Okay, here's the deal, you know this as a parent, you've got a lot going on, too much going on. And when your kid comes with another big reaction, another request another moment where they need something it can send, it sends me over the edge, and I don't have the capacity, or the patience or the compassion. And now think about your kid, they've got a lot going on as well. We wanted to attack that we wanted to understand that better. So what you're going to see what you're going to watch for next 20 to 23 minutes, is a really important conversation that I have with my friend, and therapist, and coach and consultant, Charlie Ruce, around how to understand what our kids are going through, and reframe the way in which we parent them. He has incredible practical, relevant tips and ways for us to understand what's going on with our kids and how to parent them, nurture them, care for them. And then ultimately, what we care about, is to give our kids the tools and everything that they need to build a meaningful life. So thanks for joining us, you're ready, you're gonna want to take notes.
Hey, Charlie, thank you for joining on this webinar, I think the main universal problem we are all dealing with as parents is our kids. I mean, it's, we've had enough for a while. And we've particularly been in this unique time for almost two years now. of incredible stress, and you have a backgrounds, you can tell us a little bit and therapy and coaching and consulting. I'm curious, from your perspective, how do you see what's happening right now, to us and to our kids? Yeah, well, you know, it's got, like you said, my, my backgrounds in, I'm a licensed therapist. I've, I was previously the Clinical Director at the Soul Care House here in San Diego, and have really shifted my practice, as you said, from the therapy world into the coaching and consulting world working with organizations and, and really trying to create this kind of moving from creating healthy people as the goal to creating healthy organizations, and so emotionally healthy, emotionally intelligent organizations. And so a big part of people, kids, organizations being healthy, is having healthy nervous systems. And in the past couple years, what we have seen is the amount of intensity and complexity in our world and our countries go sky high. And when the amount of complexity and intensity goes sky high, our nervous systems feel that and you will usually feel it in the form of more fight energy like anger, frustration, irritation, more flight energy, less fear, worry, insecurity, anxiety, or more Freezy energy like overwhelmed collapse, I don't want to do anything lethargic, low energy. And so when we're talking about like,
our kids, what we would expect is that their nervous systems are now having to process and deal with a massive increase in complexity and intensity, and similar working out if you can lift 100 pounds comfortably, and your trainer says, Sorry, Scott, today we're doing 125 Whether you like it or not, we would expect your body to go, oh, no, that's more than I'm comfortable with. That means I'm going to be sore and tired and need more rest. And it's the same thing. It's, and a lot of these ideas that we're going to be talking about, by the way come from the model called Organic intelligence, which was founded by Steve Hoskinson. And I've been training in that model since 2014.
Some of the stuff you're talking about. I don't want to sound like a devil's advocate. But life is hard. In general, it's hard to be a parent. And it's hard to be a kid, particularly a teenager, there's risk threat stress all the time. But what you're talking about is is different. Is that what I'm hearing? Yeah, you know, it's it's
and that's what people push back on with mental health and therapy all the time is, is Oh, yeah, we all have worries while have anxiety. Yeah, we all have low energy. Sometimes we all get a little depressed. We all and yeah, that's true. And so what what we have to understand is that there's levels of severity, we have a scale. And so there's your average everyday worry and anxiety and then there's
an anxiety disorder and panic attacks. And you know, people can have a scale of one to 10 you can have level 345 10 have anxiety, overwhelm, stress, irritation, anger. And the same thing is true right now. It's like yeah, of course, life is hard and kids have to learn skills and learn how to navigate a difficult world.
But in the last two years that got way, way harder. So it's one thing to say,
Hey, Mom and Dad, I need to work, figure out my relationships and how to have good friendships, I need to figure out school on how to manage my schedule, learn all the stuff I have to learn. I'm trying to navigate extracurricular activities, I'm trying to navigate a changing growing body that's having hormone changes and all that stuff, all the time, trying to navigate relationships to my siblings, and parents, and on and on. So we'll take those. And School is on school is off, I'm learning by video, my family is sick, maybe I'm going through the death of someone everyone's scared, the political system is super intense, mom and dad are on edge more, we're adding being a kid of super hard. And then we're going to add in
these major issues.
And one key part I think there is
all everything you just said is true. sounds normal, but it's not as though our kids tell us that, you know, as a narrator, to their overreactions to things. It would be nice in the moment for a kid to be able to say, hey, you know what, Mom and Dad, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed by today, we had a we had a with a drill we had to do and some kid said, my shirt looks stupid. And I caught a clip to the news that maybe we're gonna go back to virtual school. And they don't say that they just like as scenario recently, we informed one of our kids that we weren't going to be able to take them to school early, extra early, like they prefer. And that news sent our kid into just absolute, you know, yeah, freak out, yelling, your bad parents, the whole thing. And our interpretation of that was, how dare you talk to us that way? Right. And so you see these clashes? Maybe you could just kind of give me a little free therapy for second island? Well, yeah. And I think what you said is key, it's like our interpretation, you know, what, what we what does that mean? And so you see a lower resiliency. And parents have trouble with this all the time. Oh, that means they don't respect me, that that's why they're reacting like this, oh, it means they're insubordinate, it means they don't have discipline, it means they're not obeying God, it means they're just bad kids, it means what if it means they're exhausted? What if it means their resiliency is much lower? Now? What if it means they're under severe stress? What if it means
they're not coping well, and they're having a lot more freeze and anxiety on their nervous systems from how complex the world is, then it's not personal, then it's just their suffering. And it's coming out in ways they can't, they don't even know it. First of all, they don't know they're suffering. They don't they don't have the kids don't have the emotional intelligence to go. That's interesting. My state inwardly is changing. I'm wanting to react in ways that are hard on my parents, I wonder if there's other strategies I can work through to process this better? Those are skills you and I have learned through years of inner work.
Sort of so yeah. And even then work in progress. Yeah, even though it's a massive work in progress, progress. And so and you have all the parents I know, I know, you're teaching these emotionally healthy and emotionally intelligent principles to your kids, but their kids. And so
you know, does a 1011 1215 year old
know how to articulate their inner experience and what they're going through? No, they just, won't you have to interpret it, because they're not going to? Yeah.
One of the other, I think, maybe poor interpretations. I know I make. And I know talking about your friends, when our kids are having a particularly hard time kids, maybe have a kid that gets really scared and anxious to go to school in the morning. Or maybe you got a kid that's got some digestive issues before a certain events, or a kid that's like, tanking school, and just not turning stuff in. I think that interpretation for me is often what am I doing wrong? How have I been blowing it? Have I been missing something? And it's not as much about my kids blowing it. It's about me. I'm curious what you think about that? Yeah.
I think it is hard to have what I think we'd call like an oriented perspective of reality, like a true present perspective of reality, what is true meaning? What is my part as the parent, I might play a part, I might be under stress, I might be more irritable, I might be pushing at them in ways that are unhelpful. It might have nothing to do with me. And it might be they're struggling or their classroom environment has changed or they're sick or they have,
by nature, biologically higher levels of anxiety and depression that they were born with. And it has nothing to do with my parenting, and social and a lot of ways modern psychotherapy tends to reduce kids struggles down to parents. It's the parents which is good. A family systems perspective says let's look at the family system and see if the symptomology the anxiety.
Due to depression, the reactivity is coming out of something wrong in the family. That's a good perspective. It's just if we always go there pretty soon mom and dad start to feel beat up, like, I guess it's my screw up again, versus No, our kids are really, really complex. They have their own internal biology, their own hormones, and vitamins and minerals. And we can have deficiencies, some things need medication, we can have friendship issues, personality differences, the Enneagram, as you know, is helpful to figure out by nature is my kid just lack resiliency in some area. So I think it's healthy for parents to say, what's my part?
But yeah, when we split on it, and it becomes it's the parents all the time, that's a good recipe for shame and feelings of failure and what's wrong with me? And yeah, not productive, not productive. So it's not necessarily a discipline issue. For instance, my kid is freaking out about not getting to school on time. And, you know, our reaction is, how dare you talk to us that way, therefore, your phone is gone, or you can't watch this, you can't go play with that kid. Like, you know, my first gut reaction is a discipline.
How you maybe give you some practical steps in between? Yeah, shutting down their social life, and understanding what's going on? Yeah, I mean, if we, if we sort of zoom out and think about
the level of intensity coming out of our kids, is the issue, right? It's like, you're feeling intensity, and then you're doing something saying something, doing something, hitting, yelling, crying, screaming, pouting, pushing back arguing, that's coming from this intensity. And then what a parent typically wants to do is inhibited. I don't I don't want that much intensity. So I want to put the lid on the boiling pot and be like, That's unacceptable. Don't do that. Yeah. Which, in my way to do that, which I think is a lot of parents, I in order to inhibit them, get them to be quiet, get them to calm down, I get I get bigger, I get more intense. Yeah. So somehow, if I can just kind of, yeah, I want to lower intensity in the environment. So I'll be more intense. It's like, yeah, that usually doesn't work real well. Right. But that's most parents strategy is just, I'll get big, so they get smaller. And then, and that can work, of course. And at times, yeah, simple inhibition is needed. You know, you're in a social environment and based right little church, and they start fighting, and it's like, stop it. Don't do that. That's, you can't do that here.
But if that's my only strategy, I'll just inhibit inhibit and hidden, there isn't.
That doesn't usually resolve the intensity of what's going on, it doesn't help them learn to manage it better. And so sometimes, you know, they might need to be, you know, either need to have a conversation and say,
you know, I can I can tell that you're upset and something's going on, you seem a little different. And that's okay. It makes sense. You know, a lot of validation, that's normal, I wouldn't blame you for being upset based on everything that's going on in our family in the world.
It might be normal to be experiencing fear and anger and just to be more bothered and tired and what what happened and, and what,
what is going on inside and helping them identify that helping them name it, helping them express it
in a different way.
processing the feelings with them versus just trying to stop them from having the feelings. Yeah, yeah. I have. My wife and I particularly have been working on doing that work ourselves, for them. So when we overreact when I get really loud and intense. And I have more tools than they do I have more perspective I can I can tell when there's things that have contributed to me having these big overreactions? I didn't sleep well, I've got a deadline. I've got someone I think is upset with me at work. You know, I've got I've got a mom who wants me to go visit. Like, there's, there's these series of things. And then the kid asked me for something that I can't give right now, or I don't want to give or it causes some complexity in my life. Like, I have to pick you up here and take you there. And I have this big reaction. We're trying to come back later and say, Hey, let me just kind of process for you all the contributing factors and let you know that you know, I didn't handle that well. Right. I that's maybe one of the kind of drumbeats in the US school is it's it's what we model that we're going to see repeated in our kids lives. What would you say towards that? I think that's right, you know,
you can't give what you don't have. And so if you want to give your kids the tools and power and ability to process emotions, but you don't have the tools and ability to process your own emotions, it's going to be hard. And so obviously, learn those for yourself so that you know how to manage your interstates and your emotions and what's going on. And then yeah, walk them through that model it make the repair as necessary if you have an overreaction, so they know what how to apologize and repair
Because what you think you're talking about,
know how to come back and say, Hey, that was a little too intense, I'm sorry, here's what's going on with me, you know, build up that self reflection capacity. I mean, those are really, really valuable, emotionally intelligent tools that most parents don't have. And certainly most kids don't have. But they're so valuable in terms of feeling better, and having better relationships and learning how to navigate a very complex world. self reflection, self awareness, managing relationships, apologies, repair, healthy conflict, those tools are invaluable. And I think the US school does address all of them.
Maybe this is too simplistic, but if you're stuck in a moment, and your kids having a big reaction, or is any version of the fight, or flight or freeze, are there other steps that we can take? Yeah, I mean, I think,
you know, the big, the big issue right now, in our sort of collective nervous system
is I don't think we're coming all the way down, hardly ever most of us, meaning there is no full deactivation in our nervous systems, we are staying up at a level of intensity sort of all the time. And that
has big impacts on our adrenal glands, and our resiliency and our capacity to just function in healthy ways. And it wears us down. And so first of all, we, when the intensity goes way up, like if I'm gonna bump up my workouts and make them much harder, I have to bump up my rest, recovery, sleep, you know, however, that powerlifters sleep 15 hours a day, it's like, if we're going to put that much toll on our nervous systems, we have to balance it out with how much we're coming down, more relaxation, downtime, sleep, rest. And usually, we don't do that we just add on one side, and hope for the best. And so first, we want to be able to say like, Hey, let's make sure that we are changing our rhythms of life, to rebalance the intensity, if we're going to go up more intensely, we better be coming down more intensely.
If we're already doing that, and we're getting big spikes of intensity from our kids. Well, yeah, now we have to figure out what are we going to do with that, and
it can depend on the kid, but some kids,
some kids need a lot of help. Like, with framing what's happening, because they, their systems want to make things kind of everything a really big deal. And so they might need your help, saying, like, Hey, I get it, you're upset, but you know, that person actually meant well, they like you a lot. That wasn't, that wasn't personal, or I know, it's so hard for you, when your siblings do that. And it can feel like they are, they don't like you and they don't, you know, but they just, they're little and they struggle. So some kids need like perspective, what we call like structuring their kids might need like, Hey, let's go outside and just throw stuff. Just be mad, be upset, like, let's just express, let's get it out, let's actually let that happen. Because you need an environment. To do that.
Some kids might just need you to, like, you know, let's, uh, let's just go get some ice cream and talk and, and just get some personal time and more physical touch more support, more comfort.
And it can be hard to know, like, what, what does your nervous system need
to move through this intensity, but and a lot of it's trial and error. That's part of getting to know your kid and, and what they respond to what they respond to yesterday, they won't respond the same to today.
You know, what they need? And so, and that's called attunement in the therapy world, I'm, you're sending out a radio frequency, and I'm trying to pick up on it, what can I do to be supportive to you and that frequency changes. And so my response has to change that's hard. Like, it's hard as a therapist. My clients come in, they're in different places from week to week, and it's my job to figure out where are you? What do you need, and sometimes I miss, that's okay. People are resilient. But, you know, maybe your son comes to you one day, and he's really upset and you just you go with validation? Sorry, yeah, life's hard. That's really hard. He's like, you don't get it, dad. You know, you're like, Oh, okay. Right. Addiction is not the thing. Maybe I'll share a personal story. Hey, you know, I've been there. And my mom when I was little, and your grandpa was hard on me and Dad, I'm so tired of your stories, you know, it's like,
hey, why don't we go outside and just throw the football and like, get some of this energy out. I don't want to play football. I don't play video games.
You're just what's needed. And
so you have to what we're trying to do ultimately is get our nervous systems to go up and come down, go up and come down. And so sometimes we have to like push it up a little bit. Some
times we just need to come all the way down. And we need support and help to do that. Sometimes we need comfort, sometimes we need to be validated. Sometimes we need
to feel like we're not the only one going through it. And sometimes it's honestly what can be hard for parents is it's like, you don't have what they need. A friend might a sibling might a mentor might, we used to live in a much more tribal type of environment where you had 50 other adults who might be able to weigh in? Now we've got maybe four. And that's hard, which is I know, the school also talks about, you know, you need, there needs to be multiple adults who can speak in because parents can't give their kids everything.
This is this is so helpful. Thank you for your time and your ability to take these very complex things and make them understandable. I'm going to go maybe my last question is to close out. Is there one thing you wish parents knew or understand, understood better about biology and the nervous system?
I think what I would say, Scott, there's one thing I wish parents knew better would be put bonding, before behavior. And so focus more than anything on creating that safe, secure bond through lots of touch, lots of eye contact, lots of time. And if that foundation is there, we're going to have a lot easier time helping them work through their intensity. And so meaning, you know, we want to create, it's kind of like, if you want a plant to grow really well, well, before you plant the seeds, enough sunlight, enough water, good soil, if you have those, you're the chance of success with that seed is way higher. But if it's like, when I kid flies off the handle, I want to make sure I can be really helpful to their biology. And it's like, well, what are the initial conditions? Like? Do we even have the groundwork laid for that to happen? And so if it is, if you've already laid that groundwork, and your kids are still really struggling, then I'd probably say
the name of the game is figuring out how do we help them process that intensity, we don't just want to shut it down.
That you need to support it, like a lot of parents aren't comfortable with their kids emotions. And so I would say like, we want to get good at making space for their intensity, helping them deal with it. Some of our kids are very intense people, that's okay. But the answer is not shut it down. It's also not just go at it, it's kind of like, well, we want to support it, help them manage it, to learn to, like, we're going to have intense experiences. But that doesn't mean we have to behave out of those experiences super intensely. So create the conditions for safety. And then learn how to process that intensity in helpful ways, both for yourself and for them.
So we've got, we're going to take the best of what you shared, put it into the notes, almost like a little cheat sheet to take with you. So if you're taking notes, awesome. If not, don't worry, we'll send it to you. And then maybe you're a part of an organization a company. I was gonna say we can also do a part two.
Oh, yeah. Oh, for sure. Thank you. Thank you. So I was gonna say if you're part of organization company, and you've got some issues got some, Something's just not clicking. Something's not working. We're trying to get to the next level. It's not happening. Go check out CharlieRuce.com. And think about bringing Charlie in. So thanks, Charlie, for your time, friendship and credible. You bet them Great, thanks, Scott.
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