Ann Coleman is Mom to a son who struggled during his teen years and former family law attorney turned parent educator and podcaster.

453: How to Decrease Drama with Your ADHD Teen

Ann Coleman

Ann Coleman had a teen son who was struggling on multiple fronts: ADHD, depression, drugs, and rages. How to deal with that?

She talks first of how she messed up by “putting the hammer down,” the effects that had, and how acknowledging emotions was the first step to dialing down the drama and creating a loving relationship.

How to Decrease Drama with Your ADHD Teen-Ann Coleman [453]

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*This is an auto-generated transcript*

[00:00:00] Ann Coleman: This all happened because of the way I ended up parenting my child when he was a teen, and I really messed up, and I did not realize that until later on.

[00:00:17] Hunter: You're listening to the Mindful Parenting Podcast, episode number 453. Today we're talking about how to decrease drama with your ADHD teen with Anne Coleman.

Welcome to the Mindful Parenting Podcast. Here it's about becoming a less irritable, more joyful parent. At Mindful Parenting, we know that you cannot give what you do not have, and when you have calm and peace within, then you can give it to your children. I'm your host, Hunter Clarkfields. I help smart, thoughtful parents stay calm so they can have strong, connected relationships with their children.

I've been practicing mindfulness for over 25 years, I'm the creator of the Mindful Parenting course, and I'm the author of the international bestseller, Raising Good Humans, and now, Raising Good Humans Every Day, 50 Simple Ways to Rest Pause, Stay Present, and Connect with Your Kids. Welcome, welcome to this episode, my friend.

I am so glad you are here. Listen, if you've ever gotten any value from this podcast, please do me a quick favor and help grow the show by just telling one friend about it. You can make a big difference with this, really. And I really, really, really appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. My whole team does.

In just a moment, I am going to be sitting down with Anne Coleman. She's a mom to a son who struggled during his teen years and a former family law attorney turned parent educator. and Podcasts. She has the podcast speakingofteens. com. And Anne and I are going to talk about raising her son who struggled on multiple fronts, ADHD, depression, drugs, rages, right?

So how do you deal with that? How do we make sure our kids don't get to that point? Where she, you're going to hear her talk about how she made mistakes by, Putting the hammer down first, right, and the effects that that had, and how acknowledging emotions was the first step to dialing down the drama and creating a loving relationship.

You're going to love this episode, whether you have it like little kids or teens. It's going to give you so much information about how to be, uh, in better relationship with your kids. So join me at the table as I talk to Anne Coleman.

Anne, thank you so much for coming on the Mindful Parenting Podcast.

[00:02:50] Ann Coleman: Sure. 

[00:02:51] Hunter: I'm excited. I'm glad to talk to you. I am, of course, as a mom of teens now, I'm excited to talk about how to decrease drama with teens, but I want to tell you, dear listener, that if you are a parent of young kids, I think sometimes, like, these are some of the most important episodes to listen to because there's a lot of stuff Bye.

Bye. Bye. That, um, that like what happens early years sort of sets the stage for the teen years. I don't know. Uh, would, would you say that, Ann? I think. Absolutely.

[00:03:23] Ann Coleman: Yeah. Absolutely. And I just spoke to someone the other day about this, um, on my podcast about how we start out is kind of how we end up in the teen years.

And, um, you know, I started out okay, but then I ended up going a little backwards in the teen years. So I kind of got it wrong.

[00:03:41] Hunter: They, they can, they can kind of drive us bananas. Okay. But first, before we get to that, I just want to know a little bit about you. You have, of course, the, you know, uh, the Speaking of Teens podcast and you, you teach about this now, is, is what you teach about now?

Were you blessed with the, the amazing unicorns of parents who, who just were, you know, from a new age, enlightened beyond their age and, and, and this was the way they parented or is it kind of been more in reaction to the way you parented?

[00:04:12] Ann Coleman: No. Well, actually, and I started out, um, professionally, I'm an attorney.

I went to law school and practiced law for a long time. No, this all happened because of the way I ended up parenting my child when he was a teen and I really messed up and I did not realize that until later on. And yes, part of, I'm quite certain, part of the reason that I mis parented him a little bit during the teen years.

was because of the way I was raised. It was because of, I mean, society as a whole, how I was kind of taught to raise my child, and then it was also out of fear, um, fear because I grew up with a brother that was, um, that was not the golden child exactly, and I was a little bit afraid of my son turning out that way.

So it all kind of. Coalesced and not really messed up. And so that's what I'm trying to do is help parents not mess up the way I messed up.

[00:05:13] Hunter: Learn from my mistakes. Okay. So I'm gonna, I'm gonna confess here. I, I, as the listener may know already, I grew up in Rhode Island. And you, of course, you speak to me from Alabama and in Rhode Island, like, we may have some stereotypes about people in the South where the we idea is like, that's like pretty authoritarian and pretty And yeah, there's like switches and stuff that people use, like that.

[00:05:45] Ann Coleman: Yes, that would be pretty true actually. And, um, yes, I would say the South is much more authoritarian. And I think where that stems from is. We're in the Bible Belt. I mean, and you know, there are a lot of people who still believe that, you know, we have this patriarchal, you know, the father is the, the one who, you know, makes all the rules and everyone else follows the rules.

And it's very much that way. It's very, you know, obey and do what I say do. And, um, as a matter of fact, I just had a conversation with a young lady the other day about how she was whooped her whole life growing up. And that's Yeah, whipping. And so a lot of people, that's what they still stick to. And she actually, she told me she was spanked, whooped all through her teen years.

So yeah. Oh yeah, it does. It does happen. And I have had friends who have actually done that. And as a matter of fact, one of my best friends, I was getting all of my advice in one ear of, you know, be that authoritarian parent and because my son was doing things that. I mean, frankly, scared the hell out of me.

That authoritarian, you know, mindset really kind of took hold. It was more in me. It was more the fear of what he was going to end up doing in the future that made me authoritarian. But I also had people, you know, telling me in my ear, Oh, you have to put the hammer down. You have to stop this right now.

You have to show him who's false. You have to, you know, and that just perpetuated the whole thing. It was horrible. 

[00:07:26] Hunter: I'm really fascinated when I hear this story. I mean, I can imagine that's. So, um, but yeah, I think that's really the driver for most people who are using authoritarian means and, you know, spanking or hitting their kids and things like that is that you're afraid, right?

It's, uh, it's coming from this fear of if I don't do this, will I, will I, I mess up my kid? And, and I do have to say though, in, We may not have had, we may not have called it a switch, but I, I got the wooden spoon on the leg once. But then when I, when I was a teenager, I gave my mom a wooden spoon back on her leg and that was it.

Oh yeah. The other wooden spoon.

[00:08:02] Ann Coleman: Well, and you know, I did, I did not grow up that way. My, my parents did not spank me, did not believe in spanking. So everyone in the South is, you know, I hate to perpetuate that stereotype that. Yeah, everyone thinks that way. They absolutely do not. But I would say it's probably the dominant um, ideal is that parents do believe that it, you know, I'm the boss, you do what I tell you to do, you obey, and, and that's it.

And And I do think a lot of that does, um, some of it does come out of fear, but a lot of it is, it's not fear. It's absolutely the way they were raised to believe parenting works. So in, in that, so there's really kind of two, two ways I think people come to that authoritarian mindset. It's either out of fear.

Or it's out of being told or being raised that way that that is the way that it is. And I, and I see this all the time in parenting groups, um, in Facebook, as a matter of fact, that, that mentality, I don't believe it's just a Southern thing. I believe it's, you know, kind of across the board there. Many, many, many people who still say, you know, you got to show them who's boss.

And, you know, I'm the parent, my house, my rules, you know, kick them out if they're not doing what they're supposed to do, lock the doors. And, oh, I, I mean, I see it all the time.

[00:09:28] Hunter: So, I had to explain that. What I'm saying to my daughter, actually yesterday we were walking, I was walking my 13 year old and I don't know what we were talking about it, but I said like, yeah, my way or the highway and she was like, what does that mean?

[00:09:44] Ann Coleman: I don't understand. I had a lanky child. What a lanky child because listen, I know a lot of people that know what that means. My way or the highway. And that's the way I explain it to people. It's that my way or the highway. Attitude, and you know, it, it does come from, you know, it's really deeply ingrained.

I remember my mother telling me that when she first had us, that her mother in law, my father's mother, again, very Southern, old Southern, and she said, well, you know, you have to break their will early on. You have, yes, you have to literally break their will. And that's the way our grandparents and our great grandparents and all the way back, that's how they were told to raise kids.

As soon as, you know, people started farming and, and working in industry and they had to have their kids behave and do what they said because they needed the help, you know, it was no longer. You know, carrying your kid around on your hip and nurturing and all of that stuff. So it really, things kind of changed.

And so it's really kind of handed down, you know, generationally a lot of times. And maybe it's not so much in the North, but certainly in the South it was.

[00:10:58] Hunter: Okay. And so I'm want to hear your story. You say you're, you're trying one way and then you got scared and you messed up with your son.

[00:11:08] Ann Coleman: What happened?

Well, he was, um, ADHD and has major anxiety and had it from the time he was little. We kind of noticed that from the time he was probably two. He would say he didn't feel good. What's wrong, honey? Tummy, throat, tummy, throat. And we finally figured out that's that. That, that gut wrenching, chest tightening feeling that you get when you're anxious.

And so, we, we worked with that for years. And the ADHD thing, that was all throughout his elementary years. It was all about the ADHD and getting his schoolwork done. You know, he was in a very demanding. Um, Private Episcopal School, and the school work had to be done, and the teachers were on top of that, so we had him tested, and we had him on the medication, and we went through all of the things, and so it was just, I was consumed with making sure that school was okay.

And then when he hit about 8th grade, 9th grade, well, 8th grade, we decided he was going to have to go to a public school because the private school did not give the right kind of accommodations. They weren't by law, you know, forced to do that, and they just did not. And he needed help with, with schoolwork.

He was also dyslexic, dysgraphic, just all the things. So, we put him in the, in the public school, and right about that time is when adolescence just really hit hard, and so we took him, you know, out of the school with all the kids he'd grown up with. He had even gone to preschool with most of them, and he went into public school with kids that he did know pretty well from the neighborhood.

They played in the neighborhood, and he went, you know, he did the ball and all of that stuff with them. So, we knew people. So, ninth grade started out pretty good. By the end of ninth grade, we realized he'd been smoking. Pot weed the whole year and we did not realize it. So that freaked me out quite a bit.

It really kind, it really devastated me. To be honest. My brother was a drug addict, so all of those feelings about that came up with me. I went through my entire adolescence with my brother being a drug addict. Um, and so. That freaked me out, but we thought we had that under control. Ninth grade went pretty good.

He got good grades. End of tenth grade, his girlfriend moves. Um, another little girl started liking him. This boy got mad. They got in a fight. All of his friends turned on him and even started bullying him and harassing him. So things went really downhill fast. He developed major depression. Um, his anxiety skyrocketed.

Um, all the things that could happen. He was suicidal. It was really, really, really bad. And the drugs got worse. So he started smoking weed. Then he started adding things. He was trying ecstasy and Xanax and all these things. And, and my My fear was palpable. I couldn't function. I also have ADHD and anxiety, so we were butting heads, and what I didn't realize is how anxiety, how it manifests and presents itself in adolescence is not the same way that it presents in adults, and neither really is depression all that much.

There's some overlaps, but so he was having these Horrible rages, that's the only way I can describe it, where he would throw things, he would knock holes in doors, every solid wood door in our house was broken. It was horrible.

[00:14:48] Hunter: Stay tuned for more Mindful Mama podcast right after this break.

[00:14:56] Ann Coleman: So all these things went on and I was As I was being told to do, I was putting the hammer down and I was terrified. So I was trying to keep him from doing these things. And all of the things, what I was doing was punishing and, you know, um, trying to control him, I was lecturing, I was scolding, we were yelling at each other.

All the things that you shouldn't do. I had no idea what to do. I was trying to depend on counselors, and therapists, and psychiatrists, and psychologists. We were paying people to do evaluations, and we were, you know, we had All the things in place that we could possibly have in place. And none of these professionals were telling me how I should be reacting to my child.

No one was saying, you're, you're causing a lot of this stuff with your own behavior. No one was telling me that. They, at, by the end of, I get, well, maybe. Towards the beginning of his senior year, everyone had thrown up their hands and said, we don't know what to tell you. So we put him in residential treatment and there, finally, we had a family therapist who saw right away that I had no idea how to talk to my own child.

We were trying to do family therapy online with him. He was out in California. We were in South Carolina at the time. And the therapist would come on before he would bring my son in the room and say, okay, we need to validate his feelings and you need to, you know, hold firm boundaries and let him know this.

And, you know, it was all about acknowledging his emotions. And I'm like, dude, I have no idea what you are telling me to do. I don't understand this. What do you mean acknowledge his emotions? I've never acknowledged an emotion in my life. And so he said, okay, look. Go read this book, No Drama Discipline, by Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Rison.

And so I got the book. I mean, he actually just told me to read one chapter. I read the whole book because that's just kind of the way I am. So I sat down and I read this book and I started reading. And I started reading out about emotions and about what, what a. I came to learn later was really emotion coaching and what is emotional intelligence and how to respond instead of react and, you know, how our emotions come into play with the way that we parent our kids.

And these, I had read book after book, after book, after book about ADHD and learning issues and how to do all these things, but never once had read a book that explained any of this. And I literally cried as I read it because I kept thinking. Oh my God, I have so messed up. I have ignored his tantrums. I have, you know, told him, go to your room and when you're okay, you can come out and talk to me.

I've done. All the wrong things, and now, especially in adolescence, I have just escalated all of this, but I still did not understand the part that I needed to understand about adolescence. You know, it's different for, they're, they're in a lot of ways similar to toddlers, and this was a book for toddlers.

The No Drama Discipline was a book for parents of toddlers. So, I started researching the adolescent brain, and I just kept reading and studying and reading all the studies and all the research and the science. It's great. And I've been doing that for four and a half years. So what I realized was I had messed up in a way that so many parents I knew were messing up because I knew most of my friends parented this way and I knew lots of people still parented this way.

And I thought, Oh my God, people have got to know this. I feel responsible for letting people know this because as soon as I read that My son came home within a month or so after reading that book. So he was there about two months. And as soon as he came home, and I started trying to kind of incorporate these, these new things, these new concepts that I'd learned into my parenting, it was, Amazing.

It was like switch was flipped. Now he had gotten counseling while he was there, and he had, if he didn't want to be there the whole time, he didn't want to be there, but I think it did plant some seeds. So he did get some counseling. He, but he still, when he came home, he was still having the little rages and the little fits and the tantrums, just like a toddler.

And instead of me saying, calm down. Oh my God, what's wrong with you? Please stop. Why are you acting this way? I would say something like, oh my gosh, yes, I can see how frustrated you are right now. You know, I was acknowledging those emotions. I was. Giving him an emotion word. I started learning how to be calm myself.

I started practicing mindfulness. I started learning about being more emotionally aware and being more emotionally regulated. Those are two topics I'd never heard of before and didn't even understand until in retrospect, I looked back at how I was acting. I didn't understand that was about my brother. I had no idea.

That was about my brother, but that's exactly what it was about. So, you know, just becoming more emotionally aware and becoming more regulated and learning how to say these things. And I had to stop myself and go, okay, what am I supposed to say again? What am I supposed to do? I needed a cheat sheet. But as soon as we started doing that, he started calming down.

And he started being able to talk to me about what he was thinking and what he was feeling. It was nothing short of a miracle, totally just miraculous. So I thought, Oh my God, if I can do this. He was 18 at that point, 18. And if I can do this at 18. People need to know this stuff. I mean, from way back and from, you know, where you start as a toddler, obviously.

But at least parents who are having this struggle during the teen years, they need to know, Don't do it the way I did it. Do it the way we know. Scientifically, all the research says works. 

[00:21:21] Hunter: Thank you so much for that story, Ann. Um, I think that we need to hear those stories, right? Because we do get scared, like, it can be hard to trust the research when the people around you are saying, you know, put down the hammer and stuff like that.

And to hear this story from you, I think, is so, so powerful. And I also think it really underscores, like, you know, what I teach in Mindful Parenting and in Raising Good Humans and stuff, like, these are, are And these tools, right, that, that you were finding in No Drama Discipline, right? Like a lot of those, there's a lot of similar tools there.

And like, these, these are really relationship tools, right? Like, kind of like the secret is, is like, these are actually relationship tools that work if you have a two year old, if you have an 18 year old, if you have a grown adult partner. In fact, they work. They make relationships better, stronger. And what you're describing was Browses and this trying to manipulate him or control him or do something like that to him you you were Relating to him on this person to person level you were saying I see you and I hear you I'm not trying to reject your feelings I'm actually gonna acknowledge them and what I mean, obviously your story illustrates what a relief it was For him to be able to be seen and heard.

[00:22:50] Ann Coleman: Yeah. Well, and the other things, you know, that, that I learned that I think are so important for parents of teens to know is, you know, when he started acting out and he started doing these things, what I didn't realize was that a lot of that was, it was, uh, Regular, normal, run of the mill teen behavior, a lot of it was anxiety, but the things that he was doing, if I had known that this is the way the teen brain works, and these are the changes that it's going through, and this is why he So quick to get angry at me when I ask him, you know, do you want toast or eggos for breakfast?

You know, these, these things that trigger the amygdala in the adolescent brain, you know, they go into fight or flight mode so much easier than an adult and so much easier than a child and things will set them off that to us. We just, it's, we're clueless. We're like, why would you get angry about that? Why would you snap at me?

And I, I hear parents talk about it all the time. You know, my kid is so rude to me. My, my 13 year old is the rudest thing and, you know, she won't open the door for me when I have a broken foot and they don't care if I, you know, work all day and do all these things for them. They don't have an appreciation of that.

All they want to do is hang out with their friends, but people don't understand, a lot of parents don't understand that that is actually, all of that is normal. And that is, those are the changes that they are going through and you have to know these things so that you don't, so that you have more empathy for that.

And so that you're not so put off by it that you react to it. in, in the wrong way, you know, when you react to them as if they've done something to you, when it's just a normal, you know, everyday teenager happening, then things are going to escalate. So I like to teach people about, you know, that. I mean, it's helpful not to take things personally, but at the same time, I also have a lot of sympathy for people.

[00:24:58] Hunter: You know, you can't help how you or your feelings are like if somebody out routes you, right? You know, is what I, right? So there's, there's kind of a middle path there, but I, you mentioned like, you know, you looked and you spent the last four years really diving into understanding teens and let's talk a little bit about that, like the brain and the amygdala.

You know, and why do teens get so, why are teens so quick to get angry? 

[00:25:27] Ann Coleman: Well, when, as soon as, um, puberty hits, they have, their prefrontal cortex is rearranging and strengthening and pruning all the connections between the neurons in the brain. And what this does is it makes it much harder for them to use the prefrontal cortex, which is in charge of all the executive functions, you know.

Focus and planning ahead and making good decisions and using self control. So that part of the brain is much weaker and it's much weaker all the way through at least the mid 20s. Some research says even close to when you're 30. So that part of the brain is not fully functioning and then you have the amygdala which is super revved up and the amygdala is what you know is in charge of some positive emotion, but mostly our negative emotions are you know fear and and our And it's what sends us into fight or flight mode when it's triggered by a stimuli in the environment.

So what happens with teenagers is it's much more sensitive. So when we might see a stick on the ground and we think, Oh, that's, Oh, that looks like a snake, and we might jump back. Then as soon as we realize it's not a snake, we calm down. Our prefrontal cortex jumps in and says, Hey, it's okay. It's cool.

Chill out. Well, in a teenager, in their brain, the prefrontal cortex is so weak that it really doesn't jump in there and help them to calm down. So they stay in that fight or flight mode. And every time And plus, their amygdala makes more mistakes than ours does, so it perceives things that, to us, would not be a threat to our amygdala, but to them, it is.

So, like I said, uh, the mother's voice has been shown to be a negative stimuli to an adolescent. So, just hearing us. Say their name from down the hall can literally trigger them and put them in that fight or flight mode. And when they go into that, then that's either they're going to be afraid, they're going to be nervous.

or they're going to be angry or frustrated or annoyed, or they might just say, for instance, um, if it's a test or a quiz that gets put down in front of them and they get nervous all of a sudden, their amygdala goes off and gets triggered, then they may, may freeze where they can't even answer the questions.

They can't even read the page. And I can remember that happening to me. All the way through law school where you just can't even think and that's that freeze mode. So it's just so much easier for kids to have that reaction, for teenagers to have that reaction. And when we don't realize what's going on, what a lot of times we do is try to convince them that they're being Nervous about nothing, or they're being angry over nothing, and we tell them Dismissing.

Yes, we dismiss it. We tell them, look, you're not going to remember these people in 20 years, or it's no big deal. It's just a blah, blah, blah. You know, calm down. That was my, my go to was, please calm down. Just calm down. Because I wanted more than nothing for him to calm down because it was upsetting me. It triggered me.

So understanding and having some empathy for that is so important so that you can try to at least not take it so personally. And you can tell yourself, okay, that's their brain. That's just how this works. Now I've got to help them get into that calm space that they need to be. Um, The other thing about the teenage brain is that the reward system is super, super revved up during adolescence, more than it will ever be in adulthood.

So the things that, you know, we see them do all these crazy things and these stunts and jumping off buildings into the Swimming pool and doing, my son was just showing me last night, all the snowboarding tricks that these teenagers do and it, you know, we think, Oh my God, why would they do such risky things?

Why would they, you know, um, risk their life driving fast and put five or 10 kids in the car with them and do these things? It's because their reward system is much more amped up than ours. And so everything they see that they think, Oh, that's fun. It's much more likely that they're going to jump in and do it.

And there, again, the prefrontal cortex does not have the capacity to jump in and say, that's not a really good idea to do that right now. Plus, there's, there's this, I call it the social system in the brain, which is also revved up during this time, and it overlaps with the reward system and the amygdala, and what it does is it makes the kids want to do these things even more.

When in the heat of the moment, they're around their friends and their peers. So that influence, that peer influence, it's not so much that they are being pressured by their friends. Oh, do this, do this, do this, although that does happen some. But they're really being pressured more internally by their reward system because it's telling them if you do this thing, you will be accepted more by your peers.

You will be more popular. You will be in the group, which because of the way their brain works at this point in time. That is the most important thing to them is to be accepted and to be part of the tribe, be part of the group, and that's evolutionary. It's just part of how we as humans work. And so when, you know, they want to do nothing with us and they want to hang out with their friends that's because they have to go out there and be accepted by friends and move on.

They'd be living in our basement until they're 35 if they don't. So it's just part of that process. So all of those things come together and it just, it makes for, you know, some really confounding and confusing behavior that we see as parents and we don't know how to react to it a lot of times. 

[00:31:44] Hunter: Stay tuned for more Mindful Mama podcasts right after this break.

Well, it's. Interesting, and I think what you've given, and in a nutshell, the, the weakened prefrontal cortex, which is our good decision making part of the brain, the pruning, the amygdala being more sensitive, the social system being more sensitive, even just understanding those three things, like from this sort of big perspective, can just help us improve Look at the behaviors on a moment to moment basis and get, get that really important awareness and perspective of what is happening in the big picture.

And that in itself decreases the drama, right? Because we're, we're part of the drama when we are reacting with a bunch of drama to their drama. Exactly. So if we can kind of take that, that, that part of it away with and replace our indignation, our frustration, all of that with understanding and awareness, that's amazing.

And I think it's so helpful also to understand that like a lot of these things, like just like I talk about, you know, I do, uh, I do a talk, I travel around, I do a talk and I talk to people about how to stop yelling and what I tell them. is that the behaviors of fight, flight, or freeze, like when we yell at our kids, right?

Like it puts them into fight, flight, or freeze. The amygdala triggers that. The behaviors of fight, flight, or freeze are like yelling, kicking, spitting, pushing, hitting, right? Like these are all the things that we don't want. And so these behaviors and, and in a teen, probably they have more physical. control, but they may have that fight back control verbally, right?

You know, that just kind of aggressive verbal behavior. This is, can be fight, flight, or freeze. It's not like it's actually a conscious choice. It's really, this is part of the reactivity. That we, we can understand that, that, that is a stress response. Exactly. You know, if we are adding to that stress in the situation, so a lot of these behaviors that maybe we're getting from our kids, if we're adding the stress through the yelling, through the threatening, through the barking orders, like then.

It's really important to remember that if you can't keep up with the social norms, you're not a right proctor. then, you know, our team is not necessarily like to blame for these behaviors because they're not actually a conscious choice.

[00:34:07] Ann Coleman: Exactly. And, and that's the hard thing, I think, as the ca, as kids get older, you know, when they hit the teen years, especially boys, you know, they get.

And they're hairy and they're big and they're not so cute anymore. They're not these cute little toddlers. It's a lot easier to have empathy for a toddler than it is for someone who looks very similar to an adult. And we get this fact Might be taller than you? Yes, exactly, exactly. And when we see these, you know, they're They're kids, still, they're an adolescent, but we have this idea in our head that you should be able to do this.

You should be able to control yourself. You are 15 years old. Why are you acting like this? And when we don't understand why they're acting like this, it's very easy to say, You are almost an adult, you know, you should be able to control your emotions. Well, what we fail to realize is, well, we're not controlling our emotions either.

And so, you know, reacting in that way to your kid, just like you said, if we're, you know, um, meeting their dysregulation with yelling and lecturing and punishing and doing all the things, it is just going to make it worse. Um, you know, the next time that this happens, their amygdala is going to be triggered quicker, because it's already happened before.

They already know, yeah, that we're going to yell, or we're going to lecture, and they're going to get in trouble, which makes them much less likely to let us know things that are going on. They don't want to talk to us if they're afraid that we're just going to yell or punish or lecture or whatever. And that's, that's the exact, you know, um, pattern that I got into with my son.

And, you know, learning. That when they are having their little mini meltdowns that you do the exact thing that you would with a child, you, you know, acknowledge their emotions and you, you know, try to help them maybe put a hand on their shoulder or on their hand and you try to give them that little, you know, dose of oxytocin to combat that cortisol that's going off in their brain and it, I think.

What happens with us as parents, again, is I think we just have less empathy as they get older and they move into these teen years because they haven't been so nice to us. They're not hanging out with us anymore. They're not all cuddly and sweet because they want to hang out with their friends. And we get kind of a I really like tipping our shoulder and I and I see this a lot it's like why do you treating me this way you know I think good to you all nothing to do with me.

What's the deal having a backup and really take a look at your mindset and switch that mindset so that you can have the empathy piece and then again Control of your own emotions and trying to figure out where is this coming from? Like with me and my brother, oh, so many, you know, things come from when we were raised and how we were parented.

So trying to come to grips with that is so important. Learning that emotion coaching piece. And then the biggest piece I find with adolescents and with parenting adolescents that where we screw up and where we really do kind of create this pattern of power struggles is through our discipline and how we discipline them.

[00:37:51] Hunter: And we just go about it all wrong. And I'm not sure that. I think that's the question, right? Like, if the, if somebody's listening, right, and you're having trouble with your child, your teen, your adolescent, um, and you're saying, okay, sounds all well and good to acknowledge their emotions and for mindful parenting members, like what, what Ann is calling emotion coaching, we called like reflective listening, right?

And, and to, to acknowledge these things and to, and to try to take the drama down into, but then, Then what? Do I just let them walk all over me? Do I let, do, do you let your kids go do drugs? Like, how do you build that boundary, right?

[00:38:27] Ann Coleman: Right, right. Well, the thing, you know, what I tell people is, first of all, you've got to step back and understand that your role as a parent is really changing during these teen years.

You're no longer, and, and maybe you never were, but a lot of people are more managerial when their kids are younger. You know, they, you do have to have more, you know, direction for younger kids. But as they get older and when they move into adolescence, it is all about supporting their autonomy. And even more so that when they were young, because when they get to this point, they feel like they're an adult.

We know they're not, but in their mind, they know just as much as we do. And they know more so what is right for them than we do. So acknowledging and supporting that autonomy piece is huge. And what I mean by that is discussing things. You know, a lot of parents will make all the rules themselves. And when they're little.

Of course, you make the rules, but when they're older, those rules, you can't make them unilaterally anymore. It's all up for discussion. You know, what should we do about this? And how should we do this? Those are discussions you have with your teen. At the very least, you are listening to your teen, listening to their opinions, acknowledging that they have the good sense these days, you know, to To have the say in their own life.

And I love what, um, uh, Lawrence Steinberg says, Professor Lawrence Steinberg, he's a major, um, adolescence researcher, and he says, you know, uh, he, in talking about making rules and letting, Um, your teenagers help in that aspect or learning how to draw the line between what we, you know, command that they do and what they choose to do.

He says, if it's not dangerous, unethical, um, Illegal, unhealthy, or likely to close some door, better left open, that those decisions should be left to your adolescence. So haircuts, and what jewelry they wear, and their clothes, and how they do their room, even if their room is messy, those things, those issues are not in the categories of danger.

And I mean, it's not unhealthy, their messy bedroom, unless they're, you know, collecting rats and cockroaches in there, which sometimes it can get pretty bad. But you know, those, those decisions that you're making, a lot of those decisions should be left to your teenager. And if you allow those decisions to be made by them, A, you're going to cut down on the conflict and B, they're going to learn how to make these decisions as they get older much easier than if you are directing everything that they do.

You know, we, we've got to back up and start letting them make decisions and allow them to make the mistakes that they So that they will learn and grow. If we are just watching out for those mistakes that fall into those categories, dangerous, unhealthy, unethical, illegal, likely to close some door, better left open, then those things, you know, we can step in if it's.

You know, we're not going to let our kid go drive drunk because we know they could kill themselves or kill someone else. So, of course, you would step in and you would say, I'm not going to let them make that mistake and learn from that mistake. Um, so I just think those, those criteria are such good, is such a good guideline.

And. The piece about likely, likely to close some door better left open, that is like, for instance, if they're not going to take a course in school that they may need to have if they want to go to a certain college or get into college, period, or whatever, or, you know, let's say they're, they want to Get a face tattoo or something which may, may not allow them to get a job one day, you know, likely to close some door better left open.

You want to step in and do something about that. But learning to, um, discuss the rules, learning to even discuss consequences if there has to be, you know, a consequence and learning that it, when discipline is not about Punishment, and I know you've talked about this, you know, tons on your show, but learning that with kids, with, with teenagers, that giving them some sort of a, a punishment is also going to break down that connection, that relationship that you have, that secure attachment with your child, and it's, When they get to be this age, the only influence you have with a teenager is through that relationship and through that connection.

They're not going to listen to you if they hate you for punishing them and taking away their phone for everything that they do, or taking the car because they smarted off to you, or whatever. You have to be so Careful of that connection if you want to know what's going on in their life and have any influence in it whatsoever.

[00:44:04] Hunter: Yeah. I mean, I couldn't agree more. I mean, think using those modes of power over and has, that has an absolutely inverse relationship with influence. The more you use power, the less influence you have. And this is all why I have a. Chapter in Raising Good Human Beings Today called, Why You Should Date Your Pimps.

[00:44:24] Ann Coleman: Right. And I love that chapter. That is so true. I mean, we have to find the connection, even though it's so easy for us to be distant and to become more distant during those years, because we don't seem to have anything in common with them. And they, they do roll their eyes at us and they are embarrassed by us.

And all of those things also are a phenomena of the brain. Those are all things that. They all go through, they are all embarrassed by us. They are embarrassed by everything for several years. But, you know, learning to kind of try to set that aside and find things that we can connect with them on. For instance, in my son, that was the one thing we could do is I tried to never criticize the music he listened to.

Even though I absolutely. I did not say that, you know, I would say, Oh, that, well, who's that? That sounds good. Let me, let me hear that song. Or I kind of like that one. It has a good beat. And I think for so many of us, it's, it's, and I'm not saying I, you know, I did that about everything he was interested in, but learning to at least try to find some things that your kid is interested in, your adolescent is interested in, and try to make a connection on that level.

It, it makes. It's a huge difference in just them being able to open up to you. And it's not easy, but it's doable.

[00:45:54] Hunter: Well, you have laid down so much wisdom here, and I think the wisdom gained from our personal missteps and those challenges we've lived through are some, you know, that's some of the most powerful.

Um, and I think to kind of circle back to what we started with, how it starts is how it keeps going. So whatever age your child is, you know, a lot, this, a lot of this information is really going to, to, to every age. And I think these, um, This criteria is so much, this thinking about involving our kids in decisions, acknowledging emotions, regulating ourselves, not meeting dysregulation with regulation all, you know, with more dysregulation.

All of that. I mean, this is hard won wisdom, and I, I really appreciate you, um, taking that bold step to say, completely mess this up and you need to learn from me. I, cause I think, I think that's, your stories is so, so powerful and meaningful. I really, really appreciate you sharing it here. 

[00:47:00] Ann Coleman: Thank you. Thank you.

Yeah, I'm, I was really quick to say I messed up. So, and I wish everybody was. If you're messing up now, stop it and let's start all over again. You can get a do over.

[00:47:12] Hunter: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, that's what parenting is, right? Like I begin again, again, and again, and again, and again. Exactly. Um, Alright, so, Ann, please tell everybody about your lovely podcast and where they can find you.

[00:47:27] Ann Coleman: Well, it is called Speaking of Teens and you can find it at speakingofteens. com at forward slash podcast or you can just go to speakingofteens. com and that's where everything is. That's where all the free, uh, resources that I have and the Facebook group and everything we do there.

[00:47:46] Hunter: And again, thank you so much.

I really enjoy talking to you. I really appreciate your, your story, your wisdom. And I didn't, I forgot to ask, like, how, how are things with your son nowadays? Oh, yes. Can we get the end of the story? Absolutely.

[00:48:02] Ann Coleman: Yes, he is doing fabulously well. He ended up moving out to Colorado and he had always wanted to be a professional snowboarder, and he actually got his first sponsor this last year. So he is a pro snowboarder. He's 22. I know I'm really, he did not go to college. That was not for him. And that's okay. I got, I got okay with that. So he is actually here visiting us now and he is doing so, well, the anxiety, the depression is gone, not doing drugs, and just live, loving life out in Colorado.

[00:48:36] Hunter: Oh, good. I'm so, so glad to hear that. Okay. Well, again, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. I've really, really enjoyed talking to you.

[00:48:44] Ann Coleman: Absolutely, Hunter. Thank you.

[00:48:54] Hunter: Hey, I hope you liked this episode. I think that it gives that, you know, just hearing other people's stories, it just gives us so much information, whether we're, you know, whatever age our kids are. So listen, if you enjoyed this episode, tell one friend about the show today. That would be amazing. I would love that.

And that's all I got for you today. I'm wishing you a great week. I hope that you're gonna, you know, that you take this, this is like good nutriments for your soil of your heart and you grow beautiful relationships from it. Oh my God, I'm so corny today, but I don't know. You know what I mean? I think it's important.

So I hope you have. Hugs this week and Rest and peace and ease and all those wonderful things and I will be back to talk to you again soon Thank you so much for being here namaste

[00:49:56] Ann Coleman: I'd say definitely do it. It's really helpful. It will change your relationship with your kids for the better It will help you communicate better and just I'd say communicate better as a person as a wife,  as a spouse It's been really a positive influence in our lives. So definitely do it. I'd say definitely. It's so worth it.

The money really is inconsequential when you get so much benefit from being a better parent to your children and feeling like you're connecting more with them and not feeling like you're yelling all the time or you're like, why isn't this working? I would say definitely do it. It's so, so worth it.

It'll change you. No matter what age someone's child is, it's a great opportunity for personal growth and it's a great investment in someone's family. I'm very thankful I have it. You can continue in your old habits that aren't working or you can learn some new tools and gain some perspective to shift everything in your parenting.

[00:51:00] Hunter: Were you frustrated by parenting? Do you listen to the experts and try all the tips and strategies, but you're just not seeing the results that you want? Or are you lost as to where to start? Does it all seem so overwhelming with too much to learn? Are you yearning for community people who get it, who also don't want to threaten and punish to create cooperation?

Hi, I'm Hunter Clark Fields, and if you answered yes to any of these questions, I want you to seriously consider the Mindful Parenting Membership. You will be joining Hundreds of members who have discovered the path of mindful parenting and now have confidence and clarity in their parenting. This isn't just another parenting class.

This is an opportunity to really discover your unique, lasting relationship, not only with your children, but with yourself. It will translate into lasting, connected relationships, not only with your children, but your partner too. Let me change your life. Go to mindful parenting course.

MindfulParentingCourse. com to add your name to the waitlist so you will be the first to be notified when I open the membership for enrollment. I look forward to seeing you on the inside.

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