have no earning capacity. They have no sense of, you know, what’s good value or bad value, what’s inexpensive or expensive and or, even how to generate money.
And you know, some of my earlier work with and speaking at a financial seminars, we were very big on financial education. Some of us aren’t even financially educated. So how do we pass that onto our children? Well, that’s where the responsible piece comes in. And, you know, like we said that the sign of a great parent is one that, you know, looks at their own behavior first. Well, you know, if the, and there’s great books, I mean, Kiyosaki wrote a great book called Rich Kid, Smart Kid. I would say get a copy of that. There’s great advice in that book and you know, get educated yourself on, on what’s the best way to introduce financial literacy to your child or your teenager or even your young adults and support them through that. And it might be through your own learning and discovery and maybe you’re going through it together and whatever it is, that’s cool. But I absolutely believe that it’s my job to prepare my children for independent adulthood. Right?
Michelle: Yup, definitely. And I agree with that. Like if you’re not modeling good financial behaviors yourself, it’s really hard to teach your kids that. And I know you know, one of the other things that, one of the things that happened to me when I was around that age, going to college, all of a sudden you get to college and there’s all these credit card companies there, hey, sign up for this credit card. Sign up for that credit card. Well I was like, yes, sweet. I got two or three credit cards, rack them up. And I think that I’m probably still paying that off like 25 years, 20 years, 25 years later. That was not a good idea. So that was not a good idea. So if you can use, you know, if they can be educated about that before they get faced with that decision or that choice or that opportunity, you know, that would be really great. So goodness crazy.That’s a great, make sure that your kids are set up financially a little bit of their responsibility when it comes to money is a good one. Okay, so I want to jump over to kind of on a different, topic to this question says, should I let my child have a lock on their bedroom door?
Chuck: Yeah. And I could see how that could be a trigger, right? It’s like, you know, mom, Dad, I want to put a lock on my door, you know, and I know if it was me, the very first question in my would be why do you want to lock your door? Like what’s in there that you don’t want me to see? Right. And I think that that with the conversations I’ve had with people as well would be pretty typical of the initial reaction to that. And you know, one of the things that we’ve learned through this entire journey and we’ve layered throughout all the programs that we have in the Blissful Parenting library is to seek understanding of a situation, really understand the situation before responding. And so it might be very easy to assume that k teenager is looking to hide something. So they want to put a lock on their door.
Okay. Perhaps and through your own digging and your own investigation, I would say connected conversation with your child, you might aim to discover that. If you come at them with judgment or resistance, then they’re going to come back to you with resistance as well. And you’re never going to get the answers. So seek understanding from a place of compassion and you know, just really trying to get the idea. Now here’s the thing, there’s an underlying goal of all teenagers and this is something that we all have to remember because it’s so easy to take their behavior at face value. And say, how could you talk to me like that? How could you do this? Well, it’s not necessarily that they are trying to be bad or disrespectful is that they’re at a phase in their life right now where they are trying to gain independence.
Right? There’s a couple of big transitions in the whole growing up and you discover it at first when they’re like two or three years old and they want the, you know, they don’t want you to do things for them cause “No I’ll do it!”, Right. Like, you know, they want that independence. And then and then there’s another big phase of that at the teenage stage where it’s like they’re preparing to be adults. And so there is a number, there is independence. So this desire for independence for control over their destiny, for, to have some say into what happens to their future and in their lives and yeah, just to really feel like they’re in control of who they are. And it may be just as simple as that. So I mean, it could be happening for a reason.
You really don’t want or it could just be happening because of their desire to be an independent human being. And so I think that’s where that connected conversation comes in where we we’re just seeking to understand there’s not judgment or no way you’re not doing that and on, and the fight, which would really just driving them away, but just really trying to ask them questions to understand, okay, what would it mean to you if you now have a lock on your door? You know, what’s the, what’s the benefit to your life? And that might seem like a weird question, but I guarantee if you go out your teenager with questions like that, they’re going to go, Huh, you’ve never really asked me a question like that before. If You talk in questions, you will start to receive answers. If you talk in judgment or demands, you’re going to get nothing back.
Michelle: Right. And even probably more closed off conversations then too, if you continue down that path. That’s interesting. I, you know, I think my parents did that, a really great job of that. As there, I was always able to do what mostly whatever I asked to do, they’d always say yes. And it was, and I was, I got into my twenties and I finally asked them. Like, why did you always let me see? You always said yes. All my other friends, parents said no and everything. I was always allowed to do stuff. They said, well, we had no reason to say no because you we trust you. You’ve demonstrated you’re responsible and you’ve demonstrated that you’re capable, have a smart head on your shoulders and capable of having that independence. So I really appreciated my parents doing that. So I’ve kind of kept that in my, in my mind as I become a parent, of course we want to say no right away to a lot of those things. And it’s been scary when they get into those teenage years and they start asking for more independence, I’m sure.
Chuck: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, that’s the phase of life that they’re in, you know, and it’s that desire for independence. But, that’s not to say that there can’t be bad things happening as well. I mean, the takeaway and you know, our approach always when we’re coaching people is seek to understand what’s really happening. Clarify, evaluate before responding. Right? And if there is something more dangerous or you know, detrimental to their mental or physical health that’s going on, then you know, address that. But get the facts first and don’t assume the worst, you know, expect the best and but do clarify and then respond appropriately.
Michelle: That’s great advice. I love that one. And our next question, which is going to be our last question, have you guys really liked this style? I really encourage you to go over TheBlissfulParent.com/ask and send us your questions. Please. This is how we get to answer them for you is by you going over there and asking them. So we love these questions coming in. They’re really good and we’ve learned a lot today from Chuck. It’s been great talking about, you know, how we were raised as kids, parenting styles, financial literacy. So many great things in asking those questions of those teenagers. You know, there’s so many great things that we’ve learned today. I’m going to ask one more question that’s kind of along the same, just talking about, and this kind of makes me smile the way this question is worded. So it says, if your child accidentally stole items from a store, would you take them back and pay? So what’s your answer to that one, Chuck?
Chuck: Yeah. So this was something that we’ve definitely thought about in our workshops as well. Sadly it happens and look, you know they’re …kids want things and sometimes when they can’t have them in the way that they should be, maybe getting them, they go to other means to get them. And I think that this, again, just like the money thing, you know, is a huge opportunity for learning and that context. So what I would not do is I would not go back to the store, pay for the item and bail them out of the situation, right. What I would do is I would take my child back to the store and as uncomfortable as it is for them, and I would say also for myself because let’s face it, you know, that’s pretty scary thing. But then to walk in and to admit that to the store owner and say, look, “I made a mistake.
Here’s what’s happened and you know, I’m very sorry. Here’s the thing back and I would also like to pay for you. And you know, you know, how can I make this right with you?” Right? And I think that’s a number one, a great way of handling the situation where you’re giving the store owner that opportunity to say yes, you know, that I’m satisfied with the way you’ve handled this. And I think what it also does is it teaches your child a couple of things. It teaches your child the life skill of owning up to their mistakes. And also you know that and through that very scary and maybe painful experience of going back and confessing to what they’ve done will help to prevent them from doing this again in the future. And I love what Jane Nelson says in her book Positive Discipline. And that is that children learn best when they learn from natural consequences. Well, what’s more natural than going back and admitting to a store owner that you made a mistake and you stole something? And it’s not that I need to get mad at them or punish them or yell at them or whatever, but it’s like, let’s go back, admit what you’ve done. Just the, this comfort of admitting that I think is natural consequences enough to perhaps get them to choose a different way of acquiring things the next time they want something.
Michelle: Absolutely. That sounds like that would be a, a great thing to do. And I think that is a phase a lot of teenagers go through with that. Acquiring things from like a drug store without money is a, I remember a bunch of friends doing that in high school and, I think that’s a great way of doing it. Going back to the store and apologizing. Well, thank you Chuck. There’s been so many great nuggets here today. Audience, I hope you’re listening in some great advice on how to deal with these tricky situations that we get into as parents. So thank you Chuck, our founder and one of our faculty members. Thank you for being with us today. Can’t wait to have you back here again soon. And you guys, this is a great format. I liked it. I hope you liked it. Chuck, I know you liked it,
Chuck: It was a lot of fun and I just want to, again, you have questions. That’s cool. You can go to TheBlissfulParent.com/ask and, submit your questions and look, you know, sometimes there is no easy answer. Maybe you’d like a little bit of help with that. Go to blissful parenting.com/coaching and get yourself a free coaching session and you know, we’ll talk to you one on one about some whatever’s going on in your life and hope we can help.
Michelle: Great. So we’re going to do this again, down the road in a few episodes from now. We’ve got lots of questions coming in and can’t wait to do it again. So thank you, Chuck, for being with us. I hope to see you guys on our next episode.
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