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Welcome to the Huberman Lab podcast, where we discuss science and science based tools for everyday life. I'm Andrew Huberman, and I'm a professor of neurobiology and ophthalmology at Stanford School of Medicine. My guest today is Dr. Becky Kennedy. Dr. Becky Kennedy is a clinical psychologist specializing in parent child relationships. She received her degrees and did her training at Duke University and Columbia University in New York. She is the author of the best selling book Good Inside a guide to becoming the parent you want to be. She is also the founder and creator of an online learning platform also called Good Inside, at which parents and parents to be can learn the best possible parenting skills that are grounded in the fields of clinical psychology, that have been proven to work in the real world and that can allow people to navigate common sticking points in parent child relationships. During today's discussion, you will learn a tremendous amount of actionable knowledge about what it is to be a good parent. This is a conversation that pertains not just to parents and parents to be, but also uncles, aunts, grandparents, and also those of you not planning to or who do not want children.


I say that because while everything we discuss today is grounded in the discussion around parent child relationships, it indeed pertains to all of us and relationships of all kinds, including romantic relationships, friendships, workplace relationships, and our relationship to self. Dr. Kennedy defines for us, and makes clear and actionable what the exact job of good parenting is and how that relates to other relationships that we might have. She explains how to set healthy boundaries and in fact, defines exactly what healthy boundaries are. There's a lot of misconception about that. We also talk a lot about empathy and the need to make children and ourselves feel safe in all kinds of relating. We discuss how to navigate disagreements and arguments, apologies and punishments, reward and on and on, all framed within a real world, real time context. What I mean by that, and what I think really sets apart Dr. Becky Kennedy's work from so much else that you'll see out there on parent child and other types of relationships, is that she makes what to do and say, and what not to do and say in a variety of real world contexts, very clear, such that you can access that knowledge and do those specific things and avoid those specific things, even when things get tense.


In fact, especially when things get difficult or tense. By the end of today's episode, you will have learned a dozen or more very potent, clinically backed tools to navigate parent child relating, including your relationship to your own parents, alive or dead, and your relationship to self. Before we begin, I'd like to emphasize that this podcast is separate from my teaching and research roles at Stanford. It is, however, part of my desire and effort to bring zero cost to consumer information about science and science related tools to the general public. In keeping with that theme, I'd like to thank the sponsors of today's podcast. Our first sponsor is Matina. Matina makes loose leaf and ready to drink yerbamate I often discuss Yerbamate's benefits, such as regulating blood sugar, its high antioxidant content, the ways that it can improve digestion, and possible neuroprotective effects. I also drink yerbomate because I love the taste. While there are a lot of different choices of yerebomate drinks out there, I love Matina because again, they have the no sugar variety as well as the fact that both their loose leaf and their canned varieties are of the absolute best quality.


So much so that I decided to become a partial owner in the company. Although I must say, even if they hadn't allowed me to do that, I would be drinking Matina. It is the cleanest tasting and best yerba mate you can find. I love the taste of brewed loose leaf Matina yerbamate, and I particularly love the taste of Matina's new canned cold brew, zero sugar yerbamate, which I personally help them develop. If you'd like to try Matina, go to Slash Huberman right now, Matina is offering a free one pound bag of loose leaf yerbamate tea and free shipping with the purchase of two cases of their cold brew yerbamate. Again, that's Slash Huberman to get the free bag of yerbamate loose leaf tea and free shipping. Today's episode is also brought to us by Juve. Juve makes medical grade red light therapy devices. Now, if there's one thing I've consistently emphasized on this podcast, it's the incredible role that light can have on our biology. And of course, I'm always telling people that they should get sunlight in their eyes as soon as possible after waking on as many days of their life as possible, for sake of setting circadian rhythm, daytime mood, focus and alertness, and improved sleep.


Now, in addition to sunlight, red light and near infrared light has been shown to have positive effects on improving numerous aspects of cellar and organ health, including faster muscle recovery, improved skin health and wound healing, even improvements in acne, or that is, removal of acne, reducing pain and inflammation, improving mitochondrial function, and even improving vision itself. What sets Juve apart and why it's my preferred red light therapy device is that it has clinically proven wavelengths, meaning it uses specific wavelengths of red light and nearinfrared light in combination that trigger the optimal cellar adaptations. Personally, I use the handheld Juve every day. The handheld juve is about the size of a thick piece of toast, and I also own a Juve panel that allows for full body exposure, and I use that one approximately five times per week for about ten to 15 minutes per session. If you would like to try Juve, you can go to huberman to receive $50 off your first purchase. Again, that's Juve spelled Huberman to get $50 off your first purchase. Today's episode is also brought to us by Aeropress. Aeropress is similar to a french press for making coffee, but is in fact a much better way to make coffee.


I first learned about Aeropress well over ten years ago, and I've been using one ever since. Aeropress was developed by Alan Adler, who was an engineer at Stanford, and I knew of Alan because he had also built the so called arobi frisbee. So he was sort of famous in our community for developing these different feats of engineering that turned into commercial products. Now, I love coffee. I'm somebody that drinks coffee nearly every day, usually about 90 to 120 minutes after I wake up in the morning, although not always. Sometimes if I'm going to exercise, I'll drink coffee first thing in the morning. But I love, love coffee. And what I've personally found is that by using the aeropress, I can make the best possible tasting cup of coffee. I don't know what exactly it is in the aeropress that allows the same beans to be prepared into a cup of coffee that tastes that much better as compared to any other form of brewing that coffee, even the traditional french press, the aeropress is extremely easy to use and it's extremely compact. In fact, I take it with me whenever I travel, and I use it on the road, in hotels, even on planes.


I'll just ask for some hot water and I'll brew my coffee or tea right there on the plane. With over 55,005 star reviews, Aeropress is the best reviewed coffee press in the world. If you would like to try aeropress, you can go to huberman that's Huberman to get 20% off any aeropress coffee maker, aeropress ships in the USA, Canada, and over 60 other countries in the world. Again, that's Huberman to get 20% off. And now for my discussion with Dr. Becky Kennedy. Dr. Becky Kennedy, welcome.


Thank you. So excited to be here.


I have a lot of questions for you. And as I mentioned in my introduction, much of what we are going to discuss today relates to parent child relating, but pertains to relationships generally. So people with children, without children, who don't want children, hopefully there aren't people that hate children. But for all people out there with children or not, planning them or not, relationships are really just fundamental to who we are. And I actually place relationships, including relationship to self, in what we now think of as the six pillars of mental health, physical health and performance. Sleep, nutrition, exercise. Relationships clearly vital to all aspects of life. So I'd like to start off by just asking, for all of us, are there some simple, or perhaps not so simple questions that we can reflect on that give us a sense of how good a parent we are or would be based on, I don't know, our previous parent child relationships, our relationship to self. What kind of things come to bear when we think about really healthy relationships? I can start rattling off a list of what I imagine they could be, but what are your thoughts?


What's the parameter space, as we say? How should we think about relationships besides just, oh, I either like this person or don't. Or I feel good around them, or I don't. Or separating how I feel about them versus how they make me feel, maybe we can drill a little deeper below the kind of more superficial stuff that we often see out there.


The first thing that comes to mind when you say that is this word sturdiness. And to me, when someone says what is good inside is an approach, and that's always the first word that comes to mind. And I know that's like an OD word. It's not a word we use a lot. Although I do think most people, when you say that person's like a really sturdy person, I think all have some connotation or feeling at least of what that means, and I use it a lot. Being a sturdy parent, being a sturdy leader. I talk a lot about the similarities to parenting and kind of being a pilot of a plane. And that word sturdy always comes up. And so I remember a little while ago, someone pushed me. They're like, what's your definition of what that means? And at that point I thought, wow, I should probably have a definition given I use it a lot. But what I think it really means is inability to be connected to yourself and to someone else at the same time. And I think that is really the definition of sturdy leadership. And that is the key thing that's present in a healthy relationship, that at once I kind of know my values, what I want, what I need, I feel like I can be true to that.


And at the same time, I can kind of connect to someone else who probably has different wants and needs and maybe even slightly different values at the same time. And the thing that leads me to next is what I think about as, like, family jobs and a parent job. So in almost any other place, you could assume if I'm getting a new job at this company, there's just no way I could do my job well if I don't know what my job is, right? If you go to your desk and your boss, like, have a good day, do a good job, and there's no job description, you'd be like, I think that's impossible. But over and over with parents, if I say to them, well, what is your job with your kid? Or when your kid is having a tantrum or they hit or they're rude or they lie to your face or anything, what is your job in that moment? Most people, very well intentioned, educated people who would never, ever take a job if they didn't have a job description, they look at me, they're like, I have no idea. So how can we do it?


Well, how can we then perform it to a place to get to the outcomes we want if you don't have the foundation of what your job is? And to me, I've thought a lot about it. I think parents actually have two jobs, and it relates to sturdiness. So you'll connect it where one of our jobs is boundaries. And to me, boundaries are things we tell people we will do, and they require the other person to do nothing. And that's, like, really important, because a lot of times we think we're setting a boundary when actually we're making a request. And boundaries keep us connected to ourselves. They represent our values and our wants and our needs. And in a parent child relationship, they also keep our kids safe. If I just know in a simple way, like, my kids watched enough tv today and they really have to get to bed, and I know that I don't want them to stay up late, I kind of know what my family needs. I have to set a boundary. But the other part of my job is like, empathy and validation, which is a way of connecting to someone else.


Where you see someone else's feelings and experience as real, you don't agree with it, probably you don't necessarily condone the behavior that's the representation of the feelings, but the feelings themselves you need to connect to. And I feel like those are our two jobs as parents. And that's really the way to be a sturdy leader and to be in a sturdy, healthy relationship with your kids.


Wow. So much there. And I love it. And here's one of the reasons I love it. This notion of sturdiness, something that I don't think we hear enough about. We hear about resilience, grit, also important terms. But sturdiness, as you've described it in the job of parenting, really seems to include a lot of verbs, not just nouns and adjectives. And I'm a huge fan of verbs because biology, and to some extent, psychology, yes. Also psychology is all about verbs, and so the labels often are mysterious. But sturdiness just sends a clear message of something that doesn't budge easily. But then, as you describe the job of being a parent, having boundaries, and I'd like to drill into that a little bit more, how you view boundaries, but also empathy, it's not a walled off picture, it's one that is semipermeable. Also, and I confess I'm a bit obsessed with old school psychoanalytic theory, not as the be all, end all of psychology, but it also suggests this other relationship. Like, I'm a person, I have a self, you're a person, you have a self. This is the opposite of codependency, where obviously dependency and two people being quote unquote codependent can be healthy in the context of relying on one another.


But as I understand it, when one person has a self and another person doesn't have a self, or this notion of merging not just in romantic relationships, but child parent relationships. I'm best friends with my mom or dad. Is that a good thing? I don't know. But this notion of other relationships. I'm a self, you're a self, and we each see each other as another. Anyway, I think there's so much to explore here, so valuable. You mentioned that boundaries are something that we do and that requires that the other do nothing. Could we go a little bit further into that? Because it's a beautiful concept and this notion of boundaries, but like gaslighting narcissism and all the other things that we hear about nowadays, I think, is often badly misunderstood. So tell us more about boundaries and how that looks in the action sense of it.


And this is all so connected to what you're saying, that other relationship. I'm a person. You're a person. And so many times, that actually is what gets merged. And so my kid gets upset that I say they can't watch another show. And a parent really, in that moment, whose feelings are. Who's, like, they were upset, was. I was upset a second ago. I thought I should set the boundary. And now all of a sudden, I'm changing my mind. There is this complete role kind of confusion and merger, which is one of the main reasons that kids get actually really scared and escalate their behavior, because they don't have a sturdy leader when they really need one. Right? So boundaries are what we tell someone we will do, and they require the other person to do nothing. I like this definition for a lot of reasons. I'm just very practical. So it allows me, after I set a boundary, to assess, was that a boundary or not? Right? Because let's take the tv example. It's whatever time at night my kid has just watched a show, and they know they are supposed to watch one show and then turn off the tv.


I hear from parents a lot. My kid doesn't listen or my kid doesn't respect my boundaries. And I'll say, okay, that sounds hard. Let's get into that. So then I'll say, so I told my kid to shut off the tv. They just kept watching. They just kept on it. I told my kid to stop jumping on the couch, and they kept jumping. They don't respect my boundaries. They don't listen to me. This is like, a beautiful example of, like, this is a problem. I agree, but this is not a boundary problem. You made a request of your child, and frankly, if you have your. I'm making this up, seven year old watching tv. I'm not so good at putting away tv and a phone at night, it's just hard for me to do. So your seven year old probably is just addicted to what's ever happening, and we're kind of asking our kid to do our job for us because we don't want our kid to be mad at us or whatever it is. A boundary in that situation would be saying, oh, you didn't put off the tv. Look, by the time I get over there, if you haven't turned off the tv, and I don't want to do this, but I will, I will take the remote out of your hand and shut it off.


A boundary is saying, oh, after my request doesn't work, can you get off the couch? You can jump on the floor. Look, if by the time I get over there, you haven't gotten off the couch. I will pick you up. I'm not going to put the success of my intervention in my seven year old's hand. I care too much about my own needs and my own role as a leader in my home to do that. Right. Same thing with, let's say, in laws. My mother in law doesn't respect my boundary. She always shows up without calling. Now, I don't want to to this point, and there's a lot of things in a relationship we can do before we get to this point, but if that's really a boundary, and I have a very kind of intrusive mother in law, a boundary would be saying, look, this is going to be awkward, and I know you mean well, but the next time you come unannounced, I will come to your car and say, oh, this time doesn't work for us. You cannot come in. And I will go back into my house and close the door.


Now, there's going to be lots of feelings around that, but you are now setting a true boundary. And when we say our kids don't listen, those are often situations, not all of them, but there's a big percentage where I'm actually not setting a boundary early enough and in a sturdy enough way, which is what my kid needs, because at that point, they simply don't have the skills to inhibit an urge and they need me to be the boundary for them.


We hear sometimes that kids are craving rules. They're craving boundaries. I don't know. I was kind of a wild adolescent, and teenager maybe a little more than wild. I don't recall ever craving rules, but I do recall paying attention to their lack of presence. So what of that? Is this notion that kids really want and crave rules and boundaries? Is that sort of, I don't know, projection that we put onto them? And I'm not exploring this just for fun. I'm exploring it because I think that one thing that's very helpful in setting boundaries, especially with kids, is the idea that, gosh, even if it's a bit painful to see them in discomfort, there's that empathy piece that you talked about before, that empathic attunement can get in the way of boundaries, right? They're not mutually exclusive, but these are somewhat competing forces at times. So if we know, or if we can acknowledge or at least explore this idea that rules are deep down what they really want, not just what they need, yes, maybe it would help.


Yes. And I think, by the way, in my taking the remote away or taking my kid off the couch, just to be clear, if I do that to my kid, they are not going to say, oh, mom, you are the best mom in the world. Thank you. They are going to cry and scream. And that's where boundaries and empathy, those two parts of our job, actually do always go together. I think they're actually partners. They're not actually at ods, because as soon as my kid is upset, what I would say to them is, oh, you wanted to jump on the couch. It's not as much fun on the floor. Oh, you really wanted to watch another show. You didn't even want it this big. You wanted to watch it this big. It sounds crazy because you're like, wait, why am I empathizing with that feeling? They just kind of disobeyed. No, they're two different things. I'm doing my job in setting a boundary. They're actually doing their job in feeling their feelings. That's actually their job. The only way you can ever learn to regulate a feeling is through feeling the feeling. So they're doing their job.


Now I'm going to validate. And this is how kids learn. Emotion regulation, boundaries. They feel. I validate. I hold the boundary over and over and over. So do kids crave rules? And I think one of the issues is that most parenting approaches have one or the other, and I think they're both very incomplete strategies. If you just lead with rules, right? I don't know who said it definitely wasn't me. Like, what is it? Rules without relationship lead to rebellion. Yeah, that's what happens, right? So that's not good. But I see this day and age, we've swung the other direction. It is also not a complete parenting strategy when your kid's jumping on the couch to do nothing, if you think that's dangerous, and to say, oh, you really want to jump, jump, jump. And such big feelings like that is not what kids need. I think kids crave boundaries, and they crave feeling seen and understood, because as kids are growing up, I think the questions they're always asking parents, even though, of course, they never say this, it's just, am I real and am I safe? Every interaction, that's what they're asking us. The reason we have to validate their feelings when they're upset, even though they're so upset just that their string cheese broke.


Whatever it is, is feelings don't have markers like blood or they don't know. And so when we say, oh, you wanted your string cheese to be together, what we're really saying is the things you experience inside of you are real. But kids are also desperate to know, how far do things go? No one likes to feel boundaryless as a kid. That's terrifying. Right? And so when we set a boundary, we actually say to a kid, I will always protect you. I won't let things get so far out of control. So I do think, I don't know if it's rules, but kids crave connection. And I think boundaries and kind of validation and empathy, they are the two forms of connection that kids are really desperate for.


What about rewarding kids? And here, rather than start off by asking what are the best ways to reward kids in healthy ways, I will ask that in a moment. How can we evaluate the notion of rewards or incentives through this lens of sturdiness, boundaries, and empathy? Yeah, because I could imagine a reward that's outsized in comparison to what a kid did. Okay, great. You took your plate to the kitchen sink after dinner. You get $10,000. Obviously out of scale, extreme example. But just by way of example, you're going to screw up their reward mechanisms for life. If you ask me that, everything I know about reward and neuroplasticity says that would occur. But this idea that you can incentivize kids, if you turn off the tv now, then you definitely can watch tomorrow night, whereas if you don't, you can't. So you're sort of merging reward and potential punishment. How do we bound rewards? And how do we take into account that when we start adding rewards to scenarios that we're mixing and matching life experience for them? Okay, so now, doing what I'm told, do I always expect a reward if the reward doesn't come next time?


We know based on reward prediction error, we tend to be worse off emotionally than had we never received a reward in the first place. Again, pretty vast parameter space, but what are your thoughts on best ways to reward kids for standard good behavior versus achievement versus elimination of bad behavior? Three categories.


I think you're asking a much bigger question. I think you are. Which is like, why do parents think we need to reward kids? I think that's why do we think we need to punish kids? And this is actually where everything I work on started from. Because the way I was trained to work with parents, I went to the best gold standard evidence based program, and it was all about timeouts and punishments and rewards and stickers and ignoring and praise and honestly, during the training, for the years after I kind of practiced this way, I feel like that you know this better than I am, so I shouldn't even say this, but, like, that left part of my brain, like, logic and linearity. I was just like, this is amazing. Oh, my goodness. We're going to get more of the good behavior, and we're going to not get the bad behavior. And I'd start teaching this to parents, my private practice. And there was this little thing in me I don't even know. I was like, I don't know about this. I don't know. And it get louder and louder to the point that in a session, I literally said to a parent in front of me, I was just, like, telling them how to do a timeout.


And I said, I'm sorry, I don't believe anything I've been telling you. That's literally what I said, because it was so loud, and it was obviously super awkward. But it led me to. I feel like, from this first principal's way, be like, there are a million assumptions that we have about raising kids, and I think about relationships, and if I just stripped them back, what would I be left with? And what would be a new building from there? And rewards and punishments to me are these assumptions that we have somehow converted from the fiction shelf of the library, in my mind, to the nonfiction shelf as, like, truths. And I kind of rail against all of them. So I think the question, if that's okay, to go in that direction, to me is, like, why do we think we need to reward kids? And is there actually a better system, both short term and long term? I'm incredibly long term greedy in my parenting approach, because at the end of the day, 18 and up is where things really matter. Not really matter. I mean, they all matter, but I want to help my kids become sturdy, resilient adults.


But I'm short term greedy, too, because I'm a realist. I just can't deal with all these difficult moments. You get both, for sure, without rewards and punishment. So I don't know, what might someone tell me they give a reward for? Do you want to use the clearing the table or example? Let's start that there. It kind of goes back to believing kids are inherently good inside. I really think it goes back to that. If you really believe kids are inherently good inside, which, by the way, when I strip back every assumption, the only thing I was left was that literally the only thing. And then I started to think, okay, so if they're good inside, why do they do so many annoying things, like, all the time? But that gave me a gap, and I feel like that is very exciting to have a gap. Like, why do people who are good inside do such bad things, right, adults or kids? And to me, right, kids are born with all the feelings and none of the skills to manage those feelings, like, period. And we've often thought, therefore, when feelings, feelings without skills come out in behaviors, I think that's what bad behaviors are.


Feelings or urges or something without a skill to manage them or without access to the skill, maybe in that moment, either way, and then we end up punishing behavior. But the behavior was just a sign of the lack of skill. So I can't imagine anyone thinking I could teach my kid to swim by punishing them for not swimming. I think someone would say that was crazy, but that's kind of how we raise kids, and then we think rewarding them is going to be effective, but it actually leads over and over to what you said. I've seen these parents over and over my private practice. My 14 year old literally won't pick up their clothes from the floor unless I give them $5. Like, how did I get here? And I'm like, yeah, that's a problem. But I saw how they got there. So let's take clearing their plate. I know this is going to sound cheesy, but kids do have something in them where they want to feel like a purposeful, meaningful part of society. They do impact drives adults and it drives kids. It's not the same type of rewarding as playing Fortnite. It's a totally different system.


But I think the question is, why do we think we have to bribe kids or kind of trick them into doing things that are kind of like basic parts of human life? And so if we take that and my kid chronically isn't clearing their plate, I could say to them, look, every time you clear a plate, I'm going to give you a sticker. After five stickers, you're going to get, I don't know, whatever it is to me, like a much more just effective way. I'd say to my kid, hey, I know, you know, like, clearing a plate is just one way of being part of this family and taking care of stuff. I know you know that we're on the same team. I say that phrase, we're on the same team. Right. We are. Something's getting in your way of remembering. I'm going to assume I like the most generous interpretation that, to me, allows you to separate someone's bad behavior from their good identity. Then I might say, what would help you remember? We literally did this with my son, who always had his towel on the floor and I was just like, I bet he just doesn't remember.


He literally doesn't see it. We talked about it, and he's like, we talked about him putting a postit, literally something simple like a postit on my door that just says, pick up my towel. He wrote it in his own handwriting, trying to facilitate him, like, solving his own problems. And now he has a much higher rate of picking up his towel. I guess I could have said, every time you pick up your towel, you'll, I don't know, get a dollar or whatever it is. But again, it makes me think I'm not building the generalizable skill that way. I'm just kind of offering something at the end which sets me on this kind of awful cycle that I think kind of misses the point.


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Like, one way that we know we are real is our ability to impart change on the world around us. I don't want to get too abstract here, but as a neuroscientist, I've often sat back and reflected, like, all the emotions we feel, no one sees that or knows that unless we say something, we write something, we sing something, we shout something, all the forms of expression, just like none of our dreams, our creative insights or wishes exist except inside us, unless we transmute them into something in the real world. So there does seem to be something about having this nervous system from a time we're really young. It's seeing our effect on the world that really makes us real and on others. And I love the idea that. Well, and I must say, I absolutely believe in my heart. And I just feel it as a feeling that kids are inherently good inside. I can't imagine any other version of that. But does that mean that there are people out there who believe that kids are inherently bad? Or at least not good? How could that be? But then again, maybe I'm just naive.


I don't know if anyone consciously believes that. But when I go back to that system, I was first trained in rewards and, like, it feels like a system of behavioral control. And to me, I've always thought about control and trust as opposites. So I only control what I don't trust. So nobody said to me in that program, by the way, Becky, everything you're learning here, we believe kids are bad inside, and so we do this thing. But, well, if I don't trust my kid, and if I don't trust they inherently have the things in them to do good, by the way, that's not going to happen naturally. That's why we have a big job as a parent, to coach our kids, to bring that out, to set boundaries when they can't do it, and so many other things. But I don't believe anyone would say, yeah, it's because they're bad inside, but there is a nature where you're constantly interacting with your kid from that other system, looking at them like, I don't trust you. I don't trust you. And when you do bad things, I cannot hold on to the fact that you have a good identity.


That's why I'm giving you a punishment. That's why I'm sending you away to your room. And so if I'm reflecting back to you constantly that you are just your latest behavior, that I don't trust you, that I kind of have to bribe you to do very basic human things. Well, our kids form their identity from our reflection of them. And so then this is what really compelled all of this. I'm like, we're raising generation after generation of kid kind of saying to them, like, you're kind of a bad, untrustworthy kid. And then we wonder why we have such high rates of massive mental health problems. Well, there's some linearity there.


I'm curious about this notion of impingement. I've heard about this idea that when we're young, we're forging life, deciding, do I like the way this tastes or not tastes? By the way, I still hate anchovies. I don't need to be asked again to know the answer. But when you're young, we're encouraged to do things like eat your broccoli, taste the anchovy. And some parents, it seems, are very comfortable with the idea of allowing their children to have their feelings and their wishes. As I always say, the nervous system seems to be divided into yum yucks and meh mez. I guess the plural will be me, yum yucks and Mez. It's more complicated than that. But, like, with people where you're like, yeah, I really like them, or now something's off there, so it's not that much more nuanced than that. And the brain's got to make decisions afterward, after all. Excuse me. So kids have their yucks and mez, and then we've got our ideas about what they need to do in order to progress through life, often inherited from our parents and hopefully modified by the wonderful work that you're doing and writing about and in your program that we're talking about here.


But how much space should we allow for kids to be unimpinged? You don't want to eat what we're eating for dinner? Like, okay, I'm not going to cook you an entire new dinner, but then I guess you might go to bed hungry. Sounds harsh, right? But the other version is. Okay, what would you like for dinner? Well, I prefer, let's say they pick a healthy option. They prefer pasta, not chicken. We won't do the ice cream chicken thing. Do we do it right? Like, how much impingement? I don't want to watch a movie with the family. I want to play in my room. At some level, I've heard it both ways, that impingement is needed for safety and life progression. But there's times when it's more subtle than that. It's not about safety and life progression. It's not about going to school or not going to school, homework or no homework. It's about, like, do you want to come with us to the park? You want to play at home in your room? How often should we impinge? How do we know? This is kind of the tricky areas of parenting that I think because it doesn't fall into the extremes.


Yeah. I love this question. That's a word I don't often hear, actually. Impingement. Can you act like, what, impinging on.


Impinging on the child's inherent natural desires or aversion to things?


Got it.






You say, hey, we're going over so and so's house. And they say, I don't like their kids. You go, listen, you got to learn to play with other kids. And go, no, I don't like their kids. And you say, did something happen? And so we're not talking about a dangerous situation. No, I don't like them. I just really want to just stay home.


Yeah, this is a great.


So are we going to impinge on their. Because we're teaching them either way, we're teaching them something. You got to do stuff you don't want to do, even if you don't like it. And here again, we're ruling out the possibility that there's something unsafe about the environment, psychologically or physically unsafe. But at the same time, we're teaching them, hey, I see you, I hear you. But your desires might not be right. There's actually kind of like a tacit message of the way you feel might not be the best gage of what's best for you. Which sends a complicated message to a kid.


Totally. So this is, again, where I think, at good inside. Like, family jobs are so useful. Family jobs to me. When I used to meet with parents and they describe a situation, I feel like 90% of the time, that's where I'd start, because then that flows from there. It's like a framework. So what is my job? I'm the one who sets boundaries. Like, I am the one who makes key family decisions. Obviously, as our kids get older, they should be making some decisions, too. No one likes to feel controlled, but key decisions. And my job is to validate my kids experience. This is actually complicated because, again, over and over, we think that validating my kids experience means they're going to dictate a decision. My boundaries don't dictate my kids feelings, and my kids feelings should not dictate my boundaries. They're just two equal things. So this is a great example. My kids are like, you know, I don't like playing with those kids. And can I just stay home with. Let's just say grandma was home. Can I just stay home? I'm like, I just think it's important to go with a family. But my kid doesn't want to go.


There's nothing dangerous, okay. To me, this is that exact way of putting family jobs into action, sweetie. And to me, this phrase, I wish every parent could say this to their kid. I believe you. If you want to make a kid feel real and confident for life, confidence comes from the experience of being believed, because that's how you, for me, confidence is self trust. It's not feeling good about yourself. It's self trust. I really do know the way I feel. So let's say I say to my son, in that situation, it's, I believe you. I'd start the way I believe you. Look, I know you want to play football all day and the kid around your age hates football. Like, that would probably be lowest on your list of types of kids you'd want to hang out with for the afternoon. I totally believe you. And in this family, we know that sometimes we have to do things we don't love to do. We do that for a family experience. I say this to my kid all the time. Also, just to end up being a good adult, you just have to end up practicing as a kid, doing things you don't want to do, things that are boring, things that aren't your preference.


So you notch in your belt for that. So you don't have to thank me. And also, I know you have it in you to do your best to be polite and engage. I know you're a good kid, and this isn't what you want. And I know we're going to get through it. Now, if it's really hard, maybe young. Hey, let's create a sign. Like, can you look at me and go when you feel like you're kind of at this? And then me and you, we're going to go to the bathroom. I'm going to give you a hug. I'm going to say, I know this isn't what you on. And when we get home, we could watch that football game, whatever it was, right? Because what we often do is we leave ourselves with two choices with kids, we either say, fine, stay home. Their feelings actually just dictated the decision. That's not helpful for them. I don't want my kid to learn in life. When I don't want to do something. People twist and turn to make that thing not happen. Like, that's disturbing for adulthood expectations. But then we do the other thing, which is like, you are so selfish.


Just because you don't have a friend your age doesn't mean that you can't come with us. So we either let their feelings dictate or we think our boundaries kind of give us the right to be mad at our kid. Right to do both is so important. And so that's where I think, to me, when I hear impingement, I actually think that is the exact space where you have the most bang for your buck as a parent. It's not enjoyable. And again, if I have my beautiful intervention with my son, do not think my kid will look at me and say, I love how you explained that. That was so beautiful. No, he's going to roll his eyes. My job is not to take the bait because I'm an adult and to also hold hope. I think that's really important. This concept of I'm validating my kids feelings where they are today, but I need to be the one to hold hope that they can cope with it. If I can't name to my kid, I know you're going to get through it. They're not going to be able to see that kind of next, more mature version of themselves.


And I actually think it's the same as your best boss. It was like, I know you don't want to go on this trip, whatever it is. I know this presentation topic isn't the one you would have chosen. And there were ten things and this was literally number ten. I totally get that and it stinks and I'm not taking anything away from that. And this is the thing I needed to do. And I know something about you. Like, when you put your mind to something, you always do a great job and it's probably not going to be enjoyable, but I do know you're going to do a great job on this. That's like the boss you want.


Amazing. Are you adopting children, by the way? I finished college.


You I consider Andrew adult children.


What I'm hearing is don't dictate their behavior. And I'm going to underline in bold, dictate, don't dictate their behavior. You're going to do this because I said so. That's dictatorship. But at the same time, don't quash the emotion behind the resistance. Can acknowledge it, make them feel real. I believe you. I love this phrase. Amazing. And I love your definition of confidence. If people didn't hear that, we're definitely going to repeat it again and we're going to etch it into your neural circuitry because I love that. It's a self trust.




And this notion of giving hope, you're giving them an incentive that's based on a reward that's actually good for them, that they can translate to other situations as well. Wow.


Can I double click on reward? Because you know what it made me think? I didn't think until you said that. I think in a situation would you be tempted to say, and if you go and you're polite, I'll give you 20 extra minutes of Roblox. Right. First of all, let me just say something. Whatever I say to you for listeners, it's not like I do this stuff all the time with my actual kids. I'm the first one sometimes to be like, here's your thing, I have to dangle.


We'll provide a little section in the comment section on YouTube where your kids can. No, I'm just kidding.




Your kids are forbidden. No, wait, that's. Wait, that's dictating. We understand why. I believe that you would want to comment, but we're going to let you know why. It's good for you if you don't anyway.




I'll practice this on someone else's kid.


But the reward, when your kid ends up seeing themselves capable of doing something they didn't previously think they could do, you know, better than me. I feel like that is like one of the best rewards, even if it's getting through a social situation or. I think about this a lot with my little kid is, I don't know, like struggling with a puzzle or something and I could just do it for them or if I help them kind of regulate, oh, this is a hard puzzle and you can take a break. I just know you're going to figure it out today. I just know it. And then because of that, they get there. That feels in your body like, that is the best kind of reward. And it's the type of reward that works for kids in adulthood. When they're in a job, we want them to be motivated by the feeling they're going to have of pride, not be saying, hey, I finished my thing early. Do I get a bonus to their boss that's not going to play out as well?


I love it. I'm just pausing and shaking my head only because I love it so much and I just want to make sure that I don't quickly move to the next question without drilling down even deeper into some of these concepts, I believe you as the feedback or response that can instill real confidence over time. Not to get too nuanced here, but how is it different? Because I sense it is different than I hear you. I hear you, but you're going to do this anyway, or I hear you. But listen, in this family, I believe you. The word believe is powerful, and I believe there's real power in specific words, as is, like, for instance, sturdiness. Again, such a powerful and underused word. I believe you're a psychologist. What do you think we're hearing when somebody says, I believe you? That's different than I hear you.


I haven't listed these out, but I think we all have these core needs as humans, and I think being believed is one of them because it's someone else kind of saying, you're real. I might not feel what you're feeling, but that thing that feels strong to you, that nobody can see or measure, is real. And when I think about the most confident people, I think about this girl who I went to Duke with, and she was just brilliant, like, so smart. We were in this seminar. It was one of these small classes where this professor was, like, talking about stuff, and I for once, I was like, I have no idea what this person's talking about. But I was like, no one else was stopping. And this girl raised her hand and she said, I'm sorry if everyone else is annoying. I have no idea what you're talking about because I usually do. And is there any way you could say that in a different way? That is like, to me, the utmost version of confidence? That she believed her own experience of confusion was real confusion. She didn't think it was a sign she was stupid.


She believed it. She believed herself. That is so confident. And I think when someone says, I hear you, it's like a version of listening. There's many worse phrases. No damage is done when we follow anything, but. But we tend to invalidate. So that's not good. Anyway. I believe you, but is also not going to. But there's a million examples of this to me that build confidence. And I actually think there's so many situations with kids where they say situations and we worry, oh, they have low confidence, and then we intervene to, quote, make them feel better, which actually is the thing that lowers their confidence because it's like we say to them, I don't believe you. You're not really feeling the way you feel. Where I believe you is the exact opposite. So I like to give examples just because it makes it concrete. Like, my kid will come home and say, I. I don't know. I was picked last for dodgeball today. I was picked last in something. And they're clearly very sad, right. And we want to say to them, like, it's no big deal or everyone's pick last sometimes. But remember yesterday you told me you were picked first for basketball?


And we think, like, I need to build up my kid's confidence. Those are confidence. I won't say destroying us, reducing interventions. Because a kid is kind of coming to a parent basically saying, I'm very, very upset that I was picked last. And we're saying to a kid, no, you weren't. And they're like, but I am. And what they learn is, this is really terrifying to me, is other people are better feelers of my feelings than I am. That has, like, a million really scary, interpersonal, I think, relationship kind of consequences later down, later down in life. But when a kid says, I was pick last and nobody even wants me, and they all think I'm the worst athlete, whatever kids say, to sit and say some version of, like, I'm so glad we're talking about this. And I could tell that was a really hard gym class. And, sweetie, I believe you. You will watch your kid. It is crazy to me what parents tell me happen when they say those words to their kids. They're like, it also just literally diffused everything, and they were, like, ready to move on. They are just trying to tell you probably, like, I was feeling something.


It was a lot. It was confusing. Our feelings are always hardest when we're alone in them. So I was alone in it, and I bring it to you. When someone says, I believe you, not only are they giving you that core need, they're also just like. They're, like, sitting down with you in it, and that makes everything better. And then meanwhile, what a kid feels like when we say, I believe you to a hard experience or hard feeling is they're like, the feelings that overwhelm me. Don't overwhelm my parents. They can tolerate it. They're not scared of me kind of being a loser in gym class one day. And if my parent likes me when I have that feeling, I can start to like myself. When I have that feeling, it's so.


Great because it sounds like it accomplishes both things. It makes kids feel real and safe. Yes, real and safe. And I can't help but ask say, because how we started off today was that this isn't just about parent child relationships, but in friendships, in romantic relationships, in coworker relationships, that the words I believe you. I have to presume, based on everything I'm hearing now and feeling inside about it, that it's equally effective.


Huge years ago, I was on a podcast early on, and to me, there are these three lines that kind of all go together when kids are anyone's upset. And it's kind of like you start, and to me, it's like a beautiful invitation to have that conversation just to say to someone, I'm so glad you're talking to me about this. Right? And then kind of, I believe you. Tell me more. And my husband, when he heard, it was like, you could say those words to me sometimes. I would like that. And I think about the workplace, too. Like, you have someone come in, they're upset about, I don't know, I got staffed on this, or I'm not getting a promotion. And I thought I was just diffuse it with just. I'm so glad you're talking to me about this. Yeah. I've been working nonstop. And if you say to them, I believe you, because we usually don't say to someone, I don't believe you. But what we'll say is we defend ourselves in that moment. And the way the other person receives it is as if we're saying, I don't believe the intensity of the experience you're having.


And when you do lead with, I believe you. Same thing in a partnership. Every time I ask you to do something, you get really hot and bothered. It doesn't even mean you agree. You're kind of just believing. I believe you. Tell me more. I believe you. That that really upset you. And obviously, I have a whole nother story in my head, but I hear what you're saying, and I know there's something there, and I believe it enough to be open to hearing more about it. I don't know. That's what we all want in our partnerships.


I'm wide eyed. I mean, what a beautiful acknowledgment that, as you pointed out, is not agreeing to accept someone else's reality to the extent that you're going to dismantle the order of the world, whatever it is. But it's such an opening as opposed to a closing. And as you said, it's non defended, but it's also boundaried. I mean, there's just so many things about it that feel good, seem good, and clearly are good. I don't want to go down the tragic rabbit hole of trauma, but previous guests on this podcast, we should probably define trauma just because it gets thrown around a lot. Trauma, an event or set of circumstances that fundamentally change the way that the brain and nervous system works, so that there's a maladaptive response going forward. It's not every bad thing that happens, but there are microtraumas, sometimes called small t, more macro traumas, big t, again, could be multi event or single event. But years ago, a different psychologist, psychiatrist, who's an adolescent psychiatrist at Stanford, said something in a seminar that just really struck me, which was that at its core, trauma is really about confusion over who's responsible here, we're not just talking about the more salient examples of sexual assault, those two, of course.


But if we get screamed at or we observe something like third person trauma, the logical stance is, well, okay, that was them, not me. But when this happens, especially when we're young, the nervous system, the brain somehow interprets this as, I was there, I had a role in it just by being there. So what was my role? And somehow the emotional response becomes one of responsibility, even if we know, like, they're clearly the one that initiated this. And so the reason I'm bringing this up in this context is that it's almost like that lack of belief in self somehow gets rooted in, and then it all feels confusing, and then we don't feel safe. That's right, because it's a confusion about responsibility. Again, going back to this, can we.


Go down that rabbit hole for a second, please?


That's why I raised it. I want your thoughts.


I always think trauma is actually not events. It's the way an event gets processed. And I love Gabor mate's definition of trauma. It's not what happens to you, it's what happens inside of you. Right? So to me, there's an inherent relationality there where events that get processed. Not any event, events with high emotionality, let's say, that get processed in aloneness, become traumatic. And I think that's where it gets linked to responsibility. So this is actually what my TED talk was about and why repair is so important. Who said this? Ronald Fairburn, years ago, that for kids, it is better to be a sinner in a world ruled by God than to live in a world ruled by the devil. I think it explains almost everything about child development right there. Going back to goodness. Also, your parent just screamed at you. And by the way, your parent. I scream at my kids. Everyone's going to scream at their kids. It's going to happen. Okay? That's just the event. The event's not going to have the impact what is happening for a kid? Well, we know kids are oriented by attachment. They literally need us to survive.


Like, they could not survive on their own. And so what do you do when the person you're dependent on for safety becomes the source of danger and threat, that's very confusing for a child in that moment. So they're super hyper aroused, they're in this state of terror. And then usually after, in my house too, I just yell at my kid. They're kind of alone in their room. I'm alone in the kitchen or wherever, meanwhile spinning because my come such a bad parent. But meanwhile, because I'm so lost in my own guilt, I might not be going to my kid. And so what happens for my kid if I don't repair after I scream at them or one of these events? Right? Well, a kid cannot say to themselves, my parent just had a bad day. Then the badness is in my parent, my leader. I'm young now, right? Like, I don't understand nuance. My leader can't be bad, so I must take on the badness. At least then I have control. So kids, after they're kind of yelled at in the absence of repair, they really only have two options for how to regulate and feel safe again.


They can self blame. It's all my fault. Which is why I feel like most adults, when they have a hard time, they tell themselves, like, it's my fault, I'm not good enough. It's like the legacy of that story from childhood. Or they use self doubt. Maybe that didn't happen. Maybe I overreacted. Maybe I can't trust myself again. It leads to adults who basically say, like, did I overreact? Or let me call five friends. Let me see if they think what my boyfriend did was a big deal because they can't trust themselves. And so trauma. What I want every parent to know is they'll say, I left my kid alone and I didn't pick them up at the soccer field. Is that going to traumatize them? And I'll say, well, that's just the event. Like, did you say to them, hey, that probably felt scary. What was that? Like, you're right. Like, you were alone. Now all of a sudden, next to the event that was scary is my story and my connection. It got processed in a safe connection. It didn't get processed in aloneness. And that's a massive difference.


In this scenario you are describing, the parent who yelled goes to the child having been that child and perhaps also having been that parent. How do we deal with the fact that sometimes we don't want to be around the person that yelled at us. It hurts to receive the care. There's a textured landscape as opposed to a smooth landscape there. Okay, now you're ready for everything to be peaceful. I'm still with my feelings. I guess that's where the I believe you comes in, and that's where the sorting it through process begins.


I think it's like, what version of a parent comes back to me? The first thing we have to do in a repair process is actually repair with ourselves as a parent. Really? Because if you haven't repaired with yourself, which to me is kind of separating your identity again from your behavior, like, okay, Becky, I'll use myself as an example. I'm a good parent who just screamed at her son. Like, I did not mess up forever. And you see, when you try to repair with yourself, those two things get collapsed. I'm like, I messed him up forever. I'm a monster. Wait. I'm a good parent who did something I'm not proud of. You can't repair with someone until you've repaired with yourself. They feel it from you. It usually is. Like, then you're asking for them. I'll be like, it's okay, right? Like, you forgive me, right? That's not a repair. That's like using your child to try to do something we just have to do on our own or with other adults. But if I've repaired with myself, I'm going to show up in a different way. Might I have a feisty kid? I might.


It's like, I don't care. It's not better. That's okay. I'm not repairing to get something from my child. I'm repairing to give an experience to them so we can also get creative. Your kid is older. You text them. You slip a door under the note. You say, okay, I just have to say this one thing to me. This line really matters. To snatch that self blame out of a kid's body, it's just like, I'm sorry I yelled. It is never your fault when I yell, and it's not. And people who argue, our ability to regulate our emotions predated our child's existence. They had something, they did something, and we felt frustrated. But that's very different than yelling, right? And saying that to your kid is so important. Meanwhile, the next day you might say, by the way, let's really figure out how to get out the door in a smoother way. You could work on whatever they need to work on, but the reason I think most kids end up rejecting parents apologies is it's not really a repair. We're asking our kid for permission to be okay again, or a repair sounds like, hey, I'm sorry I yelled, but if you just got ready in time, that wouldn't have happened.


Or we say, I'm sorry you felt that way. I'm sorry you felt that way. Those are not like, none of those are actually repairs. And if that's what a kid's been used to, they're going to keep a parent more at bay.


So is it safe to say that we can always come back to making the kid feel real and safe? I believe you, is a great place to start. And the reason I keep coming back to these simple things is that simple, but very, very potent, by the way, is that in the real world landscape of parenting, family, and life, things are happening really fast, and it's very dynamic and it's multifaceted. I mean, we haven't even talked yet about how when there's two parents, like the one that didn't yell, when there's multiple siblings, human dynamics in another landscape is hard enough. And then when you start introducing the real world landscape, things happen fast. So having something that people can reach to really quickly, what I call in the landscape of stress modulation, which is something that I'm more familiar with from my labs, work, is real time tools. Real time tools. We're all at our best after meditation, vacation massage, and a good night's sleep. But what about real time tools when everything's hectic? So what does a really good apology look like in the real world? Because a really good apology in the ideal world of Instagram is, yeah, I believe you.


I'm so sorry. With no buts, no this and that. But a real apology sometimes is as you're boarding a plane or when there's a bunch of other things that are going on and you haven't even dealt with those yet, or when you're on your way to an event. Okay, so you get it. What does a really good internal landscape for apology look like? How can we touch into where we need to be? And then what are the words that even if we have to try again later and again and again later with that person, in this case, kid, but person more generally, what's the go to? Solid apology, right?


So, yeah, I think you are never going to go wrong saying I believe you to your kid. Obviously not if you say it randomly, but if they're really upset you yelled at me, I believe you. If that's all you can remember. You're crushing it. I think a realistic repair, you have to do something for yourself. And to me, it can be a very simple mantra. To me, I'm a good parent who is having a hard time is the one I use honestly, over and over. And after I yell at my kid, before I'll go to the bathroom sometimes and I'll say that to myself, Becky, I'm a good parent having a hard time. And I'll kind of say it as many times as I need until I really do feel something like shift a little in my just because again, I think that phrase separates what I did from who I am, right? And then to me, a realistic apology. It could be super simple if you remember nothing else, could just be like, I'm sorry I yelled. That's great. If you're like, I'm feeling it, Becky, give me that next step. I'm sorry I yelled.


Just like you, I'm working on managing my emotions. And next time, even when I'm frustrated, I'm going to try to stay calm. Something about the next time, if you want to throw in that it's not your fault, kids, it seems an OD thing because parents like, why do kids assume it's their fault? It is their default position and so it's never a bad thing to throw in. But honestly, just simply, hey, I'm sorry I yelled. That actually gives them that realness. Because without saying anything more, you're saying that thing you think happened did happen. So that's powerful.


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Again, that's huberman. How do you suggest parents deal with retorts and rudeness? And again, let's extend this to all relationships so you get in your best mindset. And by the way, I love this I am thing, two of the most important words in any language. When translated to other languages, I am blank. I am a good this or I am whatever. Role identity is key to the brain. We know this. You go in and you say, I'm really sorry. I struggle to regulate my emotions. I believe that you're really upset. And the kid says, I hate you. Now, earlier you said that good boundaries are about not expecting a change in behavior from someone else. They're about our own boundaries. Or maybe the I hate you comes from, listen, we're not going to go to so and so's house for a playdate today.


Great example. I hate you.


I hate you. So is there ever a case for no response?


I mean, to me, the most underutilized parenting strategy is doing nothing. Literally. It's one of my most used strategies. There's really good reason for it, especially in this situation. So to me, I always say we have to understand before we intervene. So I know every parent's like, what do you do in that situation? But it's like trying to fix someone's tennis swing before you look at their tennis swing, right. There could be a lot of problems. So again, why is a kid saying I hate you? And I would ask every parent to just keep this in mind. It's a tool and you can't use it in real time. Eventually you can, but we have to say it at like, the end of a night. When my kid said, I hate you, what is my most generous interpretation of why he would say that to me? And if you're like any human, me included, by the way, your least generous interpretation is immediate. You're like, because he's a sociopath. That's what we say all the time. We're like, wow. Or because he's like, a horrible kid, because he's spoiled, because he's nasty. It comes easily. So that's fine, but what is my most generous interpretation?


And when I don't know, I'll push myself to say, okay, well, I was in a situation with my husband. What would lead me to say that? What would lead you to say that.


To someone that I hate?


Like, they say something to you, like, hey, Andrew, we're not going to be able know do this dinner.


It would have to be some sort of deep betrayal of trust. And I have to acknowledge that if I said that to somebody that I really care about or love, as I'm saying I hate you, what I'm really saying is I love you so much. And that hurts unbelievably at such an unbelievable intensity that what's coming out of my mouth is I hate you. Because if you didn't love them, that's right, it would have null effect. It would be a met. It would be a met. But instead it hurts. So somehow there's a neural circuit in there that goes, whatever. Insert explicit hate you.


That's right.


But what you're really saying is I love you so much. And as a consequence, that thing you did or said hurts so much.


That's right. And so I think that's exactly what's going on for a kid. Or to me, my most generous interpretation, a simple way is my kid, when I said we couldn't go to this friend's house, that he thought we were going to his friend, he was going to sleep over, he had so built it up in his mind, he'd like, probably like kids do, they have this whole image, oh, and then we're going to do this and this. And the letdown was so intense. And again, I go back to kids have all the feelings we have and they're born with none of the skills. So it takes like a pretty well developed skill to be really disappointed, by the way, and surprised right in the moment, and manage it in a mature way. I'm sure we both know adults who aren't really capable of doing that, right? So the fact that my seven year old is doing that. So if I think about it that way, we latch onto our kids words as if they're the truth. They're not the truth. It's not to say they don't matter, but they're not the truth. The truth is, whatever world is under the words, like, I'm disappointed and I don't know how to manage that.


So if I think about the outcome, where do I want to be? What I would love in that situation? Because the truth is, when I say to my kid, sorry, we can't go to Bobby's house, I wouldn't even want. It's not normal for my kid to be like, oh, no problem. Because I'm just picturing my 25 year old, like, trying to get a job and being like, mom, oh, I didn't get it. And then he's like, no problem. I'm like, that's kind of weird. Really? That's weird. I'd want you to be disappointed. And so what I want my kid to be able to do is to be like, I don't know, what's the best it gets? Like, oh, man, I was really looking forward to that. That's, like, ultimate maturity. So how do I get from I hate you to, oh, man, I was really looking forward to that? All the things we want to do just don't even make sense. Like, sending my kid to their room saying, like, you're such a nasty kid. I've never seen any of your friends say that to their parents. And I'm good at acting these things out because, of course, I say these things, too, but all I'm doing is basically telling my kid the version of themselves I don't want them to be.


So now I'm further away from that outcome. Just not effective. My kid obviously literally needs to learn some of those skills and practice them. We don't think about simulations with kids nearly enough. We know that in sports people practice all the time. We don't do that with emotion regulation. So what do I do in the moment? I think the best question here is, what do I do outside the moment to help my kid build the skills so they actually have more of a skill the next time that moment comes? Still, I'm a pragmatist. What do I do in the moment? I hate you. I probably would do nothing first. When someone is rude to you and they say something nasty, I don't know, this is my son. This is me. My son just hurled, I hate you. It's like sitting between us when we say back to them, I hate you, or like, go to your room. We take all the energy from what they said and we just throw it. And then we have this ping pong match. When you do nothing, I always picture, if this is like that, I hate you. It just sits between us.


My kid has a much higher chance of kind of reowning what they just said because I'm just kind of sturdy in that moment because I didn't just take it from them and say something to them, which just gives them the opportunity to take what I said and have no responsibility for the first thing they said. It's always true in adults when someone says to you like, something nasty, if you actually just stay there, they're kind of like, oh, shoot, I shouldn't have said that because it's right there. So I'd probably say nothing. I don't know if I'd really do that, but I'd want to do that. Let me be clear. Something else you can say in that moment, which takes a lot of presence, so it's not going to happen right away, is just something like, whoa. Like, clearly you're disappointed. I get that. I believe you. And I know there's another way you can say that to me that's actually right. Back to family jobs. I'm validating, and I'm setting kind of a boundary in some ways. Like, I know maybe there's a hope there, too. Like, I know there's another way. So my kid keeps saying, I hate you.


I hate you. You're the worst. You're the worst. I'm going to say, listen, I love you. You're a good kid. You're having a hard time. I really won't stay in your room while you keep saying this to me. And part of that is because it's not good for you either. Like, this isn't a good dynamic. I'm going to step outside, I'm going to come back, and we can talk about it when we're both in a place where we can be a little more specful or something like that. Right? You don't have to be a punching bag. But at least now I'm helping my kid see that he is having a feeling under these words. If I can't differentiate the feeling from the behavior, how can I expect my kid to ever learn to differentiate those two? Which is how my kid can actually get to a more regulated place.


I've sometimes wondered whether or not parents are either afraid of or not afraid enough of their kids. I've known some parents that are afraid of their kids because, and perhaps as a consequence, who knows what the chicken egg is there? All we know is the parent was alive first. The kids learn to control their parents through not necessarily emotional outbursts, but the threat of emotional outbursts. I've seen this again and again, and it's a pretty wild thing to observe. And, of course, as an observer, it's far easier than when you're in it. But this idea, like, they're like a pot ready to boil over, they're going to pop. And I've seen this in teachers in the classroom. I've seen this in so many venues where whether or not the child understands that they're somehow controlling the situation or not, that there's just an inherent fear of what could happen. And then I think kids feel a certain power, but they don't feel safe, right? I mean, how could they? Their children? Yes. So for the parents out there that are afraid of their kids, potential responses and or how bad their kid, quote unquote, might turn out if they were to really lay down the law here, I'm using kind of old school language.


But listen, I grew up 48 years old. My parents didn't physically abuse us. But there might have been a spanking every once in a while, or I don't know what the rule is nowadays, or the standard out there. I won't say which, but I might have taken a smack here or there, but not many. And there was also a lot of love. But clearly, and here, I'm not supporting the use of corporal punishment. I want to be very clear, but kids can be tough. And then also, it wasn't long into my high school years when I was physically larger than both my parents. I never used that to intimidate them. But I have to imagine when your kid is larger than you, if you were already psychologically afraid of them, now it's clear to both of you that the tables have turned.


That's right.


Right. I'm talking about the unconscious, semi conscious aspects of this. I'm not talking about who can, obviously, physical fights. There's not something I ever want to see or participate in in a household.


So this is an amazing topic, like walking on eggshells. This is right. And this is terrifying to a kid because again, if a kid is trying to figure out, am I real and am I safe? Kids do experience feelings in such an intense way because they don't have any of those skills. And they're so surprising and they're so visceral that it is scary to them. And there are kind of, especially these groups of kids, I call them deeply feeling kids that do feel things more intensely and they do have more of these big, massive tantrums. They even look animalistic. Often during they try to scratch you, they'll hiss. During them. They'll growl, hiss.


Really? Yes. I grew up with some biters. Kids that bite?


Yes. Because again, those are just feelings, literally uncontained that are exploding out. And where do they explode out? Through your extremities. So that's really what it is. And so what will happen? And this is this really unfortunate dance. One of my favorite things to help people turn around is then kids kind of sense from a parent. Like, I really am as toxic as I worried I was. Right. And again, if we go back to that pilot thing, like, I think about a pilot who's like, we have to make an emergency landing. We're not going to be able to go to LA and we're all going to land in Cleveland, whatever it is. I picture the passenger who's like, you are going to take us to LA. And the pilot's okay, okay. Can you imagine? You're like, it doesn't matter that this person is pissed. Like, you're the pilot, you don't have to keep us happy. Please keep us safe. And if you're on that plane and you're terrified because you're like, we have to make an emergency landing, I promise you, you're way more terrified when you hear this person change the decision because of the threat that a passenger is going to be very, very upset.


And that is actually what we do when we're walking around on eggshells. Now, the alternative to this, again, we live in this world in parenting, where there's a binary where we say, and you said it yourself, so I'm going to lay down the law. I don't recommend that either, especially with a kid like that. That's not going to be the best solution. These kids have to be seen as good kids. They are good kids. And when I meet with parents of these kids, I hear about them and I always say, I hear about them and I have a kid like this. So I get it. And I'm just like, I really like your kid. And they're like, what? I was like, I do. And then they usually start crying and they go, you're literally the first person in eleven years who's ever said that, including the parents. You like our kid. Why? I'm like, they're tenacious. They know what they want. They seem like they have 0% people pleasing in them. These kids will change the world, but not if they're boundaryless. Then they'll become tyrants. And that's really terrifying. And I'm going to teach you how to be the sturdy leader, which is equally firm as it is warm.


And that's going to start today. And so here's an example of these deeply feeling kids. I think you said something about watching a tv show where these kids, it feels like they hold the family emotionally hostage, right? And because if you don't pick the movie that they want to watch on family movie night, they will scream, they will cry and they will do that for 3 hours. They will. Other kids after you're like, they don't peter out, these kids. These kids, interestingly enough, get in an awful cycle with their parents because they have such intense emotions. More often, which more escalations, which tend to get met with invalidation. You're so dramatic, you ruin everything. They are that much more desperate to be believed. They escalate further. You can understand how that would lead to more distance and invalidation. And we're off to the races in a bad direction. And I would say to the parents during family movie night tomorrow night, this is what you're going to do. And you're going to. By the way, I would say this is how concrete I get. You're going to write this down and you're going to say it to a voice recorder with your own voice.


And I want you to play it back and see how sturdy you sound. And they'll often do it and they'll be like, wow, I didn't even believe myself when I said that. I'm so scared of my child. Right? You're going to do it again, and then you're going to do it again. And this is just like any other skill we practice. And you're going to say to your kid, look, I know in this know Bobby, usually we let him pick the movie, he gets really upset. If not, we all. Tonight's gonna be different. Bobby, it is your sister's turn to pick the movie. And I know you're gonna be upset. And I just want to tell you exactly what's going to happen. And in this example, I'm saying there's a two family household, which is an assumption. But even if there's one, if you're super upset and screaming, I'm going to bring you to your room and this is important. I'm going to sit with you and I'm going to stay there. And this is a line that I know from our deeply feeling kid workshop has really, and you have to believe it to say it.


I am not scared of your feelings. And I know parents will say to me, but Dr. Becky, I am scared of their feelings. Like, yeah, you're going to fake it till you make it. They need to hear that. Because if you think about the image of these kids, their feelings feel so overpowering to them. They feel more, but they're actually more porous to the world. So they both have more coming in, and they are actually always terrified of how much of them can flow out. And so they feel their feelings in that way. It's almost like my tantrum in the house takes up the entire living room. That's why you actually have to bring them to a smaller room and you actually have to contain them in that way as a way of kind of saying, it only goes this far. Like, literally, I will not let you dictate family movie and always sitting in the front seat and your favorite chair at dinner. It only goes this far. And that is truly an act of love and protection and safety for those kids.


How often do you observe that, these deeply feeling kids, is that how they're referred to?


I mean, I made up the term, but yeah, great. Deeply feeling.


You are qualified to qualify to so deeply feeling kids also express these deep feelings in the positive sense. Because I can think of some kids I grew up with, and I can look at my own experience. It's hard to know. We don't have a calibration point. It's not like body temperature of how much I feel versus how much you feel. We look at the external expression of these things, like, did the. Did the lacrimal gland secrete some tears or not? As you were talking about this thing before, I noticed, I weld up a little bit, and I'm thinking, yeah, I can remember seeing things and feeling things and like, whoa, it's a really big inside. I don't remember screaming at my parents, telling them I hate them. I probably did at some point. But I have observed other kids, peers that grew up that clearly fell into this category and have gone on to do remarkable things. Remarkable like extraordinary things. Because it's a capacity that doesn't always skew towards negative expression. It can also like immense expressions of love. I think these days that there's a tendency for unqualified or truly unqualified people because they're not trained to do so.


To slap labels like borderline, right? Splitting, like good object, bad object splitting. And indeed, that exists as a diagnosis and symptoms of borderline, but that we punish rather than believe and observe that these things exist. There's range in nervous system tuning and affect. Put simply, do deeply feeling kids also tend to express love and joy and positive emotions with the same intensity or near same intensity?


I would say it depends on kind of their stage of development and the nature of the interactions they've kind of received back. I think deeply feeling kids, I always say, are super sensors. Like, if you have one these kids and I have one, these kids, we live in New York City. She will not go into New York City garage, okay? Like, where we park our car, and she's like, the smell. And the rest of us are like, what are you talking about? Meanwhile, I have another friend who lives in totally different area of Manhattan, and she's a deeply feeling kid. She's like my daughter, the same. Like, I actually believe that my daughter smells something that I don't smell like. They are super sensors in that way, right? And she notices the little detail of something. Now, in terms of the intense love, I think for these kids, their vulnerability sits so close to their shame. This is why they get so explosive. They almost experience their feelings as attackers, which is, again, why parents can get scared of them. And they do because, again, they feel that feeling so intensely that they have this deep fear of abandonment, of being too much.


And so that shame tries to shut it down, although it obviously doesn't work, and it explodes. What I've noticed with deeply feeling kids. And this to me is actually like, truly my proudest body of work. And you mentioned borderline, so I'll go there. People have said these sound almost like kids who have some predilection to borderline. And obviously, having gone to a PhD program, we're told a lot about invalidating environments and things like that. I'm not really one for labels either, but I just got so much insight from, honestly, my own kid where I was like, wow, she is so different in how she processes things and what she needs and how she responds to my very same interactions as my other kids. They're very different. And that fear of abandonment and being too much, it was like, it was like there from the start. It really feels like it was like there. What's so interesting is I feel like through working with her, by the way, in a very different way, because these kids reject almost every typical parenting strategy you go to validate these kids feelings. It's like you're trying to intrude on them and steal their heart.


Because if you think about their porousness, they're so terrified of being taken over that when you're seeing a feeling, they feel like you're, like, seeing into them, and so they reject you. I always say you can't go in the front door with these kids. You've got to find these side door approaches. But now, of all my kids, she is by far the cuddliest, the most loving, the most emphatic about our relationship up this trip now I'm going to miss you so much. The idea when she was four that any of that I would say to someone like, you are crazy. You are talking about a different kid. So I think that, yes, that deep love is there, and we just have to kind of make it a little safer for those kids to access it.


Is there any kind of general statements that one can still make accurately about differences in the expression, or perhaps even the experience of deeply feeling kids in boys versus girls.


Great question. I actually haven't noticed a ton, but there might be. I'd love to look more into that. But in terms of. I want to be accurate. I haven't noticed that yet. I think one of the things, you know, you have one of these kids is if you know the moments when you're a parent where your kid needs you, and in those moments, your kids push you away. They push you away when they need you the most, that's like, I think, a really common quality for those kids.


And how common is this? I sound like such a biologist, this deeply feeling kid phenotype. I don't want to lessen the importance of what you're saying by saying it that way, because actually what I think you're saying is incredibly important. Resonates with me on a lot of different levels, in fact. But as far as I know, it's not a DSM diagnosis, and thank goodness it's not, because that would pathologize it. Right. Let's say they get a big classroom, 100 kids.




How many of those kids, and I'm guessing it's a continuum, but would fall into this category of deeply feeling.


I think you're right. It's a continuum. And connecting topics I know you've spoken about. I've been doing a lot of looking into this overlap with deeply feeling kids and neurodivergence and adhd. And what I think is interesting about that is we have these workshops, these deeply feeling kid workshops, and a lot of them we do live. And there's this whole chat, right? And I'll say these things, people, and they're definitely ideas they haven't heard. But what I think is more healing is thousands of people in the chat and saying, when I say the hissing thing, the chat is like a waterfall. I thought I was the only one. There are so many of these kids. Why I think there's more and more is something I need to look more into, but I think it does, really. If you think about these kids as more porous and you think about how insanely stimulating the world is that we bring up kids, what comes into them, it would make sense that I think this is like a growing type. I'm guessing it's similar with ADHD, too. I have so many more kids diagnosed than in the past, the world.


We bring up kids in the sensory overload. If you're kind of that much more porous, that's going to overload your system and I think that's also why more and more kids are so. What's the percentage? I don't know, maybe 20. But that's a fairly high percentage. I do. I think it's a fairly high percentage.


But that feels right. It just sort of feels right based on my observation of adults also. Yeah, feels right might also explain a lot of the apparent conflicts and misunderstandings in adult relationships.


So many people, they'll say to me, oh, my goodness, that was like years of therapy for me. Watching that, I thought I would took that from my kid. Like, this was me and I finally talking about, I believe you. That's what I mean. Deeply feeling kids are desperate to be believed, and they're desperate for our attempts to connect with them because their deep fear is their unlovability. And so they do reject typical. It's a stance. Get out of my room. Fine, you're so difficult. And then, see, I really am as unlovable and bad as I worried I was right. Unless we kind of reverse that cycle.


I'd be willing to bet my life that most of the ultra successful performing artists that we observe, I'm not going to name names, but just think of ultra successful. That the people whose words, music, poetry, writing, acting, presence evokes immense emotion in other people. So much that people will pay money to see these people express their emotions and what's inside them fall into this deeply feeling category 100%. I mean, it just can't be any other way, right? Yeah. The muted performer, unless that's the shtick, so to speak, is just not compelling. Yeah. And a lot of what we're talking today is about the kind of tuning fork nature of emotions. Wow.




What a tricky balance. Speaking of that, I'd like to just return to something I raised earlier, and then I made the mistake, it was my fault of shutting the hatch on it. I'd like to reopen that hatch, which is when there's two parents, maybe they're under the same roof, maybe they're not. Or let's just say two caretakers. So kids are pretty darn good at figuring out who to go to for what and how to balance out negative experiences by seeking out the positive reinforcement of the other, sometimes even pitting parents and caretakers against one another. I mean, makes children sound diabolical, but adults do it, too. It's called gossip. What can co parents, co caretakers do to try and align strategies, or if necessary, to offset some bad stuff that the other parent might be doing? And in today's landscape, where it's about 50% of marriages end in divorce, at least in the US. You also have the situation where then there are new significant others come in. And now you've extended the landscape to sometimes five or six different parents. My biological family is starting to look like the UN. We've got so many countries and religions and this thing, it's kind of nice on the one hand, but lots of divergence of opinion and emotional stance and background.


So how in the world do we wrap our efforts around this?


Yeah. So one of the most common questions I get from a parent at good inside is like, can you convince my partner why the way they do things is wrong and do things more like good inside? And so essentially I always say, like, yeah, I'm not, for a million reasons, I'm not too interested in taking that phone call.


I don't get involved in couple disputes either.


But again, assuming, and you've said this a couple of times, which I love, I'm assuming the way your kind of partner or the coparent does things is not really damaging your child. Obviously, that's really time for an intervention.


No hitting, no emotional abuse.


Exactly. But even I'm not a believer of saying for a timeout. Right. I don't believe in timeouts on punishments. I don't think they feel good to kids or parents, and I also don't think they're effective.


So timeout is not effective?


I don't think so.


Okay. And we probably should have closed the hatch on. I have to imagine that the going word in the profession of psychology and raising kids properly is you never spank them, you never hit them.


Yeah. No.


Okay. All right.


For the record, so maybe we'll get back there, but just to go on the record, and I think you can sense from my style, not punishing or timeouts doesn't mean you're permissive at all. There's 0% permissive or even softness. I think there's softness. There's 0% permissive in those moments. But we can get back there. But let's say your partner does do that, or the co parent. Right. I would be the first to say to someone like, do I think that's like messing up your kid? I really don't. Especially if, for example, in that situation, let's say I'm divorced and my now ex, I just know that they do timeouts or this, and I've tried to talk to them, but whatever, they're not getting on board with the style. And to me, what happens is you have a kid, they come back to you and they're like, papa gave me a timeout and we don't do that in my house. And my first thing is I call my ex. That's usually what I do. Or the school did this, and I called school, I called the ex, and I'm like, why did you do that? We don't do that.


What I think is really important, and I actually find it very relieving as a parent. Be like, what's actually most important is helping my kid understand their experience. Like, we center the other person and what they're doing wrong. Wrong. Instead of centering our kid, we might need to call a parent, the other parent, and say, like, hey, it would be really great to get on the same page. Could we do this course together? That would just be great. You don't have to agree with anything. I think that would be great. But in that moment, what my kid needs actually is more like, wait, that's kind of hard, confusing. In our house, when you do something like, you scream, I hate you. I intervene in one way, and when you go to your dad's house, he intervenes in a very different way. That's a lot of switching to make sense of. Or maybe my kid says, mom never apologizes to me after she yells. And I would call, or maybe it's my own wife. And I'm like, hey, you know the importance of repair? Haven't you listened to all this literature? I would like to have some influence on that.


But what I feel like my kid needs in the moment is more like, tell me what happened. She yelled at you? And. Yeah. Look, something I know mom was. I know she had a really stressful day at work. And look, this isn't your responsibility, but you can just know this. Mom has a really hard time apologizing to her. Has a really hard time apologizing. And actually, when people have a hard time apologizing, they seem cold and like they don't care. They actually usually just feel so ashamed of what they did. And the reason I'm telling you that is not because you have to take care of her, but just so you know, this, so wasn't you. And anytime something happens with mom that doesn't feel good and you feel like you can't resolve it, you can talk to me, and I'm going to get out of role play for a sec, but I think you can see I'm not throwing my wife under the bus at all, but I'm centering what my kid needs. What my kid needs going back is they need to process that experience with an adult they feel safe with rather than being aloneness.


And I often picture, like, this kid on the couch who tells me a problem at their dad's house or at school, and I go off to make a call, and I picture them alone being like, oh, now I'm alone. I didn't really want you to go do that. I just wanted you to listen to me. There might then be a step, too, to kind of get on the same page, or when parents say, get on the same page, I think the problem is that we're not, like, looking at the same page. Forget getting on the same page. We're not even speaking the same language. People will say to me, my partner won't even watch a video with me that I just want to. Even if they disagree, that is a problem. And frankly, that's not a parenting problem. That's also what I'll say to someone if you say to your partner, look, I've been a member at good inside, and it's been really helpful, and it resonates, and you don't have to agree with it, but I would love to watch this four minute video. If your partner says, no, that has nothing to do with parenting.


That is a core relationship problem that they just don't care to do something that you say is important to you. That's a marriage problem. That's it. Right. And I think it's really important. And we talk about this a lot. Like, if that was someone, I'd coach them to say, hey, and you don't have to agree, but if you don't commit to watching a four minute video with me and just talking about it a little bit, and I promise I'll try not to be judgy or provy. I'll just listen. I don't really think we're talking about parenting. I think you're telling me you don't really respect me enough to do the things I'm asking you to do, and that'll stick with me. That's the way I'd handle it.


Yeah, this is very helpful. I'm curious about these ADHD diagnoses, kids, because there's a lot of loose hand diagnosis these days. Years ago, I was a camp counselor, took kids backpacking, and I learned an important concept of when working with adolescent and teenage boys, which is be a channel, not a dam. When they're super energetic, they're not sitting still. It's not nap time. There's just no way. So this notion of getting it out, like, allowing someplace for physical or emotional catharsis, that's safe, obviously, and that kids have a lot of energy. I mean, damn it, the adult population seems to be trying to regress themselves to have that energy. So how can we blame them for having so much energy? And of course, there are children who have and adults with clinically diagnosed ADHD that really struggle. But for the kid that's more energetic, maybe even has a hard time sitting still to the point of discomfort. And when the rest of the world that we can't control is telling them like, hey, your kid needs to be regulated on the subway, on the bus, in the classroom, what are some things that we can do in terms of communication with those kids?


And probably some of those kids are listening as well, and to just be a channel, not a dam, to allow their best expression to come forward.


Yeah, I mean, I love this idea in general. It's much more effective to tell anyone what they can do rather than telling them what they can't do across the board with kids, because there's usually a can that is possible, and then you can work with the urge instead of, I don't even know it, trying to suppress it or have it not act itself out. Our urges and feelings are forces. They're going to come out. And so, yes, I think this idea of, like, me and my kid are on the same team here. I think that's so important to start with any kid. Definitely if you have a kid with some attentional struggles, we're on the same team. You can so easily get into me against you, and then you look to shut down everything about them. But, yeah, we're on the same team. So let's say it's hard to do homework right now. I see you. Okay, let's take an amount of time, and it seems like you have a lot of energy, like, let's do some heavy work or let's run outside. And maybe homework always has to start after a period like that.


Maybe they need a break. But this idea of, yes, I'm working with my kid, as opposed to against my kid, is always going to be more successful.


Do you think that some of the new emerging tools, some of which I've talked a lot about, but many, many people have talked a lot about things like meditation, kids doing some long exhale breathing, in addition to the way I grew up, it was like pe time or recess time, you run around like crazy. Do you think that these tools are helping kids get some self regulation? Or is whatever self regulation they're gaining offset by the fact that there's just so much more input. We hear so much about the challenges of social media for adults, but certainly for kids, bullying obviously being one of the more salient ones, but also just the fact that when they go home at night and they're in bed, they're potentially still in interactions with their friends. We used to have a phone landline that we'd sometimes call one another on, but I wasn't really much of a phone kid with my friends. So when you were home, you were home, you were separated from all of that. How bad is it? And what are some things that parents and kids might consider?


Yeah, to me, meditation, things like that, always like icing on the cake. That's always helpful. And certainly teaching kids real tools, those are literally something I can do. I've learned this meditation. I have a mantra, something like that. Like, huge fan, right? You have to be able to touch it in some way. But to me, I think what's coming up is you bring up this larger point and it actually goes back to where we started. It's like the cost to children of parents not being able to set boundaries has never been higher. And at the same time, it's never been harder for parents to set boundaries. And I think this stuff starts way before social media. To me, when I think about the earliest years of a kid's life, you get so much bang for your buck in life from helping kids just learn to tolerate frustration. And so much of kids early life right now in the world we live in is all about the immediate escape from frustration. And not only escape from frustration, but from frustration to gratification in like an instant. It's like so fast. How did that just happen? It didn't used to be like that.


There wasn't even an option. Me and you, I don't know if you wanted a movie. I don't know. Maybe your parent could drive you to blockbuster if you had an account. And then maybe I remember going and be like, are they going to have it? Are they going to have it? And then you see the thing and there's nothing behind it and you're like, they don't have it.


That whole blockbuster, by the way, was a video store. I'm just totally kidding. I'm totally kidding. But some people out there, I sometimes do this to myself. Yeah, absolutely. I used to love going to pick out movies at the vhs store.


But if you think about that as one tiny thing, it's obviously tiny. And you think about, like, I remember that in my childhood. Anything about that tiny moment compared to some parallel in a kid, there's no frustration. The want and the gratification. There's zero space. There is zero space. And also, I have to say, our generation of parents, and me too, 100% me too. Our tolerance for frustration has gone way down because of the gratification world we live in. Which means our tolerance of our kids tantrums is at an all time low, because we're like, hey, my life is pretty easy. In a lot of ways, this is, like, a massive inconvenience. So kids have more gratification than ever. We have lower tolerances for frustration. Everyone does. Which means the way we interact with kids over and over and over, plus just the natural things they're exposed to or not, like Netflix versus blockbuster, just means their circuitry around expectations and what feels good to me, that's what really. It scares me. It does. And figuring out how to tolerate, or even insert, like, literally insert frustration into your kid's life as early as possible to me, is of critical importance.


I could not agree more. And I say that with the understanding that I have also shortened the latency in my reward prediction errors, which is nerds speak for when I want to watch a movie. I go into Netflix, and it's near infinite, and I can get. Right. Then the Internet's a little slow. Then I start barking about how slow Internet is worse than no Internet. And you start observing yourself, and you just go, oh, my goodness, what's going on? Yeah. The ability to tolerate different wait times between anticipation and reward is so critical. That's what getting a degree is about. That's what doing anything challenging is about. I've gone on record saying that too much dopamine without effort exerted in order to get that dopamine is very detrimental.


Well, that to me. And all the screen time kind of discussion, there's so much screen time and social media and all the things that screen time do for kids. And again, my kids watch tv, and they're young. They have iPads. I'm so not a purist. I'm a pragmatist. And whoever's listening to this, no one messed up their kids forever. Okay? So we can just, like we were talking about before, use this information to make slightly different decisions on the margin. That's as it gets. But I think about this when our kids are especially young and they're building this circuitry around, like, what does it mean to get success? What are my expectations there? How much effort do I have to put in? And I think about a young kid playing some mindless, just dopamine giving game. The circuit they learn is like mindlessness, zero effort, dopamine. And then I think, and I find this really interesting, like, how many people say their kid is six now they're having a really hard time learning how to read, and they're getting all these learning assessments, and the learning assessments are coming back, like, no dyslexia. Right. And I know some of these times, and I say this with love, is.


I say, I literally think this is the first time in this kid's life that they kind of have to put, like, concerted effort without in the moment success. And so, yeah, that looks like a lot of things. It can even present, like ADHD, right? Because it can present like that. It might be, but it might also just be that these dopamine circuits have developed in a way that's not conducive with something like learning how to read. Right. And so when parents ask me now reading and academic skills, like, what can I do when my kids are younger? I got them flashcards. No flashcards. You can get flashcards. That's fine. It's not, like, detrimental, but to me, it's like, well, what is my kids relationship with frustration? Because I think about this thing called, like, the learning space. Again, I'm visual. Like, there's not knowing how to do something and then there's successfully doing something. And the space in between is, like, the learning space. That's what learning is. And learning the learning space inherently is frustrating. That's like the right feeling to be feeling. And when kids have learned to collapse those two things, then they don't have a lot of space to learn.


Versus, I don't know, even, like, I'm thinking about my kid who wants to draw a rainbow or sun when they're young and they're like, that doesn't look like a sun. It would be easy for me to be like, let me just do that for you. And by the way, yes, I give myself permission to do that. Sometimes I can't deal with this. I've got other things to do. But sometimes I think, log in that long term greedy. Like, this is going to be the same circuit for learning how to read. It is. And for learning how to do that project. And what if my only goal, forget them drawing a sun and I've got to tolerate the whining. My only goal was just to lengthen the amount of time they let themselves be in that learning space. That's it. Because I think we know as adults, it's not about getting to success. That comes when it comes. The longer amount of time you let yourself be in that learning space, the more successful you can be with hard things because you just got to traverse through. And so to me, that's honestly one of the things I'm most passionate about teaching parents is literally like, what do you do during that time?


Then? How do I change what my goal is? If my goal is to stop my kids tantrum, I'm going to collapse it. But if my goal is just to lengthen that, I might do something very different. That's not. You're right. You didn't want to draw that. Drawing a circle is so hard. And my kids, can you do it for me? Can you do it? Of course. Sometimes I will. But I might say, like, I'm not going to do it, sweetie. I'm not. You know why? Because I know you can do this a little more. I have faith in you. And I think this is so powerful to say to kids, this is so frustrating. And that's the exact way you should be feeling. We don't want our kids to be. That's the right feeling. I'll even draw that learning space visual. This is where you are. You're doing an amazing job. And it is actually interesting. When kids are young, they actually do adopt that. Someone said to me, I've been doing this stuff for a while, and my kid literally says to me, I like to do hard things, mom. They believe it. That's an amazing self belief to develop in a kid, right?


So, yes, I think this stuff, especially compared to how easy it is to get that gratification, it's, like, more important than ever to have an offset.


Yeah, I'm doing my best to get the word out into the world that the only reason the brain changes at all is if there is these neuromodulators like epinephrine, adrenaline, in the body and brain, because that's what signals that the nervous system needs to change. If something can be accomplished, there's no reason for the nervous system to change by definition. There's also, I don't want to spin off into a neuroscience of resilience and willpower lesson here, but there's some amazing literature that shows that there's this area of the brain, the anterior mid cingulate cortex, which is activated when people do things they don't want to do, and it generalizes to other things. But this is not the I love to work out, so I'm going to work out. This is the I hate to work out and I do it anyway, and it translates to success in academic endeavors, success in all sorts of environments. And so I think the beauty of it is that this brain structure is highly plastic and can be built up through one thing, and that translates to others. So doing hard things, experiencing what I call limbic friction, just as a gateway to learning, just understanding that, it always feels hard.


That's what learning is. In fact, I can remember in graduate school, even as a young adult, my mid twenty s, I was struggling with an analysis, and my graduate advisor, she was wonderful this way. And I said, she clearly knew how to do it. And I said, can you explain how to do this? And she goes, no. I was like, just done. And she's like, no, it's called learning. I just walked out. She was also a great parent to her children, and I also tried to get adopted by her. And that failed.


Third time's the charm.


Exactly. My poor parents, they did their best, and I'm grateful to them for many things, but I think that including the encouragement to do hard things, do things that suck that are beneficial for us. So it's a knife edge right now. I'm reflecting, it's like, do things that suck. I believe you. It sucks. And then what did my mom used to say a lot? Hate me now, love me later. I loved her then and I love her now. But, yeah, there were moments where I was like, I hate that you're making me do this. I don't know about the hate me now, love me later, old school.


But I think what she was trying to say is, I have your best interest in mind.




That's it, right?


Definitely. Yeah, no, definitely.


Can I say one thing? Just because it's loud in my head, one of the things I think it's easy, and I'm hearing myself, we hear this, and I think it's easy to listen and be like, oh, man, I never thought about it that way, or I didn't know that. Or again, we just spiral as a parent so fast. Like, I messed up my kid forever. Nobody messed up their kid forever. It doesn't matter how. That is just not true. And this is where I think we can spiral into like, yeah, what's wrong with me? And I kind of ask parents in this situation to come with me to a different location, which is kind of like anger. And I have started to feel angry. And I think angry anger tells us what we need. So I'm like, well, what is that anger telling me? It is messed up. The system is stacked against us that when you become a parent, it is literally the hardest, most confusing, most triggering, most important job we have, and we are given zero resources. Right. Like, nobody I know would tell a surgeon who never went to med school and was struggling at surgery that they were a bad surgeon.


They'd be like, wow, you probably deserve to go to med school and residency, by the way. That's an important job you have. And so I think it's easy to listen to all this and spiral into like, oh, no. But I'd ask you to almost feel a little protective, helpful anger next to it, which is like, wow, yes, this is an important job I have. This is complicated, and maybe there are resources out there that I deserve. And I think that's the perspective I would ask parents to listen from.


Earlier, you described the job of parenting as boundaries, imparting boundaries as well as empathy and validation. I just want to remind people that your very basic but very practical job description for parenting is something that I think we can return to over and over again. It also makes me wonder in thinking about the generalizability of these concepts to other forms of relationship. What about the relationship to self? It's something we don't often talk about. Yes, relationship to self. We want to have boundaries and we also want to be able to empathize and validate ourselves.


Yeah. And I think, right. I don't know. My friend didn't invite me. I don't know. I found she out. She had five friends for a dinner. And I was like, oh, I'm so hurt. I would say to myself, I believe myself. Like, I'm allowed to feel that way. I think our feelings love when we tell them they make sense. I just think there's something magical about that phrase. It makes sense. I'm upset. I mean, my friends were all there and I wasn't. That makes sense. And there's a boundary, because when my feeling tells me, well, I'm about to plan a dinner party for 200 people and invite everyone I know but her, I feel like there's important, you know what feeling? Like, I'm not going to let you go that far. And the image I always think about is like, I'm the driver of my car. And all the different feelings and urges, like, they're passengers and we can't get them out of the car. You just can't. They're in your body, but you don't want to let them take over the driver's seat. That's really what it is. And as long as they're a passenger, they actually won't cause you that many problems.


They'll be annoying. And to me that's like, hey, I see you. I see you. And I will often say hi to my feelings for that reason. Like high anxiety that woke me up at four in the morning. Yes, there's a lot of my mind high, and then there's like a boundary. You're a part of me and not all of me. So I think that phrase for regulating your own feelings, you're a part of me and not all of me, is the essence of validating and having a boundary.


What about our need? I think healthy need to know whether or not the lesson stuck. So I've observed this before. A kid is catastrophizing about an upcoming event, maybe a concert or a test or a homework thing or a social thing, and we're using all our best tools to try and help them. And I believe you. I hear you then. And they go through the experience and they do pretty well, maybe even great. And then we say, like, did you notice you were so concerned before and you did it. You really did it. Is there something that we can or should do to try and stamp down that recognition? Because one thing that's so beautiful about childhood is the short term horizon nature of childhood. We talk about adults trying to take it one day at a time or even half a day at a time. And kids are navigating on the basis of, like, first period class, second period class. Their horizon is often very close in. And I do wonder if they're internalizing these more global lessons on their own, or whether or not we should try and help them internalize what they just did.


Do you get it? You were super concerned. You were, like, almost dissolving into a puddle of your own tears. And I believe you. That was the appropriate response then and now. You did it. Think about that. Is it good that we reinforce those wins?


Yeah, I think our kids do internalize kind of the patterns, right? But I hear you. There are these moments. It's almost like we want to encapsulate it for them. Like, hey, that was a thing, right? I think kids pick up on whether our interactions were doing something for them or for us. So if it's from like, hey, that thing I taught you was really helpful, right? It would just be like if my husband was like, hey, your presentation went well because I told you to do that thing. And I'd be like, stop talking to me. Right? But if he said to me, hey, what was it that led to that? It's probably like, that's helpful to talk out. I'd be much more open. So I love the phrase going back to just real tools. I'm noticing. I think actually often we want to praise our kids or tell something. Just saying I'm noticing. Because, again, we want to be seen. We don't want to feel controlled. I'm noticing. Does that like, hey, I'm noticing you were so worried about this test. We kind of talked about this way of talking to your anxiety, and then I'm just noticing you felt really good about how it went.


Even that I think, because that's, like, the biggest thing now in our crazy fast world we live in, is just pausing to notice that's already encapsulating or saying to your kid, and I think a question is only a question when you don't know the answer. Right. Sometimes we ask questions. They have question marks, but it's like a statement or criticism. So if we say to our kid, that thing I taught you was really helpful, right? Do you think that what was helpful? That's not really a question. We already have an answer. But if I say, hey, I just thought it would be good for us to talk through for a second. What was it you think that led you to really feel good that day in the test, then? If I really don't know what my kid could say, I think they'll receive it. And then they might say, like, oh, is that thing we talked about? That's so great to know. I'm even thinking about Spanish coming up, and I wonder, do you think that would think. I wonder is also a great phrase for parents just wondering. I wonder if that would be helpful there.


Again, they just like lower defensiveness because maybe there's, like, movement with wondering. It doesn't feel controlling. So, yeah, I think those are nice moments. If it comes from a place of connection, not from control, that makes sense.


We had a guest on this podcast, Lisa Feldman Barrett, who's a world expert in emotions, and she explained that in cultures where there's more nuanced language for different emotions, rather than what I call the emojification of emotions, there's better emotion tolerance. So understanding that it's not just sad, happy, depressed, thrilled, but there's a lot of nuance. It's very context dependent, can be very useful. Do you think there's something to be gained from letting kids explore the range of emotions, not just how do you feel, good or bad? Most adults need to learn that good or bad are valuations. That's not actually an emotion. It's not actually an expression of how you feel. But that's what we do for shorthand. Do you think that let's just say in the United States, but elsewhere perhaps as well, that there's some value to teaching kids to pay attention? What is going on inside? What is this feeling of what I call anxiety? Is it excitement and anxiety being able to better pinpoint what one is coping with, but also the positive aspects of emotion?


Yes, it's funny. I am the clinical psychologist. The question how do you feel? I always find a lot of pressure. I don't know. I tend not to ask my kid that, but I tend also never to have asked patients that. I think what we're getting at is we want, and I think this relates to resilience. Resilience is our ability, in my mind, to tolerate the widest range of emotions as possible, because as humans, we're going to feel that whole range. So the more of them you've learned to tolerate, the better off you'll be. And so that's what I want for my kids. I don't know if that has to explicitly come from naming, although I think that point is definitely true. The more things we can name, the more things we can understand. To me, just showing up for your kid in a way that's like with believing, maybe with boundaries, is probably the best way to help your kid tolerate the widest range of emotions, because they learn that every emotion can be held in connection with someone else versus held in aloneness and is bad. So I guess that's the way I'd think through it.


Maybe we could talk about adolescents and teenagers specifically. Teenage years are wild. I always say that the single most traumatic aging event and the most rapid rate of aging that we ever experience is puberty. I mean, just fundamentally, brain circuits that were for one thing or that were dormant change and come alive in ways that the world forever will look different to us, feel different to us, and our self perception changes, period. It's something that biologists still understand at the level of hormones and hypothalamic circuitry, but that has really not been matched to a psychological understanding and vice versa. So nothing is quite like the music you listen to when you're a teenager. It brings you back, the memories you form, positive and negative stamp down. Boom, now and forever, the emotional salience can change. But those are wild years. What are some of the more critical needs of late adolescents and teens that are actionable? My teen years were crazy, but even if they're less crazy, they're always.


So. And one of the reasons I think, at least in America, that adolescence has seen as such a huge shift. Like, my kid is out of control. They're always out, they're always rejecting me. I actually don't think is unrelated to the behavioral control approaches that are inherent in american parenting, because, like you referred to, your kid becomes 14 and they kind of realize, like, wait, I'm bigger than one of my parents. I literally don't care about their sticker charts anymore. And we might have missed 14 years of building a relationship. And so what that kid's adolescence is going to look like is markedly different than if for those past 14 years you weren't giving into everything. No, but you were leading in a sturdier, more connected way. So I really think this whole idea that american adolescents reject everything, I actually think not all of it, a part of it is completely developmentally normal, but a big part of it relates to this tradition of behavioral control that kids cannot reject until they're at the age that they kind of could survive on their own, which is adolescence. So I think that's really important. The things I would tell parents to really keep in mind that are critical, number one, is related to that a teen's job is to separate and to start to form their own identity.


And I think there's a couple of things about that parents need to know. Number one, I don't think we prepare parents enough for the true sense of loss they feel when their kids are adolescents because that's very real. Like, you've just spent all these years and you've driven them to every soccer and they kind of talked to you in the backseat, and maybe you have family movie nights, and then all of a sudden they don't want any of that. And it's just so important parents to know, like, I'm going to feel sad, I'm going to feel lost. And if we don't know to expect it, we often kind of infuse that into a lot of anger toward our kid. And so I just think that's normal and we should talk about that more. And parents of adolescents need to be talking about that with each other. Of course you miss that. That's totally normal. Number two, related to that separation, if you think about identity formation, like, here's a kid and us and we're kind of close, and now we're at the stage where developmentally their job at that stage is to figure out who they are.


They have to overcorrect. You have to kind of overcorrect in the amount of space you take because it's really the only way you can figure out, like, wait, maybe I do want to take parts of that. That part's okay. And so I think that's, like, a powerful image to think about. Like, they are moving far away. That distance they take from you is not their final point. They will move closer now, going back to loss, not as close as they used to be, and that is different. But this is their way of trying to figure out who they are. Then the last thing I'd say that kind of relates that image. It's like, even as they move away, I think parents massively underestimate how much they still need us there, making efforts to connect. And I always think the difference between an explorer and a nomad is whether or not you have a home base. And if our teens feel like nomads is not a good situation, they're explorers. They try a million different things, but they really do need us. They need to know that they have a home. And I'll never forget my private practice.


I used to work with teens not the long ago, just the teens, sometimes the parents, too. And this teen came to me, and this was extreme. She had been really in a bad place with her parents, like, intense, intense conflict. And they got in this huge fight, and she was really, really upset, and she was describing this. And then I was like, get out of my room. Get out. I hate you. Get out. And I was just, like, sitting there listening. And then she pushed them out. I slammed the door, and it was a couple of minutes later, opened the door. My heart's racing. Can you believe they weren't there? Can you believe they weren't there? And to me, it was just this, like, and again, it's not about being a punching bag. But her seeming anger and her intense pain were so close together in her own story that it's just over and over, the same thing. Like, they're going to reject you. They're going to say, get out of my room. And, yes, it sucks, but they want you to slip a note under their door after you've taken a couple of minutes that says, that was really tough, or like, wow, that got out of control.


You're a good kid and I love you, and I want to just tell parents of teens, you're going to do that. There's going to be a pause, and then you will hear them rip up the note. You will. And I swear to any parent that still resonated, and your kid is again trying to figure out, how do I stay close with my parents? And I'm figuring out who I am. So they rip up the note because they almost have to do it to take in how much they are still desperate for those bids for a connection.


Sounds a lot like the dynamics of adult relationships, although hopefully with a little bit less dramatic accentuation. But even if it does, it's like these circuits that are laid down in childhood, early childhood. They persist, right? I mean, I think if anything has become clear to me in understanding brain development and brain function, it's that we don't discard circuitry for attachment and go, oh, that was for mom and this one was for dad and that one was for the dog. And then romantic relationship is different. We repurpose the circuits. Hence all the beautiful work on childhood attachment that's now being translated to adult attachment. I mean, I realize there's nuance to it, but I was reflecting a bit on this. Again, incredibly potent phrase or mention of explorers versus nomads, of having a home base and thinking about these psychology experiments where children are observed in the presence of their caretakers. Sometimes the strange situation task where people are kids are separated from their moms and mom and child, typically mom. Nowadays it's also been done with other caretakers and dads reunite. But one doesn't even have to know about those experiments. All you have to do is go to a park or be out in public and see a little toddler venturing away from parent.


And then what do they do? Every once in a while they look back. They're just trying to check to make sure they're there. Even the kids that are taking off on the tricycle like crazy will eventually stop and look back. It's like this fundamental circuit. We're looking back and how far they feel they can go is in direct relationship to presumably the number of times that they recharge, that they recharge, and we're able to see that verification that the parent was still there. I think this notion of explorers versus nomads and being an explorer obviously being a good thing, a healthy thing within reason. And nomads just feeling adrift, untethered. One of the scariest words, at least to me, in the english language. So the note under the door.




It included the words I love you. I don't want to get too detailed here, but those words sometimes are never spoken in a home, sadly. Sometimes are spoken so often and under so many circumstances that one wonders, like, did they lose their potency? But I noticed that in that note, it finished, I love you. It's sort of like stating at the end of the day, no matter what you say probably even what you do. I've been in the presence of parents of kids that were criminals that did horrible things. They still love their kids. So reminding kids that under any and all circumstances.


Yeah. And again, and I think what's so critical, because our brain collapses, is that doesn't mean you think their behavior is okay. And I get the fear. I would never want to send my kids a message that it's okay to, quote, do certain things. It's okay to just scream at your parents. Of course it's not okay. It's just I think we miss that happened. That happened already. If I dropped my phone and it broke and I was trying to understand why it broke. Trying to understand that doesn't mean it's okay that I dropped it. It just dropped like, it already happened. Now what? And, yeah, our kids need to know. They need to know that they're loved. And again, there's kind of like, in that message, I think I still see you're a good kid under that moment. And I actually think it's a powerful strategy for every parent to kind of conjure up a good kid image. Like, what is it? Was that that last time we were playing this game and it was just so fun? Or is it a memory of my kid when they were three and, I don't know, they did this really cute thing and it kind of really crystallizes that.


And even under this bad behavior, that kid's still there. And the kids who behave the worst are in the deepest pain. I mean, the adults, too. And that's not to say it's okay, but again, we're talking about relationships we want to be in. Like, if you're in a relationship with your teen, it's not one. You're like, this is toxic. This is my kid. I'm going to be in a relationship with them. So remembering that they're in pain, teens are in a lot of pain. They're exploring a new world, frankly, right now, teens have world. We don't understand it. That's so helpful for parents to approach your teen just as a tangible tool and say, you know what? There's so many things in your world that I don't understand. And frankly, probably I might criticize or judge. Can you take out your phone, whatever it is, this app, you're on, this video game. Can we just even time box this? Five minutes. I just want to end this conversation saying I understand it better. I promise you that's probably going to do more for your relationship with your kid than anything else because, yes, they do, and they might reject you.


And if you do again, don't take the bait. But ask again next week. Again, they need us to return.


One thing's for sure, none of us, except those that are teens, know what it's like to be a teenager in 2024. Just like they didn't know what it was like to be a teenager for me in the late 80s, early 90s, how could they? Right? What are your thoughts on family meetings? Like, once a week we sit down, we check in. I hear that people do this, may participate in these before. Do you feel like those can be useful or is it more window dressing?


I guess it depends what's happening in there. I mean, the idea of like, hey, there's a lot going on in our life and we have a ritual of coming together and talking things through, working through problems. Like, if that's what it is, that's a beautiful thing. I hear that. My first thought is I should do that. But you're right, life gets messy. But if it's done in a way where it feels we end and everyone feels a little bit more understood and a little bit more purpose and making things move forward in a positive direction, that's amazing. I think family meetings, it's funny. The way I think about them often, which is just different, is it's actually a great strategy, especially when your kids are older and there's somewhat of an ongoing conflict. So maybe there's like an ongoing conflict about how much video game time or how late they can stay out. And to say to a kid, and again, this just comes from, again, so important for teens, we have to approach our kid like we're on the same team. I always say me and my kid against a problem, not me against my kid, where they are the problem.


And so to say, hey, you've been late, or we have to figure out your curfew and like, look, you're a smart kid, you're a good kid. My number one job is to keep you safe. But you're old now, and if I just tell you a time, it's going to same thing that happened last year. We're going to get in fights all year. Why don't we sit down and we will do what I do in my office. There's two people, they each have ideas. I'm going to bring a pad of paper and that's actually super important. And I'm going to write down all of your ideas and my ideas, and then we're just going to kind of go through and cross out the ones that feel completely unreasonable. And I have a feeling when we do that we're going to come to a good place. So again, you can see there's that hope. I'm giving, like I hold the positive outcome, same team. I'm giving my kid credit in advance. This is actually like really success. It's usually the opposite of what teens feel, which is just my parents don't even listen to me or care and think they have all the answers.


I've heard this notion of couple parents come first and kids come second. And some people are probably like, what? Well, clearly never parented. Well, no, actually it's an interesting idea, perhaps not correct or incorrect, but maybe dynamic across time where the real question is if kids know that they are running the family in terms of what they do or their inability to not be attended to, et cetera, is driving the whole relationship that the parents are in versus recognizing. And here I'm imagining two parent home. But we could talk about divorced or people with significant others or single parent homes. I've been in all of those. You got to wonder, are kids really paying attention to how much they are being prioritized to the point where if they observe their parents tending to their own needs, that they feel deprivation, or does it make them feel safer, like, hey, mom and or dad are taking care of themselves and can show up better?


Yes, I think that is critically important. And it kind of goes, again to boundaries of a parent. My relationship with my kid is so important and I'm not going to let that take over me. That is not all of me. I am not only a caregiver to my kid, I would stand by that all day long. Is that an important part of me? And it's still a part of me. And I think this is really important to own as a parent because again, we tend to get, we get apologists for it or we look for our kids permission. We'll say, look, I need to go out with dad without you. Okay. We have a relationship, too. Again, there's that job confusion and my kid feels that. And again, it's that kind of giving them too much power. I've said this to my kids a lot. So say, why do you go out with dad without me? I'll say it's a great question. First of all, dad and I were married before we had kids. Our relationship is really important to us and we love being with you, and being with you is different than just being the two of us.


And that really, really matters to us. And so you don't have to be happy about it. Let's say I have a babysitter I know they're safe with. You can cry when I leave, and the babysitter will hold you. And we're going to go to dinner and we're going to come back and I'll see you in the morning. Yeah. I think that is so important. I actually think this is another topic. This topic of rage in parenthood is like a big topic. Why do I get to these moments of rage so often that my screaming is not just screaming at my kids, it's really rageful. And I think the parents often who are the most vulnerable to that are the ones where they're not meeting any of their non caregiving needs, which makes sense that a part of them is, like, screaming out, like, what about me? I used to go to dance class. I used to see friends. I used to go out with my partner and talk about things other than our kids. And so again, I think a kids need a sturdy leader. Right. More than anything else. And sturdiness is not allowing yourself to be taken over by any one thing, including your relationship with your kid.


Is it truly better for there to be two sturdy leaders than one sturdy leader? I realize this is a controversial question.


Yeah. I mean, I know. And I know there's research to back this up, that having one kind of sturdy leader in your life is massively protective. I really believe that. And so when parents will say my partner isn't, I'm like, we have research. This is true. Is two better than one? I don't know. The research probably. I don't know. But what I think is important in there, too, is what's not great for kids is having all the caregivers be some perfectly attuned caregiver. Right. That actually does not set up your kid for life at all. Right. Because I don't know anyone who thinks the partner I'm going to be with one day is going to be perfectly attuned to all my needs. Let me go find that person. So you have one sturdy leader, you have two. But being sturdy, part of that is you're going to rupture. You're going to rupture, you're going to mess up, you're going to hopefully repair after. But sturdiness, I just want to make clear, is so not the same as, like, perfection. Perfection is creepy. It's not a thing. No one needs that.


I love that. So for some, I've laughed out loud on this podcast about a statement like that. Yeah. The notion of perfection is kind of creepy. But sturdiness is anything but creepy. It's just such a beautiful word for all the right reasons. What about behavioral examples in parents? So, for instance, if children observe parents being affectionate to one another in appropriate ways, right. Attending to one another in boundaried but empathically attuned ways, do you think that projects forward into their notion of what adult relationships are like and should be like? Conversely, if parents are yelling at one another, do you think that projects forward into. It's okay to yell in adult relationships?


Yeah, I think kids are expert noticers. They notice everything, right? It's part of how they've learned to survive as such helpless humans. So they definitely notice. They definitely act like sponges. So, yes, if you're kind of privileged enough in that way to grow up in a home, or you have parents who in general are fairly affectionate, they take responsibility for their stuff, they communicate in a healthy way, I think that is like a true privilege you go into adulthood with. Yes, the other extreme, right? You grow up with parents who. They yell, or they can even yell in scary voices. Again, what I think is really important is the witnessing of that isn't going to be as impactful to a kid as the witnessing of it and nobody naming it and talking to them about it. So this is why so often kids will be in difficult stages, intense tantrums, major issues at school, and someone's like, what do I do? What do I do with this? Well, I gave you all the strategies in the world, but if that is just your kid's way of kind of manifesting all of their struggles with this huge marital conflict that's happening, it's not going to work.


So it's all part of the same system. And so saying to your kid, after you fight with your partner, hey, I think you heard daddy and I screaming. And I'm sure that felt scary because it does feel scary because they know you're their base. So if their base of a house feels like an earthquake, it feels scary. And another line I like is like, you were right to notice that we were using loud voices. Again, I think that's massively confidence building. Maybe what was that like for you? Or if you have a little kid, just, that's enough. And they might look at you and say, like, can I have my snack now? But it still really sunk in. So if there is a lot of conflict, again, I think it's really important we talk about that with our kids. Don't leave them alone.


What about teens that are really wayward and this could be behavioral outbursts. There's also the whole underside of this thing where it's also about withdrawal. Like, the kids are withdrawn. I mean, we've been talking about outbursts and yelling. There's also the example in parents or the instances in kids that they're just, like, really withdrawn.




They're just like, disengaged, depressed, depressed, maybe even dissociative. Who knows? But not good. And this can show up on one end as violence, on the other end as isolation. It can show up as eating disorders. It can show up as all sorts of things. Intervention before age 18 is quote unquote, easier in the sense that one has legal control. But oftentimes it's hard for parents to know, how bad is this? And I did an entire episode about cannabis, and I spoke to some of the medical benefits of cannabis for adults who are non addicts. But I also talked a lot about some of the risks. But let's take an example that I think is pretty common. Like kids 1516 starts smoking some ThC with their friends, and you go, okay, well, everyone does that, quote, unquote, not as bad as alcohol, which I think is a lame argument. This is lame. It doesn't make any sense. Yeah, you're getting hit by a car isn't bad as getting hit by a train, but, okay. But the point is, most all parents like, okay, clearly they're self medicating. They think they can't stop them, but you can stop them.


At what point do you then take, you put them into a residential treatment program, if you could even afford that? I mean, it's really tough for people to know how much to intervene in what is clearly not good behavior. And it sometimes can be bad behavior, and yet the kids are using it to self medicate. And there's a peer system that sometimes reinforces that this is a huge landscape. Maybe we have you back to talk just about this, but maybe we can presage that discussion. What do you tell people in your practice? Get in there now, pull the emergency cord and get this handled? Or do you say, listen, you just got to work with the system? Tough problem I'm throwing at you.


I think the first thing is, how do I, as a parent, kind of even assess this? Is this normal? Is it not normal? Is it a problem? Is it not? So I think there's a couple of things we could think about there. Number one, just seeing impact on overall functioning is always like one barometer, right? So, okay, can my child perform the kind of tasks of their developmental stage? Okay, so this is not the only thing, but are they still going to school? Wow. I noticed since they're smoking a lot of weeds, their grades went from b's to ds. Like, okay, they don't care about school anymore. They used to actually go out with friends. Now, unless they're with this one crew where they smoke in the park, they're not even seeing these kids they used to be friends with. They don't want to go to family functions anymore. They used to play soccer. If I'm answering this, I'd be like, wow. I'm not really talking just about a marijuana problem. I'm talking about my kid not engaging in kind of like, the developmental tasks that I would say is just like, it's time to seek additional support.


Right? Another sign is just kind of how limited their world has become because of this. Right? So again, has this kind of taken over everything they do? My kid is depressed, let's say. And all of a sudden their world has gotten really small. And it's not just that. That's the way they've always lived. There's a big change. The amount of conflict in the home. Again, is there conflict when you have teens? Of course there is. But, wow, is it really hard to talk to my teen for more than four minutes. Walking on eggshells, to me, is also a sign that we need additional help. Am I scared to intervene in a way that would actually be in line with my values? That's not a good sign, right? Then the other thing I just want to make sure everyone knows is, to me, seeking additional help is a sign of every single thing that's right with a family. And I think. We think it's a sign of something that's wrong. And it's like, also a sign of what's right in terms of messaging that to your kid. Again, I think about a kid who I used to see my practice, she was probably 16 when she came to me.


She was cutting serious, right? And I remember saying, just intake. Hey, how long have you been doing this? She was two years. Oh, did you see another therapist before you saw me? She's like, no. She was very kind of quippy and quick. And I was just like, why? And she's like, well, I told my parents that if they took me to a therapist, pissed, I would go and I would just waste all their money. I'd be quiet. And then when they left me there, I would just leave. And who's going to stop a 14 year old from walking away? And they might as well save their money because they can't make me okay. And again, I just kind of sensed to stay quiet. And she seriously, one of the next things she said is, can you believe they let me make that decision? Literally said that. Wow.


Validates everything you said up until now.


And it is. This is why. This is where I feel like I get my best ideas. That's right. A 14 year old can convince her parent that she won't go to therapy when she's cutting. That is not okay. And again, then we go to, okay, so I'm going to say to my kid, you are going. I'm like, no, there's so much between that. We're in these binary states. Your kid's feelings about therapy cannot dictate your boundary. Right. But we can't just then come down harshly. And so I coach parents in this all the time. What do you say to a kid, I love you. Hear me? I love you. We're in a tough stage. I see this problem, and I do think even when our kids get older, we can say this. My number one job is to keep you safe. It is not to keep you happy with me. And I actually love you so much that I'm willing to do things that make you unhappy with me. That is actually how much I care about you. And so I am going to be driving you. And if you want to curse at me the whole time, I will sit in that waiting room.


And you know what I'm going to do the next week? I'm going to tell you I love you. I'm going to do the same thing. And I think adults hearing that on some level, there's some internal truth of, like, I probably needed that. That feels odly good, because, you know, I'm not messing around. But there's this way. Whereas parents, we've said, the way to show my kid I'm not messing around is to be mean to them. There was nothing mean about what I said. I think it was more loving than saying to a kid, okay, let me know when you want to go. That is not loving. And so I think, like our teens, sometimes in those moments, they need us to do our job and be the pilot. It is this small amount of time where they're still a passenger. When they're 18, they are the pilot. And so we have this window.


There's nothing I want to probe more into that. I think you captured it beautifully. And it gets back to this issue of safety in letting them make their own decision when they're clearly in trouble. If anything could make a kid feel unsafe? A teen or younger or adult? It's that, yes. It's like laying the passenger on the plane. Be like, hey, instead of rerouting, how about you just come up here and fly?


That's literally what it is. And they're like, I can't believe you believed my little protest. Now I'm in the cockpit. They don't want that. That's why their words, teens words. It's not that we don't believe them. Like, as you see, I'm big on believing. Their words often are a representation of their fears. All of us, in our worst moments, get out. I feel like sometimes that's their fear or they're kind of talking to their emotion. They're not really talking to you in that moment. They're so dysregulated and just learning to not take it so literally and be like, what am I really believing? My kid isn't pain. They're cutting. My kid isn't pain. They're smoking weed 30 times a day and don't go to class. I know that they need help. And again, any parent who can say that to me is like the strongest parent. And that is such a sign of health.


I don't think I'd still be alive today if it wasn't for non parent mentors and just examples in the world. These aren't always people that were like, hey, I'm going to take you under my wing and be your mentor. Actually, that was rarely the case. But people in my real life or in my reading or there wasn't YouTube back then, but sometimes now people have. I'm a huge fan, for instance, of these jungian psychologists, James Hollis, who has these beautiful lectures on making a life, and I'm learning so much like, I consider him a mentor. Sorry, James, you didn't have a choice. You're a mentor. But these people that we can internalize certain healthy aspects that our parents just apparently can't seem to arrange for themselves and that we wish they had. But I think that we, as children of all ages, we want perfect parents. We don't get them. But it seems appropriate to me. I'd love your thoughts. It seems appropriate to me to have kind of a foraging for examples of where we can get certain things that we can internalize for ourselves so that we can benefit, that maybe our parents just aren't interested in, capable of, or even alive to provide us anymore.


Yeah. I mean, that being everything to someone, I don't want my kids to ever say that about me. My mom was everything she fulfilled my every need again. I do find that creepy whenever, I don't know. And just setting them up for so much relationship disappointment. My mom gave some things, and now that I also work a lot, it's funny with my kids, there is this mom when kids have a sleepover at her house, I mean, it is the best sleepover experience. I see pictures and I'm like, wow, that was so thoughtful. That was amazing. She puts together, she's creative. And me and my kids joke, they're like, yeah, mom, you're like, bottom of the list in that stuff. And I am. And like, I know I'm toward the top of the list in other things. I don't want to be toward that. First of all, I don't want to hold myself to that standard. That's like a great way to implode. So, yeah, being able to say to my kid, oh, you guys want to have a sleepover? You'd rather go to her house? Because that's okay. That's not an indictment of me. And so maybe this is some, quote, mentor like figure for someone who can put these details and make people feel really taken care of in that way, that's great.


And I think, yes, giving your kid permission and encouragement again, I think is such a gift to them later on. Our relationship with our kids becomes not only the foundation, their expectations for their relationship with other adults. I mean, I also think it's literally what they're attracted to. I think when they're attracted to someone later on, it's just the activation of that earliest attachment. And so if they can get activated around someone who seems to be pretty attuned and respectful and validating and boundaried because they also have other things in their life and not everything, that's a privilege to say. That's what I'm expecting. So I think those other relationships, and as a parent, to hear your kids say, my coach taught me this thing, and sometimes they say it in a caddy way, so much better than what you said to do at lacrosse, just to take a deep breath, and again, this is where you can say, I'm still a good parent, even outside this moment. I'm so glad you're talking to me about this. I believe you. Tell me more about this. Such a beautiful example for your kid.


So being able to validate and embrace the fact that there are other sources of healthy upbringing, not just perhaps, is clearly a good thing. Do I have that right?


I think that's right. And I think if that's hard for a parent, what I'd say is, it's a question without an exact answer. But where did I learn that I'm supposed to be everything to someone? And I think a lot of women, we learn that in our families of origin to be good girls, which really just means I have no wants and needs, my own. And I just kind of gaze out and see how I can do things for you and I can be everything for you. And then we have kids, we don't realize we put that on to them. But like you said, those patterns travel with us. And I find it very relieving to be, like, maybe if I don't. Wow, it just gave me a good percentage of energy back. I can do so many other things now. It's, like, empowering.


I love it. Something that. It's an unpleasant topic just by as soon as people hear the word. But it's something that I think comes up on the child side, the teen side, and the parenting side, and in adult relationships of all kind, which is the dreaded entitlement.


Dirty word, parenting.


Entitlement. Maybe we could put some definition on entitlement and talk about when it's bad. Is it always bad, when it's neutral and when it's. I don't know. Is it ever good? I don't know. Entitlement doesn't sound like it's ever good.


Yeah, there is a healthy entitlement, right? And I think that is kind of the entitlement to, like, I'm allowed to want things, and I'm allowed to, at moments in my life, even act on that, to turn that want into a fulfillment of my want. I think that actually goes back to what we were just saying versus, how can I please you? Maybe I want to do something. So I think that healthy entitlement, that's a good thing. But when I hear parents say, like, please, I just don't want an entitled kid, they're not talking about that, right? And they're talking about. And to me, this story from my practice is just the key thing that makes those parents cringe was this family of singing in New York City. And they were. They were very wealthy, and they had the 16 year old son, and they were flying back from Hawaii or to Hawai, and they were just getting ready to board, and first class was boarding, and the sun goes up and they're like, oh, sweet. We were not, like, in first class. We have to wait. He had basically a full tantrum in the airport.


Like, every parent's worst nightmare, literally. And they came to me afterwards being like, how did we get here? Right now, this is a family in general. It's true. They flew first class, they had private planes, had a lot of money. But entitlement to me doesn't always have to be about money. I'm going to give you my definition of entitlement. I think it's very different. But to me, the definition, like boundaries, is useful because it gives you a pathway of what to do. I think entitlement is the fear of frustration.




Because if we go back, okay, that thing didn't start at 16. And if we, we started, you know, I started kind of collecting stories and. Right. This is a kid who they had, and again, like, they had a driver. There's nothing wrong with having a driver, but I'm just thinking about waiting for a subway. It's frustrating. Just missed the subway. We're going to be late. No, right. This was a kid who didn't make, like, didn't make the soccer team. Don't worry, we have someone who's going to take you to the nearby town in New Jersey and get on that soccer team. Right. And I think about what this kid started to learn about being frustrated. And it was kind of like frustration comes up and what gets layered next to it is someone else bringing you an exit. Frustration. Exit from frustration. Maybe even exit to success. Right? And then I started to think like, well, what would it be like if there was 16 years of kind of a guy? Because it doesn't have that pattern in that circuit reinforcing, because what you're really learning as a kid, I'm frustrated, and that's very overwhelming for me.


But the adults around me must be scared of my frustration because they won't let me sit in it. They won't let me feel it. They will actually kind of run in circles to not have me feel. So I actually encode my frustration next to fear. Now I'm 16 and I'm expecting first class, and I get lowly coach. People are like, oh, what a spoiled kid. I feel like this kid was insanely vulnerable in that moment. This kid was like, I'm frustrated. And what I expect to happen and what I know to happen isn't here. And so it is explosive. It appears as entitlement on the surface, but it is a deep intolerance and almost fear of frustration, which is in your body. So you're terrified of a feeling that is living in your body, and it looks demanding because it kind of is desperate. Like, you can't let this happen.


Wow. Fear of frustration as the definition of entitlement. Lands like square in the bullseye for me. And yes, I think we all default to the kind of stereotypical example of the ultra wealthy family kid. There was that movie, the toy in the was really dreadful concept, actually. A kid that was just given everything and then wanted a person. It was really like, talk about foul. It's just bad at every level. And then they tried to create this narrative where then there's a deeper understanding about humans and stuff that evolves from it. But the starting point was, and I've observed this in certainly not my family, but other families, where kids are given everything they want. It never feels like enough. Big surprise. Dopamine is a real thing. The circuits recalibrate to a higher threshold. They want more and more and more. It's like that movie Wall street. What's your number? More. Okay. All right. Nothing wrong with wanting things, but without a ceiling on any of that, and without a ceiling on pleasure or bounds on experience, it crushes everybody. That's also what that movie was about. It just crushes people. So to build that into a child's neurology just seems like the worst possible thing.


Because it's not about the world being a place of immense possibility. It's about the world being a place of, like, snakes and broken glass everywhere except this narrow knife edge path that you follow. That is all about infinite resources and ease.


That's right. And I think it's fear, is because if you're in fear, you're in like a threat state, which is why when kids are in that state or adults, it seems like, nasty and it's mean. And there's this narrowing of your eyes, right? So I think that's really what's happening. And it's not always tied to money, but the truth is, and money can easily buy a kid's way out of frustration. And by the way, it buys the parent out of having tolerate their frustration while the kid is frustrated. And so it's tricky. I think I've now talked to a bunch of parents who grew up in a very different way, were very successful, and I get it. They're like, I feel like I literally have earned the right to have certain parts of my life be a lot easier. Right? And how do I raise a kid who isn't entitled? Right? And it is a conundrum. Right. I think we raise our kids in a candy store. It's hard to expect them to appreciate candy. Right? And so how do we balance that gratitude, the entitlement? And I do think, though, that idea is like, we just have to.


Sometimes other people hearing this would be like, yeah, my life is frustrating all the time. And some people's are right, they won't end up with entitlement. But for other families, they almost have to be like, I have to dose it. I have to make sure my kids literally have experiences. And I probably have to go through it, too, where we are almost like purposefully making sure they get enough of that so they can build different circuits.


Yeah. So much to unpack there. I think it's clear that some of this is tied to financial means. I think it's a pretty scary thing when someone looks out on the landscape of the world as infinite possibility without any frustration. As we talked about earlier, the ability to lean into hard things as a skill that can extend to other things is so valuable. Do you think that some of the smaller practices that any kid, any parent, any family, regardless of means, can lean into can really help there? Some people say grace or a prayer before a meal. Others simply express gratitude. But stopping and thinking about being breathing, being ambulatory, being any number of good things that allow us agency in life. About to eat food, those moments, I know that our nervous system reflects on those.




How could they not? And just recognizing that at least something went into the creation of the meal.


I think for the entitlement stuff and the frustration, there's all these small moments that we can start to make a difference. And I think it's saying to yourself, just because I can doesn't mean I will. So, like, my kids young, and I pick them up from a play date and let's say I have a babysitter at home or my husband at home, and I'm like, I have to go to a store and some errands. My kids like, can you drop me off first? Maybe? I'm like, you know what? No, you're going to come with me. I'm not going to say it this way on boring errands, because you just have to tolerate that sometimes you have to do things you don't want to do. And you are not going to learn that by me telling you that. You're going to learn that by experiencing that something with my kids. The other day we were at an airport, and in the airport it kind of winds around to get, and there was like no one there. So they started to duck under all the things. And it just made me think as a small moment, entitlement also was like, the rules don't apply to me in some ways.


And I just remember you guys, when.


We'Re in airport, oh, the lines leading up to security, and you can duck them.


Sometimes you mess them up. And it wasn't like forever, but I was like, you guys, these things, someone put these here for a reason. And we're just going to. These things have to be such. It's a small amount of frustration, but it's just like, I don't always get to duck the line. Sometimes I have to walk a little longer, or I remember my kids saying, and I'm not immune to this. I am in a financial position where I have someone come sometimes, help me be my housekeeper. Right? And she'll fold the laundry. I remember on a Sunday, my son said to me when he was younger, why do we have to fold the laundry? Kind of like, I don't think he said it, but he was kind of like, don't we have someone who could do that? And I remember being like, this is a moment where I could be like, we're going to fold the laundry on Sundays. You know? Who loves folding laundry? Maybe some people are like, I don't. I don't love undoing the dishwasher. It is inherently not that enjoyable. And it's so frustrating. It's just, like, not great. And I know I need to make my kids do that.


They just have to go through that mundane thing. And so I think there's all of these moments. Taking your kid with you on errands, doing the laundry, right? Before you say to your kid, let's go to try out on another soccer team. Just like, oh, you didn't make the team, maybe let it go two days. That's at least two more days of feeling upset and frustrated, right? They don't have to be these big, grand things, but all of those little moments can add up in a really positive way.


What's your stance on household chores and should kids be paid for household chores?


Yes. I have a whole guide to chores and allowance. And I think there's a lot of thought, like, should they be separate? I don't know. I think it could be done either way. But to me, the question for a parent is like, what is the point for me? What is my goal for chores? What is my goal for allowance? Right? And I think that has to then structure how we do it. So my guess is for chores. Part of it is I want my kid to, number one, maybe help around the house, want them to have that purpose. Also, I know for me, for chores, sometimes your life involves doing boring things. That is just true. And I want my kids to know that, which means they have to experience it. That's one of the reasons we do chores. So for me, if that's one of the reasons I'm not going to pay my kid, because for me in my family, what I think my kids need to get out of it is just like knowing that sometimes you do boring things as part of being a good human for someone else, that might be totally different.


So I think we just ask ourselves as parents, like, what am I trying to accomplish? And then let me structure it around that.


Across the course of today's discussion, I've been feeling both immense gratitude and relief for certain, quote unquote, hardships that I experienced and things that my parents made me do or ways that they were negligent, and I was forced to figure things out. Also, some things where I was like, wish they had done this. I think everyone listening to this will feel that way. And if you're lucky enough to still be in the parenting child or being a child process, then there's still time. So I guess there's always still time. In my introduction to this episode, I touched on a few of these. But tell us what you're doing these days to help parents and kids indirectly or directly, to be more effective in their know. I know you've written about this in books, and you have a wonderful social media account on Instagram and elsewhere. I follow it, and there's so much learning there. But how are you translating this knowledge into actionable?


My. Like, that is what gets me out of bed every morning, is translating. I always say, deep thoughts. Actionable, practical, can do it today. Strategies. Yes. That's the only way I can work. I'm like, tell me what to do to put that idea into action.


Love it.


So a couple of years ago, one of the things that really struck me, I really did feel angry. This is so messed up. Parents have the hardest job, and it's the one that impacts the world the most. And I don't think any of us think the world is in a great place right now. Right?


No, it's not.


Right. I remember someone coming up to me and saying, parenting is also the only job you care about on your deathbed. And I think that's probably true if you have kids. So for every reason, this should be the place that we invest the most or that the system is set up to help us, right? And most people I know, they don't want to parent the exact same way as they were parented. Maybe take parts. And that is the way we'll parent. It's just kind of the language we use, and learning a new language we know is totally possible. Duolingo has showed us that you can learn a new language. It's hard. Sometimes you revert to your language of origin, especially in stressful moments. Same thing parenting. And then you go back, and so I remember saying to some people around me, like, I want to create that kind of Duolingo. For parents, it is learning a new language, and we should have a product where we have resources in one place. We should be able to connect to other parents around the globe who are kind of doing this with us. We should have access to experts we trust, not because they always know better, but they might just help us have a different mindset and some ideas to help us again.


And my mind is just act more in line with your own values. That's what it's about. And so that's what we created, and that's what I'm working on, and that's our good inside membership. And so excited about all the ways that's already impacting tens and tens of thousands of parents. And that's where the resources are. It's bite size, it's actionable. We're really known for our scripts. It's like, what do I say to my kid when literally we have a script for that? And I think in a small way, people say, I come for the scripts and then I stay for the revolution. This is actually a journey of my own sturdiness. And honestly, becoming a sturdier, more confident leader is the only way we can raise sturdy, more confident kids. Wow.


I've said this again and again throughout today's discussion, but I love it. I love the gathering of information, the organizing it, and dispersing it in actionable ways. And you've done all of that, and you're continuing to do that. And you also have the clinical background, and you're a parent, so you're speaking from professional and immediate experience, and you put so much work into it. I can tell that by the directness and simplicity of the actionables that you've taught us today and also how much resides underneath those direct, simple actionables. Just beautiful. I've had many conversations on this podcast with many brilliant people, including yourself. But this is among the ones that I really say has really me thinking, and I don't think I've ever said wow so many times during the discussion here. And there's just so much knowledge to be gleaned from today's discussion, thanks to you. And just on behalf of myself and everyone listening, parents and kids and those who want to be parents and those who don't and who have made the choice not to and are certainly engaged in other forms of relationship. This is just absolute gold that you've provided us.


So thank you ever so much. Your generosity, your clarity of communication, and the heart behind it really comes through. So thank you.


Thank you so much.


Thank you for joining me for today's discussion about parent, child, and other types of relationships with Dr. Becky Kennedy. To learn more about Dr. Kennedy's work, please see the links in the show. Note captions, including the links to her best selling book, good Inside, and to the online learning platform for better parenting. You can also find links to her social media accounts. As I mentioned during today's episode, she has a terrific Instagram account in which she regularly posts practical tools for better parenting and other types of relationships. If you're learning from and or enjoying this podcast, please subscribe to our YouTube channel. That's a terrific, zero cost way to support us. In addition, please subscribe to the podcast on both Spotify and Apple. And on both Spotify and Apple. You can leave us up to a five star review. Please check out the sponsors mentioned at the beginning and throughout today's episode. That's the best way to support this podcast. If you have questions or comments about the podcast, or topics or guests that you'd like to suggest for the Huberman Lab podcast, please put those in the comments section on YouTube. I do read all the comments, not so much on today's episode, but on many previous episodes of the Huberman Lab podcast, we discuss supplements.


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