MINDY: Hi there, I’m Mindy Becker, and I’m here with our Casual Conversations: The Teen Series. So this is basically about seeing it from a child’s perspective, and I’m so grateful that I have a teen with me now named Josh, and he is willing to answer some questions and help us all potentially learn how to be better parents for our teens! So um Josh, how old are you? JOSH: I’m 18.
MINDY: Did you just turn 18? JOSH: Yeah. I turned 18 on May 5th, so last week. MINDY: Okay, Cinco de Mayo. Happy birthday! All right, and you um you’re going to be going to college this in the fall? JOSH: Yeah, I’m going to University of Florida.
MINDY: Woo, good for you! Go Gators! My dad and my brother are Gator fans. I’m really indifferent and I spent um five years in Tallahassee at the community college, so it was not really FSU, but I was community college.
So um well Josh I really appreciate you taking time out of your um day to connect with me about this. So um, so Josh, I’m just gonna ask you a few questions and hopefully you will be willing to just answer them as openly and honestly as possible, and the intention for this is, is so that others can hear and learn from from this conversation.
So um, if you’re willing to share uh the ways that you and your parents connect – so how do you guys connect? Being a teen, it’s a little bit harder for us parents to know how to connect with our children, so do you all have any ways that you connect with your mom and dad? JOSH: Yeah so I’m not like I’m not home a lot because whether it’s school or I have like practice or I’m with my friends, and my dad’s also a doctor so he has like hours where I’ll be home and he isn’t home but like in terms of my mom, um I talked, I, before I got a car I would talk to her a lot but now it’s more like uh she knows like when the best times are to talk to me like if I’m really tired after lacrosse practice and after school like that’s obviously not the best time for my mom to ask me like you know, like crazy serious questions because I’ll give her like a bad answer and I won’t want to respond and stuff like that, so my mom’s like kind of learned like which are the best times to talk to me, and like one is like, right after I shower is usually like when she would like kind of be like, “Oh let me go in because he’s like awake” or something like that, and then with my dad, like we obviously share a lot of like common things like sports and stuff like that, so usually when I talk to him it’s because we’re watching like a sports game together or like we’re just sitting on the couch watching something.
That’s when he’ll bring something up or try to talk to me about something, but they’ve kind of, it’s kind of become like routine of like when the questions should be asked or stuff like that so that I give them a real answer.
MINDY: Right! Well that was super helpful, and it’s almost like you addressed two questions I had, so just to reflect to make sure that I, that I heard you correctly um your mom and you connect through communicating and talking about things, and she has learned, through either you telling her figuring it out, the best time to talk to you or maybe the worst time to talk to you and to not do it when you’re getting ready to go somewhere or come back from somewhere, and you’ve figured out a way to connect and communicate with her, usually after you get out of the shower, because you’re more awake and able to be more sounds like more present with her and actually answer her questions or hear what she’s saying.
Is- Did I get that right? JOSH: Because if yeah, because my mom would ask me questions like when I’m coming home from school or I’m like coming from lacrosse and I’d give her like a one-word answer.
I just can’t. I just don’t feel like talking. MINDY: And do you think that you didn’t feel like talking because you were just tired and just kind of focused on something else? Or what do you think was coming up for you then? JOSH: I feel like I’m just tired and I’m lazy, and like I just- I kind of had like a plan of what I wanted to go through and like talk kind of like taking me out of what I wanted to do.
MINDY: Right, which makes sense. So you finish lacrosse. You’re on your way home. You’re thinking about what you’re going to do. You get home and then it’s like you get roadblocked because your mom is like “Hey I want to talk to you about this really important thing or ask you this question” and you’re like, “ugh mom I’m like in the middle of something,” but from her perspective, it may not, it may seem like the perfect time because she hasn’t seen you um so, good for you all for coming up with that balance of figuring out when it- when it’s best for both for you which would mean that’s when she should connect with could connect with you, and then you mentioned something about with your dad him being so busy and you’re so busy that it’s hard for you both to find time to connect and communicate, and uh you mentioned that you both like sports.
You found something in common. So um did he get you interested? Like is he interested in lacrosse also or is it more about what you watch? Or tell me a little bit about that. JOSH: Like my dad’s family is like crazy into sports, so they’re the ones who like uh grew me into like wanting to just play like every sport like I played football, basketball, and lacrosse.
Lacrosse I went into because all of my friends decided to play it the eighth grade, so I was like “I might as well like try it out,” and then I fell in love with it and I had to kind of teach him like how it was played and he would- he would he would be really good about like changing his work schedule to make sure he was at the game so he could like learn and watch and stuff like that.
Um but like yeah, the reason I love sports is because him and his three brothers and my grandpa kind of just like molded me into like one kid of like, that represents like all five of them so yeah.
MINDY: So big sports family. Um, so not only do you guys watch sports, but you join lacrosse, which it sounds like he didn’t really know much about, and he was willing to change some of his schedules so that he could be present during your games and be able to learn to have that feel for you that he was able to to be there for that and was interested in wanting to learn about it.
JOSH: Yeah, it always felt good knowing that uh he would always be there. Like he would always make sure to get out of his schedule to go, and like it would be very and like I would let him know which games like if he needed to like go through a game or we’re going to win by 25, and I’ll probably sit out in the second half and he wouldn’t go because I’d be like, “Save the time for another one.
” And then my mom would always be the one who like was in love with watching us play. She like loved lacrosse when she first saw it, so when we had these like two hours north she’d be like the only mom who would go.
She- her and one of my friends moms would always travel up, so it was really cool. MINDY: That’s really cool and the fact that you even wanted her there is really impressive as well. Says a lot about your relationship with your parents JOSH: Sometimes I tell her like, “Don’t come.
You don’t need to drive three hours for an hour and a half game,” and she’d be like, “No, I’m coming to watch,” like okay yeah. MINDY: So it sounds like she had a more flexible schedule to make that happen, and you’re also, I think without realizing it, teaching parents that you know, if you do have a busy schedule, like a doctor may have a schedule like your father, it’s not necessarily about coming to every game.
It’s about connecting with your child to figure out which game would make the most sense to come to um and that he wanted to learn about it and so that he was open to playing lacrosse with you.
Did I get that right? Like he would practice with you a little bit to learn about it? JOSH: He wouldn’t practice me because he has a bad shoulder, but he always like he’d always be like asking, making sure I’m doing stuff well or stuff like that.
MINDY: Aha, so he showed interest in lacrosse and wanting to understand it. JOSH: Like for basketball, he’d always practice with me. Like he’d always be rebounding for me and stuff. MINDY: So what’s that is reflecting now that you’re 18 and going to head off to college um do you think that was important to you and your relationship with your parents having them show up at your games play sports with you be interested in what you’re interested in do you think that was important part of your relationship so far? JOSH: Yeah, because considering like uh I kind of made sports like a big part of my life like that’s what I’m gonna study in college like sports management, it was like big to make sure that uh like obviously my dad loved it so that was never the issue, but my mom used to hate uh football and stuff like that because I’d always like not do my work, and I’d be watching the game instead, so I had to kind of try and find like the relationship to make sure like she liked both and so.
.. MINDY: Right right, and we as parents sometimes do things that is not our favorite to be able to connect with our children. So remember that any parent who’s watching this, um it’s okay to not be into like minecraft or football or lacrosse or knitting or drawing or writing if that’s not your favorite thing.
If it is your child’s, it is important to at least ask them questions about it and get- get to know about that a little bit more so that they do feel like you’re interested, and it can really strengthen your relationship and connect you all a little bit more.
Um, so I have one more question for you, if you’re willing to share Josh. Um do your parents help, well, first of all, do you ever feel stressed? Have you ever felt stressed in your life? JOSH: Yeah, well definitely I’ve felt stressed before.
MINDY: I would imagine. I think everybody, I don’t care how old you are, um feels a little stressed and definitely with this past year with COVID it added to that absolutely, so when you feel stressed, have- do your parents ever help you deal with that stress? JOSH: Yeah, like sometimes I keep it to myself because like I kind of know I’m stressed, but I also know I can go through it, and sometimes I just like don’t really want to hear someone else tell me how to deal with it because it’s just gonna like piss me off more.
[MINDY: Ah.] Like sometimes, like my parents will see I’m stressed, and they’ll give me like suggestions, and I just don’t want to hear it because it just annoys me, but, and like I know that’s true for like a lot of my other friends who are like stressed.
When they’re stressed, they kind of just want to like be alone and just like deal with themselves. [MINDY: Mm-hmm.] It’s not like the advice is bad, it’s just [MINDY: Right] I didn’t really like want it essentially, so it’s like kind of weird, but like if I did- if I was like way too stressed and I needed to, then I would go and like ask my mom or my dad and they would be helpful.
MINDY: Mm-hmm. So, it sounds like what you’re saying is if you’re, if and again this is like to teach other parents right, it’s um if you notice that your child is stressed in that moment, it may be helpful to give children, give you all space would that be more helpful? JOSH: Yeah.
Like my mom kind of learned that instead of coming in and like you know doing too much, she’d come and be like, “Do you need anything?” I’d be like, and I would just kind of just say like, “No,” and instead of like at first, my mom where my dad would get or my my mom, she would get mad that I said no and like cut her off, and then now she’d be angry at me and then now I’m not only stressed but I’m also like annoyed at my mom for being angry at me.
But like my mom kind of learned that when I said no, it’s more like a “Okay you’re fine,” and then she would go and it wouldn’t, and she wouldn’t really like, it wasn’t that deep. She wouldn’t like make anything big of it and then it would be less stress on me as well MINDY: Oh.
So it sounds like for us parents, because I have a 15 year old, but that we could really learn from this and that when your children seem stressed, it may not be the right time to help problem solve or give them solutions.
And if you do say do you need anything and they say no, respect that no, give them that space and then revisit it when you’re more calm, more happy, more regulated, and then we can offer you some of our brilliant advice and maybe you’d be more willing to receive it or take it then.
Is that a fair statement? JOSH: Yeah, because like usually if I’m stressed, like my tone of voice is going to be one that like- like my mom is going to hate, [MINDY: Right.] so like it might seem like I’m coming off as like disrespectful like “Get out,” like “I don’t want to talk to you,” but it’s not like I don’t want to talk to you.
I just don’t want to talk to anyone in general. [MINDY: Right] It’s just saying like “I’m chill,” like “I got it,” I just need to focus and stuff like [MINDY: Right.] I don’t need like another distraction.
MINDY: Right, and just be able to process in your own way. And, and you mentioned something, that when you said you know, you’re already stressed. Then when she comes in and says something, and then you’re- you’re aware enough to know that maybe your tone wasn’t your mom’s favorite and now you’ve got to deal with like your mom’s mad, maybe you feel a little bad the way you talk to her, maybe not, and the stress you’ve got all these things to handle.
Instead of just, if we would just give you teens some space and allow you to process it and then revisit it when you’re more calm, that could be more helpful and also, to not take it so personally when our children are talking to us in a tone because remember parents out there listening, it- they’re not- do not take this personally, right.
There’s something in Conscious Discipline that’s called “Q-tip”: Quit Taking It Personally. When Josh is feeling stressed, it sounds like, and his mom is only wanting to be helpful and come in and see what she can do to be helpful, when he would say things to her in a tone that he’s recognizing maybe would have sounded a little disrespectful, it wasn’t that he was trying to disrespect his mom at all, and I believe that to be true, that our children are not trying to disrespect us, or be mean to us, or you know, say rude things to us.
It’s there in a state in their brain that they’re not able to access their calm, brilliant self, and they’re really not able to hear us anyways. So it’s, you can go in and check in and say, “Do you need anything?” and if they say no, give them that space and remember parents, go back and revisit it maybe at dinner when they’re eating or after they’ve eaten, after their shower, you know when they feel a little bit more calm and ready to receive that information.
I’m wondering as we’re talking Josh, would it have been helpful if maybe your parents wrote down like: Top 3 Ways to Help Deal With Stress, and you had it like written down, and it was there for you to kind of see it and refer back to versus them telling you.
Do you think that would be helpful to you? JOSH: Um, I don’t know because like I mean I guess if, uh, I’m not sure, but like sometimes when I’m stressed, like my mom would like text me and my mom like text with like a lot of periods and like dot dot dots and like that would like annoy and like that like annoys me.
A lot. [MINDY: Yes.] but like, I probably, I’d probably rather like just hear it like dinner or something like that. MINDY: Okay, yeah. So, so there you go parents. Some children might feel triggered by it and if if my child feels triggered like you, um I can imagine because I put a lot of exclamation points so um, so I can imagine now hearing it from, from your perspective, um I think I’m going to reduce my exclamation points.
I already get that my texts are too long, she’s expressed that to me, so so parents if you’re listening, definitely reduce the amount of words, the amount of text, the amount of exclamation points or dots, because that can be triggering to your children, but just know it is our job to help our children no matter how old they are, even if they’re 18 years old, and just finding the right time can make all the difference.
Be there for your children. You might want to write it down on a piece of paper and put it up on the refrigerator and that be your focus for the week of, “Listen, we’re going to all take three deep breaths throughout our day to help us handle stress,” or “We’re all gonna get our own journal and you can write in it when you want ,” or “We’re gonna get outside and play some basketball when you’re feeling stressed because exercise is helpful,” so different things help different children.
Just hopefully you’ve taken from this Casual Conversation: The Teen Series with Josh that um it’s really about timing is what I’m learning. Timing for connection, and timing to help you deal with stress, and timing when to talk about important topics, so find out with your child.
Ask them, especially those teens, when they think the best time would be for them to connect. And they may not have that answer, so you just have to figure it out with them because it sounds like timing is everything.
Would you say that that’s a fair statement Josh? Whether it’s with connecting, talking about important things, or helping you deal with stress? JOSH: Yeah, definitely like feeling the vibe of the room and timing is definitely very big.
MINDY: Yeah, so when they’ve come home from being with their friends, or sports, or school, I think I’m learning that’s not the best time is that correct? At least not for josh, but I have a feeling it’s not the best time for most children.
Josh, thank you so much for your willingness to talk to me about these topics, and I, I- you probably can’t even imagine, but this might be extremely helpful for a lot of families, and I just really appreciate you taking this time and thank you.
And anybody who’s watching, you know, please comment below on if you thought this was helpful um or if maybe your teen wants to talk to me, and I can have a casual conversation with them, and we can get some insight from hearing it from, from them themselves and their perspective or their point of view to really help us be better parents.
So thanks again Josh, and I wish you all well!