Liz Talks, Episode 32: Talking parenting & discipline with Hannah and Kelty of Upbringing.co

Parenting is hard. Sometimes, you need a few brilliant parenting coaches from Portland who live on a veggie farm with their families and happen to be identical twins to help you see straight! Hannah and Kelty from Upbringing.co stop by to talk parenting struggles (in particular, Liz’s parenting struggles) and how to “show up and grow up” with your kids.

Liz Talks Episode 32

  • Introducing Hannah and Kelty from Upbringing.co [4:46]
  • Powers beyond control [10:45]
  • Power is privilege [27:40]
  • Being the safe space for our kids [34:47]
  • Circle back [41:44]
  • Floating the river [57:55]

TRANSCRIPT

Welcome to Liz Talks. I’m Liz, and I’m a nutritional therapy practitioner and best-selling author; but here, I’m 0% professional and 100% mom, spouse, friend, and over-analyzer. We’re going to talk food, beauty, family, fitness, mental health, friendship, marriage, and everything in between in this season of Liz Talks, and I’m so glad you’re along for the ride.

Remember; this is a podcast about thoughts, feelings, and opinions. And I definitely do not give individual, personal, or medical advice. 

This is episode 32, topic: interview with Hannah and Kelty, parenting coaches and founders of the parenting community at Upbringing.co. 

In case you missed it, last weeks’ episode 31 was about stem cells, workouts, homeschool, and the ALF device for kids. 

Many, many thanks to Arrowhead Mills for their generous ongoing support of this podcast today. Next time you go to the store, look for Arrowhead Mills products in the baking and flour aisle. You can also find them on Vitacost.com. Arrowhead Mills pancake mixes are all we use for our Saturday morning pancake tradition, and I’m also formulating some ideas for their coconut flour, too. Arrowhead Mills was focused on sustainability and health before it was cool, and I’m so grateful for their support of this podcast. Let me know when you try their products by tagging me @RealFoodLiz in your Instagram pics.

I also want to remind you about an affiliate that I absolutely love, and I’ve talked about it on the podcast before. And that is Vibrant Body Company. Please, do not keep wearing a bra that is uncomfortable and restrictive and awful. Go to www.RealFoodLiz.com/Vibrant, and use code LIZ15, all caps, for 15% off their amazingly comfortable no wire certified clean bra; their buttery soft shelfy tank, which I wear constantly, and their super comfortable underwear, including their thong, which is my favorite thong of all time. And you know, I am team thong. www.RealFoodLiz.com/Vibrant. Even if you think you’re good with what you’ve got, and trust me I did too. I was all sports bras all the time. Even those super soft ones from Lulu. They are nowhere near as comfortable and functional as the Vibrant Body bra. I am fully converted, and I think you will be too. 

Alright, just a little update. I just came back from a trip to Florida. I know, Florida in July. But Florida, nonetheless. I just got back from a trip to celebrate several family members big milestones. And while it was hot, hot, hot. We were in Longboat Key. It was such a relaxing time. I got to swim in a warm ocean probably for the first time ever. Everybody behaved well. My husband was with me on the airplane, so he got to change the poopy diaper. 

If anybody remembers the overshare from, I don’t remember what episode it was, about the poopy diaper on the airplane, probably my most top rated overshare of all time. You might remember that. So what could be better than that, right? 

I’m just so grateful for a lot of things, but in particular this partnership that I have with my husband. I really feel like he and I are a team. And there’s just nothing like a vacation for contemplating that and appreciating that. And there’s nothing like coming back from a vacation that will make you forget that really, really quickly. But truly, just grateful for that partnership and that relationship, now more than a decade on. 

And I will say, on an entirely different topic but still in the spirit of talking about family and how we are raising our children, me and my teammate; my husband. I’ll share a little bit of an overshare right now before I get into the podcast. We teach the appropriate anatomical terms to our kids, from very early on. And we’re also very, not casual, but very direct. Where it’s like they point something out and they’re like; what’s that? Well, it’s a vulva. We try and use the appropriate terms. 

But, the best part of that is definitely not having your toddler point to your crotch and yell vulva in front of your entire extended family. I don’t; you know, maybe it’s an opportunity to help other people kind of get it, and get comfortable with that type of parenting. But at the same time it can be a little jarring. But it’s also nice to know that they listen and are not ashamed of pointing out the body parts. 

  • Introducing Hannah and Kelty from Upbringing.co [4:46]

Liz Wolfe: Ok. My guests today are Hannah and Kelty of Upbringing.co. They are twins, by the way, which just makes them that much cooler. And they are the coaches and speakers behind the parenting movement Upbringing. And they can be found on Instagram at Upbringing.co and at their website, also Upbringing.co.

I first met Hannah and Kelty years ago in Portland for a Balanced Bites project with Diane Sanfilippo. And they are just so freaking cool. So I’ve been following them for years, and everything they share at Upbringing.co, from their IG chats to the physical downloads they have available at their website as parenting resources to help you on your parenting journey. Everything has just been so compelling and so helpful and has really inspired just some deep thought and analysis and breakthroughs in my parenting. 

So when my first was really little, I was all about the Janet Lansbury RIE parenting, which stands for Resources for Infant Educarers; RIE parenting. And of course, I still use the principles from aware parenting. Which are just life changing. And I talked about those here in some earlier episodes, I think particularly about sleep training and also on some episodes with the Modern Mamas; probably, gosh, 5 or 6 years ago. I’m not even sure now. But they’re really great episodes when I first kind of opened up about my birth story, and parenting, and all of that stuff.

But what I’ve gained from Hannah and Kelty is really the next progression of what I want and what I need to be thinking about, and utilizing and grappling with. Grappling in a healthy way. At this stage of parenting my 7-year-old. And in this episode, I get pretty vulnerable. And in some ways, I admit I had Hannah and Kelty on because I wanted a parenting help session that everybody could hear; guilty! 

A long time ago I listened to some downloads of Janet Lansbury’s that were called Session. So it was basically; I think she had had some parenting coaching sessions with a few folks, recorded them, and then offered them up for sale as a package. And I remember listening to that, and just feeling like it was helpful just to hear what Janet was saying to these parents about their issues, and how she was phrasing things and how she was addressing their questions. So I thought it would be really cool to open up a little bit about some of the challenges I’ve been having recently with Hannah and Kelty, and hopefully just hearing what they have to say will help someone else on their journey.

So here’s a little more about today’s guests, Hannah and Kelty. They are certified in simplicity parenting and positive discipline. And they are trained in NVC and foundations of the respectful parenting approach; that’s RIE, again. And Upbringing empowers parents in over 100 countries to show up and grow up alongside their kids when it comes to daily discipline. Hannah and Kelty’s top ranked podcast or live Q&As or courses and guides call parents in with humor and honesty, giving them permission to align their personal values with their parenting practices in the name of sanity and social change. I love that. 

Hannah and Kelty coparent on an organic veggie farm outside Portland, Oregon that they share with their partners and kids, ages 5, 6, 7, and 8. On to the chat with Hannah and Kelty of Upbringing.co.

Hannah and Kelty, thank you so, so much for coming on the show today. 

Hannah: Thanks for having us.

Kelty: We’re excited to be here. 

Liz Wolfe: I would love to have you; I would actually love to have you just living in my home so you can kind of coach me through the 60 billion parenting moments that I screw up on a daily basis. Are you available for engagements like that? 

Hannah: We are compound living together, and I feel like we should just be expanding the compound to just include more families. 

Liz Wolfe: Yes! 

Hannah: We can all be supporting each other, and like we say, all grow up together.

Liz Wolfe: That is my absolute dream. Ok, well let’s back up then. I gave a little bio for both of you in the opening to the show. But I would love for both of you to just introduce yourselves, and the work that you’re doing, and what you want people to know about you all right out of the gate. 

Hannah: Yeah. Well we like to describe ourselves as twins, moms, speakers, coaches at Upbringing.

Kelty: Tired ladies. 

Hannah: Uh-huh. Yes, that too.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs} 

Hannah: Works in progress, absolutely. We have been doing Upbringing together in community with lots of folks for several years now. And it’s basically; the worse we do is to empower parents to use powers beyond control in their daily discipline practices with their kids. For what we call sanity and social change. So to support and nurture the family, and the selves that are within that home. And then also to make social change by the way that we’re going about our discipline with our kids that there’s some incredible power there.

Liz Wolfe: Ok. So what is age range that you all specialize in? 

Kelty: It’s a pretty big range. Through kind of our Upbringing larger community, and in our smaller coaching groups, anywhere from; well we talk about babies a lot too. So babies up through early teens is the age range, I’d say, that we work with for parents. 

Liz Wolfe: So we found each other; I found you, not in a parenting capacity. It was actually a photo shoot for the Balanced Bites Master Class in Portland, right? 

Kelty: Yeah.

  • Powers beyond control [10:45]

Liz Wolfe: Ok. So that’s how we first met. And around that time, I don’t think I even had had; I don’t remember if I had a kid yet or not. But I’m just so grateful that I encountered the both of you and buddied up and was able to just follow you and everything that you were doing outside of that. Because I think at the time, and shortly after getting pregnant with my first, I familiarized myself a lot with Janet Lansbury and the RIE approach and a lot of these really respectful parenting approaches. 

But round about the time my now 7-year-old turned 5, I felt like she kind of; she didn’t age out of it, but it wasn’t really that area of specialization for Janet Lansbury. And I just very suddenly felt like I was just floating. And I had no idea how to respond. I mean, literally every day I walk around thinking; if it’s this bad at 7, how is it going to be at 17? So it’s a challenging time, and I really felt unmoored until I connected with your stuff again. It was the right time for it. 

And one of the first questions I had around your approach was; what are powers beyond control? Can you explain that to me a little bit more? 

Hannah: Mm-hmm.

Kelty: I just want to say first, we loved meeting you back then too.

Hannah: {laughs} Yeah.

Kelty: And I remember actually your daughter was at the shoot. She was like a little baby. 

Liz Wolfe: OK. Yes. I was trying to remember what stage we were in there. 

Hannah: And Upbringing hadn’t started yet.

Liz Wolfe: I can’t remember. I can’t remember. But I feel like; I just feel really grateful that I kind of continued to follow the both of you. It just feels like the universe knew that I was going to need you again one day. {laughs} 

Hannah: We’re grateful to have stayed connected, too. And I think; I mean, you described something that’s so natural. I think those early years, when we’re parenting younger kids, very often we’re like; oh, I can be the respectful, cool, calm.

Liz Wolfe: Totally.

Hannah: And be kind of welcoming all the feelings and doing all of that. And then when our kids get to a certain age where their resistance really picks up. Where their anger really picks up. Where the power in their bodies and in their spirits kind of starts just exploding; being activated. Really taking shape. It can be like; ok, this kind of loving, gentle approach doesn’t seem to be effective. Doesn’t seem to feel right. Doesn’t seem to be landing the way it used to. And I think powers beyond control; that’s when we start using control in a more overt way as parents. When our kids; big feelings and challenging behaviors start really ramping up. Immediately, we go to our instinctual control toolbox. 

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Hannah: We have an acronym for control, which, you know; consequences on my terms now, threats, rewards, overpower, lectures. And then we throw in shame, blame, spankings, time outs. All those things. Those are things that come very naturally to us, right? We’re just like; possibly used on us, that we see on TV, that our sister-in-law is probably using, that maybe we had used with our first child a little bit. 

And I think that something Kelty and I noticed in our parenting and our lives together was that using the control toolbox didn’t feel good for anybody. You know? And I think that was a big turnaround for us. To realize; what doesn’t feel so good about it? Is it because that was used on me? Is it because I’m noticing that it’s not helping or supporting my relationship with my child? Or building skills? Or is it also that there’s a real fundamental misalignment and disconnection between the discipline that I’m doing at home, as a parent, and the progressive values that I hold as an adult. 

So if I’m believing in freedom of speech. If I’m believing in body sovereignty. If I’m believing in democratic, nonviolent communication strategies with other adults, and in other institutions; why would I think that I want to use the control toolbox in my relationship with my child.

Liz Wolfe: Well oftentimes, the outcome too is kind of eerie. Because I know that I have implemented that in moments where I just didn’t know what else to do. And I just felt like I needed everything to just be fine in that moment. And I’ve used these control “tools”. And oftentimes also; I wrote in our notes, sometimes good people consider spanking. {laughs} You know? Because you just feel like you’ve run out of tools. And you’re like; oh, I get it. I totally get why my parents spanked me. Because I don’t know what else to do.

But then, I remember this moment where I achieved the control that I wanted, and I felt like I had actually achieved this submission. Where it was just like; she had given up. She was like; yeah mom. I’m sorry. Sorry I did that. And I was like; wait. Wait. Where are we. I completely lost my compass. Because she gave me what I wanted her to give me, but it was so; it felt like I had dominated her into some kind of submission. And it didn’t feel good.

Hannah: Mmm-mm. I love that you attest to that feeling that; when we feel the most powerless, we seek to use control.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Hannah: And what we’re really going for. And we’re noticing that doesn’t feel good, for us to really use it. We think it does. And then we notice the effect and impact it has on our child. Right? Not only are they experiencing that from a caregiver, but they’re also learning to experience that and to do that with other people. Which isn’t ideal.

But I think that when we think about; we’ve all done that. We’ve all been there. We’re going to have those impulses. Back to the wall; fight, flight, freeze, freakout mode. We’re human too. I think we want to be channeling, and that’s so much about what this process is. Rather than using these tools, it’s engaging in an approach, a daily approach, to say; how can I show up in a powerful way rather than powerless. And in powerful ways, actually not using control and wielding our power and abusing it in some ways. It’s actually acknowledging our privilege and it’s showing up with the opposite of control, which is connection. 

Which, in our society, they say; that’s permissive. That’s not enough. That’s not effective. But all the research and the science is coming in now that feels really good and encouraging about that. 

Liz Wolfe: Ok. Tell me more about that, because that was going to be one of my questions. Where; what do we know about the spanking and the control and all of that. This is a spectrum, right? I don’t know. I don’t know if I would put time out and spanking in the same category. But it’s maybe on the same spectrum; would you agree with that? 

Hannah: Yeah. It’s all punitive justice, behavioral based.

Liz Wolfe: Punitive.

Hannah: Yeah. 

Liz Wolfe: Yeah. Ok. So we have science. We have literature that supports this approach. It’s not just like; we should be nicer. 

Hannah: Mm-hmm. 

Liz Wolfe: Ok. And you’ve got; your website is very, very dense. Tons of freebies, tons of ideas that people can download and start to plug into for free. Do you also go into the science a little bit, anywhere on your Instagram or on your website? 

Hannah: On our Instagram we do. A little bit on the research. And we have references that we point people to. Especially for folks who are like; who really struggle to trust in doing these things just because our hearts and our spirits tell us that that’s the right thing to do. Our minds oftentimes put those roadblocks up based on our condition to say; I need proof that not spanking is good for my kid. Or that time outs are not ideal for my child. I think everybody needs their way and their path to kind of accept and understand maybe a different way forward. 

Kelty: Yeah, and I think that voice that’s in our heads, questioning and saying; but that can’t be right. That can’t be how kids learn best. Can also come in the form of a partner who is saying; where is the proof? Where’s the research? A mother-in-law being like; I just, you know, you turned out well. Or my son turned out well. So that’s how we should be going about it still. 

But there’s tons of research out; even in just the last 20 years or so that basically flips everything we believed on its head about how kids learn best. 

Hannah: For example; kids daily resistance. Their big feelings, their challenging behaviors. We are taught to think that those are inherently negative. It’s intentional. It’s manipulative. It’s worrisome. It’s pathological. It is not good. When truly, the research and science shows that kids daily resistance, big feelings, and challenging behaviors are actually totally positive, normal, developmentally, totally natural, normal, necessary. And that they’re actually signs of really critical information about what’s going on for our kids underneath.

And taking it to the next level; we also like to talk about that it’s their resistance, their feelings, their needs that they’re showing in these ways are also from the roots of a really strong urge to self protect and to self advocate. Which are really valuable skills that we don’t necessarily want to be shutting down. So I think that’s one of the biggest beliefs that just; what we see and what our kids are doing is wrong versus totally ok. Because we believe that it’s wrong; what are we going to do? We’re going to show up a certain way. Usually with the control approach, to shut it down. To change it. To fix it. To shape them. Right? To design them, basically.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah. You know where it gets really hard for me, and this is; as I said before we started recording. This is basically going to turn into a counseling session. Like, a one-on-one counseling session, {laughs} for me with my 7-year-old who is like a lovely, strong-willed, intelligent girl with her own ideas. And she’s so much like me. So, so much like me in the way she handles things. So there’s probably something in there about it.

But I just notice; the little tantrums and the struggles that we had in her childhood. I mean, it was idyllic. It was like; oh, she would tantrum on the floor and I would hold space for it. And the detox of emotions. All of it was like; the first 3-4 years were great. I felt like; parenting, this is all it takes? Just holding space? And then they start to get words. And then they start to say horrible, horrible things to you that make you feel like you are absolute garbage. {laughs} 

And they become so intelligent and so articulate. I mean, they’re always intelligent. But they become so articulate that they can cut you down like nothing else. And in those moments, I’m like; and maybe I need to think of it as like, just diffuse it with humor a little bit. Think about my 2-year-old falling down on the floor and rather than just screaming and tantruming, saying something like; “You’re the worst mommy in the world and I hate you!” because maybe if she could talk, that’s what she would be saying. {laughs} 

But that’s what my 7-year-old will say. And it feels like that; you just feel things just tightening up. Your throat tightening up. Your fists contracting, and just feeling like; oh my gosh. This is the most disrespectful. I have to put a stop to this now. 

So I guess my question is; how far does this go? Is there a point where you’re like; you need to be respectful to me, because I am an adult. And there is a difference between adults and children. Do you know what I’m asking? 

Hannah: Oh yeah. And I love that you basically; you describe this metaphor that Kelty and I use really often. which is saying; gosh, when our kids start using words and wielding those, it feels like as a tool of harm. 

Liz Wolfe: Yes.

Hannah: We have to remember, again, that it’s a communication method based on their current development and skills and self-regulation capacity just like it was when they were toddlers and threw themselves on the floor and blubbered and they were all cute and rollie pollie.

Kelty: Let us help them with stuff.

Hannah: Right, and when they were babies and would cry. We didn’t shame a baby and take their expressions of stress and struggle personally. We only do it when it looks a lot more adult-y, and it tricks us into forgetting about what’s going on underneath again. So remember; this is not, all of the behaviors are a sign of something. All of the words are a sign. And we can’t take that stuff literally. And we can’t center ourselves as parents in our child’s emotional process and in their own struggle.

So I think it’s really easy, because it puts us in a moment of childishness. Of being our own child in that moment, saying; what about me? Right? I can’t allow this. And I think there is something to be said for maybe mentioning the impact or processing the impact of hurtful words or disrespectful something or other at some point. But Kelty and I also like to talk about how; gosh, if you break down our role as parents into two categories; socialization is one of them. “You can’t say that to people. That hurts people’s feelings. That is a disrespectful thing to do or say. That’s harmful. I can’t let you do that.” That’s the socialization focus that most of us are kind of guided by in our parenting.

That’s also a focus of external society. Of everywhere they go in school. In-laws. Grandparents. Other friends. Society in general focuses on those behaviors and those words. They’re very behaviorist focused. and I think it’s really easy for us to forget that our other focus as parents, and really the number one root cause, elemental, fundamental opportunity we have is to work on their self-awareness. so to work from the inside out with our kids; not from the outside in of saying, this is what you need to do. Look at these outer expectations and let’s put that into your body to change it. But let’s go from the inside out. From a root cause kind of perspective of saying; I’m hearing these words, and they’re symptoms of something going on underneath. 

If you’re ever going to use words adaptively, or understand what’s going on or not hold stuff in and run away from your needs and conflict, it’s my job to have to lean into that with a little bit of empathy and compassion. Some curiosity. Some healthy separation, that it’s not about me. Right? You’re just projecting this stress onto me. And what we’re going to be doing is to help you understand what’s going on. Or, at the very least, have that self-compassion for when you’re feeling really sh*tty and not feeling good, to say; I’m still safe. I’m ok. Right? 

Liz Wolfe: Mm-hmm. Still loved.

Hannah: Still loved. Still whole. Still worthy, even though I’m struggling. But the work we can do can help our kids identify what’s going on underneath, so then they won’t be taken by surprise by their needs. And they’ll be able to communicate what they need over time. 

So it’s really not a permissive strategy. It’s a very productive strategy to say; I must set these behaviors and words aside. As long as everyone is safe. And I’m going to do the deeper, fundamental, root cause work of saying; what’s at play here? That allows us to help our kids. And that allows them to understand themselves, and help themselves, and be way more likely to notice other people’s needs, as well. Right? Rather than just look at people’s behaviors and judge them.

Kelty: It’s so funny that you mentioned, too; RIE just kind of stopped feeling like it was working for you as your child ages. Something people mention to us often; I used RIE for them as babies, and then I’m so lost now. 

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Kelty: And I think the fundamentals still apply. It just feels different as our kids are aging. So when our kids used to just wig out on the floor and we’d so; oh, you really wanted that cookie. And you couldn’t have it. And oh, you really wanted it. Right?

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Kelty: We’re acknowledging, we’re giving them the words. Then when they’re 7 and they say; “I hope you go somewhere and die.” 

Liz Wolfe: Yes! {laughs} 

Kelty: We say; “you really wanted that cookie, it sounds like. I’m so sorry that I put up that limit. Or I’m so sorry that we ran out of those.” It’s exactly the same thing. 

Liz Wolfe: And this is where it gets difficult for me. I used to; I was semi-familiar with hand in hand parenting. And they talk about having a buddy; somebody to vent to. Somebody to talk to. And I understand that more now, because this isn’t just a one time thing where it’s like; first of all, I thought RIE would end up leading me to not have to deal with any of this stuff {laughs} with my 7-year-old. I was like; if you start on the right foundation you won’t have to deal with that. I’m so glad we’re not going to have to deal with that.

But this is something that, sometimes, has to be done over and over again, multiple times, a day. It’s not just one big outburst and it’s all fixed. It’s like; you can do some really, really intense work. And then have to do it again an hour later.

Kelty: Well that’s the kind of disadvantage/downside to it, but it’s also the gift and the opportunity. Getting repetition. If we can look at it that way, as practice. Every time being able to show up and struggle through this to try to be in relationship in a new way for our kids. 

Hannah: Yeah, it’s really easy for us to be like; I am being treated like a doormat. I am hot garbage. This is very unfair, this feeling of being like; what about me? And we have to keep remembering that our kids are not responsible for meeting our needs. We are only responsible for meeting theirs. The parent-child relationship is not an equal relationship, and it should not be. Right? So we have to get, like you said, our needs met elsewhere. We’ve got to have a listening partnership. We’ve got to have a journal. We’ve got to have some friends online. We’ve got to have a parenting community, or someone else that we can go to to off-gas that stress, and process those little triggered moments. Or even the chronic nature of everything.

But I think, also, it can be an opportunity to learn about our own needs. When we’re so fried. That’s really good, again, information to us that maybe our needs aren’t being met. And ok, our kids aren’t meant to meet our needs. But maybe we could be setting some loving boundaries before we lose our sh*t. You know? Maybe we can be getting our needs met in other ways. It’s all good. 

  • Power is privilege [27:40]

Liz Wolfe: Ok. So, let me touch on a question that I put into our little document. If my little one; my 7-year-old, can express her exact feelings exactly when she feels them, why can’t I do that too? And you were just talking about, we’re not equal. And I get that. But I would love to just hear more around that; we’re treating them differently. We’re not treating them as dominating; what would the word be? A dominator and a dominatee? You know? There’s more egalitarianism; I don’t know if it’s egalitarianism. But enabling and “allowing” kids to have these full expressions of their emotions in the home. And I’m going to talk about; but what about other people, in a minute. 

That is a big shift in dynamic. And sometimes it feels like; ok. We’re giving them so much space. I don’t even know what my question is. It’s just an odd restructuring of what you feel like the parent/child relationship should be in that moment. Where you are really getting stepped on constantly. And you’re not allowed to say; “you need to be respectful because of everything I do for you all day long. I took you to the zoo, and I packed you this lunch, and I let you have goldfish, and I’m sorry that Dippin’ Dots is closed because I was going to let you have that too, and now you’re so mad at me.” You know? It’s just like; all of that stuff.

Hannah: Yeah.

Liz Wolfe: Why can’t I be like; you’re hurting me right now, and I need to step away from you, because I cannot stand you right now! {laughs} And I get what the answer is, but can you say it anyway? {laughs} 

Kelty: Oh my gosh. I love that you’re bringing this up. Because this is the feeling that comes up in us. This isn’t fair. 

Liz Wolfe: Yeah. 

Kelty: Giving, giving, giving. And look at what I’m getting! I’m raising an entitled brat.

Liz Wolfe: Yes. 

Kelty: I’m raising a spoiled, self-centered child. And they need to know that they can’t get their way all the time. They need to know that they can’t walk all over me. They need to know that I’m human too.

Liz Wolfe: And to a degree; don’t I deserve a bit of respect? It’s like; don’t I deserve a bit of that. Just a little bit. Not a lot. 

Kelty: It would be nice; but we don’t.

Liz Wolfe: {laughing} 

Kelty: I think culturally we’ve been conditioned to think that; like you said, it’s a hierarchy, right? So respect goes up the food chain to the power source. So kids should give respect to their parents, and feedback goes down the food chain, from the parent to the child. We give feedback on what they’re doing wrong, and what we need from them, and what our expectations are. 

Hannah: This is similar in schools. So teachers give feedback down, students give respect up. This is the same in businesses; CEOs give feedback down. Employees give respect up. And this structure, because this is how you control people. This is a really easy way to get stuff done, and to make money.

Kelty: And maintain power.

Hannah: And maintain power. 

Liz Wolfe: Mm-hmm.

Hannah: Is to say; no, no, no. Your voice doesn’t go up to me. My voice goes to you. Right? And you don’t automatically get respect from me. You have to earn it. Right? And I don’t have to earn your respect; you should just automatically respect me, because I’m the one in power. So we call that the power is permission mindset. Because I have the most power in the relationship, therefore I have permission to demand respect from you. To demand specific behaviors and obedience and conformity and all these things. I’d like you to meet my needs as often as possible. Right? 

And I think that the problem we have is because we love our kids. We’re not a CEO. We’re maybe not an instructor or other type of person. And that’s why we feel so uncomfortable. Because we’re giving in a way that’s different than most people in power have given. {laughs} 

Liz Wolfe: Mm-hmm.

Hannah: And then, it feels really unfair when that work and that love and those things aren’t reciprocated. but we’re not actually in a balance relationship with our child. So what Kelty and I like to think about is; reframing our power as parents to say; power is not just permission to do everything we want because we love our child or because we want to get our needs met as well. Power is actually privilege. We have to acknowledge the privilege we have in our relationship with our child. And say; we have so much more power than they do. 

Oh my gosh, we have so much more intelligence. So many more skills. So many more resources. And they deserve to be treated like a human, and be supported by someone who has more power. And we have to be careful how we’re using it. And we have to be really conscientious about what we’re expecting from them in return. Because we don’t want to teach them that you get to demand things from people that you have power over, when they didn’t agree to be in the parent/child relationship. They’re just trying to get their needs met from their attachment figure, which is us.

So I think when you raise that great question of; well, can’t I just say, I have needs too and this isn’t fair!? We can totally say that. But it’s just a little bit tricky in the parent/child relationship. Because our child is so connected to us, and their prerogative to survive is based on our love and our attention. So if we start gearing them towards thinking that they have to say things and do things to get love from us; which is basically to survive, then we are really framing their vision into their goals, and their imperative is not to learn, and grow, and express, and be themselves and learn who they are but to meet another person’s need for survival. 

And that’s how generations of co-dependence and people pleasers and insecure folks who don’t really know what we even want, necessarily. We don’t know what we need. All we know is what everyone else wants. We’re focused on that external gaze. And meeting those expectations. And pound for pound, failing to meet our own expectations, let alone even know what those are so often.

Kelty: I love that you bring up, too, something that comes up in discussions around RIE and criticisms of RIE or the respectful and conscious parenting approach, which is; I’m not Buddha.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs} Yes! 

Kelty: I cannot be this peaceful, happy, just let it blow through my hair like the wind person all the time! And I think that is absolutely spot on. You’re right; we can’t always be that cool, calm person that’s just unaffected, unruffled. Right, Janet? 

Liz Wolfe: Unruffled. Yep.

Kelty: We can’t always be that. You know; I think it’s ok to say; I’m struggling to our kid. It’s ok to say; I know you wanted Dippin’ Dots. Dippin’ Dots actually caused a lot of problems in our coaching. You’d be surprised.

Liz Wolfe: {laughing} 

Kelty: How much it comes up. Why do they put them in the zoos? But to say; you really wanted the Dippin’ Dots and now we’re struggling to get out of here and I’m struggling to support you right now. I need to step aside right now for a minute. I need to go take a couple of deep breaths. 

So we’re able to be authentic with our kids without screaming and traumatizing them. Slowly, over time, with practice. We can still put up limits. We can still express our personal boundaries. We can still be honest about having some feelings ourselves without putting it on our kids. You did this. You’re making me mad. 

Liz Wolfe: Yes. 

Kelty: You’re ruining our day. Right? 

  • Being the safe space for our kids [34:47]

Liz Wolfe: Yeah. So, alright. On that note. I’m going to come around to this question, and I’m sorry. It’s going to take me a minute. But I just have so; there’s just so much. I’m just bubbling over. 

So one of the things that I; if I had to articulate one of my hopes for my parenting journey it would be that I really, really want my kids to always feel comfortable coming to me with anything. But currently, my actions are not lining up with that becoming a reality, for several reasons. And I think there’s the easily recognizable; you’re making them feel like sh*t about being themselves. So they are naturally going to learn to hide parts of themselves from you. And sorry, mom and dad if my parents are listening to this. I didn’t feel that way. So I ended up on kind of; my default setting changed. Where there are certain things that I revealed and shared with my parents, and there were certain things; information, experiences, that they did not get access to. And I’m sure that is normal and natural no matter how perfect of a parent you are. 

But, I certainly am not doing a very good job creating that foundation for us. And at the same time, I would like to tell you about a little scenario we had the other night. Where my daughter was struggling mightily with something. I remember texting my husband and just being like; she’s being freaking next level horrible tonight. And we started bedtime, and it was just like; beyond meltdown city. It was physical; like her body movements were just like angry. Mixed up energy, shooting out of her fingertips. It was in her body. It was in the way she was speaking to me. It was everything. It was like the last day of school. The last day of school actually got canceled because of COVID. And just all kinds of stuff. There was so much stuff in there.

And I actually; it was cartoonish enough for me to be like; alright. This isn’t her right now. I need to try and connect. I need to take a page from the Hannah and Kelty playbook, from the Upbringing playbook, and just try and connect here and figure out what’s going on. And I, you know, said, “You really seem like you are struggling big time right now. What do you need from me? What do we need to talk about?” And we really dug deep into it. It was very ugly. I tried to hug her, and then I got scratched. I got physically mild injuries from the whole thing. But there was a whole physical/emotional detox around it.

But, we got to a better place. However; I also was so stressed out. And also the things that she actually told me she was struggling with broke my heart so much that I started crying and I could not stop. And it was just me. My husband was at work. And I feel like in the same way that you can scare a kid out of being fully open to you with control, power stuff; I’m wondering if you can also make a kid feel like they are responsible for your more tender emotions, like sadness the way I did in that moment. I felt like I really took her out of her sharing mode by being so emotionally unhinged, because of what she was sharing with me, that maybe that also could have scared her out of sharing more deeply because it was making me sad. 

So, is there anything to that? 

Hannah: Mm-mm. Thank you for sharing that. We’re sorry that was so hard. I’m sure everyone listening could be like; it me. That happens. 

Kelty: I was attacked this morning, too. 

Hannah: Yeah. It’s so hard to start the day that way; to end the day that way. That’s usually when it starts or ends, which is really tricky. But I love that you allude to that idea of saying; of unconditional acceptance of our kids. What unconditional love truly is isn’t saying that we prize that love, and show that love, and that connection just when things are going well and when little people are doing what we want and making us feel good about ourselves and safe in our bodies and like we’re a family with lots of harmony and giggles. But also when things are tough. Right? When there are challenges. When there are competing needs. That’s what we like to say. When nervous systems are dysregulated. When stress; the capacity, body’s capacity, has been exceeded by stress that’s inside it or the circumstances around it. And all of that is just so normal. 

So reframing our idea to say; there is an investment happening when I am able to show up as best I can in these challenging moments. To just see them as inherently worthy and valuable. Right? Because that’s going to show; not just nurture my child’s relationship and recondition conflict and challenges and needs from me, but it’s also going to help them show up in challenges when they’re older with that same calm, confidence, curiosity, and all of those things. And that’s why we struggle in those moments, because we don’t have that practice. We are literally skill building right alongside our kids in a lot of these moments. And sometimes, my kids even do better than I do.

Liz Wolfe: {laughing} 

Hannah: They don’t have years of baggage and layers of triggers on top. But I think the idea that you were going for in those moments; you were like; this is so obtuse and wild that I can actually realize this; I’m not taking this as personally. Right? And you were like, ok I’m going to try and connect. And I think another thing to remember is sometimes we can’t always connect in the ways that we want. Like a hug. Your daughter showed you; that’s not connection for me right now. And I think boiling down to the nervous system framework where we’re thinking; what they want is security in their bodies. So how can I be supporting my child and feeling secure in their body. Is that lowering the lights? Is that turning the radio off? Is that being across the room.

Liz Wolfe: The radio. {Laughs} 

Hannah: Yes. Is that being, you know, crouched down? Giving that distance. What is going to help their bodies? Because it used to be me holding them. And that’s not it anymore. Or all the time anymore. And Kelty, I’m sure you’re going to talk about the circle back, right? Because we can’t always show up in those moments. We do center ourselves sometimes. We’re overwhelmed with frustration or resentment or anger. Or sadness and disappointment and helplessness. 

Kelty: Yeah. Whether we’ve shown up with anger or crying, like you said, Hannah. Or, if we’ve made it clear that them sharing a certain thing with us doesn’t feel good and we didn’t like hearing that. We can always circle back later. At the end of the day when we’re snuggling, if we’re driving in the car and they do better with a circle back where we’re not face to face. If maybe we want to float something to our partner. “Earlier was hard when this thing happened.” We can always say; “I’m sorry I didn’t show up the way I wanted.” Or, “You came to share something with me, and it sounded like a lot of yelling, and that made it hard for me to listen and I’m so sorry I couldn’t be listening to you and connecting with you about that the way that you needed. It took me by surprise a little bit.” Or, “I was struggling with the noise of it. And I couldn’t be there for you the way I wanted. I’m so sorry.” 

Hannah: Mm-hmm.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah. 

Kelty: It’s never too late. 

  • Circle back [41:44]

Liz Wolfe: So, are there ever times; I mean, I think those circle back times. They sound like the point at which, if there was a lesson to impart that maybe that’s when you could kind of break a few things down. You know; I’m sure there’s a fine line between tone policing and actually telling people; you know, it’s best to approach people this way. Is there a place to actually have those types of lessons? Where, for example, the world that we’re living where you want them to go across the street and play with the kids across the street and treat their parents with respect. How do those conversations happen without totally painting over everything that you’re trying to do at home? 

Kelty: Yeah. That is the fine balance. That’s a tricky area where we’d love to be doing a circle back that is normalizing conflict. That is creating a positive association. That is about the inside and all that internal work. Right? But it’s easy for us to tiptoe into what a lot of us grew up with, which is the grill back. 

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Kelty: Where we start really nice, and we’re like; “Uh, that was really hard. Anyway, so what choice are you going to make next time?” 

Liz Wolfe: {laughs} Yeah.

Kelty: “So that really felt pretty bad for everyone. So I just wanted to point out the impact again, even though you know how bad that felt, because you felt bad too.” So I think that focusing on the impact, even in a circle back, can get really tricky. And that’s why Hannah will talk a lot about modeling, and that being such a huge superpower.

Hannah: Well, and just like in the moment with our kids. When they’re really struggling. We’re not wanting to prioritize socialization, we’re wanting to prioritize self-awareness. So we’re saying you, you, you. Which is so scary and hard to do. But we’re saying the investment on the roots. I’m the only one in my child’s life that is going to do this investment. I want them to understand themselves, because if they understand themselves, then they’ll know themselves. They’ll love themselves. They’ll be able to communicate things in better ways. And they’ll also understand other people. 

So that belief and that focus in the moment of a conflict should also be replicated after a conflict in a circle back. Because if we end up saying, centering ourselves or other people or that external gaze in those conversations, that tends to lead our kids to feel shame. They’ll shut down, or want to avoid the conversation. And just like it would be in the moment, when we’re talking about external gaze, our kids are saying; but what about me? I’m not learning anything, I’m just feeling like crap about it. Right? 

So I would continue to focus on them, them, them, and understanding. Maybe a little perspective taking with curiosity. Like, “I’m wondering how they felt about it? Hmm.” Just very light. Because we have to remember; and it sounds like your daughter is very sensitive. She’s very smart. Oftentimes we find ourselves having to rub our kids faces in the impact. I think we overblow that to the point where, again, we’re raising a generation of pleasers and anxiety ridden co-dependence; right, who are like; did I say the wrong thing? Oh god, oh god, I’m so sorry! Apologizing for everything. 

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Hannah: So I think that we can hold that fine line. And then I think remember, too, our power lies outside those moments of conflict in our own modeling and our own storytelling and our own way of showing up alongside our kids. Where we can perspective take about that stuff, and show those lessons. If; “oh my gosh, I really put my foot in my mouth at work today. I was just feeling kind of grumbly and I snapped at one of my friends and they were like; whoa, where did that come from. And I was like; oh, that’s a good question. I wonder. I know you liked to be talked to more gently. I’m so sorry about that.”

We can really create those stories and that pattern and those rhythms alongside the work we’re doing to help our child understand why they’re behaving and saying those things in the first place. But they can’t really happen at the same time, and we definitely want to leave space for that self awareness practice, first. 

Liz Wolfe: So there’s an element of trust there, I guess. Where you have to truly trust that those really intense moments; that they are understanding what kind of impact their words are having. It’s not like you need to, in the circle back, be like; “hey, you know, now that we’re all calm, I need to make you understand how mean you are.” That type of thing. You know? Because I can understand how it would be translated that way. And I’m very guilty of that. I’m very guilty of that. 

Because I feel like; ok. Even in the moments where I feel like I do everything right, it’s like; ok, now that we’re calm, I’m going to say; “hey, you know, part of the reason I got so upset is because I really don’t think that you should speak to adults like that.” {laughs} 

Hannah: Right. And well it’s hard, because what is your daughter thinking and learning from a conversation like that? 

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Hannah: Saying; mom is thinking of other people instead of me. Mom is allying with these neighbors instead of me. Right? And that can create a little bit of a distance. But I think; I don’t know. I think; I don’t know. My mind is so open right now. Who are we allying with?

Liz Wolfe: And it’s hard to know. It’s probably moment to moment, too. And this got me thinking, also, about what I said at the very beginning. Where that time when my daughter was like; yeah, ok mom. I’m sorry. And I was like; wait a second. That didn’t feel right. You just submitted. We didn’t come together on this, you just submitted. You laid down. You know? And showed me your teeth, belly up. Like, ok. You win. 

And when I have done that in the, I’ll call it the circle backs. I know you call them that, but I’m probably not exactly calling what I’m doing by the right name. But in the circle back, going back and explaining how you were hurtful, in feeling like I’m imparting some type of lesson for existing in society. A couple of times what I’ve actually gotten is that same vibe where it’s just like; ok, cool. Yeah. Thanks. You know? Like, ok mom. And I’m like; shouldn’t you be getting really defensive? And I wonder. That’s what got me thinking about one of the questions that I popped in our document was; let’s talk about defensiveness. What’s the root of defensiveness? is it instinctual? How do we dismantle it? And thinking, actually maybe defensiveness. I don’t know. Again, now I’m circling around something. Because defensiveness too would be another opportunity to connect. But would I rather have defensiveness. 

Ok, I’m sorry folks. I’m working through this in my head right now. So I’m thinking, if I’m not circling back and saying, now this is what you did and you need to not do anymore. I wouldn’t get either one of those outcomes; submission or defensiveness. So, that’s that. Addressing something different; or doing something differently in the circle back we probably wouldn’t deal with either of those things. 

Hannah: Right. What your identifying is saying; my impulse as a parent and the one in power is to explicitly teach my child what to do or what not to do.

Liz Wolfe: Yes. 

Hannah: We have to remember how kids learn, and we also have to remember our relationship and our power and privilege in the relationship. And remember that kids learn implicitly, and they actually learn by doing. So if we teach explicitly by saying; “I just need you to know don’t do that. So I’m going to warn you. So that’s lesson learned. So just don’t do it.” Or they do something and then we say, “I’d like to talk about what you did and how bad that was. So I’m going to explicitly say; do it or don’t do it.” 

But kids have to actually offend a neighbor and notice that to really learn. A lot of the reason we do it just because we’ve been conditioned this way, but also because we love our kids and we want to save them from the pain.

Liz Wolfe: Yes! 

Hannah: We want to keep them from that and protect them.

Liz Wolfe: Yes. 

Hannah: So preemptively try to front load these warnings, this information, this socialization stuff, hoping they’ll just get the memo and show up in a normal way already. Have friends, and be a good neighbor, and be a sensitive lover someday, and all these things. 

Liz Wolfe: {laughs} And we won’t have to deal with the social pain of being the people who are raising the weird kids. {laughs} 

Hannah: Exactly. So it’s really a fear based response of avoiding pain for them and for us. And we have to remember that our goal isn’t to avoid pain. Our goal is to create security around all of life’s experiences with our child. And to be their ally, and help them experiment and learn and do.

Kelty: I like to always think about it like; in a partnership kind of capacity or in a friendship capacity. Let’s say you and your friend were out, and she kind of put her foot in her mouth about something. Would you, when you got back home, kind of grill her about it? Be like; I can’t believe you said that. That was crazy. And she’s already like; I know! Or, oh my gosh I said that and I offended who?! Right, we would be more kind of the wing person. Ugh; the party was fun, but there were some ups and downs. What did you notice with so and so? Did you guys have a good conversation? Work up the buddy, or the side by side person, that’s neutral. With no top down agenda.

Hannah: Right. And when the person we’re talking to; a friend, a child, a partner, responds either with defensiveness or with submission, which are the two ways. You either stand up to this or you fall back from it. They’re responding to power. Right? So that’s the power that we’re using is causing them to basically disconnect from themselves and disconnect from us. To put up a forcefield that’s either a defensive one or a submission based one that says; I’m not dealing with this. I can’t handle this. I’m not learning. This doesn’t feel good. 

So the engagement, and the connection, and the learning, and the growth, and the relationship kind of slow a little. So that’s so cool that you noticed that. Where you’re like; oh man. Using my power.

Kelty: It doesn’t feel authentic.

Hannah: In teaching explicitly isn’t getting the result that I want it to. 

Liz Wolfe: Yeah. Yeah. And I fall into that comparison trap where I’m like; ok, well this parent has a really nice kid. What are they doing? You know, you have to deal with your kid. It’s not; there’s no comparing. You don’t know what goes on in somebody’s houses. And you don’t know why that kid is such a “good” kid. It might be because they’ve been Janet Lansbury and Upbringing.co-ing their kids perfectly since birth or it might be because a million other reasons that have nothing to do with respectful parenting. So the comparison game; I mean, it’s toxic for me and I’m sure it’s toxic for others.

Kelty: It is. And I want to say; the people who follow Janet are going to have the kids who are louder. And ruder.

Liz Wolfe: Ugh, you’re so right. {laughs} 

Kelty: Not the quiet, submissive, “I know my feelings so I’m just going to keep them to myself now.” 

Liz Wolfe: Yeah. Yeah.

Hannah: We have to remember that our kids are the wildest ones, the most outspoken ones. 

Kelty: They’re free.

Hannah: The worst with the worst hygiene and the most random…

Liz Wolfe: {laughs} Oh, the worst hygiene. 

Hannah: And the most random ensembles who resist everything because they know their personal power and it’s been respected from the beginning. And we have to continue to give parents permission to trust and remember that all of these things we’re nurturing in our kids does not look pretty right now. And it makes us fear spiral into being like; how are they going to do this as an adult? 

Liz Wolfe: Right.

Hannah: We have to remember, we’re incubating in these early years with our kids. And that the work and the freedom and the nurturing we’re giving them is going to help them really succeed adaptively as an adult without a compromised self-concept. Without anxiety. Without a disconnection from their inner attunement and themselves. It’s all part of the puzzle, but we have to trust in it. And actually get a little proud of it. 

“Oh, my daughter is the one who just gives no F’s sometimes.”

Liz Wolfe: Mm-hmm.

Kelty: She’s the one that sass back when somebody says something kind of like rude to her and talks down to her as a parent.

Hannah: Right. My daughter is really focused on her body and what it needs. So that’s kind of her priority right now. Understanding that and meeting those needs. It’s all a reframe. It’s not horrible what she’s doing. It’s normal, natural, necessary. 

Liz Wolfe: On that hygiene note; this is why I got scratched so badly. Because we {laughs} we’re having a little bit of a standoff over the nails, and cutting the nails. And your point about the worst hygiene just absolutely cracked me up. Because it’s just so true. The hair brushing. I don’t do it anymore. It’s up to her. And I’ve talked to my daughter about hygiene. But now I’m also realizing that I am being sort of forceful with the hygiene stuff. I have literally said; I am your mom and it is my job to make sure you take care of your hygiene. {laughs} and she’s like; what’s hygiene. And I’m like; oh, I dazzled you with a word. Maybe now you’ll let me do it. {laughs} 

Kelty: {laughs} We really do think that that’s our job. 

Liz Wolfe: Yeah. 

Kelty: On our website we have our freedoms model, which is basically these 10 areas of our kids lives that we begin when they’re really little, totally in control over.

Hannah: Mostly.

Kelty: Mostly in control over. As they get older, as they age, I think that’s where the discomfort happens. Where we’re kind passing that baton as they’re supposedly taking over. Maybe not in line with our expectations and our timing in terms of hygiene or food or toileting or cleaning up or any of these things. We’re like; now it’s your job, and you’ve got to do it, and I’ve got to tell you how to do it explicitly so that you turn into a certain type of person or at least don’t trigger the crap out of me all day every day. Right? 

Liz Wolfe: Yeah. Yeah. Gosh. Yeah. So many moments throughout the entire; I mean, what’s a good target? 12% of the moments during the day that you actually address with the correct approach. There’s so much! 

Hannah: There’s so much. And I mean, that’s, like Kelty always says. The burden and the opportunity. Where it’s like; we’re never going to be able to say, I want to respond with connection instead of correction. I want to show security instead of insecurity so my child can learn. I’m going to do this in all of these areas. That’s really, really difficult. But I think that’s why we focus on our kids’ resistance. Because when they resist, that is a beautiful signal to us that maybe we’re using our power in a way that’s going against their body agency or their freedoms in some way. And that doesn’t mean; there’s no consent police coming to track us down. Or, you know, freedoms jury that we’re up against or anything. 

But it’s just an awareness exercise of saying; how am I using my power? How is my child responding to that? How am I supporting them in building confidence in their body autonomy, and in their body care? Because it doesn’t happen all at once. It doesn’t happen by us doing it. Right? It’s self-care, not mom care. Right? It’s self-confidence, not mom confident. It’s self-attuned, not mom attuned. All of these goals are on the self, which we really deprioritize in our society. But we’re helping our kids focus on that self, and take the path that they’re meant to go on. Which might look a little bit longer. It might be dirty nails longer than we think. But giving our kids that power back to their bodies, it’s surprising what they’ll do when we’re not pushing and we’re not asserting power that then creates counter resistance to that.

Kelty: It’s so easy for us to think; ok, we’ve either got to control this. Because it’s our job and our responsibility to make sure they eat the broccoli, to make sure they trim the nails, to make sure they look ok. To make sure they’re up and doing the homework and doing all this stuff. So I’ve got to be on it. And I’m probably going to control through that. Or, I’m just going to be so permissive and let it go and let them be free and everything is going to devolve into chaos. 

We don’t have to go either way on that. Our work is right in the middle. And I think a lot of our work is through connection instead of control, yes. And it’s also focusing on our modeling and our kids attunement. So can those conversations instead of being a lecture or reminder or what we call the bummer police, or a demand. Can we just be that soft questioning supportive person next to them. How is your body feeling? Oh, your nails are looking a little longer than mine, at least. Do you like them that long? Right? How’s your hair feeling? I noticed a couple of knots in the back, and sometimes you don’t like those. Do you need a little support brushing? No, ok. 

How’s your stomach feeling? Do you feel like you ate enough or you feel like you want a little bit more? How are you feeling? So we’re focusing on attunement and feeling with that belief from the freedoms model that we use that our kids know their bodies and our kids know their needs best. We don’t know those things. Right? 

  • Floating the river [57:55]

Liz Wolfe: Yeah. Yeah. When I was going through your freedoms model. Which, all of this. And we’ll talk about; we only have a few minutes left. So I’m going to ask you about the resources you have available on the website. When I was going through the freedoms model, I was like; ok. I need a win here. What am I doing? What am I doing a good job of already? And free to nourish, we trust their bodies to know. That was definitely one; with the food stuff, I’m pretty good about that. And there were others that I was like; dang.

And to be honest with you, a lot of this self reflection and just kind of watching myself from a birds eye view as a parent has made me realize how actually manipulative I can be without even intending to be. These are probably not; I’m sure I do it to my husband now and then. But these are probably not skills I use with the adults around me. But perhaps because the children are small and easier to manipulate or coerce. I think maybe that worst part of me comes out. And I realize how manipulative I am capable of being. Even entirely unintentionally. Whether it’s sort of feeling like I want to withhold some affection, or be less affectionate than I usually am when they’re being “good”. It’s actually a little bit disturbing, to be honest, to think about that. 

But I know it is important work.

Hannah: And shame free work, too. I just love that you acknowledge that. And I think all of us show up in these ways. And starting to build that awareness and acknowledge; wow. I’m showing up in ways that don’t align with my ultimate goals for my child. That don’t align with my values. That don’t align with how I would like to be treated. Right? That’s ok. All of it is good. It doesn’t mean we’re bad.

Again; we internalize that binary good/bad, right/wrong.

Kelty: Best self/worst self. 

Hannah: Right, exactly. We have to be approaching ourselves with the same compassion and empathy and unconditional love, essentially, that we’re trying to give our kids. So that’s why I say we’re all growing up together. Right? Because we’re not meant to feel shame for all of this.

Kelty: Yeah. Interesting, too, a lot of people come to us and say; some days I wish that I didn’t even find your account.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs} 

Kelty: Some days I wish I didn’t know that there is another way. Because before I felt more sure, even though I felt worse. And I think it nods to this growing awareness that we have. And when you start seeing what control is. When you start to question yourself; not doubt yourself, but question yourself. Where did that idea come from? Where is that expectation from? Do I have to do it this way? Do I really need my daughter to do this now, in this way, right here, on my terms? Why? And just floating why constantly can be a little destabilizing at first. But it can also be a true liberation for both you and your kids.

Liz Wolfe: Mm-hmm. I’m just blown away every single day at the quadrillions of little moments that you can feel like; gosh. I just failed over and over again. And it’s just; it’s unbelievable the number of, like you said, opportunities there are to screw up. But also to reflect and to do something good and make steps forward in your relationship with your kid. Sometimes it feels like two steps forward, one step back. Or more than that. But I guess feeling like; how do you guys not lose confidence in the overall trajectory? The overall journey? What is your anchor with all of this?

Hannah: Mmm. That’s such a great question.

Liz Wolfe: Is that you’re helping so many people like me? {laughing} 

Hannah: I think that we’re all in this…

Kelty: We aren’t alone.

Hannah: We’re all in this together. I think that’s the biggest thing. And I think taking the framework we’re trying to look at our kids, that all of their behaviors and feelings and needs are really critical information and of value. The same thing applies to us. There are no mistakes. There are no fails. The only way we learn how to do anything. Think about how you learn to cook. Think about how you learn to ride a bike. Think about how you learn to do anything. It is actually predicated upon failures and missteps. Because that’s how you find the way. Is when you find the way that’s not working. Or the thing that didn’t feel good.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Hannah: That’s what lights the path. And those little obstacles are actually the way to growth. So we have to keep remembering that just like our kids, making their mistakes and what we love to say, failing forward. Not failing back. We are doing the same thing right along side them. And Kelty, you always have the metaphor of a staircase and the stream. 

Kelty: Yeah, it’s so easy to think it’s two steps up and then we yelled, so one step back. And then it’s three steps up and we slammed a door, or we gave them shame-y glare eyes, and it’s all backwards. And we have this mental point system or something based on our cultural conditioning. There’s a scorecard, right, for us. And I think instead of a stairway, we like to look at it as a river. And this is a really helpful metaphor for me, just thinking; we’re always moving forward. We’re in a little boat, we’re on this river. It’s got a good little current. Sometimes we get caught in an eddy. Sometimes we get momentarily beached up on the side. But we’re moving. We’re always moving forward, because we’re always growing. Experimenting, practicing with our kids.

Hannah: And, it’s not a race to get through the river. The river goes on forever. Right? Some people are going to pass us. People are going to go different directions. We’re going to move past. It’s not a race. So it’s breaking out of that whole mindset of winner/loser. Achievement orientation. You know? It’s so different.

Kelty: Yeah, I think it’s good too that we don’t need to know it all. And our kids actually have most of the answers has helped me take the pressure off my shoulders. That burden of responsibility is really to keep our kids fed and housed and relatively clean. Right? But more than that, to just feel in relationship and feel in connection with us.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah. Yeah. Ok. So tell me; tell everybody listening. Where to start, both on your Instagram and on your website. Which approach should people look at? Where do people go first that want to know more? 

Hannah: They can head to Upbringing.co, or they can find the same link through our Instagram @Upbringing.co also. Where we have a download that’s when kids resist, and it’s the 6-step model which we call our resist approach. But we break that open, and we talk about some beliefs. It’s just a nice starting off point to be like; ok. Let’s do this. What are we going to talk about here? How am I going to start reframing and reapproaching these challenges, big feelings, and behaviors with a little bit different lens and a little bit of a different approach.

Kelty: We’ve got a freedoms model on there, too, just thinking about our kids rights. So those beliefs being like; ok, so they have the freedom to speak. Anything, really? They can say anything? Ok. They’ve got the freedom to feel anyway they want all the time? Ok. Let’s focus on that. Freedom to contribute. They can clean up or not clean up? Ok gulp. 

Liz Wolfe: Oh, that’s probably a whole other episode. 

Kelty: A whole other one right? All of that to remind us kids rights. And that kind of keys us into interacting through the resist approach in the nonviolent, empathetic, sensitive, support staff way when we’re able. So we’ve got a lot of other stuff on the website, too. But we love doing weekly live Q&As over on Instagram. That goes over to our podcast. And that’s kind of what we’re working on right now.

Liz Wolfe: I love it. Well I have asked you all questions on Instagram that have ended up in your live Q&As. So you actually do; you really are pulling from the community. You’re answering questions. You’re helping people in real time. Which is awesome. 

Kelty: We’re so grateful for it. Yeah.

Hannah: Seriously.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah. So any plans to create some kind of free PDFs for moms that are coaching their own kids in soccer, and how to implement any of these in the coaching relationship {laughing}?

Hannah: Ooh, yeah. 

Liz Wolfe: Just kidding. Soccer season is over, but I’ll need you when basketball season starts. 

Hannah: {laughs} 

Kelty: {laughs} 

Hannah: It all counts. It’s all connected.

Kelty: Yeah.

Liz Wolfe: Ooh. It’s so hard. Ok, well one of the things I also love about this is that hopefully as I work to do this more in daily life, maybe I will be able to give other parents around me who maybe are feeling the same way I am, maybe feeling like they’re using a little too much control or feeling like maybe there’s a better way. Maybe just me being messy and trying to figure this stuff out and having a kid that’s being a dick to other people {laughs}. And how I handle it. Maybe it can give more permission to the people around me to go into the struggle with me.

Kelty: I love that. I think it will give people permission. I think it’s a good example of trust and of child honoring. It’s great. 

Liz Wolfe: Yeah. I’ve got a really good community around me, so I’m very thankful for that. And really thankful, also, for my daughter’s school. Because I know she did not get this from me, but she has come to me a couple of times and said stuff like; you seem like you’re struggling; is there anything I can do? And I know she’s hearing that at school. So I’m really grateful for that, for sure. 

Hannah: Remembering, too. I just want to say last that our kids that give us so much trouble and are so challenging; they’re raising us. Right alongside them.

Liz Wolfe: Oh totally.

Hannah: Gosh. We like to say chosen and lucky. You know; not cursed or unlucky. {laughs} So it’s pretty cool and we’re all in this club together.

Liz Wolfe: You guys are great. Thanks so much for coming on.

Hannah: It’s so great to chat with you.

Kelty: Liz, this was so fun. 

Liz Wolfe: Alright, friends. Me again. That’s it for episode 32. Don’t forget to follow me @RealFoodLiz on Instagram, and @Upbringing.co as well.  A big thank you to Arrowhead Mills for making this episode possible. Remember, you can ask me anything by sending me a DM but the best way to ask is to go to www.RealFoodLiz.com/AskLiz. That way, they don’t get lost in my inbox. 

I appreciate you! I’ll see you next week. 

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