Cathy and Todd discuss how it’s not our kids’ job to support us, but we can encourage them to understand us. They also discuss the importance of self-compassion when parenting, why our boys need more male role models, and how to deal with change as our kids grow and graduate.  Link to Podcast Episode on our website.

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Time Stamps

(00:00) Intro

(05:37) Raising Healthy Sons

(14:28) Ask us Anything- How do I get support from my child without “parentifying” them

(24:49) Who Smarted?

(36:44) Graduation transitions

(48:24) Outro

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Ask Us Anything

Who Smarted?



Do Your Kids Understand You?

In this episode of Zen Parenting Radio, Todd and Cathy Adams share their perspectives and insights on various topics related to parenting. From the challenges of pre-ordering to fostering understanding and support in parent-child relationships, the hosts offer valuable advice and reflections. They also touch upon the importance of shifting perspectives, self-compassion, and the joys and challenges of life’s journey. Here, we summarize the key points discussed in this enlightening podcast episode.

Todd and Cathy Adams discuss the inconveniences associated with pre-ordering items like balloons and donuts. They share their experiences with stores that require pre-orders and offer amusing anecdotes. Although this topic is light-hearted, it resonates with listeners who can relate to the challenges of navigating logistics in everyday life.

A listener’s question prompts a meaningful discussion on seeking support from children without compromising their sense of safety or burdening them with parental responsibilities. Cathy reframes the concept as seeking understanding instead of support, emphasizing the importance of role modeling and allowing children to witness the multifaceted aspects of being human. They delve into the significance of setting boundaries, teaching children about their needs, and engaging in authoritative parenting that combines high expectations and rules with warmth and responsiveness.

Todd and Cathy reflect on their interactions with nieces and nephews, where they can engage in connective conversations and demonstrate more patience. They explore the reasons behind the occasional harshness they experience as parents, acknowledging societal expectations and the deep emotional connection they have with their own children. The hosts emphasize the effectiveness of relational conversations with kids and challenge the misconception that setting boundaries and maintaining a close relationship are mutually exclusive. They share personal experiences and express the importance of self-compassion during overwhelming times, referring to the insights of a psychologist.

As the podcast episode nears its conclusion, Todd and Cathy discuss their daughter’s graduation and use the analogy of climbing a mountain to represent life’s journey. They emphasize that difficult trails and obstacles are natural and necessary for growth. Instead of creating additional hardships for children, parents should support and understand them. The hosts encourage open and non-judgmental conversations, urging parents to ask about their children’s experiences and needs. They remind listeners that life is a mix of hardships and joys, and it’s essential to appreciate the beauty and learn from each experience.

In this thought-provoking episode of Zen Parenting Radio, Todd and Cathy Adams provide valuable insights into various aspects of parenting. They discuss the challenges of pre-ordering, the importance of seeking understanding from children, the need for compassionate parenting, and the significance of embracing life’s challenges and joys. Their reflections offer parents a fresh perspective and practical guidance to navigate the complexities of raising children. By fostering understanding, setting boundaries, and practicing self-compassion, parents can create a supportive environment that nurtures their children’s growth and well-being.


ZPR#711 – Do Your Kids Understand You Full Episode Transcript – DOWNLOAD


Todd: Here we go. My name’s Todd, this is Cathy. Welcome back to another episode of Zen Parenting Radio. This is podcast number. I’m pulling it up right now. 711, it’s oops, oops. Seven 11. I’m a little off. So if I’m off today, seven 11, and you know what they do on seven 11, I think you get free Slurpees. Free Slurpees at 7-Eleven on 

Cathy: 7-Eleven.

Cathy: Do they ever run 

Todd: out that day? Possibly. Speaking of. Companies running out of stuff. We had a graduation party yesterday and we got balloons and there’s a lot of people that were a little perturbed because they walked in wanting to get balloons at the balloon store and they’re like, Nope, you can’t get balloons because you have to pre-order balloons cuz it’s graduation weekend.

Todd: And also sometimes we love crispy cream donuts. And sometimes Krispy Kreme says, sorry, we, you can’t have any donuts, even though they sell donuts. Because they’re like, you gotta pre-order donuts, 

Cathy: you gotta order ’em online. So basically what the first story you told, you said you need balloons. You went to the balloon store.

Cathy: And said, and I had pre-ordered them, so Todd just got to take ’em and leave. But there were people in line like out the door saying, blow up these balloons. And they’re like, we 

Todd: will not do that. So the invitation is to any operational managers out there increased capacity. Buy more 

Cathy: balloons, or maybe they’re trying to push people to mobile orders 

Todd: or because like you might be pushing people, but there’s, yeah, I mean, maybe, 

Cathy: well I go, you know, if I’m driving through McDonald’s, like, you know, to get iced tea or sometimes we get breakfast there.

Cathy: I will pull it and the first thing they say is, Do you have a mobile order? I’m like, no, I’m in the drive-through at McDonald’s. I don’t have a mobile 

Todd: order. Well, the whole pre-order McDonald’s seems very strange to me. That’s what 

Cathy: I mean. That’s why I’m using it as an example. Yeah, because why would I’m sorry.

Cathy: I’m messing with my hair. My hair’s wet and I have these, 

Todd: you should have put a hat on like me. You always mess with that one strand. Well, 

Cathy: it’s because I got the, 

Todd: I I got, you should just cut that strand off and that way it won’t be in your 

Cathy: eyes. I just know what curtain bangs are and there’s, and it’s, I know what curtains are.

Cathy: I know. Anyway, basically going back to the mobile order things, It’s just sometimes a lot easier to order things ahead of time than to expect to go into a store and ask for what you need. But that’s your whole point is isn’t that weird? Because usually that’s what we do, right? We go into a store and say, can I buy this?

Cathy: But liter, to Todd’s point, we, we had another party on Friday. We had a lot of parties this weekend. Lots of parties, and I had to pick up balloons for that party and I Went in and the person in front of me brought in a handful of balloons, like they were numbers or something. It was probably a birthday party and sat ’em on the counter and said, okay, I need these blown up.

Cathy: And they’re like, we can’t do that. No. And she’s like, well, what do you mean? 

Todd: Yeah, you have the helium, you just gotta put this on the little thing and you’re a balloon store. And then press go. I know. Okay, so we are going to talk about three things. One is we’re going to actually, let’s instead.

Todd: Talking about what we’re going to talk about. How about we just talk about it? Let’s just talk about what we’re gonna talk about. We have this thing called Team Zen. I wanna say hi to a few brand new Team Zen members who actually get a either a t-shirt or fuzzy socks from us. So if there’s anybody out there that likes t-shirts or fuzzy socks, go ahead and sign up for Team Zen.

Todd: It’s 25 bucks a month. Can’t beat it. I wanna say hi to Mary Ellen from Crystal Lake and Tammy from Medo Beach, California. Thanks for joining the team. And two other quick things about Zen parenting is we now have this ability for you to gift a Team Zen membership, whether it’s for one month or three months or 12 months, and you wanna, you think somebody might enjoy being on the team.

Todd: I’ll put the link in the show notes so that you can buy a gift card 

Cathy: for somebody. You literally, it’s, it’s so cute. Todd and Brad, our tech guy, made it, and it’s like a literal gift card and you can send it to ’em just like Amazon or you can print it. And you just, you know, like Todd said, it can be here’s a month of Team Zen.

Cathy: Give it a try. Or even a year. 

Todd: And the other thing is we’re working on our YouTube page. We had to start over for a lot of different reasons. So we’re reintroducing our YouTube page, and that link is gonna be in the show notes here. And I know a lot of people are like, oh, I should subscribe to that, or like it, or whatever.

Todd: And they’ll forget by the end of the show. So go ahead and just pause the podcast, do a search or just click on the link in the show notes and just subscribe. That way you get all these little clips of Cathy and I. And then you can also get the full shows. I. You know, 

Cathy: Todd, I gotta be honest. Sure. I am not a YouTube person.

Cathy: I know you’re, when I say that, I like that we’re on YouTube. I am. But Todd gets, so I scroll through TikTok or Twitter to, you know, get information and Todd gets 

Todd: YouTube stuff. Well, that’s how I get my White Sox highlights. That’s how I get my pickleball instructional videos. Yes. And then lemme just pull up my YouTube page.

Todd: I’ll tell you what shows up. Oh, you have to, this is gonna be really interesting to all the people out there. Because this is not a visual medium. It says, this is cuz what these algorithms do is they send you some come up with ideas that they think might be interested in. And the second one is fix Achilles tendonitis.

Cathy: Guess who’s got Achilles tendonitis? 

Todd: Guess who’s, and then the next one is Fargo Chit-Chat. We do Fargo. I’m just gonna do it just cause it’s so funny. Remember this part, sweetie, what do I look 

Cathy: like? And I says, well, what do I look like? I don’t arrange that kind of thing. And he says, but I’m going crazy out there 

Todd: at the lake.

Todd: And I remember that same to you guys. I knew she’s interviewing him. Yes. So anyways so subscribe to our YouTube page, but on Team Zen, I posted something on our community page, and this is what I said. Today’s virtual class discussion. So we had a virtual class slash discussion on raising healthy sons.

Todd: We thought it might be a good idea to have space to list positive male role models in pop culture. Here were my suggestions, along with a handful of other suggestions. So I’m saying this to all of the moms and the dads who have sons, and it’s a great way to engage in a conversation with them. By the way, did you wanna plug in your, your computer?

Todd: Are you feeling okay? No, no. I think I have plenty. Okay, good. So you tell me if you’ve heard of these people. Sweet. So can 

Cathy: I step back? Sure. Sometimes when you’re talking, you’re in your own stream of consciousness. So basically I know. So I’m not gonna 

Todd: be in yours, sweetie. I’m gonna be in my own. Well, 

Cathy: what I mean is you’re talking as if people know what you’re talking about.

Cathy: I do the exact same thing. But basically Todd had this class that he taught on our Team Zen platform. So we teach classes on Team, Zen, and they’re not even classes. They’re discussions. We’re le, we lead a discussion, we lead a discussion. It’s not like we have a curriculum, but we’re leading a discussion on raising healthy sons.

Cathy: And then afterwards he posted in our Team Zen cuz it, we have a, an app. And so basically it’s like, You know, Facebook or Instant, you can scroll through and, and read or Twitter or whatever. And he said what are the role models for our boys these days? Because one thing I, this is why I’m saying this, Todd and I can come up with a lot of male role models, but they’re aged out.

Cathy: Like, meaning, you know, you, you’re not gonna say to a 17 year old boy, you know, why don’t you be more like Tom Hanks? Like, you know, it’s an old guy to them. So Todd is putting out there who are today’s male role models. And who’d you get? Pedro Pascal? 

Todd: Yes, that was my suggestion. He was the Mandalorian, but he’s also on another show that I don’t watch.

Todd: What’s the other show that everybody watches that we don’t watch? The, 

Cathy: the, the one with, I got one with Pedro Pascal. This is, I was gonna say 

Todd: this is a Perry Cruz from Brooklyn 99. Okay. Lynn Manuel Miranda, who wrote Hamilton. Yeah, Barack Obama who I’m a big fan of. Correct. Somebody said Prince. Now Prince is interesting cuz he is obviously old and dead, but he.

Todd: That’s a good selling point. But he I remember when he showed up on the scene, he was not what most people thought of when it comes to rockstar. 

Cathy: Well, he’s not gender, he’s not gender conforming. I like put him in that. You know, he, again, I’m not saying their music is the same, but like Bowie, you know, or Harry Styles, like, they, they don’t, they have a really eclectic you know, rhythm or not rhythm.

Cathy: Look, one, two.

Cathy: Long version. Nice. 

Todd: You know, the long version. Of course. I don’t know the long version. Can’t they just get into the good part? 

Cathy: No, because this is, this is so print this part, like, you know, when you hear this is,

Todd: I’ve never heard this version 

Cathy: pretty good. It’s funky. Just, just another minute. I’m enjoying it.

Cathy: It’s going into alphabet. It’s alphabet. 

Todd: Oh, he’s flopping.

Cathy: Have you ever heard this? Oh. Oh, it’s good. I thought he was thrown into.

Cathy: My boss, Mr. McGee. He’s so good. Oh my gosh. 

Todd: Don’t you miss this? Oh my God. Whenever I think of Prince, I think of that the thing you did for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Oh, when he did the cover for While my guitar gently leaps. If you ever want to see him person. Demand stage presence because 

Cathy: every other amazing guitar player was on stage with them and 

Todd: nobody was looking at anybody else because I think he was wearing this purple suit and this red hat.

Todd: And it was quite amazing. Well, 

Cathy: and he just had, like, I know they come out with lists of the best guitarists of all time and everything, and I don’t know where he followed on that list. He’s, he’s up there for sure. But people, I, you know, interviews that I’ve heard before, people are like, we can’t touch that like it, because it’s not just about how well he plays, it’s his own sound.

Cathy: Like, you know, when that was going on the Raspberry Bere thing, he has this sound where you’re like, I know that’s a Prince song. And then he also on the stage, He, it, it’s like the guitar becomes like part of his body. Yes. It’s really amazing. And by the way, I never saw Prince in Concert, which is so unfortunate.

Cathy: Totally. I mean, that is one, I bet you he crushed it in concert. Oh, well I have friends who did because they were from Minneapolis, you know? So a lot of people who lived there got to see him and 

Todd: Yep. Okay. Continue my list. Okay. Ted lasso. 

Cathy: Yes. Good one. And everybody on that show. Really? Yes.

Cathy: You know, 

Todd: Prince Harry? Yes. Oh will Tennyson, I don’t know who Will Tennyson is neither I, Steph Curry. Steve Kerr. 

Cathy: Yes. Steve Kerr’s a good one. 

Todd: I’m gonna do this one. This one’s Keanu Reeves, Keanu, and I’m just gonna play Reeves. This is him and Colbert. Hold on. Piano reefs. So what he just asked him, Steve Colbert asked him what happens when you die?

Todd: And it’s like a ten second clip. But this is his authentic non-thinking about reaction and just the way, I just love Keanu Reeves. Okay, so here we go. 

Cathy: I know that the ones who love us will miss us.

Todd: So Colbert has this questionnaire, what happens when you die? And he just, and you could hear like the tears in his voice, like it’s an emo, at least for me. He is such a heart-centered 

Cathy: human being. What a great answer, because any other answer doesn’t make sense cuz we don’t know. So basically all he can answer that from is from the living perspective.

Cathy: And what we know for sure is that people who love us will miss us. Boom. Love. Well, and Keanu has a reputation for being the guy that gives up his seat on the subway. The guy that gives money, the guy that helps, helps people when he is passing by. He’s got an every man reputation. So I, and you know, because he is John Wick, I think he’s kind of important to this generation 

Todd: too.

Todd: And then last two, a guy named Peter Attati. Yeah, he’s, he’s some smart psychologist guy. And then Elaine, who’s part of the team, she replied in the, so it’s just so you guys know, Team Zen. It’s kind of like Facebook without the Facebook, you know, I posted this thing and then everybody commented on it.

Todd: Elaine asked her 15 year old son. She said he couldn’t think of any of one person, really, that I actually know. He could think of traits of other people I wanna have. So we talked about those traits and the people he thought embodied them in some way. He did mention Steph Curry. Okay. Another TikTok baseball coach named Coach RAC, whoever that is, and his path strength trainer.

Todd: He used to see twice, twice weekly. It felt reassuring to me that he had language around some of this, not that his job is to reassure me, but his appear nice to know their thoughts of substance in these teens, boys’ heads. And he mentioned that being a kid is tough because adults that are men in general are disappointing.

Todd: Oh, that is 

Cathy: so oh, that’s so hard to hear. Right. And I know it’s true. I’m not saying it’s not true. It is true. I think that that the thing, when we get so wrapped up in things like winning and losing and political things, and we’re like, that guys, [00:13:20] you know, taking this person down or I won, or you’re, you’re, what we’re showing kids is such a.

Cathy: Bullying. Negative viewpoint of what adults do. Yep. And I, you know, sometimes when I’m walking through the world or you know, just, we just spent so much time with people this weekend, Todd and I did, and everyone was amazing. And people are so amazing. And then I’ll go on Twitter and I’ll be like, who are these?

Cathy: What’s happening here? I’m not saying I’ve never run into these situations, obviously I’m not oblivious. You know, especially what I do for a living, you know, like, I know, but I’m also like, why, why are these things held up? Yep. As being things we want our, you know, kids to watch. It’s just brutal. 

Todd: And then the last set are they said, I think the guy’s from Parks and Rec.

Todd: Andy, Ron. Chris. Maybe even 

Cathy: Jerry. Yeah, we could say that about Brooklyn Nine Nine. We could say that about the Good Place, Tom. We could say that about, you know, these shows that are written in a way that people have a heart. You know, 

Todd: like what’s funny is Park’s and Rec is such an old show now.

Todd: I know. It’s so outdated, crazy, so old. So we’re gonna quickly pivot to another piece that Cathy and I sometimes do called Ask us anything. Okay. We don’t do, I don’t do a good job of promoting it, so I just want everybody to know that there is a link, and I’ll post it in these show notes. If you have a question and you want Cathy and I to maybe answer it on the show or maybe in a Zen Talk.

Cathy: Well, let me say that differently. If you want us to answer it on the show, you can go there and ask us anything. If you want to do that more consistently, then join Team Zen. Yes. And then you can ask on a Zen Talk, 

Todd: and you can do it live too. Whereas this is prerecorded. So Cathy has not heard this.

Todd: And what’s interesting about this question is initially I’m like, okay, I know exactly where we’re gonna go with this question. But she kind of comes full circle. It’s about 45 seconds. But Oh, it’s a recording. 

Cathy: Yeah, it’s a recording. So you can email us or there’s also an option to do SpeakPipe where you tell us. 

Todd: And that link will be in the show notes of this podcast you’re listening to right now.

Todd: All right. Let’s hear it. 

Cathy: Hi Cathy Hi Todd I’m on a healing journey. And I’m also a mother of a five-year old. I find motherhood is quite challenging and my five-year-old notices it. So how can I talk to her and even ask for her support at her level? And I wanna do that in a way without compromising her sense of safety and absolutely not asking her to parent me.

Cathy: But just to be a role model and also like practically get support from her. So ask her to play independently while I have a rest. Thank you. I love that question. That’s a beautiful question. And honestly, that kind of came up this weekend, didn’t it, Todd? I was talking with someone who was asking questions about this.

Todd: So before you kind of jump into what your two sentences, first thing I was like, oh, this lady, you, we should never ask for support from our kids because we’re the parents and they’re the kids and all that. But just the way she frames the question, she’s already on this self-awareness journey.

Todd: Like the fact that she’s asking it through this lens of, I don’t want my kid to think that she has to take care of me and Well, can I 

Cathy: just jump in? Sure. So then you can continue. But then right away I wrote down on a piece of paper is just change the word support to understanding. 

Cathy: There you go. That’s all. You have to do it. So keep going. But think about it in terms of instead of support, you are looking for her understanding Well 

Todd: and what’s so, yeah, that’s totally true because. I loved her example and her example is, how about a little independent play? So I could chill out for 15 minutes or a half hour.

Todd: Because that’s not the kid parenting. No. Us That’s the kid taking care of themselves for a bit. So mom can recharge her 

Cathy: battery and having an understanding of other human beings Yes. You know, needs, 

Todd: right? So anyways, that’s 

Cathy: all I got. Well, that, that’s exactly where I was gonna go was that the, the thing about.

Cathy: This actually launches into the other stuff we were gonna beautiful talk about. Okay. So let’s just interconnect it all. So in answer to the question, and I’ll try and like be focused on this and then I’ll broaden it out with the other questions that we’ve gotten, is that to be to role model. 

Cathy: Like what it means to be a human being and to be a good support system for our kids.

Cathy: They need to see all the different layers of what it means to be a human being. And I don’t mean you need to act it out or pretend it, there’s nothing inauthentic about to allow them to show up the way they show up. Exactly. It’s just to be a human being. And what that means is sometimes as a human being, Even with the great love you have for your daughter, and you love playing with her and being with her, there are times that you’re tired and you need to be alone.

Cathy: Or there’s times that you’re tired and you may be with her, excuse me, but she needs to be maybe watching a show or playing a game or doing a puzzle or reading a book. You know that, that you get to, you know, I’m saying this to all parents. You get to introduce your children to. This is what, when I feel this way, this is how I engage.

Cathy: When I’m struggling, this is what I ask for. When I’m tired, I rest my body. When I need help, I ask for it. The, the clarification, the needing help. We don’t ask our children to help us, meaning we don’t say, I’m struggling kid, help me. But we do say in the home, I will need your help because you are a community member in this home.

Cathy: So when we are cleaning up the books, I need your help because this is your book and it only makes sense for you to clean up your book. Because why would I clean up your book? This is your book. Like, and you don’t say that. And again, listen to my tone. You don’t say like, You know, doesn’t make sense. Clean up your own stuff.

Cathy: You’re like, doesn’t it make more sense that when you take a book out, you put a book away, it’s just a really clean, there’s nothing in it that’s, that’s difficult to understand 

Todd: how you say it from what energy is more, more important than the words that you choose. 

Cathy: And so then going back to your question is, instead again, I’m gonna say it again a number of times, just so everyone gets it, instead of asking for her support, or to be somebody who like gets you and puts their arm around you and says, yes mom, take a nap.

Cathy: You are instead teaching her to understand you. And she, because she’s five, is not always gonna get it. You’re gonna say, sometimes I really need to rest and she’s gonna wake you up five times. And, and that is a strength, that’s a muscle we build as parents is that we understand that we are asking for things that a five-year-old may not completely understand.

Cathy: But you gotta look at it in terms of this is a building block that I am not going to never ask for time to rest or, or say, now I’m gonna lay down and rest. You’re not saying to your child, “Hey, kid, can I rest? Is that okay with you?” Because a five-year-old most of the time is gonna be like, no, no. If it, 

Todd: it’s gonna compromise my ability to play with you, mom.

Todd: There’s, I have no interest. 

Cathy: So instead it’s a, you know, honey, this is what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna lay down. I’m so tired. You know how when you’re tired you have to lay down? I’m gonna lay down. You can bring a book, you can bring, you know, may be her tech time, you know, iPad, whatever, and you can lay down next to me.

Cathy: And, you know, let’s set a timer or let’s set the clock and in about 30 minutes we’ll get up or an hour. And, and what, when I’m saying this to you, mom, I don’t know for sure. That’ll work. Meaning I’ve had plenty of times when my kids were little that I was like, I’m gonna go meditate and can you give me five minutes, or Please give me five minutes.

Cathy: And they didn’t, they came in, still asked me a question, or I’m gonna take a shower, I’ll be out in 10 minutes, and they come in while I’m in the shower. The thing is, is I view it now in hindsight. At the time it was frustrating, but these are just little building blocks of I’m going to do these things.

Cathy: Here’s what I expect from you. But because they’re young and their brain is developing, sometimes they’re gonna do it well, but not every time. And even though you may feel frustrated in that moment, don’t look at it as it’s a failure. Or I’ll never get a nap like you’re teaching them in real time. How to, and, and then when they come in and ask a question, you may wanna say, remember how I said 10 minutes?

Cathy: I will be out in a second. You don’t have to then accommodate every need. But what I’m saying is a lot of parents will say, how do I get them from coming in the room? These are human beings. And they may not have the, you know, they may have heard you but not heard you. You know what I mean? Like, and we sometimes need to reset those boundaries over and over, just like the kid who leaves their shoes out.

Cathy: And then we say, please put your shoes away. And the next day you’re asking again, you are teaching them through repetition and through boundaries. Because yelling at them or being angry or giving up completely and saying, why bother taking a nap? If we were to put them into parenting categories, yelling at them and, and it becoming this demanding thing is what we call authoritarian parenting, where basically we’re saying, I’m in control.

Cathy: I don’t care where you’re coming from. You’re just gonna do this cause I told you completely giving up and saying, I’m not gonna ask you anymore because what’s the point? That’s, we often call that permissive parenting, which means you’re not really asking them to engage at all. The middle place is called authoritative parenting, where you are asking for things or you are teaching them your humanity, and you’re, these are emotional feelings and you’re, you’re talking to them about it, but you are also taking their needs into consideration.

Todd: I feel like they should come up with a different word other than authoritative parenting. Yeah, I know it’s too close to authoritarian. I just Googled it. It’s a parenting style characterized by balanced approach. It combines high expectations and rules with warm support and responsiveness. It’s considered to be one of the most effective.

Todd: And beneficial parenting styles. You and I don’t subscribe to any type of parent parenting style, sweetie, but if we did, that would 

Cathy: be it, right? Oh, and you gotta think about these things as umbrellas, right? They’re really huge umbrellas. And so, to Todd’s point, Todd and I don’t label the things we do.

Cathy: Like, you know, there’s no, when people are like, what? You know, how do I be a Zen Parent? I’m like, I don’t know. I’m just talking about me for, I don’t know, like, because Zen doesn’t have a definition what I’m talking about, are undefinable things like. How do we in the moment deal with things? How do we take care of ourselves?

Cathy: And these are ongoing journeys, so there’s no answer. It’s like the great paradox, right? There is no answer to this question. But if we really had to put our lives under, you know, if we had to, authoritative is the big umbrella that, you know, the things we talk about it tends to fall under for this reason.

Cathy: You are sharing what you need to, you are taking your humanity into account, but you are also taking your child’s humanity into account. See what I mean? So it’s like I. You can say, I need to rest, but you have to understand brain development-wise, a five-year-old cannot respond in the same way an adult can.

Cathy: They’re not always gonna remember. They’re not always gon, they may need you. They, they may not have the ability to maintain that 30 minutes by themselves. And so what you’re doing is you’re, you’re, it’s, it’s like prac. It’s helping them practice. Like grow their brain. It’s like, and it’s helping you establish a sense of yourself along the way.

Cathy: You know, I know that, you know, as Todd, Todd and I have been doing this show for almost 13 years and you know, we’ve kind of, we tend to focus most on the things we’re experiencing ourselves, so we don’t talk about little kids as much as we used to. That’s started show back. But one thing that I know we talked about is that you’re literally teaching them in real time how to interact with the world.

Cathy: Every conversation you’re having with your daughter is teaching her how to not only have a conversation with you, but what it looks like to communicate effectively or you setting a boundary of I need to rest, teaches her that it’s okay to rest. Sometimes you saying you know, telling her, wait a second, I told you that I needed 10 minutes.

Cathy: And reminding her, teaches her that you can have boundaries. But so, but there is no, my big but at the end of every sentence is, it doesn’t mean it’ll work every time. And that’s the patience that we have to develop in ourselves is we sometimes look at kids as, tell me what to do. I’ll do it, and then they’ll do it.

Cathy: That’s not the way human beings work. Same with our partners. You 

Todd: know, that’s not establishing a growth mindset that’s trying to teach robots. 

Cathy: Yes. That’s trying to, or like write code. You know and humans are not code. No. We’re messy. So, and things are different every day. So your question is beautiful Mom who wrote in, and I would just say that.

Cathy: You know, just to sum it up again, switch the word support to understanding how can I, you know, teach my daughter to understand me? And, and then how can you offer her the exact same thing, understand her, and those, that mutual understanding and curiosity about each other is what builds a long-term relationship and allows people to make change. Because people don’t change when they’re being threatened.

Cathy: People change when they feel understood. So when I say make change, that they, she may be willing to say, okay, I will play by by myself. Cuz she feels fulfilled. She feels seen, heard and understood. So she’s like, okay, I can do that. 

Todd: This is a little off topic, but one of my favorite things in the world is I love my naps and. 

Cathy: Yes you do.

Todd: Usually when I’m napping on the couch, I always, not always, if skylar’s around, she’ll notice and go put a blanket on me. 

Cathy: And where did she learn that? 

Todd: Probably cuz I put blankets on her. I dunno. 

Cathy: Exactly. Like this is the thing, like [00:26:40] the whole idea, like the things our children learn and they can also learn it from friends or aunts and uncles.

Cathy: It’s not always us, not everything. 

Todd: We have the capacity and the potential for the most amount of influence, good or bad. We 

Cathy: do. And there have been so many times that the girls have fallen asleep on the couch or in the car and we cover them up or carry them to bed and they have learned that. That feels good.

Cathy: So if you give your kids that love and support and they feel it. They offer it to other people and not just to you. They offer it to their friends, to a significant other, to, you know, other people in their life. And it’s really the whole idea of, I’m gonna yell at you so you become a kind person.

Cathy: It just, that doesn’t make sense everybody. And I’m using that as a metaphor or analogy for every other idea. 

Todd: Well, I’m just gonna say this one more thing and then we’ll move over to the last topic of the show. Okay. I’m polling with a friend of mine and he was disappointed that his son got regressed right before finals and his half of his As turned into Bs.

Todd: And he feels a need to like teach. And he even used the word discipline, which I’m not a big fan of that word. I’m almost, 

Cathy: so half of his as turned into Bs because of what? Because he slacked off during finals. Got it. Oh, so finals of 

Todd: it. So I’m always like discussion, not discipline and all that. And he one thing I said, which I think is super powerful, and I don’t know if we learned this from Julie Lythcott Haims, or maybe he learned it from you, sweetie, but to, and what I said was, think of this person who just turned his As into Bs was your nephew.

Todd: Was that from you? You came up with that long time ago. That’s good sweetie. Thank you. I feel like I may have heard it after you told me on another, so maybe your word is getting out there. Cuz I feel like, well 

Cathy: We talked about this like seven years ago. This was, we did a show about it.

Cathy: I’m not saying I came up with it in the universe. But as far as you, this is something you and I talked about on a show. 

Todd: And it’s just such an interesting perspective shift because it almost like removes a lot of the parental baggage and you just treat this person like a person instead of somebody that you must guide into the real world so that they could go make money and blah, blah, blah.

Cathy: Well, and this came up in a Women’s Circle a long time ago because some, a woman in my women’s circle was saying that she was, she was a teacher, she was an art teacher, and she would go to class and these kids who were having a lot of struggles, they were like overly sensitive and, you know, because they’d work with art materials.

Cathy: And so sometimes they wouldn’t like the way things felt, or they didn’t like the way that, you know, the things they had to do that were messy and. And my friend who was in the Women’s circle was like, and I’m so patient with them. And so calm with them. And she goes, and I give them alternatives and I say, you don’t have to do this.

Cathy: And she’s so, and then she’s like, and I have a sensitive kid at home. And when my sensitive kid at home didn’t wanna do messy things, it drove me crazy. She’s like, why am I so different with my students? So in this Women’s Circle, we started talking about like, who are the people that, you know, we started talking about nieces and nephews, how you, you know, when you sit down and talk to them, you’re like, “Hey, what’s going on? Tell me the things.” Oh my gosh, that’s so interesting. Right? And we’re so, it’s totally different energy. It’s a totally different energy. Or like, you know, second cousins or, or neighbors down the street where you like, know their kids really well and you. And why do we as parents have this like harshness with our kids. I 

Todd: And, and how, how do you sum that up? Because I,

Cathy: I do know, I do have answers to 

Todd: that. 

Todd: I subscribe to it. I’m one of those people, if it was my niece, I would be so much more patient than if it was my kid. Or maybe on my bad days, let’s say on my bad days, I’m grumpy and my one kid’s disappointed.

Todd: Me and my niece, my my one kid does something that makes me reactive. And if my niece did some, that’s the exact same thing, it would be less, I’d be less, less reactive. 

Cathy: Well, we talked about this in the group and on the show that we did the two most. There’s lots of reasons, but the two most obvious reasons are, number one, as parents, we are the last line of defense with our kids.

Cathy: Oh, yeah, yeah, and the expectation falls on us to teach them all the things to be there for all the things to notice all the things. Not only do we expect that from ourselves, but society does. So we have to be the people. So if they’re overly sensitive, we worry about that. And how they’ll be in the world.

Cathy: The second thing is, is we have more, we love our kids so deeply and that we, and they’re almost like, unfortunately sometime like a, a body part to us, like a limb. Like we feel like anything they feel, we feel. And so we’re having these experiences that are like beyond empathic. We’re like we’re carrying the weight to the world of our, you know, of our children’s lives on our shoulders.

Cathy: Where when we’re with nieces and nephews, we love them dearly, but we’re not their parents. So there’s like that obvious, but the big but is, what I know for sure is that kind of connective relational conversation is much more effective with kids. And so as parents, if we could learn to incorporate that, it doesn’t have to be everything. It doesn’t mean that you can’t set a boundary or there can’t be consequences with your kids. But I have found, and, and I will, you know, I don’t normally do this, I don’t normally talk about, well, Todd and I say this and do this, but I haven’t really struggled that much with having relational conversations with my kids and also setting boundaries.

Cathy: You know, a lot of people will say, well, if I do that, then I can’t do this. And I don’t know why that is. It’s like people who say, well, my partner’s my partner, but they can’t be my best friend too. Why? Why not? Like I don’t, I don’t understand the limits we put on relationships. And I’m not saying you can’t have other best friends, but why, why do we make these pronouncements about if you are this, you can’t be this.

Cathy: And now I will say with children, I feel like my, my children are, two of them are adults now. They are like friends. I mean, I’m sorry, but we talk about everything. But I am still their parent. I’m not trying to be their best friend and I don’t ever need to be their best friend, but they are my friends.

Todd: Sweetie. You wanna talk about best, best friends? 

Todd: You just plastic. We’re 

Cathy: back. We’re back. We are getting Doug back, and we’re the three best friends that anybody could have. We’re the 

Todd: three best friends that anyone could have. We’re the three best friends that anyone can have, and we’ll 

Cathy: never, ever, ever, ever, ever leave each other.

Cathy: We’re the best. You know what? That’s what I sing to the girls every night. Before Beth, except I would’ve to say four best friends. We tell our 

Todd: audience what that was. Oh, that’s from The 

Cathy: Hangover. 

Todd: Did he make that up 

Cathy: in the moment? Yes. That was impromptu as was. Oh my. Oh God, that was so good. If you guys like The Hangover on our Pop Culturing podcast, which you’ll see in the show notes, we have a whole nother podcast everybody.

Cathy: We did The Hangover and it was really fun. 

Todd: Oh, and we’re doing Field of Dreams for Father’s Day, and we just did It’s Complicated for Mother’s Day. And I watched the Hangover last night before I went to bed. And Todd, you were asleep in two minutes. I, no, no. Honestly, sweetie, it was like 14 seconds. No, that’s what I mean.

Todd: I 

Cathy: thought you were just about to talk about the 

Todd: hangover. No, no, no. Be So we, and maybe this will be a transition to the last segment of the show. Okay. We had, I led a men living meeting on Thursday. I had a birthday party for myself on Friday. My nephew graduated Iowa State on Saturday and our daughter graduated high school yesterday.

Todd: Yesterday. And then a lot of people came over afterwards. We had a big party afterwards on a Sunday, which is weird cuz you, our Sunday sweetie are usually very low key. 

Cathy: Very, that’s like cleaning day. 

Todd: And I honestly, I’m sure I’ll recharge my battery, but I’m feeling old today. Oh my today. Me too, Todd. I’m so exhausted.

Cathy: I, and I actually, yesterday in the middle of. It was post-graduation. So much emotion, so many things. And I hit a wall and I had to sit in the kitchen for a while with some of my best friends and, and have, and I told everybody, I’m like, I have hit a wall, so sit with me. And then it was really weird.

Cathy: It was like second wind, you know.

Todd: You recharged your battery. 

Cathy: We buy like, I think it was like nine o’clock we were sitting out by the fire. A lot of people had left, but there’s still some people there. And I was like, this is the best I felt all day. And of course my sister’s like, well that’s cuz you’re done.

Cathy: You know, now you can just relax. But it was, it was a lot of energy. So, Todd, I just wanna say this first, cause I had to say this to Cameron cuz Cameron had a headache through most of the party and she was so mad about it. I’m like, please, I don’t, you know, again, I’m never like, this is why you have a headache.

Cathy: But I often will say, consider the fact of the crazy weekend that we’ve had that your senior year has come to an end that all these people you love so much are in one place that, you know, she’s, she has this wonderful group of friends that she’s, you know, just loves so much and that there’s so much energy and emotion around this time of year.

Cathy: And I just, sometimes when we don’t feel good or we feel tired, we’re like, what’s wrong with me? This should be the most, you know, Emotion takes a toll. And it, you know, it’s like it weighs you down because you’re feeling, even if you’re doing your best to get it out and to grieve and to cry, emotions are energy.

Cathy: Energy and motion. That’s what an emotion is. So, you know, Todd, it’s no wonder besides just the literal us being like partiers for the past three days. Nice. It’s also just emotional. Okay, so what do you got? Okay, so I was in the shower just thinking about this analogy because I was thinking about the fact that it is graduation time and Todd and I are going through a lot emotionally and, and so many people around us are, and it’s just not just about graduating high school. You know, parents whose kids are graduating from preschool or kindergarten or fifth grade or eighth grade, you know, it’s, they’re all milestones. Every year is a milestone. And I was thinking about, there’s this guy on Team Zen who’s having a baby next month.

Cathy: He and his wife are having a baby, and he, he’s asked us on Team Zen he’s like, you know, I’m having this weird experience where, my wife and I are really busy all the time and we’re like having to buy things and do things, and I’m finding I don’t have as much free time for myself and I’m feeling a little overwhelmed and the baby’s not even here yet.

Cathy: You know, and you know, he was just basically asking, what do you guys think about that or, or what should I do? And the bottom line is, is I basically said to him, everything’s changing. Like your brain is changing. Your brain is re hardwiring to become a parent. Your life and your time is changing. The structure of your day is changing because this baby is coming and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Cathy: And w why I’m saying it that way is I think sometimes when we’re transitioning or changing. We’re like, how do I keep all these feelings from happening? You know, I must be doing something wrong. If I feel sad, I must be doing something wrong. You know, like, Cameron, if I have a headache, I must be doing something wrong.

Cathy: If I feel overwhelmed, you’re not doing anything wrong. It just is what it is. And, and I know it like when I first, you know, when I had JC 20 years ago and I spent the first month like being afraid to go out because I had a new baby and I didn’t know what I was doing. And, and you know, I remember seeing people go by the window in their, with their st with their babies in the stroller.

Cathy: And I’m like, I don’t even know how to do that. Like how do I get the baby in the stroller? And now in hindsight, I have so much compassion for myself cuz that’s exactly everything in me was changing my life, my body, my daily experience and, and we, and I didn’t, I wasn’t doing anything wrong. It just was what it was.

Cathy: And if we had more, maybe less worry about it and more understanding, again, just like the, you know, this woman’s question maybe it would be less overwhelming because I think a lot of times the reason we feel overwhelmed is because it’s, we don’t think we’re normal. And I don’t even know what that word normal means anymore, but we think there’s something wrong with us, you know?

Cathy: Well, 

Todd: I wasn’t planning to share this, but this Peter Attia or whatever, the guy that I mentioned, he’s a psychologist, but he has this clip about self-compassion, which I think is pretty powerful. Okay. How long is it? I can’t tell. I think it might be a minute. Okay. It’s just All right. Single day.

Todd: Me restart it. 

Cathy: The most important realizations I ever had when I was at PCs, which is my, what my inner monologue sounded like. I called that Bobby Knight. Coach Knight is gonna strangle you if you make a mistake. This exercise that they had me do, there was one of the most powerful things I’ve ever done.

Cathy: Every single day, two or three times, something is gonna happen. It’s gonna prompt you to wanna scream at yourself, take out your phone. And record a message, but look into the eyes of your best friend and pretend that they made that mistake. What would you say to them? Hey Peter, I know it’s frustrating you, you just didn’t have a good drive today.

Cathy: But you know, I think, I think there’s a lot on your mind today and, and I mean, the first two times I did this, I was in tears because it was such a shift of how kind I would speak to that person. And in just four months of being mindful of this every single day. I don’t even remem It’s so hard for me to remember Bobby’s voice.

Todd: This was one of the most, 

Cathy: so what I will say to that is that, and I love that by the way. I think that’s beautiful. But I am even trying to take it to a deeper level of you didn’t make a mistake. Do you see, do you see what I mean? Like, and I think the same thing he said applies. But sometimes we make a mistake.

Cathy: [00:40:00] It’s very literal. We said something cruel to somebody. We drop the ball, we forgot to pick someone up. And we really do have to apologize. And, and also then in turn, have. Compassion for ourselves, but sometimes just like I feel overwhelmed, I shouldn’t feel that way. Baloney. It’s okay that you feel overwhelmed, like, and you don’t need to, you can do things to help yourself calm, like, you know, go to bed a little earlier, but you don’t need to solve it.

Cathy: It’s not, you can support yourself without thinking, wow, I really messed up. You know, and I have a lot of experience with this, again, you know, with headaches. Like I used to beat myself up and be like, I didn’t do it. Like, it’s not something I’d chose. It’s not, you know, there’s a lot of things in life like that.

Cathy: But this is my last analogy, Todd, is the thing I noticed in the shower is that, you know, having a daughter graduate from high school and you know, she, like I said, she just, there’s just a lot of joy around her right now and she’s learned a lot of things in the last year and just had a lot of wonderful experiences and, and it wasn’t always that way.

Cathy: You know, she’s had many difficult times as well, and so that’s why it makes us kind of sweet. You know, where Todd and I are like looking at her experiences and going, this is what, what we knew would happen. You know? This was the plan. This was the plan, and but along the way there was like a mountain to climb, right?

Cathy: Like every person, not, it has nothing to do with our daughter. This is not an our daughter story. This is a human story of along the way, picture yourself climbing a mountain. And it’s hard. And it’s difficult and sometimes you think you’re going the wrong way and sometimes a path ends and you have to find a new path.

Cathy: Took that from Dr. Campbell from the her speech the other day. I love that. Cuz you’re sometimes a path doesn’t work out the way you think it’s going to and then, then you take a new path and then all of a sudden I’m just cutting to the chase here. You’re at the top of the mountain where in many ways her graduating and starting this new chapter at Iowa is, you know, you’re like, you’re at the mountain and then part of you wants to be like, well, why haven’t I been here the whole time?

Cathy: But that’s not how it works. We get to the top of mountains when we’ve done a really difficult climb, not a self-imposed difficult climb. You don’t have to take a different trail to push yourself and you don’t have to like put 10 backpacks on to make it harder. Life has its own challenges.

Cathy: You don’t need to make them up. You don’t need to make it hard. And then you get there and you look around and so some people will say, well then that’s it. Well, of course not cuz look at, look how many mountains are out there. And you have to climb those too. 

Todd: It made me think of like the only way out is through. Exactly. And there’s something else I was gonna say about mountains. I don’t remember. Who knows? My brain’s 

Cathy: shot. Well I know. Of course, sweetie, you’re so tired. But I just liked that analogy cuz what I know for sure is I don’t now look at my daughter and go, she’s got it. She’s done. She has to go to college now.

Cathy: She has to go meet brand new people. Hold. To start all over again. So she’s starting on another mountain now. Starting a mountain can be really fun too. It can be beautiful. You can see new flowers. There’s new smells, there’s new weather, so it doesn’t mean starting a mountain is awful. It’s all about how you perceive it and how you see it.

Cathy: But along the way there’s some difficult trails. But do you know that rather than think there shouldn’t be any difficult trails there? Of course there should be. 

Todd: Well, and one thing you mentioned that I think needs to be highlighted is I think a lot of times, even me sometimes I’m like, I will maybe manipulate a system to make it harder to make sure my kid learns to lesson.

Todd: And or you 

Cathy: wear like a, a heavy backpack when you take a walk to make it harder. 

Todd: Make it harder. I wear my heavy back, my heavy vest. And what you said was true, life is freaking hard. And wonderful. And wonderful, loving. We don’t need to create the hard for our kids. No, we don’t life.

Todd: Go try going to school. Once again, school is eight meetings in a row that you don’t want to go to. That’s not an easy thing to do. It’s not easy to be a toddler. It’s not easy to be a teenager, not easy to be a grownup. And our job is to just make, for me, my job is to make sure my kids know that I got their back.

Todd: A lot of people are like, oh, I got their back. I just want ’em to do well, and I want ’em to get a’s like, no, no, no, no, no, no. Make sure that they know that you actually have their back. Because if you’re just another obstacle, of course they’re gonna resist, of course they’re gonna remove themselves from be sharing anything vulnerably with you.

Cathy: Of course they’re gonna disconnect. Yes. Seriously. They’re gonna be if you are an obstacle in their life. And I don’t mean someone who challenges them and, and reminds them of everything like. There’s obstacle is a really strong word. Obstacle means somebody who’s judgmental of them, who makes them feel worse about themselves.

Cathy: Yes. Who’s constantly telling them what they’re not doing? Who’s saying, you know, are you getting all A’s? Where’d that B come from? Like if you are someone who challenges their existence constantly, of course they’re gonna try and go around you. Like in every way, shape and form hide things from you.

Todd: It’s just, it’s just yet another thing that you have to deal with. Exactly. 

Cathy: And the thing is, is this doesn’t mean then you have to, parents always swing way too high, you know, too far. And they’re like, well then I can’t tell ’em anything. Of course you can. But have conversations with them. Allow, ask them questions if something goes wrong, ask them first.

Cathy: What happened? You tell me about it first. Well, and you share with me first, and 

Todd: a rule of thumb is the, the, the question word why is probably, I mean, you can use why, but it, it can really easily be abused and weaponized, like, well, why’d you do that? 

Cathy: It, okay. So you know how we changed the word support to understanding?

Cathy: You don’t say to your kids why you say, tell me about your experience. That’s still a why question. But the word why, like Todd said, has a connotation of I don’t understand you. Why would you do this? Versus, okay, you know, say they got in trouble or they did get an F or whatever.

Cathy: Tell me about this. Because there’s probably a pretty interesting story for sure, like our kids who, like if they’re, they’re struggling or they, you know, got a bad test, there’s usually, and sometimes it’s, sometimes it’s about they didn’t get enough sleep. Sometimes it’s about, I studied the wrong thing.

Cathy: Sometimes it’s about the teacher didn’t tell us what was on it. I don’t then call the teacher and say, This isn’t deserved, but it’s a good way to say to my kid, yes. Sometimes that happens. You know? So I know we’re finishing up. But again, I wanna end on the note of, you know, in your own life and in your kid’s life, see life as this beautiful journey of, you know, I don’t even love mountain climbing. I just like the, the visual of it, that sometimes we’re at the top of a mountain and we’re not supposed to stay there. And it doesn’t mean then we have to start all over in every way cuz we’ve already climbed a mountain so we know we can do it. 

Cathy: So the next mountain is, is more enjoyable, more fun, maybe less overwhelming, but there are more to climb and we don’t wanna stay on the top of that mountain. We want lots of life experiences. And so every year I think about, okay, there’s gonna be some times when I’m on top of a mountain and sometimes when I’m starting over and in, if you don’t wanna think of it as mountain climbing, think about it as a hike.

Cathy: A walk. You know, a journey. Maybe it’s from one flat place to another flat place, but I just like, I think when we’re standing on mountain, we look over. Sure. It’s like you can see the beauty of the world. So for those of you going through graduations changes, it’s okay. Like we’re with you, like we’re all doing this and the common humanity piece I think really helps.

Cathy: Sure. 

Todd: I wanna thank our partner Jeremy Kreft. I saw him on Friday. Is that my house? Yes, he does painting and remodeling throughout the Chicagoland area. So if you’re in the culinary, you got any projects around give ’em a call. 6 3 0 9 5 6 1800. Cathy’s got an amazing book called Zen Parenting Order it buy it for the Dad for Father’s Day.

Cathy: All the things we talk about on the show. If you want it all put together in one book, we got it. 

Todd: Team Zen. Don’t forget about that. 25 bucks a month. Cancel at any time. Men Living. Todd Adams coaching one-on-one coaching for guys. Lots of different things cooking, so all the links can be found on a resources page, which is in the podcast show notes below. Everybody just keep on trucking. Let’s bring in our beautiful music. 

Cathy: We love you everybody. Thanks for listening. 

Todd: That’s right.