Parent Camp & The Five-Step Process

Hey. Hey, everybody. Today I’m sharing parent camp. I taught parent camp live in January. I wanted everybody to have access to this amazing content because I take you through the five steps to get you from corrective to connective parenting.

*The following is a transcript from a live Parent Camp event*

Parent Camp

Welcome, everybody! This is parent camp, and we are diving into all things Connect Method Parenting today. My name is Andee Martineau. I see some of you here are clients of mine. Welcome. Some of you are fresh faces. It’s so good to see all of you guys.

So brief introduction. In a previous life, I was a nurse. I’ve retired from that now, but carry over a lot of things from my nursing career. I have six kids, ages 24 to 15. So I have seen a lot of the stages and ages and now I’m all the way into life with adult kids, and I absolutely love it. And the way I got into parent coaching, it’s way back in the day when my oldest was seven or eight, I was losing my mind. I was about to have kid number six because all of my kids are within an eight year time period. And so I was in the throes of it. My last two are only a year and five days apart. I know, crazy town. And I was pregnant with number six. My oldest was at school. I was exhausted. I was losing my mind every day. I was not proud of how I was being as a parent.

I had an experience at this point in my life that let me see that there was a different way to show up as a parent. I had this shift in perspective, and I was able to see who I was and what I was thinking about the situation and what it was creating for my kids, and drop into the moment, palm my nervous system down. That moment became the pivot that started me on the trajectory of finding a new method for parenting.

My nursing brain went on the hunt. I wanted to figure this parenting thing out. I wanted to deconstruct what happened, but I also wanted to prove to myself, scientifically, that this new parenting method actually worked. Because everything in my DNA, everything that I had seen and heard about parenting, everything that I had embodied up to that point said, “no, this is not okay. You have to be the rule enforcer and so on and so forth. You cannot let them get away with this. They will learn to perpetuate this behavior if you let them get away with it.”

So I started on the hunt. I was very hopefull that I would be able to prove this to be accurate. I needed the data and I found it. I started implementing this new method to the very best of my ability. I found scientists, developmental psychologists like Gordon Neufeld, who had devoted his life to developmental psychology and attachment theory with children. And I thought, “oh, this is the holy grail I’ve been looking for. This could work.”

And slowly but surely I was able to implement a way of parenting that wasn’t didn’t rely on consequences and punishments to get my kids to listen to me. You need to have boundaries, for sure, or your kids will run crazy and they won’t know what to do with themselves and things will just go wild.

But a lot of the times what I found out, if I was consistently connecting in my relationships with my children, if I was managing my own crazy nervous system, and if I was able to stay cool in the moment and not lose my mind, then things went so much more smoothly and I was on a roll. And our family isn’t perfect, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that I’ve solved all the problems and my kids were perfect angels all the time.

We’re all humans, we’re messy. We’re here to learn. My discoveries with parenting allowed me to move forward with confidence, feeling capable, feeling calm and feeling connected. And I was shouting yes, yes, yes from the rooftops as I got clearer and clearer on how to replicate this, until finally some friends said, “what in the heck are you doing?”

I had my eleven year old at the time decide that he wanted to start doing piano and I had tried to put him in lessons before and he had absolutely refused. And he had found this mentor and he decided to go study with this really hardcore mentor that had studied at Juilliard and was practicing 6 hours a day. And my friends were like, how are you doing that? We can’t get our kids to do anything without forcing them to do it. And I’m going to put a little asterisk here. *Not every one of my kids did that.*

My son deciding to practice piano for six hours a day was merely a side effect of the changes that I had made in my parenting. When you parent with connection your kids are set up to thrive and to find those things that they want in their life and to excel at them. I say that not at all to brag, because that really was his thing, to go do this amazing piano thing, it had little to do with me. It was my job to set the container.

As parents, when you are in a corrective mindset, you think you are a sculptor. You see this raw piece of marble (your child), and you think, “that’s really rough, and it’s really kind of ugly. And I need to. I better learn how to sculpt this so I can make this into a masterpiece. And if it’s not the way I want it to be, they’re not thriving, then it’s all my fault. And I better smooth off the edges.”

It is so easy to get into this frenzy, because you think that you have to change and mold your children from the outside. When you parent with a connective parenting framework, that’s not what you believe anymore. You know that to not be true. You realize that you are the gardener not the sculptor, and all of your kids are mystery seeds that are sent to you.

You have no idea what their potential is. No idea what they’re going to turn into. You have no idea what kind of watering system everyone needs. A little bit different watering system, a little bit different fertilizer, different amounts of sunlight.

Your job is to create an environment where your kids can thrive, where they can fulfill their potential. See, a lot of us have been raised thinking that parenting and discipline are synonymous, that the discipline is the essence of parenting. That your job is to tell your kids what to do or what not to do, especially when they don’t do something we think they should do.

Discipline Is NOT the Essence Of Parenting

That’s absolutely not the truth. Parenting is about creating this environment where your children can thrive. Does that mean you have to set limits sometimes? Yes. And you’ll notice I use the word limits, not consequences, because I promise you, your minds have been conditioned to believe that consequences are punitive, aka punishments. That’s how we typically give a consequence – as a punishment.

I’m not saying you do this all the time, but I would say nine out of ten times. Typical parents I talk to, they’re giving a “consequence” in a very punitive way. They think they need to give them this consequence because they yelled at their sister or because they didn’t do their homework, and they give the consequence in an effort to fix the behavior.

I just have to tell you, it doesn’t work. Now, temporarily, can you change someone’s behavior if you give them an external stimuli (consequence or reward)? Sure. If you offer a little child their favorite treat, you’re probably going to be able to manipulate their behavior.

Even a teenager, you offer them $1,000 to clean their room, chances are they’re going to clean their room. But does it ignite their intrinsic motivation to do that every time? Does it give them the opportunity to decide that they want a clean space? Most likely not.

Oftentimes, even the positive rewards you give your kids are dampening their intrinsic motivation. As humans, we don’t like to be controlled, we don’t like to be manipulated. And you see adults now that have a hyper allergic reaction to any kind of control, even if it’s not really control, because they are so subconsciously afraid of it. They went through so many years feeling like they had no ability to make a decision for themselves.

Let’s not perpetuate that in the next generation. A lot of you might have this aversion to control, and not because your parents were bad parents. I had amazing parents and I love them dearly. Yet they were influenced by society and how they were parented and so that was passed on from their parents to them.

When I was in the throes of my early years of parenting, what had never occurred to me at that point was that parenting using correction was not the only (or best) way of parenting. I had no clue that there was any other way to parent up to this point. Corrective parenting was all that I knew.

If you’re worried by what I’m saying right now and you’re thinking, “uh, are you saying we just let them get away with everything?” Absolutely not.

Authoritative parenting and passive parenting are both dysfunctional ways of parenting and cause problems in your kids. It’s not helpful to be a passive parent and let your kids get away with everything. It’s also not productive to go all authoritative and become a drill sergeant.

Connect Method Parenting

You need to find a middle ground. That’s why I created Connect method parenting. It’s what I teach now. It’s what I’ve created. I’ve written a book about it. I have a podcast about it. If you haven’t seen those, go check them out.

I have programs. I coach people on it. It’s the middle way. It is the way that allows us to bring the best of both sides. We bring the compassion, and we bring limits and boundaries, which all children need very deeply. They need those boundaries. They need to know what the rules of the game are. Adults, we need that too. Otherwise, we can feel a little bit out of sorts. So we bring some limits, and we marry them together with compassion.

It’s absolutely magnificent what happens once you can figure this out. It will change the way your children feel. It will help their nervous system and their ability to regulate their emotions. It will change your ability to feel confident that and no matter what the kids do, you have the capacity to handle it. Once you decide to give Connect Method Parenting a chance, you can’t keep flipping back to your usual habit of punishments if you want to see lasting change for yourself and your kids.

If you keep dipping our toe in, then every time you dip our toe back into correction, you’re backpedaling. You might not realize it, but by doing this you are actually negating and damaging your relationships with your kids.

Embracing connect method parenting and fostering an atmosphere of trust with your kids is vital. That environment will allow your children to have the best possibility of fulfilling their potential. When you dip your toe back into correction, you’re going back to sculptor mode, and you’re taking out those harsh tools. This raises the likely hood that your child may feel unsafe or unheard within your relationship. The relationship might feel very disconnected.

When I say see the water you’re swimming in, which is corrective parenting, and get out, I mean, understand the way you have been parenting up to this point. Once you fully acknowledge where you have been in your parenting journey, you will be able to leave it behind.

Corrective parenting is not helpful. It’s not going to create what you want. It will not serve you. You have to make the commitment to be done with it. Once you do that I can help you figure out what to do instead. You’re not just going to be left out to no man’s land like I was. I made this decision. I wasn’t perfectly executed, but I made this decision and promptly got the heck out of that water. Because I knew if I would have gone into a corrective mindset, my parenting journey would never have improved.

That how I had shown up, not being able to respect myself, my kids feeling terrible about themselves. It would not have worked. You have to decide, guys, right now. Decide if you really do want to make a commitment to figure out how to no longer try to control, manipulate your children using external consequences or rewards.

Make A Decision

They’re two sides of the same coin. I used to think that it was fine if I only used rewards and not consequences, boy was I wrong. I’m not saying you don’t celebrate. You can celebrate your children, but you don’t want to get them to do things only for reward’s sake. I was reading about a study that took two groups of children, a control group and a test group, I guess is what you call it. So the control group was asked to do a task and then asked to do a second task. That’s it. The second group was asked to do a task, given a reward that they actually were a part of deciding they had some options for what reward they chose, and they chose something they really liked. They were then asked to do another task. And the percentage of children that did the second task was higher in the group that got nothing. Getting a reward for completing the task actually lowered the chances that the child would willingly complete other tasks.

If you think that giving a reward is going to work with your kids long term, you are mistaken. It might give you a short-term little win. It’s not going to give you your child’s cooperation long-term.

Be gardeners, not sculptors, and be curious about what your kids need. Don’t take it personally when they’re messing up. Just like you wouldn’t take it personally if your plants weren’t growing in the ways or at the speed that you thought they would. You could look at your ‘defective’ plants and, if you didn’t understand the cycle of the plant, think something has gone terribly wrong.

But if you know the cycle of the tomato plant, you know that is just a normal developmental stage of the plant, and that is actually what it needs to go through to get to the next stage.

You have to have faith in the process. You have to trust the process. The developmental stages that your children go through, they’re messy. They might be lying, they might be hitting. They’re going to be doing any number of things. You can calm your nervous system down and acknowledge that you want to freak out but are choosing not to. If you are investing in the principles of Connect Method Parenting, if you’re investing in the relationship, if you’re creating consistent limits and boundaries, then you are going to be successful.

Trust The Process

Will things turn out exactly the way we dreamed they would? Probably not. I used to have this vision of what I thought my kids would be doing and being. The truth is that you don’t know what your kids are destined for. You do not know what they’re going to be or how they’re going to develop and the stages they need to go through.

I have said playfully to myself, so take this playfully. I’ll say to myself if I get all caught up in myself and I’m like, “oh my gosh, things are going getting out of control”. I’ll say, “how arrogant of me to think I know exactly what my kids journey is supposed to be like. Trust the process, Andee. Just trust the process.”

This process truly starts once you make a commitment to no longer allow yourself to think that correction is going to fix anything. That is the first stake in the ground I want everyone to have.

Number two, you have to believe there is another option and completely jump in. For me, when I think back to the early days of my parenting, I wanted to believe there was another option. No one was teaching it to me. I didn’t know if it actually was available, if it was viable, but I wanted and was willing to believe that there was another way to parent. I’m going to show you guys that Connect Method Parenting is the place where I have taken all the lessons and components that I learned along the way and brought them together to a manageable format that any parent can adopt.

If you follow a connective strategy, which is completely backed by science, and you lean into connection and attachment, you will be able to move forward and replace your old framework, with this new framework and create an environment where your children can thrive.

If you are struggling with your parenting, if you’re feeling like your kid’s behavior is off-track, the connection isn’t there. Whatever that struggle is for you, Connect Method Parenting is the solution. You have to get off the hamster wheel, which is corrective parenting, and get on to connective parenting. It might feel uncomfortable for a little bit. That’s okay.

I’ve started exercising recently in a way I haven’t done before. And there has been some times where it is very uncomfortable. That doesn’t mean that my new workout routine isn’t working. It’s simply the growing pains from my old normal to my new normal.

Anything new that you do is going to be uncomfortable. Expect it. It’s going to happen as you shift your parenting framework. This doesn’t mean anything’s gone wrong. It actually means that everything is going right.

Number three, understand your own mind and find the obstacles. Something that never occurred to me before shifting my parenting was to look inside my thought process about my kids and see how they were affecting my kids and my parenting.

Re-evaluate Your Thoughts About Your Kids

I would invite every single one of you to think of something that went south recently with your kids, something that did not turn out the way you wanted. I want you to reverse engineer it like this, ask yourself, “what was I thinking?”

For me, as I inspected an instance where I initially lost my cool but was able to shift my reaction part-way through, I asked myself, “what was I thinking and believing about myself and about my kids as I initially saw the mess, what was that?” As I asked myself this question and answered it honestly, I realized that my thoughts were along the line of, “this shouldn’t be happening. They’re so defiant. I’m so exhausted. This is going to take forever. How could they do this to me?”

I was stuck in a victim mentality, thinking things like, “how could they do this to me?” I was very immature, and I recognized that. I realized that it made total sense that I was losing my mind. I thought my kids were doing this to me. I thought they should know better. So, of course I would have created this huge, disastrous story about my kids.

Then I tried to figure out what caused the shift. What allowed me to say, “oh, this is not good. My child is sad, and I’m making a huge negative impact on my kids right now. What was that about?” Through this introspection I discovered that my thoughts changed to things like, “They aren’t trying to make my life tricky. They thought this was really fun. They don’t know any better.”

I was able to shift from frustration and anger to acceptance and compassion for my kids. If you didn’t know, your thoughts create a literal chemical reaction in your brain. It’s instantaneous. Those chemical reactions move us into action. This is so important to understand as this shift starts to happen for you.

You have to understand what’s happening in your mind as you make the shift to connective parenting. Because you are the directors, you are the gardeners, you are the authority in the house, in the home with your kids.

If you don’t understand what’s happening in your mind, then how are you going to change anything? You can’t leave it up to your kids. I mean, your kids are amazing I’m sure, but they’re developmentally not there yet.

You are this big presence in their life, and they are relying on you to set the tone. I think, of the tuning forks as a good analogy for this. Whenever I would get my piano tuned the tuners would use tuning forks to match my keys with the notes from the tuning fork.

That’s what you are. You are the tuning fork for your kids. You set the tone that your kids will try to match If your emotional resonance is one of compassion or trust or acceptance, your kids will match your energy. And I think it’s important to note that acceptance is a hugely important emotion, contrary to popular opinion. When you don’t want to accept what is happening and you go into that loop, you are in resistance of reality.

When you fight against reality, you lose 100% of the time. You will never win. You will not be able to become the parent that you want to become. There’s a conditioning that’s taken place for most people where you are taught to think that you need to hold onto the negativity (or any negative emotion for that matter), because you believe the negativity is going to create positive results.

Negative emotions never create positive results. So if you are feeling chronically frustrated, irritated, annoyed, the results that you’re going to create for you are going to be reflective of that emotion. I like to think of it as seasoning on a meal. If you have a salt of frustration, everyone’s tasting it, and it over salts everything. But if you’re seasoning things with compassion and curiosity, acceptance, that’s what your life is flavored with, and it tastes good. People like positive emotions. They like feeling a resonance coming out from us.

Quick Recap

So far, I have challenged you to step out of a corrective mindset. You can’t dabble. You cannot continue to play around with it. Then we discussed the importance of choosing to believe that there’s another way that’s scientifically backed that will allow you to have compassion and firmness as needed. And then we had a talk about understanding your own behavior and finding the obstacles in your thinking that are preventing you from showing up the way you want to. That’s the first three steps. If you want to stop yelling, you want to get your kids to want to listen to you. You want to be that calm, confident parent, regardless of the situation, those are the first three steps.

The fourth step is learn new skills and make a plan. By skills I am specifically talking about the skill of feeling your emotions all the way through, because emotions are the engine to your maturation. They are the thing that grow you up emotionally and help you to become more fully developed. Feeling your emotions without resisting them is also the thing that will grow your child’s brain up.

Did you guys know they’ve done brain scans of kids? And when they have completely felt an emotion all the way through? I absolutely love this data because it shows unequivocally that in children, when they make this shift, when they go through this emotional cycle and they complete the emotional cycle, that their brains change. It proves that this is the path for them to become the most fully developed version of themselves.

You Gotta Process Those Emotions

You have to learn how to fully process and fill your emotions. Like we talked about before, emotions happen when you have a thought in your mind. Those thoughts create literal chemical reactions in your body. You have to feel the emotions. You’re going to have emotions regardless, every single day. Ae you feeling them or just doing something to avoid them? The better you get at feeling your emotions, the better you can help your children feel their emotions.

That is a huge skill. You have to understand what is going on in your brain. As you transform the landscape of your parenting, it takes intentional practice. You’ve spent 20 years, 30 years, 40 years unintentionally practicing certain ways of parenting and interaction with yourself and your emotions. It’s going to take practice to deconstruct those beliefs that the kids should never fight and so on. Logically, you know they’re going to fight, but in the heat of the moment, it’s easy to think that they shouldn’t fight.

And I will tell you, the more you become capable of showing up in a connective way when things have completely gone off the rails, the return in the bond and the connection and the safety that our child feels, it’s double, triple, quadruple, the return on the time investment as well as the emotional investment.

If you can, you should never want to pass up an opportunity to be there when your kids are at their worst, because then you can deliver compassion, empathy, and limits when they’re at their worst, then your kids will realize that even when they’re at their worst, mom or dad will be there for them. They got me.

See the water you’re swimming in, which is corrective parenting and get the heck out. Believe there is another option. It’s called Connect Method Parenting and jump in. Understand your own mind, your nervous system, your behavior, all of that encompassing in this statement and find the obstacles, the old stories, the beliefs that are holding you back. Then you’ve got to learn new skills and make a plan. And finally you’ve got to implement and iterate it.

Wrapping It Up

It’s going to take you some time to practice this new way of being with your kids. It’s going to be uncomfortable, it’s going to feel unfamiliar, it’s going to be awkward. You’re going to slip right back into your old ways. You’re going to still be fighting your own mind. None of that is a problem. We iterate, we practice, we iterate, we practice, implement, implement, iterate and iterate again. Eventually you’re going to create a new neural pathway, a new normal.

I tell you, you’re going to start seeing glimpses of that. And the more glimpses you see, the more that you will start to feel them come closer and closer together. And you’re not going to be perfect.

These are the five steps that will allow you to transition from corrective to connective parenting. They will help you stop the yelling, to be able to stay calm and not lose your mind and lose your cool when your kids are having off track behavior. To be that calm, confident mom or dad that you want to be for your kids and to do it consistently, get it to be the new way you are parenting.

Free Parenting Course

If you’re new to Connect Method Parenting, I have a great way for you to get started. I created a free course that covers some of the biggest challenges parents face and how Connect Method Parenting solves them. In an hour, I talk about why parenting is so hard, how to get your kids to want to listen to you, how to stop yelling and losing your cool and how to become a calm, confident, connected parent for good.

It’s the fastest way to get started using connection as your go-to tool for influencing and impacting your kids. Click here to get instant access today.

 

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Gets your kids to WANT to listen... without the yelling, ultimatums, or bribes!

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Andee Martineau

Andee’s a mom of 6, reformed yeller, and the creator of Connect Method Parenting. She’s on a mission to help moms feel in control, bring the fun back into parenting, and ditch the yelling, corrections, and endless feelings of failure!

Can you imagine your kids happily listening to you, helping around the house, confiding in you, and getting along with their siblings? She’s got you covered with simple, scientifically-sound steps to do just that (that actually work. For real!)

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