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Understanding Parenting from a Therapeutic Lens
Episode 98th September 2023 • Embark Sessions • Embark Behavioral Health
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In this enlightening podcast episode, Rob delves into the influential role of parenting in shaping children's lives, and how to view parenting through a therapeutic lens. He emphasizes the essence of secure attachment parenting, where caregivers prioritize a child's developmental well-being through consistent boundaries and nurturance. Rob highlights the rewards of parenting, including the release of oxytocin and dopamine, fostering connection and emotional regulation. He discusses the pivotal nature of repairing the parent-child relationship by expressing regret, empathy, and the intention to change. Rob acknowledges the challenges of parenting, particularly during adolescence, while underlining the importance of providing a secure base for children's resilience.  

 

Related Blogs:  

 How To Take Care of Yourself So You Can Take Care of Your Child 

Embark Parenting Guide 

How Teen Mental Health Struggles Affect the Whole Family 

 

Related Videos: 

 How To Be an Emotionally Present Parent 

Mental Health Days: What Parents Need to Know | Roadmap to Joy 

 

About Rob 

Dr. Rob Gent, Ph.D., is the Chief Clinical Officer and one of the founding members of Embark Behavioral Health. Rob has been with the company for 15 years and has led the Embark organization in the clinical development and growth of numerous programs. He is the lead developer of the proprietary CASA Developmental Framework, which is pervasive throughout Embark’s programs. 

Through his dedication to advancing clinical development, practice, and research, he has become a nationally recognized expert in the field. His specialization in clinical development is enhanced by his therapeutic expertise and has yielded such accomplishments as the development of; The CASA Developmental Framework, Vive Family Intensive Program, Calo Preteens, Canine Attachment Therapy-Transferable Attachment Program, and other specialized programs. 

 

 #Embark #BehavioralHealth #MentalHealth #Treatment #Parenting  

Embark has been helping people overcome behavioral health issues that may be affecting their everyday lives for over 25 years.  

Conditions We Treat Include:  

*Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). - https://bit.ly/adhd-treatment-embark  

*Depression. - https://bit.ly/depression-treatment-embark   

*Anger/mood regulation. - https://bit.ly/angry-teenagers    

*Family conflict. - https://bit.ly/learn-about-family-therapy  

*Anxiety.-  https://bit.ly/anxiety-treatment-embark  

*Self-harm/cutting. - https://bit.ly/learn-about-cutting  

*Bipolar disorder. - https://bit.ly/learn-about-bipolar-disorder  

*Social isolation. - https://bit.ly/learn-about-social-isolation  

*Borderline personality disorder (BPD).- https://bit.ly/bpd-treatment-embark  

*High-risk behavior. - https://bit.ly/out-of-control-teen-treatment  

*Bullying. - https://bit.ly/cyberbullying-in-teens-and-young-adults  

 

The Embark team has some of the most compassionate and educated professionals in the industry. Its core purpose is to create joy and heal generations. Embark’s big hairy audacious goal is to lead the way in driving teen and young adult anxiety, depression, and suicide from the all-time highs of today to all-time lows by 2028. Exceptional treatment options, like short-term residential care, makes Embark the world's most respected family behavioral health provider.  

Check out our locations: https://bit.ly/embark-behavioral-health-locations  

Learn more about attachment theory: https://bit.ly/attachment-theory-embarkbh  

Find out how Embark’s CASA framework helps youth: https://bit.ly/casa-framework-embarkbh  

Learn more about how trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy can help adolescents, teens, and young adults https://bit.ly/trauma-focused-cbt-embarkbh  

 

Connect with Embark on Social Media: 

Have a question for our experts? We want to hear from you! Submit your questions to: askatherapist@embarkbh.com

Transcripts

Rob Gent:

I think all of us as parents, and those therapists

Rob Gent:

who are listening, and we want to be able to coach parents, to

Rob Gent:

have children who have the best chance at being resilient,

Rob Gent:

having a sense of positive sense of self. So parenting is this

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time to really set that foundation.

Rob Gent:

And we know through lots of research, that if we can

Rob Gent:

establish that safe relationship, that solid

Rob Gent:

foundation through that consistent secure attachment,

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parent style that we'll call it, that actually gives the best

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chance for the child to have all those wonderful qualities that

Rob Gent:

we like, a sense of self and ability to integrate, when

Rob Gent:

really stressful things happen to them, and they don't get

Rob Gent:

overwhelmed, I would use the term that that's actually what

Rob Gent:

trauma is, when we get overwhelmed by situations, it

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can be traumatic to us. Well, the way we integrate that

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trauma, is we do need that secure base to go back to.

Rob Gent:

Welcome to Sessions. I'm Dr. Rob Gent with Embark Behavioral

Rob Gent:

Health. Pretty excited today because this is the first in a

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solo podcast where it's just me talking and we'll go over some

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research and talk about relevant issues. If you're a parent or

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you're a therapist, anybody in the mental health field, we're

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going to go over some basic type of stuff to be able to

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learn and grow from, and today, I really wanted to spend some

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time talking about parenting. I have this really great quote

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that says, “Parenting is the strongest predictor of an

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adolescent's internalizing and externalizing behaviors,” Just

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take a moment to think about that. Parenting is a really

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tough job, and we're going to talk a little bit about

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attachment principles and why that is, because it's pretty

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clear that what we experience in adolescence from our parents

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carries with us and actually impacts us through the lifespan.

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If you guys who are listening, we've all had a set of parents,

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whether be biological or non-biological caregivers, we

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call those parents. I wanted to just spend some time and talk

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about what can we do as parents, what is our influence, what is

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our responsibility? So we're going to be talking about our

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time today is about the influential role of being a

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parent. I think it's important to start off, especially in the

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treatment world, that parenting expands beyond those biological

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givers. And when we think about, you know, the father who's

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contributed or mother who's the biological mother of the child,

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lots of times we're in situations where those might not

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be our parents, our primary caregivers that have raised us.

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So I want to really talk about first is parenting isn't

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specific to the biological.

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“Well, what does make a parent?” So I like this

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definition, “Those who do what is developmentally best for

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others are really considered parents or caregivers,” I want

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us to spend a few minutes on that. Those who do what is

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developmentally best for others really function as parents and

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meet that definition. I like to talk about vertical relationship

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versus Hana's or horizontal relationship. A vertical

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relationship would be defined as a true parent relationship, and

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we'll go back to this term that does what's developmentally

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best. You know, this term development, It might mean that

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boundaries are clear. Nurturance, being able to be

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consistent with what those appropriate boundaries in

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relation to what is healthiest for physically,

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psychologically, relationally. All of those things when we have

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this lens of we're going to do what's developmentally best

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for a child or somebody else, then that really puts us into

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this really appropriate caregiver parent relationship,

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and why that's important to distinguish is that oftentimes

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we'll say,

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“Well, I'm super good friends or I want to be buddies or I want

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to be pals and my child should like me,” and let's talk about

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adolescence for a little while. If my adolescent likes me, we

Rob Gent:

can be friends when we do what's developmentally best.

Rob Gent:

That actually might be challenged. It actually might be

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incredibly uncomfortable that we might not agree. We might

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not- the adolescent might not like it, and we're going to

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follow through with what are reliable and predictable

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boundaries. I also like to consider adding this that

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really a parent or a true caregiver. Oftentimes we think

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it stops at a certain age. I like some of the literature that

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says that being a real parent and a parent or relationship is

Rob Gent:

about promoting and supporting that child or that other person

Rob Gent:

from infancy throughout adulthood. Now, for me, I often

Rob Gent:

laugh because even my own mother, she'll say, “Well, Rob,

Rob Gent:

you’re obligated to hear my advice. I'm your parent, and

Rob Gent:

even though I've been an adult for a long time-”

Rob Gent:

There's still this looking out for what's developmentally best.

Rob Gent:

There might be some, you know, obligatory advice involved,

Rob Gent:

whether it irritates me or not, whatever that is, but it's

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interesting in that when we establish that parental

Rob Gent:

relationship, we can certainly evolve into becoming friends and

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being friendly and doing all of that, but parenting actually

Rob Gent:

takes place throughout the lifespan, which is really

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meaningful. A lot of us have mothers that in the term mom

Rob Gent:

will mean something for us and we respect that figure even in

Rob Gent:

well into our adulthood.

Rob Gent:

So, I think that's important for us to be able to embrace that

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sense of “Gosh, what does it mean to be a parent?” that, when

Rob Gent:

we talk about boundaries and establishing rules and

Rob Gent:

expectations, frankly, that can be really hard? So I want to

Rob Gent:

take a step back for a second and say, being a parent is super

Rob Gent:

difficult. Being a parent of an adolescent can be incredibly

Rob Gent:

difficult and incredibly challenging. For those

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therapists who are watching and taking this in, when we're doing

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parent coaching and when we talk about that, it's been pretty

Rob Gent:

well established that we need to talk about and provide some

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psychoeducation around, “What does it mean? What is the

Rob Gent:

structure of being a parent?” and obviously that role is

Rob Gent:

really influential, but how many of us parent because of the way

Rob Gent:

we were parented? Most of us. There was no manual. There was

Rob Gent:

nobody who gave us this specific book on how best to parent.

Rob Gent:

Maybe we've read some literature, we've gotten some

Rob Gent:

advice, but overwhelmingly, most of us parent the way we were

Rob Gent:

parented, and many of us even have a backlash against that and

Rob Gent:

often said,

Rob Gent:

“Well, I'm never going to do what my parent did to me, I'm

Rob Gent:

going to do the opposite or I'm going to do this,” and then

Rob Gent:

oftentimes I laugh because I catch myself in this. Often, I'm

Rob Gent:

doing the very things that I promised that I would never do,

Rob Gent:

that my parents did to me that might irritate me or annoy me,

Rob Gent:

and I find myself doing those things. So it's pretty hard to

Rob Gent:

actually change, just completely flip-flop our parenting style if

Rob Gent:

we need to. But that is to say, when we talk about parenting, we

Rob Gent:

need to first establish what is the structure, and that's why I

Rob Gent:

like defining even more, talking about what does it mean to be a

Rob Gent:

parent, those who do what's developmentally best for

Rob Gent:

somebody else, and that means that we might not be liked,

Rob Gent:

we're not going to be their confidant, we're not going to be

Rob Gent:

their buddy, but it's actually the most loving thing we can

Rob Gent:

provide for a child is reliable, predictable, safe boundaries

Rob Gent:

that are rooted in what's developmentally best for a

Rob Gent:

child. Now, why is that important? Because a child is so

Rob Gent:

reliant on that caregiver to provide reliable, predictable

Rob Gent:

nurturance and to be able to meet their needs. Not their

Rob Gent:

wants, but their needs.

Rob Gent:

That actually gives the child an experience that they're valued

Rob Gent:

enough to keep them safe, to have those boundaries in place.

Rob Gent:

It actually communicates something incredible to the

child:

“I love you enough that I'm going to do what's best for

child:

you no matter what, no matter if you flop on the ground, throw a

child:

tantrum, yell, scream, shut down, whatever that is, I'm

child:

going to follow through with what's doing best. Now, let's

child:

talk realistically,” Lots of times it's really hard for

child:

parents to know what is best for their kids, especially if we

child:

come from homes that didn't do that for us, or we've got

child:

experiences where people were, might I use the term enmeshed or

child:

were contingent upon us. That term “enmeshment” just means

child:

that they're reliant on how the child's emotional state is might

child:

dictate how decisions I make as the parent and all that, just

child:

those boundaries so they become semi permeable or wavy or

child:

flexible or too flexible or inconsistent that I'll do what I

child:

think the child wants. And believe it or not, that's

child:

incredibly unsafe, it sends- it creates a really bad and unsafe

child:

experience for the child, and maybe many of you listening have

child:

had that experience,

child:

and so it's really hard to shift that, and there might be in an

child:

overindulgence to the child and the adolescence, and we know

child:

adolescence is filled with that time for what? There's a time

child:

adolescence is filled with, “I'm- my hormones are developing

child:

and I want this sense of autonomy and yet I want

child:

connection within that autonomy. I want to develop my own skill

child:

set, my own friends set, and I'm trying to venture out and do

child:

that,” But what's important to mention is that that sense of

child:

trust and security with the parent sets the foundation that

child:

the child can go out. There's lots of research out there, and

child:

I want to be able to talk about this a little bit. Children

child:

raised by parents with reliable boundaries who are responsive to

child:

the child's needs and do what is developmentally best for the

child:

child tend to have healthier self-esteem, healthier positive

child:

peer relationships, healthier positive communication with

child:

their parents, and able to integrate productive coping

child:

skills and be resilient, frankly, versus those who are

child:

raised with parents with insecure or inconsistent

child:

parenting styles.

child:

So the research is pretty clear, and I think all of us as parents

child:

and those therapists are listening and we want to be able

child:

to coach parents to have children who have the best

child:

chance at being resilient, having a sense of positive sense

child:

of self these days. How many times do I ask a parent, “How is

child:

your child's sense of worth? How is your adolescence sense of

child:

self?” And they'll say, “Wow, they really lack a sense of

child:

self-worth or a lack of self-esteem. They are maybe

child:

filled with a sense of shame, and they combat that shame how

child:

they're constantly on their phone. It's about how many likes

child:

that they have and all this external validation, and it gets

child:

very confusing,” So parenting is this time to really set that

child:

foundation, and we know through lots of research that if we can

child:

establish that safe relationship, that solid

child:

foundation through that consistent, secure attachment,

child:

parent style that we'll call it that, that actually gives the

child:

best chance for the child to have all those wonderful

child:

qualities that we like; a sense of self, an ability to integrate

child:

when really stressful things happen to them and they don't

child:

get overwhelmed. I would use the term that that's actually what

child:

trauma is when we get overwhelmed by such relations,

child:

it can be traumatic to us, or the way we integrate that trauma

child:

is we do need that secure base to go back to be able to have a

child:

sense of self, to be able to show regret, remorse, empathy,

child:

all of these wonderful care characteristics, believe it or

child:

not, are set by that foundation.

child:

“So what are you saying, Rob?” There's a lot of responsibility

child:

on parents, but I always like to talk about what's rewarding

child:

about being a parent. “Why be a parent? Why take that

child:

responsibility on to do what's developmentally best for

child:

somebody else?” It's really hard. It's easier to be buddies

child:

or pals or to be able to grant privileges or buy them things

child:

that might not be where they're at developmentally, maybe

child:

they're inappropriate, but they really want it. I mean, that's

child:

the nature of adolescence is they're trying new things.

child:

They're trying to get ahead of themselves, but how many of us

child:

have parents or maybe as adolescents ourselves, we can

child:

get that cart ahead of the horse and might give them too much,

child:

and believe it or not, it’s a really tough thing to talk about

child:

because, like, a cell phone is such a given thing in our

child:

society, but has a cell phone with unlimited data ever become

child:

overwhelming for an adolescent? Of course it has. Have they ever

child:

used that device inappropriately? I can tell you,

child:

it's incredibly hard to try to rewind that and say, “Wow, I got

child:

to set a boundary because the use of that data, it's not

child:

developmentally what's best for you at this moment,” And making

child:

those decisions are incredibly, incredibly hard.

child:

So let's talk about what is rewarding as a parent, and for

child:

those therapists who are watching, would certainly

child:

encourage you to as we define what parent is and you might be

child:

coaching parents to be able to talk about and explore with them

child:

“What is rewarding about a parent? Why did you choose to

child:

make this happen? Why did you choose to be in this parental

child:

relationship or caregiver with the child?” Hopefully they'll

child:

see some things that are encouraging and then they

child:

actually do get joy out of it. We need to often remind parents

child:

because especially when there have been long days and it's

child:

been really tough and they've been nagging at the lessons we

child:

know can be pretty a time of annoyance and irritation, if you

child:

will, but also a time that's really super rewarding. So let's

child:

talk about that for a second. What is rewarding about a

child:

parent? I oftentimes like to talk about the physiological

child:

impacts that when we're in a parenting relationship, we know

child:

that if it's safe and it's predictable and their secure

child:

attachment, that even connecting with a child that we're

child:

parenting can actually fill us with something called oxytocin,

child:

and oxytocin feels incredibly rewarding. It allows us to calm

child:

our nervous systems and actually feel connected.

child:

We provide eye-contact with that adolescent, even though we know

child:

adolescents can be eye contact avoidant on some level, but

child:

believe it or not, adolescents are longing to connect to our

child:

DNA, believe it or not, is hardwired for connecting. This

child:

is called social engagement theory. We're actually hardwired

child:

to seek out attachment with humans. Evolutionarily, it

child:

brought us safety within the masses within our own group. The

child:

more we could feel attached than the sense of bonding throughout

child:

the lifespan, it actually protected us because then we

child:

knew that others would feel empathetic to us and those were

child:

stronger would protect us. The same thing still happens us to

child:

us today, so let's go back to what's rewarding. One is we can

child:

produce this connection and it feels amazing to be in a

child:

trusting relationship. Even though the adolescent might be

child:

pushing and pulling, it actually sets a really rewarding

child:

framework for them if they know that they can trust you; that

child:

you'll be there, that the rules that keep us safe within the

child:

house, those boundaries that you have that make you a reliable

child:

and safe caregiver, those feel amazing to the adolescent, and

child:

believe it or not, that gives them a secure base for them to

child:

return to you, and as the parent, you make you feel pretty

child:

good.

child:

So the oxytocin can begin to flow. Believe it or not, when

child:

there's that oxytocin, well, it actually combats or resolves

child:

something we call cortisol, which is a stress hormone that

child:

can lift and take off. If- you parents out there, have you ever

child:

been nervous or anxious or been stressed out by what your

child:

adolescent is doing, your teen is doing? Well, certainly, but

child:

as we find out they're okay, or they return back into the home

child:

when they return to that secure base and you're able to, quote

child:

unquote, “regulate”, maybe provide some safe touch, maybe

child:

be able to give them some nurturing eye contact to be able

child:

to show them some empathy and then be receptive to that and

child:

empathy. All of those things can be incredibly rewarding, and

child:

knowing that I'm doing what's best for my child. So there's

child:

some oxytocin, it resolves cortisol, and actually there's

child:

an element of even dopamine that can kick in. Dopamine is an

child:

interesting neurochemical neurotransmitter that gets

child:

released that it gives us that really good feeling. It's nice

child:

to build those dopamine pathways with our adolescent, and this

child:

is, I would use the term, it's intersubjective or dyadic.

child:

Together we simultaneously build the muscle memory that when we

child:

see each other or we're more near each other, there's that

child:

sense of security that, believe it or not, both of us get this

child:

dopamine release that actually feels good and the oxytocin

child:

begins to flows, that it draws us together, and so that can be

child:

rewarding, and just knowing that you're your adolescent or your

child:

teen or throughout the lifespan has a secure place to return to,

child:

and that you can provide some empathy and listen to them, and

child:

they don't feel judged, that feels incredibly rewarding

child:

because I will flip a coin a little bit; How many of you as

child:

parents, or as therapists, or just as people that's important

child:

to you, that you would actually like to have a secure friendship

child:

to be able to go to that can listen to you, that can provide

child:

safe eye contact, some sense of empathy, where you feel really

child:

cared about?

child:

And actually safe and nurtured. again, producing that

child:

environment is really kind of challenging, especially for

child:

adolescents pushing and pulling on it, and then the ultimate

child:

reward is, down the road, to see some improvement with their

child:

ability to regulate and to be able to calm their brains. I

child:

always like to do the hand model of the brain, but if we can get

child:

adolescents, which is filled with a time of hormone release

child:

and overemotional excitement and trying to figure everything out,

child:

we've got a lot of lid flip, our irrational brains aren’t

child:

necessarily online and talking. It can be highly emotional and

child:

irrational at times. Imagine being able to build on that and

child:

then be able to see that over time Wow. There's more a sense

child:

of what we would call regulation, ability to delay

child:

gratification, to be able to make great decisions for me long

child:

time, and maybe I want to go to college and then sustain a job

child:

and then they begin to do what's productive and developmentally

child:

best for themselves.

child:

I know that I get to experience all this time. I have my own two

child:

children and as they make positive decisions, it's

child:

incredibly rewarding, and even as they struggle through life,

child:

if I can establish that secure relationship for them, and be a

child:

reliable and predictable parent, I know it gives them the best

child:

shot at going through those tough experiences that help them

child:

to develop because, actually, we all know that going through

child:

tough is experience is necessary. Just like

child:

experiencing a ton of successes is necessary for our

child:

development. So being a parent should be incredibly rewarding,

child:

and I always want parents to be able to measure that out. Is

child:

that why I'm going to go through all this tough stuff, and learn

child:

what boundaries are, and to follow through with those

child:

things, and make sure that I do that? Absolutely. So parenting

child:

is an incredibly influential role, but it comes with a ton of

child:

responsibility, and the first step is really knowing that

child:

there is some amazing reward into being a parent, and I

child:

didn't even mention probably the last piece is developing trust

child:

in all this, but it really is this amazing service. I- it's

child:

funny because I like to use the term that there's really no

child:

altruism. So people would say, “Well, I have children and I had

child:

children just to give to them,” and, so the reality is we get a

child:

lot out of having kids and we get a lot out, personally, out

child:

of providing service. So having children, it's okay to say, and

child:

I like to say this is that, “What do you get out of that?”

child:

You have to be able to identify the rewards, “What are you

child:

getting out of that?” It's important to define that because

child:

if parents can't identify, and they lose sight of what's

child:

rewarding about being a parent, you can imagine what immediately

child:

happens; There's a resentment that sets in, and so we need to

child:

be able to re ground ourselves. How do we know that parents ever

child:

get resentful? Yeah, and does that throw things off? It

child:

actually does, because then we're filled with all kinds of

child:

expectations, and then that unmet expectations turns into

child:

all kinds of resentments and then conflict and difficulties

child:

within the relationship, and as a parent, we can easily lose

child:

sight of what's rewarding about nurturing and following through

child:

with our adolescent. So we remember what's reward, what

child:

else I want to shift into is being a parent, I want to hold

child:

this concept of one fundamental piece about being a parent is

child:

really that you're going to have breaks in the relationship. What

child:

does it mean to have a break in the relationship? Well, most

child:

oftentimes we’ll have this connection and most people can

child:

identify, even as a parent, I feel connected to my child.

child:

They're responding, they're giving me eye contact or able to

child:

go regulate or are able to talk more, able to share emotions

child:

with one another, and then adolescence kicks in, and for

child:

whatever reason, we can have a break in that and we step out of

child:

that relationship and there might be distancing or isolation

child:

or an influx of conflict.

child:

All of that can happen, and as we, as the caregivers, believe

child:

it or not, it's possible for us to miss a tune or do something

child:

that perpetuates the break in that relationship, but the good

child:

news is, if we, even now think back, I've certainly made this

child:

mistake that we were in a situation or I said something as

child:

the parent that- I said something that was judgmental or

child:

shame-producing, and because my own resentment, or in that

child:

usually is driven from fear, do adolescents ever do anything

child:

that causes parents a tremendous amount of fear? Well, yeah, they

child:

do, because they're trying to assert their autonomy. They have

child:

access to bigger and scarier things in the world, and so it's

child:

certainly possible, and we can lose our cool and flip our lid

child:

and make those bad decisions, but what's really exciting is

child:

that the good news is that we can go and repair those

child:

relationships so all is not lost. So I’d like to rewind it a

child:

little bit more we've been talking about secure attachment

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parenting, and we can certainly learn that style, and it's

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filled with responsive ness and nurturance and consistent

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caregiving and doing what's developmentally best. All of

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that is gives way to this parenting style we call a

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“secure attachment parenting style,” When we do all those

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things, we set the framework for having this stable or reliable

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relationship, but as we move into “that can be broken,” well,

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we can also repair it. We'll talk about repair in a second,

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but what I want to highlight is that people often ask me, “Rob,

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what if I didn't get or there wasn't that secure attachment

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relationship? What if I was raised as the parent? What if my

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parenting, my childhood experiencing, or who those who

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parent in me was filled with inconsistent caregiving?

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What if that was filled with a little bit of neglect or

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inaccurate responsiveness or maybe authoritarianism or, you

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know, somebody was emotionally abusive” or whatever takes

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place, that we would couch that as insecure parent attachment

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style, and it could be anxious or avoidant, but if we have

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that, many people will ask me, “Rob, if that takes place, can

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we still have the positive effects? Can we still get to

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this place where we can be effective parents and have

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effective parenting?” The great news is yes. I always love to

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say this to parent; even if you haven't had that experience as

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you as the parent, you weren't raised that way, or even you

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find yourself that your children might have some inconsistency

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with that parenting. The great news is we can repair that. So

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what does that look like? Let's go in and talk about that a

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little bit. So repair is a practice to repair. That

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relationship is important and I'm just going to give us a

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simple formula to do that. I call it R E I an expression of

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regret, expression of empathy, and an intention to change. I

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would encourage you, you don't need to have inconsistent

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parenting style, you can do it if you have secure attachment or

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somewhere in the middle. The reality is all of us, most of us

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in our parenting style, are somewhere in the middle. We're

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not perfect all the time. The reality is I would encourage

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you, with your adolescent, is to practice that. Just an

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expression of repair, you as the parent, because oftentimes we

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feel like, what?

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“No, the adolescent keeps making the mistake. Or why do they keep

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doing this or they keep acting out. They keep experiencing a

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tremendous amount of anxiety, So they're continuing to isolate or

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withdraw,” And it's about our frustration, “I've told them,

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I've explained to them how to do it. I've provided them every

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resource and I'm still moving as the parent. I'm still moving

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towards frustration with them,” This would be a really great

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opportunity, and please practice this, to go to your adolescent,

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to go to your pre-teen, to go to wherever you're having this

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relationship, go to your child and say, you know, “I just want

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to tell you, I've been thinking a lot about this and I want to

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tell you I'm sorry. I'm sorry because I think I've been

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mis-attuning, or I've had unrealistic expectations, or I

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missed that you've been feeling really sad, or feeling isolated,

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or feeling bullied, or feeling disconnected, and this is a

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really hard time for you,” So this is where we shift from an

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expression of regret to that place of empathy, “Gosh, if I am

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you, I'm feeling really overwhelmed or with school or

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I'm feeling bullied or this pressure to be, you know, all

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the things that are on Instagram or Facebook or TikTok or

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whatever that is, that I'm feeling that pressure. if I'm

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you, that must be feeling overwhelming, and it feels more

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lonely because my parents don't understand me. They just get on

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me and there's all this expectation,” see how they

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react, and then say, “My intention is not to do that, and

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again, my intention is to be more attuned. My intention is to

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really think about empathetically what's best for

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you,”

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Now, it's interesting, as I do always say this, that empathy,

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and being able to repair is only as effective as a person is

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reliable and predictable. How many of you have ever heard a

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repair from somebody and they say, “Well, my intention is to

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change, blah blah,” but you've been through it so many times

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that you start at starts losing its meaning. We actually don't

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want that to happen, and the whole point of this exercise is

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to be able to practice it because it actually flips the

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paradigm on its ear. Oftentimes we want the child to recognize

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their wrongdoing, to recognize their regulation, and to be able

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to change, but in reality, as a parent, to do what's

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developmentally best, we see an opportunity where we could have

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done better and then we give that to them, and lots of times

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that's about shoring up boundaries. “Well, I'm really

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sorry. I'm really sorry, because you know what? We should have

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followed through with not having you drive the car. If I knew you

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were super disregulated or you were so frustrated, or we just

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let you go out to this place when really we should have kept

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you close or kept that in because you were crying and you

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were isolating and we weren't communicating, and wow, that

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must have been really scary, so I'm going to change those things

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for you,”

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So we've talked about some parenting principles, how

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rewarding it is to be a parent, how tough it is to be a parent.

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Some differences in parenting style, secure attachment style.

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We would all love that. But the reality is, is most of us lean

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more towards an insecure or a bit of an anxious parenting

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style. It's easy to have on, what I call inaccurate

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expectations. Oftentimes our adolescent might be 16, 17 years

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old, but at times they flip their lid and they act more

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emotionally, much more immature, maybe a 10 or 11 year old, and

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then we lose sight of that and we can get frustrated, “Why

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don't you act like a 17 year old that you are and you want all

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this autonomy and freedom?” It's hard for us to adjust back, but

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it's important for us to remember all of those things. So

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in today's Sessions, we've covered a lot of ground. We've

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talked about what it means to repair, and I want to leave you

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with the fact that parenting is a wonderful responsibility. It

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comes with a whole lot of influence, and we can see by the

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research that is predictive, actually, research has shown

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it's associated when we have secure attachment parenting and

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reliable, predictable parenting, not that we need to be perfect

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parents, but that's actually associated with a more

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productive development, for the child. and even as they go into

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from moving from adolescence, to young adulthood, into adulthood,

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and then we actually see that take place. So what I would

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encourage you is, we're going to be doing some follow up stuff on

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parenting, I would encourage you to watch our upcoming Sessions.

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We're going to be diving more into parenting and for you

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therapists watching out there, we'll be covering some basic

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principles in how to be able to give some psychoeducation and

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some experiences about “How do we create this positive, secure

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attachment relationship with our adolescents?”

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Thank you, everybody. See you next Session.

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