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 is the Nadine Gaudin, Nadine is a positive discipline lead trainer and a teacher. She taught for 15 years and now does only positive discipline workshops. The most important part of her work is training teachers and positive discipline. She currently trains in public and private schools in the state of Geneva, Switzerland, in the region of France where she lives and in international or local schools around the world including Singapore, Belgium, Canada, Egypt, Morocco, Portugal, the U.K., The Netherlands, Middle East.
She's been all over the place. She has worked to develop positive discipline in nearly 100 schools in the past 4 years. She works with students, teachers, principals and develops positive discipline in the workplace. Barnard, her husband and her 3 children who are 19, 17 and 15 help her deepen her understanding of positive discipline on a daily basis. HI Nadine, I am so honored that you agreed to be a part of the Parenting Teens with P.D. audio summit.
Nadine: I'm very honored to be here.
Casey: Can you tell the lady listeners a little bit about your experience with teens and positive discipline?
Nadine: So obviously, as you said, I have at home 3 teenagers 19, 17 and 15 so I have been experiencing the positive discipline with teens for quite a few years now and with the ones I have at home but I also do workshops in schools. Not only I train teachers but I also go into schools and do workshops for students. So I do workshops from kids to 11 years old up to 17, 18 years old. So I have groups of teens that I work with and that's also a lot of experience and fun to learn with them about positive discipline for teens.
Casey: Yeah will you tell me a little bit, when you go into schools and work with the students, are you basically, are you doing their social emotional character development lessons and things that we typically train teachers to do with their students?
Nadine: Yes but not only because sometimes I have groups of teens that are in high school and they're planning on becoming assist people in the schools or assist in old people's houses and for their work they're also learning how a Positive Discipline can help them. So for the high school students I really also I've not only done activities for the students with them but I also do what we would do for adults.
Casey: OK, got it.
Nadine: For the younger ones, I do many activities for students but since I do it usually a 3 day workshop I also take times to practice with them and to do drawings that they're going to put in homes and things like that.
Casey: Awesome, that's so neat. So you and I today are going to talk specifically about individuation and listeners will know that this is a theme that shows up over and over again in the summit, that our teens need to individuate, it's what they do, it's part of their development and Oh my gosh, it's so challenging for parents to let go and to be a witness, right, to it happening and so those of you that are listening, as we kind of go through the characteristics of individuation which is what this interview is going to be all about and you think to yourself "I know what individuation is," I'm really going to invite you to listen for something new or look for ways that you can understand the information deeper because I'm thrilled that this whole conversation is just about individuation. I think it's such an important topic and I think it's also often misunderstood by parents and can be such a place of power struggle. So with that, Nadine, talk a little bit about what individuation means to you.
Nadine: It's means a lot to me.
Casey: You're in it, we're in it, I mean, oh my gosh.
Nadine: It's, I have stories popping up in my head of what my children decide to do to individuate themselves. And you know, I have my older son who decided to wear only different socks every day, he has one red sock and one blue sock and that's, you know, the things that I'm like, "Why would you do that?"
Casey: But I'll take that, I'll take that one every day. If that's as bad as it gets I think we're in the clear.
Nadine: So yeah, it means that but also I think it's about finding who they are, which they're craving for themselves and just you know, asking of who they are and what they like and you know what's their place in the world and what they want to become and you know, they're just kind of exploring all over to see who they are.
Casey: Yeah and what I'm noticing is, you know, for a little while it was "How can I be completely the opposite of you, Mom?"
Nadine: Yes and it happens once and a while and at the same time how, you know, I am the same as you as well, because I hear that and you know, in my children's, you know, when they talk with me, I can see sometimes they really are happy to be like me and like us for some of the things. But I think what is the hardest part of individuation for us parents is to know when to let go or not, you know, when like this crosses the line and we shouldn't let go.
Casey: Right, right and being a judge of that dance can be really tricky because there sometimes the individuation and there are ways of finding themselves or you know, it can spark some kind of internal triggers that maybe we didn't realize we were hanging on to for whatever reason from our lives and so to be able to determine "Is this something that, you know, isn't safe or is taking them in a scary direction or is this something that I just have a hang up about?" Right and to be able to-
Nadine: It puts us in front of our rigidity and our, you know, this is the way I think things should be but then we realized that's not the way life is for everyone, it's just me and since the beginning the children didn't question too much, you know, what we decided, kind of . But now it's like "Hey, mom, tlife is different in the world."
Casey: Yeah, I can have a different opinion than you.
Nadine: Exactly and I mean, it's not bad, you know, so many people live through this lens, so I'm like "Oh, yeah, that's true."
Casey: It's crazy we had a little bout of conspiracy theory where my daughter was really intrigued by conspiracy theories last year, one of which was the earth being flat. And she was, you know, and I don't know if she really believed it or if it was just so fun for her to just commit but we were like "What are you talking about?" "Oh mom, there's entire websites, there is a conference you can go to where all the people that believe this
and I'm just sitting here like, "No," you know and then she's irritated that we're not taking her seriously and I'm like "What is happening?" So yeah, there, we can find people to agree with us on just about anything, can't we?
Casey: So in the Positive Discipline for Teens book, the characteristics of individuation are laid out, so we're going to go through each of them and I know they're going to sound familiar but I'm just excited to tease them apart and the very first one we've already started with which is adolescents have a need to find out who they are and who they are, would you say, separate from the family, yeah?
Nadine: Yeah separate from the family and also who they are, I would say not only separate but similar as well.
Nadine: For me I had to this big "Aha" it was a few months ago, I was in a school with high school students and we did this activity, you know, the quadrants of emotions, you know, when you have the wheel of emotion, when you have four emotions and you ask them to put words for each feeling.
Casey: The mad, sad, glad, scared.
Nadine: We did that and I said, you know, when we did the activity I said, "We all go through all these emotions. And this simple thing was like a big aha for them. They had no clue that everyone went through the same emotions. They thought it was only them but you know, they really found out who they are a little bit more by doing that, just by naming emotions, which is, was really surprising for me because I told them, I mean, we talk a lot about emotions, my children are really aware about emotions and what they're feeling, you know, but there I could see that that's really important thing that we can do to help them, you know, find out who they are, to know how they feel.
Casey: Well and for listeners, this activity is, you know, we make 4 quadrants and in each quadrant, one quadrant says mad and another says sad, another says glad and another says scared and then we ask kids or parents if were running a parenting class this is a great activity to do with parents as well but we ask kids what words are associated, what are other words for sad, what are other words for glad, what are other words for scared and mad and to kind of expand their vocabulary, right and their ability to determine, you know, what it is that's happening for them and I think that we as a, you know, that humans, this is a learned skill.
It isn't necessarily that we come out able to identify, "Well I feel mad but really I feel embarrassed or I feel ashamed." It's something that we have to be in conversation about and really teach our kids and so I love that you did that with them and I also want to pull out of what you said that idea that they're not the only ones that are feeling the feelings that they're having. This actually came up in my community when I was talking about doing this audio summit one of the parents said "How do we help them get through this intense time and really help them not only to know that everybody is feeling, you know, how you're feeling and it's temporary, the teen years are temporary, they're going to feel differently, you know, in 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 or 10 years.
But I think that, so yeah, so there is because and that was and at the same time, you know, when our kids are in moment of really deep emotional distress, you know, it isn't necessarily respectful, well, it isn't respectful to say "Oh, everybody feels like this." Like that's also not really useful in the moment.
Casey: What are your thoughts about that?
Nadine: No, it's true and you know, I noticed also that, you know, we have this tool in positive discipline which is called Validate Feelings and you know, we just name the feeling we see in the child but with teenagers that's a tool that I am very cautious about because I can see, like how, when you name the emotion it seems very intimate to them and you go too much into what they feel and that doesn't feel good for them so it's, you know, their privacy needs to be kept. I think it's more about talking about emotions when there is not a big issue or you know, I think it's easier to not talk about these emotion at the moment of the problem or ask them if they want to share, you know, but you know, it's, so we have to be very cautious about, you know, them feeling not too exposed.
Casey: Yeah, it's like they're simultaneously saying "See me" and "How dare you see me?' It's a little challenging to be the parent of that but-
Nadine: What I found and what I think as a tool when, you know, we, you know, when they want to find out who they are is talking about them to them, like asking question "What do you like and what you think about that?" and you know, just asking questions without judgments about their lives, what they want, what they do, you know, just being generally interested in them and that helps them, I think, find out, you know, be more conscious, who they are, what they like, what they think.
Casey: So individuation also often looks like rebellion because teens are testing family values and I don't know if I said this already in the summit but as we kind of deep dived into individuation and the teen years last year, I remember picking up my Positive Discipline for Teenagers book and reading a passage that started with "Do kids that are raised with positive discipline rebel as a teenager?" and the response is "Yes, they do." They just don't, they just typically do it, like, right in your face, right in front of you versus being sneaky or going underground, that it's kind of more an out in the open experience which is absolutely how I experienced, how I've experienced this with my teen. And you know and it's powerful to really think about what does rebellion really mean, right? And is it again, back to the conversation of "I want to explore who I am different from you" or is it, you know "I have other issues going on and I'm looking for escape" or I'm looking, you know, if it's healthy rebellion versus unhealthy rebellion.
Nadine: And I think also that's a hard one to differentiate and we're not always very sure. Well, I am not, like with my older son, last year he started college in France. You all have to know that college in France is very cheap. So it's a maybe, you know, 100 euros a year, so $100 a year to pay for college.
Casey: Oh, that's nice.
Nadine: So if they lose a year, it's not such a big deal. So he started college and after 3 months he said to me "I am stopping. This is not what I really want to do. I don't want to do this type of studying." And so for me it was a bit of a rebellion but then I thought "Well, he's going to use that time to do something else and he's going to find a job or go, you know, learn a language abroad or something" and so he found a job really quickly and that he really liked and he liked it so much that after like 2 weeks of his job he said to me "Mom, I'm actually not going to study, I'm not going to go to university" and you must know that in my family education and very high education is very important, it's one of our family values, we have to go over a top 3000 books in the house so it's just like very important for us and I was like "Oh my God, this is the worst thing that can happen, really."
And even though, you know, I started to, you know, think about it and think "Well that's not the end of the world, so many people do that you know, not go to a university" and yet, you know, I could feel how how hard it was on me and how he was really questioning us by doing that. And you know, we talked about it with him and I said you know, "You're going to do whatever you want, it's your life, you know" and we had a few discussions about it and he finally, you know, we finally were more precise and he didn't know where to go and what to study, something he said that he likes, you know, going to social and humanitarian work, volunteer work and things like that but he didn't know of any schools doing that, so we actually found a school and now he's studying again, but it was for me, that time when he was, you know, deciding not to study was very difficult time. And I really, really felt the individuation strongly.
Casey: Yeah, well I mean-
Nadine: And it was tough to lead him without controlling him. Like, you know, to really let go and think, "OK, that's his choice, you know, he's going to do what he thinks. He's 18 years old" and you know, I will not, so I really forced myself, which was really hard because all I wanted to do is say "No, you're going to study no matter what."
Casey: Yeah, well, and I appreciate that story a lot because I think it really highlights those moments where we realize "Oh right, we actually don't have any control." I mean, in the purest sense of that word and I know for me it's that and I think a lot of us can relate to that story, you know, whether it's a conversation about college or simply about grades and school work, I had a gal email me recently saying that she wanted some support motivating her daughter because her daughter had decided she wasn't going to go to college.
Instead she was going to get famous on YouTube and you know and how many kids are saying that right now to their families, a lot because there's this idea that that's such an easy thing to do and anyway, but at the end of the day, how we are in relationship with our kids in a way where we can stand side by side and kind of paint a picture, like and I have my arm out kind of like, you know, "Look, let's look at the world around us" and like, we were talking about with finding out who they are, asking those questions.
I love that you finally were able to drill down with him so that he was aware of, you know, "What's really interesting to me is social issues and humanities and I just, I'm not getting that where I'm at" and so to be able to be really clear and help them get really clear on what it is that's important to them to be able to then look for opportunities. I just think that that is so beautiful and I'm guessing took a lot of personal work for you because I also heard how important and I'm the same way, how important education is and to have one of your kids say "Yeah, you know, I think I'm good and so many people are good and you keep doing you and I'll do me," you know to, because I know for me that-
Nadine: He was saying, you know, "I'll study maybe in 5 or 10 years, it's OK, I don't need to study now." You know and I was like, you know, one part of me was thinking "Well, that's true, you know, now life is different than it's been, I mean, everything is changing and studying will not be the same and you can find, you know, you can, you will study all your life and it's not, you know, as it was before and at the same time I was saying "OK, so are you, you know, are you going to start studying, you know, like when you're going to want to have a family or things like that?" He was like, "Oh, I didn't think of that."
Casey: Right, right, right. But it's true though, I mean, there are so many avenues now for education and to let go of the traditional model that we were raised with, you know, you move through school, which includes the college years, before you set out into the world and it's, yeah, I mean I could feel in my own body, like, I could feel in my belly that tightness around like "But this isn't how you're supposed to do it."
Oh, yes, individuation and then so the next little bit is the next characteristic of individuation is that adolescents are going through huge physical and emotional changes and I did a whole, I know, people listening to the summit heard me talk to Kelly Pfeiffer about emotional development and Marcilie Smith-Boyle about brain development. We didn't really, I haven't really talked much about the physical changes that are happening but that is happening. And they don't always know what's happening for them as it's happening and so the behavior can show up as really confrontational or defensive or you know, just all around challenging for parents. What's been your experience with the physical and emotional changes of adolescence?
Nadine: Oh, I see a lot of physical changes, of course, now all of my children have gone through almost you know, all, like they have adult body. So it was quite interesting to see my older son, Timothy, his hair changed, he used to have, like, you know, not curly hair but you know waved and then he had hair kind of very, very curly, I don't know how you call that, I don't know that word in English but the really, really curly which was not, which was very different, frizzy, frizzy.
Casey: Okay, yeah, yeah, yeah. He needed some hair product.
Nadine: It was quite a big change and then he made it grow and it was going up and up and now it's really long and it was down and it was all over, hair twice his head, you know, and he loves his hair, he's really happy with that. So that's the change that he's been through. What I've seen or saw in all of them, you know, is the pimples and the skin and that's not easy, I think for them to deal with, it's a big challenge and you know and I can see how some children are more impacted by that than others. Some don't really care and some are really, really, there's one pimple and it's end of the world.
Casey: Right, it's like "I'm not leaving the house. I can't go. I can't." Yeah, we've, that's something we navigate over here, for sure, it's getting, I think, better as the reality sets in that, you know, if you ever want to leave the house, you're going to need to get over this" but I think that I think it's really easy for the adults to kind of roll, you know, metaphorically roll their eyes and be like "OK, yeah, teenagers have acne. We're still going to go and do this."
So in those moments, just really, what I've noticed is, you know, when I can relate and validate and then move forwards "and we're going to go to this family gathering" or "and we are going to go and do this thing" it helps much more so than just like "Oh, you know, everybody, it's not a big deal, it looks worse to you than everybody else." So again, it's kind of taking them seriously, which is respectful, isn't it? I think it's, that's something that gets in the way of a lot of people with their teenagers is, and in American culture in general, just the whole vibe of, you know, teenagers, they're so dramatic, they're so lazy, they're so this, they're so that, instead of seeing them as fellow human beings and treating them as such.
Nadine: Yes, yes.
Casey: But the acne is tough.
Nadine: It is tough and I see also, like the body change for one of my sons, my second son, he grew and he's very, very tall now and he has muscles and he really likes to work on his muscles and make them grow and you know, he does push ups every day and you know, he finds ways to improve his-
Casey: His muscle mass? Is he doing a lot of flexing?
Nadine: I don't know what is flexing but-
Casey: Yeah, yeah, like posing with the and making his muscles look big when he poses?
Nadine: Yeah exactly. In the pictures we have, you know, and he really likes that and actually, you know, which was really fun, last summer we were on vacation and every morning he was saying "Oh, this is an exercise time, everyone come with me" and so he made us, all of us, do all his exercises with him so we kind of embarked with him in his fun thing. Which was good for me because I don't do enough sports.
Casey: He's like your own personal trainer.
Nadine: Exactly and he was so good, he was really like, "No, mom you should do like this and this, that's better for your pack if you do this or that," so it was really, really fun actually to do it with him. And also what I see with my daughter, mostly, because it's a balance, like, you know, the clothes and looking at herself and the make up and you know, it takes a lot of time.
Casey: To get out of the house.
Nadine: Not to go to the house but I was a teenager who was not, I didn't, I wasn't too much into all of that, you know, clothes and makeup so it's really surprising for me and I really enjoy it and I think, the same as Theo with his body, you know, the way he does his push up, I go with her, I go with her, you know, go look at make up and actually I really enjoy it. I am thinking "Why didn't I do that when I was a teenager, this is so much fun!"
Casey: Oh my gosh, yeah, my 15 year old, almost 16 year old daughter, she helped me get eyebrows. She was, she worked on my eyebrows the other night and I was like never in my, I've never had, like, filled in my eyebrows or even really given much thought to my eyebrows. It is amazing to me and they're so good at putting the makeup on, it's not even so much the makeup, it's the skill, you know, I mean, I'm kind of like you as well, I didn't do a lot of primping, I mean, I did, you know, mascara and it was the eighty's too so there was a lot of like, blue, really bad makeup but it's amazing to me and that's a place, I think, one of the many places where we get to let go and it's funny too because she's actually been, she's kind of on the other side of something where she looks back and says "Oh my gosh, I can't believe," well, she'll talk about last year when she went to the public school, you know, "I can't believe how much time in the morning I would take to put on makeup and how much makeup I would wear" and I'm like, "Oh!" It makes me so happy when she can look and be, like, I'm so different now, and I'm like, "Yes, yes!"
You know, and later on in the summit, just as a teaser for the listeners, I do have, because there is, you know, I think what we're talking about is really healthy relationships with body and image and there's a dark side to that as well and I actually have a conversation with Kristen Nasman later on in the summit about body image and about how, you know, we can see how our kids are can get vulnerable and slide into some eating disorders. I wonder if it's a cultural thing, just as, do you see a lot of teens with eating, does eating disorder come up at all or much in France?
Nadine: Yeah, it does come up but not many people talk about it but I think Maya's quite, with the people around her, her friends are quite healthy.
Nadine: Yeah, she doesn't talk to me about, like, problems around that and I was always very vigilant with her eating and how they eat and actually also, you know, I read, I think it's in Positive Discipline for Teenagers that no one ever died of eating junk food for a little while and I think that also really helped me to let, you know. It's still hard because when I found, like, packs of cookies and candies in the rooms and I'm like, "No, don't eat in your room." And you know, I don't like them eating candy or junk food but they do still. But, you know, it passes I think. I'm hoping, because it hasn't passed for them yet but, Theo, my second son, he's so worried about people's, he's like, I'm not eating, I'm not having any sugar. Wow.
Nadine: Let's do that.
Casey: So one of the next little quality of individuation is peer relationships taking precedence over family relationships and I'm not going to spend a lot of time on this because I feel like it comes up a lot in other interviews but really, you know, it's the conversation around just because they, well, and I wouldn't say just because they don't want to spend time with you because I am not, well, last year was a whole different kind of year for me with my teenager but I'm not necessarily, they definitely want to spend time with their peers and they're happy to have some family time as well. I don't know that that's always the case in every family but that's something we get to create, isn't it?
Nadine: I know it's not always the case and I know also I see some families where it's really hard in teenage years and then they go to college and they come back and it's much easier and they have a better relationship because it's also, you know, some of them need privacy more and I guess, more autonomy and also, I think that's a lot about the judgments we give to them. I see that whenever I give too much judgement on what they do, you know, I just give, not my advice but you know, you know, I say what I think-
Casey: Your sage wisdom, Nadine, I mean, come on, why wouldn't they want to hear it?
Nadine: Why wouldn't they want to hear it?
Casey: I'm like, come on, you won the ovarian lottery, kids, like.
Nadine: The workshops I do, people like my wisdom.
Casey: Yeah. Oh my God.
Nadine: Yes, so I think, I can see, the more I give judgment the less they want to spend time with me.
Casey: Yeah, Rowan gave me some feedback a while back and said, she said, "You make everything about you and you always have to be right." And I looked at her and I thought for a minute and I thought, I wonder, I bet if I ask the people I'm closest to if that was a fair assessment of me they might say yes. So I will take that feedback and work on that, thank you very much. Yeah and you mentioned that privacy, you know, their need for privacy and their need for personal power and autonomy. And while I feel like the privacy piece, especially, is one of those things that we know in our heads, that this is normal, this is important or maybe it's just me and it is so hard because I want to know everything. And it's scary, or it starts, it doesn't have to be scary but it's so easy for our minds to kind of take over and spin a tale of, you know, woe and craziness when we don't know what's happening for our kids.
Nadine: I think it's really hard to not know some of the things and we have something in our heads, well I do, I don't know if some people can relate but you know, the matter can go on and I can imagine the worst things. When there is nothing to imagine, really or you know, it's just, it's just teenagers. And really some times, you know, I saw my son come back, when I actually, I didn't see him come back but in the morning he didn't make it to his bed,.he fell asleep just in front of his bed after a big party where he drank, you know, and I was like, "Oh my God, this is the beginning of alcoholism," And like, luckily my husband is just helping me keep my feet on the ground. And he's like, "He's 19, come on."
Casey: RIght, right, when I think about what I was doing at 19, oh man.
Nadine: So so and since we know all the dangers and the problems that can happen and all of that I think it's really easy to get overstressed and try to control when there is no need for that.
Casey: Yeah, I think it it's one of those things where we hear all the worst case scenarios right in front of us through news and social media and so our brains immediately go there when our kids are doing the very typical developmental exploring and experimenting, Jane Weed-Pomerantz, our friend, was one of my interviews that has already come out in the summit and we talked about the continuum of substance use and that was really, I actually read through that whole continuum, it's in the Positive Discipline for Teens with my kids and you know, and the very first thing is, the majority of kids who experiment don't necessarily, don't become addicts that are dead in a ditch and yet when we have experiences like you have, how easy it is to immediately decide that, well, this is the beginning of that. And so I appreciate you sharing that story.
Nadine: And we can make it happen if we get too controlling.
Casey: Yes I think that's so important.
Nadine: It could create a problem where there's not a problem, I think, stress too much about it and be fearful then we becoming discouraging to the children. And then, you know, they go into, they can go into problems because we are so discouraging to them.
Casey: Right, I'm reading Becoming by Michelle Obama, her new memoir and she's talking about her how her mom was, how she gave just enough praise for her kids to know that she appreciated and valued them but not so much that they felt like they had to continue to do that for her and she gave just enough criticism to kind of put, build a little fire underneath them to do better and for them to be able to assess their own situation without making it about their mom.
And I am reading about her mom and I'm thinking "Oh my gosh, her mom is like the ideal parent, right" and she talks about how she's really even keeled no matter what the kids brought home and yeah, because I have not necessarily been even keeled, however, I am very quick to take personal responsibility when it's necessary, when I have flown off the handle or I haven't shown up well for the kids, mostly because of fear creeping in and I think that's the thing about the privacy piece and them making mistakes is it doesn't.
So we're not saying and I think positive discipline gets misunderstood as, "Oh, you know, just let them be in their room 24/7 and have complete privacy and you know, allow them to make every mistake in the book and don't ever have a conversation about it," you know, that's not what we're at, this isn't permissive parenting. My guess is you had a conversation with your son, you know, after maybe, after the hangover was was finished but.
Casey: Right and then I'm guessing it also sounded like-
Nadine: It's an ongoing conversation that we have, It's like something we talk about often, you know, I check in with him on how he's doing with, you know, drinking and how much and what he thinks but also, yeah, I think, like, for, you know, I was, some parent was asking me, like, "How do you do for the New Year's Eve party to control what your kids do?" And I was like, "Wow, this is a questionI never ask myself, I think it's an ongoing thing that we need to work on with them, you know, their autonomy and their power and their responsibility is, you know, we build it every day with what we do, you know."
I think you know, and also it's a lot about responsibilities and jobs and cores in the house as well and it's not because they're teenagers, they don't have to do that as well as younger ones and I think it gives them a lot of power and autonomy and my daughter, you know, she was saying to me "Mom, it's quite interesting because my friends, they don't do things because they're afraid they're going to be punished for it, you know, that their parents and me, when I don't do things, it's like, I know it's wrong and I know the consequence I'm going to be the one dealing with the consequences of what I do" and I think also, you know, it's about experiencing their mistakes and dealing with their mistakes and for their New Year's Eve, we were away and our older son Theo had a party in the house so it was the first time we left the house for a few days and he had a party.
Casey: Did you know he was going to have a party?
Nadine: He talked to us, we had planned everything and I said, you know, "You're free to use the house, we want the house the same as when we left, we want, you know, all of the, like, clean and everything"
Casey: Nothing broken.
Nadine: Nothing and well, if it's broken, you pay for it, you know.
Casey: Yeah, good point, good point.
Nadine: And we came back and oh my god, the house was cleaner than when we left them and you know, he had broke one thing and he said "OK, I'm going to pay for it, don't worry" You know, he was very and he said, "You know, I had to clean the floor 6 times." But he did it, you know and when we arrived it was clean, perfectly clean, so it's, I think it's it's really important to, for them to have their power and autonomy is all about their responsibility and what they need to do and you know also, like so we went on vacation for the New Year's Eve with some friends and we had our 2 younger children with friends of them and we had a house, we rented a house and we said, "We need to clean when we go." So, each had jobs, you know, each of them and they did it as well, but they knew before, so if they were careful about not, you know, how they use the house.
Casey: And not being too messy.
Nadine: Yeah, yeah.
Casey: Well and I love, what I'm really hearing and I think this is one of the places that challenges me as a parent educator is when people come and they want a particular answer, like, what you said about that gal who asked "How do you keep them or how do you control what they do on New Year's" you know and those particular questions and there are so many layers, there are, you know, many layers, it's not one particular answer.
Nadine: And it's what you have built that will make you feel safe, for that time, more than just deciding on one thing for one evening.
Casey: Right so and I just appreciate that and for anyone that's listening that's feeling like, "Oh no, I mean, I haven't been doing this," there's no window that closes as far as when you can be intentional about giving your child experiences for contribution and personal responsibility, you know, the time is now, starting today is a great place to start and I think sometimes when we learn, you know, when we, especially the teen years when it starts to feel like "I've totally messed up and now here we are and there's nothing I can do about it," typically, what I've noticed is that the best place to start is simply in owning anything that you've brought to the relationship, so if you have been really controlling, if you have been really critical or judgmental, right or if you have been withdrawn and checked out, you know, own that with your kids and let them know that you would like things to be different and that you are going to continue to learn and grow and here are some things that you're going to bring to the relationship to support all of you in shifting what's currently alive in the climate of your home, right. I mean.
Nadine: I had parents come to a workshop and her daughter was 24 years old and she said "Oh, I'm not coming for my daughter, I'm coming for my students" and after, like, the workshop she sent me an email and she said "Oh actually, you know what, I tried with my daughter and it's actually changing" and she actually, her daughter comes on the weekends sometimes and she just puts all her stuff, like, in the living room and she gets really annoyed with her daughter. She said, you know, it's actually changing the relationship, the way I feel with her, you know, I do kind of a family meeting, saying how we're going to deal with the weekends and how do we want things to be organized and she said it was just really, so, you know, you don't have to start when they're young, it's building from where you are and it can change, you know, and grow.
Casey: And I love that and I think that really speaks into what I love the most about Positive Discipline is it's really about not so much parents being in relationship with their children or adults and children, it's about humans in relationship with each other, so I mean, the same tools and strategies that we talk about can be applied in any relationship of our life and that's what I love and that really speaks into the dignity and respect piece, right, because you know, granted it might sound and sometimes my husband's been and tell me if you've experienced this where he's like, "Quit positive disciplining me." "I'm just validating your feelings, babe."
But you know, and there's also things like tone and way of being in intention and all of those things that come into play as well, I mean, I think it's really important to be authentic inside of the conversations that we have, whether it's with a 5 year old or a 15 year old or a 30 year old, you know, being authentic and real and not like, "Oh this is, you know, this is a strategy, I'm going to get what I want because I'm using these tools" like that's not necessarily going to be useful but if the goal is, you know, to be in deep conversation and deep relationships so that we are all moving forward in a healthy and loving way then, you know, Positive Discipline is the way to go and the teen years are really hard.
Nadine: And I think the important thing is to keep focused on the relationship, not forget the relationship. Just, you know, I think it's so important.
Casey: Yeah and the last 2 and then we're going to wrap it up here but the last 2 qualities of individuation, I don't think we need to spend much time on because everybody knows parents become an embarrassment to their teens somehow, they lose sight of just how cool we are, so I think for me the biggest piece of that is not to take it personally. Because I tend to.
Nadine: So do I.
Casey: But they'll realize how great we are again when they get out of the teen years and then teens seeing themselves as omnipotent and all knowing. Compassion, that's what I lean into, compassion and curiosity when they seem to know everything and I know nothing. How does that show up for you?
Nadine: Well, yeah, take it personally especially when you are doing, you think you are doing such a great job there as parents. It gives you a big humility slap in the face.
Nadine: You realize you're not doing such a great job. I mean, like, you know, we're all doing such a great job at the same time as not so it's more about yeah, just realizing, "Hey, we're old."
Casey: Yeah, we are.
Nadine: And that, you know, who we are is not, like, their age, which is normal, you know and it's not about us, totally not, I think and sometimes, you know, we can get good feedback and what should we do or not do to be helpful and not to embarrass them, you know, I often asked them "Did I embarrass you when I said that?" or you know, "When I did that" you know, they actually respond to me either like, "No, it was fine," or, "Yeah, don't do it again."
Casey: Yeah, well and I think.
Nadine: The first time my daughter said, "No don't drop me in front of the school," I was like, "Oh my God, she's doing it to me."
Casey: I know, I like to roll down the window and say "I love you!" She just doesn't turn around. Yeah, I mean, it's, and like what you said, we can be doing a great job and they're still going to go through individuation, you know, individuation has to happen, it's developmentally appropriate, it's healthy. We want them to individuate while they're at home versus once they make it out into the world and there's less of a soft landing, right, and sometimes, you know, I know for me, my individuation definitely happened once I left home and things could have gone pretty sideways, fortunately they didn't but not because I wasn't doing crazy things.
So what I'm hearing you talk about is relationship, is being open. We didn't really talk much about this but really listening to our gut, especially when it comes to the pushback against our values. Or the, well yeah, like the pushback against our values, the rebellion, you know, I'm just going to encourage everyone that's listening to get really good at listening to your gut and knowing when, because letting go is so important and like, you said, Nadine, there is also room where we need to step in. And so getting ever better at that and I think our kids are really good and pretty forgiving, so if we, you know, think we're listening to our gut and we step in and they're like "No, I'm OK, back off," listen.
Nadine: And I think letting go is not also about, it's about not being over controlling but it's not about not talking about things or you know, not being there and not listening to them and not, you know, it's not about that, but it's really more about seeing what's our part in that, like what's our stuff we're dealing with?
Casey: Yes totally and I like to think of the visual of standing side by side with my teenager, looking at a situation versus face to face, you know, where it becomes me against you, instead it's side by side here and we both want the same thing which is, you know, for you to have a healthy productive life.
Casey: Hey well, is there anything else you'd like to share with the people that are listening, Nadine, about individuation or raising teenagers.
Nadine: Well I think it's a really important to go through with them and be along, you know, like you said, be on their side, you know, keep that relationship no matter what, I think that's really important. And I think that's also very, it's good mental health to go through that, you know, they need it and we need it, you know, I think it's it's also good for us, you know makes us grow.
Casey: Yeah, truth, truth, truth, truth there. Thank you so much, it's such a privilege to be in conversation with you, thanks for your contribution. If there's anyone listening who want to get in touch with you where can they find you?
Nadine: Well they can find me on my website but it's a French website.
Casey: I'll put the link in the notes.
Nadine: and then you have my email if you want it.
Casey: OK perfect so listeners I'll put in Nadine's website and email into the notes for this interview and you know, if you speak French then you'll be able to read all about everything on the website, right? I bet there's an English translation, Google. Google's good like that.
Nadine: Yeah, I haven't done a translation yet.
Casey: Well, it's okay. Thank you so much, it's so great to talk to you, my friend.
Nadine: You're welcome, thank you so much, it was an honor to be on your podcast.