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Insight On Parenting - Being a MEAN Parent

October 14, 2021

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Susan Meyerle  

We are actually recording today. So welcome to today's session on parenting. I am so excited to have Vanessa Baker with us today. Vanessa is just a phenomenal person. Let me just talk about that. Overall, she's a parenting team mindset coach, she has five teenagers and a toddler. She uses her background in education, business and coaching to teach parents how to create healthy relationships with their teenagers, and ultimately with themselves. So with that, I will turn it over to Vanessa.

Vanessa Baker  

Hi, thank you, Susan. I'm happy for this opportunity. I love doing stuff like this. Oh, I just got really big on the screen. That's scaring me. So what the two people here here right now, thank you. Hi, welcome. I really like to do, I'd like to do this in a way where it's really like a conversation because it makes such a difference to be able for you. For me to be able to, to hear what you're dealing with. And I know that sometimes it feels like really, you know, vulnerable, I suppose to share something that you're dealing with, but what every single time I'm in a group and I run lots of groups for my own business. People are like, Oh, it's just like school when you're little like, Oh, I'm so glad that kid was so brave or stupid. Is what it feels like when you're little right to say what they're wondering teacher, you know, because everyone's like, someone said it for me. So it's always always like that. It's just never not. So if you guys would like to just sort of introduce yourselves. Even if it's in the chat, just tell me some little things like, are you there? Or just real generally speaking, what are the biggest headaches? Like the biggest things that just drive you crazy or stress you out or make you worry? As a parent? Susan, it says, it says me and you can chat. Can anyone else chat too?

Susan Meyerle  

Excellent question. I will see if I can just says you privately. enable everyone to turn up Oh, there we go.

Vanessa Baker  

Drop down. Okay. Okay, cool. And as she said, Of course, it's a personal preference on the camera thing I can I can bring all the energy we need, I can just look at your names and like, feel you It's fine. Especially Bieber, because I am a 44 year old Justin Bieber fan. And I'm not afraid to say it. Oh, thank you for putting my intro there. And Walter White, my cat and intro he's right over there. He may join us he does what he wants. Okay, so I'll just get started, if anybody wants to chime in and just give me anything, you know, to tell me where you're at with things. I would love it. I would love to be interactive, and really responsive to what you need. But I can also kind of do my own thing. And you guys can just come along with me.

So Alright, so I have five teenagers like it says right now they're 13, 14. That's a pop quiz, 13, 14, 16, 17, and 19. So from eighth grade, all the way to a freshman in college. And then my wife and I, that's for my first marriage, my wife and I had a kid together. And actually on Monday, he'll be three years old, so he's just like, probably, on even pays for energy and time and attention. As all five of the teenagers put together at this point. It's a lot. But um, obviously we love those people. So um, one thing that I want to talk through is part of my framework. That was my intention today.

So I'll hold this book up. This is a book I wrote, for me into real clean how to create a fully functional relationship with your teenager. And then the little sub sub thing says, What if you could be the first person your teenager wants to talk to you and listen to not the last. And in my work with families, I get to work with teenagers a lot and and even as young as 10 year olds, sometimes two are in the mix. And I'm telling you, it's so common that kids feel like they can't talk to their parents about things so when I use the words here mean and real clean, those are all acronyms in my framework.

So mean, I'd like to start off talking about that. A lot of times as parents will get called like, Oh, you're so mean right? Or you'll walk out of a situation with the kids and you're like, Oh, I was mean like I don't want to be mean. I asked. Me buddies mean deep down naughty Been like the the person who seems the grumpiest in the roughest with the toughest outer shell like I, I guess it's sort of just something I've trained myself into imagine it's empathy I guess and action like imagine like what must they be going through what must they have been? What must they have gone through such that this is how they present to the world, this is how they view people, this is how little it takes to set them off. You know, so I'm going to talk you through mean, just the first part because we just have an hour today. Honestly, I could talk about the M in mean or the end and clean each for like a whole day. There's so much we can do. But I can also take mean just down to the time that we have and I have my own. My clock must have gotten unplugged. Let me look at my watch. Okay, my clock my phone.

Alright, so mean stands for misunderstood, entitled, authoritarian, and numb. So let's start at the top with mean, when we are, it's kind of just what I explained when we feel like we're being mean, it's usually something else that's going on. We never really it's rare. I've read met a rare person who actually admitted or, and said I was trying to be mean, that's not how it is, we usually are dealing with something else, something as simple, but difficult as self care. So think about this. Thank you. I can type that to Susan, if you want. But that's really nice of you. Thank you. So I'm so misunderstood, meaning I am actually just hungry. I know this sounds so basic and simple. But honestly, how many times have you lost your ever loving mind, with your family, with your kids, with your spouse, with your, you know, employees or whatever, because you were just really not taking care of yourself. And you were trying to live on coffee and, and you were just twitching out because your blood sugar was low, and you weren't acting in a way that you're really proud of because you just needed like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or something, right? So that's part of it.

I know so many parents who really struggle with, you know, working and then being a parent. And then they get done with all the sports stuff, and all the dinner stuff and all the homework stuff and all the things. And then they're like, I didn't have anything for myself today. So what they do, what we do is we stay up really late. And we're watching Netflix and we're like next episode. Oh, this is me time I'm so I'm so satisfied. I'm taking care of myself. Yeah, right. And or they're, you know, scrolling through Instagram or Facebook. I mean, I've done it to where I'm like, finally I get to do something, what I really need to be doing for myself in those cases is sleeping, because I have to do it all over again tomorrow. But I want this semblance of a life. So I stay up too late. And then do you see the cycle, then I wake up late and I don't get breakfast, so I'm hungry. Right you get it, you see the cycle.

So um, I don't want to insult you with common sense stuff. But just because we know something doesn't mean we practice it. And actually, that's what can make us feel even more like shameful or disappointed and frustrated with ourselves is that like, we're sitting here telling our kids, hey, you need to eat before school or you'll be grumpy and you won't be able to use your brain power or go to bed, you have to get enough sleep. And then we're not doing both of those things. Hydration is another big one that we know. But we don't do our brain. I mean, Susan's the doctor here, but like, you know, I know from personal experience that when I'm dehydrated, I cannot think straight and I'm irritable, simple things like if all this is kind of silly, but if all you take out of being with with me here in this hour today is like, hey, I need to get on my water again, fine, every little bit every little bit that you do every little change and shift that you can make inside of self care.

It's going to make a difference in your parenting. I'm definitely coming at parenting from a holistic approach always. And from an unknown if you've liked this term, or if you've heard it before, but radical responsibility. It's very easy and common and status quo for us to be like my kids are just stressing me out and everything's just so crazy. But if we were really to take a second and say what can I actually do better so that I can withstand cope with function better. I can't think of another word but like, be a stronger foundation for what my life actually is right now. It would make a huge difference in our lives.

Okay, so a couple more things about misunderstood. Sometimes when our kids think besides self care, sometimes when our kids think we're being mean, we're actually just afraid. We're just scared, we're scared that something's going to happen to them in this crazy world, or in their bedroom, because now everybody has phones and social media and access to like, literally, anyone in the entire world sitting there as young of an ages, you hand them a phone or an iPad, right? Or their computer that they need for school. I mean, it's scary, it can be really scary, it can happen at school, it can happen at home, like the it that you're scared of. It's real, and it happens and you know it so when we're actually being mama bear, Daddy bear, you know, trying to protect our kids.

They're misunderstanding it as we don't understand, we we just want to be mean we want to ruin their life, you've heard it all probably right. And, and so when we're able to kind of breathe and get centered. And this is way easier said than done. I mean, this takes like, you know, a lifetime work, really, but it's definitely possible when we get in touch with what we're so scared of. And when we're we are able to be more grounded and rational in what we're thinking versus reactive. That's when we have a shot at doing both things, protecting our kids in a range that's appropriate age appropriate and condition appropriate, right? protecting them. Yes, that's what you wanted to do in the first place, right? But also teaching them and and not just laying down the law, but like helping them understand why things are the way they are, hey, we're not here to like make them happy every second of the day, that is not a possibility.

However, we can do it more like, let me say it like this. If you were doing parenting as a posture, it would be less like, Hey, listen to me, young lady, young man, I'm the parent, I'm the boss. And more like shoulder to shoulder like, hey, I want to explain this to you. Here are my fears. Some of them may seem crazy to you. Some of them are a little crazy. I'll admit that. But here's why. And here's where I'm coming from. And maybe this is something I've experienced in the past, right? And you're being more of a coach or a guide, then now I'm segwaying like I should be like on the morning news.

The next letter is E entitled, and it really loops in really well. It's an A and mean authoritarian. So I'm going to talk about these ones together. So entitled, we always say the kids are so entitled these days, they just think they can have anything they want. They see these Tick Tock millionaires and they didn't just danced a little they didn't have to do any work. And they're entitled to this future or they're cheating. they're entitled to good grades without actually learning. I mean, hello online school last year. I mean, it was just like, online school and was synonymous with cheating. You are sitting there googling, they're they're googling all the answers. It's just like, the water we were swimming in, right? It was so normal last year, and so disappointing, but also kind of human nature, right?

So anyway, it's like kids these days, so entitled. So I kind of spin that around and say, You know what? I think we as parents often operate in a way that we could consider to be entitled to let me tell you what it sounds like. It sounds like I pay the bills on the adult. You wouldn't have a roof over your head without me. Therefore, you need to be in a better mood. Hmm, I don't think moods work like oh, I have a roof I'm happy now. And all the stressors of being a junior high kid or a high school kid or fifth grader or college student. They don't affect me because my parents paid the bills like if only right, I wish that would work but it doesn't.

Another thing entitled can sound like is I am your mom. I want to spend time with you. I'm lonely. My life is not very rich are fulfilling for me right now because I've given it all to you children. Now you need to want to hang out with me spend time with me. Get off of your phone for me just because of like you lived in my womb, like making all these random to us. They might make sense a little bit but it's not how it works. So I'm not saying you're wrong. I'm not saying you're bad. I'm not saying I'm wrong or bad either when I do this stuff. What I am saying though, is It just doesn't work. If you think about it, like I'm assuming you guys are at a workplace because of this is an EAP presentation.

So think about it like this, somebody comes in a consultant or someone in like higher than you on the food chain or the ladder, right? And they haven't been there that long. They they don't really know the ins and the outs you sweat, you know in labored your butt off to make changes and make the place where you work a good thing that clients or customers, whatever happy the end users, and this person walks in, and it's like, have you seen my name tag? Just kidding, you probably don't have a name tag, but like my business card, oh, look at me on LinkedIn, look at all this. Now you need to respect me, and I'm just gonna do whatever because you know who I am. It's my role.

You see, you have to follow along with what I say now. And there's no like collaboration, there's no respect really for like, What's going on with you. They just come in and say my role. My job title, like a parent, like a mom, like a dad, entitles me to certain rights, and entitles me or I should say requires you child or you in this scenario at work, to behave in certain ways and operate in certain ways, just because I mean, so I think you get it right? It just doesn't work. It just doesn't work. They know you're the mom, they know you pay the bills, they know you're the dad, they know you go to work for them every day, all of the above.

And it still isn't the same thing as being connected. And it does honestly come off as mean. And normally when people are mean to me for a good reason or not, I tend to shut down. So that's like a really whole totally other just giant topic. Where are we trying to keep our kids open to be influenced by us? Are we trying to be humble and model compassion and empathy? Are things we want to see in our children? No doubt? Or are we just trying to take the shortcuts of like, I'm the parent or the parent, right? We can do that. Go crazy, do it, keep doing it, start doing it, whatever, maybe I just gave you a great idea. But it just doesn't work as far as relationships go.

So that leads me into I told you, I do them together, I guess I'm doing back to back. It can't you can kind of smell. The entitlement goes with a sense of the entitlement goes along with a sense of, I'm the authority. I'm the boss, Because I said so those kinds of things. Now, that is what I call like old school parenting. And when it was the norm, it was just called parenting and just plain old ordinary parenting. Because I said so why I want to understand I want to know how the world works. I want to know what to predict. I want to understand I want to feel secure as a child, I need consistency and boundaries for that.

So I want to understand how things work. You know, I got in trouble all the time growing up in the 80s in South Texas where Yes, ma'am. No, ma'am. You know, the whole thing. And whenever I asked why they thought I was being a jerk and being disrespectful. And then I get punished. When really I was trying to learn about like, how the system of home works how the hierarchy works, I guess what my limits were, and I wasn't doing it in a disrespectful way. I really wasn't my sister did that. I was actually like, earnestly trying to learn and understand.

And so when our kids, even if they sound snotty, they are truly trying to develop and understand how life works, how the world works out home works and we just shut them down saying, Because I said so because I'm the parrot. And that's how it is you better suck it up. And you know, then we start into the stuff like, give me your phone. Give me your phone, just give it to me, I will change the Wi Fi code. You don't get this you don't get that.

I'll tell you I had a client once who this is. I'll never forget this. She's sitting there and we're talking about this authoritarian kind of mindset that's just so easy to fall into. I mean, honestly, it's what was modeled to most of us. So it's it's like, not your fault. Not my fault we just saw we saw anyway, so she's sitting there and she's like, talking about her son. I take away his phone, I take with Xbox, I take away the Xbox controller takeaways keys. I would take away his breath just for a moment. And I was like oh My gosh. But like we get so desperate right and, and when we're just seeking power, which it goes along with the authoritarian kind of mindset, like power play.

Guess what kids learn back when we run power plays on them they learn how to run power plays on us. Cheap power plays to where like, Oh, that's it Give me your phone. They're like I didn't do anything on my phone with my phone. This is my whole social life. This is my whole world and you're like, that's it. You didn't do this. You're just give me your phone. Right? That's like the biggest one. That's why I am talking about that in the most or your iPad or your screen time or however you guys say it at your house. Right? That's it numerous social media and and what they do get this.

Thank you. Kay Bieber. True, right? I don't know which part you said that on. But it's our it's our little lifeline to power. And so back to the way power works, we end up causing a war. So I pupu. You, you give me like my sound effects. And oh, you're gonna cue pay me back? Okay, hold on, let me get a bigger weapon. Oh, really? You're bringing that to the table, man? Oh, I'm not gonna ever pick up my tail ever again. Perfect. I'll get you right. And the thing is, you guys, I wish you could be a fly on the wall in my calls with all these kids, I get to talk to you. It is so awesome. It is so crazy. I'll say, huh.

So how much of the crap you pull at home that's driving your parents absolutely insane, is like, oh, their brains not fully developed yet. And they're doing the best they can. And they're just really stressed out versus how much of what you're doing is absolutely on purpose. Just like passive aggressive point making, driving your parents crazy. Because they're driving you crazy. And they're like, Oh, I do that on purpose. And I'm like, Really? I thought it was because of your add. That's what they think. And they're like, No, I do that on purpose. They're literally punishing their kids back for punishing them. And I'll just say this, it's a little scary, especially because I don't know you guys at all, and you really don't know me at all.

So I don't want you to get me wrong. Like I'm this passive. You know, like hippie dippie. Kind of like, whatever kids want free, blah, blah. No, I'm really not like that at all. But what I will say is, I'm like, scared to say this, because I just don't know you guys. Listen, I don't believe in punishing our children. And my experience as a child, in my experience as a parent with these five totally different personality types, like someday, what a great story for you to hear about how crazy different my five kids are. It just makes people sneakier. And punishment means that you're the you're the guillotine operator, right?

So why am I about to come to you, the guillotine operator when I got myself into a jam. Now the guillotine operator who's just gonna you know, really ruin my life. Because I made a mistake, whether it was on purpose, or I got myself into deep which even adults do by the way, you know, I'm in trouble in one way or another, I made mistake, the person who's supposed to help me be my safe space be my soft place to fall is actually the one who's going to end it. For me, that's a really, really hard position to put a kid in. So if you want to think of it as amnesty, or if you want to think of it as grace or mercy, or, gosh, I don't know, there are so many ways you could look at this. It's it's something to consider that to stop the cycle to stop the madness of this back and forth this back and forth this back and forth where I mean, it's an arms race, and it's like, just like, I think you guys might know exactly what I'm talking about where your home home front feels like a Warfield. You know.

I have to tell you this example too. I just have to so without naming any names or political parties, I'll just tell you this. I had a client who I worked with for a while there, and she is an immigrant from Mexico. This is during an election year recently. And she came to America and went to medical school became a doctor and is like, you know, she everything she did what she's really proud of herself, I should say I mean it's pretty impressive right to come from nothing where she her situation in Mexico to come to America and do what is like considered the upper echelon of you know, American Dream stuff right?

Her son pretended to be of a political party, join the club at school, Bob this stuff, had it come in the mail word around the house, talked about building structures, if you will. All feigned all made up. He doesn't feel this way. He doesn't believe in those principles which are not right or wrong I'm just saying he doesn't believe in the things that he pretended to believe in because he wanted to pay his mom back for being so hard on him and essentially what we realized being scared to connect with him and and empathetic and and you know, more intimate way emotionally so He punished her back. I just don't know if I can think of a more vivid example.

Alright, so I think we've got the the gist of authoritarian which is the a and then switch on the E entitlement makes sense. Okay. So now we're going to if anyone has any questions, you guys just chime in, I can see it pop up out of the corner of my eye. And now we're going to go into in numb. Again, this is one of the things that we parents think are really terrible, or we think is really terrible about kids these days, and probably our own kids, oh, all they do is just play Xbox and be on their phone and tick tock and Snapchat and you know, Instagram and they don't do Facebook, but you know, read it right?

And so it's like they're numbing out, and they're checking out and you can't hardly get their attention and they seem addicted to different things. And they're kind of like insatiable in that like it's never enough kind of thing. So, again, this is kind of my stick, I hope you're catching on the things that are driving us crazy about our kids. Deep down, we already know that we're big, fat hypocrites. And that's a source of a lot of parental stress, actually, I think because we know that we're not modeling something much different than what we are getting from them.

So when I talk about numb, being none as a parent, it can look like checking out it can look like a shopping addiction. I'm just gonna kind of put addiction on the top here. Okay, it can look like shopping addiction, sex addiction, workaholism, it can look like food addiction fitness addiction, it can look like phone addiction screen addiction like all these things are thing drug addiction, alcohol the whole the whole thing about you know, mommies and wine and you know, all of that stuff. It's it's a pretty flimsy cover for that moms think that they need to numb out and check out and literally like alter their brain functionality and and take the edge off, I guess because it's so stressful to be a kid.

I read something once in a parenting magazine where a mom just like lost her, you know her cool there for a moment. And her two year old son went and got a wineglass off the counter and said here, Mommy, like, like he associated him stress and alcohol. So this is a moment where like, or ever will it be a moment where I'm here or to shame anyone for what they're dealing with, you know, in terms of addiction, and the struggles that they're having.

But I'd like to say that when we're numbing ourselves out, and checking out it makes it really difficult to connect to ourselves first of all, which in turn makes it i'd like to even say impossible to connect to another person. And under the umbrella of other persons are most certainly are children. So it's something to look at. It's something to admit, you know, perhaps to complain about to look in the face to get help about. That's something that you could definitely find a way to support yourself through whatever it is that you're doing to checkout.

So there's another way I want to talk about that people check out besides like in the realm of addiction and checking out numbing out another way that we do it, and this might catch you a little bit by surprise. We can actually numb ourselves to our own life. ourselves like I'm numb to myself, I'm not meeting my needs. I'm not taking care of myself. I'm seeming mean or out of touch or something like that. Because I'm so obsessed with controlling every aspect of my children's lives, lives life. child's life, children's lives.

Okay? Check English grammar. Okay, so do you see what I'm saying? Like, when I'm like, okay, so did you do your assignment? Okay, would you get on your last quiz? Oh my gosh, do not get me started on the grades app. Don't do it. Okay, I'm already started. parents come clean here. We're checking those apps we're looking at what did they get? What did they get missing assignments, missing assignments, Oh, my gosh, they're down to a C plus, you need to get that great up texting screenshotting. I've got a kid who I worked with for a while there who would be walking you live close to school, you'd be walking down the street to go home, just knowing that that his mom would probably have some bit of Intel about his academic performance and metrics on her phone before he even walked in the door.

And she'd be given it to him about how it wasn't okay, how did you miss five out of 10 on your biology quiz. And he's like I did Oh, my gosh, like it was hard, or the highest grade in the class was a seven out of 10. And, you know, separate story. But like, there, we really take those grades out of context. And because of the online grade app, I don't know if all of you guys have that in your schools in your districts, but they do here. I'm in Scottsdale, Arizona. And it's it's all the rage, right? And so parents have admitted to me that they check it like incessantly like like more than Facebook more than Instagram more than their bank account, because they want to be on top of it.

And I know why I actually have just like, massive loads of compassion for this. There's some weird thing out there floating around, don't know if you heard of it. But if your kid gets good on joking, if your kid is a good student and gets good grades in school, then that means you're a better parent, right? Isn't that true? Ma child get straight A's look at the certificate, you know, the bumper stickers on and somehow it's about us, right? And that's just a load of You know what, because there are kids and me, you former kids who have struggled in school, and it had nothing to do with our parents may have had something new with our brain functionality there. It may have something to do with stress, it may have something to do with mental health, it may have something to do with the fact that your kid is so cool, that they don't really want to buy into the rat race at age seven.

And they say what's the point of this? Those are really great points. And those are what make great leaders, people who don't just zombie through a system, I really do teach my kids personally to play the game of education, right? And they've got to get that it's a game. And yes, a lot of this is never going to be used in your life. Right? Then what I do say to them is like Well, it looks like the only reason I needed to know calculus so that I can help you with it right now. And you know what, I'm really glad I did learn it because look at us right here, you're getting a better grade because I'm able to assist you right now. So I don't know you can use that if you want.

So we can numb out on our kids metrics. It can be a number of things. You know, like, hmm, how clean is your room? You know, I'm a good mom because my kid always cleans their room. False. I'm a good mom because my kid makes their bed every day false. I'm a good dad because my child initiates doing chores every weekend. False. See, I'm going to kind of close numb right now.

And here let me write E, when we follow on with what she did here what she started E entitled The A, you might be taking notes, but I'll put this here anyway. authoritarian and then N numb. Okay, so as I close out, you kind of get the drift about numb, right we numb out on our kids. Let me just finish this part. College apps where they go to college, um, you know, sports performance, music performance, we get obsessed with what our kid is doing. And then if you take all of that away, we're left with just us. And we have very little going on. We don't practice much of anything. We are not on a path to master anything like what what we're having them do, we are not growing, we are just micromanaging. And that is not a life for us. And that makes us bitter. And we use the excuse This is hilarious. Not really, it's sad. So maybe it's ironic that we'll use the excuse of having kids. I'll read that in just a second.

Mackenzie, thank you for writing Hold on, we use the excuse of being a parent and how stressful it is to stop being a whole person or never start being a whole person who nurtures ourselves, who cares for ourselves, because oh my gosh, parenting is so stressful. Yeah, it is stressful. However, it's like flipped. We think that we have to give it all to our kids. And therefore they can be great, make us look better. He worked into ourselves, being more attentive to our needs, being more brave, and doing things that look selfish, but they're not. When we do those things. And we put First things first, and we prioritize things based on like, the natural order of things like I can't help you if I'm not well. I forgot how I started that sentence, but I'll just finish it. Let's do a semi colon.

What I was just saying exactly how I started it. But what I'm saying is, oh, the fruit of putting First things first, the product of that is kids who don't need to be told all the time, how to do all these wonderful things, and be all these wonderful ways. Because guess what? When they look over, they see us doing it. It's what we're modeling for them. And it's much more natural, and they don't have to fight against us because they're angry. Because we're full of crap. And we're being hypocrites.

I hope you can start to see like how tangled up it all gets and how my goal here is to untangle it like there's you over you here. There's them over here. And you need to be your priority. It's an absolute fact, here's another bit of irony, we tend to make all of parenting about us. I was speaking to that on the Num, num section write what your kids do and don't do and how they turn out and don't turn out. And any given like snapshot of a moment of their life that that someone might choose to judge harshly. Whether it's you or your parents, or society or teachers or friends parents or parents friends or whatever. Like that. None of that is a reflection of you. None of it. That's pretty bold, right?

Okay, so hold that I'm gonna read what Mackenzie wrote. Hi, I work for Lincoln Housing Authority have seven year old daughter 11 year old son who turns 12 and is not going to get teen about a year. I totally get the control aspect. One of my struggles. Yes, yes. Thank you. So the control thing is like, you want to teach a kid how to be controlling, control them. Ooh, that was so good. You want to teach a kid how to be manipulative. bribe them, manipulate them. You want to teach a kid how to be angry, and not be able to express their feelings in a healthy, respectful way. Yell at your kids. Is this the most frustrating thing of all right, I got it for this.

So I'll work on this myself, I promise but I don't like to talk about like, I love to talk about it. But I get insecure a little bit. Talking about like, is with my kids. And I because I don't want to seem like like a goody goody or like a nodal or like, like a perfect or something because I'm just so not perfect. And it's not even funny how imperfect I am. But I do want to share with you that this control thing and the manipulation thing. It doesn't exist in my home. It doesn't live here. There's nothing that I do with the intention of trying to force an outcome with my kids. And therefore, they don't run that on me either.  Now, I could show you around, I work from home, I could show you around. It's crazy. You want to believe it. Their rooms are not messy. I don't care if their rooms are messy or not. I don't seek to control the way they keep their personal space and guess what, their rooms are clean. My room is clean too. It's just speaking of numbing out. Minus cleaning. I guess that's a really righteous one to have. Right? But I really like order and because of my mental health struggles with anxiety and depression. And I might even have a little, you know, I could probably get diagnoseable a little OCD as well, um, I don't shame myself about those things, I'm really open about those things. And I'm really clear that that I am a human being who has trouble with things. And when I do mess up, I apologize right away. And my kids do that, too.

So you get to take a huge load off of yourself and reduce the pressure immensely, to say the right thing and to sound parenting and to, you know, do it all right, when you just kind of dropped the act, I think the Wizard of Oz a lot, you know, just like, open the curtain and just be like, hey, so I was a kid about 25 years ago. And this is what it was like in my house. And I don't really know what I'm doing. And this is really hard. And your decade and your life right now is a lot harder than mine was in so many ways because of technology. And oh, I don't know, let's toss in a pandemic. And just like the I have so many things, you know, so like, how can we do better? How can we have a better relationship, one of my favorite things that I do with parents, and I guess this is a little plug, I'm going to be clear, but but in I have a Facebook group that is so awesome. And it's called it's titled after my book. So it's Vanessa Baker mindset mean to real clean, and the banner on it says exactly what to say to your kids to build a real clean relationship.

So lately, one of the things I realized is just so needed is like, okay, okay, Vanessa, like I see your vision, I see your philosophy sounds so great, really, but like, how do I do this? My people won't even talk to me, what do I do? Every time we talk, they don't pay attention to me, or they shut me down or they're too busy. For me, they're always out with their friends, or they, you know, whatever, they're sleeping all the time, or what gaming all the time. Right?

So what I've taken to do to doing lately, which has been very fruitful for parents is literally giving little scripts of things that you can say exactly text, say to your children to say, like more honest things, you know, and more like vulnerable, open, honest things. And some of them are based in encouragement. Because you know, what we do, this is definitely part of the whole mean piece, which is, we are so scared of messing up as parents will know we did because our kids mess up, right. But we do do that. So we forget to point out. I mean, you could type something, I'll do it, you can even copy and paste it all the my bracelets are rattling here that you can type in something like, Hey, I think you can copy from here. If you're on your computer, you can put it into like your messenger or something or I don't know, find a document, but just be like, Hey, I know, I've been really grumpy lately, this may or may not be true fill in your own adjectives. And I've been pretty focused on this topic. So you can fill in the blank. I just want you to know, I want you to know, that I am working on see this is vulnerability. I'm working on something, I don't have to figure it out. And I want to work on it. I'm working on focusing more on what I am doing, right? I am doing right, and what you're doing right? You can if you don't like right, then you can fill in something else, you know, like I saw what you did the other day. And it was awesome, right?

Something with their sibling something their teacher said like something simple like that. It is these are kind of the components that you're telling on yourself. Like, I've been like this lately, it doesn't work, then I get mad at you for doing the same thing. Like what am i insane? Saying something like that to your kid is an incredible icebreaker. I'll tell you what, on my I have a little plug too but I'm telling you like this is the stuff I do I want to tell you how it works. I I've run 30 day groups and they're not challenges or boot camps or anything. We've got enough pressure, right? We don't need to win anything over here in parenting. It's not a competition, right? Um, but I have a 30 day group and one of the things I do in the group, where we're looking at how we can build real connection or next month is clean communication.

So 30 days to clean communication, right? That's the the gist of it or the objective. And so one of the parts of this group is we get on calls, zoom meetings, and we have group coaching together twice a week. It's amazing. And so it was super cool. You won't get to see this because you're not in the group. But I'll try to do it again, if you if you're there, I interviewed two of my kids, my 16 year old and my 17 year old, on camera, it on zoom, they wanted to talk to us, they wanted to share. And one of the things that I asked my son who's 16 is, where do you think parents go wrong, and he has another parent besides me who I'm not married to anymore.

So he referred to him a little bit little uncomfortable, I guess, you know, because it was being recorded. But whatever. I wanted him to be open. And then he obviously observes multiple Parent Child relationships with his peer group, right? Being at their homes and seeing the text and hearing the phone calls. And one thing that he said Is he called it breaking the ice. That's where I just got that idea. He said, like, it's like, the parents and the kids are in a business relationship. And I was like, Yes, that's exactly what it's like, we're like, like, I've sometimes thought of it is like, we parents feel like we have to be, you know, we're responsible for getting an A on the science project and the science project, we're not raising chicks from eggs, we're raising adults, and you really got to get this right or else right, we're gonna fail something. And all that pressure, it turns parents, including me, and I mean, all of what I teach. And what I'm learning is because I learned the hard way, you know, having five kids in five years will put you through the wringer.

I'll tell you about that more in just one second. But anyway, this breaking the ice thing, it's like, be a person. So besides drinking more water, if this is the only other thing you got out of this today, it's like, just be a person. If you have ever just been able to be a person with your kid, I'd like you to think back on that right now. When you said I, when you say to them something like, I just had the worst day at work, not like I had a terrible day, but just say, Wow, my head is spinning. I haven't been sleeping. I don't feel well I feel pretty bad about myself, I'm worried about something and you just came to them like a person.

If you remember back to you, yourself opening up like that, I bet you can notice that. I always think of it like a puppy, like puppies doing whatever and then all of a sudden they go you know, and their ears pop up. Like that's kind of the those are the moments we want to create with our children. We want them to get that like we want to say something new, and something that like sparks their interest because it's real, real let's be real right? Otherwise, we just go around sounding like Charlie Brown's teacher rah rah rah rah rah and they forget and they don't know and they don't remember and they they have just tuned us out because we always say the same thing. So it's nice to bring in something real something authentic, something new.

So the rest of the framework is about real and clean and we talk about being more resilient as parents we talk about being more effective more loving, sometimes I forget what the letters stand for. Oh a is authentic. That's funny right? Clean stands for connected, level-headed, expressive, aware, and nice; just good old fashioned kindness, right? Modeling that generosity, mercy, unconditional love, like I could go on and on. So most people probably would put this at the top you know like my little origin story or like why I started doing this but I didn't think about it.

So I'm going to tell you now so there was definitely this phase of I kept having babies and you know, people would see me at the store people see me at church or people whatever strangers and acquaintances alike and even my friends and even my family would say oh my gosh, do you know how screwed you're going to be when all these five kids are teenagers? So I'm talking when they were like 12357 like something or five and six something like that right? That they're five and a half years from the oldest to the youngest so you get what I'm saying? And I'm like oh my god how stupid was the mom brain pregnancy brain like those are really real right?

And at the time I was you know, as hardcore Catholic as they come, you know, just really like, like, I converted and I was just doing all the right things and trying so hard to be approved and be a good person, right? And so anyway, I was just in it, just like really in it. And people kept saying that and I'm like, so these people Who I love more than anyone in the entire world are going to ruin my life in a few years. And I'm the reason that they're here. And then they're the reason that my life is gonna suck. And then I went, oh, oh, I'm not drinking that Kool Aid, I'm not going to go down like that. And it was in my home school, like I was really in it, right.

So I was like, in the lab, you could say, of all this work that I've created up to this point, and I just was like, there's got to be a way that this doesn't have to be miserable. And then I don't have to suffer through this thing called having a family, which is supposed to be beautiful. Now, that doesn't mean I haven't had a divorce, I came out when I was 37 years old, okay, like, Hello, that should be a reality show by itself. And having five kids from eight to 12, or whatever their ages were seven to 12. At that time, like we've been through it, life hasn't slowed down or stopped. It's not because things are perfect. I have more than one kid with more than one diagnosis, mental health or learning disability. One of my kids smoke cigarettes, like a chimney, right? I don't let her I don't want her to. And that's where we're at right now. I mean, like, this is a very, very, very real life that I've been living since I had that realization.

But if you've ever gotten into the space of personal development, or you know, faith, even any of those things that you study, and that you like, give yourself to, to, sort of how should I say, like, not be in it right to transcend to like rise above it and look down at it and say, how actually do I want to handle this? This is the thing I'm trying to say, it's that moment where like, I have a choice. And in my moment, I choose, I chose that I'm not going to do it, like I've been seeing it done. And all the people who are telling me that this is doom and gloom, and I'm in for it, what a rude thing to say, right? No, I was kind of going to show them right. And so now, my family is peaceful, no matter what real life stuff comes up, my relationships are solid and connected with each of my crazy kids and all the normal ones too. Like it's just absolutely worth it, you know.

So I just wanted to tell you kind of like why I'm working on this and why this matters to me, matters me more than anything that that generations don't continue to pass down these, you know, really, like dangerous and toxic and shameful mindsets that are that are helping to contribute to our kids not having a safe place to talk to someone which should be home. Right. And I hope that doesn't sound rude for me to say, but like, I think you want that right. All right, thank you for loving my energy, we can see. Alright, so we're coming up on the end here. We have a couple minutes left. Is there anything that anyone wants to add? I could do like, like, micro coaching. Tell me a subject. I'll give you my two cents. I'm certainly not, you know, like the one who's right. But I can definitely tell you how I feel about certain things or things I've tried, and I'm just an open book, really? Oh, yeah, go ahead. I can give you a second. Sorry.

Speaker 3  

I think it's frustrating when you bring something up to your kid if they've done something wrong. And you know that they've done something wrong, like smoke pot or something like that. And they and they go into you just don't trust me. mode don't really address what the issue is. It's frustrating.

Vanessa Baker  

Right, yeah, so you're saying they turn it into like.. I don't know if you've heard that term gas lighting, but then it's like no long.. They're not going to be responsible for what they did. They're just going to get mad at how you approached it or what word you use to catch them or whatever. Is that kinda how you're saying it?

Speaker 3  

Yeah. So you just keep going at it?

Vanessa Baker  

Well, okay, so let me think. It's like, trust trust is just like the juiciest of topics, right? I'll tell you Okay, and this, this is hard to do, like in a soundbite, okay, because we we want to talk about like, there's so much to it, right? There's this entire history and the nature of the relationship. It's not just this like little in a vacuum like, you smoke pot and I caught you you don't trust me like, right, there's a lot to it. But what I will say I said this to my kid the other day, and two of them, two of them the one in eighth grade and the one in 10th grade and we were kind of they're kind of like I bounce a lot of things off of them. You know, they helped me a lot with this whole thing because you know, like they're our end user. You know, I like to know I have a business degree. I think a lot about like, a sense of Supply Chain Management. I think my kids, my kids are kind of like both the raw good and the end product, right?

So anyway, I said, Hey, this may seem really naive, but get this, I trust I choose there's a choice thing again, I choose to trust you guys I choose to trust you. If you choose to do something that is opposite of our values and opposite of what you know is right and safe and so on, then that's on you. It doesn't mean you disrespected me. In fact, you've just disrespected your own body or your own code, moral code or your own school rules or whatever right?

And so I really am a huge proponent of interdependency and relationships between parents and children. The opposite of interdependency is codependency and we hear that a lot when we talk about like, you know, addicts and then their their enablers and stuff. Well, I'm sorry, but it is like too perfect. I go off all the time about how we get so caught up. Let me back up. It's like what does it have to do with you and I'm not being smart here? I'm not I'm really earnestly asking, what do you make it mean about you and trust? If your kid chooses to experiment with pot? Like what does it have to do with you?

Speaker 3  

Yeah, it has to do with them, enjoying it with their buddies and fitting in and finding an easy escape? I guess.

Vanessa Baker  

Yeah, that's good. And so the minute that we take something personally and turn it into a trust issue, it becomes a trust issue and then they're off with the dolphin running Oh, it's about trust let's go you know, can be the trust baton but what if it was about like something else? What if it wasn't because trust implies people right? So I'm saying I mean, if you could isolate yourself from the situation and talk about them and their brain health then in drug use then and driving under the influence then and you know impaired judgment them in all the things And do you think that that would be creating an opportunity for more conversation instead of making it about you in them?

Speaker 3  

Yeah, it's got to and I would hope it would eventually, because that's what it is. I mean, that's what the end game is, you're only hurting yourself and you keep going down this path and it's gonna get worse.

Vanessa Baker  

Right? Right. And then there's this other way to look at it here too is is you know, to really I'm just like a root cause fanatic. You know, like what's going on? Is it you know, a lot of kids and adults go back to the end and numb self medicate, right? The kids who use drugs and alcohol including myself drinking in high school, didn't know I had a very severe case of anxiety that still I have to deal with that I now take medicine for that I'm very happy about and I will be buried with my little pill bottle Do you know no intention of getting off of it It helps me be me right? So is there something deeper going on? maybe not maybe so it's you don't get to find that stuff out though. If it turns into like I'm the police and you're the criminal you know?

Speaker 3  

Yeah, well put.

Vanessa Baker  

Thank you! Yeah, good question. It's so good. They definitely they we all of us humans I don't mean teams but like we all tend to want to like as soon as we're backed into a corner or fingers pointed at us, we we change our game and instead of being real about something we are put into a defensive posture, and it's like why am I get so defensive? Well because you're so offensive. Thank you That was awesome. Anybody else before we go all right. Well, for those of you who are watching the recording Thank you so much. This was really fun. I I felt you guys I have a superpower I can feel you guys even when you're not your cameras aren't there I just pretend a lot and it works really well so you can find me here let me type this V Baker that's my website. I have lots of things I've written Oh, I do so many free trainings in my group. So in Facebook, I have a free group. It's called the it's Vanessa Baker mindset. That what you're gonna say, Susan, you can type in while I'm typing.

Susan Meyerle  

Sounds great. So I do appreciate we'll go ahead and send out an email that has been Vanessa's information and it just so if you didn't get the opportunity to write that down that you have that information, I'm happy to share that with you. Because as I'm sure you've experienced today, she is just a wealth of information. And I so appreciate your time and sharing some of your expertise this afternoon. And I'm really looking forward to those that will be listening to the recording. As I mentioned to Vanessa at the beginning of our time together, we've had so many requests for the the training, so I'll be sending that out. And certainly invite you to reach out to Vanessa there are some additional questions or resources that you would like to share or ask her to share.

Vanessa Baker  

Don't be shy, don't be shy, I live for this, you know, it's like, so much fun. So I'm up for anything.

Susan Meyerle  

She has no passion about this at all. Haha not at all, not at all. Thank you so much. Again, thank you to Vanessa, for being our guest today. So if you have questions, feel free to reach out to insight and again, I just can't say enough great things about Vanessa and her willingness to share with us today. Thank you all and have a great afternoon.

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