Lessons on Consistency and Hard Work Paying Off (Applied to Parenting)

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Have you ever wondered if all the work you put into learning how to be a good parent is paying off? Have you noticed that the more consistent you are with applying your parenting skills, that you surprise yourself by how well you handle behavior situations with your kids? In this episode, I tell the story about how I noticed a parallel between something I have been personally training for, and how consistency and hard work pays off in your parenting.

Podcast Transcript

Hi, I’m Dr. Brenna Hicks, The Kid Counselor. Welcome to 2021! This is the first video of the new year. So excited to share this with you and embark on a new 2020 journey together. I wanted to say Happy New Year. I hope that you had a wonderful season with your family of celebration from, really, Thanksgiving all the way through the end of the year. I kind of think of that whole month or so as holiday celebrations. I hope that you had such a great time.

And in this video today, I want to share with you two main parenting goals that you should be working on in 2021. As the new year unfolds, the two main goals that I think would be the most beneficial to you. So as we unpack those in a little bit later in the video, we will discuss that. But I did want to kind of share with you a little bit of an update. I know I’ve been absent for about a month and a half, and I wanted to say that I am sorry and I have missed you. We have just had a string of things that took place that we didn’t really plan for, and so we took a little bit of a break. And it has been good in a lot of ways too. But my grandmother went into hospice and then passed away the end of November. My husband and I both got COVID the week of Thanksgiving. And then school let out, and then we were planning for Christmas, and then we left the day after Christmas to Tennessee and didn’t get back until after the new year. So it’s been a little bit of a whirlwind for us in the last month or so. But thank you for being patient with me. And I’m so happy to be back with you now that the New Year is here.

And interestingly, you know, a lot of those things were unexpected and unplanned, but it gave me a break and it gave me a chance to kind of reflect on some things and think back. And I think that’s often where we are when a new year begins, we think through maybe some goals, some resolutions, some outcomes that you’re hoping for in the New Year and I actually did a 2020 first video of last year. It was a New Year celebration, and I did the four big ideas for 2020. So if you’d like to check that out, please feel free to do that. But, you know, I kind of went back and watched that again, and I thought over 2020 and what I accomplished and what I hope to accomplish this coming year.

And I think we’re all at a place similar to that when a new year begins. You know maybe most often I think it’s diet, lose weight, exercise, eat healthier, something along the lines of that. Sometimes it travel more, get a new job, go back to school. You know, there’s a lot of things that we have in our minds as far as what we want to do in the New year, and I think about how it’s so important, may be the most important thing, to consider what we want for ourselves as parents and as people who love little ones in our lives. What do we want the New year to look like from a parenting perspective, and from a family dynamic and relationship perspective?

So I wanted to share two main goals that I think would be helpful for you this year. And, you know, I went back and watched that 2020 video, and I wanted to readdress one of those four big ideas from last year because it’s that important. And the first big goal for this year, I think, is to address and work on the relationship that you have with your children. And what I mean by that is we have learned again and again through data and studies and the play therapy community, the therapist community – we’ve learned again and again that the relationship is what changes things. The relationship is what creates health, and healing, and growth, and momentum, and all the good things that we want. It’s all… if you take everything else away, it’s all back to the relationship every single time. And that’s a powerful tool that you have at your disposal that you don’t necessarily think about, and you don’t necessarily focus on. You have a relationship with your kids since the moment that you were able to hold them. At whatever point that was, you realized at that moment, ‘I now have a relationship with this little person,’ and the relationship is how positive changes are made.

There are lots of ways that we can address the behavior. We can address the issues, we can work on things we want to fix. But that’s what I like to call putting a Band Aid on a gaping wound. That’s just the superficial stuff. If we address the relationship, we build unconditional love, unconditional acceptance, unconditional positive regard, unconditional trust and report and all of those things. The other stuff naturally fixes itself. So I address that in the 2020 video, and I wanted to address that today because the relationship is the thing upon which the whole deal hinges. And so it’s worth repeating. It’s worth thinking about, especially when we’re creating new goals and resolutions, and things that we want. I hope that this year we spend time, energy, and effort to make positive changes in the relationships that we have with our kids. Because all of us have relationships, they’re kind of built into the deal, right? So you’re taking care of loved ones in your life and you have a relationship with them. But we can always make it better. We can always improve it. We can always get to the point where we want to be. So relationship first. Big goal and main focus of the 2021 year for what I’m going to offer you. What I’m going to help you and train you and give you information about is how to build the healthiest, happiest relationship that you can with your kids.

And then main goal number two – Kindness. Being kind to your kids. And I’ve briefly addressed it in some of my earlier podcasts and videos at the end of 2020. I wanted to take a moment to unpack that a little bit for you because I don’t want there to be a misunderstanding or a miscommunication of what kindness to your kids looks like. Because I think often, if we hear that we need to be kind to our kids, it could be misconstrued as we become a doormat. It could be misconstrued as we are weak, or we allow our children to run all over the place and do whatever they want, and it’s in an effort to be kind. I want to make it very clear that’s not what I mean. When I say we’re going to focus and have a goal of being kind to our kids, you can be kind while setting limits. You can be kind while giving choices. You can be kind while making sure behavior is appropriate. You can be kind in disciplining. You could be kind in your reflection of where they are.

So play therapy provides the framework within which you have the tools to be kind. In all of those scenarios, it’s not throwing your hands up and saying, ‘Well, in order to be kind, I just have to let them do whatever they want.’ There is always a mechanism for appropriate behavior, emotions, regulation, self control, all of those things. It’s a process by which you make sure that you are handling those moments in a kind way, because you have skills and because you have tools. It’s hard to be kind when you’re grasping at whatever is going to work in that moment. The framework gives you the tools you fall back on, and you’re able to be kind to your kids.

I was watching the 2020 recap video that I launched in January of last year, and that was one of the the things that I talked about was having a healthy relationship with your kids. And making sure that we work through the things that we need to work through. And about halfway through the year, the last six months or so, it dawned on me that everything that I teach – all of the play therapy skills, all of the principles, all of the things that I encourage you to do, and the training that I provide, in the books that I write, and everything that I do, I realized it all comes back to a way to be kind. And I realized I had not communicated that very well to you. So in the last 6 months, I’ve really been trying to figure out how best to make sense of that for you. And I think the tools provide you with the ability to be kind. But what it actually does is, first, preserves the relationship, which was main goal number one. The second thing that it does is it gives you freedom from the guilt, freedom from the blame that you put on yourself, freedom from feeling ashamed, and that you messed up, and that you did a disservice to your kids because you yelled, or you lost control, or you snapped, or you sent them to bed in a moment of anger.

I have so many parents that cry and tell me that they lay in bed and they just feel so awful about the way that the day went or the way the exchange went. Or, you know, ‘I yelled, I shouldn’t have. I screamed. I grabbed them and I dragged them to their room.’ Whatever it is, they feel so guilty. And there’s so much self blame and shame, and all of these really horrible feelings that parents are feeling in those moments. And when you have a framework to be kind, it frees you from those feelings. I mean, imagine going to bed at night and knowing that you have nothing to feel guilty about. You have nothing to be ashamed about because you have a framework that allows you to be kind in every interaction. Which, of course, circles us back to main goal number one, which is you have a healthy, happy relationship because you’re treating your kids with respect and with love and with kindness. So they, of course, in turn, are obedient and compliant and kind and respectful back because it’s a two way street. It’s a mutual engagement where you’re kind to each other.

So I hope that that makes a little more sense. I know I’ve been teasing this idea of kindness to your kids, but at the start of 2021 I want you to know – First of all, there’s hope. Second of all, I am here on the journey with you. My passion, and my love, is to equip parents so that they are able to be kind and so that they’re able to have a good relationship with their kids. And it, in the end, makes you feel really good about how the day went or how your week went. And you’re not crying at night and you’re not feeling guilty and ashamed.

So really, really great things coming this year. I’m so excited. In 2021, we have a lot of things happening with us at the Center. We’re moving into a new building and we’re adding therapists. I’m working on a new book, and I’m working on new training, so there’s a lot of great stuff coming your way, and I hope that you’re excited. I’m very, very excited. And above all, you know – new year, new beginning, new start. Take what is already there. Take the good. You have the relationship. You have the ability to make positive shifts. So take those relationships that you have and use the framework to increase kindness, and everything else flows out of that. So it gives you confidence. It gives you the ability to be happy and and love being a parent. It gives you the feeling of ‘I have the tools I need to break myself free from the parenting prison that I used to be in. And I’m able to go into 2021 with a new year, with a new outlook, with new goals.’

I’m excited. I’m excited to be on the journey with you. I’m excited for the changes I think are coming for you. So don’t forget, I do have Device Detox available on Amazon, the book that will help you get your kids to an appropriate amount of screen time. So if you haven’t checked that out, please feel free to check that out on Amazon, in ebook and printed book format. And please make sure that you subscribe to my email newsletter. That is the way that I communicate with you. That’s the way I am able to share all the information that I have, so please sign up for the newsletter. I very much appreciate you being with me at the start of a new year. And I’m really looking forward to an extremely exciting 2021. Talk to you again soon. Bye.

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