Cathy and Todd discuss the research behind parenting styles and how it affects our communication and even our politics. They also discuss the “Tennessee Three” and how it relates to the difference between generations and how we are evolving (or not evolving) as people and as a country. They share a viral TikTok post from GradSchoolGramma that demonstrates what it really looks like parent in a self-aware, compassionate way, and mindful way.  Click here to learn more.

Connect with us!

This week’s sponsor(s):

  • Avid Co DuPage County Area Decorating, Painting, Remodeling by Avid Co includes kitchens, basements, bathrooms, flooring, tiling, fire and flood restoration.
  • MenLiving – A virtual and in-person community of guys connecting deeply and living fully. No requirements, no creeds, no gurus, no judgements
  • Todd Adams Life & Leadership Coaching for Guys

Time Stamps

1:00 Feedback

3:27 New Team Zen Members

5:46 Zen Parenting Moment- Real, Vulnerable, Pay Attention

7:57 Parenting Styles

  • 10:00 Authoritarian
  • 12:24 Todd’s least proud moments
  • 14:18 Permissive
  • 15:54 Uninvolved
  • 16:19 Authoritative

20:55 Tennessee Three

29:57 The well speech

38:57 Grad School Gramma

45:28 Four questions

46:40 Pop Culturing

47:43 Avid Co DuPage County Area Decorating, Painting, Remodeling by Avid Co includes kitchens, basements, bathrooms, flooring, tiling, fire and flood restoration.

47:54 MenLiving – A virtual and in-person community of guys connecting deeply and living fully. No requirements, no creeds, no gurus, no judgements


Ask Us Anything

Virtual Class: Understanding Our Sons



In this week’s podcast episode, #705 What is your parenting style?,  Todd and Cathy delve into various topics surrounding parenting styles, communication, and self-understanding. They introduce upcoming events, like the Team Zen gathering with the Sisters Project and a virtual class called Understanding Our Sons. Throughout the episode, they explore four distinct parenting styles—authoritarian, permissive, uninvolved, and authoritative—and how these approaches can impact children’s development and even relate to political beliefs.

Cathy and Todd stress the importance of authoritative parenting, which fosters open communication and a positive relationship with children. They discuss a recent incident in Tennessee involving lawmakers and gun reform, drawing parallels between the authoritarian approach in politics and parenting.

The hosts also emphasize the need for understanding different perspectives and experiences, particularly when it comes to the younger generation’s passion for activism. They recommend the book “Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics” by Jonathan Wheeler, which provides further insights into the relationship between parenting styles and political beliefs.

Lastly, they discuss a TikTok video by “Grad School Grandma,” a recovering alcoholic who shares her experience of her estranged relationship with her son. Cathy and Todd appreciate her vulnerability and honesty, underlining the significance of communication and understanding in navigating the complexities of life.


DOWNLOAD Transcript ZPR #705 – Whats Your Parenting Style

Todd: [00:00:00] Here we go. My name’s Todd. This is Cathy. Welcome back to another episode of Zen Parenting Radio. This is podcast number drum roll please, 705. And why listen to Zen Parenting Radio? Because you’ll feel outstanding and always remember our motto which is the best predictor of a child’s wellbeing is a parent’s self-understanding.

Cathy: I have a question. Do you fade that music out cuz it sounds real

Todd: abrupt? Well, I kind of, I faded it and then at the very end I just turned it off. Yeah. I started the fade. Yeah. It just felt abrupt and then I got impatient. I know I usually do a better job of

Cathy: well fading. Well, one thing I’ve noticed is that if we have a show where you feel like you’re in a time crunch, you fade that out really fast.

Cathy: Yeah.

Todd: Did you know that? Yeah. I feel rushed because we have two big topics that I want to get to and I gotta pick up our kid at

Cathy: school. But isn’t that funny, that like, you’re worried about the end, so you’re gonna fade that out. It’s just our brain. So it’s not about a problem. It’s our brain. Yeah.

Cathy: It’s just our brain.

Todd: And sweetie, I appreciate that feedback. Yeah.

Cathy: Well, cuz it does, it sounds bad where it’s like, I love feedback.

Todd: I don’t love feedback. Cathy doesn’t like we, we have an ongoing debate about feedback.

Cathy: Yeah. Well, let me take that back. I don’t mind feedback in a discussion or, you know, with my kids or with you.

Cathy: That’s fine. I’m always open, but I, Todd like, he like sends out things like, tell me how I’m doing. Tell me, wait, think, tell me what you want. Tell me what, and I’m like, you know what? At some point we just gotta like, have a, this is how we do it. And then listen to people but not get such data-driven feedback.

Cathy: Yeah. You’re very big on data-driven feedback.

Todd: Tell me what I’m doing wrong. Yeah.

Cathy: Everyone’s gonna have an opinion

Todd: about that’s fine. And I can discount any of the feedback that I get.

Cathy: And I think that the way I look at it is that you’re right, of course we can, but it also can shift the way you naturally do things.

Cathy: And I’m gonna talk about you personally. No, but the”re’s some things I do like with in a lot of my things are. I don’t really, my writing, I don’t need people’s feedback about it. Sure. This is kind of the way I feel. Right. And if you’re constantly looking to make sure other people are happy with it, then you’re not really sharing from your heart.

Cathy: Yeah.

Todd: And I think it’s a both and thing. Yeah. It’s funny because there’s times when I’m like, you know, cuz I’m in this men’s group that I started called Men Living and whenever we lead meetings, I’m always looking for feedback and the other facilitators are looking for feedback too. And there’s times I’m like, all right, I’m open to feedback and I think I am.

Todd: And they’re like this part sucked. I’m like, “Ooh, yeah, maybe I wasn’t ready for feedback.”

Cathy: Right. And that’s the thing is like we talk, we’ve talked about that. This is the last thing I’ll say cause I know we have to get going, but we’ve talked about that before with being vulnerable on the show too.

Cathy: Is part of the reason that you share things that you’ve pretty much. You know, figured out, dealt with instead of like an open wound is because you’re going to get feedback. Like, let me be clear, we still get emails with feedback. Even if I don’t, you know, ask for it, I’m getting it.

Cathy: And so I have to be conscious of that and not be like, well, wow, these people are really hurting me with my really raw emotion. It’s like, well, that’s my choice to bring the raw motion.

Todd: Yeah. It’s interesting because sometimes Yeah. When I get it, sometimes I think I’m ready, I’m not. And sometimes they’re like too easy on me and then when I say they, I’m talking about my, the guys that I am in this organization with.

Todd: Yeah. I’m like, no, give it to me. And like I said, I could take it or use it or discard it, saying, you know, that doesn’t work for me. So. Right. And that’s part of our feedback process is like, these are just my experiences of how you led that meeting ,Todd. Doesn’t mean it’s right. Yeah. But this is my, anyways.

Todd: All right. Okay. So I wanna thank a few people. Okay. These are new Team Zen members. All right. Ant from Chicago. Angela from New Hampshire. Rebecca from Oregon. And Danielle from Evanston. If you become a Team Zen member, I just got a whole thing of new sh that new-ish shirts and Zen parenting socks.

Todd: So if you join Team Zen. We got new socks.

Cathy: Yeah. Oh,

Todd: I’m so glad. So we got some new fuzzy warm socks. You’re the best. So if you join Team Zen even if it’s just for a month, you’re gonna get some swag from us. We have two important things I wanna talk about coming up. One is we had a podcast from the Sisters Project, Michelle and Lauren, and they’re gonna join us for Team Zen on Monday, March 17th.

Todd: So, can I

Cathy: explain that a little better? Sure. We did a show with Lauren and Michelle a few weeks ago, and we talked about grief, we talked about Hygge, which is cozy living. We talked about, you know, taking care of our parents and it was a really great show and we got a lot of good feedback. So they’re gonna join us again on Team Zen where it’s live. And people can ask them questions and spend some time with them cuz they’re pretty. And,

Todd: Dr. John Duffy and myself are leading a virtual class called Understanding Our Sons, and as I’m looking at the calendar, there’s already 20 people, 21 people signed up.

Todd: Fantastic. My goal is to have more people than what Cathy had when she did Understanding our Daughters. So please help me beat Cathy. Okay.

Cathy: Speaking of understanding our daughters was a great discussion. Thank you for everybody who joined Team Zen, just for that. I encourage you to stay another month to do Understanding Our Sons.

Cathy: Even though, you know, Todd wants to compete with me, I will be supportive of his agenda. There you go, babe. And so I encourage you to stay for that and just everything else we’re offering, you know, the Sister project, we have so many people coming up on Team Zen that we’re having meaning, interviews that we’re doing or question and answer q and a, that we’re like having a hard time finding space to to make for everybody because Team Zen is growing so big.

Cathy: How do I wanna say that better? We have a lot of experts. We want to have on Team Zen and we’re trying hard to figure out where to put them. Yeah. Because we have so many that are so interesting and offer such a wealth of information to Team Zen. So, I hope you stick around and also the Zen parenting moment from this week.

Cathy: I don’t know if you were jumping into that yet, Todd.

Todd: Yeah. So the Zen parenting moment, if I could pull it up, was called where is it? So Cathy does these things every Friday. It’s called Real: vulnerable and pay attention.

Cathy: And it came from the understanding our daughter’s discussion that we had. It was about an hour and a half, and my daughter JC joined us.

Cathy: She just turned 20 about a week ago, and she was basically, you know, taking questions from everybody about, you know, what do I do if my daughter struggles with this, or how do I approach this? And I thought she was crushing it. Like I, I obviously offered my, you know, thoughts at the beginning about parenting and, you know, the things that we do, but then I think JC just asked, she answered from her own personal experience, but also the experiences of all the people that she associates with in high school and college and everything they read and watch on TikTok.

Cathy: Like she could just give a better viewpoint from her

Todd: generation. In a way that we cannot, right? Because we don’t swim in the same water

Cathy: as she does. Correct. And so this then parenting moment was just kind of a, my recap of what she said would be helpful if parents would offer

Todd: their kids. So if you’re getting, so if you wanna get the Zen Parenting moment to scroll down in this podcast, feed in the notes, or if you wanna join Team Zen, just scroll down.

Todd: It’s right there. All right, so this is the tale of two halves. We are going to share two different videos or audio clips, I guess. And I just want to tease the second one, and then we’re gonna jump into the first one. Yes. Look at you sweetie. Knocking. I don’t know why. There’s just this amazing. Is she a grandmother or, yeah, she’s a grandma.

Todd: She’s this amazing woman Who posted this on TikTok or Twitter or where’d you find it? On TikTok. And she just blew me away on her vulnerability, her honesty, her lack of victimhood, her lack of blaming others.

Cathy: She exemplified everything that Todd and I talked about. But sometimes can be difficult to unless you’ve got a personal experience with it where you are actually walking the walk.

Cathy: Yes. And this woman is

Todd: doing that. So that’s my piece. So now how do we wanna start the first half of today’s podcast? Oh,

Cathy: good. I thought you were gonna play the video. No. That’s where I was like, why are you doing that? I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry, Todd. I was wrong.

Cathy: So I wanna start with talking about the four different types of parenting styles.

Cathy: I’m not gonna make this boring. I’m gonna make this really, you know, succinct. Not boring, nb. But I wanna talk about how our parenting style relates to our political affiliation now, I really don’t care about, you know, it, it’s not so much like: do this, so you raise a conservative or do this, so you raise a liberal.

Cathy: It’s more about how they are connected and what the mindset does as far as what we believe about leaders. Okay. And I also just wanna talk about these parenting styles because I think even though a lot of people who have, you know, done Psychology 1 0 1, they’ve probably been informed about these different styles.

Cathy: And those of us who are in the field of, you know, therapy, this comes up all the time and it gets much deeper than this because then we get into the types of, you know, types of care we received and et cetera. But the basics are parenting styles Todd. Number one, authoritarian. Number two, authoritative.

Cathy: Number three, permissive and interesting. I’m, you know, I was doing a lot of reading about this and they’re now tacking on another one called Uninvolved. Now, this is not everybody does this. Like, it’s kind of like when you’re looking up stages of grief and some people are like, there’s five, there’s seven, there’s 11, and let’s be real.

Cathy: There really aren’t any stages of grief. You know

Todd: what uninvolved is, sweetie? What? It’s Ally Sheedy from the Breakfast Club when she’s like, they ignore me. They ignore

Cathy: me. So basically you. And that could be, and I’m, I don’t necessarily think it’s bad. I will refer to it, but it’s not necessarily traditionally what we hear.

Cathy: We usually just hear about the three. And John Bender

Todd: was authoritarian or possibly uninvolved. I don’t know. He is getting cigars burned on his On his,

Cathy: oh, you’re right Todd. You’re right. So yeah, I think that’s true. I think it’s more authoritarian, but it looks different. Yeah. In how like it, it ends up showing up for him as a kid.

Cathy: Sure. So let’s talk about authoritarian first. And this tends to be the type of parent who’s like, it’s my way or the highway. Right. And I think that in our generation, Gen X there is less of this than the boomer generation, but I, it obviously still exists by time cuz Todd and I work with parents, so we hear these things all the time.

Cathy: I think it’s just, I think the boomer generation definitely were more authoritarian in their approach. Yeah. So, you know, you don’t take your child’s feelings necessarily into consideration. That’s not a big part of it. They, using punishments using, you know, consequences rather than teach a child to make better choices.

Cathy: It’s about making a kid feel sorry for their mistakes, you know, making them, you know, feel guilty and shamed. Children who grow up with strict authoritarian parents tend to follow rules. You know, like they, they need a set of rules, but it obviously comes at a price because what you’re teaching children is basically to not think for themselves.

Cathy: Sure. What you’re teaching them is think like I do as I do. Yeah. Fall in line. Yeah. They’re at higher risk of developing self-esteem problems. More of a militant style. Absolutely. Okay. At a very militant style. They, you know, children raise this way, can more easily become hostile and aggressive because they haven’t dealt with their feelings.

Cathy: They’re told to suppress feelings. And again, it’s, there’s many different variations of this. Of course. Like the thing is this is a wide spectrum and a lot of us have authoritarian moments. You know, like where we are, we do say something like, because I said so. Yeah. And there sometimes is an expectation, I still hear from parents, like, I want my kids to be afraid of me.

Cathy: That’s a very authoritarian way of thinking, which, I should be in charge. Everyone should know that and everyone should do what I say. Yeah,

Todd: I think it’s fair to say that even me, I’m. I have probably used all four of these parenting styles, but what we’re talking about is the center of gravity, like where do you most reside?

Cathy: Right. And I think the, we’ve gotta start with the deeper core, like the, everyone can have a moment like that out of frustration. But is your deep core belief that children should be seen and not heard? Yeah. That their opinion about something does not matter. Yeah. And that they, if they don’t follow the rules, they’re just in trouble.

Cathy: You’re not gonna listen to their perspective or why their generation is different than yours or what it’s a much, the belief system is I’m in charge. I mean, you know, succession. You know Logan Roy? Yeah. Is an authoritarian

Todd: parent. Can I share with you? Sure. My, one of my least proud moments as a father, which, oh, let’s hear it.

Todd: I think JC was like two or three and running late. I was having a bad morning. And I, she wasn’t cooperating. You know, kids can squirm out of car seats. Totally. She wasn’t cooperating at all, and I was just, I got so frustrated. I kind of lost myself a bit and I very aggressively shoved her into her car seat.

Todd: And those words sound pretty harsh. It was, I’m being honest.

Cathy: Do when you say very aggressively, like she got, it wasn’t violent. No. Right. I was gonna say it was aggressive. Yeah, it was. You didn’t, I

Todd: don’t think you were there. Oh, I wasn’t? No. Okay. Okay. This was me and her. And I, to this day, I still feel awful about that thing.

Cathy: So how’d you make up for her? Like what did you say to her afterwards?

Todd: 18 years ago, I don’t remember exactly. I don’t remember if I said anything. I don’t know if I repaired. [00:13:20] I just remember feeling awful about it, so I’m sure I did say something to her, but it was just an awful parenting moment for me.

Todd: Well, and

Cathy: it’s such, that’s what’s so important about understanding our belief systems and then understanding where we are at any given moment. Because this is what self-awareness is, right? Is like there’s two levels. There’s what you think children should do. Yeah. Like, and this comes from your history, the what you believe about the parent-child relationship.

Cathy: That it’s a hierarchy and not, you know, And then the other part is you know, as you would say, locating yourself. Like, why are you in such a way? Where am I? And

Todd: I was, where are you? I lost myself.

Cathy: Yeah. You comp you were like, what you decided was more important is that she is going to do what you say and I need to be on time.

Cathy: And that’s more important.

Todd: Yep, yep. I did total disregard of her feelings.

Cathy: Total disregard. Not only of her feelings, but of her being. Yeah. It’s like she’s being a kid. Yeah. And there’s probably some message in what she’s doing. Like I’m feeling. And it doesn’t mean that then Todd doesn’t go. And that’s, let’s go to that one.

Cathy: Okay. Let’s talk about permissive parenting.

Todd: Okay. So we’re jumping over authoritative.

Cathy: Yeah. I’m gonna do that one last time. So permissive parenting is you set rules, but you don’t enforce them. You don’t give consequences ever. You think your child will learn best without any interference at all. They’re, you’re super lenient.

Cathy: Maybe you step in if there’s a problem, but most of the time you’re not. You adopt an attitude of kids will be kids. When they, you do impose a consequence, you don’t really stick with it. You maybe give a privilege back if a child begs for it. Maybe you don’t talk about you’re a pushover. You’re a pushover.

Cathy: You don’t really talk about feelings or what happened. You just try to avoid.

Todd: I have a pop culture in reference. Okay. Kurt Russell, Goldie Hawn in Overboard, if you’ve ever seen that great movie, it’s from like 1980, whatever. Is it a great movie, Todd? Kurt Russell is trying to be his like young boys’ friends.

Todd: Right like playmates and I’m all about playing with my kids, but that’s all he did. Right? So anyways, yeah. His kids are begging for it. His kids are begging for it. Like, that was his version of discipline because I think they were they put super glue on the plates and the Goldie Hawn’s character’s hands were stuck to the plates or something like that.

Todd: And all he said was, your kids are picking, kids are begging for it.

Cathy: Which is basically means I’m gonna do nothing. Nothing. Yeah. And you know, I think about in a lot of reality shows, you know, parents will like flip out. Yeah. But then do nothing. Yeah. You know, like, and there is a difference.

Cathy: Authoritarian parenting is, I’m going to force you, I’m going to take things away. You are not, and permissive is like, I don’t know what to do. So I’m gonna do nothing. And then uninvolved is pretty obvious. It’s, you know, you don’t ask your kids anything. Like you said, Ally Sheedy’s character is a good one.

Cathy: You don’t spend any time with your kid. Basically the, when I was reading about this, I think this connects to somebody who’s really struggling with addiction, mental illness, like somebody who literally cannot. You know, they don’t have access to themselves, which means they don’t really have access to parent.

Cathy: Right. So that’s that. So the one that is mostly most closely aligns with what we talk about as parent.

Todd: Can I talk parent real quick? Just real quick? Sure. We did a podcast called Emotional Neglect. Okay. What your feelings are saying. And it’s podcast 512. And that as I, because we, I think there’s another one.

Todd: We talked about ACE scores, adverse childhood experiences which is more deliberate strikes traumatic things that happen to you as a kid. Yeah. And divorces and things like that. It dictates your future outcomes. Emotional neglect is the opposite. Is where, the parents are just not there.

Todd: Like, they’re just neglectful or alongside…

Cathy: alongside ACEs, right? Yeah. Cuz actually emotional neglect is one of the ACEs. Yeah. You know, it’s one of those things. So authoritative is this place where you put a lot of effort into creating and maintaining a positive relationship with your kids. You explain.

Cathy: The rules, this is what makes sense and why. So the rules aren’t do as I say, because I said so and being like flippant. There is a reason, you know, if it’d be about safety, if it’d be about age, if it’d be about expectation. You set limits, you enforce limits but you also take your child’s feelings into consideration.

Cathy: You know, I don’t know how much we’ve talked about that. There’s plenty of things that we say no to. But I don’t think my children are wrong for asking, and nor do I think that me saying no is the end of the conversation. Yeah. I don’t mean they’re gonna talk me into it, but they get to share why that’s hard for them.

Todd: Let’s have a conversation. Yeah, let’s have a conversation. Let’s have a discussion. Whether it’s a two-year old, an eight-year old, or an 18 year old, we, it’s, I think it’s best to dialogue.

Cathy: Exactly, and you get some time to share where you’re coming from and why. And that information not only deepens our relationship as far as I’m listening to you and connecting to you, but you have some skin in the game, like this is your life. It’s more than skin. It’s your humanity and your perspective means something. And I want, and it may dictate how we then progress together. There may be things about you I didn’t understand. There may be ways of that you communicate with your friends that I didn’t know.

Cathy: Like this is how we stay connected. So, you know, research has found that kids who have authoritative parents are more likely to become responsible adults who feel comfortable self advocating and expressing their opinions and feelings. And children raised with authoritative, you know, parents tend to be more happy and successful like.

Cathy: You know, I always say to my students, cuz I’ve been teaching my college students for 12 years that I used to, when I first started teaching, especially when it was around mindfulness or parenting or, you know, conscious parenting. I used to just be like, doesn’t this feel better? Yeah. Isn’t this better?

Cathy: And now we have, we’ve always had research about parenting styles, but this is not.. Todd and I aren’t just saying this cuz it sounds good, like all of this is based in research. And you can go look at parenting styles and read these things on your own like that. We’re kind of opening the door to something, but why does this make sense?

Cathy: What kind of outcomes do you want for your kid? You know, then children with authoritative parents tend to be more good at decision making and evaluating their own safety risks. What they do is they take themselves into consideration because they had a parent figure who took them into consideration.

Cathy: Yeah, and I can understand how these things can, people can get confused and say, but that gets too permissive, cuz then my kid does everything they want. That’s not true either. You also have boundaries. You also understand your child’s developmental level. You understand their brain development. You understand what kind of support they need, you know?

Cathy: You know, my daughter, my oldest daughter was home for Easter and she had a, you know, night out that she ended up, it was kinda a long story, but she got home super late and even as a 20 year old, I talked to her and said, “Listen, you coming home super late is a challenge for me. You know what I mean? Like, because then I’m worried about you and we’re going back to the like, text me, let me know.”

Cathy: And again, it was this thing, she fell asleep. And I do understand that and the conversation is necessary, but I still have my own boundary, even with a 20 year old of like understand how this affects me as well. And then let’s discuss how we can make this easier for both of us. Yeah. So this is, you know, it’s very communication heavy.

Cathy: So why this is important and why?

Todd: Non reactionary communication.

Cathy: Yes. Yes. Non reactionary may be responsive. Yeah. Meaning you’re thoughtful about how you wanna discuss it. You’re responding to your emotions. It’s a self-awareness. Self-awareness. Yeah. Yeah. It’s just, it, you know, there’s a reason for all of this.

Cathy: So why did I wanna bring this up? I was really affected this weekend as I think most of the country was about what was going on in Tennessee.

Todd: Okay. So I assume you’re gonna explain it cuz some people might be listening to this a year from

Cathy: now. You’re right. Okay, so let me talk a little bit about.

Cathy: In Tennessee this weekend, the House of Representatives in Tennessee. Okay. So it’s their state legislator legislature. They ended up expelling two Democratic lawmakers. They actually were considering expelling three. Their names are Justin Jones, Justin Pearson, and Gloria Johnson. So the two Justins and Gloria is how people referring to them, they were chanting Justin, Justin, Gloria. Anyway, these three lawmakers were speaking for their constituents who really want reform when it comes to gun violence. Those of you who follow the news know that there was, there’s been lots of school shootings, as always, as Todd always says to me, well, we’ll be able to talk about it cuz there’ll be another, I mean, which is so the saddest statement ever.

Cathy: Just the sad ever statement ever. But I think it was on March 26th, there was a shooting at a Christian school in Tennessee Covenant School. And the parents and the communities in Nashville and Memphis, a lot of people rose up and said, we have to do something. And these three lawmakers. Not only did they march with people, they actually led a what is it called?

Cathy: Like a protest. On the house floor for about 52 minutes.

Todd: And I, and help me understand this, I think it’s, they were trying to have this discussion Oh, yes. Beforehand. Oh yes. And it was, they’re like, Nope. Sorry. We gotta get to other business. Thank

Cathy: you, Todd. That’s a really important. They kept trying to bring this up.

Cathy: Not only because are they representing their constituencies, but there were so many people. Yeah, let’s talk about it outside saying we’re here, so you’ll talk about this. And the Republicans who were in charge in Tennessee just kept bringing up other bills. And then Justin and Justin and Gloria would go up to the microphone and say, I would like to now bring up guns.

Cathy: And they’d be like, stop talking about that. They tried to use the regular channels, decor. That is set up. And let me just step back one step because I also wanna talk about the fact that in Tennessee, like a lot of states, it’s very gerrymandered and what is gerrymandering? As I actually, I had to look up why we came up with that word too, which was kind of interesting.

Cathy: But, so you guys know that every 10 years there is a census. Okay. And basically from that census data, we create congressional and state legislative district maps. Okay. Why do we use census data? Because we are trying to figure out the changes in the population so that every person can have the opportunity for equitable representation in government.

Cathy: So the purpose of the census data is to make sure you are reaching people in the right areas, right? You are, if this area has grown, then you wanna make sure they have different representation. You know, you wanna make sure what is the point of this election integrity. Okay. So it plays a vital role in determining whether we can actually speak up about issues. Like this is essential. But in many states there are things called there’s something called gerrymandering, which is named after, listen to this, Todd. In 1812 Elbridge, Jerry, a founding father, who was the governor of Massachusetts at the time, approved a Senate map with a Sal Salamander shaped district. That benefited his own party. Okay. So those of you who understand gerrymandering, when you look at it on a map, people will like draw areas that make no sense.

Cathy: Like it’s not a circle. It’ll be like this crazy salamander shape and they’ll be like, here’s a district. But it’s drawn that way on purpose because it then makes sure that a certain party wins.

Cathy: Yeah, I just.

Todd: Kind of Google this. If a state, for example, if a state has 60% of voters who typically vote for one party, and 40% of voters who typically vote for another party, gerrymandering could be used to redraw the district boundary so that 60, the 60% group is split up into multiple districts diluting their voting power. Correct. While the 40% group is concentrated into a few district, giving them a greater chance of winning elections in those districts, and

Cathy: they actually, the, like the terminology they get into is like, it’s called cracking and packing.

Cathy: Cracking is the practice of dividing a group supporters among multiple districts so they fall short of majority in the district. Right. And packing is the practice of concentrating a group support heavily in a few districts so that group wins significantly. Yeah. Right. So this gerrymandering has been around forever.

Cathy: Both sides have done it, you know, both sides have done it. But there are certain states right now that are so heavily gerrymandered. For conservatives. Okay. This is what was going on in Wisconsin forever, which is why the Wisconsin election from last week was so vitally important, was that the gerrymandering kept there from being any kind of 50-50 even though the state is actually purple. It was, there was a complete conservative hold and the thing is. Why I struggle with this is a party that talks about election integrity all the time, and they’re trying to do things like not, you know, not have ballot boxes and to not have, you know, mail-in voting, but then there’s all these like, ways that they’re not supporting election integrity. Why I’m talking about this is because what happened on the floor when they expelled two members, not three, when they expelled the two Justins, who happened to be African American men, and the woman Gloria, who happens to be a white woman, did not get expelled. One vote saved her.

Cathy: So they [00:26:40] claim that the difference was that she didn’t have a bullhorn, but obviously there’s some racial commentary in here. And these guys, Justin and Justin are very young. They’re in their late twenties. They represent, you know, districts in Nashville, I believe. I don’t know exactly where they are in the state, but they are representing their constituents who want. Gen X.

Cathy: Yeah. They wanna change millennials. They’re like, what are you people doing? What I, the reason I brought this up with parenting styles is what I found so fascinating watching everything was that the men who were pissed at them have a very authoritarian style. The men who wanted to vote for expelling these young men.

Cathy: They’re basically like, you’re wrong. We are right. This is how you do it. There is no other way. We’re not gonna talk about it. We’re not gonna talk about it. You will follow our lead. Which, you know, again, we throw around language a lot, you know? And you know, people will say they’re a fascist. They’re a fascist.

Cathy: The definition of fascism is a political system headed by someone in the government that controls business and opposition is not permitted. So while I’m not, I don’t like to throw words on people because then it like loses its meaning. That happens with therapeutic words too. The idea that we, that people are gonna be like, no, we’re not going to discuss this.

Cathy: You can’t bring this up. Nothing’s gonna be done about this. Or the things we’re gonna do, or things that we’ve been doing all along that haven’t worked. There’s going to be no, you know, like Shannon Watts, who you know, is in charge of mom’s demand. She founded it. She’s always like, when you look at the data, this is like a no-brainer, but we never get the opportunity to show the data because there’s no discussion.

Cathy: I mean, people know the data, but it’s like you can’t bring it up. So I found that there were like two parenting styles going on. You know, during this time there was the people who were like, there’s only one way. There’s only one type of American, there’s only one group. There’s only one committee.

Cathy: There’s a belief that there is no discussion. You just do it this way. Black and white. Black and you know. Yeah. This is, that’s interesting language. Yeah. And then you have these two young men who were so eloquent. It’s not just how they said it, it’s the, it’s their knowledge base.

Cathy: It’s about their, they understand not only the data around this, but what they were hired to do, like why they were elected and the generation they’re speaking for. And things are changing. Yeah. And they’re not gonna change fast enough for people. And I know it’s still scary for people, but the thing is this idea of we’re just gonna do it our way and you have nothing to say about it, that’s not gonna work.

Cathy: So I I sent Todd this clip that I thought was so fascinating and it’s not just Justin, this is, you’re gonna be listening to Justin Pearson in this. So there’s Justin Jones and Justin Pearson. This is him.

Cathy: But I want you to hear the man who’s speaking to him starts Yes.

Todd: And he’s the one who starts Yes. And then Justin responds, jumps in. Yeah. So it’s about a minute and a half. You’re wrong.

Cathy: You’re in the will today because you broke rules of decorum. Wouldn’t you agree Representative Pearson? I believe I’m in the well today because you have put forward a resolution that says that it’s more important to expel voices of dissent than do the work of justice, which is fighting to end gun violence in the state of Tennessee.

Cathy: I believe that. I’m in the well today because I with the courage of ancestors and family and loved ones in communities stood up and spoke up for folks like my classmate Larry Thorne, who can speak no more because of the proliferation of guns in Tennessee. I believe that I’m in the well today because you have decided.

Cathy: That it is not right to have debate. It is not right to listen to the voices of the minority. I believe I’m in the well today because on the day that we wanted to honor the thousands of people who protested we were denied that opportunity. I believe that I’m here because you feel in your heart that it is right to persecute someone who has committed no.

Cathy: Is only broken what you call the house decorum rule, which according to section 19 of the house, permanent rules of order say that at worst, the thing that should happen is censure. But instead, you have brought forward a terrible resolution to deprive and disenfranchise thousands of people in Shelby County of a representative who will and can speak and advocate for them.

Cathy: And I believe representative Farmer, that is wrong. All right. So that is not the only speech that wa I was watching that in bed the other day. I don’t know if it was Saturday morning or I can’t remember when he did it. And I like looked at Todd and I was like, this is history. I mean, these, this is, you know, the fact that we’re all focusing on Tennessee right now.

Cathy: That wouldn’t have happened if this, if they hadn’t expelled these, you know, could you hear during that, Todd? The protests outside? Yeah. You could hear them. Could hear them in the background voices. Yep. And there are so many people saying, make a change. And there is this belief that there is one way.

Cathy: So I’m gonna wrap this up by saying authoritarian parenting is the belief that there is one type of way to be. And there’s no room for debate and that is not going to work with this generation. No. And I’m not saying that there are no more authoritarian parents. There are and they’re gonna try. But this what’s happening and what’s been happening, I think for a long time, is they’re coming educated.

Cathy: Data filled, passionate, compassionate self, you know, contained connected. You know, these protestors, these, you know, this generation is speaking up because they understand on the deepest level what means the most to them, and they are experiencing. These things, the school lockdowns, the shootings, losing friends, you know, what’s going on.

Cathy: You know, when I see, you know, people, my generation or older talking about what kids are experiencing, I’m like, you don’t know what they’re, you know, you are not there. I mean, and then telling teachers what to do, and I’m like, you’re not a teacher. You’re not in the classroom. And so I just think it’s one of.

Cathy: Another opportunity not only to be focused on what’s going on in our country and to see this isn’t the only state where this is happening. It’s just the most high profile. Well, and

Todd: You know, I think for example, Justin Pearson, who’s the man that we just heard, he is smart enough to know how to make an impact.

Todd: Yes. And I think I would, I mean, I’m just guessing here, I’m guessing that there’s an anger inside of him that he’s not letting to come out. He can’t. Because he knows the impact. If there’s a man with dark color skin expressing anger. So he has to play by, you know, it’s like the rules. Yeah. It’s like emotional intelligence, like what’s going to, and I just feel like these lawmakers who are trying to like lead with this authoritarian style. They don’t understand the impacts, right. Of what it is that they’re doing. They can still be

Cathy: questions them, Todd. Yeah. They have always been able to do that. And they say, this is how it’s done. This is what America is. I’m American, you’re not. And they’re being someone else is saying, so am I.

Cathy: And this is what has happened, you know, men of color, women of color, and you know, women just just women, you know, the way, you know, think about how, you know, justice. Who’s the Supreme Court Justice? Kenji what’s her last name? Taylor Brown. No. Kenji. She was just,

Todd: It reminds me of the Jackie Robinson story where Branch Rickey is thinking about which of these African American men they’re going to invite into the major leagues and Branch Rickey says something like, No he doesn’t want him to fight. And Jackie Robinson’s like, you don’t want me to fight back.

Todd: He’s like, I want somebody strong enough to not fight back. Because he knows that if he fights back. So Jackie Robinson had to like endure all of this racism and he was smart enough that if he. Played the role of the fight fighting back. It would’ve been worse for the movement.

Cathy: At that time. At that time.

Cathy: And we’re not there anymore. Yes. You know, like, and I get that like I understand. That’s the thing about these conversations is we get. And first of all, I wanna back up about what you said about there’s anger. Anger doesn’t always look like yelling. I know like anger can be very focused. It can be quiet.

Cathy: Yeah. And it can be quiet and it can be thoughtful and strong and powerful. So sometimes when we think anger, we think someone loses it and falls apart. And really anger can be channeled in a really, you know, helpful way. And Justice Jackson, I was forgetting her last name, but she, what she had to do.

Cathy: As far as her, you know, her nomination and then sitting in front of all of, you know, the Senate. The Senate committee, asking her questions and the way she had to, you know, answer questions and the way she had to sit and the way she had to take on what they were throwing at her versus Brett Kavanaugh.

Cathy: Yeah. You know? Yeah. Who could cry and yell and scream and yell things back at the people asking him questions. There are two different sets of rules, and so there is, you know, a, I think that, you know, I’ll end by saying, I just think it’s interesting to view politics through this parenting lens is who are we raising our children to?

Cathy: It’s not necessarily about what political party they choose, it’s how do they interact with others. Yes. Yeah. How do they, what is their belief system about their own value? What is their belief system about are things really black and white and right and wrong, or are there many ways to see

Cathy: the world?

Todd: Well, and the bottom line is it’s just in what way do we communicate. Right. It’s really that simple. Yeah, it is. And if we just shut people’s voices down, it’s not gonna

Todd: work.

Cathy: No, it doesn’t. And you know, I wanted to I’ll end by saying there is Let’s see. There’s this book called Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics by Jonathan Wheeler.

Cathy: He’s a professor at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and he wrote a book all about this and you know, even though it’s so easy to see, he, you know, he said what makes these questions interesting is they’re not really about parenting, they’re about people’s idealized un understanding of social.

Cathy: order Or social hierarchy. Asking about parenting is a way to get people to think about this. So it’s belief systems that we’re passing down. It’s not just the parenting style is the way that we like, you know, kind of discuss it in a more psychological way. But these are the four questions, Todd, that they ask in this book.

Cathy: You know, do you have, number one, respect for elders or independence? Number two, obedience or self-reliance number. three Good manners or curiosity. And number four, being well-behaved or being considerate, and that is how they determine. You know, obviously more authoritarian answers are respect for elders, obedience, good manners and well-behaved.

Cathy: So basically children are encouraged to not have a voice and they grow up with a lot of self-doubt. And And all of these things, you know, everybody who’s like, but we should have respect for our elders, of course, but we can also have a respect for ourselves. And independence for them and us. Yeah. So it’s not, it’s again, not black and white.

Cathy: This is very nuanced. Often paradoxical, but I just find, you know, go check out that book, like read about this and let’s, you know, let’s segue into the next thing, which is this grandmother and mother who embodies what we’re talking about so beautifully.

Todd: Are we ready? Yeah, I’m ready. So just so everybody knows, this is I don’t know if it’s Twitter, it’s on TikTok, honey.

Todd: It’s called Grad School Grandma. So in case anybody wants to follow

Cathy: her, yeah, go f I follow her. She’s got a ton of

Todd: followers. So this is about three minutes. It’s long, but it’s worth it. Recently

Cathy: I was out to lunch with an old friend of mine who has been watching my TikTok and seeing my Facebook, and she said, you know, diva y, you are such a great parent and it’s must be so great to have this great relationship with all your children.

Cathy: Lots of greats in there, story time. That’s not true, baby. And let me tell you what I. Yes, I have this great relationship with two of my sons, my youngest daughter. My sunshine is always around. That’s who I’m usually talking about in these videos. But I have an oldest son who has chosen to go no contact with me and most of the family.

Cathy: Here’s where I differ from a lot of people. I honor his space. I don’t try to make up some type of story about how I did the best I could, even though I did how, you know, he should have been grateful for the life that I worked hard to give him. But [00:40:00] see, I’m a recovering alcoholic and I wasn’t recovering when he was in his early.

Cathy: I’m not going to feed my ego by saying, you know, I’m your mother. I did the best I could. I was dealing with a lot. Whether or not that’s true, I honor his truth. I really do. I love my son. I miss him. However, I won’t be changing my number anytime soon, and the code through the front door that he has will never change.

Cathy: He can always get into any home that I live in, but I’m not gonna sit here in front of my other kids or in front of you guys and say, oh, he’s gone. No contact. I don’t understand. I understand completely. And I’m quite happy that I raised a grown ass man who can stand up for his feelings. I send him messages that I hope he’s getting some therapy cuz I was his mother and I know he probably needs it.

Cathy: But other than that, I honor his space. I think sometimes that’s the difference between Gen X parents and our boomer generation. Cause Yeah, I’m your mom. I messed you up. I’m sorry. We parent each of our children differently, and that’s just the truth of it. So one day maybe he’ll come back around and we won’t be estranged. In the meantime, I just love on the kids that are here and pray to the universe that things will change. Y’all have a good day. Oh my God. So we

Todd: love her so much.

Todd: So, yeah. So, and we don’t have as nearly as much time as I wish we did to talk about this. So my quick takes on this is her, obviously her vulnerability. Her vulnerability about sharing her alcoholism and how she was not the best mom while her son was in his teenage years, and probably before, I’m guessing she’s taking responsibility.

Todd: Her amount of responsibility, she’s honoring his faith and his, and his truth, as she said. But I just think about how often I, and I’ll dare to say, we as parents get so defensive to justify our position with our kids. Like, no, you don’t understand. I did this, and this. And she’s like, this is his experience and there’s nothing that she can do to change his experience and she’s gonna keep the door open, which is beautiful.

Todd: But I just think it would be so easy for her to blame him. Or be angry with him, or blame herself.

Cathy: Which, well, and she probably and the thing is she probably does both Todd. Yeah. But then she can take her wise mind Yes. Of emotion and data. Yes. And bring it together and say, but you know what I do, I am angry with him that he won’t speak to me.

Cathy: I’m also angry at myself that in whatever ways I dropped the ball. Yeah. When he was young. But I bring those together and I say, I am gonna live with compassion for myself and him. Yeah. And I am going to keep that door wide open for him. And I’m also, as she said, going to honor that I have a son who knows how to take care of himself.

Cathy: And if he needs to go no contact for a while, it sucks. And I’m still gonna reach out and say, Hey, I’m here. But you can’t force. And the belief system going back to, you know, parenting styles. I think a big reason why a lot of parents blame and get angry and say, how dare you, is the belief. It’s that authoritarian belief.

Cathy: I am the parent, you honor me no matter what. Yeah. Versus I get to do, you know, or, and add to that. I get to do whatever I want to you and you just have to suck it up again. I thinking about succession again. I can’t get Logan Roy off my head. I, so it’s like that belief versus I love you. If you can’t be with me right now, that’s okay.

Cathy: I give you freedom and I give you, and I give you apology. And I give an opening for a discussion whenever you’re ready. But until then I set you free. Harder. It’s not easy. Yeah. But I think that, you know, she is emulating, she is in that post is demonstrating to everybody what this looks like.

Cathy: And I’ve watched a lot of her TikTok, she’s amazing. But this is what we’re talking about is it’s not all perfect and pretty. Like, you know, something that Todd and I, you know, we always get asked questions since the girls were little. But don’t you worry if they have a struggle or if they mess up, of course they’re gonna have that.

Cathy: Like, this is not about keeping things from happening to your kids or to avoid conflict. I mean, you hope you take some conflict out, but it’s about how you approach challenges. It’s about how you deal with conflict and how you come to peace with things except things deal with things. Listen to people.

Cathy: It’s the way you communicate. It’s not avoid.

Todd: I think my favorite part of that is when she’s like, I’m glad I raised my son who honors his feelings. Me too. It’s the best. There’s so many wonderful parts of that. So anyways, we have to wrap it up. Any closing thoughts?

Cathy: Just that, you know, I think the last thing I’ll say, the closing thought I’ll say is when we were talking about the difference in parenting styles authoritarian parenting style, this is like the summary.

Cathy: Like very simple, clear messages and want to impose simple, clear solutions to complex problems. Again, black and white thinking instead of more depth questioning and understanding. And I think that what we know about humanity and what we know about human beings is that life is messy and there’s nothing clean cut.

Cathy: That people are different, that humanity is evolving, that we’re ever changing. I mean, it’s why I called my book, you know, Caring for Ourselves and Our Children in an Unpredictable World, we don’t get to decide. We have to flow with. Yeah. That grandma’s flowing with people who are standing up and saying, this decorum doesn’t work because you’re not listening to the people they are flowing with.

Cathy: And it’s just unfortunate because obviously it doesn’t always, it’s not always pretty. But it is inspirational. So things are, You know, if we can just keep listening to each other, we can make some big

Todd: change, A few other things. We’ve been busy with Pop Culturing. What have we done lately, sweetie?

Todd: Oh,

Cathy: we’ve done so much Team Zen stuff, so many classes. But Pop culturing, we had Greece, we have The Hangover. We have coming out, the three companies coming up today, which is so funny. And then we also just did about last night, so please subscribe to.

Todd: So that might be out by the time you listened to this podcast. I don’t know. We’ll see. And then

Cathy: about last night also, please, 1986 version. If you enjoy Zen Parenting Radio and you like pop culture, go follow or subscribe Zen Parenting Radio on your podcast app and follow and subscribe Pop Culturing on your podcast app. I use both words because depending on your podcast app, they call it different things. Yes. So just subscribe or follow so you don’t have to look for it. It’ll just come to your feed.

Todd: Men Living is an organization that I co-founded and am the executive director. It’s a virtual and in-person community of guys connecting deeply and living fully.

Todd: No requirements, no creeds, no gurus, no judgments. All you do is show up when you can. Men, Jeremy Krat, he’s a bald-headed beauty. He does painting and remodeling throughout the Chicagoland area. His phone number is (630) 956-1800, and his website is avid And with that, I’m gonna play my, I’m gonna fade in my music.

Todd: Nice. Is that better?

Cathy: Absolutely. And everybody keep, you know, I know not everybody loves to watch the news. It can be overwhelming, but there are things happening, you know, and hopefully we can move through everything together, learn from each other, and grow as human beings. That’s the goal. Keep.