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The Parent Compass: How's Yours Working? // with Cindy Muchnick
Episode 471st February 2023 • Know Them, Be Them, Raise Them • Carmelita Tiu
00:00:00 00:25:06

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Have you ever stopped to question the version of success that you may be pushing your kid to achieve?  Do you wonder if you’re over-involved in your tween or teen’s life, or not enough? Do you want your kids to get straight As and secretly get a thrill if they say “I think I want to go Stanford or Harvard or Yale”? And then you kind of feel anxious about the pressure and what that means for them?

As parents, we all have an internal compass that guides us as we raise our kids.  And it today's competitive world, it's more important than ever for parents to raise their kids with intentionality and grace.


Today’s guest, Cindy Muchnick, co-wrote the book, The Parent Compass: Navigating Your Teen’s Wellness and Academic Journey in Today’s Competitive World to help us navigate questions like this, and help us calibrate our parent compasses towards our kids’ wellbeing.


Listen to hear:

  • The downsides of over-involved parenting
  • When and how to nurture self-advocacy in your tweens and teens
  • A tip for teen self-advocacy that Cindy’s never shared before!
  • The ask that can forge new connections with your tween and teens
  • What parents need to do before looking at how they're raising their kids

And more nuggets of wisdom!


About Our Guest, Cynthia Muchnick

Cindy, a graduate of Stanford University, is an expert in the college admission process: she got her start in admission offices before opening a private study skills and college counseling business in Southern California, which she ran for over fifteen years. As an Assistant Director of Admission for the Illinois Institute of Technology and the University of Chicago, she screened and reviewed over three thousand applications, interviewed prospective students, and served on the admission committee to evaluate borderline applicants and appeals cases. Then, as a private counselor, she helped hundreds of high school students navigate their academic journeys, including course selection, study skills, time management, and college applications. Since closing her private educational practice in 2011, Cindy has focused on public speaking to student, parent, school and business groups on a variety of education-related topics.


Over the course of her career, Cindy has written numerous books; The Parent Compass: Navigating Your Teen’s Wellness and Academic Journey in Today’s Competitive World (Familius/Workman/Hachette, 2020) is her tenth. Her other titles include The Best College Admission Essays (co-author, ARCO/Peterson’s, 1997), The Everything Guide to Study Skills: Strategies, Tips, and Tools You Need to Succeed in School (Simon& Schuster, 2011), Straight-A Study Skills (co-author, Simon& Schuster, 2012), The Everything College Checklist Book (Simon& Schuster, 2013), Writing Successful College Applications: It’s More than Just the Essay (Peterson’s Publishing, 2014), and four other books (Simon & Schuster and Penguin Random House). Her essays have appeared on Zibby Owens’ Moms Don’t Have Time To Write Medium platform, Your Teen Magazine, College Confidential, Raising Teens Today, The Los Angeles Times, and The Mom Experience, among others. 


Cindy holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Art History from Stanford University and a master’s degree in Liberal Studies from Nova Southeastern University. Some of the other twists and turns in her multifaceted career include her stints as a campus tour guide and volunteer student coordinator for Stanford’s Office of Undergraduate Admission and a tenth-grade history teacher at The University School, in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. She is a professional speaker and panelist on the subjects of education, study skills, parenting, and mental health in tweens and teens and has been interviewed as an expert on dozens of talk shows, radio and news stations, podcasts, magazines, and newspapers. 


Cindy raised her family in Newport Beach, CA, and moved to Menlo Park, CA, in 2018, where she resides with her husband and is parent to two teens who are still at home, a college student, and a college graduate who is a teacher. For further information, or to inquire about a potential speaking engagement, feel free to visit her website at www.cynthiamuchnick.com. 

To learn more about Cindy and her work, connect with her here:

  • Website: www.parentcompassbook.com
  • Facebook: FB/TheParentCompass
  • Instagram: @parentcompass


References in this Episode:


About Your Host, Carmelita / Cat / Millie Tiu

Mom, spouse, coach, podcaster, wordsmith, legal eagle.  Endlessly curious about how we can show up better for ourselves – because when we do that, we also show up better for our kids and those around us.  Visit carmelitatiu.com to learn more about Cat, and for info on 1:1 coaching, the mom collective, and her monthly newsletter.


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Transcripts

Cynthia Muchnick:

appreciate the child you have in front of you, not the one

Cynthia Muchnick:

you are trying to inauthentically create.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host: Welcome to know them.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Be them, raise them a show to help busy, mindful.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Growth oriented moms that stay informed and inspired.

Cynthia Muchnick:

As they navigate their daughters, crucial tween and teen years.

Cynthia Muchnick:

I'm your host Carmelita two.

Cynthia Muchnick:

So, have you ever made your kids stick with an activity?

Cynthia Muchnick:

Even if they don't like.

Cynthia Muchnick:

It.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Do you wonder if you're talking too much on your kids' behalf or maybe not enough?

Cynthia Muchnick:

Do you.

Cynthia Muchnick:

You want your kids to get straight?

Cynthia Muchnick:

A's and secretly.

Cynthia Muchnick:

We get a little thrill.

Cynthia Muchnick:

If they say, I think I want to go to Stanford or Harvard.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Harvard or Yale.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And then you kind of feel anxious about the pressure and tuition.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Well, today's guest Cindy Mutchnick.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Co-wrote a book.

Cynthia Muchnick:

To help us navigate this balance.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And wonkiness.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And calibrate our parent Compass's if you will.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Cindy graduated from Stanford university and is an expert.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Spurt in the college admissions process.

Cynthia Muchnick:

She got her start in admissions offices offices at IIT and

Cynthia Muchnick:

the university of Chicago.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Where she screened and reviewed over 3000 applications and

Cynthia Muchnick:

interviewed perspective students.

Cynthia Muchnick:

It's along the way.

Cynthia Muchnick:

She also opened a private study skills practice.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And college counseling business in southern california which she ran

Cynthia Muchnick:

for over 15 years helping Hundreds of high school students Navigate

Cynthia Muchnick:

their academic journeys, Including the dreaded Did college applications.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Since closing her private educational practice in 2011, cindy is a professional

Cynthia Muchnick:

speaker and panelist for a variety of education related topics Ana.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And she's a prolific Brighter.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Her most recent book, the parent compass navigating your teens

Cynthia Muchnick:

wellness and academic journey in today's competitive world,

Cynthia Muchnick:

Is her 10th.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And i invited her on to talk about it

Cynthia Muchnick:

So now that you know that she knows her stuff when It comes to teens high school

Cynthia Muchnick:

stress academics College competitiveness Et cetera Here's our conversation

Cynthia Muchnick:

Well, welcome Cindy.

Cynthia Muchnick:

I'm so thrilled to have you.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Thank you, Kat.

Cynthia Muchnick:

It's great to be here to finally chat with

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Yes.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Well, let's dive right into it.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Uh, you've written a book, called The Parent Compass.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

I'd love to hear you tell us in your own words, what's the main message behind

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

this title and how did you come up with the idea, what does it mean, et cetera.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Sure.

Cynthia Muchnick:

So, so the parent Compass, the longer title is Navigating Your

Cynthia Muchnick:

Teens Wellness and Academic Journey in Today's Competitive World.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And so it's basically, written with kind of two goals in mind.

Cynthia Muchnick:

One, to help preserve the mental health of teens and tweens as they go

Cynthia Muchnick:

through these kind of tricky years.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And also to help preserve the parent teen relationship, which is really what

Cynthia Muchnick:

all you're left with once they've left the home and headed off on their own.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And so the idea for the book actually came out, um, in early 2019 when the

Cynthia Muchnick:

college admission scandal erupted, also known as Operation Varsity Blues.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And our news headlines were splashed with parents who had broken the laws

Cynthia Muchnick:

and, um, found a side door into.

Cynthia Muchnick:

The college admissions process and really, um, cheated their own kids

Cynthia Muchnick:

and cheated themselves, and just behaved incredibly badly by, um,

Cynthia Muchnick:

you know, falsifying test scores, falsifying student resumes, falsifying

Cynthia Muchnick:

application information, et cetera.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And I called my colleague Jen Curtis, who is now co-author of the Parent

Cynthia Muchnick:

Compass with me, and the two of us just couldn't believe what we were seeing.

Cynthia Muchnick:

We felt just got punched basically.

Cynthia Muchnick:

We had both been working in private college counseling, with

Cynthia Muchnick:

students for many, many years.

Cynthia Muchnick:

So we've always worked with teens and we felt like some of what we were seeing in

Cynthia Muchnick:

our offices were the results of parents that weren't resorting to bribery and

Cynthia Muchnick:

fraud, but were somehow, um, causing some other damage in their efforts to

Cynthia Muchnick:

support their kids that, you know, were kind of coming from a place of love,

Cynthia Muchnick:

but they were a little bit too involved and too overbearing in the process.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And we said, you know what?

Cynthia Muchnick:

If we tried to remedy.

Cynthia Muchnick:

You know, not the college admission scandal, but just the

Cynthia Muchnick:

parents behaving badly piece.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And so we wrote originally what we wanted to be an etiquette book, which was a book

Cynthia Muchnick:

to teach parents to kind of behave better.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And then it evolved into this real, what we're calling kind

Cynthia Muchnick:

of the parent compass movement.

Cynthia Muchnick:

This idea that we as parents need to be better at checking ourselves and

Cynthia Muchnick:

making sure that the messages and the ways that we're parenting our.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Are setting them up for a really positive, you know, experience in their lives.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And because we care so much about them and we love them so fiercely,

Cynthia Muchnick:

we sometimes smother and tiger and helicopter and, become that parent

Cynthia Muchnick:

that we really don't wanna be.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And in doing so, we are creating kids that are cannot self-advocate,

Cynthia Muchnick:

that are fragile, that can't make their own appointments, that can't

Cynthia Muchnick:

speak for themselves, that are really feeling like they're being paraded

Cynthia Muchnick:

around as their parents' trophy.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And I think that's not really what we want, but somehow this

Cynthia Muchnick:

behavior is, you know, petering down and, affecting our kids.

Cynthia Muchnick:

So we wanna kind of help this generation of tweens and teens by

Cynthia Muchnick:

teaching parents to do things a little bit better and a little differently.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

One of the things you mentioned, Advocacy

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

and, and children's needing to be advocates for themselves.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Can you talk a little more about that and, you know, how

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

do we go about teaching that?

Cynthia Muchnick:

Absolutely.

Cynthia Muchnick:

So it's such a good question, Kat.

Cynthia Muchnick:

You know, self-advocacy, I know you have girls in middle school.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Self-advocacy can start even younger.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Self-advocacy can begin when we let our kids struggle as they tie their shoes.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And, um, when we go to a restaurant, um, having them order for themselves, or ask

Cynthia Muchnick:

for their own refill of a glass of water.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Or when you take them to the doctor, letting them say their age and

Cynthia Muchnick:

their birthday and what's wrong.

Cynthia Muchnick:

But, um, when you go into tweens and teens, the self-advocacy piece

Cynthia Muchnick:

really becomes more how kids can communicate with other adults that are

Cynthia Muchnick:

not you other adults in their lives.

Cynthia Muchnick:

The teachers, the coaches, um, Whoever it is in their life that's involved

Cynthia Muchnick:

in some way, it has to start to become the child's voice in communicating.

Cynthia Muchnick:

So when your kid comes home from practice and says, oh, it was awful and this and

Cynthia Muchnick:

that, and this wasn't fair, instead of picking up the phone and calling the

Cynthia Muchnick:

coach, you can say, wow, you know, it sounds like you're really frustrated.

Cynthia Muchnick:

You know, how do you think that could look different or what, what might

Cynthia Muchnick:

we be able to do or what might you be able to do to, to change that?

Cynthia Muchnick:

And sometimes they just wanna vent and get things out and not have a solution or a

Cynthia Muchnick:

solution presented because the last thing we wanna do is fix everything for them.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Which is another hard thing cuz that goes with the self-advocacy piece.

Cynthia Muchnick:

When we are looking to fix, we're doing that from a place of

Cynthia Muchnick:

love, but we're taking away their opportunity to figure it out.

Cynthia Muchnick:

So the self-advocacy piece I think comes in the most clearly when, for example, in

Cynthia Muchnick:

middle school, they start to have certain issues with teachers perhaps, and maybe

Cynthia Muchnick:

they felt like something wasn't fair.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Or maybe their seat is in the back of the room and they wanna move up closer cause

Cynthia Muchnick:

they're having trouble seeing the board.

Cynthia Muchnick:

It's not up to you to send the email as the parent, it's up to you maybe to

Cynthia Muchnick:

role play with your kid or say, how can you communicate that with your teacher?

Cynthia Muchnick:

Um, do you wanna send them an email or be better to ask in person and then

Cynthia Muchnick:

you can practice that together or you can help them in a light way, draft an

Cynthia Muchnick:

email, but it should come from them.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And when you start to plant those seeds of self-advocacy where they

Cynthia Muchnick:

feel empowered to be the one to talk to their teachers and to talk to the

Cynthia Muchnick:

adults in their lives, then by the time they get to high school, you should

Cynthia Muchnick:

really be really out of the picture.

Cynthia Muchnick:

In that communication.

Cynthia Muchnick:

In middle school, you're still going to parent-teacher conferences and

Cynthia Muchnick:

you're still a little more involved.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And obviously if there's impropriety or something very

Cynthia Muchnick:

extreme, you have to be involved.

Cynthia Muchnick:

But we're talking about day-to-day situations.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Your kid gets a bad grade, your kid, you know, gets in an argument with a

Cynthia Muchnick:

friend at school, whatever the things are that they can go to the school

Cynthia Muchnick:

counselor, they can go to the teacher.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Um, that should be the first line of defense and you can help equip them to

Cynthia Muchnick:

do that by allowing them to do that.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And so I think parents need to kind of learn to zip their lips a little

Cynthia Muchnick:

more and restrain themselves so that their kids can be the ones who speak.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And that's self-advocacy.

Cynthia Muchnick:

It's one of the greatest gifts you can give your kids because it equips

Cynthia Muchnick:

them to know what they wanna go after and to feel like if they go after

Cynthia Muchnick:

it and they communicate it and they don't get it, at least they asked.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Right.

Cynthia Muchnick:

They didn't wonder.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Yeah.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

You know, thank you for those examples of maybe you help them draft the email,

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

but the email should come from them, or you have this role play discussion, but

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

they're the ones having the discussion.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Because I think that sometimes feels like a murky gray area for me, where

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

I know I want my kid to do something, but I might have to hold their hand in

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

this process, and it's okay to do that.

Cynthia Muchnick:

What I would also add is, I'm a big fan

Cynthia Muchnick:

of old school index cards.

Cynthia Muchnick:

I think that you can sit down with your kids and when they go talk to

Cynthia Muchnick:

their teachers, sometimes they get nervous or they feel like this is a,

Cynthia Muchnick:

you know, this is a powerful person that I'm going to ask something of.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Well, you can put down a couple bullet points on the index cards that they write

Cynthia Muchnick:

themselves and they can bring that into their meeting and say, I didn't wanna

Cynthia Muchnick:

forget, so I wrote some things down.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And make sure before you leave, you've said the things on your index card so you

Cynthia Muchnick:

can feel heard, and such a simple tool.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Yeah.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

And I do the same thing when I need to remember something.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

I always write it down and I'm staring at my notebook before

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

I'm talking in a meeting on Zoom.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

So why not give them that same tool as a way to help make sure they feel heard,

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

because ultimately that's what we want and what they will feel most proud of.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Definitely.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And you know it when you mentioned I do that too.

Cynthia Muchnick:

That's the other piece is the modeling.

Cynthia Muchnick:

So I think we all know, you know, modeling good technology habits, modeling good

Cynthia Muchnick:

listening skills, my co-author, has a background in social work and so she

Cynthia Muchnick:

has taught me a lot about good question asking and good listening, and we have

Cynthia Muchnick:

a whole chapter dedicated to that and the parent compass that will really

Cynthia Muchnick:

help parents ask open-ended questions.

Cynthia Muchnick:

If they're kids when they get home from school, it's usually how is your day?

Cynthia Muchnick:

And you get this almost nothing for an answer.

Cynthia Muchnick:

You get an eye roll or a one

Cynthia Muchnick:

sentence if you're lucky, or a grunt, a grunt, a good.

Cynthia Muchnick:

So we, um, we consulted, um, question experts

Cynthia Muchnick:

And we distilled them down to about 40 or 50 good, you know, different kinds

Cynthia Muchnick:

of questions to ask our kids so that we can learn more about them and, , to

Cynthia Muchnick:

have them kind of take the lead.

Cynthia Muchnick:

So anyway,

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

that now.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

So we've touched on kind of ways and at what age we can lean into

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

giving up control of the wheel and letting our kids step into place.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

And I, I find myself sometimes second guessing, am I doing too much?

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Am I doing too little?

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Should I be more involved?

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

how do you know if you're being a helicopter parent or being a tiger mom?

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

, do you have any thoughts on that?

Cynthia Muchnick:

You know, so we explore this, you know, in

Cynthia Muchnick:

the first chapter of our book.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And something that you mentioned was, questioning yourself and wondering,

Cynthia Muchnick:

is it too much, is it too little?

Cynthia Muchnick:

And we all bring to our parenting lenses, our own personal histories.

Cynthia Muchnick:

So when we look back at the way we were raised, and what your parents' involvement

Cynthia Muchnick:

or not involvement was, or their style or the way that they viewed education or what

Cynthia Muchnick:

your own education background was and what you wish for for your kids, et cetera.

Cynthia Muchnick:

, we finished writing the parent Compass and we realized in really

Cynthia Muchnick:

important chapter was missing, which we call basically, I think you, you

Cynthia Muchnick:

have to look backward in order to

Cynthia Muchnick:

look forward, or something like that, where we asked the readers

Cynthia Muchnick:

to do this questionnaire, uh,

Cynthia Muchnick:

Whoever is parenting the kids should try to do this questionnaire.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And it really goes through you doing a self-examination of your lens

Cynthia Muchnick:

of what you're bringing and the baggage you bring as the parent.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And then trying to apply those perspectives to the best ways

Cynthia Muchnick:

that you can parent your teen.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And as we know, they're each different.

Cynthia Muchnick:

So there is one page of our book dedicated to teens, and this

Cynthia Muchnick:

page is a questionnaire for them.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And I encourage parents, and I've had great success in the feedback we've

Cynthia Muchnick:

heard to tell their teen, uh, find the right moment usually involves food.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And, uh, no technology distracting you.

Cynthia Muchnick:

But to find the right moment and tell your kid, I wanna be a better mom or

Cynthia Muchnick:

dad to you, I know I'm not perfect.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And in order to do that, I need a favor from you.

Cynthia Muchnick:

I just need five minutes of your time to go through this questionnaire.

Cynthia Muchnick:

You can, you can answer it out loud to me.

Cynthia Muchnick:

You can jot down the notes on your phone, but if you answer these questions and

Cynthia Muchnick:

I've answered my own questions, it's going to give us a springboard to move forward

Cynthia Muchnick:

and for me to be a better parent to you.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And when your kids hear you admitting, you're not perfect.

Cynthia Muchnick:

You're trying to do better.

Cynthia Muchnick:

You want to improve so that you can have a a better relationship and a

Cynthia Muchnick:

more positive interaction with them.

Cynthia Muchnick:

It really kind of equalizes things a bit more and puts you more

Cynthia Muchnick:

shoulder to shoulder with your kids.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And so, I know I've gone a little bit off the rambling, but how do

Cynthia Muchnick:

you know when you're that parent?

Cynthia Muchnick:

I mean, I.

Cynthia Muchnick:

You, you feel it from the other parents around you almost, you know, the way that

Cynthia Muchnick:

you're kind of perceived or looked at.

Cynthia Muchnick:

You also feel it from your teens saying like, mom, like enough, settle down, or,

Cynthia Muchnick:

this is embarrassing, or that whole thing.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And I think the way you have to know is just kind of by the self-restraint.

Cynthia Muchnick:

That you may need to show, but just be a positive for your kid in

Cynthia Muchnick:

their school community or neutral.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Just don't be the negative.

Cynthia Muchnick:

. So, you know, it's also okay to apologize because we all make mistakes.

Cynthia Muchnick:

So if we've gone too far, we can apologize to our kids.

Cynthia Muchnick:

We can apologize to a teacher, God forbid, if we have to, or an administrator.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Um, and we never wanna like jump over the teacher, right?

Cynthia Muchnick:

So there's this typical thing like, I'm so mad, I'm gonna go

Cynthia Muchnick:

talk to the administrator or tell the principal or whatever.

Cynthia Muchnick:

You know, we have to sort of let our kids first navigate things through their

Cynthia Muchnick:

teacher and through their department and whatever the issue might be, and.

Cynthia Muchnick:

You know, through the school counselor and then find out if there is a way

Cynthia Muchnick:

that you need to be involved as a parent.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And in that case then you talk to the teacher and then maybe it's

Cynthia Muchnick:

going to the administrator next.

Cynthia Muchnick:

. But we live and learn as we go through this, and none of us are perfect at this.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And it is constantly a, you know, a toilet flush of trying to start over.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Right.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Right.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

And with every kid it can feel different, you know, with some kids that have a

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

harder time advocating for themselves, maybe it's maybe that, of shift of

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

control into their space feels a little later or a little more tenuous, whereas

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

there might be, I, I, you know, and then one of my kids is is very much like,

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

she's already, written emails to her teachers concerned about this or, of

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

sharing her thoughts on, when things don't feel right or areas for improvement.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Then I have another daughter that is very sensitive and empathetic, so is

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

probably more inclined to give someone the benefit of the doubt uh, you know,

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

might need a little nudge to say, no, you can feel comfortable asking for this.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

It's okay to You know, want more or want a change

Cynthia Muchnick:

And you know, I found, um, in having more than one kid

Cynthia Muchnick:

that they learn from each other too.

Cynthia Muchnick:

You know, and, and ironically like the peer support from siblings or from,

Cynthia Muchnick:

you know, the way they model after their peers is way more powerful in

Cynthia Muchnick:

some ways than the parenting support.

Cynthia Muchnick:

I mean, there's nothing that makes me feel more full as a parent

Cynthia Muchnick:

than hearing my daughter call her college brother for help in math.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And there is that sense of, not just the help, but the way that they

Cynthia Muchnick:

can support each other, that doesn't involve the parent, you know, poking in

Cynthia Muchnick:

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host: Right, right, right.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Um, I wanna go back to something that I just love that you mentioned, which

Cynthia Muchnick:

is this idea of, assessing ourselves as parents giving our kids that ability

Cynthia Muchnick:

to, stand up for their thoughts and their opinions and knowing that they'll

Cynthia Muchnick:

be heard in this really valid way.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Not only are modeling your openness to this, which they then can

Cynthia Muchnick:

take further on in their lives.

Cynthia Muchnick:

If they're parenting, they're gonna see that as permission to do that

Cynthia Muchnick:

themselves when they have their own kids.

Cynthia Muchnick:

But also, um, you're also modeling that willingness to change.

Cynthia Muchnick:

I, I love that.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Like getting like a parent feedback form, huh?

Cynthia Muchnick:

A little bit like at the end of, at the end of the course you

Cynthia Muchnick:

write your assessment , you know,

Cynthia Muchnick:

. But yeah, it's complicated, right?

Cynthia Muchnick:

I mean, parenting is so emotional.

Cynthia Muchnick:

It's 24 7.

Cynthia Muchnick:

It never, you know, ends even when they're out of your home.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And, you know, what happened to our kind of world over the last.

Cynthia Muchnick:

I don't know, 10 or 20 years has become this like competition between parents,

Cynthia Muchnick:

which there's actually a term competitive parenting, um, if you can believe it.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And this sense that like our kids are these sort of trophies and these

Cynthia Muchnick:

direct reflections on who we are.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And honestly, I tell parents a lot.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Um, we had our turn to be teenagers and we did with it what we did

Cynthia Muchnick:

with it, and now it's their turn.

Cynthia Muchnick:

So the best thing I think we really can do is just support them

Cynthia Muchnick:

in what it is that excites them, what it is that interests them.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And um, At some point your kids are gonna express to you like, I

Cynthia Muchnick:

don't really wanna do this anymore, or, can I try something else?

Cynthia Muchnick:

And some kids just wanna sample everything.

Cynthia Muchnick:

They just wanna try and try and try and may never settle on their one thing.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And, um, we've become a world of, like perfectionism and starting one

Cynthia Muchnick:

activity early in putting in your 10,000 hours and, you know, never,

Cynthia Muchnick:

you know, leaving that activity.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And we, tell a story in our book.

Cynthia Muchnick:

A boy that, um, I met while on a family tour bus, a couple

Cynthia Muchnick:

of years ago with my kids.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And he was an only child traveling alone with his parents and about the age of

Cynthia Muchnick:

my teenage boys, um, high school age.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And we started talking and I said, you know, what, kinds of activities

Cynthia Muchnick:

do you like to do after school?

Cynthia Muchnick:

And he said, well, I, I've, I'm always done diving, but I really want to quit.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And the parents kind of turned red and they're like, well, he

Cynthia Muchnick:

doesn't really mean that He only has one more year before college.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And, and, um, he kind of turned red and he is like, well, no, mom and

Cynthia Muchnick:

dad, I've always wanted to quit.

Cynthia Muchnick:

You just won't let me quit.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And it became this like, sort of argument that we were

Cynthia Muchnick:

observing as this other family.

Cynthia Muchnick:

So I said to him, oh, what kinds of other things.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Would you do instead or would you wanna do?

Cynthia Muchnick:

And he said, well, I mean, I'd like to go to the prom for one thing.

Cynthia Muchnick:

I'd like to write an article for my school newspaper.

Cynthia Muchnick:

I'd like to do some photography.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And suddenly it became this really awkward conversation, you know, the

Cynthia Muchnick:

parents were like, well, you know, you've gotta do this for college.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And he's like, yeah, I don't even wanna dive in college anymore.

Cynthia Muchnick:

and so anyway, it became this.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Crazy sort of catalyst for a very deep conversation between me and my kids.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Cuz when we left that bus ride, I said to them, I said, are any of you guys

Cynthia Muchnick:

doing things that you really don't wanna be doing anymore, because life

Cynthia Muchnick:

is too short and you do not have to do anything for us or to please us?

Cynthia Muchnick:

You know?

Cynthia Muchnick:

And it was just so interesting the way they observed it, that there were

Cynthia Muchnick:

these parents kind of quote, forcing their kid to see through this activity.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And I just think it's so hard for us to let go because we invest in the

Cynthia Muchnick:

sidelines and in the driving and in the equipment and in the coaching and

Cynthia Muchnick:

all those things that we'd make it more about us and less about them.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And that's kind of the shift where.

Cynthia Muchnick:

You know, by the time they get to college , um, we have to sort of

Cynthia Muchnick:

have given them these tools that they can take forward and, and let

Cynthia Muchnick:

them do the things that they enjoy.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And our job is really, I think, to support that as best we can or are able to do.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

yeah.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

And.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

I love it.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

No, no Well, something that came up for you, me as you were talking too,

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

is if parents have a tendency to want to get really involved, they may be

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

inadvertently squelching their intuition You know, so their, their kid might

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

lose sight of what's important to them.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

What really are their values?

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Whether they like something because other people like, like

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

them more when they do it, or do they really intrinsically like it?

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

I, I feel like I had to work through that on a couple activities where

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

I thought, I've been doing this for how long, or I'm pursuing this,

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

do I really want this anymore?

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Or did I really even want it in the first place?

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

And you kind of wonder, why did I want it?

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Where did those messages come from?

Cynthia Muchnick:

To what end?

Cynthia Muchnick:

To what end.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Right.

Cynthia Muchnick:

You know?

Cynthia Muchnick:

Yeah.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

it sounds like you're really encouraging parents

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

to steer clear of behavior that might derail your kids from being able

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

to identify for themselves what's important, what's true, what's authentic.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Um, because at the end of the day, that's, that's going to be the

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

thing that makes them the happiest.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Yeah, you just, you just put all the words together,

Cynthia Muchnick:

which is a quote right from our book, which says, appreciate the child you

Cynthia Muchnick:

have in front of you, not the one you are trying to inauthentically create.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Ugh,

Cynthia Muchnick:

So appreciate that kid in whatever their things are

Cynthia Muchnick:

as as different as they may be from everything you've ever envisioned for

Cynthia Muchnick:

them or that you know anything about.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Right.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And then, Support them through that and let them know that,

Cynthia Muchnick:

you know, you support that.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And if they change their mind, you'll support that too

Cynthia Muchnick:

and that you're there for them because, um, a Wise podcast

Cynthia Muchnick:

interviewer, a psychologist named Dr.

Cynthia Muchnick:

Dan Peters once told us that once your kids leave your home, the only thing you

Cynthia Muchnick:

have left behind is the relationship.

Cynthia Muchnick:

that you have with them.

Cynthia Muchnick:

And if you don't kind of work at that foundation in the years that they're

Cynthia Muchnick:

with you, and the way that you do that is you, you know, get shoulder to shoulder

Cynthia Muchnick:

and you sup show them that you care and you're willing to change and you're

Cynthia Muchnick:

trying your best and you know, you support their interests and you are there for the

Cynthia Muchnick:

setbacks and failures to, you know, Let them cry through it or hug 'em through

Cynthia Muchnick:

it or whatever it might be, but not to fix it and manipulate it and manage it.

Cynthia Muchnick:

because again, once your kids leave your home, the only thing you have

Cynthia Muchnick:

left behind is the relationship.

Cynthia Muchnick:

that you have with them.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Whew.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

That last quote really struck me.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

I'm so grateful for the reminder that the goal, when we're raising kids.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Isn't to check off all of.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

These boxes of.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

What society or cultural expectations or what have you kind of are telling

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

us we should prioritize and want it.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Really is to show up for our kids authentically and with vulnerability,

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

to raise a reasonably healthy and happy human and love them as

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

hard as we can just as they are.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

So here are today's key takeaways from my conversation with Cindy.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Number one, we as parents need to be better at checking ourselves and

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

making sure that the messages and the ways that we're parenting our kids.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Are setting them up for a positive life experience.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Number two.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

If we tiger and helicopter and get over involved in our kids' lives.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

We're doing a disservice to our kids.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

It may come from a place of love.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

But we're taking away opportunities for them to grow.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

And we're making it harder for them to trust their intuition.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

And know what they truly want.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Because we override their desires and opinions with ours.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Number three.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Self-advocacy is one of the greatest gifts you can give your kids.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Because it gives them a tool to go after what they want.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

You can help by say looking over their email or role-playing a conversation or

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

suggesting that they use index cards.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

So they can make sure they say everything they want, but around

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

middle school, they should be the ones having the talk or hitting send.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

And by high school, we want them to be able to advocate for

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

themselves in day to day situations.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

At school.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Number four, ask your kids for feedback on your parenting.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

You can say.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

I want to be a better mom to you.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

I know I'm not perfect.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

And I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

You can use a questionnaire in the parent compass.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

If you'd like some structure and guidance, it can be a dynamic

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

and powerful experience because you're showing your kids.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

That you're open to growth and that their opinions matter.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Number five, you have to look backward to look forward.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Do a self.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Examination of what insights and baggage you're bringing to the parenting table.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

And.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Be ready to shift and change So you aren't passing along

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Anything that you don't want to

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Number six.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Appreciate the child you have in front of you, not the one you are

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

trying to inauthentically create.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Our job is to support our kids and their interests as best we

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

can, no matter how much that might differ from what we'd envisioned.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

to learn more about Cindy and her work and to learn more about

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

the book, the parent compass.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Visit parent compass book.com.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Facebook@facebook.com slash.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

The parent compass, or you can follow her on Instagram at.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Parent compass.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

I am so grateful for you listening today.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Um, I know you.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

You have a choice on what you listen to so I'm eternally grateful if

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you haven't done so already with.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

The love of Spotify or apple review.

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A follow on Instagram at Novi.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

He raised them and do feel free to check out my website.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

At Nobi raised them.com if you'd like to reach out with topics.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Suggestions comments, et cetera.

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That's an easy avenue To do so.

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I hope you have a wonderful rest of the week And here's to strong

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

women may we know them may we be them and may we raise them

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