Hey amazing parents!
Welcome back. We’re diving in to Connect Method Parenting today.
The 3 CMP Strategies
Last episode we talked about how Connect Method Parenting came to be and we talked about CMP Strategy One, which is Understand Your Behavior, so you can leave room for those beautiful children that you’ve brought into the world.
If you have not listened to Episode One, go back and listen to that and then pop back in here with us today. Because today…we’re going to be talking about the second strategy, which is Consistently Connect. And next episode, we’re going to talk about Strategy Three, which is Choose Closeness.
These are the three things that you need to be doing to transition from corrective, reactive parenting that’s dependent on consequences and rewards and punishments and lectures. When you do all three you will get into parenting by connection. It’s a lot happier over here, and that’s what I want you to create for yourself.
CMP Strategy 2: Consistently Connect
So today we’re going to jump into strategy two, Consistently Connect. What do I mean by that?
You might be thinking, Hmm, what does that mean? Does that mean just hanging out in the kitchen together? Does that mean taking my child to ice cream? Well, yes and no. It means that we’re investing consistently in the relationship. There’s many ways that I teach my clients to do this. But before we can even use those techniques, we have to get clear about something.
What in the heck is a relationship?
How do you create a good relationship with your kids? Because let’s be honest, if you are feeling kind of icky about your kids, and you’re spending time with them they’re going to feel it. But I get that sometimes you might be feeling frustrated when the kids don’t clean their room, didn’t help out with the chores, or were on TikTok even though you asked them to get off. I know when this happens you might have icky thoughts about them, And if this is how you’re feeling it doesn’t matter how much time you spend with them, how consistently you connect, because it’s not clean. They won’t feel close to you no matter how much time you spend with them if you’re feeling a negative emotion about them.
So you’ve got to clean those thoughts and emotions up first. That’s what we’re talking about today. How to create good relationships with your children. It’s easier to create good relationships with your kids or feel good about your kids when things are going great. When your children are doing what you’ve asked them to do, chances are you’re going to be feeling good about your parenting and your kids.
What I want to talk about doing today is learning how to feel good about your parenting and your children when they AREN’T listening. I’m going to teach you how to feel amazing about your kids and Consistently Connect no matter what your kids’ behavior looks like.
If you feel like your teenager constantly is rolling his eyes at you and only talks to you when he wants money or a ride. How are you going to Consistently Connect with him when your nervous system has been riled up a bit about it? Let’s talk about that because that’s the work. That’s what you need to get clean on and understand so you can actually Consistently Connect.
Getting To The Root
If your apple tree wasn’t producing apples, you wouldn’t treat the apples, you would treat the root. You would fertilize it. You would make sure it had enough sun or water. You wouldn’t solve the problem by treating the fruit. The fruit is just evidence of something going on inside of them. What creates a good relationship is your thoughts about your child.
It’s very simple, very powerful. And I didn’t say his thoughts or her thoughts about you. I said your thoughts about your child. Because a relationship can be one way. One directional. Yes, it can. It’s the best news ever. And it’s not dependent on your kid’s behavior at all. The way you feel, the way you’re able to consistently connect with them, has nothing to do with them.
When we talk about implementing Strategy Two, Consistently Connect in League, which is my Connect Method Parenting group, oftentimes clients will say something like this, I don’t really know what to do because my child doesn’t really want to connect with me. She goes into a room right after school. She just scrolls on Tik Tok, only coming to me if they need something from me.
Control Over The Relationship
Without meaning to people tend to look to their child to indicate the quality or status of the relationship. But this doesn’t help you create a strong relationship with your children. When you base the quality of the relationship on your child’s current behavior all craziness breaks loose because you believe you don’t have control over the relationship.
In order to implement Strategy Two, Consistently Connect, you have to feel in control of the relationship, not in control of your child. Let me say that again. You must feel in control of how you feel about your child. You do have control over your relationship because your relationship is the result of the beliefs you have about your child.
I’m going to say it again, to make sure everyone’s clear.
Your relationship with your child is completely in your control. It is not dependent on their behavior or their thoughts about you. It’s simply the result of the thoughts you have about them. Period.
Great news. You do not have to wait until their thoughts are wonderful about you or until their behavior changes to have a great relationship with them, a great feeling about them, great beliefs around them. That’s because your relationship with your child is only dependent on your thoughts about your child.
Relationships Aren’t The Same
My youngest daughter is amazing. So funny. In fact, when she was little, she told the dentist once, “I’m the funny one!” She’s very funny, clever, very sensitive, kind, and really concerned about other people’s emotions.
She’s frequently asking me, “Mom, are you okay?” About five years ago, a neighborhood friend said she was mean. She was devastated and came home crying. When she told me about this I thought, “Well that goes against everything I believe about her.”
Why doesn’t everyone love Becca the way I do?
Someone else can know Becca and have a completely different relationship with her. Why? It’s not because she’s changed.
It’s because each person’s relationship with my daughter is dependent on their thoughts they have about her. It has nothing at all to do with her. That is why the neighborhood friend and I can have such different relationships and thoughts about my daughter.
All of your relationships are created in your mind. Which is great news. Because no matter what you can create the kind of relationship you want with your children. The relationship you have with your children are the most important relationships you will have in your life. So you want to get clean this up.
I Don’t Have A Choice
Parents will tell me, “My child is so rude, hard, defiant and difficult. They’re emotionally exploding all of the time. I don’t have any choice but to feel frustrated or resentful or angry or irritated.”
But you do have the ability to feel something other than frustrated, resentful, angry or irritated if you want to bad enough and are willing to do the emotional work consistently regardless of how they are behaving.
I want to just make sure everyone’s clear that just because I’m saying this does NOT mean that because you have these beautiful thoughts and have a strong relationship with a challenging child who has off-track behavior that you’re going to be letting them get away with doing whatever the heck they feel like doing.
In fact, the opposite is true.
Stronger Relationship, Stronger Limits
The stronger your relationship is with your child, the stronger limits you can set with them. And the higher the chance that the limit will actually be effective. We’ll put a pin in that for the next episode, but it’s the truth. But, I don’t want you trying to create great relationships with your kids so that you can use that relationship to control them. That’s not going to work.
But what I am going to say is when you genuinely, authentically want to create good relationships with your kids, and you put in the work to create good relationships with your kids, then when you do have to set limits, they will be more effective.
The Quality Of The Relationship Matters
The relationship you have with your child, allows you to Consistently Connect with your child in an authentic way that feels good to you and good to them. The quality of the relationship you have with them is dependent on your thoughts about them.
You might think your thoughts about your kids are dependent on what they do. Most of us have thought this at one point. When you believe this you think…
- if they have a tantrum
- if they refuse to listen
- If they leave a big mess in the kitchen
Then I have no choice but to feel frustrated and disconnect from the relationship. That’s not the only option. You can have compassion and have strong connective ties to them and set a firm limit at the same time.
Choose Closeness is what we’re going to talk about in the next episode on the podcast. And it’s the ability you develop as you implement Connect Method Parenting that allows parents to show up calm, connected and confident regardless of how messy things are. When you are Choosing Closeness you are able to stay connected to your kids. Choosing Closeness is impossible to do if your relationship is messy. It’s the reason CMP Strategy 2: Consistently Connect comes before CMP Strategy 3: Choose Closeness.
Clean Up The Perceptions
You’ve got to clean up your perception, stories, and thoughts about them if they are skewed and based on your unrealistic expectations. These expectations of what your kids shouldn’t and should be doing have got to be looked at and for the most part released.
They are killing your chances to have amazing relationships with your kids. When your relationship is dependent on how well they meet your expectations and you allow their behavior to shape your relationship with them. You’re not even having a direct relationship or experience with your child. There’s so many messy thoughts between you and them that impact the quality of your relationship, the strength of your relationship, the depth of your relationship, but it doesn’t have to be.
You need to see the thoughts you have about your kids because here is the truth. You can’t have love for someone. You just have love when you think a certain way about them. And you can’t be upset with your kids, you only have thoughts that make you upset. You can’t be hurt by what your kids did. You can only have thoughts that make you hurt.
Now you might be saying, Andee, come on, get real. I’m not saying the hurt and the frustration and the upset isn’t real. It is, and you definitely feel it. And there’s reasons why you’ve created these stories about your kids. However, what I am saying is if you want to change things with your parenting and your relationship with your kids. You want to stay more consistently in control of your nervous system and the reaction your having to your children’s behavior. You’re going to want to at least experiment.
I would say go all in on this belief that, “It’s the experience that we’re having in our brain about the other person that’s creating the different reactions inside of us.”
New Neural Pathways
Sometimes your reaction is to feel frightened or to feel hurt or to feel upset. Sometimes that default response is to feel calm and to feel connected. You want to create neural pathways in your brains that support the relationship you want to create with them. That is your privilege. That is your opportunity. To train your nervous system to respond the way you want it to, so that your prefrontal cortex, the front of your brain, that’s in charge of logic and reason can be used and help you fulfill your potential. The prefrontal cortex is not fully functioning like you want it to when your nervous system is activated. So you want to learn to calm the nervous system response down so that you can have your prefrontal cortex online so that you can create the best possible scenario and environment for your kids to thrive and also for you to thrive. Your kids need you to help them regulate their emotions. It’s biologically how they’re created. In fact, this is so fascinating that female brains are not fully developed until 25. I’m sure there’s a range, but this is the research I’ve read. And male brains are 30.
Childrens’ brains need another brain to help them regulate their nervous system. So when you can come to what used to be a heated situation, let’s say they come home from school, they roll their eyes, they walk out of the room. They say something like “Mom, I’m not interested in talking to you today.”
If you can stay calm and Consistently Connect with them, what that signals to their nervous system is that this is a safe place, to feel my emotions, to work through whatever’s frustrating me, and to reconnect to this adult who truly cares about me. When you react with a triggered nervous system when they are triggered and say “Mom, I don’t want to deal with you. I’m not interested in talking to you.”
When you get defensive and go into fight or flight back. What that is now signaling to their nervous system is, “Hey you’ve got to defend yourself against your mom, because she’s not safe or ready to help you right now.”
You’re unintentionally pouring fuel on the fire. You’re making the frustration bigger. I know you don’t mean to, you’re just frustrated and want the bad attitude to stop. I get it, but there’s a big reason to try to not get triggered when they’re triggered.
The Harry Style Phenomenon
I want to reveal something that changed my life and I find it extremely empowering.
I call it the Harry Styles phenomenon. Yep. Harry Styles, y’all. I wish I could sing one of his songs, but I can’t remember any of them right now. But my three girls love Harry Styles. They love his outfits at the concerts. They love his songs. They wanted to go to a concert. We didn’t get to go to one. Such a bummer.
They appreciate his personality and his journey of becoming who he is today. They know some of his favorite things. They think he’s amazing. They feel very connected to him and Harry Styles, you guys, I know this might surprise you, but he doesn’t know my girls at all. Doesn’t know their names, doesn’t know where we live, doesn’t know they exist.
As you are creating the kind of relationship you want with your kids remember this, relationships and connection don’t have to be two ways. I mean, it’s better if they are. Gotta love when we get a two way connection. However, it’s not required.You can feel however the heck you want to feel about your kids, despite what they’re feeling about you.
Let that sink in for a minute. I challenge all of you to create the kind of connection you want with your kids and stop waiting for them to return it. Don’t only invest as much as they’re investing in the relationship. Don’t only connect as much as they’re connecting. Don’t expect them to respond to your connection in a certain way.
Connect for connection’s sake. Connect because it feels good, because it feels right, because it honors the relationship. This will allow you to turn on the connection faucet at will.
You’ll stop believing that you need your kids to behave a certain way for you to have an amazing relationship with them. You will be able to get clean thoughts about them, realizing, “Oh, it’s my thoughts. That I have about my child that’s going to impact the relationship. I can be connected to them. They don’t have to be connected to me.”
It’s going to change your world.
If you will step into this belief and realize it is possible for you to feel as connected to your kids as my girls do to the clueless Harry Styles who knows nothing about them. I know it’s not a perfect analogy, but it’s memorable. So bring in the Harry Styles connection. You get what I’m saying right? You can feel connected to them. Even if your teenager says, “I don’t want to even acknowledge who you are today.” What she says doesn’t have to impact how you feel about her.
So here is your homework for today.I want you to get very clear on what you want to believe about your child and your relationship with them.
I love to believe that…
“I have a great relationship with my kids. I can confidently handle anything that comes up. If anything that goes off track I can handle any of it. I feel grateful that I get to have them in my home.”
I want you to identify the thoughts you want to have and the beliefs you want to have about your children. The kind of thoughts that would create the most amazing relationship with them. That would allow you to lean into CMP Strategy Two and Consistently Connect regardless of what they are doing or saying.
I also want you to look at the thoughts and the emotions that you have that are not allowing yourself to create that relationship you want with your child right now.
Know Where You Are
Think of the map at the mall. Let’s say you go to the map and you find the store you want to go to, but it’s missing the dot you are here dot. If you can’t figure out where you are you’re not going to know how to get to that store.
If you use a nearby story to orient yourself to the map, then you’ll know where you are and be able to get to where you’re going.
Looking at the current thoughts you’re having about your kids is how you figure out where you are on the parenting map. You want to know what thoughts you’re having right now that are keeping you from unconditional connection and compassion when they are at their worst.
It’s fine. It’s totally fine that you have negative thoughts about your kids. Every parent does from time to time. You just don’t want to keep nurturing those thoughts. You don’t want to keep believing them. Now you know you don’t have to believe those unuseful thoughts. Now you know that you can create a one way connection. You know now that your relationship is dependent on your thoughts about your children. NOT your child’s thoughts about you.
Don’t Just Listen
So make sure you do that work. I really want you to not just listen to this podcast for entertainment, I want you to come and do and act and implement so you can truly start to create what you want in your life. So do the homework.
Then next episode, we’re going to dive into Strategy Three. Which is caleb Choose Closeness. We’re going to dive into what Choose Closeness looks like when your kids are having off track behavior. So stay tuned.
Okay, everybody, so fun to talk to you about the Second CMP Strategy, Consistently Connect. I can’t wait to talk about strategy three. It’s so fun. How to choose closeness when things are going a little crazy.
How do you set a limit without backing it up with a consequence? We’re going to talk about all of that in the next episode.
If you liked what you heard today, will you subscribe? Leave a comment, share it with your favorite mom friends, and let’s get the word out about Connect Method Parenting.
All right. We will talk to you soon. Bye, everybody.