Attention ALL Parents! Parenting IS More Difficult These Days – Here’s Why and What to Do (Part 1)

Tony talks about the challenges of parenting modern-day youth who have grown up with technology at their fingertips from birth. He discusses the information he learned from a consulting opportunity at a large tech company looking to retain people under 25 years old. He then shares the outline of his favorite parenting model, The Nurtured Heart Approach. Finally, Tony previews how his “4 Pillars of a Connected Conversation” can apply to parenting. He answers a listener’s parenting question using the Nurtured Heart approach and his 4 Pillars.

If you have parenting questions you would like answered on an upcoming episode, please email them to Tony using the contact form on his website

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Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the “uh’s” and “um’s” that, in his words, “must be created by wizards and magic!” because it’s that good! To learn more about Descript, click here


Hey, everybody. Welcome to episode 342 of the Virtual couch. I am your host, Tony Overbay. I’m a licensed marriage and family therapist, a certified mindful habit coach, writer, speaker, husband, father of four. And buckle up. Today we’re going to talk about parenting. And I’m going to put so many pieces of the puzzle together. I hope that I think that we’re going to cover a lot of ground today. We’re going to talk about a parenting framework or technique called the nurture heart approach that I haven’t talked about in a while. I’m going to work some four pillar magic into how you parent today’s teen. And I have a lot of questions that I’ve got from people, a couple of clients that I’ve been working with. I also put this message out there at a recent speaking event and had some people send me questions about how to parent today’s teen. And I’m going to speak from a position of I only know what I know. I have to realize that. So of course there are things that I’m sure I don’t do well or things that I don’t know. Let’s let’s begin. I was going to say let’s let’s call the way back to the womb, shall we? But I’m not going to go all the way down to that part of parenting. But before I even get started in that, let me really quickly say that if you are still interested in being coached as a couple, just reach out to info at Tony over and we have a dozen or more episodes in the can and that is going to be the basis of the magnetic marriage, the podcast, and it is just so fun and exciting and moving and touching and powerful and funny to be able to work with these anonymous couples, couples that I don’t know that I haven’t worked with before, and being able to just get right in to the nitty gritty of what they bring into the situation.

And most of them are people that have not gone to counseling or been coached before. And I realize the more that I’m recording these and I can’t wait to get them out, that I think it’s going to be a lot of people that have always wondered what does marriage therapy or what does couple’s coaching even look like? And I think it’s going to give people a lot of hope that it’s okay to go get help because again, you don’t know what you don’t know. And I love just beating this drum over and over again that I don’t really feel like anyone has all the tools that they need to communicate as effectively as they could. And so it is perfectly normal and fine and healthy to go get a tune up for your marriage, for your relationship. So I think that being able to listen to the Magnetic Marriage podcast, which is going to be a subscription based paid podcast, the cost for a year’s access is going to be far below one therapy session with me, and you’re going to have access to a lot of couples.

And for more than one session, I get them in there, we talk, I give them some homework and then we follow up a few weeks later. So if you’re interested in that, reach out to me, go to my website and just sign up for the newsletter, or you can shoot me a note at and I’ll make sure that you are one of the first people to know when that is ready to launch. So let’s get to today’s topic. I’m going to I am going to step back. We’re not going to go all the way back to the abandonment and attachment speech that I love so dearly. Although now that I’ve put that out there, it will probably end up working its way into today’s episode at some point. But I did an episode quite a while ago and it was talking about how to how to parent today’s teen. And I realize now when I say quite a while ago, a couple of years ago, and when I look at the data or the stats of the podcast, it continues to grow and I’m grateful and I’m blown away by that. So I realized obviously people aren’t going back and digesting all 341 previous episodes. And even if you were, I realize it’s hard for me to remember podcasts or things that I listen to a week or two ago.

So if I were to say, I’m sure you all remember what I said two years ago about parenting, So let me just start there. There’s some fascinating things that took place at a it’s not even a training I went to. I was involved in a very cool project that was was under a bit of non disclosure, but I was able to go do some consulting and I was able to go alongside of a good friend of mine who runs a very large consulting company, and we were working with a large company, a tech company, and the problem that we were looking at or we were being faced with was they were hiring thousands and thousands of of people under the age of 25 every year. And the problem, in essence, and I realize now, thanks to some of the recent episodes I’ve done on Confabulation of Memory, and how reliable is memory that I am sure that I’m going to get the details, the fine details on this wrong. But that’s beside the point. I think you’ll see where I’m going here. But the data that we were presented was out of the thousands of people under the age of 25 that this company was hiring every year and olden days a decade or more ago, the people that were under the age of 25 would stay several years before they started to look elsewhere.

And by that time, this company had put enough training and money and effort into keeping the people there that it wasn’t as difficult to retain them, or if the people were ready to move on. It was almost anticipated or expected in this particular industry. But now over the last few years, they noticed that people were leaving sooner and sooner and sooner. So here’s a company that’s investing a tremendous amount of financial resources and time into training these employees, only to find them leave sometimes within a year over to competitors. And these competitors, what were they offering? I mean, they were offering a lot of freedom and and just a lot of, hey, come over and just figure things. Is out, do whatever you want to do. But this company that we were working with was very successful financially and had been around for a long time. So you could understand that it was hard for them to say, Wait, we’re losing these the kids these days to our competitors, but this has worked for us, so why isn’t this working now? And they were trying to find a balance. In essence, I feel like of almost trying to parent the new the newer generation in a way that would try to help them feel like they were part of the family, but also allow them the freedom to grow within the company. But it was that second part that was really they were being challenged and because they people coming into the company didn’t feel like they were able to grow or or become their best selves.

They didn’t feel like part of a family. And they were they were jumping ship and going elsewhere. So there was some really interesting data that was presented, and then I put some pieces of it together. One of the things that was talked about are shown was that in the history of the computer industry and remembering that over 20 years ago I was in the computer industry for a decade and I used to work in the world of storage, so hard drives. And back in that day there was a rule of thumb, a principle. And I’ve had people email me and there’s a very smart name of what this cycle is, or this theory, this principle. But every couple of years a hard drive would double in size and a computer processing unit, a CPU, or how powerful a computer would also double every couple of years. And then you could watch that as technology advanced that the hard drive doubled. It was if it was every two years and it was every year and a half and it was every year and a quarter and then every year, then every nine months, six months, three months until the storage, computer storage market was just doubling at this rapid rate. And now hard drives are ginormous and they don’t have moving pieces and parts.

And that’s a whole thing for another day where I still sometimes feel that I’m so dialed into technology. But that was literally 20 years ago when I left the industry and then computer microprocessors were doing the same thing. They were also they were also just changing at this rapid rate. And so you could see this curve on they presented some data that showed somewhat of like this curve on the I realize, boy, I’m glad I’m a therapist because it’s not a bell curve. It’s another type of curve. And I was not prepared to do the research so I could sound smart on what type of curve it was, but it was a curve nonetheless. And it just showed that the rate of technology increasing followed a certain pattern. Now, we also talked about that the rate of the change and generations of the quote, kids these days followed that same kind of pattern. So it was almost as if Generation X, Y or Z to whatever that they are called would be. It’s also changing at that rapid of a rate. So the further or the the kids, the newer generations are just evolving rapidly at such a rapid pace. So then if you look at that as a parent myself, my youngest is 18, my kids are 18, 20, 22 and 24. And, and when I was parenting my kids young, that even in just that time period of the last 10 to 15 years, there have been several generations that have passed, if that makes sense.

And so here’s what I started to put together. So when I went back and looked at my relationship with my dad, let’s say from a technology standpoint, my dad might have been talking about cassette tapes and I was talking about or he was talking about records and I was talking about CDs. So we were in the same ballpark. We could communicate somewhat effectively and we were on the same page. And so when my dad would talk about what it was like to grow up on the East Tennessee and bale hay and the farms and hard work, I didn’t it wasn’t that far off. I didn’t grow up with technology. I had a little handheld video games or just little dots that would bounce up on the board or up on the screen. But so for the most part, I was still riding bikes and we had cordless phones and I had it sounds so old we had to get up and change the channels and all these sort of things. So when he would tell me stories, I was still somewhat engaged or invested, even if I had my normal teenage rebellion or reactance where I didn’t want to be told what to do. So now fast forward when I start talking to my kids, when they hit their teenage years, now all of a sudden, if I’m talking about again CD’s now they’re already talking about instantaneous access to streaming video platforms.

And if I start talking about cable TV and I’m still thinking of it as, I don’t know, 30 or 40 channels, now all of a sudden it’s three or 400 channels, or if I’m talking about wanting to grab something to eat, they’re talking about wanting to order something to eat. And so not that things aren’t relatable, but then if I start talking about when I grew up without a phone and that I want the kids to listen and that we would just go outside. And the line from The Princess Bride when I was a kid, television was called Book, those sort of things. Now all of a sudden, it’s not like me really understanding more or less where my dad was coming from. But now when I’m talking, my kids don’t have much of an idea of what I’m talking about. So when I want to relate these stories in my youth and expect them to be somewhat impressed and say, Tell me more, Dad, they don’t understand. And so then if I’m the one that’s saying, you know, why don’t you just call that person? Or how about you put your phone away? I don’t know what it was like to grow up with a phone or when if I was trying to delay my kids having technology and electronics, which I. I understand there’s a definite balance there that I’m also talking to kids who are growing up.

And if everyone around them and I’m not saying if everyone jumps off a bridge, then I think, man, I should encourage them to jump off the bridge, too. This is where we can go all or nothing or black or white, and we can use these analogies that are just so not relevant or not the point. But all of a sudden now, if I’m saying, Hey, I don’t think you should use your phone for to do your homework, why don’t you go tell your teacher that you want an old fashioned stapled paper packet? And I had a client at one point not too long ago that said that that was their parent stance while the kid was in high school. They were literally the only person. So the teacher didn’t say, Oh my gosh, a throwback to yesteryear. I admire this boy. The teacher said, okay, not like I don’t have enough to do. I guess I’ll go print one up. I think I can probably figure out how the printer works. And then all the kids there weren’t going, Oh, man, this guy, he’s got it figured out. He’s probably going to pull out a number two pencil and then and that’s going to be amazing to watch him just go retro on this homework packet. No, they’re thinking, okay, what’s wrong with this guy? Is this family can they not afford technology or phone or is he grounded or is he struggling with pornography or something? And his parents have banned his electronics.

So when you start putting things in context, I think this is leading to what I’m going to talk a lot about today, which is we’re shifting more from, Hey, do what I tell you to do to we really do need to learn how to understand or say, tell me more, or try to use more empathy with kids these days. And that is absolutely a shift. I know it is. So so that’s kind of wanting to set the stage for what we’re talking about today. Going back to this consulting opportunity, there were some really fascinating things that happened. So in a nutshell, the group in leadership and they were so amazing. They really were. I really enjoyed that opportunity so much, but we were all of pretty much the same age. So an example might be that if they were saying, okay, we have this deadline to sign up for medical benefits on November 1st and always have in the past, 99% of employees would sign up for medical benefits by November 1st. But now we’re finding that the group that is 25 and under, maybe 75% of them are signing up for medical benefits. But then when November 3rd occurs and somebody breaks their leg and they come up and say, hey, how do my medical benefits work? And then HR says, Oh, you don’t have them, you didn’t sign up on time.

And then that person says, But I want them and I need them. And boy, if you’re if you’re an older person, you know, and you’re thinking right now, well, that’s ridiculous, then their leg is broken and that’s that’s on them. I hear you and I feel and the people in the room, we kind of felt the same way. But the problem, the thing we were brought there to solve was the fact that people were leaving the company and then going and joining other companies. And so, in essence, it really was some of the brightest and the best talent that they had gotten because of their name was then jumping ship and going to other companies that would then directly compete with this company. So there was a brilliant person there that said, Hey, can somebody go get me the data? Why do we have this deadline? Why do we say by November 1st you have to sign up for benefits? And the news came back and the vibe or the energy was, well, because that’s what we’ve always done and it’s easier for us. And so the person said, Well, then let’s get rid of that. And then the person said, Okay, but then what do we do? When do we start? Or when can people get benefits? And and this is where I was having an interesting conversation with my wife last night.

It’s still difficult because I think we have a mindset that if we say, okay, well then we’ll just say whenever you want that, then the person will never do anything and they won’t get benefits and then eventually they’ll break their leg and then they’ll come looking for benefits and it’s too late. But I believe that’s the story our brain tells us. We go. This all or nothing sentiment in our heads often. But what would that look like if then we said, okay, benefits are here and we start looking at that about, hey, reaching out to focus groups or trying to understand do you even understand what it means to have benefits? Or did you grow up in your parents always had the medical benefits, so nobody’s really told you that before. So do we have to do a little bit more of an education or do we have to start meeting the people where they’re at? And I know this can sound so crazy for older people, but do we have to start doing an Instagram campaign or a TikTok campaign about get your benefits? But that’s meeting people where they’re at and that’s trying to speak the language of the people that are the people that they were trying to keep. And that’s where I feel like the people in the room that were of my age were, in essence, wanting to say, But let me tell these kids about records and what it felt like to bill the needle on the on the vinyl and the scratch and how satisfying it was.

And the person tuning out is saying, Oh, I’ve seen those at a retro store. But anyway, I have access to literally every song. So when you tell me that you used to buy songs or buy CDs, the whole thing, you had to listen to the music, That was ridiculous. Then I don’t go, Oh my gosh, tell me more. What was that like? I think that was insane. I’m going to literally pay this price of one CD, apparently, that you paid every for every CD that you bought. I’m going to pay that per month, and I’m going have access to every song that has ever been written and played in every variation and version of it. And I’ll put them all in a playlist and listen to them constantly on my wireless earphones. And so instead of me saying, Yeah, yeah, but let me tell you the satisfying feeling of the vinyl, I hope you can kind of see where I’m going with this. So is it fair? Do we feel like we’re not being heard or understood? It’s probably not fair and we’re definitely not being. But if that goal is the connection with whether it’s the employee or that goal is a connection with your kid, this is that point where I feel like, okay, the times they are changing and I remember coming out of that training or that consultancy opportunity and I remember feeling like I know that there are there are versions of this throughout history, and I can only imagine I watched the Elvis documentary a few months ago, the one that was playing in the Motion Picture House, but and I loved it, but it was thought about me.

And here’s somebody that came and just had a completely different type of music. And I can only imagine the parents saying, Let me tell you about the big band era. And boy, that so-and-so could sure play a mean cello. And now you’ve got Elvis Presley doing the thing that he’s doing and people just feeling like, Well, just don’t listen to that. Let me get back and tell you about the three piece jazz set that I used to love and listen to on the radio as we gathered before, before the days of TV. And I’m sure that the kids there were like they would just say to their parents, Elvis, you know? And so I know that there are variations of versions of this throughout history. I know that this isn’t something that is completely new. But back to that, it has accelerated a rate that is is it’s a little bit mind blowing for us. I know it can be. I was in a religious meeting congregation at one point and the leader stood up and he said, hey, I want to meet with the youth.

I really do. I want to connect, but I’m not going to not going to respond to a text. I think he held open his flip phone and he said, if you want to get ahold of me, you call me. And he said it. And I and I felt like you could feel the division happen in the room where anyone over the age of, I don’t know, fill in the blank. 55 said, I like this guy. So let’s get back to these good core, wholesome values. And it was almost everyone under the age of whatever, whatever the youth were, just looked up, saw him saying something, saw the flip phone, probably thought, Huh, I’ve seen those before, and then went back to their device in front of them and we’re doing whatever they were doing. So it wasn’t like all the kids said, Oh my gosh, I want to connect with this old man and I want to call him on the phone. I think that’s what my phone does. I really haven’t tried it before, so it really is. Do you want a connection or do you want to do you want to feel like you’re right? If you don’t feel like you’re right, then maybe write in a journal or you can. I’m sure there are maybe some support groups where we can talk about nostalgia and the good old days. And here’s a here’s one that hit me the other day on a little bit of a tangent.

Somebody had shared this concept that so I grew up I was born in 1969. I remember the sixties well, and then they brought up that the music, I believe, of the eighties, So it was the eighties to present day. What are we, 20, 22, Almost 2023. So that’s a 40 year span. That was like when I was in high school in the eighties and somebody was telling me about the late thirties or the early forties when literally everything was in black and white. I mean, people walked around in black and white. There wasn’t even color, I don’t think, involved in the world. And I thought, Oh my gosh, is that what my kids feel like of me now? Do they look back on my videos and see me look like I’m walking in fast motion all the time and wearing a top hat or I don’t know what that looks like, but I thought that is mind blowing. It really is. And then when you look again at the rate of which technology evolves and how quickly things change, that it really does become more of a do I want to try and meet my kids where they’re at? And to be honest with you, the answer has been yes. And I have made sure that I’ve been intentional and tried to understand and enjoy which what the interests are of my kids. Yet I still find myself wanting to do the thing about, well, let me tell you about my high school stories.

And realizing that that’s when I watched them gloss over and I feel like I can speak from a little bit of a place of confidence here with building that relationship with the kid and having to stuff that. Let me tell you stories vibe that I feel like is almost inherent in a parent. And now, as the kids are adults having a relationship with them and it’s something I’ve always dreamed of and it is a phenomenal thing. So people listening, I want that for you. I really do. In adult relationships, you want love or do you want control because you can control your kid all you want to while they’re in your house. And you can even try to control them when they get out of the house as well. You can try to think I know what’s best for them, but that’s part of why I lay all this out. Do you? Do you even understand what they’re going through or what their experience is? Because somebody needs to feel heard before they will. They will even want to then take in any advice. But I think it’s also important to understand that maybe our job right now is to hear and try to understand and still even hold back on advice and be the person that’s walking along there beside them and helping them try to make sense of things that are difficult to make sense in these days.

That ends the first part of today’s podcast, where I wanted to talk about this opportunity that I had to do some of this consulting. Lets slide over into the nurtured Hart approach. Then I’ve got some questions and I’m going to answer those from a parenting standpoint. You know, I pulled up something I honestly don’t even know where this website came from or where this document came from, but it is what I’m reading though, is a one page PDF that is from the Children’s Success Foundation, which is by Howard Glasser. Howard Glasser is the developer of the Nurtured Heart approach, and he came up with that in 1992. And it does say we pull this over here and range. The nurtured heart approach is more than just the parenting or education educator behavior management strategy. It’s a philosophy for creating healthy relationships with the people in your life. Why I love that is I when you hear what the nurtured heart approach really is and I’m going to give it such a brief overview, but I have podcast on it. I have a parenting course where I talk about the nurtured heart approach, which I highly recommend, but this is a way to interact with people in general. I promise you that. And when you I feel like when you combine this nurtured heart approach and then I’m going to slide into some information about my four pillars of a connected conversation, and you add that to the kids these days vibe and you’re going to come out of today with feeling a little bit more confident in how to interact with your teenager, not only your teenager, maybe your young adult, or just anyone in your life.

Originally created by Howard Glasser in 1992, the nurtured heart approach is being successfully implemented throughout families, classrooms, foster care, health care professionals, social workers, criminal justice organizations that are seeking successful early intervention techniques. And I’ll put a note in the I’ll put a link in the show notes. But if you go to Children’s Success Foundation, I remember doing an episode on the Nurtured Heart approach early on in my podcast, and it really is pretty phenomenal when you read the studies that have been done in public school systems where when the nurtured heart approach is taught to the teachers and then this is implemented school wide, that it’s almost miraculous, the change it goes all the way down to teachers are happier with their job, grades go up, discipline problems go down. And I remember and I had to go back and look at this, even things like it was something like the people that come early for breakfast or something like that also went down. And I don’t know how the correlation worked, but it was almost like it just put this entirely different vibe in the air of the community and people just felt more of this concept of building inner wealth.

So the nurtured heart approach consists of a set of strategies that assist children in further developing their self regulation. And it’s been found effective with children of all ages ages. It focuses on transforming the way children perceive themselves, their caregivers and the world around them. Children learn to understand that they will receive endless, endless amounts of praise, energy, recognition and reward through the positive behavior they display. And this supports children to build a positive portfolio of themselves, which we call inner wealth. I guess this is a time to make the I’ll try to make the briefest abandonment attachment speech that I’ve ever given, but I think it actually comes in line right here when we’re talking about building inner wealth and kids receiving praise, energy, recognition and reward through the positive behavior. Right now, this is the first time you’re hearing about it. We’re going to get to this in a minute. But this is not just a series of things where you just say, Good job, champ. Good job. No, you don’t say that at all. It’s not about just rewarding hollow behavior. You’ll see that. It’s about building inner wealth and you’ll see that where we’re going to go with this that’s so phenomenal is it takes you out of the role of being the Punisher. And what I so appreciate is parents mean well and parents will say, I want my kid to know they can come to me and talk to me about anything.

But then when the kid comes and talks about things that the parent really doesn’t want to talk about, then the parent says, No, not that. But but other than this, you can talk to me about anything. But then when that happens over the course of the child’s life, then they aren’t going to try to open up to their parent about things. Even if you have the most securely attached relationship with your kid. And in the grand scheme of things, there are going to be things that they do not want to share. But our goal is to try to put us in a position to be able to help if our kid comes to us and wants help or we’ve set up this relationship with our kid where we can even maybe be a little bit inquisitive about things that we’re noticing and but we’re doing it in a way where, again, we’re not the Punisher, we’re more of the guide of animate and attachment speech. Every kid comes out of the womb, a pink little squishy baby that’s adorable and cute. But here’s the thing. You come out of the womb and the baby doesn’t even know that they are an entity or that they exist until they have interaction with another thing, another human being, another person. And at that point they express themselves, cry. They do whatever to get their needs met because they don’t know how to meet their own needs.

So if they can’t get their needs met, they can’t get fed and watered and cleaned and and be safe, then they’ll die. So a baby is programed. We are all programed at the core of our very fiber DNA that if we do not get our needs met, we will die. So then as we move into childhood, adolescence, then the game becomes how do I get my needs met? Because now I’m expressing myself I’m asking my parents for. I’m asking for a pony for my birthday. I’m asking to stay up late. I’m asking to be able to have candy before dinner. And when my parents say, No, I’m a kid, I don’t understand what that means. I’ve been told or I’ve been programed, that I express myself for my needs and they get met and I survive. So even though a kid has no concept that candy is not good before dinner or you don’t have enough room in your backyard for a pony, that’s what the kid says. Well, I would like that. And so then when a parent says, Not now, champ, then the kid feels like they don’t care about me, I must be doing something wrong. Because I expressed myself like I’ve done so many times before and my needs aren’t being met. So then the game becomes, how do I get those needs met? Do I need to lose it? Do I need to make false promises? Do I need to gaslight my parents? Do I need to shut down? Do I need to act out with negative behaviors? Because and this is where why I like to start from the beginning is that if you look at it from terms of I must get needs met to make sure that I exist, then if I’m not getting any kind of positive attention now, I my parents may forget all about me.

They they’re so busy taking care of my brother or sister who is throwing a fit that I’m going to let me see if I can be the star athlete. Maybe they’ll notice me here. Okay, They do. They come to my games. I think I’m going to be okay. Or the scholar they do. They tell me, Why can’t you be more like you’re like me? And so that feels good. So I’m going to keep getting good grades. But if they’re still not noticing me, what if I actually throw a fit? What if I engage in self harm? What if I start saying I feel suicidal? What if? What do I need to do for people to say, Oh my gosh, I see you? Because if they see me, then they’ll meet my needs and then I will live. All this has happened on a subconscious level. So now go back to how the nurtured heart approach works. And the nurtured heart approach is saying If focuses on transforming the way children perceive themselves, their caregivers in the world around them, they learn to understand that they will receive endless amounts of praise, energy and recognition and reward through the positive behavior they display.

So now, when all of a sudden I see my kids playing together well, instead of me having this feeling or vibe of I don’t want to distract them or they’re going to need something from me, they’re going to want something, I have to step in with courage and say, Man, I love the way you guys play together because that shows me that you guys are just amazing sisters. This was a real example when my kids were little and I came home from a nurtured heart training and all of a sudden the kids look over and they play together. And then in this scenario, I come home a couple of days later and they weren’t playing together. They were in the playroom, and all of a sudden I feel like they saw me come in and they run over and start playing together. And it was almost sad because they wanted that that positive affirmation and praise. Now, if I just say good job, eventually the kid just says, I don’t know what that means. But if I say and I just this makes my day, I love watching the two of you play together. It shows me that you embrace teamwork. So you’re building that inner wealth.

That’s what you’re doing. So more in this nurtured heart approach, I want to I think the part that’s interesting and I haven’t done a nurtured heart approach episode in a while, but I’ve talked so often about the way that a kid does eventually find their sense of self is through the external validation of their parent, meaning that if the parent is continually angry or frustrated because maybe the parent is angry or frustrated about their own life, then the kid is picking up on that energy or they’re receiving their external validation or what it feels like to be them through the anger of the parent. Or sometimes, if it can be happy, can be sad, and all of a sudden the kid says, I don’t know how to read this, so I’m going to approach every environment trying to read the room. And that’s almost the evolution of the highly sensitive person, is when the kid can’t count on consistency with their parent. So they have to say, Hey, I got to assess a lot of vibes here. I’ve seen Dad get mad at the dog before. Mom’s seems like she’s doing her thing, so I know that’s the thing right there. They don’t seem like they’re very happy The dog’s over there. I’m going to let things play out a little bit and I’m going to see, are we safe? Is everything okay? And if nobody’s happy, maybe I’ll throw out one of my classic one liners or I’ve been learning how to juggle so maybe I can get my needs met there and maybe I can be the fixer.

Maybe I can make everybody happy. So you can see how a kid, when there’s this just uncertainty in the air that they start to figure out, Hey, I got to get these needs met. And I don’t like this feeling of negativity in the House because that means I must have done something wrong. So I need to try to fix it so the kid gets their sense of self through this external validation. So it’s even more of a reason to understand or have a concept like nurtured heart approach or I know things like love and logic or but I really believe having a framework to operate from is such an important thing. So intensity. And I forgot that they use this word in hard approach. They say intensity is the key to the nurtured heart approach thinking. But unfortunately the word intensity has negative associations in our society, and teachers, parents and child care workers can view it as the enemy in the nurtured heart approach. Thinking We believe intensity is a powerful quality that, if developed correctly, can propel children onto amazing achievements. When a child learns to feel great about their intensity. The incidence of. Challenging behavior dissolve so intensity or sometimes I hear people talk about being very intentional with their parenting becomes a real hallmark of the nurture heart approach.

There are three stands. Stand one. Absolutely no stand. One is I refuse to give my time energy in relationship to negative behavior. I won’t accidentally foster failure, nor will I reward problems by responding to them in animated ways. I will save my time and energy searching for success. This one is a struggle because when you start to step out of that role as the kids, I remember one of the trainings I went to, they talked about the kids favorite toy. When you step away from, they know how to push your buttons and then you react and now they no longer need to be accountable for what they may have done. That was, I was to say, wrong. But it’s a behavior that you don’t want to encourage. And then if you lose your mind, then they get to say, okay, you’re right, I’m a horrible kid. Or, well, you don’t you’re not perfect. Or they withdraw or and now all of a sudden we’re arguing about the argument or arguing about the intensity of the argument or arguing about, Don’t you yell at me, young man, as I yell at them. And so what we’re not doing is talking about whatever the behavior was. So the more that you even start to learn to hide your buttons, so to speak, the more that the kid or the person in your life in general is going to push those buttons because we’re used to the way that we interact with our spouse, with their kids.

We’re used to the way that the family dynamic plays out. So when somebody starts to disrupt the family system, other people are going to react. And it doesn’t mean everybody’s going to say, Man, I’m going to be really nice and cool now. No, because they’re used to you fitting a certain role and then fitting a certain role. So when somebody starts to not engage, when they take the stand, one, I will not be drawn into the negative attention or energy. It’s going to change the dynamic in the family and the relationship stand. Two of the nurtured heart approach is absolutely yes. So stand one. Absolutely. No, I will not. I won’t take the bait. You can push and push and push all the buttons and I’m not doing it. But then absolutely, yes, I will relentlessly and strategically pull the child into new patterns of success. I will constantly recognize the success and achievement that children are displaying, no matter how small and present them with clear, undeniable evidence of their value and how great they are. And you can watch this, given this example of a number of times where when you’re really just this is the air that you breathe, then let’s just say hypothetically that one of your teenage daughters comes home and you have a curfew of midnight. They come home at 1230 and they are just they’re angry and they’re frustrated and they can’t believe you have a curfew and you nobody else has a curfew.

And if you just kind of sit there and watch, okay, I’m not going to say really, nobody else has a curfew. You want me to call your friend’s mom and see, you know, because then they’ll say, you would do that, wouldn’t you? You would embarrass me. And all of a sudden we’re talking about me embarrassing them, and we’re not talking about the fact that they came home late. So in the nurtured heart approach, when they are done ranting and raving, then I say, So there’s absolutely no I won’t engage in that. I just won’t. And I won’t even tell them I won’t engage in that because then they know that’s the button to push. But when they take a breath, even then stand too. Absolutely. Yes. Know, I love I love how you can come in and you’re frustrated and I love how you just were able to calm yourself down. And then usually what will happen is then in this scenario, hypothetically, the daughter says, what? Oh, I’m not calmed down. I’m just getting started. And then angry, angry, angry. And then another pause and then say, Man, I honestly I haven’t looked at it like this before, but I appreciate the passion with. You’re arguing your point. I mean, I can see that this really means something to you. And at some point the kid’s like, I what are you, crazy button pushing? What’s wrong with you? Button pushing? Well, you’re.

You’re a horrible dad. I don’t know what you’re doing here. Pushing all kinds of buttons. Take a breath and then back to then. I love your creative energy in the moment because it seems like you can come up with all kinds of. I guess maybe I wouldn’t truthfully go down there and praise the button pushing. But then stand three The final stand of the nurture heart approach is absolutely clear. I will have clear and consistent consequences for children when a rule has been broken. Here are the rules. Here’s what happens when you break a rule and when you really dig into it. I would encourage you to go find my parenting course. But Stand three is pretty important in the sense that you get them to help create the consequences. And I go big on the fact that do this, when the waters are calm, you find a good family night. You have the smell of brownies baking and you play a fun board game. You may even throw it a little bit, let one of them win and then you say, All right, what do we do? What are your thoughts? What should we do? If somebody breaks curfew and they may say, oh, you ground them for a week and then you think, Oh, the goal of the nurture heart approach is that you want them back in the game so that you can build a center well, so then you might be able to even say, Man, I love I love what direction you’re going.

What would it look like if we maybe just did it for a day or what would that look like? And then usually they’ll say, Yeah, it sounds good. And you say, Man, I love the way that we’re working together. I mean, this shows me that we can really collaborate as a family. But here’s the key. They set that consequence. You are no longer the Punisher. You write these things on the refrigerator knowing that they’re still going to push your buttons and you’re only you’re not going to react and you’re going to try to praise them when you can. And so then when they come home late and you’re and finally, when the dust settles and they realize, wow, this guy is going to. Praise be for anything and I can’t get them to bite on the button pushing. Then you get to even say, Oh, you know what? I’m so I’m bummed because the rules that that you helped develop, which I was so impressed by her saying that you won’t be able to go out tomorrow and that just oh, that’s such a bummer to me. And if you guys want to if you want to play games with me or something tomorrow night, then we could do that. Playing games with you, old man.

I’m mad, you know. Here they go again. But then when they pull that day off and then you get to say, You know what? I honestly, I can’t believe how well you handled that. When I was a kid, I struggled. If I ever was had to not do things with my friends or whatever that looks like and what you’re doing, you’re building inner wealth, you’re rewarding good behavior. You’re not giving in to the button pushing of the negative behavior. And over time, then what your kid can start to rely on is consistency, consistency in your parenting model and you’re showing up, showing them that they matter, that I care more about you than I care about the a enforcing a rule. That doesn’t mean there aren’t rules, so there aren’t consequences. And that’s where I feel like having frameworks is a great place to start. A framework of the nurtured hard approach, a framework of my four pillars of a connected conversation. This is a completely different topic, but I was talking with my wife about this, But if somebody’s struggling with their faith, a framework of valor, stages of faith, starting from a framework doesn’t mean that you have to fit entirely in this box, but it’s a place to start. And then recognizing now what are the challenges in this particular situation or framework or model. So I realize that we’re the 40 minute mark. I am going to make this a two parter.

I am I’m going to answer the questions now, and I feel like maybe what I can do is let me put a little bit of a call out. If you’re still listening at this point, why don’t we do this? If you can then send me now that you see where we’re going, the kids these days, the nurtured heart approach, that things are a little bit different than they used to be. I have a Google document that has about four or five questions, lengthy questions and scenarios, then a few just rapid fire questions. But please send me your parenting question. Let’s do this. Send me your question at and let me do a part two and I’m going to answer. I’m going to go and I don’t care how long it takes. I’m going to answer questions and I’m going to do it based off of this nurtured heart approach and the kids. These days, I’m going to work my four pillars of a connected conversation into the way you parent, because that is absolutely the way to go. Let me give you a little bit of sneak preview. So in this scenario, there’s one of the questions that I was given was somebody had talked about that they finally were able to set up responsibilities so each of their teenage kids were going to take a night, I think, and cook dinner. And one night their kid didn’t cook dinner. So then the parent comes in, they’re angry, they’re frustrated.

And now the kid gets to say, That’s all you care about is your lousy chores and you don’t care about me. And so how does the four pillars work? First of all, let’s throw the nurtured hard approach in there. I’m not going to take that bait. I’m not going to let them push that button. That’s an easy button to push. You don’t care about me button, but my four pillars. Here we go. Pillar one I promise you, even that kid didn’t wake up in the morning and think, I got an idea. I will not be making dinner tonight. I cannot wait to see how my parents handle that. No, there’s a reason why people do what they do. And with kids, it’s a little bit easier for me to throw that assuming good intentions or, again, part B or there’s a reason why somebody is showing up the way they’re showing up, why they get angry, why they withdraw, why they don’t participate. And sometimes that can literally be that they forgot. Honestly, it can be. And we’ll talk about that in a minute. But pillar one is I’m going to go in and I’m going to say, all right, I’m going to I’m going to work from a framework of assuming that they were not doing that to hurt me. Now, if they it sure seems like they were, then I’m going to look at part B of my pillar one.

There’s a reason why they feel like maybe the only time that they can feel heard or understood, or that I really give them attention, go back to that abandonment and attachment stuff is if they don’t do something or if they get angry. And if that’s the case, man, I want to have empathy for my kid because that means they don’t know how to just come to me and express that. Maybe it’s as simple as they don’t really feel comfortable making meals, or when they make meals, one of their siblings always teases them or they watch cooking shows and they would love to be able to make meals. And when they said when they agreed to it, they thought, I’m going to do all this cooking and I’m going to and my family is going to love it, but then they end up just doing cereal and, I don’t know, and bread sandwich, something that is not not very appetizing or not very beautiful to see. So pillar two, I cannot put off the energy, the vibe, or I cannot say I don’t believe you or that’s ridiculous. And here’s the key. Even if I do not believe what they’re telling me. And I do feel like it’s ridiculous. So if let’s just say that the kid says, You didn’t say I had to do dinner and, you know, literally on the on the calendar, it says Steve’s night for dinner and you’re talking to Steve.

I have to assume they’re not trying to hurt me. And I can’t say, Are you kidding me? How about you go look over at the calendar there, champ, because now we’re going to start getting into that psychological reactance, the instant negative reaction of being told what to do. We’re going to start getting out in the weeds if we violate any of these pillars. So pillar three, then pillar two then leads right into pillar three. I’m going to ask questions before I make comments. So I could assume good intentions. I could not say, Are you kidding me? Even if I feel like, are you kidding me? And then if I jump right to. Okay, well, let me just lay a couple of things out and then I want to hear what you have to say. I can’t believe it’s on the calendar, so I can’t believe that you are. I don’t know. Whatever it is, I can’t believe that you’re not doing this. And that’s really frustrating to me. But let me hear you. Let me hear what you have to say. Now, the kid’s going to feel like, well, why? It doesn’t matter. I already know you’re frustrated and angry with me. So pillar three is questions before comments. Oh, man, that would be hard if you didn’t realize tonight’s your night for dinner. Hey, take me in your train of thought. Help me understand. What do you remember about the conversation where we were setting out the times or that sort of thing? And because what you’re trying to do is in.

This sounds manipulative, but I want to keep the conversation going. I want to keep the ball in the air, because that’s the only chance that we have to really get to accountability. Because if the kid’s Oh, no, I was expecting you to get mad at me. Oh, I really don’t have a reason. Yeah, I know it’s on the calendar or it’s the OC, to be honest with you. I remember having that conversation and I remember thinking, Oh, I can’t wait. I’m going to write things down. And I really did. I forgot, but I’m too embarrassed to say I forgot. So it’s a lot easier for me to push buttons, let you get mad, and then I don’t have to own up to the fact that I forgot. Forget a lot of things. Now all of a sudden, we’re. We’re saying, okay. Ooh, this is. Tell me more about that. Is this why you’ve been struggling in school? You have to go get an ADHD assessment or. But we’re not going to get to any of that if we just immediately jump out into the weeds and tell them you don’t. You must not care about me. Do you understand how hard I work for this family? Because that is pillar four. So we can get to assuming good intentions. Pillar one I’m not going to tell them they’re crazy.

Pillar two I mean, there’s so much more there, right? Pillar three questions before comments, because once I have all the data, my comment might not even matter. Because if they lay out all this, I forgot. And honestly, I struggle with my memory and I don’t write things down or I do, and then I lose the notes and then I might not my comment now might not be as strong. It might not be. Oh, I thought when you watched me write it on the calendar that that would be enough. Or, you know, now it’s the Oh, it sounds like you saw me write it on the calendar and then you completely spaced it. And why don’t we talk about some sort of organization system? Or can can I help you set a reminder on your phone or help me. Let me. Let me help. And then pillar four then, which is can be really difficult for a parent is they can they can adhere to all three of those first three pillars and then pillar four is stay present leaning. Don’t go into some sort of victim mentality or mindset, because if I hold those first three pillars and then the fourth one, I just say, as a dad, if I say. Okay. I guess I will just go get dinner tonight and I will spend all of my money because I understand you forgot. And I’ll just work a little bit later at the office.

I mean, that’s what I’ll do. Because then if I go into that victim mindset, then what I’m secretly or maybe not secretly or subconsciously or overtly wanting is my family to say, And Dad, you don’t have to do that. You’re the best. And am I really seeking that external validation that way, or do I do I just know, okay, here’s my opportunity to help guide this family or to help teach the kids or to help show them that, Hey, I’m here and we’re going to figure this out. I’m not going to get my buttons pushed and I’m going to make this work. So that’s a little bit of a sneak preview for how I can work these four pillars, plus the nurtured heart approach, plus the kids these days vibe into hopefully answering all your questions about parenting. And I’ll take a shot if you got if it’s parenting adult children or children in your home, teenagers, even kids because it’s nurtured hard approach. And the four pillars, I think, work hand in hand together. So reach out. Send me your parenting questions at or you can reach out through Instagram if you want, at Virtual Couch or however you want to. And I will take on all those questions in an upcoming episode. All right, everybody taking us out for usual. It’s the wonderful, the talented Aurora Florence with her song It’s Wonderful. Have a great day and I’ll see you next time on the virtual couch

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