Episode 66: How to Navigate the Parenting Journey as a Couple with Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge
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Length: 56:01 mins
Tom: Hey, thanks for coming. Welcome to the Love Shack.
Staci: Hey, welcome to the Love Shack. It's a little old place where we get to get together, explore fresh perspectives, and eavesdrop on juicy conversations as we uncover the mysteries that nobody talks about, but absolutely influences our relationships. If you are struggling with your special someone and desire to turn it around, this show right here is dedicated to you. In today's episode, this is number 66. We're going to share with you our top tips for navigating the parenting journey as a couple. Hello, we're Tom and Staci Bartley, and together we have eight kids.
Tom: And don't forget, our 13th grandchild is coming next month. And last time I did the math, that would be 21 humans in our very close circle.
Staci: We call it a party in a box. The party starts when we show up and it ends when we leave. Today, however, in the Love Shack, we have a very special guest, Dr. Roseann, she's here with us inside the Love Shack, and we're going to share some of the challenges faced by couples in parenting, in today's world. Together we're going to learn how to find your flow and strengthen your relationship so you can be present for each other and your children while navigating through this beautiful, but off times, very difficult life experience. Especially now, there's so much coming at us. So stay tuned. We'll be right back with our guest, Dr. Roseann, and this incredibly important conversation, all about parenting and staying in love while you're at it. Oh, my.
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Tom: Welcome inside the Love Shack, ladies and gentlemen, we are Tom and Staci Bartley, your host, along with our awesome extraordinary Eric Writer, our engineer. Let's dive into today's conversation as Staci shared. This is one that really touches, I think a lot of people right now. We're navigating the parenting journey as a couple. We're blessed and grateful to have inside the Love Shack, our guest, Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge.
Staci: Let's admit it. You know, parenting can be a difficult journey and it's easy to feel overwhelmed, especially right now. It's hard to know what the right thing to do is when we start juggling parenting with our relationships, especially if we don't have a place to turn for objective and effective advice on foundational best practices. So today, we have Dr. Roseann with us. She's going to share with us, her tried and true parenting dos and don'ts, parenting through a pandemic, and the actions that we can take to help our youngsters develop better coping abilities and resilience. We're also going to take a look at how step-parenting can be a unique experience.
Tom: Absolutely. This is one that has a lot of different opinions that I've certainly have seen. Staci and I uniquely, both of us lost our fathers at a very young age and both of our mothers went on to marry men with large children, so we've created what we've come from.
Staci: Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge is a mental health trailblazer. She founded the Global Institute of Children's Mental Health. She's a media expert who is changing the way that we view and treat children's mental health. Hallelujah. She's been Forbes Magazine. They've been calling her for quite some time now, a thought leader in children's mental health. Her work has helped thousands reverse the most challenging conditions of ADHD, anxiety, mood, Lyme, pans, pandas. And if those don't mean anything to you, don't worry. That's good news. For those of you who have had those diagnoses in your family of origin, pay particular attention. She's using proven holistic therapies and she is featured on dozens and doubles of media outlets, such as the Mel Robins show, Fox News, CBS, NBC, Picks 11, NYC, Cheddar TV, Forbes, USA Today, Yahoo News, Web MD, Business Insider, Parents Magazine, The Week, The Washington Post and the New York Times. This woman has been busy trailblazing mental health change for children and our families. And I am delighted and honored to welcome her inside the Love Shack with us today. Dr. Roseann, welcome to the show. It's a privilege and an honor to have you here with us today.
Dr. Roseann: Well, I'm so looking forward to this conversation, I'm also glad that we're going to talk about step-parenting too. You know, because they are more of a blended family and there are families that are still intact in the world. How about that?
Staci: I totally agree with you.
Tom: That's a powerful statistic.
Dr. Roseann: We don't talk about step-parenting as much, you know, and it comes with its own challenges.
Staci: Yes, absolutely. Unfortunately, because we rarely have the conversation of parenting, we approach it as the same premises though they are our biological children, which as you know, runs us into a tremendous amount of conflict and upheaval. So, let's begin this conversation because I'd love our listeners to kind of get to know you a little bit. And what is it that motivates you to become that trailblazer that you've been for so many years in this space? How did you come to do the work that you do today? What was that?
Dr. Roseann: Well, first of all, I mean, how I came into the work was that it truly was my calling. And I remember being five years old and my mom's friend, Angela, asked me what I wanted to be, and I said a psychiatrist, even though I had no exposure or understanding. And then as time passed, I realized, you know, psychiatrists are essentially pill pushers. And then said, I want to do therapy where I'm actually helping people without medication. I became a psychologist. I love working with kids. I mean, kids don't know they can't change until we tell them that. They don't come with the same baggage that adults do where, you know, their own thinking gets in the way of success at times. I'm not saying it's always that way, but kids just are full of potential and open us for change.
I've gotten to this point where I have this very successful center in Ridgefield, Connecticut, and we work with people remotely, all over the world doing both counseling and coaching, but also doing neuro-feedback which is brainwave retraining to regulate the nervous system. We send equipment out. I, you know, regionally was like, wow, I'm helping so many people. And I just said, I'm not okay with everybody not being okay and we need to do something better. And nobody in mental health is talking about how to calm the brain, strategies that parents can use today. And that's why I really pushed myself out there in the media because it just becomes a window where, oh, I didn't know that. And people can start to understand that you don't always have to have medication. Talk therapy isn't always the answer, and there are many things parents can do and that's what we're going to talk about today.
Staci: I love that come from, you know, as we were prepping for the show today, I was reminded myself of the difference between solving life's problems as a parent and teaching and mentoring our children through a life problem. And one of the stories in my own life that highlights this is, we were moving my daughter and her six children. And I'll never forget turning around after the truck is loaded and we're driving away, and there's the six-year-old standing by the door and she's crying because she doesn't understand what's happened. Here, we've moved her house, all of her toys, loaded all the furniture in the truck, and we failed to let her know what was happening so that she had a baseline of understanding as well as help her cope with that long before the truck was ever loaded. We were so busy and focused on solving the problem that we didn't mentor and teach the children along the way. So on that note, I would love for us to jump into your dos and don'ts that I know you strategically teach your clients and the parents and your sphere. So where to begin with that, and you start where you feel inspired to go.
Dr. Roseann: Yeah. I mean, when I think about... people will always ask me, you know, what is the biggest change I've seen in kids in these 30 years? And one, an astronomical increase in autism. And no, it's not because of better diagnostics. There are a ton more kids with autism. But the real trend that I've seen is a lack of coping skills, that kids don't know how to manage stress independently, and they, therefore, get stressed more easily. So when I think about the biggest do, and don't, the biggest don't is to not let your kids fail and make mistakes, be uncomfortable, and learn. And the biggest do is to parent so they're a little more autonomous so that they can explore their world with bumpers, not bumpers, like right there, but bumpers that are wideout, and that they can learn from their mistakes. Because kids today do not know how to cope with stress, which is part of the main reason why we have a dramatic increase, anxiety, depression, OCD and suicide is because kids don't know how to manage and tolerate uncomfortable feelings and sensations.
Staci: So the don't is, don't protect your children right from failing.
Dr. Roseann: I call it don't bubble wrap them. You know, I call bubble wrap parenting. Don't bubble wrap them. I mean, come on people. Like, we were riding our bikes down the main road, okay. We survived.
Staci: Yes, yes, yes. And do help them create these moments where they can operate autonomously. So, do you have a story or something that would help us understand and wrap our head around what this looks like.
Dr. Roseann: A great example is Mary who works for me. I adore her. She's got a two-year-old. Remember, you know, the two-year-old stage, you're like, "What did I sign up for?"
Tom: The terrible twos.
Dr. Roseann: The terrible twos. So, Mary was like, "Before we start our meeting, I need help." And I was like, "Mary, just message me. I mean, don't wait for the meeting." So she was like, "Did I handle this right?" And I was like, okay. So her two-year-old yesterday, he is like, I'm in charge, okay. And he's looking for ways to be in charge. And Mary says to me, "You know, we're trying to figure this out, but we don't want him to be in charge." And I was like, "Mary, fault number one. You need to let him be in charge at times, and you need to when safety's not a concern, and you need to let him make some mistakes." So she said yesterday, five times he stripped off his clothes, five times. And each of the five times she put him back.
I said, "Mary, that's your problem right there. Number one time, you should have just said, oh, okay, you've taken off your clothes. When you get cold, let me know if you need any help putting your clothes back on." And I would've turned down the heat and made it cold. And then I would've let him make the choice to put his clothes back on, and there we go. Instead, he terrorized her and she was like, "Darn it, Roseann. I didn't think about that." And then he wouldn't wear his gloves out in Wisconsin, so I said, "Mary, did you ask him if he wanted to wear his gloves?" She said, "Yeah." And he said, "No." And I said, okay. So the next thing you're going to do, you're going to say, do you want to wear this glove or this glove? Because we can't have him go outside in Wisconsin in the middle of winter with no gloves. But you know, maybe in the springtime it would, but you have to have some natural consequences. Let him be but naked and freeze his little tookie off at home and then ask for his clothes. Instead, she was like, "I'm going to get them back on. I'm going to get them back on. I'm going to back get them back on." That's a natural consequence.
Staci: Yes. Let's progress through the ages then. Let's say now I have a 10-year-old and you know, I'm just trying to think of all the stages of human development. I get to 10 and I'm starting to think through and rationalize myself. Now our children are going to have a tendency to want to banter with you a bit and find out all the places where they think their parents are goofy as heck. They're starting to feel like, and thank goodness they do. You know, I really want to celebrate that piece. Thank goodness for our human development, we get a little cocky sometimes and think we have all the answers because that gives us the courage to step into places and territory we really don't understand right. Without it, I don't think we do much; we'd all cower in the corner. But you know, give us some advice on what you're saying as far as like, don't bubble wrap them, let them have some natural consequences. Could you give our listeners some examples of what that might look like at 10, and then maybe, you know, the hairy ones at like 15 through 17?
Dr. Roseann: Sure. I mean, you know, a 10-year-old, I have an 11-year-old, so it's not that hard, but he's so logical. He's the one that reminds us to do all the things. He's like, "Shouldn't I be working on this project tonight, mom?" And I'm like, "It's not convenient for me. We're going to work on it tomorrow." And he's like, "Oh no, we're working on it tonight." I don't know, he just came out that way everybody, I had nothing to do with that. That's just is like, my mother dropped in there and just... it's a little bit of Nona. But you know, like a 10-year-old, how about a 10 year old wanting to - a great example is to maybe have more freedom in their neighborhood and want to go a little further and you don't live in a neighborhood that's unsafe. And what does that look like?
So, you know, I would say to my 10-year-old, "Okay, do you want to drive down to George's house? Talk to me about how you're going to ride your bike down there. What's the plan? What are you going to do? Are you going to call me when you get there?" Whatever it is, let them think of what they have to do, let them think of the steps. And when they do a good job, you want to reinforce them. I mean, we can't just, all of a sudden what's happened is we're like, you need to do this, you have to do that, you have to do that. Another example is my teenager. So my teenager has chronic Lyme disease and something called PANS where inflammation in his body causes psychiatric issues and cognitive issues. And luckily it's mostly cognitive at this point. He can't have wheat.
So, he will say things like, "Should I have this?" And I'm like, "Well, what do, what do you think you should do?" I'm not like, "Don't have this, you can't have this." I'm like, "What do you think you should do?" And he's like, "Well, if I have it, I might like have a stomach ache." And I'm like, "Okay." And most of the time, he's like; "I'm not going to do it." And then sometimes he's like, "Well, I don't really care. I'm not going to be anywhere. I'm just going to be home." I'm like, "It's your choice." The whole point is you want your kids to solve problems on their own. It doesn't mean you don't give any guidance. Both those times I gave some guidance, but you want your kids to develop those skills to be good decision-makers when you're not around. If you are always making decisions for them and you're laying out the plan, they are not going to know what to do when you're around. And you know, when they have to make choices about like, am I going to smoke pot because everybody else is smoking pot because they are? And or I'm going to do this stupid thing. They're going to be like, "Hmm, I don't think that's a great idea." And it's a shift in how you parent. It's not the constant dictation; it's coaching around problem-solving and giving them a chance to have some failures.
Staci: I so agree with you here that this is really the opportunity we have as parents. And it's hard. It's going to be hard. You're going to... because we love them so much. We want to keep them safe and we want to make the decisions and we don't know if we can trust their decisions. But here's the thing; if we don't give them the place to practice, they're going to be floundering because they've never practiced making decisions and governing themselves. So then when we send them off to college, that's going to be a problem. And that's the first opportunity they're going to have to govern themselves away from home.
Tom: Let me just ask you Dr. Roseann, you know, in your 30 years, why would you, you know, I sense as parents, we've overcorrected, and so we want to bubble wrap. Share with us, unpack that a little bit. Why is that so prevalent now?
Dr. Roseann: There's so many parts in that. I think every generation wants things better for their kids. There's been such a cultural shift towards this intense lifestyle and it's across, it's not just America, it's across the globe. Europe used to be so much more connected. They're more connected to their neighbors and their families, they're even inching up there because I have clients all over and work with a lot of people over the world in terms of other professionals. And they're saying the same things, it's just in America, and in certain regions, like I'm suburb of New York City, I feel like we're ground zero for intensity. Do you know what I mean? Like, I just had a lawyer leave work right before this. And he was like, "I know you can't tell me that this is guaranteed to work, but I need you to tell me that."
And I was like, "You're a lawyer, you know I can't tell you that it's guarantee." I was like, you have to believe that this is going to help you." Number one, you know, like there's just such an intensity of people. So, when we look at what is the nexus, what is this about; we also believe that grades are the benchmark of mental health. So most families and parents believe whatever makeup is of your family, caregivers believe that if their kid is doing well in school, they can't have mental health problems. They can't have these things. So we are just driving our kids to try to be these straight-A students and we're not really thinking about what other skills do they need? Like, how about compassion for others and empathy. Our best leaders have high empathy. We are not nurturing that. Who the hell is going to lead the world going forward?
So we're missing out on the skills; we're not developing those skills that are, you know, things that create good human beings. We think the grades make the great human beings. So there's just so much worry for parents about what's the future is going to be for their kids. And I'm not saying, I mean, I'm a mom, who doesn't worry about their kids? But what we really should be focusing on is making our kids great decision-makers, confident about who they are and the choices they make. Because if you don't have self-confidence, people, success is not possible. Even if it accidentally happens because you happen to be gifted at something, it's not sustainable, you will implode. I deal with it every day. And I think that's where we've gotten. We are misdirecting our efforts towards the academic and not really what's developing on the inside for those kids.
Staci: Yeah. Because we want them to be successful, grades seem to be the benchmark, and that intensity that we drive our children to, having to be good performers, good test-takers, good paper writers...
Dr. Roseann: Get into good colleges.
Staci: Get into good colleges that this is going to be the end, all break all. And I see it too, where we are amping up, and sometimes we don't realize the correlation as a parent, between creating a lot of anxiety in our children and depression because we're pushing them and we're pushing them in directions that maybe they're not feeling resonate with them. You know, there's a difference between defiance...
Dr. Roseann: But they're not anchored, Staci. Like, if you don't have that internal love of yourself and confidence and grades are the only way to judge yourself, how are you going to get through life?
Staci: Yeah. And what happens when there's no more school, how do I dance with that? Let's talk about, based on what you said, how do we help our children ground then and develop some of those skills outside of grades? What would be some of your super tips there?
Dr. Roseann: Well, I mean, I think that everything starts with parenting, right? So we like to give our power away as parents if our kid is struggling. And you know, 50% of kids in the US will have a physical or a mental health problem and that's 10-year-old data, so we don't even know what that is during this pandemic. We know that all mental health issues have exponentially increased, unfortunately, so I'm sure it's way more than that. It's not uncommon for kids to have clinical issues. But how can we get our kids to have those skills where they can be, first of all, what I like to call, you know, there's a theory called Stress Inoculation. So inoculating our kids from stress where they just don't stress about seemingly benign things is the first way to do that. And the way to do that is through those coping skills.
Like, how does your manage stress? How do they view it and how do they recover from it? And in a perfect world, you have kids with a resiliency mindset who just don't view stress in the same way. And that happens through experiences. You can't just say to a kid, "Oh, don't stress about that." You have to let them experience these failures and then be like, "Oh, that wasn't so bad. I was able to do this and I can do that." And then when they confront other stressors, they have a history of success and they know that at this very deeply subconscious level, not to sound like a psychologist, but our subconscious is running the show. And they're able to recognize, "Well, you know, that isn't something I really should stress or, okay, that's really a bad thing. And I can do this, this and this."
They know that there are solutions for things that they can handle. So how do we build those coping skills? It starts that autonomous parenting and shifting your language to coping. So, you get a bad grade, "Oh, it's so terrible, you got this bad grade. Let me call your teacher and find out why you got this bad grade." And it's like, "Oh, you got a bad grade. Well, what do you think happened?" And your kid, maybe, "I don't know." Or they might be like, "I didn't know half the stuff." "Oh, you didn't know half the stuff. Oh, well, let's sit down. You know, you got a good grade last time, what did you do differently?" "Oh, well, last time I did actually read the whole chapter." "Oh, okay, so what do you think you should do next?" "I should read the whole chapter." "Okay. Paint the picture how you're going to work it in your schedule this week for your next test." And get them. It's about cueing them for the solutions to the problem without, you know, you always want to validate, "Oh, there must have been a bad experience. You got into this argument with your friend and you're really upset. You know, what would you have done differently? Or, you know, the last time..." You want to cue them to - if you know that they've done something well before, you want to cue them to that solution, but then you want to guide them to problem-solving.
And again, we want our kids to be great decision-makers when we're not around, but they have to know they can manage things. Do you know what I mean? I've been like this since I was two years old. I literally was like, I'll take care of it. You know? I always say you want me running your ship, okay, when it goes down, I'm like, "We'll figure it out."
Staci: I'm your girl. I'm thinking about a principle that we learn in grad school in this work called don't give your clients the answer; let them uncover it for themselves. That's what creates confidence and self-esteem. And that principle is like screaming in my head right now, Roseann, as I'm listening to you describe what that looks like. And maybe there's a principle there for a parent to kind of think through, ask your child questions that are guiding them, but don't give them the answer because then they don't feel like they've come up to the solution themselves.
Dr. Roseann: Absolutely. And we think if we give our kids the answer because they're verbal and they're so bright, that all of a sudden it's going to click in there. You know, that's just not how the brain works. They have to experience things for themselves. You can't just tell a kid. There are some kids that learn more easily, you know, lots of observing and things like that, but they have to have that experience and that ability to say, you know, I can do this myself. And they should, and we want our kids to do that as much as possible; that is how you really build grit and resilience, and that is what inoculates you from lifelong anxiety and stress. And this is the trend. I mean, we're seeing that you as therapists know that, you know, people are just inundated with chronic stress and they're overwhelmed and they don't know how to get out of it.
Tom: Well, I just love your sharing there, Roseann. I mean, again, to kind of be old school in a sense, it's like, there's nothing replaced. I was a long-time bicycle rider. There's nothing that replaces time and the saddle. I mean, and I think as you just described as this impending pace of all of our lives around the world has been unlike anything, any of us have ever experienced historically in the last couple years. Let's just be honest if you're alive. I mean, there's nothing quick about what you just described. Would you agree? Meaning, I would sometimes, like I don't have...
Dr. Roseann: Tom, it's why I have a magic wand on my desk because I make sure that everybody knows there is no magic wand to this stuff. And we often feel like if we give our kid a solution or we take care of it, that it's faster. I'm here to tell you it's the exact opposite. It drags it out. Whenever people always like, "How do your kids make, like, they're such good decision-makers?" And I'm like, "Listen, it wasn't easy when they're two years old and you're like, oh, you're going to be naked." And like I had one kid that'd be like, just to make me angry, he'd be naked all day. You know what I mean? Like he got over that, he didn't do it forever.
Staci: I had a daughter that I'd get her dressed and she'd go take her shoes off and she'd bury them in the sandbox in the backyard so that I couldn't find them to put them back on her. And she'd flush... I mean, she tried to flush her Susie's one day. I mean, parenting is going to challenge us and, you know, I just want to point out that those are not bad things to have happened to us as people too, because as we're raising children, we're growing of person too within ourselves.
Dr. Roseann: Oh my gosh, we're growing as a person. My kids have made me so much of a much more patient person, let me tell you.
Staci: Yeah. And you get to wrestle with what's important and what isn't. And I always jokingly say, but I'm not really joking. My children have dragged me to places I never thought I would visit as a human being. Cause me to open my eyes, explore perspectives and things with inside of myself that I would have never imagined possible. And so, there's the gift that goes both ways. And I do think that as parents, if we could take a breath and realize that, a, our kids are so much more resilient than we give them credit for and they want to learn, and they want to understand. They don't want to be told, they want to be guided. And that's such a different experience than always telling them the answers, telling them what they need to be, how it needs to be done. And they come up with some amazing things if we can give them the opportunity to just share and express that. It's amazing how much wisdom is in there. I love sitting down with my five-year-old grandson and saying, "Well, what do you think? And how do you think we should approach that? And what would be your thoughts to solve this problem?" It really is amazing what they come up with.
Dr. Roseann: It is really amazing. And, you know, kids are so, you know, when I started this work so many years ago, decades ago, I still to the date, it doesn't matter how a kid is, I ask them, like, what do you think the answer is to this? And I'm going to tell you, most of the time the kids know the solution. Nobody's ever asked them because they think, oh, they're a grumpy teenager, or they're three years old or whatever, or they're so depressed. They have ideas that can be really valid. And when it comes to kids making changes, whether they have a clinical issue or it's just an everyday developmental kind of thing, when they come up with their own solution, the buy-in is completely different. Like you said, who wants to be told. They want to do it themselves. And when they are part of that, you know, figuring out and designing that solution, there's going to be a much better success rate.
Staci: And I want to point out if I may, that that is the soul of that child, whatever you want to call it, the soul, the inner being, et cetera of that child's wisdom saying you need to be able to make decisions in order to feel confident and happy as an adult. So, rather than push against that, we need to learn how to work with it as a parent and realize that's a really good thing. That's the inner wisdom of a child knowing that they need to learn how to make decisions and be resilient. I just want to point that out and highlight that.
Dr. Roseann: Absolutely. And I think, you know, so true and I think as you know, as marriage experts that one of the biggest struggles between couples, once they have kids and the kid shows up, and you're like, oh my God, I got this kid that's like, you know, whatever. And then I have this kid, whatever, you get what you get. There's no, you know, they come out, it's like predetermined. Poof, and they show up and you could have five kids and they could be completely different human beings. It's unbelievable. But it's about having as a couple, shared agreements that are family anchors. Like, what are your non-negotiables and how are we going to parent in a way that is similar? Because what I talk about parenting is, it's an opportunity for teaching and learning. And we think of parenting as discipline, and it's not really what it is. Discipline has its place, but it's really your time to mold them so that they can be independent. And the number one thing we want for our kids, number one and two is health and happiness. It's not going to you.
Staci: It's so true.
Dr. Roseann: Health and happiness, okay. And there's not that many slots at Yale people. So wherever you're going to go, maybe it's not college, who knows? But you have to co-parent whether you're... whatever it is, whether grandma's, your partner, stepparent, whatever it is. And that's about communication and coming to those basic agreements. We parent our kids very autonomously, and the few times we've even had regular babysitters or whatever, I have to say, listen, my kids are parented to be independent and that means they're allowed to say no, and they're going to ask you questions like, "Oh, you need me to do this, can you explain to me why?" Like, they're not being disrespectful. They want to have a conversation. They're like, "Oh, okay." Usually is what happens with them. But my kids are not like, you better go and do this, or blah, blah, blah, blah. And I tell them, like, if I say a hard, no, it's a safety issue and you better listen to me. And that worked really well for us. And I feel proud that my kids are good decision-makers. My youngest literally came out, born a good decision-maker. Again, I had nothing to do with that, that just happened.
Staci: I'm feeling inspired to give our listeners some questions that maybe they can explore in their own relationship to help them get on the same page. I bet you see that as well as I see that, that that's a hard hurdle sometimes to get over, especially because we know everybody's coming from different families of origin, they're going to have different parenting styles.
Dr. Roseann: And that's the number one way we learn to parent, is by how we were parented.
Tom: And I would just add, excuse me, what you just said to me would be the major hurdle in the step-parenting because these two people come other and they each, you know, him or her have their viewpoints on how parenting goes. I mean, I saw that in my own parents when my mother remarried and Staci did as well. So, you perfectly went into, please share with us, because that to me is a huge place. Like, the step-father comes in and says, "Boy, now I'm your dad." Like, the hell you are, I don't even like you.
Dr. Roseann: I think the number one source of friction in any relationship is mismatch expectations. So we have like an expectation of a certain thing; we're not sharing that, it's bubbling in our head, and then the other party as an expectation. So you have to get it out there and be like, "How do you think it should be parented?" Like, this has to be a conversation. You know, the stepmom; what is your best way of parenting it? Or maybe say, here's this problem recently had, how would you, you handle it? How would you handle it? How would you handle it? And I think the thing to me, my whole basis in my work is neuroscience and understanding the brain. And I feel like when we come at it and explain things that it's learning and it's an opportunity for teaching and get rid of this punishment mentality, he will do what I say. Really? Okay, because like, you're going to need a hostage negotiator with a two-year-old, okay.
Staci: They might do it, but it doesn't mean they're going to do it again. It means they're going to find a way to get around it.
Dr. Roseann: So like, how do we get them to learn so that you're not in this friction? So, I think the number one thing is to really understand where each person is coming from. And then what I always like to do is say, this is what this child needs. And if we present it from... because you know that you can't... like, in our Hodge household, we have core values, but we parent our two kids it's different. They are two different human beings. I mean, we have general things that we do, but my teenager needs something very different from me than my 11-year-old. I mean, there is no way that I'm going to create that, so you have to have those kinds of explicit conversations. And I always find a lot of friction is about misunderstanding why behavior happens.
People always think the behavior is 100% purposeful like kids are just doing stuff to annoy you. And even with my kids with extreme mental health issues, parents are like, how do I know if it's his anxiety or he's doing it on purpose? And I was like; "Listen, don't think of it as doing its purpose. Think of it as a habit of the nervous system that they're operating in a way that is the subconscious way of repeating themselves because they don't know what else to do. So let's give them the support that they need to learn new behavior and let's face it." Some kids are going to be more challenging to parent, end of story. And that's just a reality. You don't want to accept that reality, don't have kids.
Staci: Wow. And so much of it oftentimes has to do with looking at ourselves. So much of the parenting journey is learning and discovering things about me so that I can be of better support and a teacher to my kids. So getting on the same page is so important as parents. And I like to approach this and I like what you said, what if we were to that each parent has the best of intentions because I believe that it genuinely is the case.
Dr. Roseann: Absolutely.
Staci: And that if we were to look at it as though everybody is right, so this is where I come from, this is where you come from, this is what my expectations are; this is what your expectations are. There will be a hybrid that comes out of that, which is a marriage of the two. And like you said, Roseann, I just want to highlight this. The problem is we don't have those kinds of conversations. We don't know how to talk about them. And so, I think some questions that I just like...
Dr. Roseann: Attention built, right?
Staci: Because you don't know how to talk about it so you don't. And so, of course...
Dr. Roseann: And then you're angry. He's doing... I told him he had to do this for him and now he's doing this. What is that about? You know what I mean? And we just assume that people are bright and that they should just know and understand. And it doesn't happen. You have to have communication about it, and clear about what the kid needs. And nobody should ever say, my style is better than yours. It's it's bogus. It should always be about, this is what Joey needs.
Staci: And this is what I've got as far as like solutions and ideas. What have you got? Let's get on the same page. As I was saying to one family about their teenager here recently is, look, the reality is, it's so important for you to do your best, to be on the same page, that if you were to literally like, take the turns, okay, this time, this challenge, we're going to do it your way. Okay, next time we're going to support each other in doing it the other way. That would be far better than sometimes the circus that gets created with everybody arguing, the parents now arguing about what the child should do. And then the child is like, "Oh, forget this. I'm out of here." Especially as they get into teenage years, it'd be better for us to just take turns, right? Okay, this time you do your thing and next time I'll do mine. That would be a better source of being on the same page and supporting our kids. Have any thoughts on that?
Dr. Roseann: And I see blended families all the time doing it right. And it's all about what I always find, obviously, I'm working with a lot of kids with issues, is that when everyone comes together and understands what is behind that behavior, whether it's neurological or stressors or whatever is going on, then there's an aha moment and people are willing to do the learning part. They are willing to teach that kid who needs that consistency. And that's what parenting is about. And nobody's perfect, but you try to be as consistent as possible because your kids absorb what you're teaching them so that they can make those choices for themselves. It's not an easy road. In intact families, you know, you can have friction everywhere. You could be a single parent and the grandparent is like, you got to do this, you got to do this, you got to do that. You know, that's as stressful can be.
Staci: No, I so agree with you. And it's important for us to realize that having these conversations are so important and that there is no one right way to do it, that each child, as you had mentioned is going to be different in need and require different things. But if you have a foundation of base core principles that govern and rudder your family, that's so much easier. So I want to encourage you to sit down with your partner and to make those core values, something that everybody can buy in on, and that everybody can agree to things like, you know, kindness. You can say what you need to say, but you don't get to call names. Just some core principles, anything you want to add in the pot there, just to kind of get our listeners armed with some helpful information about how do I approach this conversation. That's usually where it breaks down because we've never been modeled how to have these conversations. We know we need to have them, but they terrify the heck out of us. So I would say, talk about your values, you know, consider some values of...
Dr. Roseann: You know, like in our family, aggression is not verbal or physical aggression is not permitted. That's a safety issue, right. That was like a hard no, for us. And it was really clear that what I had to do in my house was help my husband understand how to teach coping skills. Because I happen to be a licensed therapist and could do that. So, trying to get our kids to be problem solvers, that's important. Maybe having, you know, religious education is a value, whatever. Super healthy food is a value in our family that impacts parenting. So like, we're not going to a fast food place or any of those kinds of things. That would be a big source of friction in the Hodge household. And so, what are those non-negotiables that is between you and your partner that affects your parenting? I think has to be really, really important. You know, getting to bed on time; things like that just can implode, whether you're an intact or have a stepfamily.
Staci: I so agree, and maybe begin by looking at your own value system in regards to those core places. Money, religion, health, physical food, emotional principles, that's where, you know spiritual practices or religious would come into play. Make a list of them and make sure that you're on the same page and that you're going to support each other in that place. I do have something that... and darn it we're out of time. I know we need to wrap this up here, but I really want to make this point for step-parenting. I love to say to my stepparents, and I'd love to get your buy-in on this as well, Roseann. When there are problems in the household and the biological parent is now arguing with the stepparent or vice versa, the stepparent just knows they have the answer to solve this whole thing. I want you to remember what got you into this situation, which is falling in love with that person in the first place. And that oftentimes that's where we need to have our focus go, where I'm supporting the biological parent in serving or helping that child. I have ideas, I have suggestions, but I find it's much more helpful for that biological parent to have the conversation or instigate, you know if there is going to be some kind of a teaching moment or discipline in that conversation, rather than the stepparent get involved. Sometimes it's best for them to support the biological parent in supporting the child as opposed to trying and intervening themselves.
Dr. Roseann: And it's something that evolves over time, and it's not easy, but the stepparent always should try to be the supporter. And some parents have bigger shoulders that have to do things. They might be the primary caregiver of all the kids, you know, but it all starts with that communication. And that isn't always easy when divorces happen or break, and there's a lot of hurt feelings. So that means rectifying those things, whether it's getting counseling around it and you need somebody to help you negotiate and coach through that, that's really important. And that's how I always look at therapy as a way for - as a mediator in these type of situations. Blending families can be a beautiful thing, but it is not going to happen instantly. And it's going to require a lot of openness and good communication.
Staci: No, I totally agree. I, I think it's important for us because we've covered a lot of ground here. Let's all take a turn and just highlight the biggest takeaway for our listeners today, about some things that they can take away from this conversation to just summarize it all up. Roseann, you want to go first?
Dr. Roseann: I mean, my biggest parenting takeaway is don't bubble wrap your kids and really teach them through autonomous actions. Let your kids at every developmental stage, have some power to make mistakes and learn from them and learn those problem-solving skills.
Staci: I love that. And getting on the same page in your relationship is so critically important, as much as you possibly can. We know that that's going to go awry, but if you can do a list of your values and you can have those conversations and paint those pictures, share those, what we call movies and our work of what you expect from parenting from yourself as well as from your partner. That really helps to kind of solidify being on the same page so that now we can step forward and teach and support that child as well.
Tom: And I would just say, I love, Roseann, you said, reminding us parenting is an opportunity for teaching and learning. It's not, I'm the boss and you're the kid, right? I mean, that just, whoa, you know, good luck with that one.
Staci: Yeah. My mom had a saying, she said, "You know, Stac, when you're raising kids, you have to choose your place. You can be on the inside knowing what's going on and help them problem solve from that vantage point. Or you can be on the outside wondering what's going on, so choose your place and choose it wisely." Roseann, thank you so much for being here with us today; I so appreciate your time and your insight and sharing with us your...
Tom: Where can everyone find out about you? We have to have you back because we couldn't get to the one that I really wanted to touch on obviously is, you know, about the long-term impact of this pandemic. If you would be so kind, we will...
Dr. Roseann: Yeah, let's have that conversation.
Tom: But please share with us, where can people find more about you and your incredible body of work?
Dr. Roseann: Yeah. You can find me everywhere as Dr. Roseann. And that's at my website, it's Drrosann.com. You can find me on TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, all as Dr. Roseann.
Staci: Oh, I love it. Thank you so much. Appreciate you.
Dr. Roseann: Yeah, thank you so much for this conversation. And wherever you are in the journey is where you need to be and just put one foot in front of the other and think about what your solutions are. Don't ever give up hope.
Staci: I love that. Well said. We're going to just take a really quick break and come back for a little bit of fun. We have a follow the fun as we transition here in reminding us all that we have to put our problems on this shelf and we have to take some time for fun. So we'll take a quick break and be right back.
Staci: Hey babe, did you know that the average couple spends only two hours a day with each other? And the majority of that time is spent eating, watching TV and surfing social media rather than connecting with each other. And if children are involved, my gosh, it's even less time than that.
Tom: I know, babe. That's why you created our conversation cards for connection because they're the perfect conversation starter. So the next time you're sitting on the couch; rather than turning on the TV or grabbing your phone, pull out a card and get ready for some good old-fashioned laughter and love and connection.
Staci: Yeah, you can get your cards at Stacibartley.com
Announcement: Exploring new territory every day. This is Alternative Talk 1150.
Tom: Welcome back, back inside the Love Shack. We're going to jump right back into our follow the fun moments.
Staci: Yeah, so this is what I want to invite you to do today. I want you to catch a sunrise/sunset, and I know it's cold outside, so make sure you take a blanket. Wrap up in a cozy blanket and sit in some camp chair somewhere outside. Tom and I have even loaded our camp chairs in the car. And we've gone to other places where we could sit on the top of a mountain and watch that sunrise or sunset. It's a wonderful thing. And while you're sitting there and with your favorite beverage, you got to have that in tow, at least in my world. I want you to pull out your phones and record a voice memo of the date and time, what you're noticing and what it is you appreciate about each other. This idea was inspired by our good friend, Sherry Richard [Balu 51:48]. She's written a book on, Say it now, Dear Dear Woman.
She and her partner have been doing this for years, and so when she becomes frustrated, she reaches for her library of recordings to help remind of the love that she has for her partner as she relives the memories that are recorded on the phone. Tom and I have done this as well, and it is such an incredible experience. So, I want to encourage you to begin recording moments like this for yourself. It's going to become a priceless gift to yourself and your relationship, don't miss it. And so as we land this episode today, as we do each and every one of our episodes, we have a, can you feel at moment where we pair a song with the topic of conversation that we feel inspired to share with you. We've done this for each and every episode and today our song of chosen can you feel at moment, is Harry Chapin's - Cats in the Cradle. I knew this is Cat Stevens and come to find out and doing a little research, Cat Stevens took some credit, I guess, for a song that [inaudible 52:47].
Tom: It's actually Harry Chapin, but this one goes way back. This was created in, I think, 1971.
Staci: And I remember hearing this song as a kid and didn't understand it. But as I turned into an adult parent, a parent, I really understood it. The reality is that the years of parenting are going to pass regardless of what we do with the time. So my hope for all of us today is that we have been inspired by new ideas for how we want to spend this time intentionally with our children teaching and mentoring them to be incredible human beings. I mean, after all, that's the goal. The Cat's in the Cradle is a wonderful song that helps us understand that journey. And yes, it can be one that we put off that we don't take time for. And it teaches us that maybe we need to think about what it is we're doing. Go through those values we talked about today. It's a great song. I encourage you to check it out. Okay, thanks so much for being here with us today. It's been so great to spend some time with you inside the Love Shack, and you can check out this week's song again on our website, along with all of our episodes on that Spotify playlist, that will take you down the Love Shack journey.
Tom: And exciting announcements, actually. Per one of our wonderful daughters helps us behind the scene. We love you, Brooke. We are now every episode from last week going forward, we have a full transcription of that. So, some people like to read; trying to work with our beloved people that perhaps that the audio doesn't work well for them. So check it out. And there's a toggle there that if you don't want the transcription, you don't, but if you do, you just hit the toggle. The blessings of technology is there, so we're really excited about that, looking to serve people in the very robust manner that we can. And secondly, if you need some help, having perhaps a conversation where both parents can be on the same page that our credible guest suggested, sometimes those are really difficult to have. Guess what? That's exactly the type of work that Staci and I are blessed and grateful to do. Sometimes we need some safety brought in by other people and their ability to create that space, perhaps to have a conversation you never have been able to have. Please reach out, we'd be blessed and honored to work with you.
Staci: Yeah, and a special thank you to Dr. Roseann for sharing her parenting wisdom and insights with us today. We invite you to come on back next week and join us as we continue to share additional ways for you to improve your sex, love, and relationships with the people in your life. We're Tom and Staci Bartley, host of Love Shack Live, together with our engineer, Eric Writer. Thanks so much for being here with us and spending some time inside the Love Shack today. Have a great week. We look forward to being back here with you next week.
Tom: Thanks for joining us today in the Love Shack. We hope you came away with something that made your toes tingle.
Announcement: To learn more about everything you heard on today's show, go to Stacibartley.com/podcast. Love the show? Help us spread the love by sharing the show with others. Okay, everybody, time to go. We got to close the doors to the Love Shack for this week. You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here. Come back next week though and join us for another edition of Love Shack Live with Tom and Staci.
Parenting can be difficult, and it's easy to feel overwhelmed.
It's hard to know what the right thing to do is, and juggling parenting with your relationship can be hard, especially if you don't have any advice on how to do it.
In this episode, we are talking with Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge about how to be an effective parent while balancing your relationship with your partner.
Dr. Roseann will share her thoughts on parenting dos and don'ts, parenting through a pandemic, and the actions we can take to help our youngsters develop better coping abilities and resilience. We'll also look at how being a step-parent is unique from being a parent to one's own biological children, despite the fact that it's often treated the same.
The ability to navigate the parenting journey together as a couple is imperative for you and your relationship. And, because no child is the same, what works for one, may not work for the others. So how do you assess the best way to handle each child's unique needs and wants without unraveling yourself and your relationship?
Join us this week in the Love Shack to learn how to navigate the parenting journey together as a couple and handle each child's unique needs and wants without unraveling yourself and your relationship.
Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge is a mental health trailblazer, founder of The Global Institute of Children’s Mental Health, and media expert who is, “Changing the way we view and treat children’s mental health”. FORBES magazine called her, “A thought leader in children’s mental health”. Her work has helped thousands reverse the most challenging conditions: ADHD, anxiety, mood, Lyme, and PANS/PANDAS using PROVEN holistic therapies. She is featured on dozens of media outlets such as The Mel Robbins Show, Fox News, CBS, NBC, PIX11 NYC, Cheddar TV, FORBES, USA Today, Yahoo News, WebMD, Business Insider, PARENTS, The Week, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.
In this episode, we're covering several key topics about how to navigate the parenting journey as a couple, including:
- How can you promote good coping skills and resilience in children? How can we parent in a way that builds good mental health?
- What are some of Dr. Roseann's parenting dos and don'ts?
- How can we build a successful step-parent/step-child relationship?
- How can we take care of our marriages while parenting young children?
Listen in live Thursday at 1 pm PST/4 pm EST -- and don't forget to subscribe so you never miss an episode!
Links mentioned in show:
- Learn more about Dr. Roseann here: https://drroseann.com/
- Learn more about Dr. Roseann's book here: https://www.itsgonnabeok.com/
- New Free Masterclass: The Simple 4-Step System to Save Your Marriage. Reserve your spot here.
- Relationship Check-up - tired of re-hashing your issues with your partner without making progress? Schedule your check-up today!
- Get on the fun list here.
- Check out our Love Shack Live Playlist for all the songs we play on the show.