Mighty Parenting Q&A Show 1- Real Answers To Your Questions | Episode 67
Parents send in questions and notes saying they wonder if they’re doing this parenting thing right. It’s a common concern and Mighty Parenting podcast hosts Judy Davis and Sandy Fowler have been there. They’ve struggled and wondered and now they’re providing answers to your questions. In this episode they’re covering several of your questions which are different but focus on communication. They’ll discuss ways to get your quiet child to talk and strategies for approaching difficult conversations with your teen. They’re sharing stories about what happened when their kids were struggling or in trouble and how to deal with parenting guilt. There’s a piece on military life and handling problems after a move along with simple parenting tips. Join Judy and Sandy as they share real, raw, and relevant talk about your most pressing issues.
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A Favorite Quote from the Show:
“I see you’re having a difficult time. While I know I can’t fix it, together we can come up with a solution.”
High Points and Answers to Your Questions:
What are the best suggestions for interacting with a very quiet son? It feels like far too many of our conversations come down to us asking him questions and his answers are often one word. What tips do you have to positively engage and help him?
Asking open-ended questions is key in getting a conversation going. Even more important, after you ask a question stop talking and wait for them to answer when they are ready.
We don’t just want to have a conversation with our kids. We want to talk about what we want to talk about, when we want to talk about it, at the speed we want, and we want resolution within a single conversation.
If you’re having trouble communicating with your child, check the lens you’re viewing your child through. If you see them as a problem it will remain a problem. Instead, get curious:
• I wonder what they’d like to talk about.
• I wonder if they see conversation as connecting and valuable.
• I wonder if they know that conversation is connection for me, that this lets me feel close to them.
Activities, especially with our boys, create a better space for having conversations.
Ask yourself what it is you really want. Do you want connection? Are you concerned about something? Are you trying to build their communication skills? If what you want is connection, consider other ways of creating that, such as doing things together.
Tell them what you want. “I enjoy spending time with you. I like you, not just love you, I like you.
What is something you would like to do that we can do together?”
Quiet may just be your child’s personality and sitting together, having coffee or watching the world go by, is connecting for them.
If you’re concerned about the quiet and your gut is telling you there is something wrong, trust that.
If you feel your child is isolating then it’s time to dig a little deeper to look for a cause. Pulling away from family and friends is often a signal there is something happening in your child’s world that isn’t good. If you want more ideas about this get Warning Signs (see link below).
The question is from a military family whose youngest child, a junior in high school is having a tough time. They have changed from an outgoing and confident child to one who is quiet and standoffish. They’ve had trouble making friends at the new post, the mom is experiencing all kinds of difficult feelings including guilt about all of their moves. She’s worried about the fundamental changes in the child after this last move. The child was well adjusted at the last post and has maintained relationships from there. Mom is trying to figure out if it would be a good idea to find a way for the child to move back to the last post for senior year.
Begin by asking questions and really listening to the answers.
Let them be part of the problem-solving process. Have conversations, really listen to what’s happening, ask for their ideas, trouble shoot problems and work toward a solution that respects them and the whole family.
Guilt can cause parents to make poor parenting choices. When we feel guilty, we want to take away our child’s pain or struggle instantly and we feel like we have to fix it.
Ask, “What can you do to make this situation better?” If they don’t know, that’s okay. You can think about it and revisit it tomorrow and the next day and the next, as long as you need to find options.
What looks like a problem from right now may be more about the future. They may be worried about their future, not have a clear idea of their plans after graduation.
Be careful about the lens you are looking through when you think about senior year. As a culture we can put an incredible amount of emphasis on this year and the milestones that happen. That’s a lot of pressure.
To open up the conversation, set up a time to talk—don’t blindside them and expect a great conversation on the spot. “I know things have been really tough and I’d love to have a moment to sit down and chat with you about some of the stuff I’m thinking about and hear what you’re thinking. I see you’re in pain, I see you’re having a difficult time. While I know I can’t fix it, together we can come up with a solution.” Remember to acknowledge their feelings in this situation.
You also want to provide them hope, let them know things will get better. You want them to know together you will find a way to make things less painful.
My son is in his freshman year of college this year and for sure he spread his wings. Mostly, I was so happy for him meeting new friends and being happy to not be in a small town. He was my kid who wasn’t invited to much, never drank, smoked or did extreme naughty stuff other than the typical boy stuff. He went to college on a great scholarship that requires him to hold a certain GPA. When he was at college, he started experimenting with weed and started doing some drinking socially. He got caught by the cops one night and we are now legally trying to help him get it off his record. His grades dropped and he might lose his great scholarship and he shut us out completely. He has since cleaned himself up, besides the occasional college social party, and has begun talking to us and letting us in. But now I am consumed with wanting to know and control everything. What is the best approach as a parent to handle this situation without going crazy myself?
Assuming it is accurate and true that he has cleaned himself up and is letting the parents in, if he is taking responsibility and cleaning up his messes, then the only question left is how mom can handle herself.
When our child makes a big mistake it’s common to want to step in and prevent another mistake.
But, if he’s cleaning it up, that’s all the more reason to stay hands off. He’s shown he can handle it.
It may not be true that he’s cleaned himself up. Kids who are using unhealthy coping strategies, drinking, drugs, cutting, etc., are great at putting on a mask and hiding what’s really happening.
This is obviously a really smart kid and he would be a master at it.
Parents can believe things that go right or wrong in their children’s lives are a reflection of our parenting so we try to control everything.
Oftentimes police officers will arrest a college student as a wake-up call. We can help our kids by allowing them to experience the consequences of their actions. We can support them and help them deal with this without taking away their opportunity to learn.
We had to risk our daughter’s scholarship and let her take a year off. If we didn’t get her help, if she was a mental and emotional mess, then the degree would not give her a good life. Learning new skills and healthy coping strategies gave her the foundation for a good life.
Resources Mentioned in Show:
Warning Signs: A Parenting Guide for Discovering if Your Teen is at Risk for Depression, Addiction or Suicide
Judy Davis aka The Direction Diva is a sought after motivational speaker, entrepreneur, author and host of the Mighty Parenting Podcast. She is a small business and teen suicide prevention expert as well as an influencer in the military spouse community. Judy is passionate about providing programs and resources to families across the nation and is the CEO of DASIUM – a brand leading the way in depression, addiction and suicide prevention in teens and young adults.
A recipient of the 2016 Dove Real Beauty Award, Judy has also been quoted, featured, and profiled in a variety of publications and interviews including Smart Money Magazine, Hiring America TV, The Jim Bohannan show, Dr. Laura Berman Show, and more. She is regularly featured as a parenting and military lifestyle expert/guest on radio shows, events and panels highlighting the challenges and issues facing families today.
Sandy Fowler helps people take back their lives. She works with women and small business owners, teaching them how to make powerful choices that let them leave stress behind and live a joy-filled life. At Mighty Parenting she helps parents make powerful choices that reduce stress while improving parenting and emotional wellness. At DASIUM, she guides parents and organizations in preventing depression, addiction, and suicide in teens and young adults.
She has been quoted on Lifetimemoms.com and SheKnows.com, featured in a cover story in the Detroit Free Press TwistMagazine, published in Mompreneur magazine and the Clarkston News. Sandy is a co-creator of The Keys to Getting What You Want: 4 Little Known Communication Secrets, and the creator of the Calendar Magic coaching program. She authored two books that use her principles to guide moms through the holiday season. She is a co-host of the Mighty Parenting podcast. Sandy loves to spend her free time camping, hiking, reading, or playing games with her husband and daughters. You can connect with her at SandyFowler.com.
Judy Davis and Sandy Fowler are entrepreneurs who help people live better lives. After creating DASIUM they realized they could help parents avoid the challenges and pain they experienced. Mighty Parenting is what families need to get real, relevant information about raising teens and parenting young adults in today's world.
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