By: Laura Petix, MS OTR/LEPISODE 53


Laura and Dr. Ann-louise Lockhart sitting in grey arm chairs next to each other smiling and talking. Podcast title card saying Episode 53, A candid conversation on parenthood with Dr. Ann-Louise Lockhart

Ever wondered what a psychologist and an Occupational Therapist sound like when they get together and have a casual conversation about parenthood?

Well here’s your invitation to hang out with Dr. Ann-Louise Lockhart and me as we chatted together during our mom’s weekend getaway. 

In our conversation, we touch on some of the following topics: 

Loving Dr. Ann-Louise Lockhart? Listen to episode 22 for another interview with her on tantrums here!

Episode Links

A candid conversation on parenthood with Dr. Ann-Louise Lockhart
Think that's what creates a lot of burnout because it's like that invisible load we were talking about, right? That it's always this, there's always going to be something to do. There's always gonna be something on your to-do list. You're never going to get through your entire to-do list. Ever. Yeah. Cause you're gonna...

Think that’s what creates a lot of burnout because it’s like that invisible load we were talking about, right? That it’s always this, there’s always going to be something to do. There’s always gonna be something on your to-do list. You’re never going to get through your entire to-do list. Ever. Yeah. Cause you’re gonna just add to it. There’s always things to add. And so if we know that our life is a constant hamster wheel of busyness, it’s, it’s inevitable. We can decrease some of that pressure by just being present. Welcome to the Sensory Wise Solutions podcast for parents where parents can get real actionable strategies to support kids with sensory processing disorder. I’m Laura, OT and Mom to Liliana, a sensory sensitive kid who inherited my anxiety and my love for all things Disney. Consider me your new OT mom, bestie. I know my stuff, but I also know what it’s really like in the trenches of parenting a child with sensory processing disorder. Okay, mom, enough about me. Let’s start the podcast. Hello everyone. Today I finally get to share with you the amazing candid. Full of really good wisdom, but like kind of all over the place conversation I had with my good friend Annie. You might know her as Dr. Ann Louis Lockhart. And we took a girls’ trip together earlier in the fall and we decided to bring our podcast mics and just sit down and have a conversation and record it. And so you get to be a fly on the wall and hear what it sounds like when a psychologist and an occupational therapist who both happen to be parents get together and talk. Now, I will apologize in advance. The topics jump from a lot of different places, but all of it is very relevant if you are a millennial parent in 2022. So just some of the topics we talked about, we talked. Uh, parenting in the Pandemic. We talked about the shift from pre pandemic to post pandemic. We talked about what it’s like when you have different parenting styles. We talked about trying your best not to, um, parent out of fear. We talked about the importance of the mind body connection and how to start teaching that to your child. There’s so much that goes on in here, but it’s kind of out of, it’s not really in a good flow. , we just kind of talked and I tried to edit some of the irrelevant parts, so apologies in advance. The editing is not my best work, but I promise the content. It’s great. This is a really good episode to listen to and I hope you guys like it. Okay, we’re recording. Hello Annie. Hello. Laura . I gotta make that Instagram Yeah. Video soon. That just reminds me like, oh my gosh. I know. It’s so nice to finally be with you in person. Okay, let’s, um, Seriously. It is really good to be with you as person. Yeah, I know. This is really cool that we get to record this in person. I know this is such a treat after a wonderful weekend. Yes. Where we got to fully recharge, what was it? Connect. Reflect. And reset. And reset. Yes. I think we like checked all of those boxes. I think we did. I, I really enjoyed reflecting so much last night when we were talking about where we’ve come from. Oh my gosh. I know. It’s, it’s really neat to see like how even the different jobs and professions and hobbies all led us to where we are today. Like, it was like we were priming and preparing ourselves for the work that we actually do. I know, I know it. I, and I told you this last night, like, I, I didn’t realize how far we’ve come mm-hmm. and that was one of the themes that we were talking about for parents was remember, you know, in the darkest of your days, remember how far you’ve come? Mm-hmm. remember where you once were before we get to. Dark into the rabbit hole. Um, so I wanna start off this episode. I have a really, I have a burning question for you. Mm-hmm. , that’s been, because we were talking a lot this weekend and you were sharing all of the, um, interesting stories that you’ve had of all the different jobs you’ve had, and obviously you have been a therapist for some years now. Mm-hmm. , so you have some pre pandemic experience under your belt, and obviously being a parent yourself. Um, I have a five year old, so majority of my parenting life has been in the pandemic at this point. Oh yeah, that’s true. So, and she’s my only, um, but I’m so curious from a parent coach, someone who helps couples and, um, partners work together to parent their children and understand them better. I’m curious how in 2022. What that difference looks like for you as a practitioner and what you’ve been noticing. Um, like compared to what it was like before The pandemic and my, obviously from my experience, I deal, I hear a lot more of the development of children and how parents, and there’s a lot more concerns now about sensory sensitivity because they haven’t been outside and don’t know how to plan a playground and some of the motor stuff, which makes sense. But I’m so curious from a mental health perspective as a psychologist, things that you’re noticing that are different. Yeah. Yeah. That’s such a good question. And there it, it varies across the lifespan, literally. So the majority of calls that I got to my practice during the pandemic, so 2020 through early 2022, was from parents of four year olds. That was the majority of calls. Mm-hmm. , parents of four year olds and who were significant meltdowns, significant emotional dysregulation, um, and just excessive screen time cuz they didn’t know what else to do cuz they were working from home. They didn’t have a babysitter, they didn’t feel comfortable with people coming to their home. They didn’t have daycare, uh, or childcare. So that was a, a big significant, big population. And then through teenagers who were like significant isolation, a lot of depression, a lot of social anxiety, and, um, It, uh, online and cell phone addiction and just kind of getting lost in a virtual world because in order to keep them safe, they were at home. But then they got to the point where then they had so much social anxiety about leaving, because a big key factor of anxiety is avoidance, right? And so if you’re avoiding to stay safe, because that was what we’re supposed to be doing, masking up and staying home. But now you don’t wanna be anywhere, you don’t wanna go anywhere. You don’t have any friends now, and there’s a lot of social isolation. So I see a lot of that. I see a lot of depression, lots of anxiety. I’m seeing a lot of emotional dysregulation. Um, lots of parental burnout and you know, and then we’ve heard, of course, across the news in terms of more domestic violence, more divorce, yeah, more child abuse because people. We are, it is not normal to be around your family all the time. And even for the people that I see who are homeschoolers, yeah, it is still, they still have time away. They have co-op groups. Their kids go on play dates, they have sleepovers, they go away, they have babysitters. Parents go on vacations, they go to work even at certain times or go out of the house. And during that time, there was so much togetherness that it was sickening. I remember at, at the beginning, we were like, oh, we’re gonna look back on this time and think of how special it was. Like those first, that first like month when everything was like, and we’re like, wow. Cause we didn’t think it was gonna last as long. We were like, oh, it’s gonna be a month. No. Or like, oh, two months. Someone said three months. And I was like, don’t say that. Right. Like way too long. Absolutely not. And I remember seeing, um, a meme at that time that was like, Oh, in 2020 when we were in quarantine, and then the response was, oh, you mean the first year of quarantine? And I was like, don’t say that. That’s not a joke. I was like, it it legitimately, like some people are still the medically sensitive, um, the medically fragile people, immunocompromised are still like very much trying to live different lives, like isolated lifestyles. Mm-hmm. to keep themselves safe. Exactly. Do you think that, so parents that experienced burnout that were in the, that were like deep in the lockdown. Um, were you working with them in like finding creative ways to have outlets and like self-care what that looks like? What can you, do you have any examples of like what parents were doing to cert survive Yes. There’s such a span because I mean, I’m seeing parents in high rises in New York City, Uhhuh, right? Yeah. So you don’t have a balcony, you don’t have a yard. Oh, you can’t go out in the city because you feel like it’s. You know, socially psychological, it’s dangerous. Physically dangerous. Yeah. And there is no place to go. Everything is shut down. Things are violent. Things are unsafe. So then you have, I mean, I spoke with some parents whose teenagers did not leave their apartment for five, six months. Like literally did not leave. Like no sunlight, nothing. Nothing fresh air. Right. There’s no windows. So talking to them about like, so people like in those situations and then they don’t maybe have a partner or they don’t have any outlet. Oh yeah. So like, okay, finding a space in your place that is your space. Maybe it’s in the corner of your bedroom on the floor, right By your nightstand. That is your place where you have your oils or your sense Yeah. Or your music or your headphones. That’s your place. Like a designated spot. Like even. Just like, um, create like barriers or something. So it’s a physically, visually a different space, right? Than the rest of the room or the rest of the house? Yes. Like a retreat or if like, your kids are at home and they were, um, learning from home, like having a space where they go to and then having their bedroom be a separate place or having a place in their bedroom, but they’re not doing their schoolwork in their bed. Like really being specific or. People who were living in big pieces of land and they could go anywhere. Yeah. And so then it’s, maybe it looks a little bit different because you have so much more space to work with. Yeah. So it really was specific based on the weather, the time of year. Yeah. The kind of environment. It was really, really specific. I think that’s why the pandemic was so scary for us, because we didn’t know how long it was gonna last. Oh my gosh. Um, it kept changing this, the danger we’re like, okay, do we wipe our groceries? Do we tick off our shoes? Do we take a shower every time we come back home? Which is, I literally did that. Do we wipe down our Amazon boxes with Clorox wipes? I wipe the bottom of my shoes before I came in the house. I left them in the garage. Like there was a lot. So all this unpredictability, the uncertainty, the unstructured, all that stuff is scary for the brain because what does that do? It triggers our fight flight fun or freeze response. Right. Because we’re like, okay, wait, what do I do? This person wants to hug me, but uh, do they have covid? You know? And so it’s, everything is so scary. Yeah. Because you have no idea. So, , I think for kids, especially the little ones. That’s why. Yeah. You have kids who don’t know how to interact with other kids. Yeah. They don’t know how to share their toys. They don’t know how should I share or should I not share? They don’t know. Um, how to, you know, they go into a room full of screaming kids at daycare that they’ve never been in before. Yeah. Because they’ve only had mom, Deb. Oh yeah. Or grandma auntie or whatever. They don’t know how to interact with other kids. No, exactly. And we’ve been saying it’s like space give space, don’t get to close. Oh no. Well now you can like have five of them now you can. Right. And that’s the one thing that um, some parents have been coming to me and asking. They’re like, well, they have these social anxieties, but I think it’s just cuz of the pandemic. And I’m like, sure. Whatever the reason was, whether it was the pandemic or. You’re still worthy of seeking support and Absolutely. And help and intervention to try to make your days a little bit more taller. Whether or not it was caused by the pandemic or whether or not you are only burnt out because of the pandemic, you can still like, that’s then get help for it Doesn’t matter. That wasn’t something that was in you already before then. Yeah. We can blame the pandemic. You still need support and you deserve support. And that’s for any kind of mental health or behavioral concern or issue is that there’s many things that can start things like, you know, like even as a pediatric psychologist, like someone might have, say for example, chronic migraines. Yeah. And maybe it started out because they have a poor sleep schedule. Yeah. But now it’s chronic because now it’s habituated or because there’s other things that have become unbalanced or you know, maybe you were a new mom and so you got out of your sleep cycle because literally your baby’s not sleeping. So it started out as a baby thing, but now you’re in a habit. Of staying up late because your sleep cycle’s all screwed up. So yeah, lots of things can start out because of a medical issue or a systemic issue. Yeah. Or a societal issue. But then, then that’s when the habit and the conditioning kicks in. Yeah. And now we’re stuck in that cycle. Yeah. So yeah, there’s lots of kids, lots of teenagers, lots of parents who’ve been, of course we cannot deny how much this pandemic has impacted our society and our families. But now we have to say, okay, we need to get out of this cycle. Like even my family and I like it is hard for us to socialize more like compared to how we used to, we, we get burnt out quicker with socializing. and it’s hard, like even going to outings, going to church, going out with friends, like after like an hour and a half, you’re like, okay, I think I’m done , I think I think I’m ready to go home. Or you know, you wanna go and you’re like, oh, should we go? And then, oh, the person cancel. Darn. You know? And it’s like, we’re really pushing ourselves. Like even me being here with you this weekend, like it’s really, at first I was like, should I go or should I not? Not like, oh, I think, oh, should I make a plain reserva? It’s a lot, it’s a lot’s, a lot of, of effort. And then not feel like, well, should I escape? Should I be involved? Because it’s, yeah, you, your brain gets so, so used to things so quickly. That’s how I, I, I consider myself resistant to change. I’m like, I just change new routines, even if they’re exciting. If I don’t know what it’s gonna be like, it’s just I have this mental block. But that for me is what been the hardest, what’s the hardest thing for me to. Unplug and recharge and take time for just truly myself because oh, it’s gonna be so much effort. And then when I come back, all this stuff is still waiting for me, and then I’m gonna have to like, recharge from my vacation before I can do the thing, rather than just like staying in my routine. And it feels more efficient to just go with the flow and like do my day, day to day thing. Yeah, it’s monotonous or I get burnt out, but like I, I’m, I’m still on this path rather than like jumping out of it and doing something quote for me. But I have all these things waiting for me when I get back that I don’t. Want. Yeah. Like it feels harder to come back to that, but I think that’s where mindfulness comes in. And the mindfulness is just being where you are, just being present. I’m so bad at that. Just being present and, and for me it’s about like if, like if we’re at the beach, like when we went yesterday, like being at the beach. Yeah. And just being there eating our carne. Yes. That was so good. Watching the ocean. That’s right. And just being present. Not thinking like, oh gosh, how long of a walk is it to get back to the place? Or you know, oh, what if I get, when I get back home and I wonder what’s going? And I think, and it’s hard. It’s hard do, but I think that’s what creates a lot of burnout, because it’s like that invisible load we were talking about. Right, right. That it’s always this, there’s. Going to be something to do. There’s always gonna be something on your to-do list. You’re never going to get through your entire to-do list ever. Yeah. Cuz you’re gonna just add to it. Add to it. There’s always things to add. And so if we know that our life is a constant hamster wheel of busyness, it’s, it’s inevitable. We can decrease some of that pressure by just being present. Yeah. Like just enjoying the tea and the coffee and the latte and the croissant we had this morning. Yeah. And just being and listening to that water fountain and listening to the water fountain. Just being present. You know, it’s so, it’s really good to hear that and, and thinking about how, I’m like, okay, well how can I teach this? Have you teach this to like a four year old or five year old if I can’t even do this? It’s the quieting my mind part that’s really hard. Cause it’s always feels like it’s going so fast. Yeah. And then I think to like, okay, go back to sensory. Like what are you, where is your feet right now? Yes. Your body. Yes. Where is your body? How does it lay in this couch? Like the physical sensations that you can notice in your body. Cuz no matter where you are, you can always tune into your body. But how to, um, pull that out from like a four year old mm-hmm. . Cause that like metacognition and thinking about thinking and being very in tune with your body is so hard to teach to little kids. Yeah. But we can do it through modeling and like mirroring, right? Like we talked about earlier. So if you’re sitting with your four year old, and I did this a lot with my kids, which is why they love reading now. So we would sit with them and I remember even with my son when he was like two, three, even younger than that. And we would open a book him in our lap and we would just read and then we would maybe pause and like, Ooh, I feel your toes wiggling. Mm-hmm. breathing. Oh, I feel your breath against my chest. Yeah. That’s mindfulness. That’s being present and taking a pause. Yeah. And then like, Ooh, do you hear that bird outside? Wait, wait, listen. Listen to that. Oh, I heard that were two. You know, and like, oh, what color is that character wearing? Like, that’s mindfulness. Yeah, that’s all mindfulness. Yeah. And I think when I used to do play therapy and I did like sand tray therapy with kids and little ones, a lot of what I did with them is that presence. Or even with teaching them relaxation strategies. I didn’t say Close your eyes and take a breath like that. They’re not, they don’t do that. Like a lot of the hypnosis and the play that I did was active hypnosis. Yeah. So like, you know when you’re feeling really worried and mommy’s wrapping you off at school and you feel like you don’t wanna go, what can you do? I can blow bubble breaths. Yeah, let’s do that. And what about if your legs feel all wobbly? Oh, I can shake ’em out. Let’s shake them out. Yeah. Like it’s active relaxations, active mindfulness, and it’s things that they can do with their body. Yes. That they know I can control. I can’t, my, what my body does can almost override what’s going on in my brain. Exactly. My not wanting to leave my anger, my frustration, my body can do something else. Mm-hmm. to trick my brain into thinking, like, knowing it’s safe, I can do this. Like connecting that again, because sometimes the brain, like I said, and I know this, this is what makes me. Empathetic for my daughters that like I know my brain kind of gets ahead of me and can like stop my body or control my body and we have to like almost bottom up. Mm-hmm. that. Yes. By all of the sensory stuff and the movement of the body. Like even when people would come over, when we finally had our relatives over after what, like three months into, into the pandemic, everybody was isolating and we’re like, we need this. Yes. We need some social contact. We have seen nobody else. Yes, I know. And my son, he was seven at the time I believe. And he was like, I feel uncomfortable with them coming over. Yeah. And I said, yeah, I feel a lot uncomfortable too. Yeah. So that even that is acknowledging this is how you feel and that makes sense to me. And I feel the same way too. So I’m like, well, we’ll just both be uncomfortable together. Yeah. Well what if they wanna hug me? Well then you could choose not to. Yeah. You know, I could, well I could high five or fist bump. That’s okay. Or you could elbow bump or you could do none of it. Yeah. You get to decide. Yeah. You know, and so just really acknowledging. the feeling, acknowledging what their body is doing. You know, that like, that interception we talk about. Mm-hmm. , like, what is your body doing inside? What are your, what are your, your organs and your joints telling you? What are your emotions telling you? And then what do you wanna do about that? Mm-hmm. , you could, you know, have a tantrum and stomp away and close yourself up in the room. That is a choice. Yeah. Or you can choose to just hang out mm-hmm. and be quiet and, you know, and then talk when you’re ready and eat, and then take a break and go play video games. Like there’s lots of options. Yeah. You have lots of options. Yeah. So one of the ways that I like to teach parents how to teach kids to think about inter interception, because it’s this like abstract thought, right? Mm-hmm. , um, . I like to the, the heartbeat. I feel like the heart rate is one of the easiest ways to manipulate and change easily, and to feel from like the outside. Mm-hmm. . So I like to start with that. So I usually tell parents to do something like, you know, let’s do like a really quick like dance activity or jumping jacks or something where you increase your heart rate and you placed your hand over your heart and notice how fast your heart is beating. That’s like one part of the lesson. And then think, when was that last time you were mad? Remember what you were saying? Like, we talked about your heart beats like so, so fast. Like, oh, so you can, so your heart beats really fast and then after that you like maybe take deep breaths or you squeeze your hands, or you do. Calming regulating activity. And then feel your heart again. Say, oh, my heart got so much slower. Like it was like a magic trick. And then next time you’re mad, it’s like, what was that thing that we did last time? Like, I remember your heart was fast, but like, what was it? Um, and then the, they’re like, oh, we took deep breaths so they can realize that they have some control over their physical sensations in their body by breathing. Um, but I think having the visual feedback or some more objective feedback is helpful. I like picking heart rate cuz it’s easy to manipulate, like I said. Mm-hmm. . But there are other options. Like what? And you, and you mentioned something about, was it like a thermometer? Yes. I remember we talked about this, I spent a few months ago when, um, uh, Been talking about that like feedback and I was like, Ooh, that was, that inspired me to talk about a tool that I used to use a lot with kids when I saw them one on one is the hand thermometer or the stress thermometer. And it’s, it’s great cuz it’s literally biofeedback, uhhuh, . You’re giving, your body’s, giving you feedback. And um, and it was, it is just a stress thermometer that you, they put, they hold, uh, this little thing, a wire between their thumb and their index finger and it measures your hand temperature. And for kids who are more, uh, very angry or stressed out or dysregulated, their hand temperature will, um, be. That’s so interesting. And because when you’re anxious, when you’re angry, when your heart is beating fast, what is your body doing? It’s pumping your blood, inefficiently, it’s keeping it all right in the core of your body. In your heart. And so then what happens? You don’t think clearly cuz your blood is not going to your brain. Yes. Your hands, your limbs, your nose, your eyes, not your eyes, your, your hands, your ears, your feet. They’re all sometimes tingly because your, um, blood is not pumping to those places. Yeah. So your hand temperature is going to be lower. Oh, okay. Interesting. So they literally, a lot of times people with who are very anxious and to have very cold hands, people who get angry, they just feel like they ball up their fists. Right? Yeah. Yeah. So then what you then do is then you say, oh look, your hand temperature is like 79 degrees. Yeah. And then you educate them. Did you know that your body temperature is like 98.6 degrees? Yeah. So your hands are 20 degrees colder than your body is supposed to be. . So how can we increase your temperature? So they may say things like, run around the room. Yeah. And you’re like, let’s try that. No, it doesn’t work because it’s just pumping your blood more in. You’re gonna be outta breath, you’re gonna be outta breath, and your hand temperature’s still gonna be lower. Yeah. So then one of the things you can do is that like, again, that mindfulness, that breathing, well, let’s try something different. What about instead of doing more, we do less. Oh wow. Let’s do some deep breaths. Yeah. Let’s calm and slower breaths. Why do we think breathing might work? Yeah. And that as they’re still holding the hand thermometer and they’re taking their breaths, they will start to see their hand temperature increase because their blood is now pumping to everywhere and it’s not just pumping to their heart. And then you can even do like a visualization, which is a very good mindfulness technique. So I’ll talk about. You know, imagine that you’re in front of a fireplace, a nice warm fireplace, and your hands are in front of them and they’re getting so, so warm. Or imagine you’re on a beach and you’re just sitting on the beach and the sun is just hitting your hands just right and you’re feeling so warm. So a lot of visualization and what starts to happen, and I’ve been doing this long enough that my hand temperature is always very high because I, I’m always saying it all the time. And so they’ll start to see their hand temperature increase. And I’ve seen lots of kids, they go from like 79, 82 degrees all the way up to like 92. Like they can significantly by thinking about it, just by thinking about warm hands. That is true magic. It is amazing. That is true. And that is truly what biofeedback is, is that your body is, your biology is giving you feedback about what your body is doing. But you wouldn’t notice that without that little temperature. No, you wouldn’t know it. You wouldn’t know it. Cause how would you measure your temperature? And it, so then they see it. And they’re like, oh. So next time you feel worried. Yeah. You can imagine warm hands. Next time you feel scared you can Yeah. Picture the sun on your hands or you take deep breaths. Yeah. Look how amazing it is that you can control your body, you can control your body’s reaction to stress or fear. But that’s something that’s, so, that’s so, cuz I, I haven’t like said it, but intuitively I would’ve thought that when you’re, I guess that’s different than when you’re in fight or flight. Cuz like, I think of when fight or flight, your blood flows to your muscles so that you can run away. Yes, absolutely. Right. So is that different than like the moment of worry versus sheer panic and like melt down? Like if, I mean, I’m thinking my head like primitive, like running away from like a bear, but like at. Like it’s the difference between like having cold hands and worrying about going to school. Like in a state where you’re fine, you’re just like anxiously worried about something and needing to calm your body down versus like in a full blown movement, aggressive meltdown. What is that? Well, the thing is that the brain, that’s the cognition piece. Mm-hmm. your body doesn’t know of a real threat versus a fake threat. Right. So if I’m about to be mauled by a bear Yeah. Versus I have to take a test. Yeah. Your body is still like, crap, I’m about to die. Yeah. Right. Yeah. It doesn’t know the difference. Your brain is what logically says, dude. Get a break. Take a break, you know, like that. It’s not that serious. Right? Yeah. And so we may then logically insert rational, kinda rational thought into it, but your body itself doesn’t know the difference. So Yes. Even though your blood is flowing to get those extremities moving, uhhuh, it’s not doing it efficiently. Mm. Cause it’s still trying to fight or flight. Right. It’s still trying to get you to survive. Right. That’s why your heart is racing. That’s why your blood is pumping. Your heart rate goes up. Yeah. Cause you’re not thinking clearly. Yeah. Yeah. That’s why you get foggy in your brain. Mm-hmm. . But people are like, oh, I wasn’t even thinking straight uhhuh. I just ran, or I just punched the bear in the face. It was going to the lower part of the brain and the higher level part of the brain is like getting rid of those resources. Like we don’t need to do math. Problems right now. We don’t need to know right or wrong. Yes. We just need to like stay safe. Right. And stay alive. Which is why after a situation like, oh my gosh, I could have died. And then you start to cry, right? You don’t, you process it straight in the situation. And that’s why when someone says, why did you react that way? It was not that big of a deal because you’re not thinking rationally. So you’re, again, the blood is not flowing the way it’s supposed to, so you’re not gonna think clearly why people get dizzy and lightheaded. Yeah. Uh, and then once you calm your body Yeah. Then you’re like, O man. That was scary. Yeah. And then you feel your blood is pumping efficiently, your heart rate is slowing down, your blood pressure goes down, your cortisol stops squirting all over the place. Mm-hmm. . And you feel more relaxed and then you can process it better. And for people with nervous system challenges, not even just sensory, but nervous system. That recovery is extended. It’s, it’s not as automatic for them. Sometimes they stay in that state for a really long time, which can be really hard on the body. Mm-hmm. . And that is ultimately when we have sensory sensitive kids or kids with sensory, nervous, uh, sensitive nervous systems and they’re faced with these bears. Mm-hmm. threats at school all day from the overstimulation, from the social anxiety, from all of that. And it’s like five days a week, every day. Like it’s harder for them to come back down of course. After that whole thing. And so that’s when they’re like moody at home or have a like, and it’s just can extend and extend. And that’s when I, parents are like, I just can’t find the trigger. They’re just always in a mood. They’re always irritable. Its like they might have a nervous system that just constantly hovers around dysregulation. Right, right. Like my husband is like, how does she go from zero to a hundred? It’s not at zero. No. She’s at like 75 constantly, constantly, just like under the surface and just like one thing will just boil up and then it takes a long time to get back down and she never fully gets back down to zero. Like even. Mm-hmm. , I mean, I, I would say like we’ve made a lot of progress, but kids with, um, you know, inefficient nervous systems, sensitive nervous systems, what you’re talking about is after we like whew mm-hmm. , our blood pressure comes like for them. Yeah. Doesn’t, it’s not that easy. No, it’s not. And that’s when the interception comes in and you’re just feeling off in your body and it doesn’t feel good. And our kids don’t know how to express that. And sometimes the quote, the bear, the thing that sets them off is something exciting. Mm-hmm. , like someone visiting unexpectedly that they like, that they like mm-hmm. going to Disneyland, a surprise trip, surprise, getting ice cream at whatever. And that fun excitement and the same sensations that you experience. From maybe a plans changing mm-hmm. or the, um, nervousness before a test can feel very, like, if you listed them down on paper would look identical. Mm-hmm. . Well, because again, they’re overinterpreting misinterpreting. Yeah. All these different things. They, they don’t realize that, oh, my heart’s racing because I love this friend and I haven’t seen her in five months. How exciting. Versus like, darn it, my plans change and we can’t go to Disneyland anymore. You know, like these are things that, um, that, that can set them off. But I think it’s also important to talk about parents as well, who may also have nervous system dysregulation because of past trauma, because of mental health diagnoses, because of abuse, pa like all these different things. Because if you are in a state of emotional or internal dysregulation and then your kid is dysregulated, then you are gonna be more easily triggered because your nervous system is always on guard. So now they’re screaming in your face, they’ve cussed you out, they’re melting down. You feel like your parents are judging you cuz your kid can’t act right. And they know how to parent them better. Like all of these things that can be triggering for you. Yeah. So then, yeah, of course you’re gonna yell at your kid or of course you’re gonna overreact or you, or you feel like, or you shut yourself out in the room or you put them in time out or you put them in isolation because you’re trying to regulate. And it’s also that after the day is ended when, like we talked about like bedtime, revenge, bedtime, procrastination. Oh yeah. Or you have a hard time settling down. Yeah. And where, and many times what I’ve found is that adults with significant levels of anxiety, um, when things are quiet and slow. And at the end of the day when the world is silent, that’s when their anxiety ramps up. Mm. And they’re on bed. I have the most random, intrusive thoughts of like Yes. To have the most random, intrusive thoughts because your nervous system is used to always being on guard. You’re hypervigilant, you’re scanning for threats, scanning for when they’re gonna wake up in the middle of the night and screaming and getting in your bed. So you’re always on guard. Because if I bring down my guard Yeah. Now all of a sudden I’m like, what, what, what? Who? Who’s dead . Exactly. You know, my therapist says I have, um, a hyperactive amygdala or an overactive amygdala, which she was telling me about, and she was like, that’s where it is. Like that fear center is just like always ready to be like scanning for threats. Yeah. That’s why when people have this, you know, discussion, be time out versus time in, I think we, we make a bigger deal out of it. And I think that there’s been so much negativity associated with it when it could be literally what it is like for some. Who are very, like when I work with parents of autistic kids or sensory sensitive kids or highly sensitive kids, or kids who are just very emotionally dysregulated, they don’t want parents with them necessarily in the room while they’re screaming their head off. Sometimes it aggravates them and sends them into a more dysregulated state, and I’ve had kids literally tell me, I don’t want them in the room with me when I’m like this. . And sometimes it’s because of shame and other times cause they just need a break to take a beat for a second. Mm-hmm. . But they still want to feel like it’s okay. Uhhuh. . That they’re okay. You’re okay with me. Or to check in with them. Check in. Like, I know you don’t want me in the room. I’m gonna be right outside the door. Out the door. Or I’ll be checking in on you in a few minutes. Yeah. Are you okay? Exactly. Or just even for like Totally like being present in the room with them but not engaging with them. Yeah. Like I think we have to, there’s some parents, when they say time in for them with their kids who are dysregulated, they’re talking constantly. Oh yeah. They’re saying, oh mommy is here. . Yeah. Right. So like you have to gauge it and read like, what does my kid need from me? Because if I’m yy, yy, yaking. Yeah. And they’re dysregulated that can send them further into the state. Yeah. And I’ve seen that even with parents who are dysregulated with one another as a couple. Yeah. When the one parent is saying, I need time by myself. Yep. And then the spouse is outside banging on the door. That’s a dysregulate. The I just need time. Give me time and then we can engage. Yep. Right? Yep. So we, it, it’s, that’s what we’re saying, that there’s no like one parent hack that works in all situations with all kids at the same time. It’s every, it’s gonna depend. Every person is different, every dynamic is different. Everybody’s triggers are different. And you have to do what’s best for you and your family in that moment, at that time. What feels doable for you? Because even at my, on my like hardest days, I can know what’s the best response, which I’m not capable of doing, and I can do, what’s the best response right now in this moment? What am I capable of doing? And then always, always, always knowing. And the one thing that allows me to sleep at night is knowing even if I make, if I decide later, oh, I wish I did that different, is knowing that I can repair with my child and taking that moment to be like, you know, I really shouldn’t have done that, or, I wish I would’ve done this maybe next time. Mm-hmm. . Just be transparent with that. Yeah. No matter how young your child is, I think a lot of parents think like, well, they’re too young to do that. Like, just get in the habit of doing that. Showing them that there is a like closure or connection to each thing. Cuz one thing that I have learned is not leaving your kids alone with putting those things together, those thoughts of processing what happened. Mm-hmm. without, cuz like, you don’t want them to fill it in with the wrong ideas. Right, exactly. And I’ve seen that the more that my daughter gets older, I’ve seen her recount things that happened. I’m like, oh, you were thinking about that this whole time? Like, she’ll say something. I was like, oh yeah. Like I remember that. I’m like, it’s days later. I’m like, it’s still in there. Mm-hmm. because she’s so cognitive and like talking it out. I’m like, that reminds me, like I, I remember she was there for that argument. She heard me and her dad talk about this, but I didn’t know that that was something that she really heard. Still thinking about it two days later. and she misunderstood what happened. I was like, oh crap. Like I do need to be more mindful about closing of course, gaps for her and making sure that she has the right information and not sitting with that. Well, and I think that’s a great point because, um, we fill in the gaps all the time, even adults, and I think it was Brene Brown that had said this about, um, when someone is, when you, when you perceive something, you’re observing something. And she had said like, what I’m telling myself is Uhhuh, right? Yeah. So, you know, mommy’s not checking on me or Mommy and Daddy are not having a fight because of my behavior. Yeah. No. Right. And because of me, they’re probably gonna split up or because of me that, you know, they’re having an argument and just saying, you know, taking ownership that. Uh, daddy and I were talking about this and, you know, we were yelling and we were using very loud voices, and that must have been very scary for you. Yeah. You know, and really explaining that to a point that is developmentally appropriate for them, and not putting the blame on them because they’re going to fill in the gaps. The words matter and the, and the way that you explain it matters. Like the, like her not knowing it’s her. I remember. . Um, I was sort of, my, my husband like had to like, tap out of bedtime cuz there was like a thing and he said, it’s too much. It’s too much. I just can’t, I, you need to take over it. I was like, okay. Like I got it. I’m in. Like, that’s what we’re here for. And then before bed I was like, I was like, you know, mommy loves you. Daddy loves, you’ll see you tomorrow. I was like, you know, I was like, daddy’s just a little tired, I think. Is that what you like? What do you think? I wonder why Daddy was a little cranky. She goes, well he had a, like, cuz he was working late and he was saying, I have, she goes, he was working and then I was like, yeah, he was working. I was like, I don’t think, I don’t think daddy had dinner yet. She goes, no he didn’t. I was like, maybe he’s a little hungry too. I get like that. She goes, yeah, I’m a little too much for him. And I was like, oh, oh, no, no, no. She goes and I was like, no, no. Daddy meant. It’s too much. There’s like sounds and he has a lot of stuff. And so I then told him that and I was like, tomorrow I think you should really like rephrase that. Cause I’m not gonna be the person to repair for you. That’s not my role. Right. But I did want, I knew at that time it was like 8:00 PM she had to go to bed. I didn’t want her to go to bed thinking that he wasn’t in a space to like force mm-hmm. some sort of repair, but like that little change. And I was like, oh, she heard him say it’s too much. Yes. She internalized. I’m too much. I’m too much. And I’m like, what I’m hearing it says that I’m too much for. Exactly. And she said, as a matter of fact, she goes, yeah, he didn’t eat and, and I’m, I’m too much for him. And I was like, oh no. So that was like a big thing to me. I was like, oh my gosh. Like just such a, a shift in the way that they think of, of whose fault it is. Yeah. And who we’re blaming on is very important. Well, but I think we have to like be realistic about certain things too. I see a lot of parents who have kids that do feel like too much, too much I know. And, and parenting. The child or the children is too much for them. Yeah, it is. Yeah. For a variety of reasons. Sure. Like there’s many reasons. Right? Sure. But, and, and like, how do you not communicate that when that is your reality? When your child is literally on your last, too much of you. And I’ve had parents tell me, if I knew parenting was like this, I wouldn’t have done it. Yeah. Yeah. And where they feel like it’s too, I don’t enjoy my life. I don’t enjoy coming home. Like it feels too much. Home is not a refu, it, it feels like too much. And it’s like how do you not communicate the gaps in your child’s understanding that, wow, I’m too much for daddy, your mommy, your grandpa, auntie, uncle, whatever. Like I am literally too much for them. And it, that’s, that’s such a hard place to be when that is what your reality really is. I know. You know, it’s really hard to say and know what to say and know how to properly explain it. Yeah, it is. Um, but that’s, and like back to like, the original question we had earlier was like, and that’s in 2022, adding those extra layers of why it’s too much. Mm-hmm. , because we’ve had all these extra things that are adding to burnout. And over the years, and even though we’re like coming out of it now, it’s just like we’re living with it. Yes, we are, we’re making it. But it’s the buildup of what we’ve been through for the, for the, like this marathon parenting of like at home with, with this, with this stuff. And just some days it does feel like too much. Yeah. I think, I think one of the things that I’m trying to practice more is before I, before I step in and like assume she misinterpreted it or did something like, do, do you have any questions? Or did you wanna talk about something? Or like, just see what, what they have Right. What’s in their head and get in that. Get in that habit of setting up a space where you can go first and let me hear where you’re at. So I know how to meet you. Cuz there’s a lot of times I’m like, oh my God, did she hear that? What did she think about it? Mm-hmm. , there’s sometimes when she like, is like, what? Like, I don’t remember. And at that point, like, I’m curious for you if your child is not mentioning it or they’re not remembering it, like is it worth like having a conversation? Yeah. Like how much do you dig and like bring something up that’s not there? Well I think one of the problems, like when people reach out to me and interview me for when tragedies happen, for example, like a shooting or something and they’re like, well how should we talk to our kids about it? And I said, I think first of all we have to, we have to, um, find out what they already know. What they know. Yeah. Right. And then I think the second of all is that we have to resist the urge to overshare . Oh. Because I think we so much wanna keep our kids informed and, and aware that then sometimes they’re not wanting to know all that stuff, you know? Right. So like, . So that what I would start with saying is like, you know, something really bad happened on the news recently at a school. What have you heard about it? What do you know about it? Yeah. You know, or you know, uh, daddy and I were, um, um, talking last night. What did you hear? Mm-hmm. , um, what did you hear? Mm-hmm. or what are, is there anything that you were concerned about or mm-hmm. things got really loud when you were in the kitchen with us as we were talking about something. Mm-hmm. . Um, what questions do you have? Uhhuh? What did you feel about it? When we were, our voices got really loud. Yeah. Like really find out what is their interpretation, understanding your kid and knowing that they may not share all of it if they’re trying to be a people pleaser. Yeah. If they’re anxious and don’t wanna make you mad. Yeah. If they know how to like, hold it in and internalize it. Like we gotta be aware of all that stuff. Uhhuh Uhhuh. And then say that, you know, what questions do you have about it? What do you wanna ask me about it? Um, and then just then providing that reassurance. Yeah. Because. You know, sometimes kids don’t wanna know all the details or sometimes they do, but they’re afraid of knowing what that means. You know? It’s just, again, it’s tricky. We have to really gauge what is their age, what is their developmental level, what is their understanding, what are their language skills? Yeah. And, and I like how, it kind of reminds me of what you were saying earlier where like, even if you feel like your child is too young or doesn’t have the language capabilities to participate in that conversation yet, it can still be helpful if you want that information to get to your child. You can just narrate it, like talk out loud, like, oh, like, I’m so glad daddy and I like got a big hug this morning. It was a really, um, we had our voices kind of loud yesterday, and I hope that that wasn’t too loud for you. Like even if your child doesn’t really con, but hearing them, hearing, having them see you be like, I know that you saw that. Mm-hmm. , and I’m also just verbalizing that. I know that must have been scary and I, mommy and daddy are always here and like, just like say what you wanna say. Yeah. But you could just like, kind of like. Sports cast it. Yes. And, and, and they will, they will pick up on it or at least get used to that. Well, I think parents also need to remember too that whether it’s a conflict verbally or whatever, between a parent and a sibling of the kid or between another parent or, um, their parent. Parent and them Right. Grandparent, for example. Yeah. I think they need to see the repair. Yes. The repair is so important. So if they heard you yelling at their teenage sibling because they snuck outta the house again. Yep. Or they heard you yelling at your mom because she’s trying to parent. Yep. And you didn’t ask for her advice. Yep. You know, like they need to see the repair in some way because that is scary in a kid’s mind. Oh yeah. To hear this escalation uhhuh for their body to feel terrible, uhhuh. Okay. What happened? Everybody slammed the door and that was it. Yeah. So that either it’s a direct repair between the two or more individuals involved. Yeah. Where you process it and close it with them. Oh, yeah. Because we talked about closure this weekend, right? Yes. When something is in your brain Yeah. And your brain can’t make sense of it. Yeah. It will repeat it and repeat it and repeat it because it’s trying to find a resolution and if you cannot get a resolution, that’s how you have nightmares. That’s why you have a kid who’s now dysregulated. When I’ve done parent coaching sessions and parents are like, yeah, all of a sudden my kid doesn’t wanna leave me and they’re have separation anxiety and they’re crying at night and they’re crawling into my bed. I’m like, mm, what’s happening? Nothing. No death, no argument, no birth, no move, no nothing. Yeah. No. Mm. I don’t think so. Yeah. There’s something going on that has occurred in the child’s life that helps them to, that makes them feel like there’s something wrong in my. Something feels emotionally or physically unsafe, and my brain is trying to protect me. Mm-hmm. from the trauma of it. Mm-hmm. or trying to create a resolution. So if I’m clunky with mom mm-hmm. , then I can make sure I protect her. I can make sure that nothing bad happens. Mm-hmm. , or I can understand what’s happening with her and you know, grandpa or whatever. Yeah. You know, and so I think we have to really be aware that that’s where that anxiety loop can turn in to this, um, uh, dysregulated behavior. Yeah. Because they’re trying to come up with a resolution to the problem. Yeah. Yeah. And then if you have a family full of secrets Oh yeah. They can’t resol, you know, have a resolution to it. We don’t ha So obviously she’s my only, but we had a really big, big argument, um, on like a long car ride and, but we, she was sitting in the back and she was like quiet the whole time. And then like, we repaired in the car, like in front of her. And I remember in the moment of being repaired, I remember like choosing my words very carefully, but like knowing she was listening. And then after my husband and I talked, I was like, that was really good for her to see like a. A full argument where, you know, we didn’t call each other names. Sure. We had louder voices on our tone. I’m sure. As a sensitive child, she was very in tune with our emotions. Even though we were having, we were like, we’re just discussing, you know, we do that whole thing. We’re not arguing, we’re discussing really loud, but, you know, we’re very good about not calling each other names. Um, but you can tell when someone’s having a heated discussion, so to speak. Yeah. So, but yeah, I remember that. I was like, it’s so good for her to see us like repair. Well, and even with like, my husband and I are very expressive and we can be, um, loud and animated with stuff and we don’t argue often, but we can, we get very passionate about stuff. Oh yeah. But my son being highly sensitive, he misinterprets that. Yes. And so sometimes he’ll think like, you know, you guys don’t have to be mad. And I’m like, we’re not mad. We’re just super excited about it. And then we’ll talk about like, like, you know, whatever the issue is and whatever’s going on. Um, because his brain that hears this escalation or this elevation in your voices or inflection as there’s something wrong. I know. And so it’s, it’s really, and and he’s been raised with us his entire life, and yet he still doesn’t always pick up on that. I know. You know, all comes back to like the mind and body connection. It really does. Like, and that’s where I think interception lives with and how we connect it so much to mental health. And that’s really the, that’s really why therapy and OT are like the magic. I agree. Like the superheroes. I agree. Because the mind body connection, it always comes back to that. Always, always, always. For everything. For everything. Everything. Right. Emotional dysregulation, depression, anxiety. Used to hear that used and like roll my like mind body connect. Like I used to think that was woo woo and like Fluffy’s stuff, but I’m like, you’re right. It does true be it is true. And my mind and body are so disconnected so many times and that is where dysregulation happens. Mm-hmm. . And, and it does it truly like no matter. what emotion you wanna attach to your behaviors or whatever. Everybody can agree. And I, I say, I phrase this to my daughter all the time, I’m like, does it feel good to be like not in control of your body? And she knows that answer is no. Mm-hmm. , some people say it feels good to be mad. It feel like, you know, cuz some people would say like, oh, it doesn’t feel good to be mad. Right. You’d rather be happy. I’m like, sometimes it feels good to be mad and to just be how I feel in that moment. Not fight against it. But I think what we’re saying is it does you want to be in control of your body. Right. Right. And it does not feel good to not have control of the way my body moves and what it does and what it says. And there’s truly times when I feel like I’m not in control of what comes out. Mm-hmm. because my brain is in such this automated protective state. But I think that’s why kids as they get older and they, um, get on medication for these problems or parents as well, why they’re so reluctant to it. Because they feel like, well if this medication is going to calm me down Yeah. Or help me focus or help me not be so hyper. Yeah. Or not make me, or, or help me to feel happy or less anxious, then I’m not in control. The medicine is, the medicine is, and it feels weird to think I have to rely on something to make me feel better or to make me be a better behaved person, for example. Right. And for a lot of parents, it makes them feel like I’ve done something wrong cuz I wasn’t able to help my kid with the strategies that I should have learned and I need some substance to do that. It’s like, no, we gotta get away from pathologize or stigmatizing, psychotropic medications cuz some kids do need it. Mm-hmm. . But it’s not just using that in isolation. I always think even if you decide if a kid has adhd Yep. And they need medication to function at school or at home. . It’s not just that you’re also learning executive functioning skills. They’re learning effective classroom management strategies. Mm-hmm. you’re learning body regulation strategies. You’re learning ex exercising and hobbies and friendships and you, you’re doing, it’s, it’s holistic and just like you, if you had a kid with diabetes, you won’t just expect, just diet is gonna change it. Yeah. Sometimes they need the insulin. Yeah. Or a kid with cancer, they’re gonna need the chemotherapy and diet and exercise. Yeah. And support. Like we, we need, again, it’s that mind body. We can’t say, oh yeah. If it’s a medical issue, we’ll do the holistic stuff and the medication stuff and the treatment. But, oh, when it comes to psychological and behavioral, we have to do it all. Well, sometimes the medication is indicated. Mm-hmm. cause it’s severe enough, sometimes it is. Mm-hmm. . But I think we also have to know that, that’s why I think people are reluctant to it. Cause they feel like, oh, I don’t wanna feel like I have to rely on something that I should be able to control. I don’t wanna have to rely on a substance or some other intervention if I should be able to control it. It’s like, well, sometimes our bodies aren’t working the way they need to and sometimes we need a little bit of help. And it doesn’t mean long term. Yeah. You can, you can wean yourself off of it and it’s like gets you to a place where you can undo those habits. Yes. Because then you’re more regulated and then you can go that route and then create and form new behavioral habits. Absolutely. That can override that and then wean off of the medication. Right. Just like, like when I’m dealing with allergies, like if I feel like, you know, sinus allergies, then I may do a nasal spray or a medication. Yep. Doesn’t mean I have to continue it. It means like if I feel the onset, I can have something in place. Yep. And then staying hydrated and you know, doing a hot bath or whatever, like I can do other strategies and I think we have to get out of stigmatizing, like saying, oh, let’s destigmatize mental health, but still stigmatize psychotropics. Well there is a place and a time for those things. Yeah. Um, and I think that it, it can’t, it’s not all or nothing and there is a, is a time and place. So I think, um, I think that’s the most. Hesitation I see with parents where they have to go to that route, but they feel, they feel bad about it, that they have to do that. Mm-hmm. , you know, I’m like, well, there’s nothing. And I, and I’ve spoken to kids and adults as they’ve gotten older who may have had the problems that we’re talking about right now, and they appreciate getting the treatment, whatever the treatment looks like to help them. Mm-hmm. , because that stuff, when you’re continually having problems with tantrums and raging and severe anxiety and debilitating problems, and you feel like nothing and no one can help you, yeah. That causes a lot of damage. Oh yeah. So we want to be able to give them tools to say, you know what, we’re gonna try different things, and if it works, that’s great, and if it doesn’t, we’ll just do something different. Yeah. You know, I think having that route of, knowing that it’s not a forever thing No, no. Is helpful. Yes. Yeah. I, and the theme that we’ve also talked about is that there’s no right way to parent. Right. I think the only thing we can. 110% agree on is that we will never be on board with physical abuse. Of course, even psychological abuse, obviously. Mm-hmm. , but every other thing, whether the, whether you’re a parent that’s listening that still does time out or still does rewards or punishments and things that we would do differently. Mm-hmm. , there’s no right or wrong way, but like at the end of the day, how do you feel about that? Like, does that feel good to you? Does that feel like, um, it’s, it’s being authentic to what you would want for your child, what you want to do? I think there are some, and that’s why it’s so confusing for parents cuz there’s such discrepancy in terms of information being, oh yeah, there’s so much out there and there’s so much shared. If you do it this way, then there’s something wrong with you that you shouldn’t do it. And I think we have to. You know, even if there’s something that you’ve, you did last night and it worked great, it may not work tonight. It, it might not work today. And you do the exact same thing or constantly weighing that this works right now in the short term, but I know eventually I’m gonna have to cut this off, right? But like, this is gonna get me through the summer, right? So I’ll do it for the summer and deal with whatever backlash. If you’re fine with that, like mindset, know what to expect, great. Mm-hmm. . But if you’re expecting this to like solve or change your child for the long term, know the difference between short term, long term and what you’re willing to go through for that. Right? Um, and that it changes based on their age and stage. There’s so many things because there’s one, at one point it may work at this time, Uhhuh, and then now they’re not. And savvy’s different and you gotta do something different. And there’s so many different things. But we get so stuck. I cuz I like to understand why certain things happen. Why is she acting like that? Why is she, is this the anxiety, is this a sensory? Is this, did it, is it because that last week when I said this and like I go through really deep dives of what, like, I think to some extent it’s important to understand why certain behaviors, but for some parents like myself who spend too much time on harping on past stuff that’s not gonna, whatever it was, can’t undo it now. Mm-hmm. now I just gotta deal with what I have today in front of me. Right. And come back to the present. Constantly going back on things that I’ve done wrong or what might go wrong. Mm-hmm. and forgetting to like, okay, this is the, the child I have in front of me today with these behaviors. I will maybe thinking a little bit of what I could have done differently might help, but like ruminating on those things and being like, oh, I really screwed up. I shouldn’t have done that. Now she’s stuck on this, I screwed up. Like that’s not serving No any purpose. And I think that, you know what I always tell parents when I’m doing parent coaching is that I think it’s important to parent the kid in front of you. Don’t parent imaginary kids. Yeah, don’t. My daughter is different than my son. I have to parent her differently than him. Their personalities are completely different. Their temperament is completely different. Yeah. I cannot do the same strategies for both of them. It’s not gonna work. I can’t parent out fear. Parenting outta fear is not helpful. And it’s hard. It’s easier said than done. Yeah. I was like, wait a second. Easier said than done. We can’t, we can’t parent outta fear. My son had his first sleepover. I was really uncomfortable with it. I know it was important for him. I know it’s important to do that as a milestone. Yeah. Not everybody is on board with that. That’s fine if that’s the way you parent, but it’s about, I think it’s, and it, he had an amazing time. Yeah. He loved it and he needed that. Right. You know, that connection, that feeling like comfortable and being apart from us. But I think we, I think sometimes parenting out a fear can get us to not do the things that are gonna be most helpful for us or for our kids. So it’s really important that we also keep things in perspective. Like, okay, why am I putting this limitation on my child? Or why am I doing this? Is it because I’m fearful? Or what else is going on here? What happens if like you do that and like the thing that you thought would happen happens and you’re like, I knew it. I know that’s, I shouldn’t, like what? I mean, thank God, like everything went fine. But even small things like what if something happened and you’re like, oh shoot, maybe he wasn’t ready. Like, and he like called to pick, picked up in the middle of the night. Or there’s something where you’re like, oh, maybe I, maybe it was too early. Cause I have those moments too. More often than not they end up working out completely fine and I was anxious or parenting out of fear. Mm-hmm. for certain things. But there is that like, well I’m sure to some people listening or other parents that have coached you, like, but, but it’s happened and I was right. Yes. And I shouldn’t have let them do this or next. And then now even more. That like reinforces that fear. Right. But I think and and stuff, some stuff did happen. He injured, he fell off a golf cart and he injured himself. He broke his computer. Oh. I mean, lots of things happened. Things happen. But he, it was a fun experience and he got through it. Right. And I think especially as a highly sensitive kid Yeah. He needed to be able to have those experiences and then get through it. Okay. You know? Yeah. And he, he said it was so fun. Yeah. And he said it was, he enjoyed it. He was able to connect it got him out of that feeling isolated in a sense. Yeah. And got away from us spending the night away from it. Like those things. So even if sometimes those things happen, it’s about preparing them, advance, talking, uh, having an open conversation about those things. And I think the thing that makes those situations different from like back in the day when we were. That we didn’t have these conversations. So when the bad thing happened to us, then we just kept it to ourselves. Oh, I know, right? I know. And so, and or it was made our parent too uncomfortable to talk about. Yeah. And that’s, that’s a whole different thing to be left alone with your bad or traumatic or scary experience and have nowhere to go to with that. Mm-hmm. , to me, that’s worse than the bad thing happening. Yeah. Honestly. Yeah. And because we cannot keep our kids safe from all harm Yeah. We can put things in place. That’s so hard to hear. For me. It’s true. Yeah. Because when I’ve spoken to adults, who’ve been overly sheltered or who had parents who were overly protected. Yep. They’re not completely grateful for it. No, I I It’s not helpful. We talked about that, right? I’m okay with that. Yeah. We’re not, I mean, having that level of independence and having the ability to make some screw ups and mistakes, and then learning from it and doing it while you’re under the protection of an adult or parents uhhuh, and then so that as you’re, you know, more independent, an adult, you can at least know that you had Yeah. The structure in place and security involved. To me, I would rather that have those opportunities to mess up and then go back to my parents say, oh, wow, that happened. Oh my gosh. What did you do when that happened? Oh, I really wanted to leave because I felt uncomfortable. Oh, and then what did you do about that? I’m like, you know what? I’m gonna be good. Look, look at you. You rocked it out. I’m so proud of you. You should be proud of yourself. Which is why I, I think we find partner. Who compliment us and are quite different. Cause there’s sometimes when I’m like, gosh, I wish he just thought of things like I did. Like, cuz he never sees and we argue and my therapist is always like, no, you don’t wish he was the same as you. Like you guys would never do anything if both of you were the same. Exactly. Like he pushes me and I get him a little bit more responsible about things, right? Mm-hmm. . But my fa like, one of the things I always do, I’m like, like something happens. Oh my God, that could have been so bad. Like she almost hit her head like it could have, he’s like, but it didn’t like it didn’t happen. And I was like, I know, but it could have. He’s like, but it didn’t . And I’m like, but it could have, we just sit there with this. And I’m like, I know. But he’s like, but it like, okay. Didn’t like, so that’s like our constant thing that I’m like, I see. The potential of something bad happening, which is coming from a pure place of fear and anxiety. Right. And that logicalness of like seeing like things play out before they happen. But I think that’s why I love so much when I work with parents who are on different pages with parenting. Yeah. Because I’m like, I don’t think you need to be on the exact same page. That’s important because it’s, I think it is, when you have a two parent household, it can be a huge blessing and a huge benefit for a kid to get very different perspectives about how you see dating, movies, dress politics, like how to even show getting up, getting somewhere on time. Yes. Anything right? Because you’re, you’re not, they’re going to encounter people in their lives who think and view things and interact with people differently. And so having that compliment, I see it as a complimentary style. So when I talk with parents and I say like, , you know, okay, you believe this and you believe this. You grew up this way and they grew up this way. So what is your ultimate goal in parenting your kid? And, um, I mean, 9.5 outta 10 times, they have the exact same goals. I want them to be independent, a well adjusted member of society. I want them to be happy. Yes. I want them to be, you know, doing things that are, they’re passionate about, that they love, whatever it is that usually it’s almost exactly the same thing. Same, okay. So if the way you parent is slightly or vastly different, but you can be complimentary and see each other as. Joint members of the same team who just do it differently. You’re the pitcher, you’re the catcher, basically. Right. That, that you’d have different positions. A sports team can’t function. You can’t be on a baseball team with all pitchers. Like that wouldn’t work. Yeah. You have to have people who have different roles. Yeah. You have to have people, people have different like goals in terms of what they do. And it’s okay that maybe you’re on page two and you’re on page 10. Yeah. And it’s okay that you see things slightly differently. Yeah. Because kids need that. They need that balance. It’s so good to hear from your perspective, who works with a lot of parents on different pages that it can be a positive if you use it. Totally. You know, there’s within reason, within reason within reason. You can’t be on opposite sides on like things like spanking that are fundamental, right? Yes, yes. Um, but for my husband and I who are so different in like personality style, like. He’s more of like, let’s just go with the flow. Let’s just see what happened. We can’t let her dictate our lives. We have to keep doing things. I was like, yeah, but we have to plan around it. So we have to work to compromise. But there’s certain things that he’s just like, like this weekend when he is with her, he’s like, don’t even check on me cuz like, I’m gonna do it my way. Like, she’s gonna be alive. I’ll check on you at the end of the day, make sure she’s there. But like, don’t get on me about what? Like how I, how I serve her dinner, what plate to do it on. Right. He’s like, if she has a meltdown with me, like I’m gonna do with the meltdown. You don’t need to prepare me for the meltdown that you’re not even gonna be here for. Yes. Right. That micromanaging, which I know a lot of parents do, and I think, but I think that’s important though, Laura, because I think that. We, we don’t wanna get into the position of parenting our coparent. Oh my gosh. Okay. That’s something they figured out because then they could lead to resentment and attempt and they’re like, oh, because you know what you’re doing. You know? And like, I know nothing. And then, then you’re like, oh, then my spouse is babysitting our kid. Yes. We wanna not get into that role because I think that’s what causes so much tension and people then really being on opposite pages and then a lot of resentment building up because of that, you know? So dealing with that, especially outside, like not in front of your child, but also like me just being like, okay, he did it differently than I did. She’s fine. Or she had a meltdown and she let him know she didn’t like it. So that’s something for him to learn from his own experience. Exactly. Not me saying, oh, she’s not gonna like, But I was coming from a place of thinking I was helping him. Right, right. Like, just so you know, like she doesn’t like it when you do that. Like I know She’ll, and he like, for him it’s like they don’t that No. And a lot of the time she, but then she doesn’t have meltdowns around him. And I’m like, well, that’s not fair. She like, but it’s because I’ve like attuned myself to her and I, you know, predict some of these triggers. Mm-hmm. . But it’s, so I’ve learned that the sort of the hard way from my experience with him, and again, advice from my therapist that was like, you have to just let him figure it out as within reason, again, as much as possible and be more of his partner than his parent. Well, but I think we also have to realize too that maybe when, when kids have more meltdowns around a certain parent versus. It could be one hypothesis that they just feel cuz they can Yeah. Cuz they have given, been given permission. Yeah. It could be that they’re just in tune with your level of anxiety and dysregulation, so then they’re more dysregulated. Mm-hmm. , it could, it could be tons of many things. Right? Yeah. It could be that they’re not having meltdowns with another parent or caregiver because they don’t feel like they can. Yeah. Because they’ll feel judged or shamed or humiliated or, um, or because they just feel like that person because they just don’t take nonsense. That they’re just more regulated and they don’t feel like they have to react. Yeah. You know, there’s so many different reasons. There’s so many different things. I think we also have to like, yes, our kids are going to react differently to different people. Mm-hmm. , you know, um, yeah. My husband’s like, don’t, he’s like, you know, you do that thing where you like, warn me that a meltdowns gonna happen. He’s like, don’t do that. Don’t do that. Yeah. He’s like, I don’t like that because he’s like, I know you do. He’s like, I know your brain works differently than mine and like, you like to mentally prepare yourself for that. He’s like, I’m more of the like, Um, what, I forget what he called. He’s like, I’m an internal optimist. He’s, if it I’ll, I’ll, he’s the, he’s the epitome of like, we’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. And I’m like, yeah, but like, which bridge are we gonna take? Like how many, how long is the bridge? Is it sturdy? ? He’s like, it’s a, like a, figure it out when I get there. That’s his style of parenting. He’s like, so I don’t like when you warn me about, he’s like, I see where it’s coming from, but like, he’s like, now that we’re talking in a neutral space, and he said that, he’s like, don’t warn me, like I don’t like that. And I was like, okay, that’s interesting. Okay, I won’t do that. Yeah. So it’s, but but that conversation, like it took years for us to get to that place. Until then, it was just constant bickering and annoyance and irritability. When you’re parenting a neuro divergent child with two different personalities. Yes. And we have like the fundamental per parenting style we we’re aiming towards, we’re still very much on that journey and figuring that out and breaking our own cycles from our own families. But personality wise too, just being so different. Mm-hmm. , it’s so hard to find the right balance of that. Yeah. And appearing to her as this integrated team that’s there for her. That’s, yep. That’s a really hard place. And I, I’m really feeling closer and closer to that every day, but that is a really hard spot to come from. Mm-hmm. definitely. But I think that’s good for her to see that too, that we’re struggling. That, that you’re struggling, that you’re not perfect, that you’re working it out, and that she’s getting, um, different perspectives in terms of how to be in this life and how to be raised by parents. Like my, my, both of my parents are not the same. She’s getting good positive traits from you. Yes. And from him. Yeah. What a great conversation. I know I could talk to you all day. I was like, how are we gonna even end this? , do you have any last words of advice for parents in 2022 dealing with the revolving door of headlines that we’re seeing? and trying to still have a sense of composure and confidence and, uh, I don’t know, just like, just leadership abilities with our families without showing that, like how hard it is for us. I think one thing, and this works for me, well, I mean sometimes it’s a, it’s a negative, but I think it could be a positive, like knowing when to step away from media and social media and taking a break. Yeah. Because there is a bombardment of information and news and headline. All the time, and there’s no way for our brain to process it. So we see like, oh, wow, good Samaritan help a drowning baby from a puddle. And yeah, oh my gosh, oh my gosh. We’re at war with whoever. And like, oh my gosh, like this is, this is this. And oh, there’s another that Like it’s constant. It’s constant. Our brain is not equipped to be taking in all this information all the time. You have to know when to step away, because then if, again, if your nervous system is all regulated, dysregulated by that stuff, how are you gonna show up fully for your kid when they’re in a having a moment? Yeah. So I think we have to learn to take a break and take a pause and a step away from some of that stuff. Yeah. And having moments of rest and relaxation and just quiet moments. Like listen moments. Even if you’re like, I don’t have a weekend getaway. I’m so grateful Yes. That we had this, but like really just moments. Moments of it. It could be two minutes, it could be like sitting on the toilet. Yeah. You know, by yourself, I mean, but just moments of taking a walk or taking a breath or. You know, breathing, like just moments. I think it’s about down regulating and just taking moments of just kind of disconnecting when you can. Yeah. Um, and I think the other thing that’s so big for me is like parenting the kid in front of you. Mm-hmm. . Like don’t compare it to the social media perfectionism of a kid or how your other kid was, or how you were, or how you wish they were parent a kid in front of you and, and all of it’s glory and disappointments. Like sometimes you’re gonna feel like this sucks and sometimes you’re gonna be like, oh, I’m so glad I’m a parent. Yeah. Like, just parent the kid in front of you. And then I would say then like lastly, reach out for support when you need it. Yeah. Because people go an average of like 12 to 18 months before reaching out when they really need it because they just think it’ll get better. Or I can do this on my own, or I don’t wanna like disgrace my family or I don’t wanna put my business out there. Like all kinds of reasons. And I think we should not do life alone. We cannot live in isolation. That’s what the pandemic has taught us. We cannot. Live in isolation. It is not healthy for us. And, um, it’s hard to break out of it. So if you need help, there are psychologists, there are parent coaches, there are programs out there that can help you, um, and reach out for help because we need it. We all need the support. We need to be in a community with people. I second that. I, I, I couldn’t do this without my therapist and I, I don’t always have a part. Topic to talk about but just feels good. Mm-hmm. to have someone to talk things out and to have a sounding board and to have them walk me through. Cuz people always talk about process, your feelings. Like how do you even do that? You need someone sometimes to guide you for that. Exactly. So if someone wants to work with you or any of your team, can you tell us where to find you? Yes, absolutely. So, um, I have a practice called a New Day Pediatric Psychology, um, in San Antonio, Texas. And my team, um, there are several of us who offer virtual parent coaching. If you’re in the immediate San Antonio area, we do in-home school observation as well as in person stuff and they can reach out at a new day, s And, uh, and then I’m really active on Instagram and so they can find my information, they can find lots of, uh, free resources. And then I have an online parent membership that they can sign up for if they feel like, okay, I’m not ready for one-on-one, but I want group and access to courses. And just to kind of get myself equipped then. I have all levels, whether it’s in person, you know, virtual parent coaching therapy for your kid, parent, uh, parent membership classes. There’s different levels based on what you’re ready for. So just, you know, reach out. Instagram is doctor dot ann louise dot Lockhart. And then again, website is au day. S Yes. So many places to find you. Thank you for having this conversation. I know. Thank you. Such a good way to end our weekend. Yes. And um, we’ll have another conversation soon. Totally. We’ll definitely add to it. Thank you. If you enjoyed this podcast, please consider rating it and leaving a review, which helps other parents find me as well. Wanna learn more from me? I share tons more over on Instagram at the OT Butterfly. See you next time.




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Laura Petix, MS OTR/L

I’m an enneagram 6, so my brain is constantly moving. My OT lenses never turn off and I can’t “un-see” the sensory and other developmental skills that go in to literally every activity. I love taking what I see and breaking it down into simple terms so parents can understand what goes into their child’s behavior and skills.

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