Artwork for podcast Momma Has Goals
Unlocking the Power of Connection: A Guide for Parents of Challenging Teens with Jessalyn Medlock
Episode 7111th July 2023 • Momma Has Goals • Kelsey Smith
00:00:00 00:49:01

Share Episode


I couldn't be more excited about today's episode. We have a fantastic guest joining us: Jessalyn Medlock, a licensed master social worker from Tennessee.

Now, let's get real for a moment. As moms, we all know that raising teenagers can be a rollercoaster ride. I mean, who hasn't faced those challenging moments when you feel like you're at your wit's end? But here's the thing: it turns out that feeling alone or frustrated or misunderstood during those high school years is more common than we realize. And with the crazy influence of social media and the never-ending demands on today's teens, it's no wonder these challenges are coming to light now more than ever.

Jessalyn Medlock is here to help us navigate through these rough waters and truly connect with our teens. As a licensed master social worker with an impressive background in psychology and social work, she's worked extensively with children and families in both community and school-based settings. Talk about expertise!

Jessalyn's approach is all about finding alternatives to the troubled teen industry, except when a child's safety is at stake. She firmly believes that, with the right support, planning, and education, we as parents have the power to change our families for the better. And let me tell you, she's got some inspiring success stories and practical tips up her sleeve.

So, grab your favorite beverage, find a cozy spot, and get ready to soak up all the wisdom and inspiration that Jessalyn has to offer. It's time to take charge and lay the foundation for a positive relationship with your amazing teenager-turned-adult. Let's dive in!

What you'll hear in this episode:

[0:00] What’s happening in this developmental stage with teenagers?

[8:30] How do you best serve troubled teens?

[12:35] Outsource and lean into the things you're good at.

[18:35] The community aspect of parenting and anxiety.

[25:25] The importance of modeling and being open and honest.

[32:00] How to support teenagers without holding on to too much control.

[35:25] When you give your kids the power to help you, it’s a different dynamic.

[39:50] Jessalyn's approach: Routine, predictability, and communication.

[45:55] Jessalyn’s biggest goal for this season of life: Writing a book.


Follow Jessalyn on Instagram: @coachjessalynforparents

Follow Jessalyn's YouTube Channel: @CoachJessalynForParents1

Join Jessalyn's Facebook Group if you are caring for a teen: Solutions for Parenting Teens

To learn more about Jessalyn's amazing services: Jessalyn Medlock, LMSW, CEO & Founder, Iris Initiatives, LLC


Follow Kelsey: @thisiskelseysmith

Follow Momma Has Goals: @mommahasgoals

Download the app for Apple or Android

Learn more at

Use the code Kelsey for $50 off your ticket to EmpowerHER Live:

Join our text list. Text "Goals" to (707) 347-0319


Speaker 1 0:00

What's happening in this developmental stage with teenagers as they're going from being completely dependent upon another adult, they're hearing it transitioning into, okay, well, when I turned 18, I'm gonna have to be by myself. So I didn't want to parents who are really holding on to that control piece because you know, it works. It works with toddlers, it works with tweens, that's what we're supposed to do. But with teenagers, we really have to let go. And we have to give them some of the control and we have to be able to make sure that they can solve their own problem because we're essentially trying to work ourselves job here.

Kelsey Smith 0:39

Let's reimagine mom life together. Mama high schools is your hub for relatable support and helpful resources that help you fuel yourself alongside motherhood. Your identity is bigger than mom, and whatever your goals are, together, we're making them a reality. I don't know many teams that haven't had a moment that that they feel challenge. A think so many adults looking back at high school. Remember challenging times, they remember times that they felt alone or frustrated or misunderstood. And while that's not everyone, I think it's more than we used to realize. And it's starting to come to light and be really multiplied by social media and all the challenges and demands that teens have these days. And our guest today Jessalyn Medlocke really talks about how to connect with your team, how to work with your team, and maybe you've tried so many things. As a mom of younger parents, I also found this conversation super insightful to think about things before we get there. Sometimes when you're in it, you have to find a solution. But how can you do some prep work before you get there knowing it's still gonna have times of challenge in every season. Jessalyn is a Licensed Master social worker based out of Tennessee and she graduated with honors and her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and completed her master's of science in social work. Jessalyn has worked with children and family throughout her career in both community and school based settings. She's helped countless families address their family's needs and revive their relationships. Focusing on offering an alternative to the troubled teen industry. She advocates to avoid all types of out of home placements, except in cases where the child is in danger. Jessalyn specializes in helping caregivers of challenging teens keep their families connected, and ensure their teens social, emotional, mental health, educational and physical needs are all met so that their teen can grow up to be healthy, safe and successful. With the right support planning and education. Jessalyn believes that parents have the power to change their families for the better and lay the foundation for a positive relationship with their teen in adulthood. This conversation is so good we unpack how Jessalyn got involved in helping families. We also talk about what is the teen industry today? What is the mental health system? And how can we support each side of that? What are the common challenges that we are facing and some different ways that families and individuals can approach this. We talked about different success stories and ways that you can incorporate this today. And we also talked about Jessalyn as a mom and some things that she's going to incorporate for her own support mental health, balancing her business and knowing that motherhood always comes with challenges. This is such a good conversation. I cannot wait for you to unpack this. Here we go. Jessalyn I'm so excited to have you here. I know you're gonna bring so much value this community what you talk about needs to be talked about more because I don't know anyone that doesn't know a teen that has struggled. I think being a teenager is so hard. We talked about how hard it is to be a mom being a teenager is definitely really difficult not to compare the two but both difficult. I would love to just start with how did you develop this passion for being in social work and helping teens addressing family's needs for support around mental health.

Speaker 1 4:02

So I actually started really young, I had a sister who had a lot of problems. And she was actually adopted when I was about 18. And she ended up going through the system, which was way before us that she had like lots and lots of trauma, lots of issues from that. So that inspired me to go into social work. And then when I went into social work, my very first job out of the gate was intensive in home therapy and it pretty much just changed my entire perspectives on kids in general. So that entire program was dedicated to keeping kids at home, but we specialized in really high risk. So these were kids that were in major danger of getting sent away so they might go to juvie. They might go be put in foster care they might be put in residence To claim that anything like that, and I've saw firsthand the damage that does. And so now I'm pretty much on a mission to keep as many kids out of that kind of placement as I possibly can, with the exception of if somebody is obviously being abused or neglected, then I really push for a family environment, preferably foster care if we can do that. And the only reason I would ever recommend something like that is like I said, if there's like an abuse or neglect type situation, but if you just got a kid at home, and they're just really struggling, and you don't know what to do, and your only answer is well suited to the residential, that's not a good enough reason, we need to really dig in and figure out how we got here and figure all that out. Because it's all this stuff, all these problems. They're all a solvable, there's always something that we can do to address what our parents need and more our kids need. And we can mesh the two, usually pretty easily. Yeah,

Kelsey Smith 5:55

and I know you've worn all three of these hats in one way or the other. But can you break down for our listeners really the difference for this type of work between therapy coaching and social workers? Who should they go to? For what?

Speaker 1 6:09

Okay? So, therapy is designed to reduce the symptoms and a diagnosable problem, okay, like, we've got a whole called the DSM, and we've got all these symptoms, you need to tick them off, and you have to have a diagnosis and you have to be treating a diagnosis in order to qualify for a theory number for insurance to approve it. In order for a therapist to be able to do it quickly, you have to have a reason a disordered reason to go coaching is different coaching is we don't have a disorder, we just have problems that need to be solved. Okay, generally, we're not looking at big mental health issues. Now, can a coach coach you through those? Yes, that they're not treating it, there's a big difference that friends between treating and coaching is treating is designed to address them does coaching is designed to get a surge, social workers, that can be anything gosh, they can be DCS workers, they can be just community outreach workers, they can run groups, social workers, wear a lot of hats, I really prefer if I'm sending somebody to a therapist, I really prefer to send them to a social worker, because social work, education is really broad. And the whole driving force behind it is figuring out what kinds of systems we need to put in place and fix to make things better. Whereas if you have a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, like, obviously, their focus is marriage and family or if you have a counseling, most people are highly trained, and very specifically trained to be able to talk you through whatever. So they have a really limited kind of toolbox, both Marriage and Family Therapist, and honestly, licensed counselors do simply because their education is designed to be a really specialized field. Whereas social work basically prepares you to meet the needs of the people you're with in any environment that they're in, whether that is community, or home or family or whatever, we see this need, we need to meet it. So for me, the big difference between there being coaching for me is that I don't have to sit and meticulously go through addressing syndrome. That's not honestly where my passion, which is one of the reasons so overt coaching, my passion is in helping families actually find the solutions and the stuff that's going to work for them.

Kelsey Smith 8:33

And coaching is saying, Okay, we understand that's there, we understand that this is here. Now let's find some solutions, knowing all that information and really create a process to move forward. Not necessarily solving the root cause but just knowing it's there and saying, Okay, that's there. Now let's move over here. I absolutely love that breakdown. Now, you talk a lot about helping troubled teens and the troubled teen industry that is like such a pendulum right. So transparently, we can say that some teens have bigger problems and bigger things that are navigating than others. And one kid waking up late and not making their bed may feel like a troubled teen to some home dynamics. And then we have a totally different ballgame over somewhere else. Right? How do you help these conversations within your own community? And what portion of troubled teens do you best serve?

Speaker 1 9:29

The teenagers that I serve best are the ones that or like we tried everything else? None all the other stuff. We'd read all the books, we've done all things and this kid is still struggling. So my specialization is specifically related to teenagers that have real high risk issues. So they're out or hurting themselves or someone else or they're using substances or they've got suicidal thoughts or depression or anxiety, it's usually really big issues. Have Curves. Why roll out have control is almost always what has happened. And we get to this place where I get parents that are just like, I'm done everything. And I don't know what else to do like, hell,

Kelsey Smith:

yeah. Yeah. And so for the parent that is maybe not there yet. What are some ways that they can implement things jumping off of this podcast, if they're like, I'm starting to see a path with my team that I'm worried where it may go. We're not there yet. We haven't tried everything, the team is not spiraling out of control. But we're starting to have some communication issues, or I'm seeing some issues and worried about with friends that are around their association, what are some like flags that they can put up before it gets too far?


Okay, so the first big thing that you're going to want to do is connect with that kid, if you don't have a really good relationship, and an open line of communication with that teenager, first of all, they're going to tell you if they're having major issues. And secondly, you can't do anything about what you don't know. So that is the, honestly, the biggest, easiest thing you can do is just to make sure that your kid is aware that first of all, you can handle it, and that you want to handle it, you want to be involved, you want to know what's going on, because what's happening in this developmental stage with teenagers is they're going from being completely dependent upon another adult, they're here, transitioning into, okay, when I turn 18, I'm gonna have to be by myself. So I didn't want to parents who are really holding on to that control piece, because you know, it works. It works with toddlers, it works with tweens like it does, it works, that's what we're supposed to do. But with teenagers, like we really have to let go. And we have to give them some of the control. And we have to be able to make sure that they can solve their own problem, because we're essentially trying to work ourselves at a job here, like, you don't want to have to touch again, through their whole life, you want them to have all the skills that they need. So when you go back and you practice that connection, you can teach them the skills that they need a whole lot easier if they're invested in you, and who you are and what your relationship is. And by the way, you don't have to necessarily be that kid's parent to be that person for them. As long as they trust you and you care about them. And they know that you're on their side, honestly, that's enough. Yeah, one of the things

Kelsey Smith:

that you said that really hit me was that they have to believe that you can handle it and that you want to. And I can definitely see where that's come up in my own life. And in so many women in our community, is you may be an amazing mom or parent, but that might actually be hurting you because they don't want to put this on you. They don't want to put the heaviness on you, which is so hard, right? Like you're not necessarily doing anything wrong. But they're like, Hey, I'm going through this, but I don't want to put this on you. So in that situation, what do you do? Honestly, you


show up, you show up and you say, hey, I can see I see you're struggling? And I want to know what it is. I want to be with you. I want to help you through it. Let me do that. That's all you have to do. I know it sounds simple. But it's honestly super hard. Because you get teenagers Oh, all the time. That or dislike, I can talk to my mom about this. Is that up? Or is it that you don't want to? Because there's a big difference here? Can mom really not handle it? Or is it that we're just scared mom can't handle? And if it is really that mom can't handle it? Okay, then who's an adult that can? How can we get them to somebody, and then, and I build up mom's ability to handle it. So she can be that person. Because my big thing is I want my kids to be able to trust their parents to give them good advice. And I want my parents to be able to trust their kids.

Kelsey Smith:

Yeah, so good. Read that on repeat. Now, let's say you're not able to handle it, or you're just not the best person to maybe you can handle it, but you're really just not the best person to support whatever it is that's going on with your kid right now. And they find someone else or they get support from someone like you or somehow they find someone else to support them. And we if you have some feedback on how they can find that person. That's great, too. Now there's this other I'm not good enough. I'm not the person that the kid came to. How do you help that mom be like, it's okay, if it's not you?


Well, like I said, we were playing this pair of teams are playing this really delicate balancing game, right? They're trying to give their kid independence and they're trying to make sure they don't totally screw up their lives at the same time. So I call IT outsourcing you lean into the things that you're good at if you're a mommy you know that you're really good at supporting your kid through friendship crisis are at lean in and be that person for that if you can't support them very for example, this next talk, okay, let's find somebody who can You know, if that's not you, cool, you can't be an expert on everything, you can't know how to handle everything the very best way. So your best option is to find someone who can someone that you trust, and let that person need to let dad or aunt or uncle or whoever, that's okay, it doesn't have to be you in the same way that like, you can't help them with all the homework, they're gonna come to you with someone with something, they're like, crap, I don't know how to do this, and you're gonna have to outsource it, you're gonna have to find a YouTube video, or a teacher or a tutor or something. Same concept, it doesn't mean that you're not good enough, it just means that you didn't have the skills in particular time to address that particular issue. You can build them up over time, so you can do it later. But if you need an address, drop in, just find somebody who can, and be okay with it and communicate with that person too. So make sure that if you're letting your kid go to somebody else, that you trust, the advice that are gonna give them and you're confident that personnel share with you if something big that you need to know about comes up that they'll tell you about it.

Kelsey Smith:

Yeah, setting some ground rules almost. I also love that this is teaching the kids that they don't have to know and do everything, right. Because if we pretend as moms that we truly can do everything, and we're the best at everything. And we set that expectation, then when our kids realize that they're not the best at something in particular, they're feeling less than where if we allow them to understand, like, we're only all so good at so many things. And that's why it's beautiful, that we're all so different to gain support from others. Have you seen that play out with some kids that you've had a success story for seeing parents let go? And how has that kind of played out? What are some success stories


I can comes to mind. And she really struggled with anxiety and depression. And I had worked with her to get her to communicate that to somebody besides me. And at this point, we were in it a cub wallet. And a mom was scared. So the whole thing I did was that taught mom to do, honestly, what I would have done and just taught her to respond in the same type of way in the same empathetic, genuine way as I would because that's what her kid responded to about me. And I helped that mom build her skills. As we got towards the end of our time together, that mom called me to like, my kid has turned to me and she told me that she was anxious. And I handled it. And we talked about it. And we figure out a solution. And I did it like I helped her through it. And she was terrified at the beginning that she couldn't do that she was terrified. She was like, I don't know what to do. I've never been anxious, I have no idea how to deal with anxiety, what am I supposed to do? And all it was a matter of figuring out okay, what works for your kid? And how can you support her through that? And kind of linking them together and saying, Hey, Mom's gonna try this new thing. I need you to be on board with mom trying this might feel weird. I still need you to do it. And then the mom went on, I'm asking you to do this new thing and might not be comfortable. But I still need you to do it. Like just trust that it's gonna work. And if they do, it always does, like always does. If you can go into something with the intention of I want to help you and I love you. And that's all there is. That is super powerful stuff. And teenagers see that. And they know that and they can pick up on if you've got like a genuine energy or not. Because if you're just like, I don't want to deal with this. Now. Yeah,

Kelsey Smith:

I'm over here. Not laughing. But the mom is like, I've never been anxious. I don't know what to do. You're anxious about talking anxiety with your kids. It's so funny how often we don't realize something relates to us when there's a label on it. But when we really break things down, and we realize, oh, wow, so many of us are navigating really similar versions of similar feelings. We just maybe call it different things. But so many are on the same playing field. How have you noticed the community aspect of this before we clicked record? We were talking about how so often, women and parents are so supported by others going through the same thing. But we all know as parents, we don't want anyone to question our parents inability. That's just even if you are consciously aware of that subconsciously, you don't want your parenting ability question. So when you get into a community group, and you're saying, Hey, this is something we're struggling with, it's super uncomfortable, but always, almost always, I haven't seen yet where there isn't so much value in that. So let's talk to the mom that scared to say, Hey, this is really hard in our house right now. How do we open up the doors so that they can be supportive?


So something that's really important to me is building up that support of that Mom, it's struggling with that team. So when you're pregnant, everybody comes out of the woodwork to tell you all of these things that you need to know about these babies, what they're gonna do and how you're going to do it. There's literally this outpouring of support when you're pregnant. And then when they're toddlers, like, it's so support like it, you get potty training advice, you get all that basic stuff. And then it's like, they hit tween and teen and it's like, oh, well, you're supposed to know what to do about that. You're supposed to know that. How? How were you supposed to know that. And furthermore, we are only as good at parenting as our parents were parenting us, like, period. So, for example, you went through high school and you got all the way through your teen years, and you were good. And you never had a single issue and like you were on on a roll, and he went to college, and there was never a big deal. But your kid is struggling now, chances are, you don't have the skills that you need to deal with that. And that's not your fault, it just means that you've never been put in a situation in which you needed those skills. Your parents didn't have to have those skills, either. So it was never modeled for you on how to do it. So honestly, I would say like don't beat yourself up about you don't know what you don't know. You can't every single parent out there struggles with teen years, whether they tell you or not, they're struggling in some way, shape, form or fashion. Because the act of letting go of that control and letting them grow up into adults. It's hard. It just is. And it's okay. Like in the same way that bringing home your newborn is terrifying. And you kind of have to embrace them scared about doing this, don't do anything that gets maybe help somebody else. Yeah, gotta do the same thing. As a parent of a team, you have to say, okay, like, I'm willing to ask for help here. I'm willing to take all the advice. Now, you got to be careful. Just take the advice from the same concept applies, like, the support that we get as moms. I hate that it ends at almost toddlerhood, and then it becomes a you didn't know how to deal with that. How is my question? They don't come with a book.

Kelsey Smith:

Yeah. And beyond our kids and parenting and knowing that there's always new things thrown, where when you're a baby, so many things can be influencing your outside perspective. And you're not as plugged into society, as a newborn as a teenager, where your teenager is now on social media. There's all these other things that are completely I shouldn't say out of your control. But there are other variables in your day to day that now you have to learn how to not just navigate your own kid, but everyone else that's talking to your kid too, and how that shows up. Let's talk a little bit about social media and the internet world. What are some, I don't know guidelines that you recommend for parents to implement, or some things to be aware of, or just kind of ways to navigate that world out there with teens that make it so hard.


So social media is hard for me because I see so much benefit of kids being able to be connected with other kids, when they're, they don't be physically present. But then there's this also this really awful side of social media that, honestly, unless you have a teenager that's struggling with it, you usually don't see in that it's comparison itis they ended up having really skewed views about what things are and what they mean. And so honestly, like, you need to teach your kid you need to teach your kid as move much information as you possibly can. You need to be willing to be open and honest with them about all subjects, because they're gonna get their information from somewhere. And would you rather than be getting it from you or getting it from Suzie Q down the street. So yeah, also like making sure that you know, your kids friends that you know who they're talking to. I really, honestly take a really strong stance on social media. I'm really don't recommend that kids get on social media at all, simply because I've seen kids as young as like 10 Get in some really big trouble with social media. But I don't live in medieval times, I understand that most kids are going to have a cell phone. So like, my advice is to be smart about it. Make sure that you're monitoring your kids phone, they don't need access to their phone for all hours of the day, especially at nighttime, that blue light really screws up their REM cycle if they can't sleep, probably wise because they've got their phone on all night. But really making sure that you're communicating with them about what their expectations are around social media, and then following through like if they're struggling saying, Okay, this is what's going on. This is why we can't do this and helping them figure out how to navigate that because this is brand new for most parents. I didn't have a Facebook till I was in college. I don't know if book works. By extension. I don't know if Snapchat works. I don't know how winter works. And even stuff works. They do that they do. They know how to work around whatever barrier you're putting in place. So we need to make sure before you ever give your kid a phone, you need to make sure you can trust them with it. And if you can't, if your first instinct is no, I can't trust them, not want to rethink given them unfettered access to social media or the internet, and maybe consider something like a parks, I tell my husband all the time when our kids grow up, they're gonna get really stupid phones that don't meet us just. And there are so

Kelsey Smith:

many cool things now to like kids watches and things like that, where you can call your kids and they can text five people on the watch. But they can't do anything beyond that. So there are so many cool resources now. But I do think a point that you made about making sure your kids are probably smarter than you on the device. And I remember when I was in high school, I had a flip razor phone, and my dad put location services on it, and he could track me at wherever I was. But I learned how to turn it off in like two days. So it didn't get him very far. It wasn't doing anything that bad. And having that conversation. Now we both joke about it. But if I had understood now, as a parent looking back, it's like, what if something did happen to me and my dad needed to be able to know where it was, or why didn't come home from school and have some safety around me. But I was like, you're just not giving me any freedom, you know, so allowing those conversations to be had. Because yeah, I have a totally different perspective around it now of the safety of teen girl, I was dropping off bank deposits for my first job, like being able to have some safety. But having those open lines of conversation, and you talked about having the tools that your parents taught you are probably as far as you go. And we can love our parents and just know that we need more tools. Every generation needs more tools. And I saw this reel the other day that you made me think of and it said it was about fitness. And it was saying that kids learn how to be as active as they are from watching their parents, and specifically their moms this one was about and that if you're a mom, and you never work out, how would your kids know to take care of their bodies? If you're a mom in Unit don't eat? Well? How would your kids know that it's important that they're watching you. And my personal physical fitness is something that I'm always trying to improve on is how much I move my body. And so it really hit me with saying, Okay, wow, I need to think about how much I'm getting up and saying, let's go outside, let's be active, because that's how they're going to learn. You coach parents on so many things? How do you help parents understand the importance of their own self regulation and their nervous system? Or just good habits? Have you were saying like, don't be on your phone all night? Will? Are the parents reading at night? Where are they turning their phones off? What are some of the conversations you have and things that you see is a way that people are living right now that need to be shifted a little bit,


I don't think I ever have a conversation with a parent that doesn't involve the concept of modeling, which is what you're talking about. And all it means is, at the very core of it, like monkey see monkey do, if they see you doing something, it doesn't matter if you said that you shouldn't be doing it or not like they're going to do it. And it's not because they're trying to get on your nerves. It's because that's how human beings are set up. We've got mirror neurons in our brains that are specifically designed for us to do the same things that we see being done. I have a conversation about yelling a lot. If your kid is yelling, hello, because you're yelling might not realize that you're yelling. But what happens is, you start yelling, and then your kids mirror neurons get activated, and they start yelling, and then we just get into this big yelling cycle, the same thing happen, no matter what the bad habit is. If you manage something a certain way, chances are your kid is gonna manage that very similarly. And for me, one of the big things that I really preach on and try to hit families to really see is the importance of being open and honest with your kid and modeling that with them and being real and saying if you don't know the answer, saying, I don't know, I have no idea what the answer is. But we can find out together we can figure it out. And really modeling that you have this open line of communication with your kid all the time. And what that means is you really have to get to know them, you really have to know what's going on in their lives. And you really have to make sure that the things that you are doing are also healthy so that they mimic that because they'll do it without even have to tell a kid to do it. They're just going to Yeah,

Kelsey Smith:

and beyond yourself. Let's talk about modeling, Association and relationships. So not just with your partner per se, like that's part of the conversation. But what about like when mom's hanging out with her friends and what they're talking about and what they're doing, and how do we model good relationships and friendships without also having this pressure that you can't ever let go as a parent and you being able to, I don't know, sit around a table with a group of mom friends and talk about a trashy TV show and drink wine those like isn't exactly what my friend group looks like. But let's say it does. That's maybe not what you're saying, Hey, this is the best way to go find friends, but also the balance between good conversations and like letting loose.


So I think there always needs to be, like you said, there's a Mamet's right, nobody's perfect. And that's fine. And I'm really, I have such a hard time because almost every mom I run into has got this idea that she needs to be perfect. She has to be just do all of these things exactly right. Otherwise, she's gonna screw up her kid. And that's just not true. Even if they're struggling, even if like right now, they're struggling with all of these terrible things like, chances are when they grow up, they'll be fine. It's just a season in life, it's just a time right now that they're struggling. So really, there's a lot of power in being real, and saying, like, these are the things that I struggle with sometimes, and modeling, healthy ways to get through that. Now, you might like to use it, you might unknowingly model some unhealthy ways. But that doesn't mean that they're going to do that. Now, will kids do what you do all the time. But as they get older, they'll start pruning out the things that don't fit for him. And they'll keep the things that didn't work for them. And so honestly, what you want to do is you just want to expose your kids to as maybe healthy habits, as many traits that you see are beneficial from different people, if you want your kid to be no kind, and somebody that is extremely timed exposure to that person will automatically make your kid kinder, on some level. Yeah. And

Kelsey Smith:

it makes me think also knowing what isn't kind, right, because so often what I hear with teen parents is that they find out their child's been bullied or not treated correctly. And they didn't actually even realize that they were being treated poorly, like they're just like, This is how teenagers treat each other. And that's not true. And if it is true, there's other teens out there for you to connect with, right. So helping them understand like, hey, when someone treats you this way, it feels good. Let's find more of those. When someone treats you this way, it doesn't feel good. Let's make sure that we understand that isn't how we need to be treated. I think that's important. The other thing that you made me think of is when I hear a lot from parents, my kids just aren't interested in anything. They just want to play video games, they just want to be on their phone, they don't want to do anything. How do you let kids just be themselves and not pressure them to constantly be doing things because they are pressured in the school day and whatnot. But then to also help drive them to find what they are passionate about, and excited about and find a better outlet than video games and scrolling.


So again, like it's all about balance. What something that we do in my house is we do the not fun stuff first. Because if I do the fun stuff, first, I'm not gonna do the fun stuff. So you need to figure out like, is that how your family is? How do we do things? And is that working for your kid or not? And then going back and figuring out how exactly we can support them through without holding on to too much control, because there's a big difference in making sure they're supported and controlling them. So you kind of mentioned that. We're trying not to pressure them too much. And that's true that managers have they do they have so much pressure, peer pressure for teenagers right now is just crazy. And they can't get away from it. Because most of the time, they have phones and social media and all that jazz, it can be really difficult for them to kind of unplug and let go. So model it, honestly, like that's going to be the big wave for them. 60 and warn them. What I mean by that is, if you want them to spend more time out that it's not gonna work for you to walk into their room and unplug their Xbox and say we're going on, that's not gonna work. What you want to do is you want to sit down with your kid and say, I'm noticing that you're spending a lot of time on your Xbox. And I'm really not okay with that. So what I'd like to do is maybe have some time that we spend outside every day, and we're going to do this. I don't know, every day at two, we're gonna go take a walk for 30 minutes every day. So you're preparing your kid to meet the expectation that you're sitting forward here. And then when two o'clock rolls around, go knock on the door to say, Okay, it's time for our walk, and they're really not. They're gonna be mad about it and that's cool. You're gonna be mad about it. I just need you to go on the 30 minute walk, and then you get back on this Xbox if you want to. But you model the things that you want them to do. So if you want them to be making healthier decisions, like you, certainly, you're gonna have to try to make some of those healthier decisions. And it's a whole lot easier for our brain to change, if you're doing it with somebody than it is if you're doing it by yourself. So you want to instill those healthy habits, you can even be real with your kid and be like, I don't get outside enough. Can you help me get outside more? I'm struggling to get outside more, can you help me get outside more? Can we do that together. And that's pretty awful stuff too. Because when you give your kid the power to help you, that's a whole different dynamic, because you've literally their entire lives, helping them. And now that they're teenagers, they're in this really beautiful space where they can start stepping in and helping you. And they can bring some reciprocity into that relationship that otherwise hasn't had any. And then you guys can start building a relationship that you're gonna have throughout adulthood. And so you can keep those boundaries, obviously, those really good parent boundaries, but also build a relationship to be able to withstand adulthood. Yeah, and I

Kelsey Smith:

love that you're talking about the foundation of the relationship and the reciprocal benefit, rather than saying, because you're old enough to do chores, now you have to do chores, or now you have to do this because you're old enough and able, now you have to pay me back or I've spent so long caring for you, I hear this, it's okay. If you're doing this, if you're listening, it's okay. We're just learned by doing. But I hear this a lot is Oh, my gosh, when my kids are old enough, I can't wait for them to start doing this for me. But rather saying, hey, I want your support. And let's do this together. And now you're more, not my peer. But we can have adult conversations because you're here. So let's do this together. Let's support each other instead of just like okay, now you owe me back.


So when I was a kid, my mom worked Midnight's when I was a teenager, and I was home a lot by myself. And that's usually the time when most moms, I do all their stuff, they do dinner and I do laundry, and they do all the things. My mom slept during the day. And she worked at night. And so whenever I got old enough to be able to do laundry, she sat me down. And she was like, Look, this chore is too much for me to do. I'm responsible for washing your clothes, they're not going to get washed, because I have to see, and I have to run our house and I have to do all these other things. Could you help me by doing your own laundry? If I teach you how do you feel like you could do it? And I was like, yeah, that's just me to do shirt. But then was completely different than if she would have come at me and been like, you got to do your laundry, now. You're responsible for doing your laundry for the rest of your life, and I'm not going to help you do it anymore. Those are two very different approaches to a problem. And the responses you're gonna get are very different. So my response was okay, Mom, how can I help? How you asked for that hill? It makes a big difference is the to the answer there, though. Yeah. And

Kelsey Smith:

then on the flip side, if you have a busy week at school, using that same example, giving your child the power to be like, hey, this chores too much for me this week, can you help me now because we need to help each other out. And giving them the ability to say when things are too much, right? But allowing them to also say, hey, it's sometimes it's too much for me too. So let's help each other out and trade back and forth. I love that. Let's shift hats for a moment. You shared that your husband is gone for work a lot. So often you can play the single mom role. What are some habits that you've implemented to be a busy working mom and your kids are pretty little still I know you have some support with family. But what are some ways that you make sure to show up for yourself alongside all the other things that you're navigating and carrying?


So routine, for me is a big deal of have things that each day of the week is kind of one thing that I need to do. And I'm trying to just limit it honestly to one, maybe two, if I'm having a really good week, baby, two things that I need to get done. And my kids, they know that this is what we did. So when my daughter was in preschool, our routine looked very different. When we started summer, we completely up ended our routine, and I sat her down and I was like, okay, things are gonna look different. Now we're not gonna get up and we're not gonna go to preschool anymore, and we're not gonna get up and leave the house every day. These are the things we're gonna do. And this is how routine is gonna be. And on Thursdays, we're gonna go to the splash pad and whatever. But I need to know what's coming. I need to know what is happening. And I find that when my kids know they are a lot happier and they don't get any surprises. So for me, routine and predictability and were my kids to be able to predict how I'm going to react to something or what we're going to be doing is a really big deal for me. Yeah. So for me routine is a big deal. And then like, on top of that communication being really open and honest about what exactly is happening, that was something that was instilled in me in a really early age, my mom was a very, very open communicator, and her philosophy was always if you're old enough to ask the question, you're old enough to get the answer. And I really have taken that into my own parenting because you know, my daughter's, she's just four. But even now, sometimes she'll ask a question, and I'm like, she really opened up to me asking this person, it doesn't matter. Like, I can give her an age appropriate answer out, yeah, going too far in, in one direction or the other. But that open communication is really powerful. Because she knows that she can come to me with whatever questions she's that, and we'll figure it out together. So communication and routine, for me are a really big deal. I have a hard time asking for help when I need it. So I also I try to free plan my health out every week, if I can't, if possible, so I'll sit down with my mom, she comes a couple hours a week and keeps my kids so I can do stuff like this. And so we sit down, usually on Sundays, and we say okay, like, this is what we're going to do this week. And this is how we're going to do it. And I try to do that with my husband too. But his job is so unpredictable that usually, we can't count on it. So I really lean into planning support, making sure our routine is good and being really open about everything. Yeah,

Kelsey Smith:

so good communication, asking for help, we can always do more of it. There are some things that you're implementing with your kids that I'm sure you've learned along the way. And communication, like you just said is one of them. For the parents of younger kiddos that are like, gosh, what can I do now to help my team down the road, knowing that some things just are what they are? Are there certain things that you see time and time again, that you would really recommend a parent focusing on if they could focus on one thing to really implement in their children, if you can focus


on one thing, then you're one thing that you need to focus on is connecting with them. So what I mean by that is, in their bad moments, finding a way to make a connection with finding a way for them to feel supported in that moment. So I try really hard to be as intentional and as connected as I possibly can be with my kids. But that's sometimes just not feasible. Because you know, life in nurse, sometimes things that I'm doing, and you can't have my full attention all the time, and that's okay. But when I am giving her or my sign of what I'm giving them my full attention, like they've got, they've got mom, and they know, they've got my intention, we are doing whatever it is together. And so there is no question. And specifically, what I've done with my daughter and CO regulation is a really big deal for little kids. And what I mean by CO regulation is, we're both really upset right now. And we can't talk about this, how can we calm down? Together? How can we get to a point together, where we can talk through whatever it is, when I first started working with kids and families. Most of the advice that you get for little kids is to give them some sort of ultimatum a consequence. If you don't do this is gonna, I felt that that does not work with my kid. It just doesn't. And so I had to really shift the way that I do things with her. And my inclination thing that worked with me was like 123 and doesn't work with my kid. So now I have to shift and I have to say, okay, how can I connect with her? And how can she know that she's being supported through this? And I can keep my boundaries intact? And she in walking all over me? And for us? The answer was, we really started connecting. So when she was having, like big major meltdowns, she doesn't do this so much anymore, because I implemented this, but she was having these big major meltdowns. I will just sit with her physically in her space, until she got calm enough to do whatever it was that I was asking her to do, or until she got calm enough to say mama hold me because my daughter does want to be touched when she's upset, which is cool. So my selection is just a sit in her physical space until she's ready, and then rest whatever it is. So there's lots of reasons that I do that. But the big main reason is because when your toddler is in the throes, or for me, I guess my preschool or when she's in the throes of this tantrum when her emotions are running really high. She had not hearing me she does not hear me saying if you feel that you're going into nor does she care. She cannot rationalize out Oh I'm being too I'm too upset right now. And I need to calm down because mom is upset and throwing, like, she can't do that. And me expecting her to do that is not realistic. So instead, I stop, and I sit with her, and we just kind of honestly coexist until she's calm enough. And then I'm like, Okay, this was the problem. Can we do something different? And usually, once she gets calm enough, she's like, Yeah, okay, we can do whatever it was that I wanted her to do in the first place. But just the act of me not being stared at her big emotions. Like, I'm not locking her in her room. I'm not saying like, I'm not dealing with you until you're calm. No, I'm saying, I'm gonna sit with you. I'm gonna be with you. I'll be here. If you need me. It does take some time. Honestly, it doesn't take as much time as it's going to take you to fight your game. Yeah, we

Kelsey Smith:

recently had a scenario that was almost exactly what you just said. And that's exactly how I would say things work for us when I do that as well. To say, Do you want me to sit with you? Or do you want me to leave you alone? I ask. And then usually, he says, Stay here with me. And I'll say, Do you want me to hold you? And he'll say, No, I'll say okay, so I'll say right here. And then usually he comes around and same thing of coming back. And then I think, prior to a tantrum, or if we're not in a heated emotions, you were saying giving them one thing, like, you need to do this. In something that's worked well for us, and a similar age group is giving choices. But I pick the choice. Yes. So you don't get to pick the choices. I'm picking the choices, but you get to make the choice. And that works really well for us as well. We have had so much good conversation, I know, we're gonna have to have you back. I know you have an amazing Facebook group that parents of teens can pop into, can you share a little bit about that Instagram and the other places that we can find you. And of course, we'll link everything in the show notes.


So I've got a Facebook group, I'm actually I'm pivoting just a little bit and I'm thinking I'm going to start offering more support on YouTube, and I've got a YouTube channel, I'll make sure that you got the link to that. But you can put. And then also, I'm writing a book, I don't think I'm told you that when I when we did the pillar, no writing a book. And it's called not your mama's parenting advice. It's all about ending the cycle of conflict with your team. And it basically just a guide on how you can use connection and collaboration in your favor to in that cycle of conflict in that book. I'm hoping to launch it in June, but we'll see if that works out. And I've got an Instagram, and it's that coach Jessalyn for parents is my instagram handle. But right now I'm helping to focus a little bit more on YouTube, and I'm pretty sure my YouTube handle is at coach Jesslyn. For parents. One, I want to say, perfect,

Kelsey Smith:

we'll link all of that below. And we'd love to know just what is something that you currently have as a goal. What is something that you're excited about? Or you're working towards? I mean, you just named a couple, a book a couple other things. But if there's anything else that you're like, This is my primary goal for this season of life. What is that?


My biggest goal here is I'm starting this coaching program. And my biggest goal is to get my three beta clients so I can I can actually build it and I can start really helping parents navigate this season and a really much more tangible way than I've never really been able to do it before. And right now it's a 16 week it parenting intensive. That includes coaching, it might end up being longer or shorter. I'm not quite sure yet, but right now I'm working on getting those three beta clients and that's my big goal. Awesome.

Kelsey Smith:

That's so exciting. Well, thank you so much for being here. Jessalyn so much value. Mama's go get this insight we need to make teen life a little easier. We'll catch you soon. Sometimes the smallest acts of love is all a mom needs to feel reinvigorated. If you can relate to that I feel so supported by your five star rating and written review. Take a moment and let me know what you thought about this episode.