By: Laura Petix, MS OTR/LEPISODE 73


Today I got to ask Dr. Tracy Dalgleish some tough and important questions about differing parenting styles. We discuss actionable communication strategies when we see things differently from our partners, especially regarding advocacy for our neurodivergent kids.

Dr. Tracy Dalgleish

Dr. Tracy Dalgleish helps empower women and couples to improve their communication and build strong and healthy connections with themselves and their partner through therapy, wellness seminars, and her work outside of the therapy room. She contributes to popular media sites, including Motherly, Huffington Post, and Bustle. In addition to hosting the podcast, “I’m Not Your Shrink,” where she dives deeper into clinical knowledge and research in a relatable and informal way, her book I Didn’t Sign Up For This: Stories of Unlocking Old Patterns and Finding Joy in Your Relationship will be available in September 2023. A mom of two young children and owner of Ottawa’s mental health clinic, Integrated Wellness, she knows what it means to balance the full load.

In this episode, we talked about:

PS – Be sure to check out part 1 of this episode, hosted over on Dr. Tracy’s podcast.

When your Parenting Style Differs from your Partner’s: Tips from a Clinical Psychologist
Tracy (00:00): And I really want people listening today to sit in this with me. We need one secure parent. We need one parent, at least one parent doing the gentle conscious parenting. And you are breaking cycles by doing that, you are healing these old patterns and teaching your children what that means that...

Tracy (00:00): And I really want people listening today to sit in this with me. We need one secure parent. We need one parent, at least one parent doing the gentle conscious parenting. And you are breaking cycles by doing that, you are healing these old patterns and teaching your children what that means that you’re still going to help your child go on to develop safety and security even when your parenting partner is not doing the same thing. Speaker 2 (00:30): 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 Laura (00:54): Also know what Speaker 2 (00:55): It’s really like in the trenches of parenting a child with sensory processing disorder. Speaker 4 (01:00): Okay, mom, enough about me. Let’s start the podcast. Laura (01:06): Hi everyone. Welcome back to the podcast. This is a really, really cool and unique episode I’m bringing to you because it’s one of those crossover episodes. I don’t know if you are into any of the Shonda Rhimes productions where she would have a character show up in one of her other shows and you’re like, who’s that? And then turns out it’s like a premiere of the show that she also created a new one. So it gets you to watch the next one. Well, we sort of did that today with Dr. Tracy and I, where I actually just got off of a podcast interview with her before this doing a part one of this on her podcast, which is called Not Your Shrink, which I love. The specific episode that I guested on is going to be linked in the show notes where we talked all about everything from unexpected things in parenthood to specific parts about sensory processing disorder and how that works. (02:05)All of that good stuff is on her podcast episode. Please go give that a listen. A link of that is in the show notes. And today’s episode is having her on to talk about the tricky dynamic when you have a partner who may not be on board with your particular parenting style, especially when there is a neurodivergent child in question. So we’re going to hop into that in a minute. I just want to give you a quick introduction to who she is. So Dr. Tracy Dole helps empower women and couples to improve their communication and build strong and healthy connections with themselves and their partner through therapy, wellness seminars and her work outside of the therapy room, she contributes to popular media sites including Motherly, Huffington Post and Bustle. In addition to hosting the podcast, I’m Not Your Shrink, where she dives deeper into clinical knowledge and research in a relatable and informal way. (03:00)Her book, I didn’t sign up for this, stories of unlocking old patterns and Finding Joy in your relationship will be available in September, 2023, a mom of two young children and owner of Ottawa’s Mental Health Clinic, integrated Wellness. She knows what it means to balance the full load. All right, let’s get started with the episode. All right, here we are on part two of the conversation. I feel like we talked about so much already in part one, which you’re going to have to go back and listen to. I’ll put a link to that in the show notes where we talked everything from how parenting can be so unexpected, how amazing and liberating it is to be so transparent with our feelings with our kids, how important it is to take care of yourself and your partnership, especially when you have a neurodivergent child, but for any parent out there, all of those things. (03:55)And then I got to talk a little bit about my favorite thing, sensory processing. And so now we are crossing over into this episode with Dr. Tracy, and we are going to explore more about something that comes up a lot when I consult parents of neurodivergent kids. And that’s the idea that sometimes two parents, because they come from different backgrounds and because we all have different brains, sometimes two parents in the same partnership disagree on a lot of things, but particularly when a child in that relationship is neurodivergent and they require a different kind of parenting style, something that neither parent maybe is used to or one isn’t. And I want to ask you all those questions today. Tracy (04:51): And even as we start, one of the things that I want to call out and just acknowledge is that likely most of your listeners are women because we know is that many mothers carry the load around household labor, childcare labor, relationship labor. And so if this is you, I want to acknowledge all of that work that you’re doing. And I also want to acknowledge that at times we do need to bring our partners on board and get them to be part of this conversation rather than us being these wells of information so that then our partner isn’t with that information. And it’s much harder to be the translator of something rather than a, here is this episode, here’s this piece of information, and this is something that we need as our family and being that squeaky wheel and getting our partners on board for that. So I always want to just call that out and recognize that to start out with, Laura (05:53): I was definitely that partner who my I for finally out of a much trial and error realized that my partner’s learning style was not from me directly telling him about our child, about our daughter’s behavior and what needed to be done. I think our relationship is a little trickier to manage because I am an expert in this field. So it just naturally he felt felt less knowledgeable and that didn’t feel good to him. But I quickly found out he responded well, when I would send little Instagram reels and little bite size the a quote, not even a full episode, not even a full book or not even a chapter, I would highlight a line in a book and be like, doesn’t familiar from think that I have already said that he just needed to hear from someone else. And Tracy (06:42): I think that is such an important piece as you the listener, know your partner. And if you really step back and get curious about yourself and your style of sharing information, your style of giving feedback, be really honest with yourself. How do I give feedback to my partner? How do I talk to them about this stuff? And then also think about who your partner is because oftentimes we go to them in this very top-down perspective. You had mentioned this in the previous episode you and I just did together, that if we come in a top-down approach, oftentimes our partners are just going to shut down. And we know this from research, it’s called psychological reactance, is that if you say to your partner, well, actually the research is that if you say to a group of grade eights, do not go and buy this book from the library, the majority of them will go and buy the book. Because anytime someone tells you to do something, your back gets put up and you’re going to do the opposite, which is why in therapy, I’m not giving direct advice often to people of what you should be doing because you will go and do the opposite Laura (07:45): I human behavior. I always say, I always say, because some people are still not really on board with therapy, but I always say they’re like, I don’t need someone to tell me what to do. I was like, my therapist never tells me what to do. She asks the best questions to get me to come up with the idea and the answer myself. And I don’t know how you guys come up with the best questions. And she phrases them. So like neutrally and I don’t always have the answer, she’ll ask it and I’m like, I don’t know. And we’ll sit in silence and she’ll ask it a different way and we’ll come back to it. But she never really tells me, Laura, you should do this. But she gives me a lot of education about why someone else might be reacting some way, but never Laura do this. And I think that’s what makes a really good therapist. Tracy (08:30): Yes. Yeah, it is never for our opinion to be able to say to someone what we might have awareness in terms of the research and what is good for our overall wellness. And yes, you should be taking 15 minute walks, but perhaps on that walk you’re having to confront a barking dog that overwhelms you. And so then taking that 15 minute walk is not the best thing for you. So you internally know the best thing. And then when we go to our partnerships, then it really is about co-creating, I’m going to use that word a lot. It’s finding this space for two people to coexist. Because as you talk about it, we’re not supposed to be the same. We come into our relationships with our own expectations, our own desires, wishes, and needs. And now as parents, as this parenting team, we can’t keep expecting each other to do everything the same. (09:23)I’ll give a personal example. Clearly I’m a therapist, I’m a psychologist by training, and I’m really good at validation. I do it all day for my job. I can see the emotion, I can pinpoint it. I can just sit in that like, oh yeah. So with my kids, I know how to do this. I know how to say, oh, buddy, I see you. This is so hard. This doesn’t feel good for you. And with my son being a highly sensitive child, that doesn’t always feel good for him. So I’ve had to reframe how I show up with him. And then it’s so easy though to be the listening ear in the home. And when I hear my husband, then immediately go into something else I’m thinking, validate him, validate him, but it doesn’t work for our relationship dynamic or for what we want to model to our children about a healthy relationship. For me to step in and be like, Hey, Greg, hey dad, you have to make sure you validate our son first. Why don’t you do that? Right? So it’s stepping back from that. I mean, for me as a parent, I’m learning every single day, even though I’m a couple’s therapist, but for us in our relationship dynamic, it’s one of the most important things I can do is to also let him parent with us. Laura (10:35): That was a big part for me to accept with my husband that I also learned from my therapist was like, when to not have those moments in front of our kids where, hey, you should have she. No, just let her do that. That’s a huge piece. And for me to get past the, but I don’t want her to hear those words come out of his mouth and then I have to fix that later. And she was like, you don’t have to fix that. That’s not your thing with her. But, so this brings up so many things, and I want to Tracy (11:02): Start, okay, wait, can I stay there for a second? Laura (11:04): Oh yeah, yeah, go Tracy (11:04): For it. Okay. This is something that I think you and I can skip over quickly, but I think we need to really sit in that for a moment is that please do not do the correction in front of the kids. Yeah. Unless we’re talking about physical safety, right? Absolutely. That is a completely different thing. Name calling, completely different thing. Absolutely. Step in. That’s not okay. You have to keep your child safe, step in. But the other stuff, it’s not going to be the way you do it. Let’s accept this piece and don’t step in because when you step in, you teach your children that there’s a hierarchy, that there’s one right way to do it and that you know best. And so in some ways it’s putting the other partner down and it’s, it can create overtime splitting and a separation between mom and dad. (11:51)So mom and dad, we do want to appear are the two parents and caregivers. We want to appear as a team. We’ve got each other, and that’s also teaching our children what it means to have a healthy relationship. That was the one thing that you said, I didn’t want to skip over that. But then the other piece was we don’t get to control everything else that they do. And I really want people listening today to sit in this with me. We need one secure parent. We need one parent, at least one parent doing the gentle conscious parenting. And you are breaking cycles by doing that. You are healing these old patterns and teaching your children what that means, that you’re still going to help your child go on to develop safety and security even when your parenting partner is not doing the same thing. Laura (12:41): I think that is a really important part and something that I’ve read also that made me feel better when my husband wasn’t yet on board. He’s come such a long way. But that brings me to one of my questions where I get asked this a lot and I’ve also wondered it. I know that there is no right way to parent, but is there any research or evidence that shows that completely conflicting parenting styles is harder on kids, maybe even for divergent kids in the same household, or even if they are in separate households and at dad’s house, he lets me do this at mom’s house, I do this. How does that transform, or how does that transpire, I should say, in a child’s development? Tracy (13:27): That’s such a good question. I don’t know the research specific on that. I bet my child’s psychologist friends would be able to speak more to that. But let me frame it in an attachment perspective. Are our children feeling safe and secure in their home? Do they have warmth, love, and belonging? That would be the most important thing. And when we have those factors, then our children will feel safe to explore the world. It’s confusing. We think it could be confusing for our children, and we’re trying not to have that experience for them. The challenge that we bump up against though is how do we control the other person? Laura (14:08): We can’t. But that question is, how can I get my partner to believe X, Y, Z? How can I get my partner to agree that my child needs this therapy? How can I get my partner to agree that they need this accommodation at school? So is that controlling them or is that bringing their awareness to a piece of information? Where do you start with that? Tracy (14:36): Yeah, let’s go back because I think there again is you the listener. You have all of this information and awareness about your child already, and your partner may not be there yet. And we don’t to come down, top down to start out with. This is often where we go, we have all this information, we come top down, we say this is what we need to do. Our partners just aren’t there yet. And in some ways it’s like we’ve got to unfold and process all of this information to help them understand, but then to also explore what’s happening inside of them. So we’re planting seeds, but we’re helping those seeds grow. So for example, one of the things I can think of is first, there’s often a lack of awareness and understanding about what neurodiversity is, and our partners need time to process, read and understand that. (15:26)So that’s one piece. Another piece is an exploration around values in your family. What really matters to you as parents? What are you hoping to do with your children? Oftentimes we have common goals, which is we want to see our children thrive, we want to see them do well in their world. And it takes this element of being really curious with our partners. I talk about this in my book. It’s coming out in the fall, it’s called, I didn’t sign up for this. I talk about the four Cs, and we have these often in our relationships early on, but we lose them as our relationships progress as we lead the honeymoon to the Lent stage as we have more stressors. Having kids, curiosity is so important in our relationship. So if your partner is saying, no, I don’t think there’s an issue here. Get really curious about that. (16:17)What are you seeing happening? How are your interactions going? What do you envision this to work out for? Or what do you fear going forward? So asking really good questions in there in a very exploratory, curious, and open way. Because sometimes what we do, and I’m good at doing this, I’m human too, is we come at a problem and we already have our biases ready. We’re already ready to convince. So talking to guilty of this. Yeah, I think you and I can probably relate on many of these similar levels of organization control. Yes, exactly. It’s still logical. I see how we go for exactly. Please jump on my train up there. So curiosity is important, compassion speaking to our partners in the same way that we would speak to our children in the same way we would speak to our friends or our colleagues. And Laura, the comment that always gives me a little chuckle on in my community space and Instagram is people will say, this sounds like I’m talking to my kid. And the response is, yes, because these are attachment bonds, secure bases. And so when I’m saying to my child, I know you would really like a cookie at 7:00 PM and unfortunately that’s not possible. Yeah, it’s really hard. I get it. I’m going to say the same thing to my husband, not about cookies, but I might say, I know you know, really want me to help you with this today. And unfortunately I can’t because I’ve got all this other stuff. So yeah, why does it sound the same? It’s the same. It’s the Laura (17:48): Same. Tracy (17:49): Totally the same. And then the last two Cs are connection, making sure we find ways to connect and also co-creation collaboration, which is, I use the analogy of a sandbox. A relationship is not you saying, okay, Laura, you can come play in my sandbox. Oh, don’t bring your shovels and buckets. We are not building castles. You’re only playing with my cars in the sandbox. That is not a relationship between you and I because you love your sandboxes, you love your sand castles, you love your buckets and your shovels. So instead, what it means to co-create in the sandbox is, I really like my cars, and you really like your buckets and shovels. Okay, well over here Id like to build a road and you could put a castle here and I could go around it. So it’s a compromise. It’s ongoing negotiation back and forth so that when you come up against your partner saying, I don’t think we need this assessment, don’t, I’m not buying into this. We want to then think about, okay, what are you afraid of? What messaging did you have growing up around this piece? Laura (18:53): That’s it. Yeah. That’s the piece that I think is the root of this for a big part of it is that so many of us have not a lot of the autistic, if we’re just talking about autism, right? Just calling out. But neurodiversity is more than just autism, but yes. But they’re always saying things like if one autistic person, one autistic person, they are not the same. What we may have thought was it portrayed in the media or maybe the one kid we have in our head of what that means of when we were a kid and that kid was bullied. And you don’t want that label on your child. So my question is, is let’s say we get curious, and it really comes down to my partner is uncomfortable with the idea that my child is different. And it doesn’t make them feel good. It’s bringing up some stuff. We can’t control them. We can’t change their past experience. What do we do when we realize that that’s the biggest driver? How do we not control? What do we do with that? If we figure that that’s the Tracy (19:53): Piece? Yeah, I think we can connect that too. First, really just sitting in validating, empathizing with our partner’s, fear. We can’t make that go away. That’s their fear. We can ask them what they need, what that fear needs to help them. But then we can also go back into a, so can we imagine down the road of not having this support, what do you see happening for our child then? And then if we did have this support, what do you see in that way? And which one connects more with our values? And Laura, I think also too, what you’re tapping into here is that there’s two pieces. One, this is not ever a one and done type conversation because these are big things and we’re constantly evolving and unfolding. But two, and I like to say this early on in conversations, is that if you are reaching this roadblock, it’s time to bring in someone objective. It’s time to see the couple’s therapist, or if the couple’s therapist is not where your partner wants to enter into going to see the OT and having someone objective outside to support that or even your physician as a place to start. Laura (21:05): Yeah. And I think one of what you made me think of when we’re talking about compromising your sandbox example, which I love, there are, I can see how there’s certain things in partnerships where we can compromise daily tasks or how we talk to them, or, well, maybe in the morning, this is going to be better for me if you do this, but there’s some things that come up in parenting, especially with neurodivergent kids, that feels like there’s less of a compromise. And it feels like either we do this or not. I’m thinking of homeschooling or a particular private school, or like we said, there’s no compromising. And for some parents or partners who are listening who have someone on such the far opposite side of it where it feels like there’s so much work to be done, but we have to make a decision now because our child’s development and growth depends on it. What do you tell that person listening right now who feels so far behind in this process on opposite sides from their partner? What’s the best thing they can do right now? Tracy (22:12): This might feel uncomfortable for many people, but this is a going advocate for your child. And this is something that I talked about with Dr. Shefali, which was, and she identified this so well, she’s the author of a recent book, the Parenting Map. She’s also the movement of Conscious parenting. Conscious Laura (22:30): Parenting. She is the person, yes, Tracy (22:33): The person. And her work is so beautiful because, and every time I sit with her, she’s like, Tracy, it’s your need to be seen. It’s the, it’s like, oh, she sees right through away. And she says that more and more mothers are facing this experience today, which is most commonly is the mother advocating for this for many reasons. We don’t have to discuss them today, but you are being forced to choose between am I the good wife or am I the good mother? Laura (23:03): Oh, that’s such a really, really big one that I hear from so many Tracy (23:09): A And right now your child needs you to advocate for them and to push and to get uncomfortable. And I know that depends in different states in terms of consent, some professions need one parent’s consent for treatments. Laura (23:24): The consent part is very tricky. Tracy (23:27): It is tricky. And then you keep being that conscious, secure parent. You keep showing up for your child. You keep doing the things as much as you can because you can’t control the other person. But with confidence, I will say, don’t stay in your marriage because you think that’s better for your child. Laura (23:51): Yeah. That’s the piece where it really gets down to when you were talking about earlier, if it gets to a point where you feel like you need to involve another professional to help do the work for you, whether it’s an OT or a therapist, or is it gotten to the point where this is interfering in your ability to provide the best support to keep your child’s development on track, then yeah. But that’s a huge thing to think about. One part that I heard from my therapist, and I heard you talk about this in a podcast episode recently that I found was helpful was the idea of is it called a systems where if one person changes Yes. Then can you explain that to people here? Yes. Because I think that that’s what helped me where I was like, am I the only one doing the work and it’s not going to do anything, but I’ve been doing it for a while and I have been noticing everything shifting and being put into place. So if you could explain that to everyone, because that’s going to be helpful. Tracy (24:47): So we understand relationships from a systemic perspective, which means that you are in constant motion. It’s the third law, it’s the third law of motion. It’s a, as one object turns, the other object responds to it and turns. Hmm. Or it’s the force on an object. And when you remove the force on the object, that object changes in reaction to it. I did not take physics in high school, but so let’s go back into my area of expertise and relationships. Yes. Is that here, here’s the piece. You go to your partner and you say, you never listen. You never listen. You don’t connect with me. You’re always on your phone. And so you come to this place of criticism and blame and anger and frustration, and your partner then starts to respond in ways that make sense, which is defensiveness. They defend, they tell you that you’re always on your phone. And they say, well, what’s the point in connecting? We don’t have sex anyways, it goes and it goes and it goes. So we know there are these four negative communication patterns that couples commonly get stuck in. We know there are these cycles that couples get stuck in this blame find the bad guy. This kind of pursue and distancing. If you don’t know what your relationship cycle is, I’ve got a free quiz on my website. It’s an educational quiz, it’s not a diagnostic tool. Laura (26:03): Put that out there. Yes, Tracy (26:05): Put that out there. But you can go to dr tracy and it’s right there on my front page. And the cycle’s important to recognize because no one person starts or stops the cycle. We have a trigger and then we enter into the relational cycle that we get stuck in. And you have a cycle with your partner. You have a cycle with your child, with your parent, with friends. They’re all there because we’re in relation with other people. We’re in relationship. And so if you then decide, this isn’t working for me anymore, I’m going to change what I’m doing. And so now you start to do something different, which opens up the possibility for your partner to come on board as well and do something different. So instead of the, you always say to your partner, and I’m taking a very just kind of a broken down, simple example, but it’s like, Ugh, I really miss us. (27:00)Let’s put our phones away tonight for 20 minutes and just set the couch and chat your partner’s. Like, yeah, I could do that. Sure. And then you sit down and you chat and there’s a positive connection moment. It’s something different. So when you start to step out of the pointing out the things they do wrong, they telling them how they should parent the things to do differently. When you start stepping out of that, it opens up space and possibility for your partner to do something different. Other language that’s been used around this, Harriet Lerner talks about the over-functioner and the under functioner. Hmm. In terms of that dynamic, I like to use the image of a balloon. If you pull your balloon back a little bit, the other balloon has space. If you’re in a closed office, that balloon can take up more space and start to function differently as well. And then the other piece that is part of this, Laura, is that there’s this element of hanging in. Harriet Lerner talks about this. It’s a fantastic book called The Dance of Anchor. Have you read it? Laura (27:58): I have not read it. Tracy (28:00): It is such a good book. It’s a classic. It published in 1989 or maybe the early nineties. But she talks about why are women angry? So she uses this, and I’m not even doing it justice because she really talks about anger with our mothers, anger with our partners, these tricky relationship dynamics that women get into because of the messaging that we’ve received around anger. But when we start to change the dynamic in our relationship, we’ve got to do a little bit of hanging in, which means your partner’s not going to change overnight. It’s not a, Ooh, I did something different and now they’re magically on Laura (28:38): Board with you. That would be great. Tracy (28:39): It would be. But it’s this idea that over time as you do something different, your partner will do something different as well. Laura (28:48): Yeah. So much of this stuff in parenting, I did not realize more than 90% of it is about our own growing up and things that we had to deal with. And it is the common stereotype of you see a psychologist and so tell me about your childhood. And I, that’s what you rolled back of your mind and you roll your eyes back. And I remember when I started with my daughter’s play therapist, who is now my personal therapist for anxiety and everything, she kind of latched on her as my own personal therapist. I remember the first few sessions she had to spend with Mark and I separately, and we talked all about our childhood. I was like, wait a second. I’m not even here. For me, I was legitimately, I went home and I was annoyed. I’m like, wait, why did I spend a whole hour talking? (29:39)My childhood was fine. Don’t get it. And now I’m like, oh my gosh, I get it so much. And why it’s such a cycle and why it’s called breaking cycles. And the big part of it that comes out for my audience is when you have a child who is differently wired and is completely off script so to speak, and something you did not expect, something you didn’t sign up for, you’re learn. You’re unlearning things from your childhood and learning. So this new parenting language and trying to apply it to this person who has a different experience of the world and managing all those things at once can feel really overwhelming for a parent. Tracy (30:23): So overwhelming. So overwhelming. And so I think that even comes back to this space of acknowledging that we are doing a lot of work right now. We are not going to get it perfect. You are not going to get it perfect and your partner will also not get it perfect. And you are doing so much work that it’s also okay if your partner isn’t at the same level as you. And that takes a lot of acceptance to be able to do. Yeah. I have three powerful questions for listeners to ask themselves. And my favorite, and Greg and I did in the car one day together and it was really fun as in like you got to go inside a little bit and ask yourself these hard questions. So I want you to think of this pattern that you do in your relationship. So are you someone who points out the negative? Are you maybe more of the critical partner? Are you the one that knocks on the door? Are you maybe a bit more defensive in your partnership? Or are you someone who stonewalls and shuts down really easily? Hold that in your mind and now ask yourself and don’t think too much about it. But first one is, who did you see do that while growing up? (31:35)Who did you see do that to you? So who did that to you growing up? And then who allowed you to do that while growing up? Laura (31:48): Who allowed you to do the things that you identified in that first question? Interesting. Those are hard questions those bring Tracy (31:59): Up. They’re super hard. Laura (32:00): And it doesn’t necessarily have to be apparent. Tracy (32:02): No, Nope. Because we learn about relationships from watching all kinds of people. Maybe there was a significant teacher, a significant coach, or dance teacher, soccer teach soccer coach a friend. So we don’t all have these stories from early on, but maybe there was a significant school friend where something happened and that completely shifted your model of what it means to be a safe and signif secure individual. How I understand myself, how I understand other people, and also how I understand the world. Laura (32:36): Oh, that’s so powerful for people to get to point where they know that so much of their childhood experience can contribute to your parenting experience. Now even for people who quote had a perfect childhood, who had a no big T trauma, even little, there’s still things that you’re bringing. And then the clash of that with your partner is where it gets dicey and really tricky there. So I would like to wind down this episode and I want to hear more about your resources. But I would love if you had one simple actionable step for the listener today who is hearing this and is feeling empowered to be the person in the system to start the change. Do you have a good actionable step that that person can take today? That’s no excuses. I can do it. Turn off this episode. Go do it. What would you say to them? Tracy (33:39): This is one of the hardest things, and yet it’s one of the easiest things to say, and that is just to pause. That is to step back and to pause and to not say anything and to give more space in between what you are noticing and experiencing and before actually acting on that. And that can create a lot of pause, a lot of change in your relationship, the exam. So I openly confess that I’m a really good blamer in my partnership that Greg is not even around. And this memory stands out so well for me. It’s late. I’ve got the two kids. One is, I think she was six months, the other one’s two years. And I’m trying to get the little bike into the trunk of our car and there are the grocery bins in there and something else in the way. And Greg’s not even home. (34:35)He was at work that day. And I’m late and I’m frustrated and I’m overwhelmed. The kids are crying. I’m trying to get the bike in the trunk. I’m like, Greg, this is all your fault. I pull out my phone and I’m about to text him, text bombing. Really good at sending some angry texts as a way of releasing and discharging this. And I, this was such a moment for me that I was like, whew, okay, wait. This is a thing. You do this thing. You want to discharge this discomfort right here. Greg’s not here. You’re overwhelmed. This is your nervous system. Can you, what’s in your control right now? Take a breath, pause. It’s not going to help me to send him that angry text. This isn’t even about him. This is about me and what’s happening inside of me. So I hope people listening can chuckle a little bit. Cause I know we’ve all experienced those moments. But pause, just give yourself a bit more space between what you’re feeling inside and reacting to and to what you actually do. Laura (35:32): I think that’s very, that is very actionable and hard at the same time, like you said. But it stops you from getting stuck in the paralysis of, what do I say? What do I do? You don’t have to do a thing. If you pause something, cl clearer will come to mind or your initial reaction will kind of subside and you don’t even have to do anything but pause. And it’s not even a take 10 deep breaths. It’s just pause your body, just yeah, freeze. Like if you were to push pause on Lowe’s old saved by the bell episodes and everything around you kind of just freezes and you have this glowing aura around you and you’re just existing. And just pausing for a second. I love that. And it’s something Tracy (36:11): I love that image Laura (36:12): Everybody can do. Everyone can do it just Tracy (36:15): In all relationships, right? Laura (36:17): Exactly. With your child, with your partner, with your boss, with your friend, everybody. Your in-laws. That’s a big one. We’re going to pause around that part Tracy (36:24): Too. Part two, part two, part three, part three, part three, Laura (36:27): Part three. Oh my gosh. Tracy, I could talk to you all day. Can you please let everybody know the best ways to continue learning from you and all of the resources that you have to share Tracy (36:38): After listening today, please come say hello on Instagram. I’m social in dms. It’s the best way to get in touch with me. So say hello. Let me know what stood out for you here. That’s Dr. Tracy D on all social platforms. And then my website is filled with resources. I have a free masterclass for people if you are struggling to really learn how to repair with your partner after you have one of those difficult moments. Oh, we don’t learn the repair. So there’s a free masterclass there. There’s the quiz and lots of other guides and resources, and that’s dr tracy But of course, if you want to join me on your walks while you’re doing the things, another podcast to add to your must listen list as well as this one here. It’s the I’m Not Your Shrink podcast. Laura (37:19): I love the title of your podcast. Thank you. That definitely is a really, really good short and sweet love witty title. And I’m going to put the link to part one of this conversation and the show notes as well, so you can go back and that could be the first episode that you listened to there. And then dig into all of her other episodes, which are amazing. So thank you, Laura. Thank you so much. Thanks for spending time with me on here. It was such a good conversation. Tracy (37:42): I enjoyed our conversation. Thank you so much. Laura (37:45): Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Don’t go anywhere before you press stop on this podcast episode. If you’re a parent, teacher, or educator who wants to better understand some of the big buzzwords that you hear me talk about often, like dysregulation, regulation, fight or flight, and all of the nervous system lingo, and you want to learn how to understand how this relates to your neurodivergent child or a neurodivergent child that you’re supporting in your life, then you are going to want to come to the free training that I’m hosting this Saturday May 6th at 5:00 PM Pacific standard time, 8:00 PM Eastern called detecting dysregulation, where I will go into the nitty gritty behind how the nervous system processes information and how to observe your child’s regulation patterns. You’re also going to get access to join a one week free private community to dig even deeper into the world of nervous system regulation, where we’ll create a little micro village of all of us who are ready to do the work and to become more curious about how our child’s nervous systems work. So join me and get your free slash training. If you enjoyed this podcast, please consider rating it and leaving a review, which helps other parents find me as well, want to 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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