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Episode summary:

In this episode, Susan talks about the unconscious parenting patterns we inherited that can influence how we react to our children, particularly in challenging parenting moments. 


Susan Stiffelman is a licensed Marriage, Family and Child Therapist, an educational therapist and a highly lauded speaker. She is the author Parenting Without Power Struggles: Raising Joyful, Resilient Kids While Staying Cool, Calm and Connected and Parenting With Presence: Practices for Raising Conscious, Confident, Caring Kids (an Eckhart Tolle Edition).Susan offers online events for parents around the world on topics like Raising Tweens and Teens, Parenting in the Digital Age, and Raising Siblings and also hosts a monthly support group with Wendy Behary on Co-Parenting with a Narcissist.
https://susanstiffelman.com/parenting-homeschooling-membership/

Things you'll learn from this episode:

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How parenting patterns get in the way of being the calm, responsive Captain of the ship for our children.

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Why setting positive intentions isn't enough to change our less than optimal behaviors.

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Back up behaviors—what they are, and how they interfere with being the parent we’d like to be.

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Episode Transcript


Speaker 1:

Hello, and Welcome to the Parenting Without Power Struggles podcast. I'm your host, Susan Stiffelman. And I'm also a marriage, family and child therapist, a teacher, a long time parent, coach and educator, and a mom. And I'm really glad that you're here. So this podcast is really my way of offering what I can to help you raise your kids with more fun and fewer power struggles. And I get to share all the things or some of the things I've learned in the 40 plus years that I've been doing this work as a family therapist and educator. So, so much to cover an unlimited number of topics we could pursue. But today I want to talk about parenting patterns, what they are and how we can change the ones that aren't serving us.


Speaker 1:

But first I have a really big announcement. I'm super excited to share this with you today. Right now, as we speak, we are opening the cart to my special Parenting Without Power Struggles membership program, but just for five days. So this program, which I've been fine tuning and adding and modifying to make it as useful and easy for you to take advantage of as I can this program, it's really the best way that I know to work with parents personally and consistently, so that I can help bring about the kind of deep and lasting changes that can make a really positive shift happen in your family life. So I encourage you to check it out. It's at Susanstiffelman.com right there on the home page, whether you have questions around a challenging or confusing or mysterious behavior in your child, or there's some issue between you and the child with your relationship, or, and here's an extra special, extra bonus that we're going to be including.


Speaker 1:

Now, if you need help with educational aspects of your child's distance learning program or learning issues or ideas for making it easier for your child to turn in assignments or stay focused or on task, as you oversee their distance learning, this is going to be a great way to get my support every two weeks, because I'm also a credentialed teacher and a was an educational therapist for many, many years. So you get all of these elements rolled into one. And if you sign up in the next 48 hours, that means by October 3rd, Saturday at midnight, you can get all kinds of extra bonuses, including a free masterclass. You can choose between the Power of Showing Up with Dr. Dan Siegel and Tina Bryson, or the class I did with Dr. Lawrence Cohen on Playful Parenting or Chores with Patty Wifler and there's other cool bonuses too. So I hope you'll go to Susanstiffelman.com for all the details. And remember this membership is going to close on Monday, October 5th at midnight. So check it out today. I want to talk about parenting patterns. What are parenting patterns you may ask? Well, parenting patterns are the deeply ingrained tendencies. 


Speaker 1:

I have that we're in many respects, very unconscious of it. It's what we experienced as children growing up. It happened constantly. And so often that we may not even think about them. Now, the obvious things that our parents did, that we may be more aware of like yelled a lot or punished us, or I, I hope this isn't true for you, but children who were abused well, these, unless they're repressed, these are our things that we're very aware of and, and may have created very strong and clear intentions that we don't want to repeat with our own children, but there's many, many subtler patterns that we take on. We internalize simply because the repetition and the frequency is so great. So if you had a child, a parent who typically when you pushed back said too bad, buddy, this is how we're going to do it.


Speaker 1:

Or if you had a parent who routinely threatened you, when you refuse to do what you were asked, or a parent who shamed you or lectured, when you questioned a decision or something you couldn't do or have, then especially in the heat of the moment, even if you said, I don't want to do the things my parents did, I don't want to be like my mother and my father when our back is against the wall, we end up repeating playing out many of the behaviors or the attitudes or the ways of reacting that we witnessed and experienced as children ourselves. And we can decide and promise and swear and make all kinds of intentions about not doing the very things that kind of hurt us growing up or that, that we're still stinging from a little bitter or that we're very sensitive, or maybe we, we have written them down and, and set these goals.


Speaker 1:

And that's really great and it can really be helpful. But what I've noticed in my work, again, for over 40 years as a family therapist and educator educational therapists, working with parents and children, is that even when we have the very best of intentions, we are still human beings. We still get tired. We still sometimes feel very disrespected or unappreciated or exhausted or overwhelmed. And these backup behaviors appear like it or not. We become our mother or our father in that moment, or our grandparent or, or whoever was caring for us who had a great influence on, on our day to day lives. And it doesn't mean it's good or bad. It just is. It's just the nature of becoming a parent ourselves. I often say that just because you birth that baby or adopted that child, and, and now you're a parent. It doesn't mean you change species.


Speaker 1:

And it doesn't mean that you had some kind of special dust sprinkled all over you that gave you infinite patients or an amazing tolerance for not feeling supported or appreciated. We still have our vulnerabilities and we bring them to our day to day experiences with our children. So this is why it can be so powerful to look at the patterns that we inherited to become more aware of them. And for those of us who are really serious about shifting and, and kind of parting ways with those aspects of how we react to our kids, that don't serve us or our children, we can take steps to modify those patterns. That's one of the reasons by the way that I have been putting this membership program together for you, because what I find is that when parents get together every couple of weeks or every month, however often you can attend.


Speaker 1:

Even if you just watch the videos for five or 10 minutes, it's like getting an immunization or a vaccination. It just brings your awareness. Even for the five minutes you watch the replay or the video, it brings your awareness back to who you want to be and how you want to show up with your children, that captain of the ship, who responds with presence, with compassion, with clarity in the heat of the moment, in those difficult times in the stormy seas, using the captain analogy. So looking at our patterns requires both honesty and a lot of self compassion, because sometimes it's kind of hard to see that we're kind of doing the things to our kids, that our parents did to us, that we promised we would never do. I remember so clearly when I was a child and I let's say I was in third, fourth grade and I was a student in my classroom.


Speaker 1:

And I remember already having a sense that I wanted to become a teacher when I grew up, which was my first career. And I remember all the things I said, I'm a teacher. I'm never going to do this. I'm always going to do that. And then I can remember years, years later, when I was teaching in a classroom and doing some of the things I knew, I promised myself, I could remember, I had promised I wouldn't do so. It happens to the best of us. We just sometimes revert to the things that are so familiar to us. And that's where intention, awareness, kindness. All of those ingredients can move the needle, help us shift in small, but powerful ways that when we feel that pattern getting played out, we notice our blood is starting to boil. We notice we're about to threaten our child. We notice we're about to shame or compare our child to his brother, which is something maybe we experienced.


Speaker 1:

We notice that we're, we're about to say you don't, you don't love me. Fine. I don't love you either. Or the opposite. You don't love me. Well, I love you anything in these, the sarcasm, maybe that we experienced as a child, when we see that behavior coming out of us and we may be horrified, but it's still going on. My recommendation first and foremost is to just notice it, name it, allow it to be, so maybe put your hand on your heart and say, okay, yep. This is happening. I'm kind of having a moment here. I'm not, I'm not who I would like to be. And this is, and I'm feeling really stressed or I'm feeling overwhelmed, or I'm confused. I don't know what to do, or I'm feeling just worn out. So with kindness, with gentleness, we notice what's going on. And we see that the pattern is getting played out again.


Speaker 1:

And we can pause. We can move ourselves to another space. We can go to the bathroom. We can pretend to make a phone call. We can step outside and interrupt the playing out of that pattern. So it's something to think about. This is really deep work, and this is again at the risk of harping on it. I know that many of you are so busy and that money is tight and that you've already got so many things coming at you and emails and programs and resources and YouTube videos. And I, I only offer this truly from my heart. If you need help, if you'd like ongoing support and you don't want to keep looking on the internet for all kinds of videos about this situation and that, and you want to know that there's a place you can go for one stop shopping, whether it's related to your child's academic or learning style issues, distance learning, or it's related to behavior, relationship stuff going on between you and your child, or between your children, the siblings.


Speaker 1:

I do hope you'll check out the membership program because it's very affordable relative to what you get. This is not just getting access to a library of a bunch of videos and classes that were recorded. You get my help. You get to hear me coaching and role playing and working with parents every two weeks on real life issues. And whether you watch the whole thing or you attend live, or you tune in for just a few minutes, there's lots of other benefits. We've got cool member, community building activities. And we have a watch party every month where if you'd like you can join us and watch dialogue from one of my other events with some wonderful colleagues. So if you go to Susan stifelman.com, you'll see the whole rundown of everything that this program includes for a very small price. And you'll also see all the wonderful bonuses that we've included, just to encourage you to check it out.


Speaker 1:

There's no obligation you can join, and if it's not for you, you can enjoy. So, I hope that you'll do that. And then this week just notice in your difficult moments, if you sense of familiarity or, or a similarity in the way you're reacting and with how your parent or caregiver might've reacted to you, then let that be a stepping stone toward making some important, perhaps life-changing changes, not just for you, but for your children. So make sure that you're getting all the info up to date at susanstiffelman.com. Remember the doors closed Monday, October 5th on the membership. Hope you don't miss out on that. And if you've enjoyed this episode, I'd love it. If you would leave a rating or a review to take a minute, and it's really helpful because it helps us get the word out. And if you subscribe, you'll always hear about new episodes.


Speaker 1:

As soon as they're released, please tell a friend, if you've been enjoying these podcast episodes, we're always looking for help to widen our reach, which leads me to mention as well, that if you have a parent community of your own, reach out to us support@susanstiffelman.com, we'd love your help in getting the word out about the membership program. And there may be parents who thank you for letting them know. So it's wonderful to be with you and to have these times to share some inspiration and maybe even some comfort you're doing okay, guys, one foot in front of the other one day at a time, one step at a time, sometimes one hour at a time, make sure that if you need support, you reach out for it. We're not doing this alone, even though it sometimes feels that way. So remember, no matter how busy life gets, look for those moments of sweetness and joy, take care of yourselves and I'll see you next time.

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