Casey: Welcome to the Parenting Teens with Positive Discipline audio summit, I am your host, Casey O'Roarty, certified positive discipline trainer, coach and founder of Joyful Courage. This audio summit is designed to dig into the principles of holding the foundation of positive discipline while navigating the very real and messy experience of being a guide for our teenagers.
Special thank you to Jane Nelson and Lynn Lott, authors of Positive Discipline for Teenagers and the Positive Discipline Association whose mission it is to create a peaceful world by teaching Adlerian social and emotional life skills for respectful relationships. All the guests you will hear on this audio summit have extensive knowledge in positive discipline and have or are currently raising teenagers themselves. Thank you for listening and be sure to join us in the Joyful Courage Parents of Teens Facebook group for more discussion about this particular interview.
My guest today is Izumi Takasi, oh my gosh, did I do it, did I say it right? I feel like I did not.
Izumi: No, you did.
Casey: Izumi lives in Geneva, Switzerland and is a certified positive discipline educator and trainer for parents. She was certified in 2014 and she's the founder of I Positive Link. Izumi is also trained in positive discipline for early childhood settings and P.D. in the workplace. She has extensive experience in the corporate sector and is also a career coach, Izumi is the mother of a 16 year old son and her current family system is blended multicultural and multilingual. Hi, Izumi, thank you so much for being a part of the Parenting Teens with Positive Discipline audio summit.
Izumi: Hi, thank you for inviting me. I'm very excited to share my life a little bit with you.
Casey: Yah, me too, can you tell the listeners a bit about your experience with parenting through the teen years with positive discipline?
Izumi: Well, of course, I mean, sure, I discovered that positive discipline when my son was about 11, going on 12. Just to give a little background information, I was a single mother until my son was 3 and then I remarried my second husband today and so my son grew up with with the foster father, his father is very present but abroad so he's got a bit of a complicated life in the sense that he's got 4 or 5 languages in the family because his stepmother is now Greek and-
Casey: Oh my gosh.
Izumi: and so he's sort of juggling between 5 languages, English, French, Japanese, Dutch, Danish and Greek.
Casey: Oh my gosh. Makes me feel very boring, but go on.
Izumi: Yeah, you know it depends, until he got 12 it was OK and then suddenly it at all when sort of upside down pear shaped and I really didn't know what was happening so I got a little lost. So of course, when you have a sort of pre-teen starting to go against you and not listening to you and not doing the stuff he was be doing and so on, well, I got a little angrier and angrier and angrier and when I started yelling my current husband came to me and said "You know, I think you have to find another way because this isn't going to work out" and when you hear this from your second husband, you sort of listen, right, so I decided to listen then I went to hunt for a book and I fell on Jane Nelson and Lott's Positive Discipline for Teenagers, read it through, I found some very interesting tools and in fact, I'm a professional trainer and I was also quite impressed with what was written so I decided to go further and do some workshops which I did in Switzerland, there was one trainer, I followed it in French, was even more impressed and today, I'm sort of ongoing my journey in positive discipline. So to, in a nutshell I'm living positive with my teenager every day, he's my testing ground, so is my husband, so is my former husband so I'm pretty much into it, to be honest.
Casey: Yeah, I know, I say and this something that I've said on my podcast before, we call it parenting but really it's humaning, right, like all the tools are human relationship tools but packaged as a parenting program, I love that. So one of the metaphors in straight out of the P.D. for teens book that I really love is the pilot and copilot and I'm just going to read a little bit about it real quick so listeners get the reference.
So teens today want to be pilots of their own life planes, they want their parents to love them support them and accept them but leave them alone to pursue their lives, except for when they want something. Sometimes teens act as if they want to kick their parents off their planes, many parents want to pilot their teen's life planes, they are scared that if they to turn over the controls to their teens they will get into trouble, get hurt or fail, maybe even die.
With this fear in mind they often become ineffective parents and invite more rebellion with their over controlling ways. You can remain on the life plane of your teenager as a copilot if you learn the positive discipline skills of a kind and firm parent, being available for support and guidance when necessary, while encouraging your teen to be a skilled and responsible pilot and like any copilot, there may be moments where you get to fly the plane but they are rare.
I think what I love about this metaphor is that it really illustrates that this time of life is a dance with our teens: show up, back off and then show up and then back off and we, it feels, my experience has been that we really take turns leading. So, when you hear this metaphor, what does it mean to you?
Izumi: Well, for me it's really about trust and having faith in your child to be able to pilot and you just need to stand behind and watch and let it go when the child asks us to let go but just, you know, the problem is that it's most of the time so when you're not used to it, it's quite scary if you see this airplane just crashing down and then you can't let go any more, so that's the biggest challenge, especially when you, well, my son is a single child so it's a child which I'd waited very long to have with all the IVFs and medical help I could get so you can imagine that it was, it's a very special child for me and I don't even have a second chance so it's either this one or not and yeah, I think it's like a dance but it's not. It's like watching your child dance and you're just watching. So, it's not a slow, it's not a tango, you're not touching the child, really and that's how I feel, for sure.
Casey: Well and I appreciate that you use the word trust and I think that just like in what I read, like that fear, you know and I'm hearing that with you, with the single child, I think all of us, you know there's the gift of having our own teenage experience but you know, it's also not always working in our favor because we do know what can happen. We do, are hyper aware of risks and I think inside of that we forget that we have to practice trusting our kids for them to learn how it feels to be trustworthy.
Izumi: And the good news is, the more I trusted my child, the more he trusted me.
Casey: I love that.
Izumi: And that was a very big lesson for me.
Casey: Oof, that's a good one. I think all of us want our kids to do the right thing when we're looking, right and we have all these years prior to the teen years where most of the time we're with them. And we want, when they're out in the world we want them to show up well and be responsible and you know, follow through and do what they say they're going to do. I think one of the places that many parents get into power struggles and this is the topic that we're really talking about is around curfew.
Casey: And coming home when they say they're going to come. Will you share a little bit of your story around the messiness of holding the boundary of curfew with your 16 year old?
Izumi: Oh yeah, that's always a still a big struggle because they really want to go further and further. Well, let me, just a few days ago, one of the, what happened, I can tell you a few stories but this is the most recent one. He was supposed to come home at midnight, that's his time during weekends and I realize that it was 1 o'clock in the morning, he still wasn't home. So you can imagine the state I was in.
Izumi: I called on his mobile and he did fortunately, well, first my text was a "Where are you?" you know, not even a hello or nothing, just "Where are you?" And he didn't answer, so I called and he took the call and he said " Oh, mom, I'm so sorry. I was eating with friends, we had such a good time. I totally forgot about what time it was." So, of course, I was very upset so I said, "Well, you come home right now," He said "Yeah, I'm on my way and I'm in the tram, I'm on my way, I'll be home in 15 minutes." And in fact, the next day I had to get up quite early for work so that kept me up, of course, at night and I was waiting, I was fuming in my bed.
Casey: I can imagine.
Izumi: Thinking how am I going to get him back, you know, and then my husband saw me, he said "Izumi, I think, don't jump on him when he comes back, just let him sleep and talk about it the next day" and I said, "Oh god, you know. How am I going to do that?" I was so angry but I did. I didn't sleep much but I did and the next day I was up anyways before him so I was off to work and when I came back home I was a bit more calm and of course had time to think about it and to get a bit more rational so I sort of picked up one of the P.D., positive discipline tools which is really finding a solution and talking about it instead of just being in a punishing mood, which you love to do on the spot but it doesn't work, you know, it doesn't work.
Izumi: That's what we did and I said, "Well, Luka, do you want to talk about what happened yesterday?" and he sort of looked at me very sheepishly because he knew that was coming up.
Izumi: And he said, "Oh, I'm sorry, mom, I really did forget the time" and I said, "Well, you know, do you realize that I had to get up early in the morning and I was very tired because I could not go to bed and I was upset" and he apologized and he said, "Yeah, I know, I'm sorry," and I said, "So what are you going to do about it next time and what will you do next time if you, when you forget or when you're with your friends and you're excited?" and he said, "Well, I'll make sure I'll put an alarm" and I say, "That's a good idea" or "I'll call you before," because, you know, one thing I was upset was that I had to call you know I had to call him before he called me and I didn't like that as well as and this is scary moment for me, for parents as well, so he said, "Yeah, Mom, I'll call you. I didn't want to wake you up, I didn't know where you were sleeping, no excuses," so and I think that was great because the week after, he was out again, you know, as all teenagers they they go a lot and he text me almost every half an hour before 11. It was amazing. "Hi mom, I'm on my way. Hi Mom I'm on the tram."
Casey: And I think that really speaks into, like, what I heard you say, you know, the tool of creating, you know, solution, looking for solutions because ultimately, yes, the problem was that all the things that you mentioned, he was late, he didn't call, you were worried and I think it's so easy for us to immediately move into "You're grounded" or "Next time the curfew's 11" but really, what was missing, which I think you beautifully illustrated in that story, was how are you going, like, the assumption I think when we look for punishments or you know, we can call them consequences, really, we're talking about punishments and I think what we assume is that our kids know how to navigate the situation, we just need to offer something that is this threat of pain, right and they'll do better but really, what I'm hearing you talk about is like, what's going to help you to remember what time it is, to check in with me, like, what's going to help you do the things instead of this assumption that, "Oh, you'll do them, because if not this terrible thing's going to happen" whether you're grounded or your curfew gets, you know, earlier and I think that that is so important and what a wise husband you have to have told you not to talk to him until the next morning, right? Like, that is a gift for both of you.
Izumi: I think it's from his own experience. You know, we all learn from our mistakes and this is, I think this is for me, it was really something learning about mistakes and he made, my son made a mistake and he acknowledged it and he found a solution for next time, I think this is all about making mistakes an opportunity to learn which is also Jane Nelson's-
Izumi: Or, no, it was Dryker I think who said that? That's, I think, so important.
Casey: Yeah and thinking about the approaches we can take, you know, in positive discipline we talk about enabling versus empowering our kids, right and no time is like the teen years for giving ever more empowerment to our kids and I feel like that fear piece shows up and really gets in the way and when we talk about enabling, it's getting in the way of our teens and their life experience so that they don't feel capable, whereas empowering is getting out of the way, being a guide, right, so having the conversations around solutions while they navigate what showing up for them, encouraging and giving them a hand when they need it right and I think that key is, what do we want most for our kids?
As you were talking to your son, ultimately, you know, what did you have in mind that you wanted most for him? Of course, we want them to be safe. But what I heard was you talk really about, you know, giving him the skills to kind of stay present to, you know, time and and who's depending on him and you know, bigger, I think it's such a gift any time we can support our teenagers in recognizing that they are a part of the universe not the center.
Izumi: Yeah, yeah and I have another example because I mean, for teens it's difficult to trust them sometimes because they are so hormonal, especially boys. But on the other hand, I realize more and more how much you can trust them. They have much more sense than we think.
Casey: They don't actually want to be dead in a ditch.
Izumi: No, no, for sure, they are survivors. In the olden times they had a lot more to do as they were already young adults, you know, and remember in the Middle Ages they went hunting with their dads and did much more dangerous things than we do now, so another example was a curfew concerning a bunch of, you know, teenagers have put a lot of importance to friends and being with them and being part of them and what I really struggled for a while was when he could see, he wanted to stay longer out because his friends could. And that was a real big struggle and one example was when they decided to go to a concert, which is a kind of a music festival from 6 pm to 3 am in the morning and it's just in the suburbs of Geneva and it's rap music and all of those kind of things and he wanted to stay with us friends until one or two am. And of course, that was completely out of the question because he was only 15 even though it was friends were 16. So for 2 weeks he was coming back every day saying "Mom, why not? Why not?"
Casey: Oh my gosh this is so familiar.
Izumi: I was almost blue, you know, by saying no. At one point he started, of course, using his friends and as friends' parents, "Yeah but they're saying yes" so I sort of created a whatsapp group with all the with the 5 other parents to make sure that we were aligned and they more or less all agree that midnight or 1am was really latest and one of the parent even agreed to go and get them to the concert, so except one parent, yeah, the problem is the ticket was a gift to my son from a stepfather or his father who, they were separated, so I can't have no say to that so I said, "Well, I'm sorry but that, you know, we, I don't know what to say, I mean, I think it's for you to decide what you think is best and so that was OK."
But he nevertheless came back almost every day and at one point I said, "OK, I have to find another solution because this is not working, just saying no, it's not working." So I sort of thought for a few nights, evenings to think about what I could do and in fact, I decided to offer him a choice. So a choice means giving two options but two options which could work out for me as well as for him, right, so it's not that easy to find.
So it took me a while to think about it and I came up with a solution which was one thing was course that he comes about midnight with a parent who's going to get them, the second option was, I said, "Listen, if you find an adult, a young adult it could be, who's ready to be with you, all of you boys until 1 am or 1:30 am and take you back home to the door then I'm OK. And we discussed that with the other parents and they said OK as well.
So I said "If you find the other adult to be with you and I want to see the person, I want to know the person and I know everything." So he said, "OK" and that was about a week before the concert date so I could see him texting to all his buddies, brothers, cousins, he has a cousin that was 20 and at the end, he didn't find anybody. So he came back and said, "Mom, it was too late, there's no tickets left, it's not fair." I said, "What was our deal?" And finally, they did come home at midnight and what was interesting was that they admitted that they were very tired.
Casey: Rap music takes a lot out of you. It's aggressive. I love that, I love that and you know, I, you know, my daughter recently, she also loves rap and wants to go to all the shows in Seattle which is about 40, typically it's about 45 minutes from where we live and I took her to a show last year. That was really interesting and I stayed, it was fascinating, with her girlfriend and then a couple months ago I did a similar thing. I have a good friend who has a daughter who's 20 and I said "Hey, you know, why don't I see if she wants to go with you?" and I felt a lot better about the whole experience knowing that she had someone who was a little bit older looking out for her, who was also cool and fun to hang out with, you know, but I appreciate that and I think what I also want to highlight is they are relentless, right.
I think that a lot of the emotion, I know, for me and others is when we've set the boundary and then they're like, "yeah but", "yeah but", "yeah but" it is, it's challenging. I mean, of course they're going to push, of course they're going to say "yeah but yeah but yeah but" and we get, this is really where our work shows up, right, where we get to be in that kind and firm body, grounded and rooted and not create a new challenge of "Why can't you just take no for an answer," you know and get all spun out in that direction. I really appreciate what you shared about "OK" and oh my gosh, everyone, like, we can reach out to other parents.
Izumi: Yeah, that's it, because we really need to get our act together as well because they were really using it.
Casey: Yeah, of course.
Izumi: They will find any way to get at it.
Casey: Yeah and that's not a, yes, that's not a bad character trait, like, that's resourcefulness, right?
Izumi: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Izumi: Absolutely. So I really believe that it's important to stand firm on what we decide.
Izumi: Whilst acknowledging their feelings, you know, because I remember when I wanted to stay out my mother said "No, you have to be home," I remember that feeling, so I sort of remember that, you know.
Casey: Well and talk a little bit about freedom with responsibility, right, because I think it's bad, this kind and firm, right, there's structure and flexibility, there's freedom and responsibility, so often Positive Discipline is misunderstood as being a permissive style, which it is not and I really want all of you listeners who are listening right now to hear this, it is not a conversation about letting our kids do whatever they want and that they'll magically learn from their mistakes. We, the parent, we're there, we're assessing who they are being, we're looking at where our relationship is with our child and what they're showing us along the way. Right?
Casey: So it's, so it's not, you know, I think that, God, it's just so, even as I listen to our, you know, as we're talking, I'm hearing, like, the traditional parenting voice saying "But yeah, yeah, but what do we do to them?" You know, it's so hard to let go of the idea that we have to, well, it's not even letting go that we have to do something because what I heard your firmness was, "Here's the possibility, right? And here's what you have to choose between and when that 2nd option of the older person didn't pan out, it's 'you come home at this time'" and so I'm wondering and I'm hearing, like, the listener voice, like, "Well, yeah, but what if they wouldn't have come home at that time?"
Izumi: And that could have happened, of course.
Casey: And that could happen and it probably, well and it did happen, I mean your first example is an example of the one happening and you know, it's just like when they're younger and we talk about bedtime routines or we talk about making agreements and we revisit it and when it's not useful, we play with it and come up with a solution that's a win win for both. I think it doesn't stop happening like that as they're teenagers and I often, when I work with parents, you know, the consequence is we come back together and we look together at what's happening which, you know, not all kids are like "Oh yeah, let's sit down and have a conversation about curfews that is a win win," right?
I mean that in and of itself is a consequence but it's, you know, consequence I think in the purest sense of the word, not necessarily a "they have to feel the pain" but they get to hold a responsibility, right and isn't that what we want? I have not had much experience with curfews yet. A little bit here and there, it's mostly been like, "OK, you're going to go to the movies, this is when it will get out, this is when I expect you home." I know that it's coming in my future. But what are some factors that we can take into consideration, that we should take into consideration when discussing curfews with our teens?
Izumi: Well, for me, I've incorporated that subject in the family meetings. Because it did happen once or twice when he came home later than what I would have liked him or what we agreed on so we put that on the agenda, meaning that every time he's going on, that's usually weekends when he's with friends, I say "What time do you plan to go?" Especially when they have birthdays and "What time do you plan to come home?" and he said "Well, what time do you want me to come home?" He's very clever.
Well, it's a usual thing, I say well, if you're with friends and a parent is taking you home and the birthday party is at your friend's place then, you know, we can always discuss about that. So we do talk about it, we find solutions. I'm not completely rigid as it was not midnight every Saturday or Sunday or anything like that, I really try to think and we talk together, what the situation is and what's the best for everybody and in fact, that makes it very easy because so far, since we've started doing this, he hasn't, well, he's made mistakes but it's more like mistakes is not sort of doing it on purpose, at least, that's how I see it.
So whenever he, when he forgets, he really forgets, he's so excited or whatever and so we found another way and so it doesn't work out the first time, that's a complete illusion. I mean, I don't know since he's age 11 how many times we've discussed about curfews and how many times we had to fine tune every time. It's a tedious process but it works. You just need to be patient and admit that, you know, it just doesn't work every time, you know, immediately. And I'm a very impatient person so that was a very big learning for me.
Casey: I think that's really important to highlight. I mean, you know, here you and I are as positive discipline trainers and educators and there's no, like, I mean my people who listen to me a lot know I am all transparency and it's messy, it's messy and we have emotions, right, like, we want what's best for our kids, absolutely, we want them to be safe, we want to know that they're safe, I don't know, I can't speak for you, Izumi, but I know, for me, like, sometimes my desire to know kind of translates into control which is not at all useful. My teenager is teaching me that over and over again and it's, you know, it's ongoing, it's not, it's OK, here's the boundary, you know, this will be what it looks like till you're 18 or out of the house.
And I remember being a teenager and my curfew was set and I remember it getting like, I guess it was my junior year, really, where I would go out on the weekends and I think it was maybe midnight my junior year and then my senior year became 12:30 and it was just this arbitrary half hour for each year of high school and there wasn't, it wasn't a collaborative conversation, it didn't depend on what I was doing and I always, no matter what, made sure that I was out until those final minutes and then sometimes I would come home and then I'd just sneak right out again.
And often got caught and then got grounded and I was real quick to, I remember in those years, it wasn't about safety for me in my teen brain, it wasn't about safety, it wasn't about being respectful to my parents, it was about, it was about blaming them. It was like, if they just let me stay out later, if they were just more easygoing with curfew, meanwhile I was driving really late and drunk, perhaps sometimes under the influence, doing all sorts of things that I am not going to share with the general public.
And so I think that this, like, what I'm really hearing is that conversation and that relationship, right and that I feel like there's all sorts of messages that aren't being spoken when we talk about discussing curfews the way that you're sharing, right the messages around you are capable of keeping yourself safe, you know, and we trust you and you're going to learn from mistakes and we love you no matter what and your value isn't based in if you stay within these rules. Like, you're valued unconditionally. And so I really appreciate that/
Izumi: I'm aware that whatever we do, whatever I try, my son will take certain risks, that's part of life and I think we all did and I know and on the other hand, I remember as well that with regards, for instance, drugs and so forth, my parents said, "Well, you know, I'm sure you going to try smoking something and this and that but one thing I really would like you to avoid are hard drugs because that's dangerous" and I remember that, I do remember that and I just hope that we get to talk openly about certain things and that when he's in trouble and it could happen, maybe it's not his fault but he could get into trouble that he'll be able to come to us and say "Listen, I made a mistake, something happened and I need your help" and then we're there to help.
I think the worst case is when teenagers stop talking to you and that was my biggest fear when I started before doing positive discipline was that, suddenly I felt he stopped talking to me.
Casey: Yeah and I am with you.
Izumi: That's terrible.
Casey: Yeah I am with you. I was talking about this in another interview during the summit but we are really open in conversation around here and I recently said, because we've had some nicotine show up and some marijuana and you know, we live in a state in the United States where it's legal and for adults so it's this really crazy time where when I was a teenager smoking pot it was like really big deal.
And now it's like the vibe of it doesn't feel like it's such a big deal and I wonder about that but I did say to the kids, I said, "You know, it's one thing, you know, when if, you know, to me when, you know, weed shows up and we have the conversation and I take it and but you need to know that if I was coming across pills or anything harder than that we would be having a very different conversation" and the kids were actually, especially my daughter, my son's just kind of wide eyed and curious at this point but Rowan, you know, really was like "Oh yeah."
She gets that and so, you know, and at the end of the day, they are out in the world making decisions and we can cross our fingers and hope but I think them knowing that they have that, they can call and say "I'm in big trouble and I need you" and that we'll show up for them is huge and when I say show up for them, not rescue them, not coddle them but really be there for them in a way that helps them to move forward, right, that empowers instead of enables, oh my gosh.
Izumi: In Europe we have huge problems with alcohol because alcohol is legal as of 16, they can drink beer at 16 years old.
Casey: Oh my gosh.
Izumi: So whenever he goes to a birthday party, I know there is going to be beer, I know there's going to be a wine, I know there's going to be alcohol.
Casey: That is a whole. Yeah. Holy Cow. You know, now I want to just dive right into that rabbit hole but I have the outline, Izumi, I mean, how do you actually, I'm going to go there, so it's a legal right and in the States it's not legal but that doesn't mean that the kids aren't doing it. So what are the conversations like?
Izumi: We talk a lot about alcohol because I have a friend who is a pediatrician or a doctor at the University Hospital in Geneva and he says the biggest issue with teens is alcohol. They come in in a coma and you know they drank so much and so fast that it goes into their brain and they lose consciousness and it's so dangerous and he sees it, like, lots of them per week. And that's, for me, the biggest issue.
They also sell what they call alcopops, which are alcohol mixed already with soft drinks so you can drink them very quickly, you don't feel the alcohol but it's about 5 percent, it's like beer and they just drink that like water, binge drinking they call it and so of course, that's something which I'm very scared of and with my son, we speak about that whenever he goes out I said, "Do you know, was there beer?" and he says, "Yeah, there was beer." "Was there wine?" "Yeah, there was wine," he tells me the truth and I said, "So what do you do?" and he says, "Well, I'm 16 so I did drink a little bit of beer, but to be honest I'm not too keen on it." It's true that when he comes home, I don't smell it, I don't see it, so I asked, "So how about other people?" " Well, there are some others who drink a bit more but I'm not interested." So, okay.
Casey: Hallelujah. My curiosity is, something that we were watching, a movie, I don't know, I feel like I told the story recently but we were watching a movie and there were jello shots in the movie and the kids were like "What is that?" and I'm like, "Well, they're these little bits of Jell-O that basically have a shot of alcohol in them and they are, you know, they taste good and they go down smooth and let me tell you, if you're ever at a party and there's jello shots, you just be sure you don't have more than one every hour or 90 minutes because they go down fast and you can get really sick. And all sorts of things can happen."
But I think you know, like, recognizing too, that we have to kind of, which feels so backwards, but we have to also, I believe that when we're in conversation and relationship the way that you and I are with our kids and I'm guessing most, many of the listeners as well, we get to have conversations like, what does it look like to pace yourself, right? What does it look like, you know, what is the difference between hard alcohol and beer and pacing and what and what do you want most and how do you want to show up and those are hard conversations to have, right, because in the back of the mind, sometimes it's like am I condoning something here? Am I making this something that's OK with me?
So I think it's also really important to, you know, to say well, this is what we value, this is what we like and you're out in the world and this is what a lot of kids do, so let's talk about it. Have you ever had conversations about, like, this what it looks like to drink responsibly?
Izumi: We did, of course, I mean, it's probably alcohol is for me the biggest issue because it's so available.
Casey: Yeah, 16, wow. So can we talk a little bit, because all of our kids are, you know, they all have mobile phones, cell phones and there's all sorts of ways to track them. What are your thoughts about that?
Izumi: Well, of course he has a mobile phone, since he's 13. I think I gave him his first mobile phone when he was 13. I really resisted until then but after it was not possible anymore. I don't track track my son. I don't. I've never looked at his phone and I don't think I'll ever do it and I don't want to do it either. But that's personal, that's a real personal choice. I decided to trust him.
And I told him, so we had that discussion as well. I said "You know, I know you know that some of your friends' parents look every week, or they look, they read all their messages, I know that and I asked him, so what do you think about it?" and he said, "Well, I wouldn't like that." I said, "Well, I wouldn't like that myself, either so I'm not going to do that to you. I trust you but you know, let's talk about some of the dangers and some of the, you know, devices that we can use or not use and so forth" and that's how we discussed about it.
Casey: What about having, because I know, you know, the location tracker just knowing where they are, do you ever? Because I do have that and I mean, it's slippery for me because my daughter is sharp as a whip. She's like, "Mom." I mean, she has, I don't look at it hardly ever but every once in awhile if I can't get a hold of her I'm like "Where is she?" you know, where is she? And if I check and their locations off and she's like "What? Like, come on, you know, where am I going to be?" and then it's like well, what if something... so we kind of joke around with the location piece and she typically isn't really out in the world too much so but yeah, I know that there is an extreme, right, like, there's, like you're sharing about your friends' parents son's friends. Your son's friends parents who are checking everything and all the time and sometimes too much information is too much information.
Izumi: There's also, I was talking to another parent the other day and we really laughed about it, she's really very worried about her daughter and you know, very much what we call the helicopter mother and she admits it, that's OK. You know, we talk about it and in fact she does it so much that the daughter said "Look I'm fed up of you always asking where I am, here's a tracker, have a look and you could look as much as you want."
Casey: Smart girl.
Izumi: It was very funny so, you know, kids are very reasonable, you know.
Casey; Yeah, they are and I think that a lot of times parents of teens that I work with get caught up in the question of "Am I being too permissive? Am I being too strict?" And they can feel paralyzed by wanting to do everything, like, right. As if there is this, like, this glorious right thing. How do you support parents that are in that question.
Izumi: Well, I give positive discipline parenting classes and I often, of course, get that question and it's true that being kind and firm is a very difficult thing to do I feel that the more you practice, the better you get but it's very, it's tricky and it's not always easy, especially when you have emotions, as you say, to deal with. What I tell them is that, well, if they haven't done any parenting classes or any other parenting class, I think it's always useful to do it because you learn and you do get useful tools that you can use. I also feel that I always tell them that there is always a solution to the problem with the teen and you have to do it with the teen. We tend to do it for them or tell them what to do.
Casey: Yeah. And the relationships. Yes, say that again, we usual do it, so the difference is-
Izumi: For them.
Casey: For them or to them, right?
Izumi: To them, yes.
Izumi: And then I tell them you have to do it with the teen, you have to decide and find a solution to problems with the teen, you have to talk with them.
Izumi: And so ask lots of curiosity questions, you know, really, I was very, you know, when my son stopped talking to me I was dying to find out what was happening in his head. In fact, the only way I could do it was to, you know, I'd tell him talk me, talk to me but he would, of course, not talk to me.
Casey: Right, so let's talk briefly about that, as we come to the end here, because I'm guessing that some people have found their way to this summit because they are in that place with their teenager, where they've stopped talking to them or maybe, you know, for whatever reason they're feeling that distress and when we talk about creating solutions with our teens, what really creates that opportunity is having a strong foundation with our teens because if we've, if our style has been really aggressive and firm and talking at and then all of a sudden we say, "Hey, let's find a solution that works for both of us," you know, a lot of teens feel like that's a trap, right?
That might be their experience if the trust isn't there, if the relationship isn't there or if the knowing that my parent respects me and trusts me and my capability if that isn't there, then trying to have these conversations is really challenging and discouraging, right? Because the parent just feels like, well, like I can just see that arms in the air, like, I guess this isn't going to work for me and I feel like I just really want to say right now, if that is your experience and Izumi, I'll let you speak into this too, if that is your experience then the most powerful thing you can do is just simply start connecting with them and getting to know them and who they are today.
Izumi: And it takes time because you're changing your way of communicating and of course, they get a bit suspicious at first and it's like for me, I always have this image of taming an animal that you don't know, you've lost and you know, who you have to gain trust again. It doesn't happen from day one to day two, it takes time.
Casey: Yeah, it does.
Izumi: And it's true it's sometimes discouraging and sometimes I felt pretty discourage and I think, "Gosh this is not working, he's still not talking to me" and then something happens. So I think you really have to to trust yourself and say, you know, to yourself "I really want to get close to my child, what can I do to help my child? What kind of questions can I ask that he talks to me?"
And listen to them a lot because, you know, parents talk a lot to their kids but I think one trick is to let them talk and explain what they feel without any judgment, you know, really what we call active listening. I think that's quite key and what's really amazing is that today we have a really wonderful relationship. And I truly believe that when a child feels belonging to the family, to the community or to school or school friends they don't need to find that elsewhere and they will tell you about it and what's happening in their minds.
Casey: Yeah, beautiful.
Izumi: So yeah, I think, it takes time but it's also very short moment, teenager, times are very short, you know it's about four or five years, so they do grow. So says some of my friends with bigger children.
Casey: Yeah. Izumi, it's such a privilege to be in conversation with you, thank you so much for contributing to the summit.
Izumi: Thank you.
Casey: If parents are listening and want to get in touch with you or the parents who are listening where can they find you?
Izumi: In Geneva, Switzerland or in Europe. I have a website Ipositivelinc, so it's a little I like Izumi and positive and link and otherwise if you're around in Switzerland, Geneva, you're welcome to contact me.
Casey: Are you on social media? Do you have a Facebook page or anything?
Izumi: Yes, I have a Facebook page and I have a website and I'm on LInkedin as well under my name.
Casey: OK, great, well, thank you so much.
Izumi: Thank you.