Cathy and Todd discuss the importance of emotional conversations with our kids and why we need to pay attention to how we experience and perceive what our children are telling us. They discuss what kids really need from us when they are emotional and how we can support them without absolving or absorbing their pain. They also discuss Friday Night Videos and commercials from the 80’s.

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Time Stamps

(00:00:00) Intro

(00:12:54)  The Do’s & Don’ts of Emotional Conversations

(00:20:40) Cathy’s experience of parents at school presentations

(00:30:08) Team Zen

(00:35:03) The two phrases that can help

(00:40:08) What to do when they dump all of their day right before you go to bed

(00:42:00) How to prep for the emotional conversations

(00:58:48) Todd’s vs Cathy’s default

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Navigating Emotional Conversations with Your Kids: Insights from Zen Parenting Radio

Parenting is an ever-evolving journey filled with challenges and triumphs. In the latest episode of Zen Parenting Radio, hosts Todd and Cathy delve into the complexities of having emotional conversations with our kids, providing invaluable insights and practical advice for parents navigating these often difficult dialogues.

Emotional Management: The Heart of Zen Parenting

The core of Zen parenting revolves around understanding ourselves to foster a positive environment for our children’s development. Episode 757 emphasizes the importance of self-reflection in parenting, suggesting that our self-awareness deeply influences our children’s wellbeing. As Todd puts it, “the best predictor of a child’s wellbeing is a parent’s self-understanding.”

Power Dynamics and Navigating School Drama

A significant part of the episode was dedicated to addressing the common yet intricate issues children face within school dynamics, especially regarding feeling ostracized or dealing with so-called “mean girls” or “mean boys.” Cathy shares her insights into power dynamics among children and the various factors that contribute to them, such as socioeconomic status, appearance, and athletic or other abilities.

The discussion moves beyond merely labeling behaviors, instead delving deep into understanding the experiences of all involved, including those perceived as part of the “powerful group.” Cathy notes that these dynamics are not black and white; children within powerful groups also experience vulnerabilities, highlighting the complex nature of human relationships and the importance of navigating these with sensitivity and awareness.

Strategies for Support

One of the most poignant parts of the conversation revolved around practical strategies for parents to support their children through emotional upheavals. The hosts emphasize the importance of creating a safe space for children to express their feelings without fear of judgment or immediate problem-solving attempts from parents. Todd shares a memorable strategy of visualizing a white light or net around oneself, which allows love and empathy to pass through while keeping the negativity or emotional burden from weighing down the listener. This metaphor beautifully illustrates the delicate balance of being present and supportive while maintaining one’s emotional well-being.

The Role of Empathy and Validation

The hosts also touched on the power of empathy and validation. Simple phrases like “that sucks” or “that makes sense” can be powerful tools in validating a child’s feelings, fostering a deeper connection and understanding. These responses emphasize the importance of acknowledging emotions without necessarily trying to fix the situation immediately.

Final Thoughts

The episode wraps up with a reflection on the universal challenges of belonging and identity that both children and adults face, underscoring the ongoing need for open, honest, and compassionate communication within families. Through insightful examples and personal anecdotes, Todd and Cathy illustrate that while the journey of parenting and emotional management is complex, it is replete with opportunities for growth, connection, and understanding.

This conversation from Zen Parenting Radio serves as a reminder of the profound impact our approach to conversations can have on our children’s emotional development. As we navigate the tumultuous waters of parenting, episodes like these offer a beacon of support, encouraging us to foster environments of understanding, empathy, and open dialogue in our homes.



Todd: Here we go. My name’s Todd. This is Cathy. Welcome back to another episode of Zen Parenting Radio. This is podcast number, wait for it. 757 And always remember a motto which is the best predictor of a child’s wellbeing. As a parent’s self understanding. Um, I’m going to write down some notes because I don’t want to forget to say it.

Todd: Um, because we have some ideas on pop culturing. I’m going to throw that out in a second. We do? Yeah, I have one idea.

Cathy: Well, and for those who don’t know, Pop Culturing is our other podcast.

Todd: Yeah, that we haven’t recorded one in like six months.

Cathy: We’re a little more consistent

Todd: with Zen Parenting Radio. Um, But on today’s show, you have been doing certain talks at schools.

Todd: Yes, I have. Uh, and there’s about [00:01:00] parents that show up and are concerned for their kids and so on and so forth. And you and I had breakfast yesterday morning, I guess. Mm hmm. I said we should talk about this on the show. Okay. So we’re going to talk about how to help our kids through drama. Would you say middles?

Todd: I mean, it’s in general, but specific.

Cathy: I think it’s universal. I think it’s middle school, maybe like, I mean, Some of the things we’re going to discuss I think is relevant to all ages, um, but I definitely think that a lot of the issues that parents tend to be most worried about are middle school and up.

Todd: And then, uh, the other idea that I think came from you, but you said, I want to talk about, um, how to, how to hold the space when our kids are, uh, dumping all of their ickiness of the day on you at the end of the night. That is connected to the other. So they’re

Cathy: not two different concepts.

Todd: Okay. Uh, but in the meantime.

Todd: Um, first thing is, we’re doing a March Madness for the Women’s Brackets.

Cathy: We’re already halfway in, babe.

Todd: Oh, sweetie, I have bad news for you. You [00:02:00] were number, your two teams were number one and two. Oh my gosh! But now, because we’re recording this while games are going on, Lindsey just jumped ahead of you, so now you’re second and third.

Todd: I am What did Lindsey, what team won? I don’t know, I’d have to look at it. But you have the second and the third place. Lindsay is first and fourth. And then a bunch of us. Wyatt’s in the middle of the pack. Me and Pog are dead last.

Cathy: Really? What’d you pick that lost? I have no idea. I

Todd: haven’t looked yet. Okay.

Cathy: Okay.

Todd: Um, so anyways, if you, um, snoozed on Snooze you lose? Getting your pick in. Where’s my snow?

Cathy: We can’t do it now. It’s

Todd: too late. Um, the other thing is I woke up yesterday morning, just flipping through YouTube, or I don’t know if you’d flip anymore, but I brought up this YouTube video of a entire recording of Friday night video.

Todd: Oh,

Cathy: it was so good.

Todd: And it included all of the commercials.

Cathy: All.

Todd: Of

Cathy: the

Todd: commercials. And it was a [00:03:00] recording, uh, uh, geographically in New York. So I had a bunch of like local New York spots, but I also had some national spots. Yeah,

Cathy: the, the local New York spots were radio stations. They were like promoting radio stations.

Cathy: So it felt similar, but they were promoting stations that are not in Chicago. But it was similar like marketing.

Todd: Yes, it was funny. And my idea is to do a pop culturing where we just play the whole show And you and I are like Beavis and Butthead just talking about it.

Cathy: I know, there’s been so many versions of this.

Cathy: There’s, Beavis and Butthead did this. Also, um, Mystery Science Theater would do this, remember? They would watch something. And Todd and I want it on the screen and then we can talk about it as we go through because there’s a story for everything. And every commercial I remember, There’s so much, um, there’s so much good stuff to talk about.

Cathy: And for those of you who are younger who don’t know what Friday night videos are, there was a time, um, MTV was around, but, um, it was [00:04:00] new. Videos were new and so they were trying to find other ways to play them besides MTV.

Todd: We would not run out of stuff to talk about if we did this pop culture. No. And so on Friday nights, what time Todd?

Todd: 10? I don’t know. I think it started like after the 10 o’clock news and it started at 10 30, but I could be completely mistaken. I remember, I remember being at sleepovers at my friend’s house and we’d have to wait for it to get started. Right.

Cathy: And so it was a little later. Um, probably cause then they didn’t have to worry about the content as much.

Cathy: Cause when you get past a certain time,

Todd: I’m going to bring everybody, uh, some sounds.

Cathy: Okay.[00:05:00]

Todd: Good night on Friday night videos, brand new videos from Lionel, Richie,

Cathy: Lionel, and it was, hello. Hello, is it me? I had fun with that video. So yeah, so if you recognize that music That was the intro to Friday night videos and then you would just have to wait and see what I mean They give you some prep like tonight We’re gonna hear from Freddie Mercury or we’re gonna hear from so it would be like they’d tell you what was coming kind of But then there’d be surprises and there’d be interviews and it was just a great show for the time

Todd: and here’s my problem I don’t know from a intellectual property if we’re allowed to do that Maybe not but if it’s on YouTube Why can’t we just play a clip we see on YouTube and comment over the top of it?

Todd: It’s not like we’re trying to sell anything or even or even Act as if we are We’re commenting on all of it. We’re not like reproducing it. You know what I mean?

Cathy: I I guess but what do we okay? So we play clips from things on this show, but that falls under what [00:06:00] fair use fair use So because it’s a certain amount of time, but I think if you play something full out in its entirety I think it’s not we don’t have so

Todd: we might get sued by the Friday night video people.

Cathy: I bet they’re still out there I bet they’re dead. I hate to be mean, but I either dead or old because I We, the one that we watched, the one that you just played, it was 1984, which I figured out, by the way, before seeing, um, because I knew when those, I’m like, those songs are popular at this age. So this is 1984.

Cathy: So the people in charge, I was 12. So the people in charge are are probably long gone. Or maybe not. Maybe got passed on.

Todd: Maybe someone’s trying to reboot Friday Night Videos. Who knows. So anyways, we might do that. I don’t know if anybody will want to listen to you and I comment on a full episode of Friday Night Videos, but I would re listen to those comments.

Todd: The

Cathy: videos are, okay, just A few. We saw hello, we saw Radio Gaga, uh, we saw, what were some of the other ones? Uh, Tracy Ullman. Tracy Ullman, which Todd had never heard that Tracy Ullman song. No, she’s got good voice. [00:07:00] It’s called They Don’t Know, and I was like, how do you not know that song?

Todd: I’m flipping through right now, uh, I feel like somebody’s watching.

Todd: Rockwell. Yeah, Rockwell, uh, The Curly Shuffle. I was like fast forward. It’s hilarious. No,

Cathy: it’s not hilarious.

Todd: Oh, it’s such a good. I did not like that song when it was out I still don’t. Um, John Cougar at Mellencamp. I fought the authority but the authority. Oh, you don’t need to put Oh, really? I fought authority.

Todd: Oh, and then the 38th special. I gotta play a little bit. Oh my god, the 30s. This is so bad You’re suffering day by day. And the videos are good. They’re like telling stories, like really lame stories. But,

Cathy: but here’s my deep thought about, you can play this in the background. Quiet. So 38th special was around way before videos, right?

Cathy: So then now they’re in a new stage of like their musical career. They still want to do things and they realize they have to make a video.

Todd: Evolve or die.

Cathy: Exactly. And so they’re making this video and they have no idea what they’re doing. They’re like kind of mid, they’re not midlife, maybe like. Forties.

Cathy: Yeah. And they’re old. They’re old. [00:08:00] And they’re just not good in it. No. You know, they have no charisma. It’s not about 38 Special’s ability to be musicians. It’s this video is so stupid.

Todd: I think the only way it would work is if people were watching it with us. So maybe we’ll do like a Zen talk where all we do is say, we’re going to spend an hour playing Friday Night Videos and we’re just going to hang out and talk about it.

Cathy: That would be fun. Then no, we’re not. Yeah, I’m going to do

Todd: that right now. Okay. We’re going to schedule a Zen talk where we literally play an episode of Friday Night Videos and then we allow that to be in the background and then we’ll bring it up to the foreground and that’s what we’re going to do. And

Cathy: then put it in the mid ground.

Todd: Yes. Um,

Cathy: um, but can I have one more comment? So it brings up another thing that’s always interesting to me is this time period because you know, we, we were all born, or not, we all, but Todd and I were born in the 70s. And so we kind of, you know, the 80s were our teen years, our high school years. And so we watched a lot of bands we love in the 70s, try to evolve into this new [00:09:00] 80s way of being, which was a really like, um, obviously videos were a big part of it.

Cathy: So, you know, what’s fun to watch is when you’re, when you’re seeing, um, Like, um, videos from the 70s, and I’m calling them videos loosely, like where someone’s singing live. These people are really largely, and, and I don’t mean to be cruel, but they’re, they’re not that attractive, right? Their song is great.

Todd: Today’s standards, you got to be super empirically attractive if you’re ever gonna

Cathy: Or not even today’s 80s, right? Because all of a sudden it became a visual medium, you know? Video killed the radio star, right?

Todd: Versus solid gold.

Cathy: Remember solid gold? Are you asking me do I remember Solid Gold? I love Solid Gold.

Cathy: Solid Gold’s like one of my old, and people would come on there and sing but it was like, that wasn’t the end of their career if they weren’t like, extremely attractive. And then all of a sudden, the 80s comes along and you’ve got to put the visual with the audio. Yeah. And some people, like, evolved through it just fine and kind of were able to, and some people just became a video sensation and couldn’t sing, right?

Cathy: But I was always interested in the bands, like, I [00:10:00] remember having a discussion, uh, with someone about Heart, because Heart was so great in the 70s, right? Like, the whole Barracuda, Crazy on You, Magic Man time. And then in the 80s, I really like Heart in the 80s. And they, I thought they were able to transition really well, but I was, oh, it was Cathy Richardson who actually knows them.

Cathy: She’s the lead singer of Jefferson Starship and she actually lives in Elmhurst and everything. But she knows them because Anne Wilson was one of her idols and she’s always like that 80s time for them was, you know, Rough. And I don’t know if that’s her perspective or their perspective, but all of a sudden what you were as a rock and roll band has to become so different.

Cathy: Can you think of any other, besides Heart, like the bands that had to transition and we just, like, can you think of any? Any of them from the 70s? Yeah, but, like, think, but that’s, I don’t know. The Van Halen were, they rocked it. Transitioned

Todd: beautifully. They transitioned beautifully. Even though the Jump video was really kind of boring, but I watched it a million times.

Todd: Because.

Cathy: First, two [00:11:00] things in the jump video, and then we’ll move on. David Lee Roth can command an audience, even if it’s millions of people. And Eddie Van Halen in that video is so cute. Yeah, that’s where I just remember being like that guy is so cute. Yeah, and because he was not just attractive but cute Do you remember what I mean?

Cathy: Like how he smiles through the whole thing. Do you remember that video? Yeah, smiling. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah That was a good one Todd. Van Halen was a good

Todd: So maybe we’ll do that on Team Zen. Speaking of Team Zen, we got a few things coming up April 12th was a Zen Talk number 184. Okay. Uh, a micro community for, uh, anybody in the community who has a loved one dealing with addiction.

Todd: Uh, you have a women’s group, exclusive women’s group coming up, and then we’re doing the Sephora Kids and the skincare and makeup industry on April 23rd. So the only way to participate in any of this is to join Team Zen, 25 a month.

Cathy: I feel like if you’re kind of like, I want something new for myself, or I want some parenting support or whatever, [00:12:00] join for just a month.

Cathy: And just see what it is because Todd and I, again, I feel like I, I always say this, but we just don’t explain it well. Like you We’re bad. We’re

Todd: bad.

Cathy: So this month has a lot of things in it that is 25 and you’re going to get all these things in an app and a community and just join.

Todd: And I’m going to Give it a go.

Todd: And I’m going to send you a pair of socks.

Cathy: That’s a reason enough.

Todd: And, uh, basically you’ve earned your 25 minutes.

Cathy: And a

Todd: Shefali book, because we have an over We have an inventory of the Shefali books from the conference.

Cathy: So you get a book and basically

Todd: you’re getting more than what you’re giving.

Cathy: I should be giving my book.

Cathy: Doesn’t that make more sense?

Todd: Um, yeah, but we don’t have an inventory of your book. Your book is on Amazon and all these other places. So, whereas I have space in my basement that Shefali’s books are taking up. True. Okay. Okay. Um, okay. So here we go with the main point. I Put myself a check mark, so we’re getting into the main stuff.

Todd: So do we want to start where you and I were yesterday morning? You just

Cathy: open and let’s go. [00:13:00]

Todd: So Cathy’s been telling me about some talks that she’s been doing for the last Month slash 14 years of parents coming in, really trying to seek out some support, helping their kids through, let’s for, and through this lens, we’ll just say middle school drama.

Cathy: And let’s, and I think we can even specify lately, it’s just been mostly about girls. I think you could maybe, um, bring in your own stories, boys, men, whatever, I’m not, but really I’ve been talking to people about girls.

Todd: So let me just, I’m coming up with this off the top of my head. Um, Hey Cathy, thanks for, for hosting this talk.

Todd: My daughter has a problem because all of her friends just ostracized her out of the group chat and I don’t know what she did. My daughter’s a lovely person and these girls are so mean and, um, blah, blah, blah. And I was kind of making fun of myself when you and I were having this conversation, because I honestly, maybe I would come up with something beautiful to share, but [00:14:00] I would probably, I’ll, I always default to like, okay, what’s going on inside of you when this is happening?

Todd: How is it that you are judgmental? How is it that, uh, you project some of these things onto other people that you’re on? And that is the last thing I think people in a group audience want to hear. So when, when you get these questions, How do you help these people? Because I don’t think I would do as good as you do.

Cathy: Okay. So first of all, I’ll say, when you say, you know, that’s the last thing. Oh, Todd’s still using that straw, the clicky straw. Um, I don’t think it’s the last thing they want to hear. I think it’s relevant to focus on your self awareness, but I think you’re right. That if we only focus on that. So kind of the way I said it to Todd is when you’re talking to a group of people, you have to focus, yes, on the internal, but also on the external.

Cathy: You have to give them a way to see what’s happening in a different light, rather than just say, you shift everything. Yeah. And, and, and then what you see externally will change. Some [00:15:00] of that’s true. Um, but there’s also this sense that you have to have about that you have to your arms around what’s happening externally.

Cathy: So let’s go to your question and I might frame it a little differently. So. Most, um, and it’s usually moms, occasionally dads come and they bring these things up, but it’s usually moms who say to me, there are girls in their kids class who are mean, okay? So part of the first thing that I do is kind of break that apart and untangle the whole idea of mean girls.

Cathy: Yes, I know there’s a movie called Mean Girls. Yes, I know people use that. And in many situations, it can be very true that there’s a group of girls that happen to be mean, but are girls inherently mean? No. Is there, should we call girls who are kind of travel in a pack mean girls all the time? I think we have to be really careful, especially when we’re raising girls, that we don’t, uh, We don’t start to make too much of an association between if you are a group of girls, you’re inherently mean.

Cathy: And I think as parents, we have to do that too. It doesn’t mean I’m denying the experience your kid is [00:16:00] having. I just don’t want that to be a set thing. Like where this group, you know, mean girls, you know, if

Todd: there’s an other,

Cathy: correct. Because then all of a sudden we dis, we, we don’t. We, we feel like they’re someone we can be cruel to.

Cathy: They’re a group of people. We’re kind of, it’s not so much dehumanizing, but it’s like making them all the problem. When really, you know, the, the conversation that Todd and I got into is oftentimes in a group of girls who do have, let’s say it this way, they have more power. Okay. So they have more power for a lot of different reasons, depending on where you live.

Cathy: Sometimes it’s their socioeconomic level. Sometimes it’s because they’re attractive. Sometimes it’s because it’s a big group of them that all travel in a pack. Sometimes, there is an inherent meanness where, where I was going to say there’s somebody in there who their power is through using fear and cruelty.

Cathy: That’s real.

Todd: So let’s talk quickly because we, me, there’s a lot of people out there that have sons too. So I’m going to start with why I think my friends who are in the popular crowd, and I never was in the popular [00:17:00] crowd, I wasn’t. Can we use power? Sure. Powerful. Because I think, yeah. Okay. The powerful and the least powerful.

Todd: Okay.

Cathy: All right.

Todd: All right. So the, the boys in my school, and my guess is probably true now in 2024, that had the most power were good looking.

Cathy: Okay.

Todd: Smart. Uh huh. And this is not in order. Athletic.

Cathy: Were they all smart?

Todd: No.

Cathy: Okay.

Todd: No. So I would say From a, the most important thing is athletic. So if they’re good at sports, they’re probably going to be on top.

Todd: Uh, good looking may or may not be as important as smart. Um, and they’re funny. They can joke,

Cathy: humor,

Todd: and not just humor, sometimes cutting, like being able to be, make fun of somebody else. Correct.

Cathy: So that’s the, the inherent cruelty. Yes. Where the goal is to overpower, to punch down.

Todd: And I’m probably, and maybe nowadays it would be gaming.

Todd: Somebody’s really good at gaming. I’m just making, this is now I’m making stuff up. [00:18:00] So that would be, um, cause you, that would help. Todd went to a private school in Chicago. We were all pretty much upper middle class. So some kids were a little bit wealthier and other kids were, but yeah, I would agree with you.

Todd: If you’re, at least if you’re average or above, you are in a position of power. If you’re, if you got the, if you are one of the kids who has an apartment instead of your parents have a house, then you’re, you’re further down. Okay. So those would be my list for the boys. What would your list be for the girl?

Todd: I

Cathy: think I just gave it to you.

Todd: Say it again. Right

Cathy: before I said that there’s a socioeconomic issue, you know, money can be, can’t, these are all can be part of it. There is no absolute, you know, but socioeconomic level, um, appearance, um, having a big group. Like that is yours where you travel in a little more of a pack.

Cathy: I definitely can see sports being part of that. Um, uh, sometimes it’s a certain talent or ability. Singing, you [00:19:00] know, dance, whatever. Um, and then like, to your point, sometimes it’s a person who uses, sometimes it’s humor. Period. Not to harm. And then sometimes it’s humor with that cutting quality that you can take people down with it.

Cathy: Um, and so that’s kind of the cruelty piece. So I think they’re very similar, um, gender wise. And I think sometimes, you know, there are pieces that are interesting, like you had older siblings, you know, in the school, you have a parent who works in the community or is well known. You have, you know what I mean?

Cathy: There’s, there’s pieces that are, you know, Help define this. Yeah. Because it’s not always the same. Did

Todd: you say smart? Did you say intelligence?

Cathy: Um, yeah, I missed that. But yes, that’s a that’s a piece too. Okay. I’m somebody who, especially if somebody has all those pieces. So if

Todd: you’re smart, pretty, wealthy, athletic, quick witted, you’re probably in a position of power.

Todd: Of power, yeah. If you are not smart, [00:20:00] if you are not quick witted, if you are, if you don’t have any money, you are more likely in the lower half.

Cathy: Maybe. More likely. More likely. Okay. Yeah, because that’s why this is hard to talk about because I came from a different setting than you did. Yeah. Um, I came from a more middle class environment, public school situation, and a lot of these issues were not issues because none of us really had money.

Cathy: Yeah. So we didn’t, I mean, yes, there were some class issues and, you know, there, it’s, it’s messy depending, because people are listening all over the world, right? So it’s like, there’s no way to, you and I are defining it kind of in a Chicago suburban. Yeah, just in our own little way. Yeah. So anyway, let’s just, regardless of how it’s defined, there is this understanding that I think sometimes, I’ll use this example because it came up twice at two different places, that there’s a group of girls that is powerful and that there’s other girls that want to spend time with that group of girls that is powerful.

Cathy: And a lot of times, moms are very involved in the [00:21:00] situation and they would like all of these girls to spend time together. Like especially if it’s a smaller school, which is that’s where I tend to go are to the parochial schools around Chicagoland. And so I’m getting a lot of smaller groups. So parents are very heavily involved, which is different than a lot of public schools.

Cathy: So there’s a lot of like, we want all these girls to get along because they used to get along when they were kids or we just don’t want to separate them. And then one of the stories that I heard was, um, and I’ve heard a lot is that then the group of girls that don’t want to be with that more powerful girls, cause they end up feeling like crap after they’re with that group of girls because they either feel not seen, shunned, um, the butt of jokes, not keeping up, not as attractive, whatever it may be, don’t have as much stuff.

Cathy: And so they end up going home.

Todd: So you’re saying in the moments that the, that the. The different power, level of power groups blend or there’s a few people that are going along that are now in this for as a guest or for a day or for a week. Right. They [00:22:00] come away feeling bad

Cathy: about

Todd: themselves because they’re on the outside kind of peeking over.

Cathy: Correct. And not fully accepted. Yes. Right. So there’s a sense of you are not us. But they keep trying because they want that power in some ways or they want to be accepted or seen. Who doesn’t? This is not age specific, right? We all want to be like seen and valued and all that kind of stuff. And so they end up going home and telling their parents, I don’t feel seen by these people.

Cathy: They’re not going to have that communication style. They’re going to be like, I don’t like these people or they don’t make me feel good about myself or whatever. And sometimes the parents get involved, um, and, uh, you know, want the school to do something or what do we do about this? And then here was the interesting piece.

Cathy: Then a lot of the parents who tend to have, uh, girls who are in maybe the more powerful group, they also hear from their kids that they’re not. feeling seen and hurt, or they’re feeling uncomfortable, or they don’t like what’s happening. And then that can become really [00:23:00] confusing for all the parents involved, because they’re like, but your kid is in a more powerful position.

Cathy: Why are they upset about what’s going on? Yeah. And, um, And one of the things that, and again, there’s no way to know for sure, but one of the things I know because I talk to girls all the time is sometimes when you are, there’s a few things that happen when you’re in a power position. Number one, you feel like you need to continuously fight for it.

Cathy: Okay. So it’s like a king of the hill situation where you feel like it’s, it’s very fragile. You feel like you’re not sure which way it’ll go. You’re not sure if you’ll maintain this sense of power or this, this sense of notoriety. And so there’s can be a lot of discomfort after a night of kind of posturing, right?

Cathy: Or a day of posturing, you’re kind of like, Oh, exhausted. The other thing is for the kids who maybe are more overtly unkind, or they make jokes about people, or they gossip about people. They don’t feel good about that. Okay, so a lot of times we’re like that person is just cruel and I don’t like [00:24:00] that person and that person goes home and feels awful.

Cathy: Now, I’m not saying, so then cut them a break and don’t ever make them accountable. I’m just saying I want everyone to understand that we are not hardwired. To be disconnecting, cruel, and unkind. Now, when we get to be adults, some people have integrated it so much, to a point sometimes it’s even a personality disorder, that they have, their defenses have become so deeply ingrained and hardened, that it’s harder for them to see and feel bad about what they’re doing.

Cathy: But young kids, as they’re developing, it goes against their grain a bit. Um, or you hope it does. And so sometimes those kids come home and have an awful time too, even though it appears that they’re in the more powerful group. Do you see what I mean? I do. So then you have a lot of kids who feel misunderstood and um, so that was kind of news to some of the parents because they hadn’t perceived that.

Cathy: And the most important part. Is it a lot of times we think this shouldn’t be happening, [00:25:00] right? We have this feeling of like, my kid’s feeling left out. These kids have more power. This is unfair. And we’re like, this shouldn’t be happening. This needs to stop.

Todd: And

Cathy: while I am always in support of talking with your girls about it, talking with the school, if it’s something that is systemic, that they’re not, you know, You know, take helping with or supporting or seeing, but I also, it’s also part of human nature is a lot of times these parents that are so upset about it.

Cathy: I’m like, do you ever have these kinds of things in your workplace? Do you

Todd: ever have these issues with your friend group? That’s the thing. That’s where I kind of get a little, not triggered, but annoyed is that all these things that our kids are doing, the mean girls and the mean boys that’s happening here.

Todd: Correct. I think maybe it’s a little bit more overt. Yeah, it’s a little more

Cathy: immature, so

Todd: it’s a little more like But we, and I’ll speak for the collective human race, or at least We do this and it’s just so easy for us to focus all [00:26:00] of our energy on our kids And I understand why these parents are worried about it because you don’t want somebody you love in pain And and my thing is like yes, and how is it that we how are we role modeling kindness, right?

Todd: How are we role modeling being empathic seeing it from the other person’s point of view? I know one thing that we said at breakfast yesterday is Um It’s not easy being on top either. No, it’s not. You know, and I thought of Claire from The Breakfast Club or, this is a random one, but Cherry Valence from The Outsider.

Todd: She said, you know, everybody thinks the socious, that’s the rich kids, the rich boys and girls, men and women, um, have it so easy. But it, It’s hard everywhere.

Cathy: Well, it’s different hard, right? Like something that I’ve shared a lot with people is that, um, when I was working in a clinical setting in the partial hospitalization program, that if you were looking, if you were to look at the demographics of our kids, it was usually the wealthiest kids and the kids who had the [00:27:00] least.

Cathy: You know, if it’d be because they were coming through the foster system or because they were growing up in neighborhoods that didn’t, they didn’t have access to things, their schools weren’t good. So the demographic was extreme. There weren’t a lot of kids in the middle, but we did have a lot of kids from wealthy areas and I think it gives you an idea.

Cathy: It was, um, I remember, you know, When I first started working there, it was kind of eye opening to me, um, not shocking at all anymore, but it’s there. We make this assumption that people who have money or people who have a big house or they have the right clothes, that they’re actually crushing in every aspect of their lives.

Cathy: And a lot of times those things they have are overcompensations for the insecurity that they have. And a lot of times that’s passed down from the parents, do you know what I mean? Totally. Like they, the kids have learned to. Be the things they have rather than be who they are. And this is, and this is why this needs to be a top down Understand, like if the kids start to learn it and understand it like in a program or through therapy [00:28:00] and then they’re sent into Back to the same environment, which is their home They will repeat the same behaviors because nothing in their environment has changed Um, you know, you have to have a whole family on board to make a shit or at least the adults in the family have to be on board for.

Cathy: So let me say this, um, the book that I’m writing right now that comes out next year, the whole focus of it is not on, here’s the specific issues that girls go through. I speak to the, uh, the specific issues, but it’s about how to talk to our girls about everything. It’s about how to have a conversation regardless.

Cathy: Of what the issue is and allow for, um, our ability to have our minds changed and to evolve. And also for our girls to feel like they’re being heard, seen and valued. All these things and that they can come to us with their challenges and they can also evolve. Like the goal. You know, everything as far as that, everything in therapy, everything in groups, everything in connection is we, [00:29:00] we change and evolve and grow through

Todd: the experience,

Cathy: the experience of talking and interacting.

Todd: And we grow through it through these troubles.

Cathy: Exactly. And I

Todd: understand why these parents are saying, how do we fix the school system so my kid doesn’t get picked on? I understand that. And we could either let them have the experience with our love and support, or prevent them from having the experience at all.

Cathy: Or shift the system. Which is harder to do. Right. So you’re calling the school and saying, Hey, school. Now, again, I got to be very clear. Bullying, extreme, you know, issues where your child’s being hurt. You have to call the school. The whole thing is nuanced. It’s a whole, it’s totally different. But if we’re talking about like a system of groups and power dynamics, this is something that we need to help our girls and guys work through.

Cathy: In themselves too. And I’m saying comma too, T O O, because we, it’s, it’s good for our kids to [00:30:00] see these things and to discuss it. If they come home and our only thing is, how do you get in that group? Or why don’t you go sit with them? Or why don’t you buy them gifts so they like you? If we’re trying, if we’re like kids with our kids, if we have an immature, immature.

Cathy: viewpoint on trying to get our kid to a certain place, then they’re going to learn that they need, that that’s the place

Todd: to be. Right. Like, it’s almost like, let’s pull, let’s pull the lens back a little bit. Right. And instead of trying to figure out how to fix this other group or how to figure out how to get our son or daughter into that group, maybe we should have a discussion about, What does it mean to be in that group?

Cathy: And what does it mean, let’s even take it off those kids. What does it mean to belong? Yeah. Because belonging is very different from fitting in. You know, fitting in is I’m going to dress like everybody. I’m going to look like everybody. I’m going to say what everybody says. I’m going to hold back on talking about certain things so people don’t think I’m weird or awk.

Cathy: Um, you know, I’m going to be what everybody needs me to be. And then I fit in. Belonging is how you feel about [00:31:00] yourself and how you show up as yourself. Now, let me be clear. I don’t know a 12 and 13 year old that can do that well. Yeah. But that’s when we start talking about it. So by the time that they are 16, 17, 18 or in their 20s, it’s become something they understand.

Cathy: That they can look around and be like, Yep, I went through that and here’s what I learned. And you know, here’s the conversations I’ve had with my parents. And here’s what I’ve learned about myself. Like we don’t become full human beings without going through some hard things. And us as parents, even though we want to, like, stand in front of it and keep it from happening, I really, I really, um, support parents in how to talk with your kids about it so they learn and grow through the experience and how they feel safe at home to talk about those discomforts.

Cathy: You know, my girls, You know, growing up and I still have a daughter who’s 16, you know, they would come home and feel left out and I can, a lot of times, you know, you can get on the phone and be like, [00:32:00] don’t leave my daughter out or she needs to be at that party or whatever, and that’s not, that could force a situation, but I always found it more helpful to sit with them.

Cathy: Yeah,

Todd: if we spend all of our time on the outside. The external. That stuff.

Cathy: Yeah.

Todd: Yeah. Yeah. First of all, you don’t have nearly as much influence. Um, and it’s, um, I don’t know, there’s just

Cathy: Well, it’s not reality because people aren’t going to do that for you growing up.

Todd: Right. And so like the internal would be work with your kid, help the kid understand, be a safe place for your kid to share something like that.

Cathy: That’s the key is I don’t think you need to do lessons. I don’t think you need to be like, Hey, this is what this is. I think what you become. Is what you just said. A safe place for them to dump. Yes. And I know that sounds harsh and a lot of parents are like, Oh, I’m so exhausted with my own life. Like when my kid dumps all of their stuff on me.

Cathy: But they need to, they need to say all the things they worry about [00:33:00] to free up space to try something new. Like, Picture their energy throughout the day, they’re like filling up with all of this like some anxiety, fear, feeling left out, feeling overwhelmed, not to mention classes and teachers and all those other things.

Cathy: And sometimes they need to unload it at home so they can create space to see a new reality, right? Their vision, in the book I write about, it’s like they have an internal window that’s dirty, And they need to come home and dump everything so they can see more clearly and the sun shines back in. And, and a lot of times we then believe we have to problem solve it all.

Todd: So this is the part where, um, I hate giving advice or directions, but this is the part, if you’re listening and you’re like, this resonates with you and what do I do? This, these are my two phrases. Okay. Either, You say the words, that sucks. Right. Which is probably the two most powerful words in parenting.

Todd: Right. Because all you’re doing is empathizing with them, you’re not trying to fix it. And if you honestly, that sucks. Or, that makes sense. [00:34:00] One of those two, if you could, A mixture of both. It makes sense why you are depleted. It makes sense why you’re mad. Like, that, but it seems, It’s almost so easy, we don’t do it.

Todd: I don’t do it. Like, there’s times when I want to like You get problem solving sometimes. I get problem solving, or like, you’ll figure it out. And sometimes all it takes is saying, that really sucks.

Cathy: And my, and something we’ve shared on the show a lot, um, but I say this in presentations all the time, is also become The aunt, the uncle, the cousin, instead of the parent in that moment.

Cathy: Yeah. So you can hear them and you don’t just say, Ooh, that sucks. You lean back in your chair like you would if your niece or nephew or cousin was telling you a story and you go, Oh my gosh. That sucks. You are on their team as someone who doesn’t have all that emotional baggage about this is my kid and they’re being hurt.

Cathy: Again, easier said than done. This takes practice, but I normally would say [00:35:00] talk to them like a friend would, but people get all freaked out, so. That, you know, because they’re like, I can’t be friends with my kid. You can, but if that freaks you out, then be their uncle or be there in that moment. You’re not all the time.

Cathy: Cause sometimes you’re the parent who sets boundaries or whatever. You’re, you’re doing a little bit of putting on your aunt and uncle had, when they’re telling you a story, instead of trying to fix it, You’re listening to it with a little bit of animation of like when I say animation, I don’t mean fakeness.

Cathy: I mean intensity of Listening skills like you got if you’re watching YouTube, you know, you can see us and maybe we’ll do this as the clip But you know like where you’re like no way and then what did you do? You did? Oh my gosh. And then what happened? What happened? Yeah. You have got to tell me tomorrow what happens after you do.

Cathy: Do you see how you’re like engaged with what they’re telling you? You’re not looking at them like, okay.

Todd: Yeah. And that, oh, almost true. Like you’re, yeah, almost like

Cathy: you’re scared as they are. It’s

Todd: almost like you’re not [00:36:00] connected to this, to, to it.

Cathy: You’re too worried about what this means. And again, even with the things I said, I’m not like that implying like, yeah, you go get them.

Cathy: It’s things like, and then. My teacher didn’t even like, one of my daughters was telling me something about a teacher that forgot to put a test in the test center or something. She’s like, and then there was no test for me in the test center. I’m like, you’re kidding. I’m not saying that teacher’s a jerk.

Cathy: I’m not, you don’t have to go overboard. You’re just like, wow. That is unbelievable. No wonder you’re feeling nervous about that. You don’t have to, you don’t have to say, well, did you call them and tell them to put it in the test center? You know, like, just be with what they’re saying, because once they dump all of that out, they then have space to say, well, I better go.

Cathy: Email my teacher

Todd: and tell them to. And until that happens, they won’t arrive to that, well, now, now my next stop, steps are blank. Because

Cathy: if you start to push back on the story they’re telling you, they then lose track of their story and they [00:37:00] become defensive and want to prove to you why it’s so hard.

Cathy: Yeah. They will want to demonstrate why their lives are so difficult because you’re not picking up on the fact that they’re feeling like their lives are difficult. You’re saying things like one of the girls I was talking to told me that Her parents still say to her, you don’t understand what it’s like to have a job and to be an adult.

Cathy: You have no problem. Yeah.

Todd: Being a kid is easy. Being an adult is hard. If you are

Cathy: someone who says that, quit saying

Todd: that to your kid. Yeah. And I’ll say being adult sometimes sucks, sucks. And being a kid. Sucks equally if not worse like just different once again school is seven meetings in a row that you don’t want to go to Every day now some kids may love class but in general a lot of kids are not that excited for English literature or chemistry and I don’t go into seven meetings a day that I don’t want to go to I’m kind of You know, I have, I have a boss, I have coworkers, so there’s certain parts of this that is complicated and tough, but [00:38:00] I don’t remember last time I had seven meetings in the same day that I didn’t want to be at.

Cathy: Well, and it’s all relative. You can’t be an adult when you’re 13. So we’re not saying, we’re not comparing lives. You know, what we’re saying is for a 13 year old. That sounds like a rough day and you don’t have to put that beginning in it. Just, you can’t, at seven, you don’t know what it’s like to pay bills.

Cathy: So to bring that up to a seven year old or an eight year old or a 15 year old to say, my life’s harder than yours, it, it, talk about landing with a thud. Well, that’s

Todd: that, that kid is going to be like, well, I’m not going to that parent anymore. They don’t get it. Yeah. They don’t get it.

Cathy: So then the big part that I think Todd really appreciated or some of the women appreciated was that.

Cathy: They said, well, what do I do when I’m putting my kid to bed or I’m saying good night to them? And then all of a sudden they dump their whole lives on me right before bed and I’m exhausted and they’re just telling me everything. Okay. And a lot of [00:39:00] times then that parent that I’ll, I’ll talk specifically about one mom.

Cathy: She was like my daughter, you know, I’ll go in her room and all of a sudden she tells me all these things that are going on in school and how hard everything is. And she’s like, and then I go to bed. I can barely sleep. I’m so overwhelmed. And then the next day, my daughter wakes up and I’m like, Oh, you know, how are you doing?

Cathy: And she’s like, fine. And she’s like, and then my daughter is acting like she’s fine. When nine hours before she had told me all this stuff. And I feel like I should call the school and figure out what’s going on with her. And the thing that I shared with her is most of the time, At nighttime, your daughters are in their, their most vulnerable state, right?

Cathy: Because they’re kind of separate from the world. They’re often in a dark room. They’re like letting it all go. And so what you’re getting from them in that moment is the, all the emotions they felt in the day. So, they’re giving you, it’s all based in emotionality, if that’s a word. So they’re just dumping every feeling they had, so a lot [00:40:00] of times it’s like I walk down the hall and everybody was staring at me and, and, and nobody likes me and, and it, it’s not something visually anyone else could see.

Cathy: Nobody was literally ignoring your kid. Nobody was really running into your kid, but they felt like that was happening.

Todd: So how about this, sweetie? I want to put it, address this, because I think this is a really good conversation. Okay. The pre, the during, and the post. Okay. The pre, you’re going into your, our daughter’s room.

Todd: Uh huh. You know, because I told you that she had a crappy day. Right. So, buckle up. Right. What are some things you could do before you knock on her door?

Cathy: Well, one of the things that’s really important is to know what your boundaries are. And what I mean by that is a lot of times, um, when I go talk to my girls before bed, and again, now they’re older, but I would say.

Cathy: You know what, it’s 9 o’clock, you know me, I got 15 minutes left in me and then I have to go to bed because I won’t be any use to you. And I make it, I own my own inability to stay in there for an hour. Your own limitations. Yeah, I know. [00:41:00] So I will be like, I have 15 minutes and then that’s all I got. So the first thing is, is I think you should verbalize your boundaries and, and not in a way where you’re blaming them.

Cathy: It’s you owning it, not like, listen girl, don’t talk to me for longer than 15, like don’t make it her problem, say, I’m tired. So I’m going to go to bed in 15 minutes because you know how tired I get. And then I just lose track of things. So let’s talk for 15 minutes. Set your alarm. You know, as a therapist, we set alarms.

Cathy: You know, like it’s okay.

Todd: What I think I’ll add to it is check to see if you, if you have the bandwidth. Right. Before you knock on that door, because sometimes we knock on the door out of obligation and you know that you are going to be a crappy. So instead, and I don’t know how this would work, but we should probably check to see if we’re willing to hold the space.

Cathy: I like what you’re saying. Like there’s nothing you said that’s wrong, but I think this is a front line of defense thing, Todd. Like we’re with moms. We’re not going to not go in there.

Todd: Maybe you tag out and say, you know [00:42:00] what, honey, I usually do this.

Cathy: That’s very possible. And I love that idea. I just think that sometimes single moms don’t have that choice.

Cathy: And then I think a lot of times there’s, there’s a routine that sometimes our kids are used to.

Todd: Right. And if you interrupt that routine, they start making up stories. That mom doesn’t love you. You got

Cathy: so yes to what you said. And then it’s an, and is it a, but, and. kind of thing. What do we say? So it’s not as if your advice is good, but I also think sometimes it’s too, I think a mom would say, I have to go in there before bed.

Todd: Okay. So that’s the pre one more pre I’ll throw out there is take a conscious breath before you knock on the door. Sure. Okay. So now you’re take responsibility for the energy you bring. Okay. Perfect. Yeah. Um, now you’re in it.

Cathy: Yes. So then they’re, They’re dumping their, or you’re, you share your boundaries and then they start to say, you wouldn’t believe my day.

Cathy: Maybe they even start to cry. You wouldn’t believe what happened. I felt left out here. I failed this test in the hallway. Someone ran into me. I don’t think my teacher likes me. I’m never going to make [00:43:00] the soccer team. They just really, everything they felt during the day comes out. And the reason I, said felt loud is it doesn’t mean it was the reality of the day.

Cathy: So a lot of times parents will then call the school and say, do something about this. My kid is struggling. Or they call another parent and say, tell your daughter to be nicer to my daughter because And I’m not saying, I want to be clear, I’m not saying your daughter is lying about what happened. What I’m saying is it’s how she felt about what was happening.

Todd: Yeah, and she probably made up a lot of stories of interpretation of what happened because she’s seeing the world through her lens the same way I see the world through my lens. Like, there’s no such thing as absolute truth. No. We’re all interpreting the world through our own lens that has to do with our childhood, has to do with our day, has to do with our biases, has to do with our blind spots, things that we don’t see.

Todd: [00:44:00] So there is no absolute truth in any of

Cathy: this. Right. There’s things that we assume. Perceive and if we tend to be a little more highly anxious or sensitive, we’re going to see it kind of on steroids, like we’re going to think everything’s about us and part of being, and again, I’m going to focus on girls.

Cathy: This may be true for boys as well, Todd, but girls in their teenage years are very hypersensitive and they really think everything is about them and we can call that narcissism, but I think that makes it sound negative when really it’s just a way of growing up where if you are wearing socks, That don’t fit under your chucks.

Cathy: You think everyone notices that, and you can’t tolerate that. And that may be outdated, but it’s, there’s like, there’s things that everybody sees, and they really don’t, but you can’t tell your kid that, because they feel that way. So, let me be clear. If your, if your daughter dumps on you, and then you were like, okay, this is just their emotionality, you don’t tell them that.

Cathy: Don’t say this is just emotions, because they’re trying to give [00:45:00] you what they feel like is their truth. What I’m saying to you as the parent, though, you don’t have to fix it all. You just need to hear it. You don’t need to absorb it all. as your problem. You do need to create some space between you and your kid where they can dump without you thinking it’s yours.

Todd: Didn’t you used to have some, uh, physical, um, symbol of stuff gets through but not the other way? Yeah, I would do

Cathy: a white light.

Todd: Yeah, but I thought there was like a certain like fabric you would envision. There

Cathy: is. So, I put white light all around me and I view it like a net. And that love can go in through, I can send love, I can take love in, it can go back and forth very freely.

Cathy: But the net captures anything that is negative energy or something that is not mine.

Todd: So in other words, you don’t want to pick up and internalize the trauma of the day that your daughter just shared. Correct. And bring it back to either your existence or your 6th grade memory. Because

Cathy: it’s [00:46:00] not mine.

Cathy: Right. So when we, when I as a therapist used to listen to people’s problems and I didn’t have my, my version of white light and, and white light everybody was my visual thing. It’s not like I really have an extra white light, you know. I’m just like being clear for those who are a little more literal.

Cathy: It’s something I visualize. Right. Before I learned how to create that space, I would take on my client’s pain and I would process it through my body and there was a time I had to give up even working with people because I was getting sick. So we, taking on our kid’s pain doesn’t help them. We have to be grounded so we can hear their pain and they learn how to process pain.

Cathy: We, we are the place where they share so they can see clearly and open up space. We are not the person who takes all the negativity and figures it out for them because then we are getting sick because our body doesn’t know what to do with that pain because it’s not ours. [00:47:00] Plus, it gets, morphs into something that’s not ours.

Cathy: Real because then like you said, Todd, we incorporate our own sixth grade memories into it. Yeah. So then all of a sudden it becomes like an alien. Yeah. And then, then our girls don’t learn how to feel what they feel and, and work through it. Pain is a cycle and it won’t be cleared out, especially if it’s something significant like our girls.

Cathy: Maybe they get blown off from their friends, or they don’t make a team, or they do fail a test. They’re not going to get over it immediately. They need time to cycle through a grief process, and we are just

Todd: part of it. Any other tips during, because I’m going to go to afterwards, and we may not have anything for afterwards, let’s see, but um, anything else of, you know, things to remember, you know, a box to check when you’re in the space, you know, we’ve shared some of them say that sucks, or that makes sense.

Todd: So, um, I was going to say, I’m so sorry you feel that way. I don’t know if that’s the best language, but it makes sense to me that you’re [00:48:00] sad, stuff like that.

Cathy: If you are attentive and not too defensive, your girls will tell you the words that don’t work for them. The defensive part I’m bringing up because a lot of times we’ll be like, well, I’m just trying to help.

Cathy: And we’re not listening to the fact that something doesn’t land right. And I still work on this with all three of my girls. I’ll say something and I can tell by their face that that’s not what they wanted to hear. And I could be annoyed at them for not taking everything I’m offering or I could just say, okay, that probably didn’t.

Cathy: Okay. I hear you. Um, you know, And we can either be quiet or try a different approach. I think our girls give us the feedback we need, but we’re very often offended by it. So we then blame them for being difficult and dramatic and sensitive.

Todd: I’m going to throw in a little Don Miguel Ruiz here. They don’t all fit that well, but you know, I’m trying to like give some tools for the moms and the dads who are going to be in this space sometime.

Todd: Uh, the four agreements, um, don’t take anything personally. Yeah. That’s a really [00:49:00] good one in this moment. Yeah. Don’t make assumptions. That’s also really good. The other two don’t work as well. Oh, always do your best. Like, yeah, just do your best and do your best for that day. And the last is be impeccable with your word.

Todd: But I think the, the don’t take things personally and don’t make assumptions is probably, I think the impeccable

Cathy: with your word is pretty significant.

Todd: Really?

Cathy: Yeah. You want to know why? Because impeccability means that you do what you say and you are who you are.

Todd: Yeah. So in other words, don’t give advice to your daughter for saying, just stand up to the bully when in fact you’re over here getting bullied by your boss.

Todd: And doing nothing about it. And doing nothing about it. That’s pretty good.

Cathy: Yeah. So I think be impeccable with your word is about integrity. And remember, integrity is not perfection. Because part of integrity is owning mistakes. So you’re never saying, I do nothing wrong. And you know, you’re saying I do things wrong.

Cathy: You take ownership. So in that, so I would say, allow them to give you feedback about the things. And again, you as a parent, let me just take it like, take a little offshoot here. [00:50:00] There are times that I have conversations with my girls and it’s a lot of work, right? Because they’re telling me words that don’t work or I’m having to hear a lot of emotion.

Cathy: And then I need friends and Todd and a therapist to kind of work through my work. I’m not in any way saying to parents, you need to do this perfectly and it’s going to be easy. You have to then do your work where you walk out of the room and sometimes I’ll walk in, you know, and Todd’s in bed or whatever, I’ll be like, okay.

Cathy: You know, I did that wrong, right? And so you have to have a sublevity to it, but I think let’s not do that with our girls. Let’s let them, let’s have our own outlets.

Todd: One thing I sometimes say to guys who are struggling with the relationship with their wife, um, and I don’t know where, which teacher of mine I got this from is what, what, what women, and I think it relates to this discussion with your kids.

Todd: Okay. What women want most is for them. In the moments, let’s say, sweetie, you come home and you have a terrible day, and you’re just blaming the world, and you’re blaming me, and [00:51:00] you’re just like a tornado, you’re just mad. What I tell the guys, and I think this is true, what, what you want to want from me in that moment is to be able to stand in the chaos of the tornado.

Todd: Stand in the tornado, yeah. Stand inside the tornado, and then. And not get offended. And not. Yeah, and not. You know, when you’re in a defensive posture, I’ll be like, well, fine, I’m not even going to help you. I’m going to walk away. I’m going to get turned, turn on ESPN. Well, if you’re

Cathy: not going to do what I tell you to do.

Todd: If you could stand and take that heat in a conscious way and not take it personally and not make assumptions and be impeccable with your word, they’re going to love you so much more on the other side, because when you come home crazy mad about something, it’s not your heart’s center. It’s a version of you that is really triggered and reactive.

Todd: So, Why would I expect anything other than that? Because you’re not, you’re in a, you’re in a really tough, emotional, erratic state. So can, if, and it takes practice and it’s, I’m not going to say it’s [00:52:00] impossible, but it’s really hard to be able to not get defensive in that moment. But if, if I can do that for you when you show up and you can do that for me when I show up that way, or we can do that for our kids, then, That’s when the real connection happens.

Cathy: Well, that’s when you are in a place of processing, healing, um, feeling connected, feeling safe, feeling belonging. That’s where all of that lives is inside of those experiences. And that’s the irony is a lot of times we’re like, something’s going on with my kid. They’re having a lot of big emotions. They’re really scared.

Cathy: I need to fix this. This is wrong. I need to call the school. But everything they’re looking for lives inside that experience. It just doesn’t happen immediately. So they feel a sense of belonging when you hear them and they feel like all those pieces of them are acceptable, even though there’s shadowy parts in there and everything.

Cathy: then they feel that inner contentment that you’re trying to get externally through a place on the soccer team. Yeah. And I’m not saying a place on the soccer team doesn’t hold some of [00:53:00] that, but it’s not going to hold all of it. You can’t, you can’t look to the outside world to tell you you’re a good person.

Cathy: You have to practice learning that from the inside out through relationships, because You can do some self help work and some self awareness work to help you in your relationships, but really growth and, and, and healing and belonging and feeling love comes through an interaction with somebody else.

Cathy: This is why AI will come into our world, but will not take over in the way I think people fear. I know there’ll be challenges, issues, but we need other human beings to feel a sense of belonging. Like, um, You know, I was listening to a podcast today where it was, it was actually, uh, Bernay and, um, Esther Perel were talking about, um, you know, artificial intelligence, AI, uh, Esther is like, really, what we’re trying to, what we’re doing is artificial intimacy.

Cathy: And the example she gave [00:54:00] is, uh, I know a thousand people, but I don’t know anyone that’ll come over and feed my cat. Right? So we’re not really in intimate relationships when we have a thousand people following us. It’s artificial and we’re not getting what we need, which is why we have all these holes, right?

Cathy: So real relationship is the person who hears you, who sees you, who laughs with you, who allows you to be. All those things. Now, going back to your example, Todd, the other side to that is for, and again, in a heteronormative relationship, male female, if the woman comes in and is blaming their partner for everything, that’s not okay.

Cathy: Right.

Todd: Yeah. I was more thinking about venting about the day. Right.

Cathy: If they’re Versus

Todd: jumping

Cathy: all over. Right. If they’re venting about the day, and maybe they throw a few games at you. They’re like, if you would have unloaded the dishwasher, like that’s to be expected. But if they’re saying you did this, you did this, everything that I’m feeling is your fault.

Cathy: That’s not okay. And that, and I can understand why a partner would be like, this is not cool. But the ability to not believe that everything [00:55:00] they’re saying is fact and that now everything has gone to hell, like every, they’re just. Relieving themselves of all these feelings so they can get back. So in, um, in DBT, which is a dialectic behavioral therapy, I think I’m saying that right.

Cathy: The whole goal is to bring your emotional brain. And your reality brain together and find balance and that then equals wisdom, okay, because a lot of times in that kind of treatment, one or the other is too extreme, right? And you’re trying to find this balance between here’s all my feelings and emotion, and then here’s my rat rational, not reality, my rational thinking, and now I need to bring these together and then I can see the truth.

Cathy: Right? So, if we don’t need to be in DBT, we don’t need to be doing that to practice that with the people we love. Now, you and I, um, I’m definitely the one who brings my emotions [00:56:00] home more, and I just have them in the home, too. Um, and I know that over the years you have worked with me. Really hard to not feel like I’m telling so because Todd thinks everything’s his fault So he will then be like I’ll tell him a story and then he’ll bring it back to himself and say but I’m trying so Hard and I’m like, but you’re focused on you and I’m trying to tell you something about me Right, and so you need to get out of your head about what you’re doing right and wrong And be like a more neutral figure.

Cathy: In

Todd: other words, I default to what role did I play in this?

Cathy: And I, don’t you see I’m working hard. Don’t you see me? Don’t you see me? And in that moment, I’m asking you to see me.

Todd: Right. Does that make sense? Yeah. So in other words, it’s me just once again, not trying to view it through your lens or connect with you with what you’re experiencing.

Todd: Instead, I’m You’re worried about you. Yeah. Yeah.

Cathy: Yeah. And, and I think something that, you know, we talked about that, where, [00:57:00] Where were we talking about this? Was it on a Team Zen Talk the other day? We were talking about that experience of understanding, I think, something that women are conditioned to do is worry about everybody else.

Todd: And I think Oh, it was It was last week’s Zen Talk. Yeah, it was our Zen Talk. And I very honestly said, I, my default is me. Is you. Right. And your default is Everybody else. Everybody else.

Cathy: So when I go to bed at night, when I wake up in the morning, my thoughts are about everybody around me. Again, so what is my work?

Cathy: Boundaries, self awareness, getting, you know, asking for what I need. I’m very aware of the holes in that for me, but it is still my default. And I think Todd wakes up, looks at the calendar, and thinks about his life and his work. And that both of those things, Yeah. And that’s, then cause problems for us because then I lose track of myself and, and I get frustrated at him because he’s not thinking about what are we doing for Easter?

Cathy: Yeah. He’s not thinking about, Hey, it’s our kid’s birthday. What did you get her? [00:58:00] He assumes I’ll do it. And why does he assume? Cause I always do it. So then I have to, and when I’m saying that, I’m not mad at him. We have a track record. We have a track record. And then I get mad, but he’s like, you always do it.

Cathy: So you have to have these, these conversations. That I’m talking about having with our girls or Todd’s talking about having with your boys. They’re the same in partnership. Universal principles.

Todd: Yeah. Um, I’m just thinking of Terry Rios grid and I’m more on the walled off side of it, which is, he calls it love avoidant.

Todd: I’m walled off. I’m thinking about myself. Yes. And then I will go look at others if they, you asked me to, but my default is me.

Cathy: Right. You

Todd: would be boundary less and love dependent. Yes, I’m very love dependent. I’m walled off love avoidance. You are boundary less and love dependent. Yeah, we need to meet each other somewhere I need to move over that way.

Todd: You need to move over this way.

Cathy: Correct, and I don’t say I’m a codependent I don’t say that because that’s not who I am, but I have a lot of features that that Our [00:59:00] code that are codependency related that I’m much more concerned about everyone else getting their needs met and sometimes like, you know, I was just even thinking Todd and I are going on spring break and I thought it was the three of us sitting in the plane.

Cathy: Turns out we’re not sitting that way. But I, of course, I’m going to take the middle seat. Like, I’m like, I know I will, and maybe I won’t end up, maybe someone will want it, but I just assume I’m better if everybody’s happy. And that’s, you know, I am aware of that and so sometimes I have to break that pattern.

Todd: You’ve been doing a pretty good job of letting me sit middle lately, sweetie.

Cathy: Well, that’s you and I, that’s different than three of us. See, the reason that I’ve been good about letting you sit in a middle seat is I have told you a place now that I’m 52 years old that I want is to pay a little extra, if it be 50 or whatever, to have a seat I want.

Cathy: I, for my whole life, have been doing the cheap tickets with you, using points, and then we get these crap seats. And I’m like, I am at a point now, you know, financially, in my [01:00:00] age, that I don’t want a crap seat. So then you’re like, okay. But then you’re like, well, let’s trade off the middle seat, you and I, and I’m like, but I’m telling you, you say you don’t care, but I want a good seat, but then you’re making me accommodate.

Cathy: paying cheap. Does this make sense? Sure. You’re still buying a middle seat and then saying, let’s trade off. But I’ve told you, I don’t want that anymore. So I don’t want to trade off with you.

Todd: Right.

Cathy: Do you feel the difference? Yeah.

Todd: And the thing is, is I much rather would sit in the middle seat and pay less money and give you the aisle.

Cathy: I know, but you still do ask me to trade you sometimes.

Todd: The last few times, sweetie, it’s been all you. Really? Yeah. Now, what’s interesting, well, we don’t have to go into details of the flight that we’re about to take. Uh huh. Because we’re recording this before we bail on spring break, but, um, so anyways, well, we can go down a whole rabbit hole with this, but we’re an hour in and we got to go.

Cathy: Okay. So, but just to like close that gap. Let’s close [01:01:00] that

Todd: loop.

Cathy: Okay. Close that loop is you’re like, you’re pretty good with me having the middle seat, but that’s been a boundary that I’ve set. Yes. I, when you’re like, let’s trade, I’m like, No, because you paid a cheap amount for that seat and I paid for my seat, and so I’m not going to trade with you.

Cathy: So that is different than, than the three of us. It’s you, me, and Sky, and I, I’ll sit in the middle because it’s my family. Does that feel different? It does. All right. Oh gosh, so anyway,

Todd: any last parting thoughts before we, I play the music on out?

Cathy: I don’t think so. I think that the, it’s a good discussion and this is what I do when I go into school.

Cathy: It’s just like, talk to people about how to. And, and I also support the schools in how to manage the phone calls

Todd: that they get. So any Chicagoland school administrators out there wanna bring Cathy in? She’s been doing it. Bring me in. Uh, I wanna say thanks to Jeremy Kraft. He’s a baldhead of beauty [01:02:00] paints and remodels throughout the Chicagoland area.

Todd: Avid 6 3 0 9 5 6 1800 and join Team Zen. All. Keep track talking.

Round two. Change a little bit. And change a little bit. Pretty pleasant.