Motivating our Teens to be in Contribution, with Jody Malterre

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 Jody Malterre. Jody enjoys having many roles, helping families and kids as a positive discipline trainer, she works with both parents and teachers. Additionally she lives in the Montessori world where she is a teacher trainer at Westminster College. Much of her work blends these two practices together. Her firsthand experience working with teens comes from her two daughters who are currently 19 and 17. Recently she began working at a student run high school in Boise, Idaho where her daughter attends, which sounds completely fascinating, we're going to talk about this, gives her the courage to branch out into the world of offering classes for parents of teens.

Hi, Jody, I'm thrilled to have you on the Parenting Teens with Positive Discipline audio summit.

Jody: Hey there, Casey, great to be here.

Casey: Can you tell the listeners a little bit about your experience with parenting through the teen years with P.D.?

Jody: I sure can and actually I could go back 25 years to when I took my first positive discipline course from my mother-in-law, so you can imagine what that was like and how awesome it was to come in to this marriage, this new marriage of mine with that kind of support not long before I had kids.

So, it was great because, really, positive discipline has been in our family life, you know, from day one and even Day 0, I guess you could say and it's got me through. I don't know what I would have done without positive discipline as the guide. So the other thing is, you know, imagine what it was like raising kids young and now teens as well with a mother-in-law who's a positive discipline trainer. So Day one, I was awfully nervous too about getting it all wrong, right? Yes and she was an Adlerian counsellor, so of course I felt under the lens but in reality, she has been my number one advocate and encourager, which is great.

Casey: Yay! Well I love that your work has been an intersection of positive discipline and the Montessori model of teaching and learning, both of those programs are really steeped in the idea that children can and do learn to feel and be capable when we set up their learning environments in a way that allows them to lean into their life skills and I think that includes both social emotional life skills as well as practical life skills and as a teacher on a college campus, where do you see the biggest gaps in life skills with the students that you work with?

Jody: Yeah, it's kind of a unique position because actually at that college level, most of them are at the graduate level which already helps. I'm not working with 18 year olds. I'm working with, you know, a lot of people in their thirties so they do get it a little more but honestly, what's great about Montessori is that there's already a natural buyin and we really do want to see the child holistically and so the work in Montessori kind of leans into positive discipline and that's an easy sell.

Casey: I love that, I just did a workshop at the local Montessori and it's like "Oh, you're already drinking the Kool-Aid, perfect."

Jody: They are, no doubt! But I definitely really have to really work at the message of bringing that empowerment message of belonging and significance into the classroom and letting that be sort of our compass first and then academics second and when teachers embrace that their classrooms run so much better.

Casey: Yeah, for sure, I'm seeing that at the middle school, public middle school level too.

Jody: Yes.

Casey: Tell me about the high school, the student run high school that your daughter goes to.

Jody: It's just unreal, it's called One Stone, it's in Boise here and we have a fantastic advisory committee from people all over the country that just want to kind of disrupt this traditional model and give students more of a voice and honestly, when you give them a voice and you give them a lot of respect and dignity, they speak great things. So these kids are doing amazing things at the school and the board is made up of two thirds kids so they have the bigger voice in the room when it comes to making decisions. My daughter's on the board and it's just been fascinating to watch the school emerge over the last 3 years.

Casey: Yeah, I mean, that's creating a learning environment on fire, right?

Jody: Absolutely and you know, today, they get it too because today I went in for a short while and they're doing a big parent presentation tonight and nerves are a little high, anxiety's a little high about trying to get it all done and what did they do for the first, and I'm not kidding you, I know, you'll love this, Casey, they turned out every light and they said every screen in this room in this big room, every screen must be off and we're going to do a guided meditation for an entire hour.

Casey: No way.

Jody: I'm not kidding and about half the kids, there they were on the floor doing their thing, other kids were in the back that needed to do other things but they're just always sort of reaching out to figure out what do these kids need and then they give it to them and it's so great.

Casey: So great.  So, OK, that's kind of the utopia experience, right, the rest of us live in the traditional model. What do you think, so when we're talking about practical life skills, which is kind of what you and I are going to tease apart today around contribution and how to invite kids into participation and in the home, what do you think gets in the way of parents inviting their teens into this developmental process of practical life skills?

Jody: Yeah, parents aren't going to like this but you know what I think? It's our words. Every time we open our mouths we probably are getting in the way of a learning experience.

Casey: That's so true. Thinking of me in that statement.

Jody: Oh my gosh and I'm probably like the most verbose person in my family and I do not practice what I preach near to the extent that I need to. But we just, you know, if we could just back off and let Mother Nature do her job, our lives would be so much easier but we get in their business way too much in our words just womp-womp-womp so yeah, we need to we need to lean in and be heard at times but I think if our words coming out aren't about like taking time for training, and around, really words about listening, or words around getting in their world, I think probably they're not doing a whole lot of purpose, you know, as far as developing a student voice in a student's sense of belonging and value in the family.

Casey: Yeah, yeah, I mean, I'm just thinking the word naggy keeps showing up and it's, but I mean, oh my gosh, we so want our kids to see the world through our lens, like, look at your floor.

Jody: Yes.

Casey: Look at your, look at your clothes, right and so it's right and I think that we, and I appreciate you saying that, we all do a better job of practicing what we preach, 100 percent over here well and we, you know, something that I talk about when I'm doing workshops with parents of younger kids and I think it is still relevant with parents of teens is we forget that they aren't looking at the world I.E. their pile of laundry or their messy room or the sink or whatever, through our lens.

Jody: No they're not.

Casey: And so "Oh my gosh, why can't you just?" or "Why is this such a problem?" or "You never"  but they're not seeing through my 45 year old mother of 2, this is what my day's been like, you know, lens and then I take it personally when they're like "What?".

Jody: So true. Turns out maybe they don't care about the dishwasher being empty or not.

Casey: And that is not the same as not caring about me.

Jody: Right.

Casey: That's why it's so easy to get so hung up, it's like, "You don't respect me, clearly or you would do your laundry."

Jody: No kidding and then we end up piggybacking because the issues arise, the laundry, the dishwasher or whatever and then when we have to nag and remind about it and then they're are snarky next thing you know we're arguing about the fact that they're snarky, you know, and then we've piggybacked all over. And then we wonder why they don't want to be home as much or our goals don't quite align, you know, and so I get it.

Casey: Yeah and I think this is that place where natural consequences can be so powerful and just to be clear, for listeners, because the word consequences is loaded, right, and so what I am referring to when I say 'natural consequences' is what happens when we adults stay out of the way and stay quiet? For example, alright, if we've laid out the expectation that our teens will take care of their own laundry and we've given them an opportunity to learn how to do it, right and then they don't do it at the appointed time or day or whatever, they won't have any clean clothes, that's a natural consequence.

Jody: That's right and natural consequences mean we do nothing and we let mother nature do all the work so the moment we open our mouths it's going to be perceived as a lecturer, a nag, a scold, a dig, whatever and we just completely took away that experience for them to have learned as a natural consequence, you know, that cause effect thing in life, in the moment we get in the middle of that cause effect, it's punishment, you know. It's really not a natural consequence anymore, so I would really encourage parents, we have to, pause, think about, instead of reacting, think about whether response is actually needed or could I live with saying nothing? If I really, really have to say something, how about try it with one word and I think where parents fall short is we sort of have the sense that if it's a consequence there's supposed to be, maybe, a little suffering involved and in reality, you know, that gets in the way of learning. How about a little empathy? It's OK to go "Yeah, I'm kind of bummed about it, too. I really would have liked to have, you know, such and such with you, whatever the thing that isn't going to happen, so I think we can still show can be empathetic, use way fewer words-

Casey: Yes.

Jody: And say, "Hey, what's your plan for next time?"

Casey: Right, so not say, well, it's a natural consequence. I think there's so many ways that we can sabotage the experience so that the focus goes from "Darn, now I don't have any clean clothes to wear and I'm really uncomfortable with that and let me think about what I can do" to "God, my mom is such a bitch, right?"

Jody: Oh, kitty, that's right. We just really like to hear ourselves talk and somehow we probably have the sense that "I've been a good parent if I lean into every experience." And, you know, maybe not so much.

Casey: Yeah and our teens don't learn to be responsible, and let's just talk about responsibility because you and I are both positive discipline facilitators, we both, I'm sure, start our classes and our workshops with the 2 lists and the 2 lists, for listeners who haven't been through positive discipline are, what are the current challenges that you're facing in your house, spoiler alert:it's always the same list, by the way and then the second list is what are the life skills that you are hoping that your adult child post-25, your adult child has learned to embody? And responsibility always shows up on that 2nd list and they don't learn responsibility unless we give them opportunities to stretch into responsibilities, right?

Jody: it's so true and you know what? I think what's great about positive discipline models, we're always kind of evolving into improving and what's, you know, you saw that this summer when we were in San Diego at the Positive Discipline Think Tank is that we need a 3rd list which is "and if this is what we want what to kids need from us in order to get them there?" and that suddenly put a whole different lens on "Oh, so maybe nagging is not going to get me where I want them to be" and I found lately a lot of parents are really resonating with that third list, right and what was so funny is just last weekend was Positive Discipline in the workplace and guess what, Casey, the list is same there when you look at the challenges for employees and responsibilities on there. So what do they need? I think they need us to first of all see that they're really busy.

I mean, our kids are busier than I ever was when I was in high school and I, as a parent, I watch that and it's really tempting to kind of help them too much because I see how busy they are, I almost feel sorry for them, they're getting all these, you know, these grades and they're doing these great things that I think sometimes I'm really tempted to do too much and it's tricky to find that balance. I think a really good example that's changed around that responsibility would be great so, you know, when I was in school, I'm few years older than you but probably close enough, you know, our report cards came home couple times a year and if there was another issue maybe the teacher contacted our parents and that was that but now we've got these online portals, right?

Casey: Oh my gosh, too much information, in my opinion.

Jody: Yes and I remember my daughter, my older daughter, one time said, we have this thing we call Power School and she says something about "Well, you could look it up on Powerschool" and I said "Well, I don't have the login for that" and she was like, "Mom, why don't you have a login?" I said, "Because you are my login. I do not want to log in and meddle in what is your responsibility, you know?" Yeah, so I think parents have to kind of decide what, really, can I give to them and if I can't give it to them, then don't give it to them, you know, and if I can and then you fully, you've got to go all in or all out, right?

Casey: Yes and I think the conversation, and I love that you're bringing up this power schools, we have it, it's called Family Access here in Washington or at least in our district and I was recently in a conversation with a gal and she was talking about how she has to she, you know, and this is middle school which, I think, Middle School is this really interesting when I'm finding, gosh, talk about a great learning opportunity, especially for natural consequences and feeling discouraged or just some overall discomfort by our kids, but also in our role but anyway, I was talking to this gal and she said "Well, if I don't check and stay top of it, my son, he falls behind," and I said "Oh," I said, "Maybe he knows you're going to check so he's just waiting for that. He's become dependent on that extra push from you."  She wasn't really, she was like "No, I do not think that's the case." I was like, "OK, let it go."

But when we think about, you know, and I did a whole interview, listeners, on school and schooling and I talked with Kathy Kochikame me for length about, you know, grades and just kind of the traditional model, so I won't get into that, but this opportunity for us to allow our kids to feel the weight of responsibility is so powerful and I mean and I think that in our quest to, you know, we want them to have all the opportunities and I think it's in the name of love, yes, but we get in the way for such deep learning when the rescue net is so high that they don't have to go in and fix their mistakes because mom has been on Power Schools and knows exactly what's going on and does her doing at home and so there isn't that opportunity for, you know, our kids to have to go and say "Hey teacher, I'm behind, what can I do?" or "Here's my plan" or "I'm looking for a solution" or whatever because we swoop in and save the day.

Jody: That's right. That's why I ended up telling my daughter, I said, "You're my login and I want to log in with you every day. I want to have a conversation" and I think another way we get in the way of these learning experiences is the way we talk at kids with "Did you/ didn't you, are you/aren't you can you/can't you?" you know, these questions that are naggy and dead end questions that do not invite logging in with our kids, you know, so let's get rid of those and let's get into questions that are a lot more interesting for me too? And for them, right?

Casey: So what are some examples?

Jody: Yeah, so, "Hey, let's, you know, let's check in about some of the books, the reading at school maybe we'd like to read them too, you know, what do you find interesting about this literature" or "Hey, you know, talking about these classes that they're in, are you finding that you have anything to contribute in the dialogue in class?" You know, "What do you think about this instructor of yours?" and you know, just open ended questions that are, in this case, school login but heck let's not talk about school with our kids, let's talk about life, right?

Casey: Yeah, well, I'm like and yeah, so let's shift that a little bit so there's responsibilities that they get to, that they have the opportunity of experiencing in the school environment and let's talk about what about at home, because I know a lot of the community that I lead, you know, when I reached out and said, "What are some things you want to hear on this audio summit? What are some of the things you're struggling with?" A lot of people came back and said responsibilities at home, chores and contributions and being a part of the overall keeping the house together piece.

Jody: Yeah, you know and we, my husband and I, we teach some classes together, actually and this is definitely his forte around, isn't that great that we can do that?

Casey: Yeah, so great.

Jody: Our poor kids though, right? What an intense family.

Casey: One day, one day you'll get a call, "Thank you, mom." That's what I'm holding out for.

Jody: Yeah, I'm not holding out for that any time soon but so one of the classes we teach is around money and what we call family work and making sure first of all, we've got to separate that. You know, money is about teaching money management and how to balance budgets and and such, work, family work, we never called it chores, we called it contributions as you said or family work-

Casey: That's what we call it too.

Jody: That's around how you learn a work ethic and how you learn what it means to hold a family household together, right, so the thing about work is, that's funny, I was running this question by my daughter last night, it was fun, to get her 19 year old perspective. And she said she wanted me to tell you is that "Hey let's make sure that nothing is off the table as far as the work and what the parents can do." In other words, "Hey, if this is all the stuff that needs to happen in the family, it shouldn't be like, 'Oh and these are the parent jobs and those are the kid jobs'" Because the kids get the crappy jobs, right, the dishwashers and the trash, the pet and all that.

Casey: Oh my gosh, those are so the easy jobs.

Jody: I know, I would take those jobs any day. So, you know, like our 17 year old, for a year and a half now she's been the grocery shopper of the family which, that's kind of a big job and of course, I want to get my airline miles so I don't want to have to, like, you know, turn over cash to every week so what does that mean? We had to go get her, I can't believe I'm saying this, but we had to get her credit card, you know, the family credit card so that I can get my miles and she can run the errand to do the grocery shopping and it was never like "No, no, no, that's a mom job or that's a dad job." In our family all the jobs were up for grabs and everybody had to grab a job.

Casey: That's so great. I have to share, one of the things that I've done that has helped too is if it's a Saturday or Sunday and it's like, OK, it's time to buckle down and get some stuff done is I make a list and then I write next to each job 5 minutes, 10 minutes, so I kind of estimate how long each one will take and then I invite everyone to, you know, depending on what it is, it's like, pick 30 minutes worth of jobs. That I think triggers something in my kids, like, "Oh, this isn't going to take forever." I mean, it is dependent on the user, right, but but it also is, like, you can pick one thing that's the big thing, you know, or you can pick a couple little things, I don't care, I'm not attached, I just know all of this needs to get done and everybody gets to contribute.

Jody: Right.

Casey: But I love that, I mean, my daughter's going to be driving next month and the thought of sending her to the grocery store makes me so happy.

Jody: Oh, well, you know, my husband and I initially were both, we both like grocery shop, weird little bumps but now, I love it but I do find that if it's not on the list it is not getting bought so no longer can I browse the aisles and take a little of this and a little to that.

Casey: You're probably saving money.

Jody: But here is the thing too, is that I feel like when we talk about work, we end up talking about A.K.A. chores, right, it's all about, like, housework and while that needs to get done, if we're talking about, you know, kids having kind of meaningful contribution, I don't think they're going to find a lot of meaning around cleaning the toilet, even though they know it needs to get done.

So we need to look at what are their skill sets and what do they contribute uniquely to the family. You know, my daughter is really into politics so, you know, she's gone now but if she was, I could go back in time, I think I would call her our, you know, political correspondent keeping us up to date on which protests to attend and perhaps, you know, the current events of the day, you know, maybe somebody can be in charge of car maintenance and just kind of having a log and keeping track and you know, maybe someone loves to run errands and they can run errands. Maybe somebody, in fact, one of our daughters was I taught her how to use Quickbooks very young and she included every single receipt, every single one and kept track where every penny in the family was going and whether-

Casey: Oh my gosh, do you know these are my jobs? And these are all the jobs that make me crazy that you are telling me that I could be training my children to do.

Jody: You could. Absolutely. Let's do this. I'll send ,y daughter over to train you.

Casey: Yes. Well, what about like this and I really appreciate that I love the expansion just of the mindset around what it means to be in contribution, thank you for that and there are still are those things that are kind of mundane, you know, toilet cleaning, bed making, rooms, like, what I would love to know, especially considering that you're like 2nd generation raising 3rd generation on on P.D. what has been your mindset around something like the kids cleaning their rooms?

Jody: Ah, the room. You know, we backed off on the rooms, let the rooms be the rooms,  but, see there was this interesting piece around, OK, but if we, I don't really care what you do with your stuff, but I do care resale value of this house, right, so I do want the carpets cleaned, I want the bathroom cleaned, otherwise you end up with these water marks that never come off and then rings in the toilet and all that so we had such a funny arrangement, so this is the deal we said, we have somebody that actually, we were fortunate to have somebody come clean our house on Thursday.

So we said, "OK, on Thursday morning if you put everything on your bed, I don't care about your sheets, that's you but the carpet in the bathroom, if the carpets vacuumable and the bathroom is cleanable that's all I care about, the rest is on you. If it's all in your bed, she's going to clean your room." If it's not on your bed then the agreement was that they would clean their room, clean it enough to the bathroom and the vacuum by Sunday night. I didn't have to say a word, just it either got done or it didn't but by Sunday night, we literally figured out how many years, your listeners are going to laugh, how many more years they were to live at home and divided that by weeks and we figured out what it would cost to redo the carpet in that room and we came out to a monetary value that by Sunday night if you didn't clean your room, no problem, we'll just go online and make a little transfer into the replace the carpet fund when you move out and no argument, no words, no nothing. It either happened or it didn't, a transaction occurred or it didn't. And it worked.

Casey: And is that something that you and the girls created, like did you guys figure that out?

Jody: Yes.

Casey: Love it, so it wasn't like, "Listen" which I know it wasn't, but this is how it's going to be, it was puzzling it out, using curiosity, sounds really logical and neutral.

Jody: Yep, yeah, yeah and that's the thing is we make these unrelated things, if you don't clean your room you don't get screen time or something that's totally unrelated and you learn nothing from that, right?

Casey: Well, yeah and rooms, having been a daughter of a mother who I adore and is a freak about, like, O.C.D. about clean and so yeah, I could tell you horror stories about how that was for me. It's interesting how quickly that conditioning, not to the extent of actual diagnosis of O.C.D.  on my part but definitely, in the early years, realizing that that anxiety had been passed on to me and it took a while to let go of the rooms and man, what a difference it made when I just said "This is your space." My daughter actually likes having a clean room so it gets, I'm very hands off there. My son, you know, we, part of the, you know, it is part of a screen agreement because it's more about the screen and not abusing that time than it is anything else but he decided here's the things that will be done before I log into Fortnight and one of the things was, I think it's on the weekends he has to tidy up his room. So that's how we've, and again, together created the agreement together.

Jody: Yeah, it has to be together and then, you know, it's funny. I did this class this last week and you know, it's positive discipline in the workplace and I was so fortunate that our 17 year old who's on the board at her school says "Hey I think I could get a lot out of this" so she attends it with us and I happen to teach a parenting class to parents of teens Monday night when we returned and I ran a few things by her, some new activities and one of the credit of Dina Amser, was around accountability questions and I said "So, at least from a teen perspective, how do you really feel about this accountability, you know when it's something like this, like, what are you going to do, when will you do it and how will I know that it's been done?" and she says, "I don't mind those questions as long as you ask them you get the answers and then you back off because, you know, as soon as you don't, we do all power struggle and or we meddle and nag and again we ruin the opportunity to learn the way, you know, most of the world operates in terms of the workplace, what are you going to do and how am I going to know it gets done? It's a really reasonable conversation, right, so, you know, that was her message is tell parents they kind of have to back off, trust, right.

Casey: And I think that's, right...  Yeah, because as I heard you list those questions I thought about the 4th question that is the one that pulls the rug out which is-

Jody: And what happens if you don't.

Casey: Yes and it's so interesting because whenever a teach about making agreements to parents of any age kids, that is always where they get stuck, it's like, well, what about when they don't do it and it's like, "Wow," I mean the natural consequence is we revisit this agreement and figure out what it is where we haven't come into alignment and we tweak it and play with it and then we give it another week or, you know, depending on the age of the kid, right and it is a mindset shift to consider that an actual, like, in the purest sense of the word, cause and effect, this is a consequence is I'm not going anywhere, like, this is right, this agreement is happening and how, what it looks like on the inside we get to puzzle out together. We get to create the Win Win together.

Jody: yes and I'm terrible about asking that 4th question, my husband's wonderful about asking and-

Casey: Right, well he had the mom.

Jody: I know but for me and this is what I told the parents, I said I'm going to give you 3 questions, I said there's a 4th question, it's invisible, you aren't going to see it on the screen and I'll talk about it in a minute but if you go to the 3rd list which is what are these teens need from us, they do need to feel trusted and respected and dignified and all of that, so I feel like that 4th question is very important and what happens if it doesn't but I don't start there, I don't mind a little failure first and then we can read this and say, "Wait a minute, this is about your word, you know, I don't want to always be second guessing that you're not going to do it." So we go to that 4th question maybe after a little failure unless it's high stakes failure, then we throw it in, you know, early but yeah, my husband and I, he leans a little stricter, I'm a little more permissive, we have a pretty good average. But I don't think that 4th question is out of the question for anybody at any time, I just don't like to start there, for me, personally.

Casey: Well and do you think that, you know, when you find that, so, OK, actually, before I say that, I know that there's, I'm absolutely positive that there are people listening right now thinking, "OK, yeah, whatever, Casey and Jody, they're making it sound so easy but my kid refuses to contribute, he doesn't respond, she doesn't want to do anything." And that, I want to say to all of you that are listening who are feeling that, like, I feel you, I see you out there and I know how deeply discouraged you must feel in this moment because that is so discouraging when we feel like "yeah but", when we're stuck in the "yeah but" it's hard to trust, it's hard to believe that there is a different way to think about, go about, inviting our teens into contribution. What would you say to those parents about how they can begin to support themselves and their teens and turning that, beginning to turn that discouragement around?

Jody: OK, I have two points. The first is we've got to recognize that the very issues that we feel most strongly about, whether it's good grades or a clean room or laundry must be done on the weekends ,whatever it may be, whatever we feel strongly about, that basically is a button and we need to own that and the stronger you feel about it, the bigger the button is and it is their job to kind of push our buttons, that's called finding the boundary, right, so we have to kind of own what buttons do we need, you know, are we OK getting pushed because that does invite, the second point I'm going to make is kind of the power around this, the power struggle that we can get in, which, let's own that we as adults are making power quite, for lack of better word, pretty sexy out there, right? I mean, we really like being right.

We model that well. So I think we need to let kids be right too, you know, when they're pushing back you can say "Well, I really see why you feel that way, you know, gosh you make some great points and you know, I love you more than I love your clean room so maybe we need to revisit our priorities and find ones that we can get behind together" and you know, really kind of let the kids feel felt in their teenage world and you know, be a little more playful and a little more humorous and a little more real with them and let go of this being right so much. That for me, that shift might take time, you're not going to win this overnight, they've got to see if we're for real but over time, I think we loosen not our values but we loosen our rightness it gives a little more space for more conversation.

Casey: Yeah, I think that that's one of those places where we move from the traditional authoritarian model where parents are the boss into that authoritative model which is positive discipline, where, and it's based in, you know, Adlerian theory which we are going to talk about in a second where we have, like, a more equal horizontal relationships which doesn't mean we don't have leaders, but it does mean that everybody is equally worthy of dignity and respect and that's what I'm hearing when you say "OK, so I'm hearing you out and I'm hearing that this is where you're at and I'm curious here" or "How can we find a win win?" or I think that that is so, and the conversation around always wanted to be right just totally resonates for me and yeah, and then are, yeah, anyways, so talking about Adlerian theory which has come up in the summit and I did a whole interview with Aisha Pope about Adlerian theory and the idea that human behavior is movement in the direction of belonging and significance.

That's how I say it, if you say it differently feel free to share but being in contribution and being connected to the family, really, that is, you know, those can be rooted in belonging and significance and they both play this important role in our children's skill development. Can you talk a little bit more about how what we're talking about is connected to that belonging and significance piece?

Jody: Yes and you know, recently I saw Dr. Jane Nelson do an activity differentiating between belonging and significance because we tend to really, we throw those together all the time in the P.D. world, positive discipline world, right and this activity helps us differentiate that really the belonging is the love piece but with love does not come automatically a sense of contribution and significance and tell you in a meaningful way, right, so this activity is around we give belonging to our love and we give significance to responsibility and contribution.

Casey: Mhmm. Love it.

Jody: Yeah, but see what in the Adlerian theory that's all about, you know, gemeinschaftsgefuhl which makes me smart throwing that big word down but-

Casey: I know. It's German.

Jody: We all throw down, but it's a social interest piece, right, it's showing the interest in the interest of others and when we pause, and we take out the nagging, and we take out the did you/didn't you, can you/can't you, are you/aren't you, that sort of are these questions that check them off our list for the day and we get in and get in the interest of them and the interest around you're making some good points or boy, you feel really strongly about this, we're modeling for them what that social interest means.

And that gives a little space for them to reciprocate, hopefully, right and it does take some time but when they have a strong social interest in the family, the social interest piece that's so critical to mental health and our kids, we're getting them out of being consumers because I mean, kids are consumers, right, they consume screen time, they consume money, food,  time, everything. I think that really modeling for them this this Adlerian, this basic foundational piece around social interest gets them being more of a producer and I think we need to give them opportunity to move in that direction.

Casey: And so, just to kind of tease apart social interest even a little bit more, when you're saying social interests, it's really about their connection, like their, what I want to say is like, this family only functions because of the, it functions as a whole because of the individuals.

Jody: Yes, that they're needed which is hard, it's hard for kids to feel needed but I I love, Betty Lou Bittner's work around the 4 C's, which is, hey, we need to give kids this sense of feeling like we're connected with them and that they're capable, and that they count, they really matter, right and then finally, we give them the courage, the courage to make mistakes and learn from those and those four C's are like, they're like Vitamin C, right? They need those four C's like they need any other nutrients and so how we approach them, we have to be asking ourselves, in this conversation about, am I going to give them a little dose of one of these C's or am I going to leave them a little deficient?

Casey: Right, because there can be, it can feel like opposing pulls.

Jody: Yes.

Casey: Right, there is that we want them to take more responsibility and we want, like we can kind of look at it as we either, you know, come down on them until they get responsible or we let everything go so that we can be in relationship with them.

Jody: There's a nice happy medium, isn't there?

Casey: Yeah, definitely but I think that, especially, you know, I don't know that everyone listening is super fluent in positive discipline and I think, you know, a lot of times popular culture really doesn't do us many favors here either because it's kind of, it's easy to fall into those two things being polar opposites instead of, or either or, versus the both and and when I'm listening from you is being in relationship, being connected to our kids, the four C's that you just mentioned, the invitation into puzzling things out together, actually nurtures the soil, nurtures the environment so that it's a much smaller step for our kids to step into responsibility and flexibility and ease and all the things that we want, right.

Jody: Yeah, you know and being, you know, in positive discipline, we always say, being kind and firm at the same time and for people that are, you know, out there, really familiar with what that sounds like, I think sometimes we hear the word kind and we're supposed to turn a blind eye, you know, kindness isn't blindness, but what really helped me was to always come back to "What are the needs of the situation, right, the needs of the situation" so, you know, then that ends up sounding like, "Hey, sounds like you really have a need to be out later than normal, a lot is going on tonight and I have a need for worry free evening of good sleep. How can we put our heads together and both get our needs met?" So that is being firm and it's also helping to develop the social interest piece, like, hey, I want to sleep and I don't want to sit at home and worry and you want to be out, what's the solution and we want problem solvers and yet we want to tell him what to do all the time, right? So lets let them problem solve, right? That's a crazy idea well.

Casey: Yeah, well and circling back to the parent that is feeling that discouragement, I think that many people have heard me talk about the iceberg metaphor, I'm sure that you talk about it when you teach your classes and really, if you're finding yourself with a teenager who's kind of fallen into that discouraged place and is hard to engage with, you know, instead of the question being how can I get them to contribute? Really, I think it's an invitation to even go back a little further and say how am I nurturing relationship with this child? Like, where can I own some of my shit because chances are you've brought something, we all bring it, so where can you own your stuff and where can you start to build that bridge into relationship. Do you have anything that you, to give to that parent because I know that that parent is listening?

Jody: Yes, well, I, first, I can give this parent a little encouragement because we don't have to get it right every time. I was recently attending a workshop with Jim Bitter, who's a great Adlerian mentor of mine and he says that in Adlerian counseling, which sometimes I feel like a counselor to my kid all the time, right ,but he says that really, it's the technique as a counselor is only about 8 percent and the relationship is 37 percent. I don't know what the rest of it is but I do the math and that's only 45 percent so I have to get it right 8 percent of the time and work on the relationship 37, that's only 45 percent so it sounds like me, I only, I can screw up half the time and I'm going to be OK. So how can I not screw up? Let's get into stop trying to defend and be right, stop trying to fix and explain, ask for their advice.

Casey: Yes.

Jody: Maybe ask, you know, their feelings about certain things and say, "Hey, can I be helpful? How can I help you through this?" And open up dialogue to questions and model your own mistakes, model your do overs. "Whoah, I'm really working on this and I don't think I like the way that came out. I love you a lot more than what my words just said. Can I have a do over?" and kids want a relationship with us even if they act like they don't, they do and the longer we can stay influential in their life past the age 10, like we get to 10 and our influence really starts to drop. Any year post 10 gives us about 8 to 10 percent more likelihood that their risky behavior will be less or they'll recover sooner.

Casey: Yeah.

Jody: So let's make sure that that relationship comes first so that we can stay influenced enough that when the peer influence sort of trumps ours that they'll come back to us.

Casey: Yes.

Jody: We need to be somebody that's worth coming back to, right?

Casey: I love that, yeah, the soft landing, right?

Jody: Oh yes.

Casey: So great.

Jody: The great white light so they can always find us.

Casey: Yes, strobe light. I am here! I am here! Oh so great. Thank you so much, Jody, for your contribution and being a part of this summit. I so appreciate chatting with you.

Jody: You make it so easy, Casey, it was lovely.

Casey: Yay, if there are any parents that are listening who would like to get in touch with you where can they find you?

Jody: Well, you can find me on my website

Casey: Great. Anywhere else?

Jody: Well, I guess you could email me.

Casey: OK.


Casey: Great.

Jody: And of course on the positive discipline website as a trainer, I think I'm the only trainer in Idaho, so come find me in Idaho.

Casey: Awesome. OK, well, thank you so much for being a part of this.

Jody: Thanks, Casey, have a good one.