I’m Diana Swillinger, and you’re listening to the Renew Your Mind podcast. Episode 45 A Parenting Mind Shift.
DIANA: Hey. Hey. Diana here. Welcome, everybody, to another episode, episode 45. Hard to believe I’ve almost been doing this for a year. Today I have a very interesting episode for you. It’s an interview episode, and my guest is someone I’ve had the honor of working with for the past couple of years, my good friend, Mr. Pat Quinn. He is known by most people these days as the stage whisperer because he can teach anyone how to give an outstanding presentation and master the stage. And he’s pretty much the best in the industry at that. So I am honored to coach alongside him, and it’s just an incredible experience. But that’s not why I have him on the podcast today. Pat is also a parenting expert. In fact, he’s been teaching parents around the country for the past couple decades, and what he teaches really works. He has a book, too, which we’ll mention in the episode, so pay attention for that. I myself will be replaying this episode a few times. Because as I continue to want to think better about my parenting and improve my communication and my relationship with my kids, there’s so much good stuff in this episode that will help me do that, even though my kids are older, because it’s never too late to work on some of our most important relationships. I know you will find tremendous value in Pat’s perspective, and he gives some very practical guidance as well. If you aren’t driving, the stuff is so good, I recommend you grab a pencil and paper because you’re probably going to want to take some notes. So if you’re driving, don’t do that. Just sit back and enjoy. All right, here we go. Today I have a special guest on the podcast, my friend Pat Quinn. I’ve had the honor of working with him, well, alongside him, not in the parenting arena, but in the presentation world. He’s an amazing presentation coach and a master of the stage, but that is not why I have Pat here today. He’s also a parenting expert. In fact, he’s the author of the book how to Parent a, uh, Genius raising Kids that are Smart, Successful, nice and Happy. I had to add that tagline because I’m like that’s what I want. I want my kids to be smart, successful, Nice and happy. And he’s held workshops for parents around the country for over 20 years. This guy knows his stuff, and I am so glad to have him here today. So. Hello, Pat. Welcome to the New Year Mind Podcast.
PAT: Hey. Hello. It’s a pleasure to be here.
DIANA: Good. Well, obviously I’m excited to have you here. And before we get too far into it and I start firing questions at you, why don’t you just give us a little background? How did you become an expert in parenting?
PAT: Well, I actually, uh, started as a public school teacher. And during my public school teaching career, I taught elementary school, middle school, and high school. So I’ve watched kids at a bunch of different ages as they develop. And one of the things that I noted as I was meeting with parents and talking to struggling parents, and then as I became a parent, is that a lot of parents struggle with changing the behaviors of their kids. And a lot of parents struggle with getting kids to do what we want them to do and things like that. And it’s basic things that every teacher is trained on their very first year of college. And so I said, why don’t I just take this basic stuff that every teacher has learned their very first year of college and they use every day in their classrooms and in their schools and teach it to parents? So that parents can have kids that are not only well behaved, but great decision makers, high self esteem and, uh, achieving what they want in life. And so basically, we’re just taking the concept of teaching and applying it to parenting and we get just tremendous results not only, uh, in our families, but in the families of all the parents that we work with.
DIANA: Great. Well, that seems like kind of a natural transition. And if this stuff works, I’m ready to hear what you have to say. Because my kids are older, but I do still have an eleven year old, but I’m still working on it. I am totally not a parenting expert. And in fact, I talk to moms all the time. It’s kind of what I do. And none of us say parenting is easy. Like, we’re always admitting it feels stressful or we feel confused or for sure we’re always exhausted. Even the most positive people are struggling with that. And then just when we think we have it all figured out, our kids hit another stage and they grow up and then they got some new struggle and we feel like we’re back at square one. So, uh, I know there’s probably all sorts of parenting strategies of things we can do, but here on the Renew Your Mind podcast, I’m always talking about how we can think about things differently. So in that vein, what is one of the most important ways that parents can think differently about their role? So not only they get a better experience as a parent, they’re creating a better experience for their kids as well.
PAT: The number one shift that parents can make is to stop thinking of yourself as someone who’s going to discipline your kids and start thinking of yourself as someone who is a teacher who’s going to teach your kids. Let me give an example. When your kids do something that you don’t want them to do, regardless of what age they are, whether they’re two years old, twelve years old, or 22 years old, when your kids do something that you don’t want them to do, I want you to not just think, oh, I should punish them, or oh, I should yell something really dramatic right now. That’s what a disciplinarian would do. Instead, I want you to think of yourself at that moment as a teacher. And a teacher would do three things in that moment. So every time your child does something that you don’t want them to do, you should do three things. The first thing that you should do is to tell them what they are doing wrong. You should specifically say, this is what you are doing wrong. And so if your child is, uh, young and they’re pressing the buttons on their remote control, uh, while you’re trying to watch television, you shouldn’t just say, Stop it. You should actually specifically tell them what they’re doing wrong. Don’t press the buttons on the remote control. It’s very simple. Or if your child is, uh, walking by and kind of just playing with a coaster, you have a ceramic coaster, and they’re just banging it on the coffee table, and you’re like, oh, that coaster is going to break, don’t, uh, just say, Stop it. Don’t just take it away. Tell them what they are doing wrong. That’s the first step. Most parents do that. Some don’t.
Some just are like, Stop it. And they don’t say anything, uh, about what they’re doing wrong, but specifically tell them what they’re doing wrong. Now, most parents stop there. I want you to do two more things. The second thing that I want you to do is to tell them why it is wrong. Tell them first what they’re doing wrong and then why it is wrong. And so you want to say, don’t touch the buttons on the remote control. That’s what you’re doing wrong. We don’t want to touch the buttons on the remote control because your father’s watching the football game and he’s already in a bad mood. You don’t want to make that worse. So tell them what they’re doing wrong and why it’s wrong. So don’t bang the coaster on the coffee table. The coaster might break, and you might cut your fingers. It’s what you’re doing wrong and why it is wrong. Mommy needs a place to set her drink down, honey. And so you need to say what they’re doing wrong and why it is wrong. And then the third thing, you want to do all three of these every single time. This will be really hard for you in the beginning because you’re like, uh oh, this is taking me forever. And by the way, I just said all this stuff five minutes ago. But that’s teaching. You want to do all three of these, what they’re doing wrong, why it is wrong, and then the third one is the one so few parents do, but it makes all the difference in the world. Third thing you should do, and always do, is give a substitute behavior.
Tell them what they should do in that situation. See, kids aren’t sitting around trying to misbehave. Kids are just sitting around trying to do interesting and exciting things. And they’re naturally curious. So they do things. And when we say, stop it, they stop for about 5 seconds and then they go right back to that same misbehavior because they’re having the same feeling they did 10 seconds ago. They just are curious and they want to do something interesting or exciting. And so when we give them a substitute behavior, we’re actually teaching them. When you have these feelings, when you have these emotions, when you feel like this or are in this situation, here’s what you should be doing. And so don’t press the buttons on the remote. We don’t do that because somebody else is watching television and it’s not polite to change the channel. If you want to push the buttons on something, I’ve got a little old calculator here. You can push the buttons on this calculator and we can play with or we can get out your toy cash register and play with it. Or don’t bang the ceramic coaster on the coffee table like that. If you want to bang something, uh, we can go out to the workshop and I can get you a little wooden hammer and we can bang on some boards if you want.
So what they’re doing wrong, why it is wrong, and give a substitute behavior. If you do this now, in the beginning, I got to tell you, you’re going to do it more than you’ll expect. If you have young kids, two, three, four years old, this doesn’t work the first time. That’s not how teaching works. You do it a few times, like ten to 15 times over the course of a month or two, but eventually you end up with all these benefits. Here are the benefits that you end up if you take this teaching approach instead of, uh, a punishing or discipline approach. The first benefit is that your children actually learn how to become good decision makers because you’re teaching the why. You’re teaching the why. And so as they grow, as they become from two years old to twelve years old to 22 years old, they actually know the reason behind your decisions. So they know how to make a good decision for themselves in the future. Second thing that happens is you don’t become the bad guy. You don’t want your kids to behave because they’re afraid of you seeing the misbehavior or they’re afraid of the punishment if you are always the disciplinarian or the punisher or the voice of God that comes down and is like, stop doing that. And they duck and they’re scared when they hear that, then you’re going to get kids who look left, look right, and then misbehave if you’re not around, or act like angels when you are around. I think every parent’s fear is that their children would misbehave. But I think every parent’s real fear is, how will my children make decisions when I’m not around? Oh, yeah, like, when I’m not there, will they make the same decision they would make when I am there? Well, actually, teaching the why and teaching the substitute behavior will get your kids to make great decisions, not only when you’re watching, but when you’re not watching. And then your role changes.
You change from the role of enforcer or cop to the role of provider, um, of good information, provider of the right way to do things, the helpful guide in life. And you may not think that’s a valuable role when your kids are nine years old or ten years old, but I tell you when your kids are 15, 16, 17 or 20, and they come to you, not because they’re afraid of getting into trouble, but they’re coming to you in situations where they just don’t know what to do. And they don’t view you as the person who catches them doing things wrong. They view you as the person who gives them good advice when they don’t know the right thing to do. That relationship is going to pay off for years to come. It’s going to give your kids high self esteem, make them better behave both when you’re around and when you’re not around. And it’s going to change your relationship with them forever. From the enforcer who catches them doing things wrong to the one who is the provider of good advice when you don’t know what to do. So three things you should do to become a teacher rather than a disciplinarian. Every time you see your child doing something wrong, tell them what they’re doing wrong, why it is wrong, and give them a substitute behavior. And you’re going to have to do this a lot with a two year old, three year old, and four year old. You’re going to have to do it a few times with a ten year old, eleven year old, and a twelve year old, a 15, 16,17 year old. You might have to do it a couple of times. So they get into the pattern of it. And I always tell people, like with newborns, uh, you should do this when your child is three months old. And people are like, well, three months old, they aren’t even understanding me, if that’s what you’re saying right now.
Here’s what I would say to you. You’re not doing it for your child at that point. You’re training yourself at that point, yes. Because it’s not your first reaction when you look across the room and you see your child writing on the wall with a permanent marker. I don’t want your first thought to be, what should I yell right now? I should yell something really dramatic right now. I don’t want your first thought to be, what should my punishment be? I should pull out a really good punishment for this one. I want your first thought when you see that to be, what should I teach my child right now so that this never happens again and they know what to do when they’re having these same feelings or in the same situation. When you switch that role from punisher and yeller into teacher, it’s going to change how you view your kids, change how your kids view you, and you’re going to see the results for years to come.
DIANA: That’s incredible. I can’t tell you how many I was taking notes like crazy, and I’m looking forward to listening back to this on my own podcast, and I’ll probably replay it a few times because that was so packed. But what I really noticed is how much everything you’re saying is affecting your relationship with that child from then on. Because I coach lots of women who have teenagers and they’re like, they never talk to me. They never talk to me. Well, maybe it had to do with how you set the stage by not talking to them and treating them like somebody you could have a relationship with and communicate with and that you are someone who has valuable information to give them. I liked how you use the example of the remote control and pushing buttons because so many people feel like their kids do push their buttons. But I don’t think we need to. And I liked how you said with little kids, we need to do this multiple times, over and over. And I’d like to offer to all my listeners right now, I know you’re hearing this and you’re going to think some of you are thinking, that sounds hard, like, I’m going to have to stop. I’m going to have to do that. I’ll have to do it again. That sounds hard. But if I can offer you a thought, which I like to do, one of the things you could try thinking instead of, well, trying to teach him right now, oh, my gosh, that’s just hard. It’d be easier to just say, stop it, and I can go back to cooking dinner or doing whatever.
But if you could remember, this is the part where you get to show up as the mom that you want to be. This is the part where you get to show up as the kind of parent you want to be. This is the part where you get to show up and invest in your child instead of just reacting to your child. Those are some things you could think when the situations arise where you want to get on their level with them and offer a way to teach them instead of discipline them.
PAT: The other thing I would add there, Diana, is that if you want to do this less you’ll teach, not just punish. Because if your child talks back to you or says something rude to you, calls you a name and you yell at them, they’re going to call you a name again. Or be rude to you again next week, too. You do understand that mhm? Where instead, if your child talks back to you or calls you a name and instead of yelling at them or punishing them, you say, look, here’s what you’re doing wrong. You should never talk to anyone like that, especially not your mom. Uh, here’s why it’s wrong. Uh, because it’s disrespectful. It changes the way I feel and it hurts me. And here’s what you should do. Here’s the substitute behavior in life. You are going to be angry with people. And when that happens, you shouldn’t be rude and you shouldn’t call them names. Here’s what you should do. Do you see how you switch from, I’m going to have to do this every week for the rest of my life to I’m going to teach you because you’re going to have these same feelings again. You’re not always going to love me. You’re not always going to be like, oh, I’m so happy with my mom. You’re going to be mad at me sometimes. And when you do, here’s what you do. You don’t talk back. You don’t call me a name. You don’t run away and slam the door of your room. Here’s what you should do. And then give them some productive things you can say to the other person when you do this. This is how I feel.
You can actually say to me, I’m angry with you right now, and I want to step away from you and process that alone until I can talk about this rationally. These are all things you could say to your parents, and they wouldn’t be mad at you, and it’s not disrespectful because you’re going to have these feelings again. So my advice, Diana, to follow this is to remember if you choose to, just go the punish route because it’s quicker right now, just remember, you’re going to be doing it again next week. Where if you choose to go the teaching route I’m not saying your kids will never talk back to you, because sometimes your feelings just overwhelm you. But at, uh, least they’ll know when I feel like this, I know what the right thing to do is. They won’t always choose it. As adults, we make bad choices, even when we know what the right choice is, but at least they’ll know and be equipped, because you know what that’s going to pay off. That’s going to pay off in the classroom when they’re mad at their teacher. That’s going to pay off in their job when they’re mad at their boss, that’s going to pay off in a relationship. When they’re mad at their boyfriend or girlfriend mean, teaching them how to respond in certain situations when they have certain feelings is not just for three year olds or 13 year olds. It’s for 53 year olds as well. And if you can equip them, it’s going to pay off for years to come.
DIANA: Yeah, it’s like a double effect. You’re modeling it and verbally teaching it at the same time. That’s going to go a long way. You kind of mentioned it in the last thing we were talking about. I don’t remember exactly what you said, but it got me thinking, uh, again, my kids are older, and I wish I would have had you back 20 years ago. I really needed you then. They’re allowing me to make up for it now. And I do use some of these strategies with them now, and it is a completely different experience. But I used to spend so much time as a parent feeling overwhelmed and worried. Like, what are the teachers going to think? What’s the pastor at church going to think if my kid runs down the hall? What are the neighbors going to think if they see my kids throwing sticks at each other outside? And I would feel so panicky. Like, I had to get them to behave right now. And looking back, it was probably because I was worried what other people were going to think of me. But I know this is something that a lot of my listeners think about, too. And I’m just wondering what your thoughts are on that aspect of parenting. How can we think differently so that we’re not stressing ourselves out so much in this way?
PAT: Uh, I think one of the big shifts that all parents should make is stop worrying about what other parents are thinking about your parenting, because those other parents don’t have your kids. Nobody knows your kids as well as you do. You know their strengths, you know their weaknesses, you know their triggers, you know everything about them. And nothing makes this worse than social media, because on social media, people only put up pictures of their perfect kids or stories that they think are funny. And we get this impression like everybody else’s, kids are so good and I’m not. But I noticed in my own parenting that usually when I’m making bad parenting decisions, it’s either because I’m being lazy, like, I’m in bed and I don’t want to get out of bed, and I just listen to the things crash around the house, or I’m doing something that I don’t want to be interrupted in. I’m just being selfish. I’m watching TV and I don’t want to get up, or I’m comfortable in my chair and I don’t want to play the game, uh, or there’s other parents watching. And I feel like I need to perform.
Like when you’re at a birthday party and your child is misbehaving, you know that the other eight parents at that birthday party are all looking at you, and I’m thinking, they’re all wondering what I’m going to do right now. So I got to come up with something really dramatic. That’s usually when I make my worst parenting decisions. When your child’s having a temper tantrum at the grocery store, you know, every other parent in that aisle is like, how are you going to handle this? And that’s usually when you make bad parenting decisions. So a few simple rules. Number one rule number one is never discipline from a distance. Discipline is more effective. This teaching model that I’ve taught you is more effective the closer you are to the child. And so if you’re in the kitchen and your child’s misbehaving in the living room, don’t yell from the kitchen, hey, stop misbehaving in there. That’s not effective. What you want to do is get as, even if you will go halfway to the door of the living room, but you really want to go close. You want to get as close as possible so that you can have the best conversation as possible. And remember body positioning. When you do this, younger kids under the age of ten, you should use face to face, body and body positioning. Always face them straight on. Kids between ages of ten or ten or eleven or twelve, kind of, uh, to up to 20. You, uh, want to use side by side positioning. Older kids will be threatened by face to face positioning. So stand next to them and don’t face them straight on, but get close. I always say if anybody else can hear you, disciplining your child. Either you’re not close enough or you’re just talking too loud. Second thing, try not to discipline in front of an audience. Uh, if there’s other people watching, I don’t think you’re going to make the best parenting decisions, but I know your child isn’t going to be listening and learning like they could be. Because when people get embarrassed and you know this because all the blood is rushing up to their head, their face will turn red, their ears will turn red. Science actually shows they stop processing incoming information. Like, you just go into survival mode there, and you’re just trying to get out of this situation without being any more embarrassed. So if you’re yelling at your child in front of a group of their friends or you’re at a birthday party and you’re disciplining your child and other people are seeing it, that’s the spot where you want to pull your child away down a hallway into a separate room. And yes, I want to give everybody permission who’s listening to this. It’s okay to leave a full grocery cart full of groceries in the grocery store.
DIANA: I’ve done that.
PAT: It’s okay to leave a restaurant with food on the table. Just make sure you pay before you leave. And don’t leave your purse in the shopping cart. But it’s okay to walk out of these situations. And as a matter of fact, if you walk out of a restaurant once, you probably never will have to again. Parents who are doing the same discipline again and again and again probably aren’t teaching like they should be teaching. And once kids know the right behavior, parents always come to me and they say, pat, what if your child knows the right behavior? You’ve taught the right behavior. You’ve taught it a dozen times and they look at you right before they do it. And then they do it just to spite you. There’s actually a technique that we teach in my book how to parent a genius called an if then statement. After a child knows a behavior. Now this is going to be later than you want. You have to teach the behavior a long time. Like we’re talking six months with a preschool child, three months with an elementary school kid, a month or so with a middle school and a high school child. Teach the behavior for a month multiple times over a period of time. But once they know the behavior and you can check this as you see them starting to misbehave, you can look at them and say, do you know what the right thing to do is right here? And they’ll be like, yes. The right thing to do is to set it down and then they do it anyway.
PAT: That’s when you know they knew the right behavior, but they did it anyway. That’s when you’re ready for an if then statement. So an if then statement sounds like this if you do this, then this will happen to you. Okay? So if you pull your sister’s hair, then you are going to have to go sit in your room for ten minutes. It’s a very simple if then statement. If you throw food at the table, then you’re not going to be able to play video games. If you speak to me like this again, then I’m going to take your car away. It’s a very simple if then statement. If you are using your phone after midnight, then you’re going to lose your phone for a month. That’s a very simple if then statement. Now it can only go wrong in two ways. One way that it can go wrong and this is the most common way that if then statements go wrong is if the child does the if and then. You don’t do the then. Okay? So if you are disrespectful to me, then you’re not going to be able to play video games. Now the child is disrespectful to you and instead of taking away the video game, you say, now I’m only going to tell you one more time. If you do this, you’re going to lose your video games. And then the next day your child’s disrespectful to you and you say, now. I’ve warned you about this. I’m only going to give you one more chance and this will happen for months and months and months. I can always tell when I see a child who the parent. We call these false promises. You made an if then statement and the child did the if. You have to do the then. But I’ll tell you this. If the child does the if and you do the then, they’re not going to do the if very much.
They’re not going to do the if very often. You might have to adjust the then sometimes. The then didn’t work. You took away something that they didn’t care about or you. It just you just have to adjust your then. The then part of the if, uh, then, um, statement. But if, if you choose a good then, something that would be unpleasant for the child or something that the child doesn’t want to experience. If the child does the if and you actually do the then parents who do that give an if then statement and then follow through with it. They don’t find themselves disciplining very often. Where we see problems is if parents say, if you do this, then this will happen and the child does the if and you don’t do the then, then you’ve taught your child a whole different lesson. You’ve taught your child that you don’t keep your word. You’ve taught your child that if they do the if, you’re just making a bluff or a false promise and they know that they can walk right through you the entire time. But if then statements are extremely effective, you don’t need to think about what other parents are thinking about your if then statement because they shouldn’t even hear them because you’re close to your child and you pulled them into a spot where no one else can hear it. And also, if you’re like, well, that’s all you do. When they do that, you’re like, well, this then statement works for my child. This is something that they will try to avoid and it adjusts their behavior. Uh, and I don’t have to care what you think. I think when we get in trouble with our parenting is when we start worrying what other parents are thinking. And when we start trying to impress other parents or doing it in front of an audience, I think that’s when we get into a lot of trouble. So don’t worry about that. Don’t worry about what other parents are posting on social media. Your children are unique. You know them better than anyone else, and you know what’s right for your kids.
DIANA: Yeah. Again, so much in that people are just going to listen to your answer for each question and then rewind and listen to it again and take notes.
PAT: The if then statement is just such a powerful tool. It comes after the teaching, uh, what you did wrong, why it is wrong, and give a substitute behavior. Like I said, for a preschool child, you should be in that teaching mode. Here’s what you did wrong. Here’s why it’s wrong. Here’s the substitute behavior for, like, six months, 20 to 30 repetitions of that through six months before you ever get to an if then punishment statement, because your kids are learning the new behaviors.
DIANA: If people haven’t been doing this and they’re like, oh, shoot, now my kids are eight and ten. It’s too late now. Is it too late? When is it too late?
PAT: No, it’s never too late. That’s the beauty. If you, uh, have been in a situation where you didn’t know this, or this was not the house that you got raised in, which is a lot of times, how we parent is just how our parents parented, or the exact opposite, depending upon our experience. I think it’s never too late to start it. And once you switch into a teaching mode, kids will pick it up very quickly, even if they’re 16,17 or 20 years old. Uh, you can switch into a teaching mode, and kids will transition to that really quickly. Another question that I often get is, what if there’s two households that they live in, they live with their mom some of the times, and they live with their dad some of the times, and dad doesn’t do this, or only one of the parents is doing this. Uh, that’s okay, too. Kids are actually pretty used to different sets of rules in different situations. By the time they get to middle school and high school, they have five or six different classes, all with a different set of rules. Kids can separate rules at school from rules at home to rules at work. They really can pick up different sets of rules in different situations. You can only control what you control, so you should control what it’s like when they’re in your environment. And when they’re in your environment, you’re a teacher, and when they’re in your environment, if you make an if then statement and they do the if, you do the then, and that’ll get you in a teaching mode. And it’ll have you disciplining actually, very little, because your kids know that when you make an if then statement, you’re trying to guide them in the right direction, and you’re going to do the then if they end up doing the if.
DIANA: Yeah, I’m going to add another strategy just with thought management on top of that, because I think the if then statement is incredible, and I totally see how it works. And I have done that with my kids, and I started late with my book. I think my son, my oldest was 16 by this time. I started using some effective parenting tools, and it wasn’t too late. And he’s very grateful to me now he’s 21 that I started doing that. But I think with the if then, the key for me was deciding ahead of time that when the if then comes, I just do it. I’m not going to ever say to one of my kids, if you do this, this is what’s going to happen. And then when they do it, I don’t I’m like I said, I was going to do it. I decided ahead of time. And yes, it’s uncomfortable now to execute this because I have my own thoughts and emotions about it, but I know it’s the right thing to do because I decided ahead of time. And so I’m just going to execute it and complete it and trust that everything will I’ll get through. My feelings of, like, this is awkward, or I’m afraid they’re going to hate me, or whatever else. I’ll get through that. And on the other end of that, I’m on my way to building a better relationship with my kids.
PAT: Well, one of the biggest reasons why people don’t do that, Diana, is because they chose a punishment that is actually a punishment for the parent, not a punishment for the child. Let me give you a classic example. If you do this, then there will be no television all weekend. Okay? Now, who does that punish?
DIANA: The parent.
PAT: The parent that punishes the parent. Because you’re not going to get anything done all weekend if your kids can’t watch any television. So what happens is you’ll say, no television all weekend, and then about an hour into that, like, your kids will be driving you crazy because they’re like, well, let’s do this. Well, let’s do this. Well, let’s do this. And they’ll just be sitting around irritating, and you’ll be like, you know, I know I said all weekend, but it’s been 45 minutes. I think you’ve learned your lesson. I think that’s been long enough. You just picked a bad then you picked a then that punishes you, not your kids. So pick something that is actually pleasant for you, unpleasant for them, and you’ll have a much better chance of actually following through on it than if you pick something that’s a punishment for you as well.
DIANA: Yeah, I remember one time my husband said if he does that again about one of our kids, I’m just going to tell him he cannot go on the winter retreat with the youth scoop. And I was like, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. No, we’re not going to do that one. My kid is leaving the house for the weekend.
PAT: I’ve been looking forward to this weekend for a month. You better, right?
DIANA: We need something else because I’m not punishing me because of his behavior. So I love that. All right, my last question. Sometimes we’re so focused on what’s hard about the parenting, and then we’re hard on our kids because we’re thinking it so hard and then we’re hard on ourselves. What advice do you have for us? Your last piece of advice so that we can not think parenting is so hard and we can enjoy parenting.
PAT: I’d say two things. First, I don’t try to be a perfect parent because I’d fail at that every single day. I try to be a better parent than I was yesterday. That’s all I’m trying to do is be better at this than I was yesterday. And I think that takes a giant weight off your shoulders. Because if you’re sitting there thinking, I want to be a perfect parent, or I want to be as good of a parent as I see other people parenting on Face Book, you’re going to fail at that every single day. And you’re just going to get in this cycle of guilt and this cycle of not liking your kids because they’re the ones stopping you from being a perfect parent, of course. Um, instead, don’t try to be a perfect parent. Try to be better than you were yesterday. If you’re trying to compliment more and criticize less, which is one of the keys to high self esteem, don’t try to go a whole day without criticizing and a whole day with just compliments. Just try to do better than you did yesterday. Have a better ratio than you had yesterday. If you’re trying to yell less and teach more, don’t try to never yell and always teach. Just try to teach a little bit more than you did yesterday and yell a little bit less than you did yesterday. Whatever it is, don’t try to be perfect. And the beauty of that is, ah, every morning is just fresh and new. Uh, if I made some mistakes yesterday and wasn’t the parent I wanted to be, I get a new morning tomorrow morning to try to be better than I was today. But to me, one of the biggest shifts that I made and I wish I would have found, uh, figured this out earlier. When my kids were in diapers, all I wanted was for them to be out of diapers. Like, I just can’t wait till we don’t have to always be carrying these diapers around. Then when my kids were when they were in car seats, all I wanted was to get rid of the car seats. Car seats are such a pain. You got a latchman, then switch cars, and flying is a pain. I just wanted them out of car seats, and then when they weren’t driving, I just wanted them to get their driver’s license so I didn’t have to be the school bus.
Like, they could just drive themselves to practice or they could just drive themselves to youth group. And I just kept hoping for the next stage. And I think one of the shifts that has really helped me is to recognize that the stage that you’re in is the stage that you should be enjoying. The truth is, when you get to the next stage, you’re going to miss the previous stage. You’re going to be like, I look at my daughter in bed now and like, her feet are sticking out the end of the bed. And I remember when she used to fit between my hand and my elbow and sit on my arm, and she was, like, ten inches long. And I just yearned for those days. And now that my kids have their driver’s licenses, I just yearn for the day when I could tuck them in or yearn for a day when they would need my help more. And I think one of the keys to really enjoying this journey is not looking forward to the next stage. Just enjoy the stage that you’re in and recognize that your kids will never be this age again and cherish every moment and the good days and the bad days. One of the things I love about parenting kids is that if you don’t like your kids right now and there’s things that they’re doing that you really just hate about them or hate those behaviors, just give it six. Months, they’ll change, and there’ll be a whole different set of behaviors that you hate, but they’ll also be a whole different set of things that you love. If you can get into that mindset and just enjoy the stage that you’re in right now, of course, the stage of parenting that you’re in right now is hard.
All parenting is hard parenting toddlers is hard parenting. Preschoolers is hard parenting. High, uh, schoolers is hard. If you can just enjoy the stage that you’re in right now and not just be looking forward to the next stage, I think you’re going to be a lot more content. You’re going to enjoy the moments more, and you’re going to smile more each day instead of just looking forward to the next stage. Because I can already tell you when the next stage comes, you’re going to miss the stage that you’re currently in. There’s a great line. My kids are older now, so we watch Netflix. We just watched the entire office before it got off on Netflix. And there’s a great line at the end of the office, I think, where Pam is looking back, and she says, I guess it was Andy looking back who said, what if you could recognize that you were in the good times while you were in them and you didn’t have to look back and recognize that you were in the good times? And I think that sums up parenting. What if you could recognize that you were in the good times right in the stage that you’re in and not have to look back and remember those good times? Just look at the stage that you’re in. I know it’s hard. Good parenting is hard. Recognize that the stage that you’re in is the good times, and I think that’s going to make all of us better parents, but it’s also going to help us enjoy the journey as we go through this as well.
DIANA: I love that, of course, that’s just living in the moment and when you’re there and you’re like, this is the good time. You can feel joy, you can feel appreciation, you can feel content. All those things you were saying. And I always tell my husband, he’s like, we’ll do that tomorrow. I’m like, this funny thing about tomorrow. It never comes. It’s always just today. It’s always today.
PAT: Our little motto in our family, embrace the chaos.
PAT: Because that’s the stage that you’re in right now. When we travel for Christmas and go down to Grandpa’s house for Christmas, we sometimes have to take two cars. We’re taking so much stuff. And we roll in. There’s no doubt that we rolled in because we’re rolling in with dogs and we’re rolling in with other pets and kids and toys like embrace the chaos. And you’re just going to love this part of life and love parenting.
DIANA: Yeah. For me, the chaos right now is when my three older boys all congregate in one room and talk really loudly about the entire canon of Star Wars and debate everything. And it’s so loud and they’re so intense. And I, uh, used to be like, it’s so loud. Now I’m just like, it’s awesome.
PAT: Embrace the chaos.
DIANA: Yeah. So that was so much amazing stuff. I’m so appreciative that you were here to share that. And I think you’re going to help a lot of parents just take a next step so that tomorrow they just do parenting a little bit better. I love that. So if people want to connect with you, if they want more, if they want more parenting help, or if they want to follow you, how do they connect with you?
PAT: If you want to learn more, you can check out, uh, my book, how to Parent a Genius on Amazon. And it’s called now you’re thinking there right now, my child’s not a genius. I believe every child is a genius. I’m not talking about being good in school or getting straight A’s. I’m talking about every child has this inner genius. Some kids are good at school, other kids are not. Some kids are good at relationships. Other kids are not. Some kids are kids are good at sports, are good with their hands, are good with, uh, the way that they solve problems. Every child is a genius. And part of our role as parents is to identify and recognize those geniuses, uh, develop it in our kids and enjoy the process of them growing into the person that they were made to be. And So HowTo Parent a Genius is available on Amazon.com. If you have questions about something that I talked about today and you want to follow up, you can always reach me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I believe all great parenting is great teaching. So it’s email@example.com, uh, awesome.
DIANA: I’ll put a link to the Amazon book. I’ll put a link to your email in the notes so if people want to contact you, they can all flood your email and become your friends. Thanks so much for being on today. I really appreciate it. I appreciate your wisdom, and we’ll talk again soon. Thanks. Yeah, you’re welcome. Thanks, everybody, for listening. That’s it for this week. I’ll catch you next time. Take care of you.
As an advanced certified life coach, I help Christian women trying to live their best lives, but they still feel unsatisfied and stuck. Uh, I teach thought management skills that work so you can enjoy life again and step into who God has created you to be. Don’t forget to head on over to Rympodcast.com to get my free resources or a free coaching call.