Conscious Discipline with a Neurodivergent Child
Laura: Hello everyone, welcome back to the podcast. I am so excited to have this very special guest finally on my podcast, because I have spoken to him twice now on his podcast which were both amazing opportunities and really fun, and I am just excited to finally invite you and have you here.
So thank you, Mr Chazz. Thank you for being here. We have a really good topic for today which I will introduce in a second but I don’t want to put this off any longer. I want to let you introduce yourself and who you are and the amazing things that you do for this world.
Mr. Chazz: Yes. So, the short version is. My name is Mr Chazz. I was previously a Montessori teacher and educational specialist who was in charge of 10 different schools, and my role was to teach teachers to teach. I kind of joke about how what my role was is, I was like the Olivia Pope of classrooms.
Laura: I heard that on a podcast and I love that! That’s the perfect way to describe what you do, I love it.
Mr. Chazz: My role is a lot of things as in early childhood but my job description was to support teachers in and out of the classroom. but in reality it was supporting teachers in and out of the classroom, while supporting directors. I was able to even support a little bit on the corporate level and I was also able to see how all those things from the owner of the company transferred all the way down to the teacher and the children in the classroom.
So that’s, that’s a little bit about kind of my background. The pandemic happened. I saw how a lot of parents were struggling with this new challenge and I felt that all the insight that I had gained in my journey would be helpful for parents, so I started to create TikTok videos. My thought process was if I can make short videos that are enjoyable to consume, but also you feel like you gained something at the end of it, then I can make a pretty big impact and have a lot of people, and I was right and it happened. And so, it blew up on Tik Tok on Instagram, Facebook and it turned to the podcast that is like really powerful called Mr Chazz’s Leadership Parenting and Teaching Podcasts.
Laura: Seriously, look out world and what you just said – that you what you set out to accomplish to make a little bit of a change in the world. You’ve made a humongous difference. You are always like in my top three of like when a parent comes to me, I need help, whether it’s a parent of a neuro divergent child or neurotypical. I just love how you present the information in a way that’s applicable to everybody, but what I super love about your account is how you’ve been able to cultivate like a really strong community, especially on Instagram, which is where I follow you the most.
It’s really hard to do in that kind of forum like it’s a very, it’s not really friendly to like, back and forth communication, but you do such a good job of showing all the sides, representing everybody through your stories through posts, through the comments. Anyone who’s listening, just so you know it’s really tedious to screenshot and share and erase all of the things I always think of that and I’m like, how does he share so much of the good stuff and go through all the DMs?
You spend so much time and are very thoughtful in the sites that you show, and that’s a really hard thing to do with such a big platform. I think the other thing that I like about your account is that while you do share about how we can support and understand children’s social and emotional development, you do it in a way that feels a lot less overwhelming than a lot of parenting accounts, even mine included, because ours are very like heavy on information and milestones and research and things that we want parents to know and what they can do. But yours, I feel like does a really good job at showing us like the perspective of what’s underneath the child’s behavior but then it goes further. You’ve turned the tables and make it about us, which is sometimes really uncomfortable but so necessary.
I have to like mentally prepare myself when I open a post because I know he’s gonna make me ask questions about my childhood and why I’m the way that I am.
Yeah, but it always applies and I think like if you see my most recent emojis when I’m like, commenting on on your posts. It’s always the mind blown emoji. You do such a good job of all that so thank you for being here and thank you for doing what you do and taking all the time to to change the world.
Mr. Chazz: Oh, well thank you. You know running the account is an area where I’m improving on an area of, kind of growth because when I first started Instagram, I really didn’t know what to do with Instagram stories or Instagram lives. To be honest, those are relatively I think I’ve been doing stories for a while now and they’ve kind of grown to the point to where I’m having these kind of really robust discussions and sharing a variety of perspectives.
And that’s kind of, you know, my goal, And I love that, I thank you for highlighting that because it is a lot of work but, and I haven’t talked to really anyone else about this, about kind of how I’m running my account.
But I really see it as like my account, my page is the classroom. Right. And I’m just another teacher in the classroom and there’s a bunch of different teachers on Instagram, and you know you’re scrolling on your feed and see a post. That’s like almost kind of like an invitation into the classroom. It’s, you know, usually a big idea that I’m kind of introducing in a relatively short period of time, and kind of introducing this big idea, hopefully some kind of practical tools and tips and, you know, I really do think it’s important to, to not just share the, “Hey, this is what you should do”, Or like “hey this is how you should think about it” because really what you can do this, likely 100 different ways to say a script or to do the thing.
But if you don’t know why you’re doing the thing. One, it’s going to be hard for you to be flexible in the moment when the child doesn’t follow the scripts, and then two, it’s really regulating for us to actually understand what’s happening on the other side. Because a lot of times, our frustration, our dysregulation and our, you know, reactions come from our misunderstanding or inability to understand what is going on in this other person’s experience.
And because we’re triggered. We are less likely to do perspective taking and to see the other person’s experience. And so all that is difficult. With my account, with that, there’s the post there. And then, hopefully that invites you into the stories where we have the larger conversation and we dive deeper into the nuance and how this fits into, you know, a variety of perspectives in their lives.
Mr. Chazz: But when I had the conversation with fidgets and fries and high functioning Autism, you know, there are a lot of before the conversation and there are a lot of very very strong opinions. And, you know, some people came back after we had the conversation and after they shared their perspective as Black Autistic moms with a Black Autistic children.
People came back. I thought like I understood, like I thought that I, as a mom of an Autistic child, I thought that I understood all this. I read all the books and I felt like I had a grasp on and my opinion was the right one. Hearing the perspective has kind of opened my mind and helped me kind of see it in a different light or see more parts of the conversation and what I was seeing.
I think that’s what is probably one of the most life impactful things about my account is that it’s not necessarily just the information that I’m providing to help you with your, you know, parenting or teaching in the classroom, but it is how people get to hear from such a variety of perspectives, different from their own, and give them an opportunity to kind of empathize because I think that is the foundation, or part of the foundation, of what world peace needs to be built on.
Laura: I agree that I think a huge part of it, just like the initial hearing someone else’s experience different than ours. I think our initial knee-jerk reaction is to like, like separate that from us or be like well that’s not what I experienced. I think since 2020 like with everything that’s happened, if we’ve learned anything and something that I’ve been learning about is just to really honor people’s experience of something that happened, and not try to be like, well that’s not what happened.
It’s like, this is how this person experienced it. It was traumatic to them or this is what happened and really just not only just being like, “Okay I hear you, I hear you,” but really, like, then taking that in and that perspective and having that viewpoint, it’s uncomfortable for a lot of people.
Mr. Chazz: It is! It’s hard to even get into this Conscious Discipline discussion. Yeah, we’re having about like, you know, the ability to the practice of being able to sit in our emotions and our feelings, and instead, acknowledge them and be aware of them without trying to discard them or run away from it. Like, ooh, like, that’s, I read that, and that triggered some feelings in me. Let me pay attention to that and see figure out where this is coming from and kind of what that is telling me, as opposed to getting defensive and reactive, which is what we have a tendency to do in these conversations when we’re talking to each other. And we have a tendency to do with children, we have a tendency to do in really, in almost in pretty much every part of in every system and every conversation, every community. We just have a tendency to react and not sit in our feelings and why is that? Why is it so hard for us to sit with our feelings, acknowledge our feelings, work through them, breathe, regulate our emotions so we can hear the other person?
Why is that so hard? Because that goes counter to the messages that most of us receive growing up. You know, most of us heard, you’re fine. Get over it. Stop crying. You know, you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit is a really popular one in schools. And so we grow up, you know, just not honoring our feelings, either running away from our feelings. The consequences of that is when we run away from our feelings, see this is where we go to the adults. When we run away from our feelings when, you know, let’s say, in a relationship, right, our partner does something that triggers us.
And it could be not loading the dishes or could be something that they said or it could be them helping you, or it could be them not helping you. Right, whatever it is, lots of things can trigger, and it’s not wrong to be triggered and to have those feelings. On the contrary, like it’s part of the human experience.
And because most of us have kind of learned to run away from our feelings or push them down, or put them on other people instead of sitting in them. What happens is, we will hold it down and then we won’t say anything. And then, then we’ll do kind of the passive aggressive comments right and time will go by. Days, months, maybe even years ago by you not acknowledging this thing.
And then at some point your partner’s like what is up with you, like, what’s with this passive aggressive behavior what’s going on. And what do we say? Nothing.
Laura: I feel personally attacked right now Mr. Chazz. How do you know?
Mr. Chazz: Yeah, nothing right and it’s just because, it’s not to say that you’re like that is conditioning in our body right. That’s not even the thing. I talked a lot about the brain, but like really to simplify everything that I’m talking about, really the brain, the body – they’re connected. You can’t really separate the brain from the body because they’re constantly talking to each other, so it is in your body to have that reaction because that’s the way that you were treated. So now that’s how you treat yourself, you dismiss your own feelings. Right.
And children have a tendency to treat themselves like that when they grow older, they treat themselves the way that they were treated.
And so that doesn’t set us up for healthy relationships. Right, or everything that we do is we blame right. I feel uncomfortable for this and then because I feel this discomfort in me, I need to put on someone else.
It’s like no, but we see this with kids all the time. Right, trying to, you know, discharge their discomfort by blaming someone else. And so, all that saying that it is so important for us to practice the skill of being aware of our feelings, being aware of our triggers, acknowledging them, breathing.
Recognizing that we have a choice, and what we do in this moment, you know, using mantras, so that we can kind of replace those unhealthy messages that are replaying in the back of our mind with healthier messages. So yeah, this is really important stuff for everyone but it very much applies to children, and part of why we struggle so much with our kids’ reactions is because it doesn’t necessarily have to do with them. Right. A lot of times it’s, they’re pushing our trigger button.
We have a trigger, that’s our trigger. Right, I said it’s normal to have a trigger as part of the human experience but recognize those triggers are our triggers. They’re just pushing the button. Right, but really that’s the reason why that is our button, that’s such a button when you know you hear your child cry, and maybe you have sensory challenges yourself.
But a lot of times it is because of how you were treated when you had those same behaviors as a child. When you cry, they were always dismissed, and “you’re fine, get over it” or ashamed or whatever. So now, that is our tendency to do our gender, or unhealthy pattern that we have a tendency to pass.
Laura: Yeah, I think that’s so important that, so that we’re starting to talk now about how what our kids do can trigger what’s in us. So for me as a mom who has anxiety. Yes, my daughter’s sensory stuff triggers my anxiety and that’s why my neurodivergent brain thinks differently, my fight or flight is going off. And then my own journey with therapy, when my therapist talks to me and I’m like oh, that applies to my daughter so I get that.
But there’s a lot of neurotypical parents out there who may not have anxiety or it’s not triggered by something in the moment, but they are parenting a neurodivergent child. So understanding a brain that’s different from theirs is really hard. In my account what I do is I educate about how the brain develops in neurodivergent kids and why it’s different, but that doesn’t help with like building the empathy and compassion. Even if I explain it, it’s still really hard to be like, oh yeah when I was little, I bla bla bla, because they might be different from how their child’s brain is wired, so that’s what started this whole discussion on my Instagram. By the way I would love if you could clarify if gentle discipline is the same as Conscious Discipline. I know we kind of all kind of interchangeably use that so I’d love clarification on that. But this topic came up because a lot of parents see me talk about this concept which I admittedly I’m not fully educated on from a textbook perspective. I didn’t take a course, I just take a lot of information from you, from Dr. Becky, from everyone on Instagram, where a lot of parents get our information from so I feel like I understand it and I take that approach.
But a lot of parents are wondering like, it’s really really really hard to do with a neurodivergent kid who maybe is not speaking, or just has such more intense reactions to things, that we can’t bet that parents who don’t have a therapist lens, who can’t completely understand where they’re coming from. So I would love first just to go back then if you could clarify the definition of Conscious Discipline and if it’s similar or different from all those other terms that we use, like gentle discipline.
What’s the difference between conscious discipline and gentle parenting?
Mr. Chazz: So, um, yeah this is actually a really good question. I will also use all of them interchangeably. For the most part, we’re all kind of talking about the same thing.
You know, but I will say that I’m not a big fan of labels, in general. I’m pretty hesitant when it comes to labeling anything like, I tended toward like, lean toward “let’s just describe”, but the thing, and then talk about what that thing is instead of just assigning a label to it because then okay confusing. That being said, labels can also be helpful, in terms of understanding things that same time so right where I say that conscious is a better description than gentle.
Because gentle doesn’t really get at the root of what we’re trying to do. I almost feel like gentle is maybe a term used to kind of counter, a different movement of like maybe like spanking and punitive way. And so, like, and so maybe that’s kind of where the word gentle comes from is almost kind of like a, like a counter thing and anytime you want to start a movement, like I think more. What are you trying to do should kind of be more of a focus that like, hey, just not do that. Right. Yes, it’s kind of it’s kind of just like, Hey tell children what to do instead of what not to do. And so, conscious, I think is kind of the best description of all kind of the descriptions even, I think conscious is closest, because even with respect to that label respectful, that term, it’s just so loaded with so many different kind of definitions and context is really awareness. That is the center of what Conscious Discipline is. Centered around in conscious parenting to now Conscious Discipline specifically is a program, is a trauma responsive program that’s 25 years old, created by Dr. Becky Bailey.
Now there’s also someone who wrote a really popular book and wrote a lot of really great conscious books. Her name’s Dr Sherfali and she has a conscious parenting book, “The Awakened Parent”. That’s not necessarily Conscious Discipline, but those things are aligned, they’re both I would describe both of Dr Sherfali’s work, and Dr. Becky Bailey as Conscious Discipline. It refers to a specific program that is in a lot of schools. That’s growing.
Yeah, it’s growing and not even just in the States, it’s growing in other countries as well. It is a trauma responsive, social emotional center program. And so, that is kind of more of the definition of a Conscious Discipline now, what is Conscious Discipline and kind of like what is it, what does it do.
It’s funny to play a game like the last Conscious Discipline conference, look okay give you like your little elevator pitch if someone asks you what Conscious Discipline is.
What is Conscious Discipline and what does it do?
So Conscious Discipline, really what it teaches you is to identify what brain state, a child is in – survival state, emotional state, executive state – and depending on what state they’re in, it teaches you to use seven skills of self control to navigate that situation, and be helpful to that child to be as helpful as possible that child in that moment. That’s kind of the condensed version of what it is.
Seven Skills of Conscious Discipline
The seven skills are:
There’s the skill of composure, which helps you tap into the power of perception.
There is the skill of assertiveness, which is saying no and setting limits and boundaries, which helps you tap into the power of attention which you focus on to get more of.
There’s the skill of encouragement, which helps you tap into the power of unity.
There’s a skill of choices, which helps you tap into the power of three – there’s a skill of empathy, which helps you tap into the power of acceptance; through the skill of positive intent, and helps you tap into the power of love; and there’s a skill of consequences, to help you tap into the power of intention.
Now all of these skills and kind of the thought process behind them, there’s brain science behind it.
Right. So for example, the brain science behind empathy and tapping into the power of acceptance the moment as it is, is that empathy integrates the brain for personal responsibility and self-control.
Right. And just like encouragement, which taps into the skill of unity. The brain science behind that is encouragement, connection, and belonging primes the brain for willingness, engagement, and academic success..
And so, one other really important part about about Conscious Discipline, I feel like it’s almost almost like a pillar of Conscious Discipline, is that you can’t if you’re not getting a child’s willingness and not forcing a child, but how do we see the child, how do we use our skills to help the child in the moment and and prime them for willing so that they can achieve, they can meet, whatever this kind of expectation that we have set on or that we’ve put on. Whether to learn something in class, or two, or to accept responsibility and to apologize for something, you know, you don’t want to force. I talked all the time that you don’t want to force an apology.
But there’s also a way that you can help a child get to a place of willingness, so that they can willingly apologize.
Conscious discipline also has structures which are the kind of items, things that are, that you might see in a room like a care center or feeling buddies. Sometimes you’ll see the structure and these kind of physical representations to help children and quite often the adults, but teaching the skills and learning the skills.
But understanding that having the structures in your classroom or using the structures, doesn’t mean you’re doing Conscious Discipline. It’s more about the seven skills and powers for self control, and the structures are just a support, almost a visual representation. An area environment where you can kind of practice the skills.
Laura: So those seven skills that you talked about, those are the skills that the parents need to master in order to implement Conscious Discipline. It’s not right, it’s the skill to pull out the power in the child right? The skills are linked to the power.
Mr. Chazz: So, we can’t teach the skills that we don’t have. So yes, the skills that the adult needs to practice. No one’s going to be perfect at the skills, they’re skills. Yeah. And in the process of the adult modeling practicing and talking about these skills with children, they start to learn the skills. They start to learn how to set boundaries, not because we’re not only modeling it, but we’re also, you know, we’re also giving them the language, giving them language to do it. They learn the skill of composure because when they react and have a big thing that we are coming with our composure.
And the skill of composure is about being the person that you want to be. And the power of perception is about no one making you angry without your permission.
If you’re not able to practice your skill in that moment, then instead of seeing the child with positive intent, like, “You’re trying your best” or you’re going to see this child like, “They’re making me mad! They are making me upset and they’re making me have to punish them.”
No one can make you angry without your permission, and this is Dr. Becky Bailey’s quote: “Whoever you put in charge of your emotions, you put in charge of you.”
And it’s honestly becoming one of my favorite questions to answer. I think when I heard the question, “Well, how do I know that Conscious Discipline is working?”
Quite honestly when I first heard that, there was a little bit of triggered-ness in me too, because I think it was kind of my frustration, just like, “You’re not getting it! I’m putting all this content and you’re not getting it!”
And really that’s on me too. They’re doing the best that they can and understanding the best that they can. They have a knowledge of bringing everything you know. They have people who do the work and have been doing the work for a long time.
Like forget where they came from, that you were always this conscious. You weren’t always this aware of the importance of emotions and all in all, in all those things. So I try to be super aware and conscious. Even the people who hop into the comment section and advocate their darndest that the child should be hit or spanked for, you know, their emotion.
I still believe even those people are trying their best and they’re saying what they believe in. Those people deserve empathy too.
So, once I regulated myself it allowed me to actually answer the question without my triggered emotions attached to it.
And, I’ve made a couple of videos since, where people are like, “okay that kind of made sense but I had to kind of get out of my skills to kind of regulate and keep composure.”
And really, the answer that I give, I talk about, is a big mindset shift. Is that conscious, whatever it is, is not about working on another.
It’s about self control, it’s about working on you.
It’s not about working on another, it’s working on you.
And the natural consequence of you working on you, is that the people around you, the people especially the people that you care for, will learn the skills that you’re practicing, that you’re modeling.
And you need the skills to teach the skills.
So usually when I ask the question, “what do you mean?” you know when someone says that Conscious Discipline isn’t working.
Usually, the response that I kind of get is, “well, when I did this, they did not do this.”
That’s about control.
And even in empathy, you gotta you first start this journey like, “oh okay that makes sense.” Like, I would want empathy in these moments and so I’m going to start using empathy, so that I can get my child out the door quicker.
Or I’m going to use empathy, so that they can stop their emotion and I can get the things that I need to get done.
And from that place, we can really provide genuine empathy, because it’s about all our ulterior motives and children catch on when you’re just doing the thing, just saying the scripts, because you want to do the next thing.
Now, the reality is the next thing needs to happen, at some point we are going to need to move forward. We are gonna have to get the car and do the thing at some point.That is true.
And if we’re just focused on that goal and just moving them to the next thing, that’s likely going to slow your actual movement to the next thing because they don’t feel seen in that moment.
And before we move to guidance. Before we attempt to start guiding our children, we have to see them first, and they have to feel seen.
The other questions like “they’re not listening” and “how much are we listening to them and to listen to what they’re communicating through their behavior?” Neurotypical or not, believe them when they’re communicating behavior.
Neurodiversity and Conscious Discipline
So, being in the classroom as a Montessori teacher, I had a bunch of children.
I had this one child who was totally new, who was really, really, he was above average smart, and I was really blown away by this child’s intelligence. He was three. He was like a young three but he came in my classroom, knowing how to read.
And so a lot of times like these kids they’re super smart, we have these super high expectations of them, and then so like, when they do struggle with not transitioning or following a direction or whatever, it’s like “you’re so smart, why can’t you do this? You’re smart!” That’s not a helpful message at all, that’s really a shaming message.
And it does nothing to help, especially the “you should know this” right. We “should” all over ourselves all the time, and “should like it”, “should be this way,” never actually helps. Which, again, was part of the Conscious Discipline power of acceptance – of accepting the moment as it is, instead of saying you should be this way.
So, this child did struggle with a lot of things that the other children did not struggle with.
When we sat for circle time, and I got to tell this little story he got up in the middle of my circle time and said, “I don’t want to be here anymore” and he walked away.
That was triggering for me but I mean, you know, when water would go off in the classroom, where when someone turn on the water, he would freak out and like went around the classroom and put his hands over his ear. He would like, run and he actually hurt his head one time because he was trying to run away from something.
And he dove underneath something and hit his head on the cubby and you had a pretty good goose egg, because of that, and so he was struggling a lot.
It was clear that he was struggling like other children weren’t, and so obviously we were having conversation with parents like, “hey you know what’s going on. What are you seeing? We want to be partners in this,” and the parents were, you know, there was conflict. My assistant and other people were like “hey I think he has such and such and such, I think he’s (insert label) here.” I don’t even know if I’m ever gonna say what the label is at this point right and the parents were pretty like “hey I don’t want to label my child so early he’s still three still young.”
But other people were like “I’ve seen this before”, and like right and I’m kind of like, Look, I kind of landed at.
One, he is really young, he is still three. And so, like yeah sure he could be evaluated.
You can go through that through the whole process, you know, but the parent has kind of made a decision at this point that they either don’t want labeling and they’re pretty sensitive about that. I think us pushing the issue would further trigger the parents. So I kind of learned like look, he is showing us behaviors and it doesn’t matter what his label is. Let’s just see his behaviors and help him see what’s underneath and help him, and help them work through these.
And that’s the approach that I took and other people started to take around me. Literally I was the lead teacher so I had the power. that was within my power to make the call of what would happen in the classroom.
And he was successful. And he did really well in my class, and not only did he continue reading but also he also learned math and learn to do a like, add two three place. But all of that couldn’t have happened if we didn’t first just see what his behavior is communicating, and then believe him, and then start there to meet him where he was at, regardless of the label.
Now, end of the story, years later, he goes off into kindergarten.
And I actually didn’t know this until I reconnected with the parent years later, that the child did end up getting an Autistic diagnosis. So this childhood was Autistic.
But I didn’t need to know that at that time, to help the child. I just needed to accept that this child was trying their best, and to help them. That’s not to say, I want to say caveat, that’s not to say that getting a diagnosis isn’t helpful. I do think it can be extremely helpful, but to say that if you don’t have a diagnosis yet, just believe the child if they’re saying that that loud noises or whatever it is just believe them. Don’t say like, “you’re fine, get over it,” “you’re not Autistic,” “You don’t have sensory challenges,” “you weren’t dying,” like even regardless, just believing them.
Laura: Yeah, I was gonna say that I think that I understand the parents not wanting a label but thankfully they had you, who knew what to do with or without a label.
But do you think that there’s some parents who, having a label, who don’t have access to such a great teacher like you? If like the label would help the parents have more empathy,
Mr. Chazz: I think that the label definitely does, 100%,
Anytime I tell a story, don’t take a story of one experience as like universal truth.
I think even with this particular family that I’m talking about. They were a pretty non-judgmental family in general, like they were able to provide empathy without the diagnosis or not.
But, what you said is spot on/ I’ve coached a lot of parents who have said the same thing like, oh, like “I used to be so frustrated by the behaviors untiI found out that they had ADHD and I find out a little. I’m now able to actually understand a little bit more like where they’re coming from and why it’s happening.”
So, yeah, definitely. Yeah, I’m definitely not saying that diagnosis doesn’t help. I think it can be very helpful for, like, you have this conversation all the time.
The cons that you’re concerned about, I would say the pros greatly outweigh the cons you’re concerned about in terms of getting a diagnosis and that’s a whole ‘nother thing.
Laura: I know, I get that question a lot from parents like “What’s the point of a diagnosis?” So there’s a lot of things that could help, there’s a lot of things that don’t help. It depends on how this is going to affect right now, is this going to change anything? Like today about what you would do with your child or would it help you understand better? Then, sure getting evaluated to see their functional abilities is more important than getting a diagnosis code for paper right.
You brought up a really good example earlier. This is the question – this has happened to me and the parents have asked me, like what I should do in those times? When you you brought up the example of like your child is having a meltdown and you trying to get them to the car, but you need to see them first and have empathy with why they’re having those behaviors. But the question that a lot of parents always ask is that like, like I’ve been in the thick of it too and my daughter has a 45 minute meltdown, I am to the point where now I have to just build in time for her meltdown on school days because I know she’s going to have one.
And that’s the only thing that regulates me when I know I’m not on. I’m not going to be late because that’s my anxiety trigger, but some parents are like, “well I have two kids” or, “I don’t have wiggle room.” They’re basically asking for permission, like a permission slip to a few times have to move them to the car, to force them through the morning routine to get to where they need to be, otherwise they would be late to work every day or never get out of the house.
How can I do Conscious Discipline when I’m in a hurry?
So how do you balance wanting to practice Conscious Discipline but also go through the daily things that sometimes you have to move your child through a routine?
Mr. Chazz: Yeah. So I always say it’s about meeting. It’s about meeting both needs – the needs of the adults, and the needs of the child. Both needs are very important, very very important because if our needs aren’t met, then we’re not going to be very helpful. We’re going to be in a state where we’re not gonna be very helpful in these situations, we’re going to be trying to provide fake empathy and all that. So like, even that 45 minutes ahead of time that we’re kind of building that into your schedule of that transition time because it takes her longer to transition, she may not be just as flexible in these moments.
So you’ve identified that’s kind of something that she needs, and you also need it to not be late every day. You need it to not have that pressure in that moment because I know you’re like, “Okay, I’m going to be regulated to go in and try to do the things”. And then you look at the clock, and you’re like, “oh, we’re five minutes late,” and then look 10 minutes like 15 minutes late. Every time you look at the clock, you’re getting triggered right back down to the lower centers of your brain, and you’re not really helpful and then eventually you’re just like “Just get in the car!”
That’s what ends up happening. And so, you know, there are going to be some times in some moments where, yeah maybe you are empathizing while you are moving to the next thing, where you’re picking them up and you’re like “yeah I know this is like really difficult, you’re playing with your Legos, you want to stay with Mom and I know you don’t want to go to school today. Things are different.”
You can still be seeing your child in those moments, and maybe your child in those moments doesn’t need any words. Maybe they just need to feel, and they need to express and just hold space for that.
I think it’s hard when you’re moving away from a punitive control base, fear-based kind of parenting. And maybe you’re like, “I’ve never done that” but you’ve been conditioned into it your entire life, or at least your entire childhood.
And so moving away from that is really difficult. So a lot of times we ask the wrong questions or, like the way we’re thinking about things is, “what’s the consequence for this, and how can I stop this?”
And really what Conscious Discipline is encouraging you to do is to see the moment. Accept it as it is. You can’t change it, and tap into your skills of self control. In seeing the moment to choose which skill is most appropriate, or a combination of skills, is most needed in this moment.
And so, in this moment where it’s “you gotta go,” I would say composure would be helpful, empathy would be helpful, positive intent would be helpful, assertiveness would be helpful, right choices would be helpful.
Now, all of those things may not be helpful to your child in that moment. It’s about putting these tools in your tool belt. You see the moment and then you pull out a tool.
Now, in terms of a practical thing to get really down, kind of like, “Okay, well what do I do?”, Yes that’s what the parents always wanted now.
If it happens once, largely, we have a tendency to kind of exaggerate our minds.
The consequences of being five minutes, 10 minutes late. And, you know like, us being five minutes late like, it’s rare when us being five minutes late really is going to make a huge difference. What is in our power? Can we make a phone call and say “Hey, this is this morning is a little bit rougher than usual like, something such happen, an accident happened, or whatever. Yeah, we’re going to be like 10 minutes, 15 minutes late.”
For the most part, in most jobs and most people’s jobs, you can do that and hopefully your job is also allowing for that but that’s a different conversation.
If it’s something that’s reoccurring, and you know that transitions are just tough and it takes time, then, like you’re doing to try to build that time into it. We so much will be like, “Children like their time management, they don’t know, they’re not doing things in a timely manner and they’re not on my schedule, they’re not getting with the program.”
And I encourage us to look at okay, well how’s our time management? If we are triggered because it consistently takes 30 minutes to transition and do whatever has to be done to get out the door, and you know that, why are we only allowing 10 minutes, or five minutes? Is it because of maybe our time management sometimes?
And, you know, we can’t teach the skills that we don’t have.
Laura: Yeah, and I think there’s also times where even if we built in, it takes longer, or if there’s times where we weren’t expecting it to happen, because the thing with neurodivergent kids is that to us, it’s like, “out of nowhere”. But I always put that in quotes because I tell parents, there’s a lot of underlying dysregulation that could be like lingering for days and just at that moment decided to come up, but it could be like in the store, or like in the park. Something to do with the transition that is hard that you have to move them through that they may not have. Like let’s say on this particular day, we couldn’t build it in, but what you’re saying is that we can still move them through it while emphasizing, while showing compassion, while keeping our composure.
And then the other piece that I add to it is, it’s usually unpleasant for at least me and my daughter when I have to physically move her because she’s thrashing around. I can’t really carry that much weight, it looks really funny because she’s almost as tall as me. I’m very petite and short, so it’s really hard for me to manage her so I have to be as assertive as I can but also move her through it, but then I always always, always always have to come back to that later and explain to her what happened and reflect with her.
Conscious Discipline with Non-Speaking Children
So that’s what I tell parents. But the last part of it that I would love your input, to hear what you have to say is that parents asked me when their child is non speaking, or does not have words yet, or maybe they have a communication challenge or something that makes it hard. Have you ever worked with parents with that or how do you advise? How does it look when you have a child who doesn’t really have all of their words yet or is not speaking?
Mr. Chazz: When we say developmentally appropriate, it’s not age appropriate. Where a child is at and their skill level and their development in every child is in a different place, and not just like further along but just in different domains of their development too.
And so, it is important for us to see where the child is at and what skills they do have right because not all non-speaking children have the same amount of skills. Some have an AAC. So just start with the skills that they do have. If they can point you visuals, right.
Use any kind of assistive technology that you can get access to, and not everyone has the resources, not everyone can get access to that stuff, but really it’s about just starting with where they’re at with the skill that they have. If pointing is the skill that they have, then that’s the skill that we want to use we want to help them use. If they can sign, then that’s the skill that we want to use.
And we can build other skills, but we want to start with the skills that they currently have, meet them where they’re at.
And one more moment, or one more thing about like that, just the transitions. Transitions are difficult for people, they’re difficult for people.
It isn’t just a child thing, think about the transition that we went through from normal world to covid world, right, think about all of that stuff. Yeah, there’s a lot of things that we can do to kind of reduce the friction in the transition, with visuals, with a timer, with choices. There’s lots of things that we can do to kind of reduce the friction. Void that the expectations should be perfection, or everything going smoothly.
And I’m going to put this super broadly. I feel confident putting this really broadly. I’m sure it’s not gonna apply to every single person but it’s going to apply to a lot of people. Think about when you were transitioning to COVID and how short that transition was for a lot of people, and we didn’t have a lot of time to understand a lot what’s going on, what to expect.
We had a lot of feelings because we were uncertain about things and we can’t see our loved ones and we have to do these things and like, that’s how it was hard for a lot of people, even you know whether you were complying or not, it was difficult for a lot of people, for most people. And it didn’t put us at our best. Right. And there are still, and I don’t know when you’re listening to this but right now today, I do coaching sessions every day – as a matter of fact, I have to get up pretty soon to do another coaching session – and there hasn’t been a single coaching session the past month where COVID hasn’t been brought up as something that impacted the lives of people.
So that inconsistency is going to add more dysregulation and just going to make it more challenging. Give yourself grace in this, give your children grace in this and recognize that it’s not about perfection. It’s not about being a perfectionist. It’s about being an improvenist. The goal is to improve a little every day.
Laura: That’s my favorite Mr Chazz quote I need that on a mug I needed on a T shirt and a hat need to get that “be an improvenist”
What a good way to cap off this episode! I feel like I could talk to you for so long but we got a lot out there and I hope that this episode helps, at least one if not a million more parents out there to at least reflect on how you can be more conscious in the way that you have your relationship with your child.
Mr. Chazz: Can I just add for those who want to learn about like Conscious Discipline and especially if from a parenting perspective.
There’s this book, I have no affiliate link. This is not an ad. This is simply me, just trying to provide more information that’s helpful for you on your journey.
“Easy to Love is Difficult to Discipline” is the Conscious Discipline parenting book that breaks down a lot of that stuff so definitely. It’s on Audible too.
Laura: Okay, I’ll add that to the show notes, would you recommend that as a first book for people who are just starting with Conscious Discipline?
Mr. Chazz: Yes, especially as a parent, for parents.
Laura: I will add that to the show notes and then I’ll also add where they could find you on Instagram and TikTok and your community on Patreon. You need to let parents know how they can work with you.
Mr. Chazz: Yeah, yeah, so I’m on TikTok, I’m on Instagram, I’m on Facebook, at my own podcast, Mr Chazz’s Leadership Parenting Teaching Podcast, where I introduce you to the resources that can help you on your parenting journey, leadership or teaching journey. And like Laura said she was on my podcast twice so you can even go there to hear more of her.
That’s where you want to start but I bring people on it just really to help people get a variety of perspectives and to add to your community of resources, your ecosystem on your journey of growth. So there’s that. And then if you want to do one-on-one coaching with me, you can get access to that at www.patreon.com/MrChazz, and you can work with me.
Instagram: @TheOTButterfly www.instagram.com/theotbutterfly
Work with me: www.theotbutterfly.com/parentconsult
Conscious Discipline Books: “Easy to Love Difficult to Discipline”
Work with Mr. Chazz: www.patreon.com/mrchazz
Mr. Chazz TikTok: www.tiktok.com/mrchazzmrchazz
Mr. Chazz Instagram: @mrchazz
Mr. Chazz Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/mr-chazzs-leadership-parenting-and-teaching-podcast/id1525418064