By: Laura Petix, MS OTR/LEPISODE 43


Podcast title card with a dad and mom holding their daughters hands while walking through a field

I always get asked what kind of parent my husband is. 

People want to know if we use the same parenting style and if we don’t, how do we handle that conflict? 

People want to know what he thinks about our daughter’s neurodiversity and how he handles that.

I asked him all those questions and more in this episode!

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Episode transcript:

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You might also like this episode on trauma in parenthood with Dr. Cassidy Freitas

Unscripted: My husband’s neurodivergent parenting experience
Hi welcome everyone to the podcast I have a very special guest today, and it's someone who is my number one fan.Someone who funds a lot of the things that I do for the ot butterfly. 09:58:37 My mics finance here. This microphone we use right now. 09:58:41 This is Mark Petix. This is my...

Hi welcome everyone to the podcast I have a very special guest today, and it’s someone who is my number one fan.Someone who funds a lot of the things that I do for the ot butterfly. 09:58:37 My mics finance here. This microphone we use right now. 09:58:41 This is Mark Petix. This is my hubby. 09:58:45 Welcome to the podcast game. Hi! thanks for having me I just want to say pretty amazing to be on a podcast hosted by another pettics. 09:58:52 Hopefully, there’s there’s room for another would you have ever guessed, like years ago, that I would that you would be a guest on my podcast never. 09:59:02 Then this petics out of the 2 of us would be the one behind the mic. 09:59:06 Nope. Anything is possible. Literally, I would have bet everything that it would have been my podcast for something sports related. 09:59:15 But it doesn’t go the way you you expect it to so well, here we are, and everyone is excited to hear from you, and we’ve we’ve talked about this podcast, a few times, because we always have really good conversations right course about 09:59:31 Liliana. So the whole point of the podcast, today I kind of told you, was people really want to hear the Dad’s perspective of not only raising a neurodivergent child, but using gentle parenting techniques and breaking cycles 09:59:50 and all of that, with the neurod divergent child, with that which adds like an extra layer. 09:59:54 And it’s something that’s not easy and I think there’s a lot of assumptions made. 10:00:00 I think there’s a lot of people who think certain things of us and of you, because of what I do. 10:00:06 So I want to confirm some of those things I want to mythbust some of those things that’s funny. 10:00:12 I was just thinking I was about to say mythbusters. that’s crazy. You can’t even rehearse this. 10:00:16 It’s great Yeah, this is why we’re married how long have we been married. 10:00:22 We’ve been married for what 6 years. now but we’ve been seeing so short. Yeah, it’s not fair because it’s not giving me credit for all the years prior to marriage like we’ve been together 14 years now we met 10:00:36 almost right around this time, 14 years ago, in 2,008. 10:00:40 So wow! And the past 5 years have been the most challenging. 10:00:49 But trust, Yeah, but challenging, but also like bond making If that’s not even a term like I feel like our relationship is on an entirely different plane than it was prior to her entering our world. 10:01:05 So if nothing else these 6 years have been just you know it’s strengthening. 10:01:14 I feel like for for both of us when we were already strong coming into it. 10:01:18 So I try to look at it from that standpoint. 10:01:21 Well, let’s just talk about it. Then everybody you know everyone wants to know how you think it’s what you think of being a dad to a neur divergent child. 10:01:35 Well, let me back up. Let me pause what does it mean to you as someone who’s not in the field. 10:01:39 How did you learn what neurod divergent means because I don’t think I’ve ever explicitly like, said, Hey, This is what Noah divergent is you just hear me talk about it all the time all the time. 10:01:49 And I don’t know if you actually follow me on instagram like, Look at my posts. I know you’re a follower, but, like you don’t consume probably all of my content. 10:01:59 So be like a full-time job You’re Always pumping, content out. 10:02:03 So what does it mean to you to be neur divergent like? 10:02:08 How would you explain that to someone? 10:02:45 to me. Nero, divergent in terms of when I think of Lilliana. 10:02:54 It’s just you know she has very she’s very sensitive, I think, even from the earliest stages, without knowing what the label is, or knowing exactly what’s going on. 10:03:07 If there were just things from the very start where she had kind of I don’t know. 10:03:13 Quirks is the right word but just things that and again, it’s like she’s our only child so I can’t speak from being apparent before she came in to our world. 10:03:23 But you know just she was very, very sensitive to things that have to do with touch and things that you know would would kind of trigger her in ways that I wasn’t entirely sure that it was normal I guess you say quote 10:03:40 unquote normal with other kids, because you know when it’s your first child. 10:03:45 You don’t know you know kind of what the what what it’s like. 10:03:52 Otherwise. you just kind of this is this is who she is and I think you know, without knowing all that you knew, because you’re the way your mind works, and the way that my mind works, or just 2 very different things, and i’m sure a lot 10:04:06 of other parents can relate to that. What do you mean by how my mind works, and how your mind works? 10:04:14 I think people want to hear that. elaborate. 10:04:46 I think it’s it’s interesting because I try to go back to before she was even born, and our minds worked differently before her. 10:04:55 So it’s not so much as now she’s part of our family, and you know you’re thinking differently i’m thinking different. 10:05:02 I think it’s you know it’s an extension of how we’ve always been, You know you are someone who tends to you know, to be more anxious than I am just because i’m not an anxious person not to say 10:05:15 that you are over anxious, or whatever but I Think you’re constantly canvassing a situation. 10:05:22 You’re you’re always thinking about literally what could go wrong and I that’s foreign to me like that’s just, and I don’t know if it is you know a J. 10:05:34 Gender thing. i’m not trying to say it’s a male female things. I don’t think that’s necessarily true. 10:05:37 I think you know it could be that she was on the other foot. 10:05:41 But you know my approach has always been to be more relaxed, more kind of you know. 10:05:46 Things will take care of itself. It will, you know it will get done when it it needs to get done. 10:05:53 But not necessarily needing to stress the entire time along the way and it’s not for everybody,  The fact that I worked in the field, and I worked with kids at that time was ages like 3 and up, and I knew this before I was pregnant I was like as an 10:07:16 ot know that my mom brain is going to be hyper focused on milestones and red flags and things that I see in my clients. 10:07:26 And so I think what you’re saying is when she was younger, when I was already seeing traits of her being neurod divergent, I would call them out. 10:07:43 And I think naturally, by that point when we were together. 10:07:45 You are like. Oh, this is another one of laura’s expecting the worse, and talking and and jumping too far ahead. 10:07:53 And the thing that I which you know as an anxious person I was. It’s one of those things that’s like. 10:08:00 Oh, I never want to be that person, but I always said would love to be wrong, but I would hate to know what I know and not do anything and like ignore the signs, because I’m in the field like and it always felt like 10:08:13 I handicap being the expert in the family, because every and an anxious person, because everyone, not just you other people I could, I could tell. 10:08:22 I knew people in our family were like there she goes again. 10:08:26 Or she’s just always like thinking about that and that was that was hard for me. 10:08:30 But I see also, after years of therapy, my therapist helps me understand how his mind works, too. 10:08:36 That lot of the time it’s not only that you don’t think that way. 10:08:39 But it’s like a your coping mechanism of trying to protect and preserve the moment the goodness the enjoyment of like her just being a kid, and not even wanting to think that way and my brain of protecting itself is preparing for 10:08:58 the worst, and and expecting things to happen so that i’m mentally prepared for it versus Oh, crap it did happen, and I wasn’t prepared. 10:09:06 And now what like I don’t like that unprepared feeling, and my coping of like preparing and studying and thinking and elaborating through every age, CD scenario, is how my mind works whether or not 10:09:18 that’s a healthy thing. is another question But I think is that what you meant by how our minds work? And then how that looks in the early years of her. 10:09:27 Yeah, Yeah, I think you you hit it on the head. Exactly. 10:09:29 I think you know the skepticism for me was greater when she was younger. 10:09:35 Because again, I think you you touched on it i’m someone who you know eternal optimist like I just I need you know. 10:09:44 I need to be having, I mean, of the mindset of you know. 10:09:49 Give it some time. you know she’s still so young how can you be so sure that these things are true? 10:09:57 Yet at the same time for me to not acknowledge the fact that you have the education behind it. 10:10:01 You know I think the fact that we’ve been together as long as we’ve been there’s a level of trust that’s built up to where it’s like. 10:10:12 If you feel this strongly about what what you’re seeing who you know? 10:10:17 Who am I to say, and to debunk what you feel this strongly about? 10:10:22 And It’s it was hard because you know there were times where I would vent to my mom, and you know i’d be like Laura’s being Laura a little bit and you know it comes with the 10:10:32 territory with I think your personality but also there was a you know, a level of me, not wanting to put such a label on her at such a young age, because I didn’t want to believe that that could be true at 10:10:46 that stage just because i’m like she’s still so young and how could you be? How could you have the level of conviction that you did? 10:10:54 But then, you know it’s funny because like it takes me back to when you were pregnant, and you were you were. 10:11:00 You just you were convinced that you there was something going on to where I don’t know to get into it. 10:11:09 But like you, you ended up knowing that you had something that our doctors didn’t diagnose. 10:11:14 Yeah, and it was insanely validating. for you and eye-opening for me to be like, Yeah, Well, I I didn’t because like crazy. 10:11:25 It was a you know I don’t know if you want to explain what that was. 10:11:28 Anyone who knows it’s it’s a rare I think it’s a rare thing, but it’s called collie stasis, and it has to do with I think the level levels of something in your liver I don’t know but 10:11:39 I was on the bump, and there was chats, and I was in that chat like all the time, which is what I do. 10:11:45 I engross myself, and whatever is going on and I like get obsessed over it, that’s another part of my anxiety. Long story short, no one, believe me. I push, push, push for blood draws, and I happen to have coalesasis in the day. 10:12:13 I found out I had. It was like almost too late like you were supposed to have had something scheduled for induction by this date of this, when you were pregnant by like 37 weeks, or it’s risk for a stillborn and 10:12:26 I was 37 weeks, and like 5 days. And so the doctor was on vacation, and her nurse was like, Oh, yeah, actually, your your levels are really how you need to come in and be induced today. 10:12:37 And that was because I pushed more than once for it so that’s what he’s talking about, and that’s like the one thing where again it was one of those things are you sure you’re overthinking it you 10:12:47 heard this on a chat. You read this online? I, self-diagnosed as I needed a blood draw. 10:12:51 But I was right, and I potentially saved our daughter’s life. And again, I think the odds were one in a 1,000. 10:13:01 The forums that I was reading that were like They said bring this paper to your doctor, because that is 10:13:07 They’re notorious for shoeing this stuff away I’m not seeing it. 10:13:09 So I was already prepared, and I My obi was like terrible. 10:13:14 Anyway, she didn’t believe anything I said so I already know I was gonna have a battle. 10:13:19 So, anyway. So yeah, it’s funny it’s funny that you say you actually forget that because it’s almost like something I can’t forget, because you know, I think because of the way your mind works. 10:13:27 You’re going to canvas situation whether it’s with Liliana, whether it’s you know beyond her, just you know in life situations, and you’re always looking to see what could go wrong and you know when I think 10:13:38 of that example. it’s like if you feel an inkling of something that’s strongly who am I to question it because you’ve proven that you know your instincts are usually the right one, and I think that goes 10:13:51 along way in our relationship, and how we approach dealing with her on a day-to-day is that that equity matters to me, you know, and I know that not every relationship, not every parent. 10:14:05 You know parents that have children with, you know, neur divergent tendencies or sensitivities, sensory sensitivities. 10:14:13 They may not have the the relationship, because you know I know that over the years you’ve proven that when you feel strongly about something, and your instinct is there, and you put the work in from you know an education standpoint, and the 10:14:35 strategies that you employ, and and I know how much time you put into it. 10:14:40 You know that’s What really that’s what gets me to get past any kind of skepticism. 10:14:45 That’s what gets me to say i’m on board because you know It’s that trust it’s it’s the foundation, You know that we’ve built over all this time and you knowing that usually your instinct. 10:14:56 Has proven to be right and in so many instances   So let’s talk then, about so at first there was these years when she was young and to be fair. 10:15:19 Like, How are they saying? How can you be so sure? I was not so sure. 10:15:24 I just knew that she didn’t feel like a she felt closer to how my clients were that I saw in the clinic than I had seen other people have kids, and if i’m not going to go into detail of our 10:15:37 early years. If you want to listen to how she was and like those early signs of herbringing neurod divergence, then it’s episodes. 10:15:46 One through 4 goes through our full story. But I want to ask you, And one of the people from Instagram asked, What did it feel like to you? 10:15:56 When she was finally diagnosed. and i’m going to like quickly add a note to that, but also I think we should also add like, when did you finally get on? 10:16:06 Not get on board. But when did you finally be like, okay, like this is real. 10:16:09 Laura was right. There is something different going on but for anyone listening. Her quote diagnosis is technically adjustment disorder with anxiety from a psychologist which is kind of like this. 10:16:23 Informal. they’re not ready to place a full anxiety diagnosis on her yet, but they’re seeing anxious tendencies in her. 10:16:31 I have truly tried to get her evaluated to get anything else official that we need to get services. 10:16:37 But that’s the only thing that’s quote official but as an optional therapist. I can 110% say she has sensory processing differences. 10:16:46 So she has sensory processing issues, anxious tendencies and just really big emotional regulation challenges all in all her brain is wired differently, And that’s what makes her neur divergent. 10:16:57 So She’s just been hard for a long time we’ve we’ve been having a hard time with her since she was an infant. but, as Mark was saying, he was a little skeptical as to why she was hard early 10:17:07 on, and I think we kept going through phases of like Well, when she can sit up when she can walk, when she can talk, when she can understand that we that this happens, then it will get better early on I like we talked about how he preserves 10:17:28 kind of that goodness with her and was like didn’t whether was denial or just not wanting to even think about those things at that time. 10:17:36 Whatever it was, mine was more of the fact that I was wanting to validate our experience, and say like this can’t be the normal thing, or else we’re just like weak parents who can’t handle a regular tantrum like there must 10:17:48 be something wrong with us. If there’s nothing wrong with her that’s like what was going on in my head. 10:17:55 And now I know. Obviously nothing is quote wrong with her, but she does have a differently wired brain. 10:17:59 That is not what the typical development and pattern and all of the things that we see mostly around us. 10:18:06 So at that time I was looking for things that’s like this This is not like I’m. a pretty strong person, and I can tolerate certain things, but this feels way harder and I was searching for that validation by 10:18:19 throwing diagnoses out and seeking professional support, that at that time you thought that it was unnecessary, or jumping the gun and things like that. 10:18:30 So back to my question was, when or at what point did you feel like you were like, okay, like this is actually real. 10:18:39 I believe it. I get it. And then 2 mentally like, How did you process that? 10:18:44 Are you still processing it like, Where are you at with that? 10:18:47 Yeah, I mean it’s interesting like I don’t know that there was an epiphany like a specific, you know, a specific moment or a specific event, or an occurrence where I was. 10:18:59 Like That’s it. She definitely is these things I think you know it comes down to the fact that the only other person in this world that is going through what you’re going through with her is me when you and I have you know We 10:19:15 choked about the phrase. it takes a village right and we didn’t have. we? 10:19:20 Don’t have a village. it’s it’s you and I both being very career-oriented, and both. 10:19:26 You know your turn my turn if i’m not taking care of her you’re taking care of her. 10:19:30 So I think just the exposure of seeing over time just a little. 10:19:36 Is it in the pandemic I mean I think before the pandemic right like by by the time the pandemic hit. 10:19:42 And again. it’s just you know I don’t want to get into it. 10:19:44 But we were just in so much floods with me, making a huge job change. 10:19:49 And on the verge of relocating across the country. then got bounced back because of the pandemic, and should not get into all that. 10:19:55 But there’s a lot going on from that standpoint trying to make sure that my career and our you know our livelihood was going to be set up right, and I know that you were focused and honed in on this on 10:20:06 a level that I just I just can’t be from a lack of education. but also it’s not like you know I wasn’t busy with my thing, and trying to to get to the next you know step in my career. 10:20:17 So I think it was just you know over the gradual overtime. 10:20:23 The it’s like death by a 1,000 cuts seeing each day just a small thing. 10:20:28 Whether it was when she was you know before, she could even speak. she would have issues with certain foods on her trade right, and she would start, you know she would express her frustration without any words, which was at those times you didn’t think 10:20:42 that you didn’t think she was no divergent yet. No, I didn’t. but I think it is the consistency of those things happening. 10:20:48 I think that when you couple with oh, my gosh that she loses her mind trying to put socks on, she can’t wear a certain dress because the way the tag or the material feels on her shoulder like these are things 10:21:01 that even I knew you know, like all I can do is kind of go back to my own childhood and and the the very minimal experiences I’ve had around other kids, You know, having a nephew that you know my old older brother that had 2 kids 10:21:18 so I had a little bit of experience on the fringes around kids, but not anything to where I was. 10:21:23 There every day. So just seeing these things it was just in my head i’m like that doesn’t feel like that’s a like. That’s a That’s a typical thing that parents would have to deal with that and I 10:21:34 think the other thing was that it was not just a 2 min, 3 min, like Okay, she she cried a little bit. 10:21:40 She stopped her, and we’re on our way we’re talking 30 to 45 min. 10:21:45 Shut it down I don’t care what you’re Agenda was It’s changed it’s audible, and I think think with those built up over time. 10:21:53 It was not so much as like I can remember that day in June where it was like. this is it was not that it was over time. 10:21:59 You’ll like Okay, that’s another thing that’s another thing. 10:22:03 That’s another instance like it’s just you’re you’re building that up, and it’s accumulating, and it’s to the point where it’s like okay it’s it’s it’s about being 10:22:11 comfortable with just understanding that’s who she is and I don’t think that you feel like you’re fully accepted. 10:22:17 That I have. I feel like it because I I try to again. 10:22:22 Eternal optimist. I’m always looking a situation and trying to accentuate the positives like there is so much good about her, and we, you know we just talked about this like 24 h ago. 10:22:35 There’s so much good about her from a health standpoint her vitals check out, you know she’s incredibly smart. 10:22:44 She’s sharp she’s curious she’s inquisitive, and she has such a good disposition about her. she’s so carrying, and she’s so sweet so it’s like this is what she has 10:22:56 that’s fine. you know what I mean everybody as you know I think what I was saying to you is that who she is now is who she’s gonna be when she’s our age right? 10:23:07 She will mature, and you know there will be layers to her personality, and how she develops. 10:23:12 But you know my mom is quick to remind me of. You know how talkative and and and the things the traits that I have to this day that were on display when I was 5 years old. 10:23:23 How i’m so emotionally charged that’s never left me. 10:23:27 It’s been that way since I was her age now. so I think, trying to take the long view and and look at it as to okay. 10:23:37 This is her personality. If her being neur divergent means that she has, You know from what we can see, great health. 10:23:46 She seems to be as smart as you would expect her to be You know from from our standpoint, at least at this early stage. 10:23:54 It’s it’s it’s not something to me that we can’t deal with it’s just a matter of like remind yourself. 10:24:01 Don’t get fixated on this thing about her where there is Abc. X. Y. 10:24:07 And Z. that is so good about her, and that kind of perspective again goes back into the way my mind works. 10:24:15 It’s just. I I acknowledge that it is difficult, and it is something that has made our experience these last 5 years much harder. 10:24:25 I think then it would have been otherwise. But that’s why we decided we’re only having one. we’re one and done right. and if this is on camera, yeah, I Guess we’re gonna we’ll play this back if anything new phrase we now that we’ve 10:24:40 had some of these conversations we’ve had this new phrase of like. 10:24:43 We only have one we only have one when we’re trying to It’s kind of like our new mantra when she’s like It’s like coping me when we’re having a really hard time with her we’re trying to remind ourselves 10:24:55 to enjoy the moment, and not try to fast forward things even the hard times, which is really hard, Right? 10:25:01 We’re always wanting, to like get out of our body and not be there in that moment, and fast forward to the day when she’s not in this house, and we are empty nuts. 10:25:10 We talk about that all the time. But now that we’re like okay, no. 10:25:13 If we are consciously saying, we are one and done she’s our only one, that let’s try to enjoy it as much as possible. 10:25:20 Even the bad times, and not try to like disassociate ourselves during the meltdowns and stuff. 10:25:26 So now we say we only have one it’s funny though because like that you’re right. 10:25:32 I don’t disagree and it goes back to and I always use sports analogies and everything. but it’s like what they used to say for fighters that would go up against Mike Tyson is like everybody has a 10:25:43 plan until you get punched in the mouth and that’s how it feels with her. 10:25:47 It’s like you have a strategy or hey? you have all the strategies in the world when you’re in the trenches and she’s in the middle of one of these epic meldowns or 10:25:56 tantrums. It is the hardest things to deal with in life. 10:26:00 At times in a way that I would have never been able to prepare for. 10:26:05 But I think that there’s a level of when you acknowledge that it’s there. 10:26:12 Then, that’s the first step to me that you can take to start actually dealing with it. 10:26:17 And it’s like don’t be in denial this is gonna happen again. 10:26:20 I think that’s the that’s the crazy thing is like we know the next one is not the last one, and that is such a mentality. 10:26:29 He’s talking about meltdown correct like the big meltdowns that she has because I don’t know when. but at some point the next 7 10 to 10 days I would bet money that there’s gonna be something 10:26:40 7 to 10 h. Maybe so. Yeah, probably by the end of that night. 10:26:44 But But so don’t you think it’s like a mindset thing like what you expect, like we had this picture part like we talk about as soon as picture Perfect thing of like what life is going to be like married. 10:26:57 What life is gonna like with the kid what we’re gonna Do We thought we would have a house by now. we would have a dog and 2 kids like we had all of these things. and it turned out different. Not worse. 10:27:05 It’s just not where it’s at but we’re just having to reshift the way that we look at how our life is, and not from like a negative. 10:27:14 Like, Oh, poor us! but just like Ok, this is what we have like. 10:27:18 My least favorite phrase, I said this. It is what it is. 10:27:20 I hate that phrase but that’s okay I use it like let’s let’s process what we have and then stop like. 10:27:27 I also Say, things like that’s not on the menu I can’t even order that like it’s not even on the menu like, Don’t even think about that food we are here. 10:27:34 This is what we have. We have to deal with the meltdowns. 10:27:38 We have to get through the meltdowns. we have to support her, and not wish them away or not wish her different, which that is really hard. 10:27:46 I still have moments like that, and I admit that all the time where i’m like I just I wish today she was notypical. 10:27:54 I wish I could just take her to ice cream on a whim and not deal with the backlash right like that. 10:28:00 There’s that. you are the surprise person Mr. surprise everything and I you’re starting to catch on. 10:28:04 But I feel like you can’t you can’t just surprise her with those things like I know you want to but like it’s not going to end well, and she’s going to completely disappoint you with her reaction. 10:28:15 Because she can’t process it prizes like even like the fun ones right right. 10:28:19 And again, I think you hit it, is that it’s a rewiring of how we react to what she is and you know you’re always quick to remind me, and us that she can’t at her age right Now she can’t 10:28:34 control the way she thinks so it’s like it’s tough, because, as the parent in the room you got to be the one who can adjust you got to be the one that says all right. this is how she’s going to be I can’t 10:28:46 change that. So I have to look in the mirror and say, How am I going to adapt? 10:28:52 How am I going to react in a way that is not clashing with what we know? 10:28:57 Is there? How can I? How can I maneuver around it right? But it it really is that it’s mentality in its mindset, and I just look at it as that next great challenge in life, just as school was just as getting your career going was just as you know getting to 10:32:41 where we’re at and our relationship was and I think just knowing that you have someone in the trenches with you to experience this and to be there whenever the other person is just not handling it right and there’s just been as many days where 10:32:57 i’m not good with it where you’re not and we can hear each other, and just it’s an immediate tag. 10:33:04 Let me step in like 30 s time out. go in the other room. get him get a breather. 10:33:09 So. Okay, so let’s so you said like what’s like figure out strategy. 10:33:14 So I want to talk about gentle parenting positive parenting conscious parenting. 10:33:20 It’s all kind of the same thing, but the idea is that we yes, we have boundaries for Liliana. 10:33:28 We also allow her to have her feelings and express her feelings, which means we don’t stop the meltdowns. 10:33:34 We sit through the meltdowns, and we find a way to support her needs. 10:33:37 When she expresses them. This is not how either of us were raised. 10:33:45 There’s not a lot of people who are raised with parents who use this kind of parenting because it’s like new or ish. 10:33:53 So let’s talk about it like sometimes when Liliana has really big meltdowns. 10:33:58 She’s talking back. She is hitting there’s a lot of hitting and kicking. 10:34:04 She had one recently like a week ago, and after I think I was like right before I dropped off at school, I came back. You know. 10:34:11 This is like, I would say, a year and a half for 2 years at least, on my personal, gentle, parenting journey. 10:34:16 I would say the past 6 months to a year you’ve been like learning a lot more. 10:34:20 So scripts a lot more ways of handling like stepping back, pausing all of it. 10:34:25 But but you still your knee, jerk thought sometimes goes to like punitive punishment measures where you say like I want to. 10:34:36 So like i’m talking, specifically and i’m sharing this with your permission, because I know that there’s other parents out there who might be listening, who have not yet gone on board with gentle parenting, especially when you have a 10:34:46 neurod divergent child, because you’re having some of the most difficult behaviors at home, coming from a neurod divergent perspective. 10:34:54 So after this meltdown I remember coming in, and you you were frustrated with how that happened, like Oh, here we go again. 10:35:02 It happened again, and you said something where it’s like we gotta just like start taking her toys away, or something about her toys like she shouldn’t have all these toys that she’s gonna treat us like that which I think that 10:35:11 is, that is a really common first thought thing, and I validated that by saying like, I know it feels like we want her to like. 10:35:19 We think that that consequence would make her feel like Oh, man I can’t treat my parents this way, or else they’re gonna take my toys away like at first I thought that feels logical to us to us as the parents as 10:35:31 the people who pay for her stuff and like well, Why, would I give her all of these things, and let her have access to all these things that she can treat me like crap like I get that. 10:35:39 And that’s that used to be my knee-jerk reaction, too, and we don’t do that. 10:35:43 But I like that. He voices that because he feels safe saying that around me. 10:35:47 And then we talked about it later, like in, when he was cooled down. 10:35:49 And I was like, you know, like reason why that stuff doesn’t really is, because it’s not really linked to what she did the taking away her toys for her having a meltdown which was out of her control because it was 10:36:00 over socks is something that’s like not not totally fair and it wouldn’t really do anything right so. 10:36:07 But I think there’s so many parents out there who still have that first thought of like, I gotta do something I gotta use timeouts. 10:36:14 I got to punish. I got to take away something. 10:36:18 Do you want to comment on like what that feels like trying to go against that, like how hard that is to not do that! 10:36:25 And how long it’s taking you to come on board with us trying this less traditional way. 10:36:31 Now, thankfully, it’s becoming more traditional because of Dr. 10:36:34 Becky and every instagram. but it’s still like compared to how we grew up. 10:36:38 It feels like learning a new language. it’s like fighting every natural urge that we have in our triggers. 10:36:44 Yeah, yeah, I it’s it’s it is hard because again without knowing as much as you know. 10:36:51 And knowing that this is an entirely different strategy like you’re saying in those times of frustration, it gets very primitive with me right? 10:37:00 And I would imagine other dads are probably like this too and I don’t know if it is a byproduct of how I grew up. 10:37:06 You know, my dad, Italian dad with just you know strict and know to to a level of intimidation that you know I it kind of colored what I thought would be the right way to reprimand or to to deal with her when 10:37:25 she’s she’s acting in that way but you know I think like you said when when you break things down to me. 10:37:33 I think there’s lot of it comes with being open to being coachable by you to be quite honest and again go back to sports mentality like I always grew up playing sports, and being someone who took the input of the coach And it’s like look this is how 10:37:50 we’re gonna execute this play you know for this result and there’s a level of trust that I have with you, because I know that you’re putting in the work to do this. 10:38:03 Meanwhile it is hard because there are just times where i’m like as the father to her feel the need to be a authoritative in ways, yet not knowing how to do that without things as drastic as i’m taking your toys away. 10:38:20 That’s really hard you’re describing as authoritarian Yeah, authoritative is what we’re trying to do. 10:38:26 Authoritative parenting is actually like the boundaries and the feelings. 10:38:29 And then there’s Authoritarian Okay, which is more of like the Dictator like what I say goes put your foot down. 10:38:35 See you’re teaching I am the father this is real time You’re teaching me right now, and I get those confused, too. 10:38:39 There’s authoritative and authoritarian yeah so you’re thinking about an authoritarian like the all discipline. 10:38:46 That’s the wrong word, all like punishment like less warmth. more just like you have to respect me because i’m this person, and this is what you should do or else i’m gonna that’s more authoritarian 10:38:55 and I think a lot of dads that i’ve worked with come from that perspective, and that I hear about and I think that’s you know. 10:39:04 That is probably a byproduct of just, you know, growing up in that generation. 10:39:10 And that was, I think a little bit i’m sure a lot more normalized back then than it is in 2,022. 10:39:16 So. and what I always say to you is that and to other parents. I coach is i’m always like yeah time outs, rewards, punishments. 10:39:26 Those things would probably work in the short term Maybe I don’t even know if they would work with Liliana. 10:39:32 To be quite honest, but we’ve never tried it because i’ve not been willing to do it. 10:39:35 But we see that those things work out of fear you know which is something that you’ve talked about, and i’ll let you talk about that. 10:39:43 But we are playing the long game like we want to raise her, to be self-aware of her feelings, and to be not only self-aware, but like could hum comfortable with her feelings where she can feel confident in them not 10:39:56 be afraid of them, not hide them. not take them out on someone to truly sit with her feelings, which is something that is so hard to do. 10:40:03 But that’s where we’re, coming. from and and her having this internal motivation to do things because she loves herself and others, and the relationship we have, and and so sometimes it would be easier to just say no Tv or take 10:40:21 her clothes or close her toys away because she said something. 10:40:25 But long-term like it’s not worth it for us and it’s something. 10:40:30 And that’s I think the biggest not fight but the biggest push that I have, because it is hard for me to show you like less evidence where we’re like, okay, we’re going on 5 years of doing it in the past like 2 years now, of me really 10:40:42 doing gentle parenting where it’s like she’s still having meltdowns like where if we try time out, Would she not have meltdowns like Maybe but I don’t even it just doesn’t feel good to me to 10:40:53 do that, and I feel lucky that you let me do that without even though it’s still like sacrificing the idea that what if she did listen to us? 10:41:04 And she did have all of these like behaviors that were more cooperative to what we like. 10:41:09 But I am just grateful that you let me do that. 10:41:13 Yeah, of course, I think it like it goes back to that phrase. 10:41:17 Intimidation right like out of fear yeah and that’s that’s not full. 10:41:23 Stop. That’s not the effect that I want on her as She ages, and she grows to be a a teen into a young woman, and is will become a full, you know, a full-on adult. 10:41:36 Like, I think, to navigate that that dynamic of wanting to earn her respect and have her see us and me in particular, as authority figure, without having to introduce the idea that she has to be intimidated by me like 10:41:55 that is, that if you can thread that needle like that is what i’m trying to do, and it’s hard as hell, because there’s just times where it doesn’t feel like you can accomplish that without putting 10:42:10 Quote-unquote your foot down, and it goes back to how I was raised from my dad like I said just a very, you know. 10:42:19 You know loud Italian who it just it was intimidating, and I always was military. 10:42:26 Yeah, you know, Air Force, and it was something to where I had just the mass amount of respect towards them. 10:42:35 But in it was with shades of intimidation and seeing that if he was mad his voice would get raised, and it’s like that’s not where you want to be and you know this in times where we’ve had some 10:42:49 of the the tougher meltdowns I feel that inside of me, and it’s like trying to push that down because i’m like I don’t want to replicate that that is breaking a cycle that is the moments where you 10:43:04 break the cycle where You’re like I don’t want because these are the moments where she will remember, and she grows up, and because Cuz Cuz because of me is like, I think the other thing is man like, I only had 10:43:13 an older brother I didn’t I wasn’t around a lot of girls girl. 10:43:17 I was just my cousins were primarily boys and knowing that she’s a woman, and I am going to be the person in which is going to influence you know what she looks for in yeah, a man as she gets older the last thing that I 10:43:34 would want is her to have to feel a level of intimidation with like any partner she’s with like. 10:43:40 I want her to be fierce. I want her to be able to do the things that you are imparting in her, in that she can self-regulate herself. 10:43:50 She can understand that you know you can respect me as her father isn’t authority figure without me having to just instill this level of Oh, my gosh! 10:44:02 I’m scared of how like I this the idea of being scared or intimidating like, Yeah, it hits me. 10:44:06 Hits a nerve with me because I know that’s how I felt with my dad, and it’s like I know like I I can. 10:44:13 I can get her respect. I can do that without having to resort to these. 10:44:17 The you know, primitive you know primitive tactics of parenting her. 10:44:24 So it’s hard to because like I again I don’t Think haven’t seen it. 10:44:29 I didn’t experience it myself you know it’s just something that i’m having to learn on the fly like I think a lot of parents have to do, but I will say having someone like you there that can guide a guide 10:44:42 mean, and pull me back when I have these times where I want to revert and just be angry, and I want to unleash the the volume of my voice which I know can get to levels that are just uncomfortable. 10:44:55 I don’t want to get there, i’m not trying to exhibit that the last thing I want is her to have any kind of lighting image or memory of man. 10:45:05 My dad not mad. it would be so you know i’d be so worth like no man like kill that like i’m not. i’m not here for that. 10:45:11 I want her to be able to be like my dad Never! 10:45:14 Yelled, you know, to a certain extent, like he always was there to talk me through. 10:45:19 You know, I just want to impart on her the relationship that I want her to find when she gets older. 10:45:26 And yeah, it’s a lie you know I think we also talked about last night that it’s less about her not seeing us get so angry, but more about her remembering after every big fighter. after every mistake my mom and dad always said Sorry my 10:45:40 mom and dad always came and said, I love you like that is the one thing we have control of later. 10:45:44 We don’t have control of our selves in the moment, and we’re all human, and we all make mistakes. 10:45:49 We all say things we should, and we all yell as loud as we shouldn’t. 10:45:54 But we always like 100% of the time. have the option to go back and repair like that’s the only confidence that I have, and that what lets me go to sleep, knowing I can make mistakes, and saying Oh, it’s okay, because 10:46:04 she’s so resilient she’s so willing to forgive. 10:46:08 But I worry that there’s going to be a time when that stops, and she likes so so i’m trying to build that into her now. 10:46:13 But we only have a few more minutes. But I want to ask you one actionable thing. 10:46:21 So if there I get a lot of moms, not just moms, but more of the default parent. 10:46:27 The parent who does all of the reading. the one who listens to my podcast. 10:46:33 The one who consults professionals, the one who take notes take notes on blogs and is learning everything about your neurodivering child and the parenting strategies. 10:46:42 You work that in that part also the default, parent, and they have a partner, a co-parent, someone who is also a caregiver for their child, who’s not yet on board, and they ask me to say how can I get my partner to 10:46:54 be on board. they’re not believing in this gentle parenting thing they don’t believe about the node divergent thing. 10:47:00 It’s really. hard for me to get them on board obviously it’s a huge thing, and it’s not going to be an overnight change. 10:47:06 But if you could think of like one strategy, one thing to say anything that you could give those people advice or encouragement, and trying to get their partners on board, what would you say to them? 10:47:20 Think, you know again. I don’t know if it’s a strategy or more so. 10:47:25 Advice, but it all to me again. I can only relay our experience. right. 10:47:31 It all comes from the foundation of knowing that you and your partner are in it together, right And I think in times where we let heads on, you know, and at least in the earlier stages of whether she has this or she, doesn’t 10:47:47 it’s all coming from a place where you know we are in this to do what is best for her. 10:47:55 And I think that trust and that equity that you build up with your partner again. 10:48:00 I think, for parents that are doing it by themselves that’s a completely different. 10:48:05 You know, I couldn’t imagine, because I can’t envision going through this, you know, raising her without having someone who at the end of the day, you know, you can trust that they have the best intentions in mind when they’re 10:48:25 dealing with this child who may have neur divergent tendencies or is neurodiversion like. 10:48:32 That’s what it comes down to because when you and I even argue. 10:48:38 It always kind of comes back to at the end of the day. 10:48:41 We are so passionate about doing what’s best for her I think it sounds maybe elementary, but just reminding yourself of that is, your partner feels strongly, and you in the in the way that you do that there is something there it doesn’t have 10:49:00 to be combative like the first instinct doesn’t have to be well, I don’t. 10:49:05 I don’t trust that it I think that that’s that to me is the key, because again, i’m not going to be able to give you counter strategy to say Well, you know, because based on these you know these readings 10:49:16 or what i’ve seen like I am just not that well versed in this space in the way you are you are an expert. 10:49:23 Who am I to question an expert? But again I think it just comes down to Don’t make it a combative discussion. 10:49:33 Make it something that you acknowledge this partner you’re you know. 10:49:40 If if you are married to your your child’s parent right and you have this bond with them like we have together, it’s all in the name of doing what’s best so I think that that is key it’s crucial 10:49:51 to always remind yourself like we we’re not you’re not trying to make my life harder by introducing something that maybe I feel uncomfortable and acknowledging you’re simply doing. 10:50:03 What you said, you know earlier. you’d mentioned that has stuck with me, I think, and partly and in large part helped me acknowledge the situation. 10:50:13 We have where you’re like she has something and I saw the signs, and I didn’t act in a swift matter. 10:50:21 I would not be able to live with myself i’ve never not thought of that, because i’m like I could understand the regret that you would have knowing that you had the keys, and you had the ability to step in and interject 10:50:35 and correct course. it’s like we are sailing down the wrong path, and instead of being like, okay, we can we can steer the ship over here and kind of get back on on our destination a little bit closer. 10:50:47 Whereas Nope, we’re just gonna keep going in the wrong direction, like I respect that sentiment, and that’s why, I think, know, being able to acknowledge you know your expertise, and knowing that how the end of the day we 10:51:03 just want what’s best for her and to not wish that she was a different way. 10:51:10 But just see the way she is and say this is the hand that we’re dealt, and we are going to make this a winning hand, and for anyone who’s listening, if you want to hear how I did it I don’t even know if 10:51:23 you noticed this over the years, how he started it was we started by. 10:51:28 I would read the books, and I would just start like highlighting passages, and like writing them on posts. 10:51:34 It’s like he doesn’t this sound familiar like I would have him. He wasn’t interested, or had the time to read entire books with me, and I get that like you have to be fully invested or like passionate about it and from 10:51:45 a career perspective. I was already interested in this stuff, and it also happened to work with learning about her. 10:51:50 I would highlight passages, and chapters, and be like Read this just little bits at a time, and I think you would like let that seek in. 10:51:59 But that’s it, and then eventually translated to like Instagram Post. 10:52:02 I send you Dr. becky’s post i’m like doesn’t this sound familiar, and these are all things that I already knew. 10:52:06 But it’s just like the the marriage dynamic where you’re like nagging about like i’m nagging all the time about like the dishes, and things in the house that like it was one more thing to 10:52:15 nag about but if it were from someone else’s voice and it was describing the same thing. 10:52:19 I’m like you can’t deny that that sounds just like Liliana. 10:52:22 And this is. And look, that parent feels that way too. so I think that really quick, I think that’s a really good point. 10:52:28 You would provide me with very snackable pieces of info in a way that like you said. 10:52:35 And this has been for a year. Yes, Oh, journey and then now it’s to the point where I can we have full like hour long conversations after meltdown. 10:52:44 Were i’m not even really like coaching him through that i’m just explaining like reflecting it, and then he’s adding pieces like it’s clear it’s sinking and it’s just a slower 10:52:49 process for the parent who’s. not. the default parent and So if you need to start that way, send them this podcast, send them one of my Instagram posts, and then, with Dr. Becky Post, like they’re all very Quick things 10:53:00 that if you see something just like, tag them in it, send it to them. 10:53:04 If they read it or not eventually it will catch on it’s, just not an overnight thing, and my last piece of advice is not to correct your partner in front of your child in the middle of like a meltdown, Obviously, if there’s anything 10:53:17 like physical or a safety issue, jump in. but if, like, they say something wrong, or they do something like they handle it differently. 10:53:26 Wait until everybody’s emotions are cool down try to find one thing positive that they did like I love how you took charge of that situation like Here’s why, I think it might not have worked for her or whatever However, you would guys talk But 10:53:41 outside of the moment, and not like in the moment because that just makes it a you against them against your kid, and it’s like no one’s on the same page. 10:53:47 So that’s my last piece of advice but thank you for being here, was it? 10:53:53 That was it. That was the whole thing. Yeah, I was just getting warmed up. 10:53:55 We got to go pick her up. Well, I got to go pick her up. 10:54:00 Okay, a little girl, I think we’re gonna have to do a part, too, because this is a really good conversation. 10:54:03 Bring it on. Now, did you like being on the show? I want more. 10:54:06 I thought there was gonna be more questions. I was rushing through the end because I was like, I think I have to go. 10:54:10 But do we have to pick her up right now there’s no time for one more question? 10:54:13 We’re gonna do a part. 2 if you want to part 2. 10:54:15 Yeah, if the if the people want to part too I don’t know if they, if I I don’t know if this is too much petics for 1, one, podcast it’s a lot right a lot of to crack, any jokes 10:54:26 Okay, okay. Well, we’ll see you all next time thank you for being here. 10:54:29 Can I just say one thing? Can you sign off? Yeah, Yeah, do I? 10:54:33 I just wanted to say, Well, the cameras on how proud I am of you!




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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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  1. I thought the same thing as your husband when he was surprised it was over! What a great episode. It felt like exact conversations I have had with my husband about our daughter too. Very validating, especially with the mindset shifts and knowing how valuable having somebody else who is genuinely all in too. I’ll be one vote for “the people want more” 🙂