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Episode summary:

 

 In this episode, Susan talks with Julie Lythcott-Haims about the challenges of parenting, particularly as children transition into adulthood. They discuss the ways in which parents' roles evolve as their children grow, and the importance of parents modeling healthy adult behavior for their children. Julie describes the ultimate goal of parenting as raising independent and resilient adults who can thrive on their own.

Julie Lythcott-Haims is the New York Times bestselling author of How to Raise an Adult which gave rise to a popular TED Talk. Her second book is the critically-acclaimed and award-winning prose poetry memoir Real American, which illustrates her experience as a Black and biracial person in white spaces. Her third book, Your Turn: How to Be an Adult, has been called a “groundbreakingly frank” guide to adulthood.

Julie holds degrees from Stanford, Harvard Law, and California College of the Arts. She currently serves on the boards of Black Women’s Health Imperative, Narrative Magazine, and on the Board of Trustees at California College of the Arts. She serves on the advisory boards of LeanIn.Org, Sir Ken Robinson Foundation and Baldwin For the Arts. She is a member of the Palo Alto City Council.


Things you'll learn from this episode:

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Thinking of the goal of parenting as preparing children to become independent, resilient, and capable adults.

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The importance of parents prioritizing their own lives and well-being alongside their roles as caregivers. 
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How the transition to independent adulthood may look different for many kids in our current economic and social landscape, requiring parents to be supportive beyond traditional milestones like high school graduation.

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Episode Transcript



 Hi there and welcome to the Parenting Without Power Struggles podcast. Today we're gonna have a great conversation. I'll be joined by Julie Lythcott-Haims, the author of How to Raise an Adult, How to Be an Adult,  an amazing TED talk that's had over 8 million views on those subjects. But first, let me just welcome you.

I'm here to support you. Along your parenting journey. It's truly my joy and privilege and honor to share with you some of the things that I've learned in my 40 something years as a marriage and family therapist, and as a teacher and a parent educator, and I bring lots of interesting people to this series, as well as.

In the collaborations I do, which you can learn more about on my website, SusanStiffelman.com, you'll see people like Dan Siegel, Mona Delahooke, Janet Lansbury, Maggie Dent, Lisa D'Amour, Jack Kornfield, so many interesting people who have so much wisdom to share. And that's what I love to do. It's my favorite thing.

So I'm glad that you're here. Before we get started with today's conversation, do check out the website because there's masterclasses on every topic you can think of if it relates to parenting, including chores, anxiety, raising resilient kids, dealing with homework. So it's all there. I also wanted to mention that on May 17th, I'll be joined by Dr. Dan Siegel for another incredible, I know it'll be incredible masterclass. This class is going to be on. How to create secure attachment. It's on becoming a coherent parent. So we're going to take some ideas deeper. If you join me for the class I did a few months ago with Dan, which was just a deep dive into epigenetics and neuroplasticity and the interpersonal relationship neurobiology that he is so expert at translating for those of us who aren't science people but who are fascinated by the brain and attachment science. In this class that we'll be doing, we'll be talking about how to make those ideas practical. So if you didn't have the very best or most supportive or secure childhood, how you can heal and retroactively address some of the difficulties or dysfunction or wounds that you have.

Perhaps carried forward into your parenting life so that you can offer your children something  healthy and secure and I'm Really looking forward to that session and you can find out more on my website Susan Stifelman comm so today I'm eager to share the conversation I had with Julie Lithgott Hames.

Have a listen and I'll come back for the wrap up

Hi, everyone. Hi, Julie. Hi, Susan. Really, really glad that you're here and I'm going to read your bio, but I just have to start by saying we were going to do this interview a few months ago, except you did this unbelievable thing,  and I'm going to lead with that. Actually, I'll read your bio, but then I want to jump right to that. So just. Everybody be on the edge of your seat because you're going to hear about this incredible thing Julie did. Julie Lithgott Hames is the New York Times best selling author of How to Raise an Adult, which gave rise to a popular TED Talk.

And that TED Talk, by the way, I think has reached at least seven or eight million people.  Her second book is the critically acclaimed and award winning prose poetry memoir, Real American, which illustrates her experience as a black and biracial person in white spaces. And her third book, Your turn, How to Be an Adult, has been called a groundbreakingly frank guide to adulthood.

Julie holds degrees from Stanford, Harvard Law, and California College of the Arts. She's currently serving on the boards of Black Women's Health Imperative, Narrative Magazine, and the board of trustees at California College of the Arts.  Just does a lot of things, lives in Palo Alto with her partner of over 30 years, and they're itinerant young adults.

As well as her mother and Julie is a member of the Palo Alto City Council. Welcome again, Julie.

Thank you, Susan.  So I'm just going to start with the big wow, you ran for Congress, just blew my mind.

You know, thank you.  It blew my mind too. Um,  the seat came open for the first time in 32 years  and I looked around and I saw no women stepping up to run.

The seat is held by a woman. So we've been sort of led here in Silicon Valley by a woman in Congress since 1992.  She's stepping down and 10 guys step up and I'm like, where are the women? Where's the bench? What is happening in this American moment with Dobbs, with All of these laws, you know, being passed to restrict our rights further like what we cannot, we cannot erode our female leadership.

That's one reason a woman from our region has to throw her hat in the ring. And I didn't see and I asked all these women ahead of me on the political ladder because I've only been a council member for a year.  And I've got, you know, all these friends who are in higher office, you know, in the region.

Are you going to run? No. Are you going to run? Nope. Nope. Nope. For all kinds of good reasons. Cause often it's harder for us as women, cause we've got to look after family, elders, kids, work.  And so I looked in the mirror and I was like, go shoot. Is it me? And the answer that came was yes. Run.  I was, there were 11 of us candidates, 10 guys and me, and there were two of us calling ourselves progressives.

Um, a Muslim American man and me, and I'm glad I was in it. You had to finish top two to make it to the general election in November. I finished eighth, which I was ashamed of. I was like, how did I finish eighth? I thought I was going to finish third or at worst fifth. And I came in eighth, which has been really  a blow for someone whose life has been, you know, frankly, relatively, you know, Easy and privileged.

So wow. What does it feel like to lose very publicly? And, but I've processed that, that, you know, it all came, you know, results came out May, March, sorry, March 5th. And I'm grateful. I ran, I learned a ton, a ton about so many issues I care about. I think my voice was an important contribution.

Conversations that we're having, that we were having in that race. So I'm glad I did it. It took a lot out of me and now I can say I ran for Congress.

Oh my God. And you had amazing endorsements too. I mean, and we were sending you money. I like, we were so, I just felt so proud. To know you. we've done things in the past together and I just was so easy to complain and, and you're somebody who is taking steps and taking action.

And I know that that's what's going to save our world. Like, we can't, we cannot be armchair anything right now. We have to be all of us in our own way, throwing our hat in the ring in some, in some fashion. So thank you. I just really appreciate it.

Thank you for the support and for believing in me and for saying those kind things. I really appreciate it.

I was so sure you were going to win.  I was so confident in you because you're such an amazing, clear, wise voice. So we'll go from there to, um, this other thing that you've been doing for a while, which is talking about how parents can raise kids who know how to step into their adult lives.

Yeah.

And just to catch people up, because I'm sure we mentioned this in other things we've done, other conversations. But as I recall,  this sort of was started by your role as, was it Dean of Admissions at Stanford? And, or you were seeing these kids who had been arrived?

Dean of Freshman. Yeah. Not admissions. I worked with them once they came. Once they were there.  Yeah. Yeah. Right. Right. So here I am on a. Um, elite, highly selective college campus that I happened to attend decades earlier.  And  I'm in this role of rooting for  young people, undergraduates to make it,  you know, rooting for them to figure out who they are, what they're good at.

Go be that person. You know, you're not here to become what your parents need you to become. You're not here. You know, to sort of keep up with your peers like this is a time of life when you are starting to really figure out that those big questions. Right. I was there as the, you know, impartial third party.

Without a dog in the race, like, I don't care what you become,  I'm not invested in the thing you turn into, I just want to be sure  it's who you are. Right? Like, so I'm this voice like, who are you? Like, wait a minute, what do you love? What are you good at? Let's, you know, like, don't, what is getting in the way of you centering that stuff?

Like, well, I should, I have to, I, I, no, no, no, I'm not here for that. I'm here for you. So that what a joy to like sit and talk with 18 to 22 year olds about these big questions and over the years I began to see  And this would have been the early 2000s. I left Stanford in 2012. Um, I began to see more and more of them were like dogs on a leash being led down the path of life by well intended, very loving parents who thought they had to control this kid's life.

They knew what success was. They knew what would make their kid happy. And the kid was either forcefully marched down the path toward the right career, Or just overly babied and handheld, like, let me carry you down this path of life, let me arrive. And whether it was the drill sergeant parent or the best friend parent or just the really worried parent who was like, I need to know at all times what's going on because I don't trust it.

Right. I was like, my God, this is too much. These, this is an incre I'm not a psychologist.  Right? I'm a thinker. I'm a lawyer. I know how to like take data and make sense. I was like, I can see that this encroaching micromanaging parenting effort  is wreaking harm.  And then I had to go find out, like, how to make sense of what I was observing.

And I learned about Albert Bandura and self efficacy. I learned about agency. And I was like, okay, I am seeing. An erosion of self efficacy or the lack of formation of it in the first place. I am seeing an undermining of agency, you know, and I started to pay attention to the links between those foundational necessary building blocks for a human, you know, to be healthy, right.

And that mental health problems we were seeing rising on cost. I began to put two and two together. I wrote how to raise an adult,  my original copy. It's, you know, nine years old almost. And then. This was never, you know, like I write about parenting because I'm rooting for young people to make it. Then I wrote the book for young people, your turn.

So this is sort of a sequel.  And, um, always in furtherance of  if our young adults  can't thrive.  Obviously, what's to become of them? And frankly, what's going to happen to our society and our democracy and our institutions and our families and our government and our businesses, if the next generation doesn't feel equipped and motivated and  excited and inspired and confident that they can handle stuff and resilient, like if they don't have the inclination, the tools, the ability to make it.

What happens? We fall apart. I'm off my soapbox.

No, stay on it. Somebody has to do it. I, I mean, clearly it's a message that's resonated because you have seven or eight million people just watching that TED talk and then your books have been bestsellers and they're on my bookshelf, by the way, it's, I mean, this is, in a sense, I'm working with parents of toddlers through young adult,  but what you're saying is,  the goal. It's the, it's the anchor. It's the North star of everything that I do. So the parent of a four year old who won't put their shoes on or won't, you know, do a little chore around the house or a nine year old or a 14 year old, I'm thinking about what you're talking about. Who are they going to be at 21, at 35?

Because this thing of self, self, efficacy, self advocacy, self awareness, confidence, resilience,  these qualities, you don't just hand them off when your kid, you know, steps out the door to college. It has to be cultivated from the early beginning.

I like to say, we can't live our kids life for them. We can't sort of arrive them in the future and hand them resilience. Resilience, agency, self, all of this is developed in the doing of it, right? Every interaction, every stumble. Every aha moment builds itself, but we cannot deprive them of the very experiences  that will grow them up.

Yeah. Yeah. And this is a huge piece of my work is around frustration, this conflict that parents have around what to do when my child's frustrated, or they want something, they can't have it. And this instinct Whether it's informed by what our parents did with us or because our parents denied us so many things and we want to, you know, spare our children the pain we experienced, but that instinct to make things right fix things.

You know, get them invited to the birthday party, you know, help them with their college essay. That instinct is, is ultimately a disservice because to be a successful adult, and I want, I'd rather hear you talk about it than, because you've written books about it, does require The capacity to cope when things aren't going your way and to find another way or to grieve or, or make accommodation.

Can you sort of say more about that?

You just said it beautifully.  And I think what I pulled out from it was  When you said the capacity to grieve,  um, I think you're threading back to, you know, why is it so hard for us as parents to see our kids  struggle in the moment, you know, not be invited to the party, um, have a hard time with a, you know, academic exercise.

Why are we so intolerant of, or even afraid when our kids are having these natural life experiences? There's something about. Yeah.  Us being afraid, like, I don't want my child  to have nothing to eat because they're a very picky eater. Not talking about allergies, but that's sort of like very picky, only eats pasta.

Like I was the parent, Susan, like I'm the expert,  but I've been that parent who put it.  Pasta with butter and Parmesan cheese in a Tupperware to take to a barbecue because I knew my seven year old was not going to have anything to eat at that barbecue.  And I couldn't bear the thought of his discomfort.

Um, I didn't think he was going to starve, but I knew he'd be sad. And I couldn't bear the thought of that. So I was that parent who brought that food to a friend's house.  And again, not an allergy situation, not a like special need situation that should be accommodated. This was me. Not able to say, Hey, buddy, give it a try.

You might like it. Like I couldn't evince any optimism that he might be okay. Instead. I knew that he wouldn't and I solved it.  And I've learned from Ellie Liebowitz his work, um, at Yale with the lab for parents on how. Our behaviors can be repatterned to support them as they have their fears and their worries and their needs, as opposed to over accommodating, which can turn that fear into a full blown anxiety.

And it's our own inability to tolerate their discomfort or their sad outcome. And what we know is what we're supposed to do is empathize and be optimistic that things will change one day, but like, it's really no, but you know, why, what are we so afraid of? How is this somehow tied to our ego? Right. And I bet you have thoughts about that because yeah,  well, it's our ego.

And also, you know, if you're an empathic parent, if you, or you're projecting your own  unhealed places from childhood or from, you know, this morning at work or with your spouse onto your kid and think, well, I can't do a lot about some of the things that happened to me or are happening to me where I feel powerless and sad or marginalized, but I sure can make sure my kid has the food he likes.

Or I sure can make sure she gets invited to that birthday party, you know, or, or position it as an oversight, you know, and  Um,  I love this conversation because there are a lot of great, great parenting people in this world now. I've been doing this such a long time, but I've seen a lot of people coming up and some I really resonate with, some not so much, but many voices.

But the thing that I'm, I think I'm different about in a lot of respects is what you're talking about, which is looking at the undercurrent, looking at who the parent is.  Because  I can tell you, here's a strategy to get your kid to help with chores.  Or to get them to be more engaged with their homework.

But, if the version of you who is interacting with that child has a lot of unconsciousness, and is acting from your own fear, unfinished business, insecurity, then you won't really effectively implement those things. Like, you'll sort of, you might get somewhere.

That's why I'm doing, I did a class in um, February with Dan Siegel on generational trauma, and we're doing a sort of a part two, but it's a standalone class on coherent parenting and in a few weeks, just same idea like looking at the parent and what the parent brings of their own  sort of blind spots or confusion around  what is my job?

What is my role? And a lot of us think our role is to foster happiness in our kids from morning to night as best we can. Yeah. And, and what I'm often saying is we're not just raising children, we're raising adults, which is, you know, take it away, Julie, you know, cause that's what you're talking about.

You know, I arrived at, I  conceived up this very blunt phrase to try to encapsulate the entirety of my argument and how to raise an adult.

And you're getting at it. So I'm going to mention it. My, you know, phrase to sum it all up is our job as parents is to put ourselves out of a job. That's it. Nice. Okay. The point being,  we'll be dead one day,  plain fact of the matter, we're mortal. We hope to pre decease our kids rather than the other way around, right?

So we'll be dead. And therefore,  if we have done everything for our kids, and then we die, they're lost. They can't do for themselves because their parent has failed to teach them.  We're supposed to be putting ourselves out of a job. Like we've taught you all the things.  So now you can do the things so we can sit back with the delicious relief.

My kid is going to be okay without me.  My kid can manage money. My kid can take public transportation. My kid can try to solve their own problems and ask for help when they need it. You know, my kid knows how to work hard. My kid knows how to get back up. My kid knows how to talk to strangers, you know, who populate their life, right?

Like that's the. That's what we want. Not I'll do it all for them because I can, you know, but no, no, no. I'll like teach a man to fish, right? You can handle it. Give a man a fish. He eats for a day. Teach a man to fish. He eats for a lifetime. Apparently this is like a biblical phrase, right?  That's the point.

Yeah.

Parenting is this long game. You delight in the fact that they don't need you. Now this is where someone like Julie's preaching independence. We're interdependent. Yes. We want to love them forever. We hope they will love us forever. We want to have these relationships that are mutually like beautiful.

They're adults. We're adults. Isn't that amazing? But both people have to be capable, right? Not one constantly looking after the other, right?  Right. Unless there's a significant special need where your child will have to be looked after by you and then others that you hire to look after them. Right. Yeah.

I'm talking outside the realm of significance needs. We want them to have that independent capability, then they can come and be interdependent with us. Yeah. Yeah. On each other and do things together and support when needed. Right.

Oh my gosh, totally. And you know, you've got kids who are  in their 20s, 22 and 24.

So we'll talk about that in a minute. I have a kid who's 33, 33 and a half, got married a year and a half ago, started this amazing business that I barely understand that's incredible around tech and privacy. And he's thriving. He's got great friendships. He's, you know,  He's doing life really well. And I'm awestruck.

And yet there's of course that little part of me like, but don't you need me like, no, no,  once in a while, once in a while he calls and he does, he needs his mama. And I'm just thrilled to bits that I get to be there for him. But overall,  I'm watching it now. And it is a journey and sort of I look back on his 20s.

Which is a challenging phase, I think in part, and you might have more, um, statistics than I, that we've elongated adolescence, it's sort of bleeding into our kids 20s now, so, I remember in the 20s, it was much hazier, you know, so, and, and I'm sure you're living that, like, They do need support and help.

Sometimes they need to live with you or they need financial help or you're helping with their education. And yet, you still want to be empowering them to take on the things that they can. So can, Yeah. We kind of segue to that. Yeah.

Well, that is the life I am living right now. So first of all, congratulations, Mazel Tov, son is married, son is independent, got a great business.

You barely understand. Um, you know, you wonder, does he, does he need his mama? Like, and you said like, nope, like sometimes, but it's hard. Of course it's a loss. Yeah. Like we go from this  to this  on our shoulders, like at some point we set them down and there's a loss in that for us,  right?

You know, I see him sometimes my son is he's six foot six  and I'll look at him and go, I'm so confused  I still can superimpose his toddler face on this being, but I have to catch up to who he is.

I'm going to quote Beit Teshuvah. I don't know if you've heard of them. They are a  synagogue in Los Angeles.  And I quote them and how to raise an adult. Cause the phrase that I just used, set your kid down came from them. So I want to get credit is due. They have a parent education.  Um, uh, Beit Teshuvah  is actually, it's not a synagogue.

Maybe it's affiliated with the synagogue. It's a treatment and recovery center for addicts in Los Angeles. Um, and, uh, they realized that many of the addicts had these terrible parent child dynamics. They were the grown children. The addict was a grown child and the parenting dynamic they realized needed work.

And they, they developed a parent program teaching their, the parents in the program to set the kid down, the kid 18, 25, 32 year old, like you are still carrying them. Wow. You are still carrying them on your shoulder. You're still carrying them on your hip. They are adults. You need to set them down. And it sounds cruel because like put your kid down.

No.  Delight in your kid learning to walk, right? Light in them being able to walk and you don't have to be there managing it, handling it, worrying about everything. Right.  Um, all right. What led me to talk about that? Well, you asked me to segue to mine. Right. So, okay. So I was giving you all this feedback about your son and okay.

Mine are 22 and 24.  My 22 year old lives in London, England. Graduated college, is a performing artist, incredibly capable, paid internships in the arts through college,  you know, now is working. Auditioning for things in London, cobbling together gig work to support themselves while they pursue their dream.

Um, living in a flat with people, three people from different countries.  Okay. Just launched  the money from us. Okay. My 24 year old, two years older. Um, I'm allowed to talk about this, had a mental health crisis right before the pandemic left college, uh, was in an inpatient and outpatient intensive outpatient program for a month,  uh, with depression.

And then the pandemic hit.  And he emerged from that, which was really good treatment and came home to shelter in place for the pandemic. And that was four years ago. And he's still with us. And for about  nine months, he was terribly depressed. And we, you know, finally got him into good therapy and good psych and good meds.

On his journey, and he's been in, you know, whole and well for probably three years now, and, um, works with kids with special needs in our local school district, you know, has a full time job.  It's up every day, like learning. Wow. But still lives with us. And if you had said to me five years ago, guess what?

Sora is going to be living with you when he's 24. I would have felt ashamed. I would have felt like a failure. What's wrong with me, right? I'm the adulting expert. You're telling me my kid is not going to be adulting. Cause that was my definition, like not living at home anymore. I've come to appreciate with humility and curiosity,  it's not failure.

Things have changed. Number one, it's unaffordable in my city and exactly like, yeah, all over  In a full time job and rent is three grand. He can't afford remotely near here. We're charging him rent now Here's a way to treat them as adults  He's well he's working he has responsibilities at home he has a lot of freedom and independence he's an adult and You're living here.

We want you to pay a third of your gross to us.  We're going to hand it back to him in the aggregate for a security deposit. And first and last month, one day he knows, but we're training him to pay that. Wow.  And he's got a car and he pays for the insurance and he pays for like, you know, so  he's developing the skills that frankly I had younger.

I was married at 24. Okay. I had been on my own. I mean, with a boyfriend, but not under my parents watch since I was 17, you know, things have changed. Macro knock macroeconomic changes. Yeah. Yeah. Struggles. Many of them have mental health issues. Learning differences. Right. Right. Right. Adolescence has been delayed.

God knows why that is maybe due in part to the way we've parented them a little bit like this Who knows right but humans are living to over a hundred. So maybe it makes sense that they're adolescents through 25 or even 30 I don't know. Yeah  We should be interested in them Growing acquiring the ability to do stuff the ability to problem solve the ability to be resilient  Right.

That's what we're trying to teach while regulating our own need  to be the problem solver and to be the handler and to be the fixer. Right. And our own ego that's like, but my DNA is wrapped up in that kid. How come they're not, you know, an investment banker or a doctor, like my own need for them to be in certain prof like how can I work on myself?

So I'm not treating my dog, or my project, you know, that's the proof of my worth. That's the one I need to do so that I can lovingly support him and doing the work he needs to do. Yeah.  Wow. And that's the next book I'm writing. I'm writing this book for parents of 20 somethings.

Oh, fantastic.

wait a minute. I didn't know I was still going to be parenting  a 25 year old, a 29 year old, like what?

But a lot of people are, but a lot of people are and a lot of it does have to do with the economy and student loans and the, the burdening of young people to not sort of step easily into an adult life.

But I think what you're saying, well, I know, I believe, feel what you're saying is so great and important because  there's this extenuating circumstance of, of his, need for more parental support. And that's why we're here. I mean, we're never not going to be the safety net for our kids, even if they're 50 That's, you know, I, I think Lisa Damour, we were talking about it one day and she said, you're, you're the wallpaper, you're the, the plant in the room, the house plant.

So there's an invisibility to us. And yet we're, we're there if our kids are lucky. And if we're lucky that we get to be this background presence for when they do need support, which your son did, but to charge him rent, to make sure he's got a job, that he's paying his car insurance, that he's pitching in, you know, this is,  I think that we can get lost in the  You're only an adult if... .

And there's plenty of adults, by the way, 24 year olds who are living in their very own apartment  subsidized by a parent or a grandparent, and it might look more like they're living independently. But the truth is, they're probably living less independently than your son who's living at home. So I think, and I also love that you're talking about doing the work on yourself because a lot of us,  we become parents.

The baby is born or the baby is handed in, you know,  placed in our arms and something very deep can shift putting aside postnatal depression and other issues where we redefine ourselves. It's almost like within a couple of minutes, I was, when my baby was finally birthed,  I became a different human being.

And will always be that other version. I, I, I can't ever be the person I was before I had a child.  And, and sometimes we get caught up so in the role of parent. This is who I am, the role, the, the responsibilities that we, we, it's like gripping something that you need to grip really tightly. You know, you're, you're water skiing, right?

And you have to hold on really tightly to the, the thing until you have to, the ride is over and you have to let go. And it's the letting go and trusting that can be really hard. And that's why I do the work that I do and why you're doing your work and so many other wonderful people, because we can more easily let go when we have along this long road, 18 years or whatever it's going to be, observed our kid coping,  adjusting.

Being resilient, adapting, finding another way,  you know, being able to not stalk the girlfriend when she breaks up with him.  All those things that we might feel as the parent, in the parent role, oh it's my job to fix because it was. Your job to kind of feed them and change their diapers and clothe them when they were two and four and eight and ten.

So that's the release that can be really hard because then it's like, well, who am I if I'm not this child's mother, father, parent,  and a lot of parents are so identified for the role and the job that to the detriment of their child, they don't, they haven't cultivated a life for themselves.  So maybe before we wrap up, we can talk a bit about that. Well, what do you do with all that loving, caring interest energy when it's no longer really needed, but you don't, you haven't created a life for yourself.

I love this.  I'm taking notes.  Okay. Who am I if I'm not this person's parent? They haven't cultivated. Yeah. A life for themselves and man, is that a beautiful descriptor of so many parents  And and i'll say the 21st century.

It's been this way now for 20. Yeah  this  You know, I, my role, my identity is parent. You see people's license plates, you know, mom of three, like, okay, what else are you? Right. I see people's email addresses, Lisa's mom, like, what are you doing? Like what, where did you go? Hello? Like, hello. Where did you go? No.

And, um,  and it's problematic for so many reasons. In part, because. We're our kids biggest role models. Duh, right?  It's great. A lot of obligation though that we're supposed to be modeling for them What a healthy, thriving adult looks like and does an adult has relationships, maybe intimate partnership, you know, like a spouse situation, maybe deep friendships, maybe they have work hobbies.

We look after our bodies, we exercise, we go into nature, like whatever. We have friends, right? Instead, so many parents are like, my entire life is my kid's stuff. Yeah. And all the kids sees is the parent looking down with like, concern, ownership, worry, like, your life is my purpose. Like, yeah.  The kid looks up and all they see is an over involved parent.

What they need to see is a parent living a life that the kid can aspire to.  No wonder they don't want to adult. We've made adulthood look so terrible because all this is like showing up with slices of oranges at soccer games, like driving you places, like get a life. Here's another tagline from me. Get a life and your kid can get one too.

The more we cultivate our own lives, the more we're role modeling what it looks like. And we're giving our kids room to live. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That healthier distance, you know, where they can have their life and we can have our life. So, you know, actually, um, the head of the college board has written about this.

He's got a beautiful essay about, you know, like we need romance, but like our own marriages, our own. You know, partnerships are suffering because we make it all about the kids. And then the kids grow up and we don't even know each other anymore. And it's sort of accepted like, well, we grew apart. Well,  yeah.

Relationships are like plants. They will wither without. The things they need, you know, the care and feeding my partner, Dan, and I've been together for 36 years, married for almost 32. And we have gone away together religiously for two nights every six months, which seems like, you know, eons between, but it's like when you have little kids, that's all you can like.

To just invest in deep dives into this relationship we have just to like shore that up, strengthen that, you know, kid, kid, kid, kid, kid, kid, strengthen that kid, kid. Like we know that we had to  manage the love.  Like the communication, the sex, the problem solving, the dreaming, the fear sharing, like, we needed room for that for two nights every six months when nobody needed a diaper or a feeding or a nap or a play date.

We could just be the adults knowing that keeping that strength, that strong us, would be good for our kids.  It would be good because it would keep their parents together. It would be good because it shows them that adults look after themselves and go places sometimes without kids.  Right. So, wow.  Amen. Amen.

Oh my gosh.  Wow.   That is just brilliant,  powerful, important,  clearly we're  singing the same tune   I love hearing you talk about it.

So thank you.  When is is the latest book on raising 20s coming out? Do you think? Oh my goodness. Uh, I'm writing a book proposal right now. So, so you're in the early stages. Okay. Early stages. Yeah. I think the book would come out, it would be two years. Yeah, all right.

Well, Julie, please tell people how they can follow you because you have this, you have one of the very few newsletters that I read.

I read it from start to finish.

I appreciate that.

Because it's confessional and honest and it's inspiring and it's  fascinating. Can you just tell people a little bit more about how they can kind of hang out with you in various ways?

Yeah, I love that. Thank you. Um, so I write Julie's pod, um, which is what Susan is referring to.

I'm looking up the URL right now because I'm hoping there's like an easy, quick thing to tell you. Um, I think if you Google Julie's pod, Julie, apostrophe S pod, you'll find it. The actual URL is JLythcottHaims. com. That's my first initial, last name, no hyphen, dot substack.com. You can see why I wanted the easy short version,  or JLythcottHaims.substack.com.

And uh, yeah, I'm trying to get back into writing it. Susan. You know, I had to take a bit of a hiatus with a congressional campaign I just couldn't find to write.  Um, and now I'm really trying to get back into the flow, so thanks for letting me promote it. The other place to go, oh, I'm JLythcottHaims. On every social media platform.

So check me out there, but then there's my website, JulieLythcottHaims.com  you can learn about my books and you can book me to speak. Uh, and you can just sort of see, you know, just more of the description of like what I'm about and why I do any of that.  My North star, frankly, my North star advice is comes from Ram Das, who said, we're all just walking each other home.

And I think. I fit right into that groove. I totally get that as a metaphor, as a way of being. And that's what I'm trying to do in my work. I'm just, I'm trying to walk. And I, I'm, we're all just walking each other home. I let me walk you home. You walk me home. I'll hold your hand. Like we're in this together.

I don't have all the answers.  I don't have all the answers. I sound very opinionated and knowledgeable and I am about some things and I'm, you know, I will type a former lawyer. Like I got opinions,  but.  I'm old enough to know that there's so much I don't know. And I'm trying to just hold space for all of us to be in that place of I'm learning.

I'm growing. I'm trying, I'm failing. I'm sad. I'm ashamed. I'm struggling. Am I good enough? I'm here to be like, aha, I got you. Yes. I'm right there. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Well, thank you  so much for this conversation. It's  been fantastic in so many ways. And I really. Uh, hope that parents  give it some thought, you know, give some of these ideas some thought  We're both available in our various ways to kind of follow up and learn more But there's a lot here to work with already and I encourage you to do that.

Thank you again, Julie Lythcott Haims  appreciate you. Thanks to everyone for listening

I hope you enjoyed that. As you can tell, I feel pretty passionate about exploring this aspect of parenting. The part we don't talk as much about. We talk a lot about getting kids to do their homework, or help out with chores, and sleep better, and not be anxious, and those are all so important. But all of those elements are actually in service of the adult that we're  we forget that quickly because, of course, we're preoccupied with The challenges of the moment, getting our kids to get out the door in the morning or get in bed and finally fall asleep.

So lots to think about in that conversation. And as always, if you're enjoying these episodes, it would mean so much to me if you would take a minute just to leave a rating even better to leave a short review and let people know that there's something of value here. And again, Please remember to visit my website, SusanStiffelman.com.

You can pick up my newsletter there with all the announcements of upcoming events, including my class with Dr. Dan Siegel on how to create secure attachment, becoming a coherent parent. Again, this is going to be a video. very, uh, practical session where we take some of the brilliance that he has to share around interpersonal neurobiology and attachment science and help you explore and reflect on your own childhood and what you inherited, what you absorb  so that you can be a more present and attuned parent and offer that secure attachment.

foundation to your children. Everyone who registers will also be given a little extra something, some reflective questions to kind of help you get the most out of the class. So I encourage you to check out SusanStiffelman.com for that class and all the other library of classes that I put together. To help you along your parenting journey.

So thanks for showing up and being here. Take a moment to thank yourself for taking a little time.  I have so much admiration for parents who are really doing the work of breaking old patterns, absorbing new insights and information, and  really trying to offer the next generation of children something that gives them a  level of resilience, adaptability, confidence, compassion that many of us have been working pretty hard to create for ourselves.

So what a gift to give that to your children when they're younger.  As we wrap up, then take a moment, maybe close your eyes if you're not driving hand on your heart.  And just remember, no matter how busy life gets, look for those moments of sweetness and joy.  Stay well,  take care, and I'll see you next time.

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