Using Curiosity in Supporting our Teens with Thinking Through Risky Behavior, with Jane Weed-Pomeranz

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 Jane Weed Pomerantz and Jane was trained by Jane Nelson, the founder of positive discipline 22 years ago and is now one of 35 lead trainers internationally. She fulfills a positive discipline certification training for parent educators caregivers and therapists as well as teachers, school staff and administrators. She also conducts training for medical professionals at health clinics and has talked classes inside detention facilities for parenting in recovery from trauma. She has four grown children and a 2 year old granddaughter. Married to retired firefighter, she continues activism for a just, sustainable and better future for the planet. Jane, I'm so excited to have you, welcome to the Summit.


Jane: Thank you so much, Casey, it's really an honor to be here.


Casey: Can you tell the listeners a little bit more about your experience with parenting through the teen years with positive discipline?


Jane: Well, it may be no surprise to your listeners but in reality, it's an adventure that is defined by each individual. We have 4 kids and each one of them presented us with different challenges and a different, you know, timing and pace and intensity in their own journey. So I always think that every person needs to go through their own version of the teenage wilderness. And we can make it a whole lot better or we can make it a whole lot worse depending upon how we respond and you don't know how long it's going to be or when it sets in. It's really very individual.


Casey: It sure is. I've had my own. We're in the wilderness over here, that's for sure, but it's been actually really lovely lately so I will say that.


Jane; Yeah.


Casey: I mean, it's an ebb and a flow, right? Or a pendulum swing as I like to think about it.


Jane: Sure and there are calm moments and there are insights but I think overall there really has to be a sense of empathy because it's perplexing to us but it is panicky to a lot of the teens that are going through it. They don't have the, that's why it's the wilderness because it's the unexpected and there is certain compass points and skills and tools that are very helpful. Navigating that unknown.


Casey: Yeah and today we're going to talk about a tool that I love and how to use it in a way that allows our kids to really think through their choices and to consider the consequences of risky behavior and that tool is curiosity. So, first start with sharing what does curiosity as a parenting tool mean to you.


Jane: Well it's actually one of my favorites because it requires that I let go of my own assumptions and expectations and really melt. It's all about the relationship, right, so it's not going to be a technique that you can really, you can begin to use any time but for teens it's best of all if you've established a relationship over the years prior to being in that in that mix. Having said that, I would say there is never too late to start being curious about someone else, it will enhance the relationship.


I think about the two different kinds of curiosity, the questions that we talk with in positive discipline and that is the motivational and then the conversational curiosity and they're different and they also serve different functions.


Casey: Well and I love what you say about relationships because teens have such a good bullshit radar.


Jane:  Yeah, yeah.


Casey: And if we just swoop in thinking "Oh, if I ask the right question" or that, as if it's a language thing-


Jane: Yeah.


Casey: right. And remembering when you feel like, gosh, you know, just the people that are listening trying on and you can be trying a new tool and it feels and you know, it feels like it falls flat, I often will say "Well, let's take a look at relationship. What's going on inside of your relationship because that's such a foundational piece?" I think for so much of the positive, for all the positive discipline tools, is being connected to the teen and I also talk about, you know, the difference between language, right, whether it's motivational or conversational curiosity questions and we'll kind of tease those two apart in a minute, between, so there's language and then there's really, like, the embodiment of curiosity, right and tell me about letting go of an agenda, like, I know what I want your answer to be so here's my question, you know, and there's an expectation that there's also a right answer so it's really, like, shedding which is not always, you know, not easy but shedding that agenda, shedding that judgment that already exists, that can often already exist and I think energetically really pushes our teens away from stepping into that conversation.


Jane: Yeah, you're right. They are so aware. They're hyper aware, really, in many areas about what people are saying to them and there's already the tension established by the power relationships with parents and teens or kids so it really is in integrity to use curiosity in all the time but certainly use it genuinely, you know, because they can read when it when it's just manipulation.


Casey: Talk a little bit about, you know ,differentiate between those, motivational, the motivational curiosity versus the conversational.


Jane: Well, you know, this is again, establishing the relationship and having a context in which you are, let's take motivational questions first. Motivational questions really do require that there has been some conversation about expectations or what needs to be done to achieve completion on a particular task, then they are motivational. So it's a kind of a reminder. You know, "What will you need for the time after school?" is a question that gets a child to start thinking about what's happening after school and then, of course, what they will need so you, you may know that they need to pack their uniform and have a snack but in fact, you're wanting them to start thinking that through.


It's so valuable for people to start managing their own schedules and be thinking about what is needed, making lists in their heads, following through to pack, so motivational questions do require that there is some forethought about a task or a chore or something like that and then it's it's the asking versus telling.


Telling really does, you know, what we're doing is telling kids what to think but what we want, ask them so that they know how to think. And that takes practice, it takes practice all the time and so of course, earlier the better but that, so that the motivational questions can be very quick and it is, it's very simple and then the child is the one that's or the teen is the one that is now in the accountability and responsibility seat.


Casey: Versus just bumping up against "My parent is always is telling me what to do, screw them, I'll do what I want."


Jane: Right. They're getting ready and when you ask instead, it really does honor and respect them as capable.


Casey: Yeah. I love that and what about conversational curiosity? What does that sound like?


Jane: Conversational curiosity is really, it's not about steering or guiding at all, it's about finding out what is the thinking, what is the image or the imagination of what's going on in the other person. So it's really, I love conversational curiosity questions in that how it really builds a relationship because it builds understanding, you may not always agree, and again, when you're really truly using conversational curiosity questions, be curious, be mindful of your breathing and your mouth that's shut, you know. I always, in my classes, talk about you know you can say anything you want after you've asked the question as long as your lips don't part. Because when people ask something and then answer it themselves it's very disrespectful. It's obviously not really curious. So when you ask a question, you really do need to, you know, you can make very small, you know, like, "Mmm. Mhmmm. Awww."


That kind of stuff but it really is about listening for understanding and, like I said, if you don't, if something is said that you are upset about, you might just say, you know, "I'm not sure I understand that or agree with it, I'm going to have to sit with that for a little bit, can we talk more later?" So that you keep that door open for future conversations because kids will shut down quicker than lickety split if they feel like they didn't give the right answer and you don't really care.


Casey: Yeah, or if you are in judgment, I think that's one of the ones over at my house where that shuts people down definitely.


Jane: Yeah, yeah, I, so we, I avoid "Why?" because I really think, I know myself well enough to know that when I'm asked why it feels like I have to justify and defend. But if you can start conversational curiosity questions with "Tell me, what is your thinking about" and then having, would it feel that blank in, "Tell me what you're thinking about" or "How do you see this?" So, it's what and how questions, maybe when and where but it really is informational. Having an agenda.


Casey: I think that's so important something that comes up a lot with clients for me is the how quick we are to assume that we know, we, being the parents, like, we just assume we know why they do the things they do and we know, "Well, they just want attention" and they just want this or they're just and then, you know, it's, we get into the spiral that we, you know, it's just continuing to foster a level of disconnection and what I love about curiosity is we get to let go of that and instead hear from the source because that's the other thing, it's like, "Ugh, I'm stuck, you know, I can't figure out how to support my child" and part of that is the expert on your child is right in front of you, it's your child, so why not ask some questions to broaden the perspective that you have and I heard you say listen for understanding and then it's just the opportunity for new possibilities just extends because we have a better understanding of what they're going through so yeah, the power of curiosity is so cool.


Jane: You also bring up a very important point in and it's true of adults as well that we often don't know, we don't realize that we are the experts of ourselves, we often don't know what our position on thinking on particular things might be, so they are the ones that know themselves the best, they may not thought through things as they often are and by listening with a really open heart and without a time clock, you know, it could take 5 minutes or it could take 15 minutes. Listening, just listening without interruption can really be a gift to someone to be able to think things through and find their own internal wisdom.


Casey: Yeah, beautiful. Can you share a story when you used curiosity to support your teen?


Jane: Yeah, I sure can and one of the things is that it might sound a little motivational but really, I remember back to the moment and feeling very curious about his knowledge and the situation is that my third son was 17 years old and I think we were, I was in the backyard gardening and he, I heard him coming through, coming outside, he just grabbed his car keys and was outside and said "Mom, I'm going to go chill with some friends" and I said, "Oh, great," you know and usually it's "Drive careful" or you know, "When will you be back?" but I I heard his word "chill", I'm going to "chill" with friends and I knew that that was code for getting some beer and drinking.


I knew he'd grabbed his car keys and I thought, "Ha! I wonder if he's thought this through" and so I said, "So, have you ever been pulled over by a police officer "and he said "No, no" and so I thought "Oh, now what am I going to do?" and I thought, "Well, you know, what would that be like?" and you know, he hesitated for a minute, obviously he picked up that I was not angry or had a motive or anything like that but he kind of thought, you know, "Well, I guess. I guess I could see their lights or hear sirens and know that I better pull over, you know." and I said, "Oh yeah, that's happened to me before, you know, how do you determine where to pull over?"


He said, "I guess I'd look for a place that would be safe, you know, away from from pedestrians or a lot of traffic." I said "That's a good idea, yeah, yeah" and then I thought, "Do you know which window they come to because I can't remember, it's been a long time since I've been pulled over" and he said, "You know, I don't know. I'm thinking that they were going to want to talk to the driver but they may not want to be in traffic." I said, "Yeah, they might come to the passenger side. I don't know," he said, "Well, I don't know."  I said, "What do you have to do? Do you remember, do they tell you in Driver's Ed what you have to do when an officer comes along?" and he says, "What we do, we roll down the window and you've told me, the registration is in the glove compartment." "Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm glad that I've told you and that you remember it" and I said "So what else does, what else do they do?" and he said, "Well they ask for my license" and I saw him tap his back pocket, so he was checking that he had it.


And then I said "And if you've been drinking what they do?" and he thought about it, he said, "I guess they could do a field sobriety test" and I said "Have your friends talked with you about that, you know, what that's about? What that's like these days?' and he said "Well, I hear that, you know, they make you get out of the car" and he sort of imitated, "They make you touch your nose and walk on a line," and I said, "Yeah, I think they did something like that back in my day too," and he said, "But, you know, now they have breathalyzer." "Oh that's right they do," I said, "So what happens if they decide to take you in, what happens to the car?" and he thought for a minute, he goes, "You know, I don't know. I'm wonder maybe, they maybe, I guess they have it towed," and I said, "Yeah, I guess maybe they do have it towed" and I said, "I guess you get one phone call" and he said, "Yeah, yeah, I think I get a call" and then he turned around and he went over to the picnic table and he threw his keys down and he said "You know, I think I'll ride my bike." And I said, "Oh, OK, that's probably a really good choice" and I stopped to myself from giving him some sort of lecture about, you know, you're can be pulled over by a cop for driving under the influence on a bicycle too, I didn't do that.


But I was incredibly relieved that he was willing to have a conversation and not have any tension involved and actually think things through and leave his keys, that was, that was really cool and I will always be grateful for my ability to take some time and be non-inflammatory on that particular subject. He went on to become on an ambulance crew, an E.M.T. for 7 years. Being a 1st responder and having a good 1st responders as a dad, he kind of followed up on that and he is now graduating from medical school and he's almost thirty.


Casey: That's amazing and I really, what I appreciate about that story, Jane, is that I feel like, you know, when our kids become teenagers and the whole concept of, you know, mistakes being opportunities to learn, we talk a lot about in our classes and with our clients, you know, and in our head we get that and in our hearts when our kids are teenagers and they're making choices like drinking or experimenting with substances, or right now, you know, all of us with kids in high school right now, like, the vaping situation feels so beyond the adult's control and it's just, you know, it's so difficult, it can feel because fear shows up.


Jane: Yeah.


Casey:  And the extreme of "dead in a ditch," you know, it's just, at least in my experience, it's always just kind of lurking right there. You know and that can really get in the way of having really powerful conversations, like you had with your son, where so he was led, I think in our email exchange you use the word shepherded, thank you, shepherded him.


Jane: In some ways, that's why there's a kind of an, it bleeds over into motivational. And I think if he had had experience being pulled over by a police officer that that would have been a very, perhaps a very different conversation to have had, to just listen to what that was like and then I was thinking, if he did have that to share, my challenge was going to be to really be opening and encouraging for him to share his feelings because when you're talking about boys, they often don't like to reveal feelings, that vulnerability is scary for them.


Casey: Right.


Jane: But I would, if he had ever been pulled over by a police officer I was hoping that I could have him talk about what that was like, whether he was really afraid, whether he was embarrassed or whatever it was, I was hoping that she could be honest with me and so I really was maintaining a lot of curiosity to know his experience. Now, he was our child that tested us most with video games, as well. He became an idiot, as some people say. It was an addiction, it was clear to us that it was an addiction and I think that there's some some overlap with vaping, though, this is a chemical addiction, right, and maybe his chemistry in the brain that is surging, you know, pleasant sensations that, in terms of video gaming, but so we talked a lot about addiction and what's that like, and could you just give it up and walk away and I think that those are really important discussions for parents to have with their kids.


Even if their kids have not contemplated it or really tried to try on and understand what addiction feels like in terms of the pull, the temptation and the lack of self-control, what that would be like but by just having the open conversation without the  loaded agenda can plant the seeds for kids to actually think about that at a time when there's not any parental pressure or you know, maybe they're taking a shower or they're riding the bus or there hanging out or you know, in a store somewhere having some, you know, coffee with friends, they can actually you know mull the question over without it being loaded with judgment and condemnation.


They can actually think "Wait a second, what do I want? What would happen to have to have that and be looking for money through the bottom of my drawer to go find the next, you know, buy the pen or whatever. And I know that it's something that not easy to talk about, it took me many years to give up my cigarette habit which was started at age 16 and formally left at age 24 but still battled with it into my thirties. So I think that, you know, talking from your own experience can also help but you have to ask the child "Would you be willing to hear how this was for me?" And if they say "No, not really," then you have to honor that and again, you've just planted a seed, it's not like there's urgency but they can always say, "Well, what was that like?" you know, some other time and then you.


Casey: Yeah. Well and talking about substance use, I feel like there isn't a lot of information about the messy middle. I feel like it's abstain or addiction, like those two extreme really are held up as, you know, kind, as where parents go-


Jane: That where they go.


Casey: Yeah, that's where they go and understandably and there's so much in the middle and something that I love about the Positive Discipline for Teens book is the section that lays out the continuum of youth. And I actually sat down with my two kids and read that entire section to them, pausing to ask questions and to hear what they thought and what they were seeing out in the world and what were their opinions. And from, straight from the book is the sentence that I really appreciate, especially because fear, you know, that power of fear shows up, is that there is no indication that if someone starts at one end of the continuum that they will automatically continue to the other end, right, and I think that so powerful for parents to consider and we hold "But what if?"


Jane: Yeah.


Casey: Right and that "What if", it sure can cloud our thinking and then I think that's when we get into the telling, we won't do this and if you do this this is what will happen to you and da da da da da, meanwhile our kids no longer can ask us questions and no longer feel like we're a safe place to explore and it becomes an underground.


Jane: Yeah, when you lose your influence then you're really in trouble. It's really, it's hard to get that back and there's a very sweet story in The Parent Positive Discipline for Parenting in Recovery book where Jane Nelson talks about the efforts in her own life, you know, she had 6 kids, has  6 kids and one of her teenage, when one of her kids was in his teens, he became involved with drugs and she was, at the time, she was working a lot with implementing positive discipline and she freaked out and decided that, you know, "Forget this stuff about trying to, you know, to understand their point of view or whatever, this is absolutely unacceptable" and she put that old parent hood back on and went after her son and berated him and lectured him and tried to control his every movement and timing and "I'll pick you up and I'll drop you off."


As if he was a chess piece all over again and he did go underground with it and pulled away, so he was around less, she had less observation or conversation time with him, she realized that she had totally blown it by getting completely controlling and so she approached him and apologized and said "I was coming from a place of great fear and loss and it was the wrong thing to do, it didn't honor your feelings or thoughts about this and so I want you to know," and this is, again, that whole being aware of what you will do, not what you will make children do.


And so she had done some self exploration and she decided that she would tell her son and she did, that he was making adult decisions now by choosing to do this and that she would have to, at some point left him go ahead and make these decisions but she wanted him to know that if he was arrested and put in jail that she would visit him but she would not bail him out and it was an adult decision that he was making and that it would have consequences that he would be wise to be thinking about. So she said I will not bail you out and if you would like some help right now to explore leaving drugs or not using them anymore, I'm happy to take a look at treatment programs with you.


So that was a huge milestone for her in realizing that you really cannot control someone and the influence you have is oh so important and now, you know, to be seeing that as a sacred space, not to lose that influence and it is absolutely scary and there is a continuum so that's very helpful for parents to give them some confidence to know that they can be along that continuum.


Another time where Jane Nelson was here in Santa Cruz, there was a forum about 400 people were there and one woman in Questions and Answers section got up and said, "How can I inoculate my child from doing drugs?" And Jane Nelson said "Well, we're finding, what the research is showing us that people are going to experiment no matter their ages, they are going to have peer pressure and they're going to experiment, the children, or the young people that have very low self-esteem or sense of selves or sense of future and their power to reach their goals, if they did lack those things they are likely to be the ones that get caught in the trajectory towards addiction and the people that have high self-esteem, self-awareness, are communicative, know themselves, self-aware, have goals and are self-assured, those are the people that might experiment but are likely to move on because they have the whole world out there for them. So I thought that was a pretty good answer because there is no right or wrong, good or bad, right or wrong, it's is the continuum and it's the relationship.


Casey: Yeah, well, I really appreciate that influence piece and that story about Jane and her son because I have a story of my own that my daughter has given me permission to share about going back to vaping and I recently, about a month ago, came to find out that she did, in fact, have a vape, we'd already dealt with this one time and it showed up again and I went in, like, I just had the, at first, I, you know, once she handed it over, I just, I had to walk out so I recognized that the best thing to do was to just, like, get myself together because I was really surprised that it was still a part of her, it was still something that she was doing and I am also a recovering nicotine addict, I am still struggling with it, so, you know, everything inside me is like I want to save you from this. And something, I just, all of a sudden I kind of realized, you know, we are on parallel journeys. We, you know, for right now, she's still at home and we get to be in this tight quarter together and I get to be a support for her in a way that's really intimate but ultimately, she is the one that decides if she will navigate nicotine addiction.


Like, it was just like, "Oh, it was one of those moments of 'Oh, I don't have to be in charge of this" and I will interfere and intervene and interrupt when it come into my consciousness, when I know that it's happening and it's in the house, you know, and so I went and I shared this with her and that really felt like, I really felt like I handed the responsibility back to her, like, "You are ultimately the one that gets to decide this. You know, and whether or not you figure out how to get yourself another vape and all that stuff," I mean, that's her but, you know, it's just, it felt really profound just to come from this place of, "Wow, you know what? You, this is your journey, this is your future self, not my future self, you know, and what is that like?" Like you said earlier, like, "What is it that you want the most, what's your vision for yourself?" and letting her sit with that, granted I did take the vape, obviously, I was this close, but you know, I think there's something really powerful, it felt really powerful-


Jane: To both be firm by taking the vape but also saying, "Hey, you know, ultimately this is your decision and I certainly hope you'll think this one through," so, and the thing is, what is your sense for from her about this?


Casey: I mean it feels like she can take it or leave it, I mean, the jury's still out, right, she's only 15. There's still a lot a of a time left as we move through the gauntlet of the teen years but I hope, you know, I mean and she's watched her dad struggle with nicotine and and we talk, I mean we're very open in the conversations around drugs and alcohol and nicotine and risky behavior and they know a lot of our stories and they're curious and they want, you know, they have a lot of questions and they have a lot of curiosity and we're really open to, you know, to having the conversation and I think that, you know, part of me sometimes I think like "Oh God, is this creating an environment that feel more like, it's like, if you give them birth control they're going to have sex." Well, its our openness to conversation and curiosity creating an environment that makes it easier for them to consider experimenting or I don't know? I'm kind of caught up in that.


Jane: Yeah, I fear that we, with our heads in the sand, we create a lot of mischief out there because then we are reactive, then we're reactive when it does happen and we are, we're not helping them learn how to navigate the questions out there because if we're guides on the side, we have to also realize that the influences that they see from very early years, are all of those things which lead up to this particular moment, whether it's a movie we've seen, whether it's T.V., whether it's-


Casey: Oh yeah, everywhere.


Jane:  Older siblings, friends or you know, on the bus they overhear people talking about it, kids are absorbing things immensely early on so we are teasing, we're really fooling ourselves if we think that they are not already very, very aware of all of these things and just exploring it, having conversations that are really truly built around curiosity can really help them think ahead.  Now she has dabbled with vape, you know, and now she's going to be thinking about well, "Gee, the response from my parent was one of curiosity and support and some empathy and also, like, sharing with me their own stories, so, wow, that's a lot think about" and now she has, that is sort of a path or a blueprint to think about the other choices that she's going to have before her, knowing that it's her responsibility to take care of herself.


She would be thinking about, you know, "Who is this person and why do they want me to do that? It's in my best interest. What are the long  term implications?" I mean, it's a set of skills that our kids need to have and it's I think ideal if we can enter in at less dangerous or risky place with those things that we notice earlier on in the 10, 11, 12, 13 year old time for them to think about later but we find our entry whenever it is.


Casey: Right, right. And sometimes it's entry by fire.


Jane: Yeah.


Casey: I mean, I'm sure that there are people listening to this conversation who are recognizing the value of the conversation coming up into the teen years but what about, you know, when people who are listening, who are thinking, like, this is, we're in it right now, like, this isn't a before conversation, like, it's happening and they really fear for their kids and I think it's that tease apart of "Is this something and this is the thing, right, like do we need to think about an intervention, is this rehab or is this social use?"


Or like I told, I remember saying to my daughter last year, like, "OK when you start to become a really bad after school special, you know, like, we're having these conversations and you're being really honest with me with what you're doing and I am also know that I am also you know keeping track and looking for the red flag for me to realize, like, something bigger than what I can do here is happening and I will look for support and look for help for you." And I think it's really hard to walk that path of just, like, "Really? Come on," versus "Oh shit, this is something that we need to get more help with," and when you, and what comes up for you when I talk about that fine line.


Jane: So many people are in that, like, "Oh my god, what is happening? I didn't have any idea." They're taken blindsided by it and first thing I want to encourage those parents to do is to do some self care so that they can be as even keeled and centered as possible so are they eating well, are they sleeping well, are they taking time for balancing things in their lives because all of that is also modeling what we want our kids to be able to do, so instead of numbing out on drugs when they feel overwhelmed or stressed, that they do yoga and eat well instead, right?  


So, I hope parents will start to realize that they are such an important model and leader for whatever happens after that, that they need to do self care and then, who, it's not just what is your child doing, where is your child at a certain given time, who are they with, it's more of a question is who is your child? Who is your teenager? What gives them excitement in life? What are their interests? What are their burdens and those kinds of questions, for parents, it's different than if, you know, when they were 8 years old, it's very different than, when they're 16 or 15.


And so it's an opportunity to get to know their teen in a new way and that's the value of the curiosity, of the curiosity questions and it is tone of voice. If you're coming into a conversation and you have, as they would say, loaded for bear, I mean, you are, it's "What were you thinking?" That's great to be a conversation stopper. So that's self care about being really ready to be open to what you hear and then asking it in a way that, you know, tell me what you're thinking is on this" and if they're not ready, you can always say "I feel the need to know better what you're thinking is on this and I may not agree with it but I'm really going to be working hard to to hear and understand what you're thinking and when you are ready to share, would you be willing to let me know?" To ust plant the seeds for and I know that there's, if there is some disengagement and distance between teens and parents and in the teenage brain and the need for the individuation and privacy and becoming their own person can still be countered with "Hey, let's have lunch out somewhere once a week, just hang with each other," you know, just some way to let them know that you really matter and that's kind of interesting.


Our son, this one that gave us so much interesting challenges over time, I asked him in his early twenties, I said "Remember all those times when we tried negotiating with you about who you'd computer games, we tried to sit next to you and understand the computer games and we tried to, you know, look at the materials you were dealing with, all those different things we tried, the timing" and he goes, "Oh yeah, I remember." I said, "Did anything we did work?" and he thought for maybe 3 seconds and he said, "Nope but I knew you cared about me." So I think that, I do, yeah, that we care about them so deeply and how we show it, by showing up, is also really critical. We can blow it. We can make mistakes but when we can say, "Oops, I got, I got swept away, I was not being as respectful as I should have been and I apologize," you know, so when we can really model the way we want to be and show up for them, they can remember that, even if we didn't do it skillfully.


Casey: Yeah, and well, I'm hearing you say there's room for us to own our behavior, right, "So when I came in here like a freight train and barking orders and I was afraid and I felt like I needed to control you and that wasn't helpful to you, it wasn't helpful to me and I just want to own that." I think there's a lot to clean up if it's a new step, if it's a step into a new way of being in relationship with our kids sometimes.


Some of us, those of us in the micromanagement support group, we have, we, you know, there's and I did this a lot with my kids, less now, less so now than I had to in the past but there was, you know, there's room for us to say "Wow, I really, I was really unhelpful earlier" or "I was hurtful earlier." And then let, you know, letting them say, "Yeah, yeah you were," and not, "Well, if you just would have you know done X, Y, Z, then I wouldn't had to," you know, letting that go and really listening and then, I love what you said, like, wanting, "I just want to understand and I might not agree with it but I really want to understand" and I'm guessing the kids that are having the hardest time with the substances, I'm imagining that the opening, like, there's this, I mean, as I say it I am feeling, experiencing the softness and this tenderness and so this is such a powerful bridge, a bridge back to relationship, it almost makes me a little teary, you know.


Jane: Yeah.


Casey: Oh man, parenting teenagers and they're all different, right? I mean it would be lovely if it was "Just say this and you will live through the teen years with no problems," you know, but that's not what it is.


Jane: No, it isn't.


Casey: and I'm really. Go ahead.


Jane: We just, there's no magic wand here, it is actually how we embody in spirit our sense of they matter so much to us and we are in relationships and so parents need to think it's all of those things about actually thinking about what are the strengths of your teen here, how to care, I mean, we really need to recognize that sometimes we dwell on the negative and the shortcomings and the weaknesses and then we create that reality and what we do is actually re-work our own thought process about "Wow!" noticing what they do bring, the skills they do have, the efforts they do make and then we can create that reality and that's going to help our teen not be so tough on themselves as well.


Casey: Yeah and I can list out a million adults that probably wish that at some point in their young life that somebody had supported them in not being so tough on themselves, right, because we just grow into grown ups that, you know, are perfectionists, or just really stuck in and you know, in life happening to us versus for us, so it's such a privilege to be in conversation with you, thank you so much for your time.


Jane: You're very welcome.


Casey: If there are parents that are listening who would like to get in touch with you is there, where is the best place to find you?


Jane: Well I-


Casey: Or hear about the Santa Cruz, share about the nonprofit that you have.


Jane: Yeah, we have a nonprofit on the central coast of California called Positive Discipline Community Resources and so that website is, of course, www.pdcrcc.org  And the C.C. is central coast.


Casey: Okay, and can they find you through that?


Jane:  Yes, they can find me through that and they can, all of our programs and we have extensive tips sheets for different things that parents are engaged with with their kids that are both in English and Spanish. And then I'm janeweedpomerantz@gmail.com.


Casey: Awesome. Thank you so much.


Jane: Thank you so much for you what you're doing, I think this is going to be a fabulous summit.