So how do you introduce the first episode of a podcast series? Well, this podcast is unique in that it's designed to help children, specifically my children understand how they were brought up and how they were parented. This may benefit you as a parent and an adult as well, but basically this is the conversation that I'm having with my children.
And the reason that I'm having this is about a year ago, I went off to work and I came home. And I was in the hospital for several days after that because of something that happened at work and it really made me realize that all of the effort that I had put into raising up my children. they would not have the benefit of understanding why I had done those things.
The only relationship in a child's life that is not voluntary is that between the child and their parents, we strive to raise children who, if given the hypothetical choice to choose any one in the world as a parent. Would pick us as parents, both as children and, later as adults. Some key characteristics that we aspire to in order to achieve this goal are being adaptable, meaning that we are focused on the outcome and not necessarily on the method of getting to that outcome.
Summary and Quotes
[00:00:01] – Introduction of the first episode of the Parenting Manual podcast
[00:02:25] – Critical actions in parenting
[00:05:02] – It’s ok to be wrong. Explain what happened, that involves people as opposed to isolating people.
[00:09:38] – Objectives: We strive to live by the phrase we did the best we could with the knowledge we had.
[00:15:15] – Questioning our parents about their parenting style
[00:18:34] – The distinction between parenting omissions and parenting commissions
“The only relationship in a child's life that is not voluntary is that between the child and their parents, we strive to raise children who, if given the hypothetical choice to choose
anyone in the world as a parent. Would pick us as parents, both as children and, later as adults.” [00:00:52]
“We're not going to blindly bend to peer pressure simply because that's the easiest thing to do.” [00:01:52]
“When there is disconnection and frustration between parents and children, ultimately everybody suffers at that point.” [00:05:54]
“Compliance is something that can be good or bad because it can keep you out of trouble, but it can also make you passive.” [00:16:20]
As parents, we are understanding. We have a willingness to look at the situation from different directions in order to understand what might be motivating. Our kids' behavior, and we're also resolute, which means that we're not going to be unduly influenced or pressured by others in our family or in our community or in our society who might be intimidated by a more purposeful style of parenting.
Basically. We're not going to blindly bend to peer pressure simply because that's the easiest thing to do. Each characteristic has a number of actions that can be associated with it. The nice thing about actions is that they're much easier to measure then characteristics. So let's look at an example of three, three really critical actions in order to be a parent whose kid would choose you as a parent over any other parent in the world, both as a toddler and as an adult, are.
Number one, learning, which means as a parent, I acquire knowledge on parenting, on relationships, on culture, and even on other disciplines that may not be related to parenting, but will help me make better decisions for my children and for our family. A measure of this, or a good example of this I changed my behavior.
Based on the knowledge that I acquire. We're not just acquiring knowledge for the sake of filling our brain and being smart. If we don't actually change our behavior based on what we've learned, then we haven't really learned anything. The second action. Is interacting, which means that as a parent, I'm an active part in my kid's life.
I'm helping to influence the environment and also the peer group that will shape my children versus attempting to shape them directly as a sole way of influencing them. I listen and I guide when appropriate. A great example of this is. much easier to set a goal of how many days you want to go to the gym and what your diet will be versus what you want to lose in terms of pounds because you don't have any direct control over the number of pounds that you lose, but you do have control over.
How many days do you go to the gym and what you do at the gym, and also what goes into your body. Those inputs will influence the output of how many pounds you want to lose, for instance. So this is kind of the example with the children. It is very, it can be very challenging to directly influence children.
However, I have much more control over influencing their environment and their peer group. Okay. A third example is modeling, which means that. My children are going to model my behavior and my cultural norms. And also those are the people with whom I associate as a parent. I have to provide a good example, both physically and philosophically.
Philosophically, an example from my life with this and with, with, with the kids is, whenever I'm wrong and I do reserve the right to be wrong. I explain. My error to my children and then I apologize if that error has impacted them what I'm demonstrating number one is that it's okay to be wrong and that you have to explain what happened.
That involves people as opposed to isolating people. So these, these are three things right here. Three, three examples of three actions, that you can take that we have taken that has really help to bring our family closer together. ultimately the pressure of modern society is what caused us to go through this transformation because ultimately we were going through each day.
And instead of looking to make a connection each day, we were going through each day with the goal of simply getting through the day without losing it. And that resulted in disconnection. And when there's disconnection and frustration between parents and children, ultimately everybody suffers at that point.
What we realized is that when, as parents, we take the time to understand what our default parenting style is based on how we were raised as kids, and then we make purposeful parenting decisions with our children and the present with sort of the examples that we just gave here in terms of those actions and characteristics.
Then the family start to come alive as parents, we reconnect with the children. And the children, they find that anchor that they need because it is a that this is a new world for them. Every experience is new. Whereas for us, it's day after day. And so we, we then are able to be that anchor that they need and in a tumultuous world and That's what this podcast is, is all about.
It's our family's operating manual. It serves to show our kids why we made the decisions that we did. And our goal here, it's not to get them in the best college, is not to get them to be, you know, in whatever career we are in. Or, or to help them achieve a certain career goal. Our goal is to prepare them for a life that they want to lead, but more importantly, identifying what kind of life that would be.
So to give you a little bit of background, I've had many conversations with my parents about why they did certain things, why they made certain choices for me over that course of time that they raised me from an infant to a young adult. And of course, they didn't have the benefit of the internet at that time.
Like I do now. I'm like, like me and my wife do right now. So. I realized that if something happened to me, my kids would not really have, they're operating manual. They wouldn't be able to question and interrogate me on, Hey, why did you make this choice? Why did you do this? Why weren't we asked about this?
Or why were we consulted about this? Why did you ask us what we wanted to do so many times as opposed to just making a decision for us? For example. So this is really a conversation that I'm having with them. But as I said, it may benefit you as a parent as well. And the reason that I say this is because from a very young age, from almost from birth, we are conditioned as parents to make decisions without really thinking about what it is that we are going to be doing with that decision.
I'll give you a perfect example with this is right after our children were born. They came in and, that the, the nurse came in and said, Hey, would you like to give this a hepatitis vaccine? And what we realized at the time The reason from a public health perspective that they want to give all these vaccines at once is because a lot of parents do not have the time to come back and do a schedule of vaccines.
So if we don't think about that, and we don't make a conscious decision about what is the nurse's glow from and public health standpoint, what is our goal from a parenting standpoint? We're just gonna go along to get along. And the point of this entire series is that you can go along to get along and you can have society make your parenting choices for you with very little conscious input from almost the instant of birth all the way to the time the child is 18 years old.
So what I want to do right now is I want to go over basically the objectives. Ultimately what led to this podcast is that we found ourselves going through the day really kind of succumbing to the pressures of modern society, and it causes a lot of parents just to go through the day, just looking to get by without losing it.
And when there's that disconnection and that frustration between parents and children, the reality is, is that everyone in the family, it really suffers. The turning point for us was when we reconnected with. How we were parented and made those changes. When we take the time to understand what our default parenting style is based on how we were raised, our family really started to come alive as parents, we started to reconnect with our children and our kids really found that anchor that they needed in this tumultuous world.
And this podcast is ultimately our family's operating manual. It serves to show our kids why we made the decisions that we did, and our ultimate goal is to prepare them for the life that they want to lead. And also identifying what type of life that would be. We strive to live by the phrase we did the best we could with the knowledge we had.
That's the goal of this podcast. So I want to give you a little bit of background on the types of families. That we were raised in, and also a little bit of understanding on what some of our default patterns were. So both your mother and I were a very easy children. That's what our parents report to us.
Now, what we later learned easy to mean was that we were compliant and that we also, Chose not to have preferences because not having preferences made us easier to manage. So this manifested itself in a variety of different ways. But the challenge of being a no preference person is that while that makes you very easy in K through 12 those are skills that are opposite to oftentimes what you need for success in the working world.
An example of how this carried through with you guys is, I remember when my little boy was maybe two or three were in line at a grocery store. there was maybe one person behind us, maybe there wasn't even anybody behind us at all, but the cashier. Had stickers. And of course my son asked if he could have a sticker and he's just trying to form his words because he's a young kid and he's not really talking a very clearly at this point.
And so a voice in my head came up and it said, no, you can't have a sticker. Move along. Like, don't waste, don't waste people's time. I realized that that was actually the voice of my grandmother who had been dead for over a decade at that point in time. So because my grandmother would not want to be seen as inconveniencing people in the checkout line, I realized that that conditioning was basically transcending death and was manifesting itself in that checkout line in nerve, in, in anxiety in me.
It was coming up and saying, Hey, you know, the kid, no, you can't have a sticker. Because my long dead grandmother, would have not approved of that. And at that point in time, I realized that I needed to change a lot. I need it to really examine why I was making certain decisions. And that. I could not basically let ghosts of the past dictate how I was going to live my life in the future, in the present and the future, and also how I was going to raise my kids.
So it was very, it was really funny because at that time I, I looked at my kid and I said, you know what buddy? You got a sticker, get to and I just sat with that feeling of sort of low grade anxiety. I'll just say over. Potentially inconveniencing someone behind us. And it was great. It was great.
I was really happy to see him, do that. And what that lit for me was it lit the, it lit the candle that basically shown a light on, Hey, there's a better way to do this. And that better way is to really think about how I was raised. How my wife was raised, what our parenting styles are as individuals, and how we then come together.
Where there's conflict, where there's synergy, and this is, this is the result of that. So I should say that none of this came about easy for either me or my wife. The challenges that we had were not actually in implementing things in the present with our children. Of course, there are always the challenges that you're gonna face.
Okay. What was most surprising about the difficulty was actually what it brought up with our parents and actually having those discussions with our parents. I refer to it almost as an airing of grievances and. We had very different results when we had these sort of conversations informally. Now we live across the country from where we both grew up.
And so these conversations happen mostly over the phone, a little bit in person. But what I found was that, My folks were very receptive. Two, hearing my questioning and to responding. And also they were very, how shall I say? I was actually really shocked at how how much thought they put into their responses.
Maybe because I didn't come at them in an accusatory tone. I came at them from a position of. Genuine curiosity, wanting to know a lot of these questions, the answer to a lot of the questions, and then also responding back to them with how their decisions impacted me growing up in terms of being convenient to my grandmother in terms of how that then manifested later on.
Now there are good things that came of it, and there are things that were residual. So for instance. Compliance is something that can be good or bad because it can keep you out of trouble, but it can also make you passive. So that's something that we really had to talk about. What came up for my wife on the other hand, was a lot of anxiety and a lot of nerves.
Around actually having these conversations with her parents. And there were different results from each of her parents, in terms of how they received her and, from being very, defensive or even angry that they were being questioned about what their choices were and how they came about making their decisions.
Now you have to understand this is a grown woman who's. I'll say afraid, we'll just say afraid to have a conversation with her parents about this for their response. And that gave us a lot of insight and a lot of information of, Hey, is this how we want our kids to think about us when they're our age?
And the answer was, of course, no. Because if our kids are afraid of us when they're grown adults, we've done something horribly, horribly wrong along the way. And if we're not curious about it. Then we've kind of not done a really good job as parents. Now, here's the thing is that if we can change, meaning my wife and I can change, that means that our parents could have changed, but they chose not to.
Just like if we could change and choose not to, we've still made a choice. We don't get an excuse. Okay, so that. Brings up a lot of unpleasantness because what we basically realized is that any sort of, anything that our parents could have done a better job about, but chose not to. Were things that didn't necessarily have to happen, to us in terms of, of, of how we were treated or in terms of, not having preferences, that sort of thing like that.
So another thing that's really important at this point is to make a distinction between parenting. Omissions and parenting commissions. So for example, any form of abuse, be it physical, verbal or emotional, is something that a parent is committing. Now, Oh, mission is a little bit different. Some people might put neglect into this category, but I'm thinking of it from the perspective of, of let's take a step back from the things that that.
Most people would identify as big time parenting screw ups, and let's take a look back and say, okay, well we didn't have all the information. Could you have gotten the information? That's where a lot of the anxiety comes in from the parents who say, well, we did the best with the knowledge that we had.
Well, could you have upgraded your knowledge. Even 2030 40 years ago, it's hard to say that somebody could not have upgraded their knowledge that there was no book in the library that someone could have. Perused obviously is a lot harder than it is today, but even today. This, I think is a really slow, tricky area for a lot of parents because most parents, most people today put more research into the next fall and they're going to buy in terms of hours then they do in terms of upgrading their parenting knowledge.
So when I go to buy a new phone every two years, or every year or however frequently somebody goes to buy a new phone. They put in hours of research to see which new phone it has, the bells and whistles that they want. How many hours of research do we put in as parents to obtain new knowledge? How many hours of research do we put an investigating?
What's it going to move the needle for our kids, so to speak, in terms of getting them to where it is that we want them to be so. That's really kind of the challenge I think that a lot of parents face nowadays is that the bar is raised because there's no more excuse of, well, we didn't have access to that information.
We didn't have access to that knowledge. It simply does not exist as an excuse anymore. So with that being said, that's why this podcast is being made as well, because we want to show you, you kids. Okay. All of the rationale behind why we made the decisions that we did, how we chose to involve you in them or in some instances how we didn't choose to involve you in those decisions.
And we believe that by providing them with this information that ultimately we will be able to live by the phrase we did, the best we could with the knowledge we had. So we've made it to the end of episode one. I realized that I have some decisions to make here in terms of. Deciding if I'm talking directly to my children for the remainder of the episodes, or if I'm talking to a wider audience.
And what I mean by that is I went back and forth between referring to my wife when I'm talking to a wider audience versus referring to your mother when I'm talking to children. And I realized that that may be confusing when you're commuting to work or when you're listening at home, or if you're my kids, you're like, what are you talking?
Why are you saying, why is dad talking about his wife? What's he talking about? That's kind of weird. So. I will get that sorted out by the next episode, and that's going to be important because the next episode is really going to focus on those conversations that set this whole thing off that we had with our parents, meaning my wife and me had conversations with are parents who for parents all still alive.
Had the opportunity to sit down over not just the one sitting, but over several sittings, and not only understand what their reaction was to being questioned, to merely being questioned about their parenting styles and the decisions that they made, but also too, what they did right, and what they could have improved on.
I think that there's a lot of value to be gained out of understanding what their reactions were, ranging from acceptance, too. Denial too, maybe even a bit of anger that they were even being questioned, and then how we took that and map that to what behaviors we repeat unconsciously nowadays, or did repeat until we became aware that they were actually being transmitted.
Maybe even from our grandparents. So that's what I've got in store for you in the upcoming episodes. If you have any feedback, if you have any comments, if you have any questions, please send me an email and I'll get back to you. I'll respond either directly in the email or perhaps even make a new podcast episode just answering that question and I really look forward to the next episode, so we'll see you then.