Resource for Parenting
Susan Borison and Stephanie Silverman, best friends and co-founders of Your Teen Media, are bringing their magazine to life. From interviews with the experts and authors to discussions of trending topics and personal stories, Your Teen with Sue and Steph is an essential guide to raising teens today.
Turning Around Teen Entitlement
We all want the best for our kids...but what happens when they end up feeling that the world owes them the best? Amy McCready, author of The Me, Me, Me Epidemic, helps us learn the best ways to check our kids' entitlement without picking a fight.
Check out her book by clicking the Amazon button above!
Steph: Today’s episode is sponsored by Talkspace. With Talkspace online therapy, anyone can get therapy without traveling to an office. Be sure to use the code “YOURTEEN,” one word all caps, to get sixty five dollars off your first month of counseling.
Sue: Welcome to Your Teen with Sue and Steph. I’m Sue.
Steph: And I’m Steph. We are co-founders of Your Teen Media, the resource for parenting teens and tweens.
Sue: And today we’re talking about teenagers and entitlement. Something that I think both Stephanie and I bristle at, right?
Sue: Yeah so it’s that thing that when you hear it your body reacts to it and it’s like, “Did I raise a kid who just said that?” So our guest today is Amy McCready and she’s going to give us a whole lot of great advice about raising entitled kids. But before that Stephanie and I are going to talk about things we’ve done that might have contributed to that worry about our kids. I have some stories that I’m going to share because I don’t think there’s any parent who hasn’t tried to intervene in some big or small way to kind of soften the blow for their kids. So I have stories but the one thing that I’ve finding most fascinating about my life, my baby is in college right now and that means that five kids have left my house and I am wanting to intervene more with college now that my kid is in college than I’ve ever considered before in anyone’s life throughout their whole lives.
Steph: Wait a minute. That’s a new feeling with this particular child?
Sue: Well I don’t know if it’s child related or my age or just having gone through it so many times. My youngest moved into college and when we saw his room and he didn’t want to be on the top bunk bed, he didn’t want to be on the bottom. So we took apart the beds. He now has a room with two single beds, a desk and a second desk, that is in the middle of the room because you are not allowed to remove furniture. So he has to live… They have to walk around a desk in the middle of the room, a non functioning desk, because there’s no room for a chair to get to their beds, to get to their clothes, to do everything.
Steph: It’s kind of like an island. You know like in a kitchen?
Sue: It is! It’s a kitchen island. Yeah except that the room is so small that there would be nobody who would think that there… And I want to call the school.
Steph: Wait could we do that while we’re on the podcast?
Sue: Oh my God that would be so funny.
Steph: That would be so funny.
Sue: If my kid knew… Like when I said that to him he was like, “Really bad idea.” Like not happening.
Steph: Step away from the phone.
Sue: And by the way my husband also wanted to call up because what we wanted to say is take the desk.
Steph: It’s so dumb.
Sue: And they have a rule: furniture in the room can not be placed somewhere else.
Steph: And it doesn’t matter if the rule is dumb.
Sue: Apparently not.
Sue: Anyway guys we have not called. I’m sure my kid has adjusted just fine. He keeps telling me about every other… He’s got like one of two dorms that hasn’t been renovated yet. Everybody else is living with central air, beautifully new dorms and he’s living living in a dorm that someone lived in 30 years ago and it bugs me and I think it’s not fair. So I want to call. OK. So what’s your story.
Sue: Well here’s what I bristle at more. I think mine are more the day to day, and one thing that gets my goat with all the kids is, so I grew up in a house where we went out to dinner for birthdays and maybe I’m the third of three. I think like as maybe what I say the reigns got loosened or maybe there was a little bit more money than there was when my siblings were growing up maybe we went out to dinner a little bit more. But for the most part going out to dinner was like a treat. Our kids, we go out to dinner at least once a week. We bring in dinner etc.. And what makes me crazy is when all throughout I’m like, “Oh I think we’re going to go to…” And I throw out a restaurant, and they’re like, “Oh.” And I’m like, “Wait you’re kidding, right?” Like when do they get to vote on dinner? Like I feel like I would have never made a comment because it was such a treat to go. And now our kids have been raised with I don’t know. Just going out. It’ss those little things where I think, “Really?” Or they’ll ask where seats are for a game. OK? And I’ll say to them, “You know where my seats were for the game?” And they’ll go, “On the couch?” You know because they’re heard it a million times. So it is those little things that— I would say those are the two. They make me crazy because I feel like, “Really? Just be glad we’re going out or just be glad we’re going to the game.”
Sue: Yes so I’m no different than you. So what I’m going say it applies to me as well. But we gave them a new norm and so…
Steph: I know, I know.
Sue: So the new norm. We had a kid one time, we were going to a game and she said, “Do you have a loge?” To which we were like, “No.” And she said, “Well I’d rather not come.” Like a kid’s friend.
Steph: I remember that actually.
Sue: And I was like so taken aback. But the truth is she’s only ever gone to a game in a loge. So her normal is that. My kid’s normal was like. I mean I went to Broadway shows in the last row and thought it was the biggest treat. But that’s not the life I raised my kids in. So they had an opportunity to pick the restaurant they wanted and then when I got annoyed it was like welcome to the world you created.
Steph: Yeah. So it’s totally true.
Sue: So my big thing is that when I would pick my kids up from school because they didn’t want to take the bus. Why I got sucked into that I don’t know. But I do remember hearing someone talk about how the bus is the place for bullying. And so somewhere in the back of my mind that was like a worry. And so I picked my kids up from school and they would stand there and when I got there like 30 seconds late or 10 minutes late I got the same reaction, which was, “You know how long I’ve been waiting for you?” And it really really pissed me off. And what I saw with parents who didn’t pick their kids up. I mean I remember this girl like jumping up and down with glee, “My mom’s picking me up today! My mom’s picking me up today!” And I was like OK. I totally set this up. It’s my fault. But there was no sense that this was a privilege that the mother came which this other girl was feeling. My kids had an expectation. So I think this is gonna segway so perfectly into our expert who’s going to tell us how to undo some of the things that we did. We’re super excited to have Amy McCready. She’s going to give us some really great advice as it relates to raising and unraising entitled kids.
Steph: Transitions aren’t easy. For students heading back to school comes hand-in-hand with a lot of tough emotions. New people, new responsibilities, even new places. And as a mom watching your kids deal with the anxiety of change can be so hard to watch.
Sue: With Talkspace student plans, students no longer have to schedule appointments to talk about what’s on their minds. For a fraction of the cost of traditional therapy, students can connect with a licensed therapist from the comfort of their device and send unlimited messages from anywhere, anytime whether in between classes, during late night study sessions, or before a big exam. The Talkspace student plan pairs students with licensed therapists who are experienced in addressing the challenges they face. To help your child get started for a fraction of the price of traditional therapy, go to talkspace.com/student to learn more. Make sure to use the code “YOURTEEN,” all caps, to get sixty five dollars off your first month using Talkspace.
Sue: Amy McCready, who describes herself as a recovering yeller. I want to be described that way one day, is the founder of positiveparentingsolutions.com and the author of two best selling parenting books: If I Have to Tell You One More Time and The Me Me Me Epidemic. Amy’s online parenting course teaches parents of toddlers to teens how to get their kids to listen without nagging, yelling, or punishing.
Steph: Amy is also a regular Today show contributor. Amy thanks so much for being here.
Amy McCready: Thank you Susan and Steph for having me. I’m delighted to be with you.
Sue: So our our topic today is about entitled kids. And I was gonna say raising entitled kids but then I wondered, do we raise them or are they born that way? And I know that you said entitlement is not in their DNA. So what does it look like?
Amy McCready: Well of course yes. They’re not born entitled and no parent intends to raise entitled kids. But I just think it happens slowly over the years and it happens in the name of love. You know when we do things for our kids that they’re perfectly capable of doing for themselves. Sometimes we overindulge them, we rescue them from mistakes and failures and all of those things kind of the over parenting that we do, sometimes results in kids who have a bit of an entitled attitude. The good news for parents is that we can totally turn that around with a few simple tools. So it’s not something we need to be overly concerned about because there is good news that we can shift that tide in terms of entitlement.
Sue: Okay so before we get to the we created entitled and how we can un-create it, one of the things you said comes up every time we talk to anybody in the expert space around raising teenagers. Is everything leading back to the fact that we have to let our kids fail?
Amy McCready: That is such a hard thing for parents to do for younger kids and for teenagers. But yes we do have to let them fail because as we all know that’s where we learn the most. And the only way that they’re going to feel capable and confident when they launch, when they finally leave our homes, is if they’ve had those opportunities to stumble and fail and figure things out for themselves. So I do think that really is a big part of the puzzle. Again it’s the hardest for parents because you know it starts out with the little stuff like when they forget their sporting equipment, or they you know forget their homework on the dining room table. We want to rescue them. We don’t want them to have to experience that negative consequence at school but you know as kids get older the stakes get bigger and more serious. And you know if we don’t start by letting them experience those failures and those challenges and those consequences they’re just not going to have the resilience and the skill set they need for the adult challenges that they’re going to face down the road.
Steph: So can we kind of make a distinction between the word failure and some of the examples you just gave? When you say failure, are there boundaries around that? So we’re talking about not getting the lead in a play or calling the coach to say, I thought my kid should be on the varsity team. Are those the kind of things we’re talking about? Or is it even beyond that.
Amy McCready: It is those types of things. And that word failure, just I don’t know that just has such a negative connotation. You know maybe that the way we want to describe it is we need to let them experience real life consequences. And sometimes those real life consequences are not making the team or not getting the lead in the play. Sometimes they’re not getting to start for the tournament because they didn’t bring the right equipment or it’s you know getting a bad grade because they didn’t turn in their homework when they were supposed to or they didn’t get a project in on time. All of those real life consequences are difficult and uncomfortable for kids but those are the things that we need to allow to play out without us interfering, without us stepping in to rescue. We can be there to support and encourage and kind of help them through it. But if we prevent those natural consequences from playing out, then they don’t develop the skill set that they need to be healthy, happy, functioning adults. Does that make sense?
Sue: Sure yeah.
Steph: When we talk about this rescue mentality and their sense of entitlement, can you talk through what those look like? You know what does it look like say with the tween versus the teen and if we are rescuing them how does that impact their sense of entitlement? Give us some examples for our parents that are listening.
Amy McCready: In the tween and the teen years you know rescuing is basically as I said you know preventing a real life consequence to play out. So very often it happens around school related things and extracurriculars. So again the parent will step in to intervene with the teacher or the coach or we tend to do a lot of reminding. And so instead of letting the child… The child— The tween or teen take responsibility for managing their own time and completing their assignments and getting the projects done and preparing for the final we kind of step in and can manage that process for them. When is your project due? What do you need to get done? We’re sort of leading that whole process as opposed to letting them take responsibility for it. We sometimes rescue financially. So instead of letting kids save for what they want, get a part time job, whatever they need to do. We step in and we pay for things that really they should be responsible for. So it happens in different ways throughout the tween and teen years.
Sue: So I’m hearing what you’re saying and I’m like, “I know so many people who do that.” But I’m also thinking, “I imagine I’ve done it too.” But I’m way less aware of my contribution to this, than being aware of the people around me doing it because someone tells you a story and you know let’s say they bought their kid a car and you’re like well they’re paying for gas right? There’s this whole script that goes along with that but we bought our kids a car and we didn’t make them pay for gas and did that create entitled? I don’t know. I don’t know.
Amy McCready: Well I think it’s a balance. You know if your kids are taking responsibility in other areas then that’s not a big deal. I mean we we purchased a car too because it made our life easier. Where my kids went to school they didn’t have bus service so it was either me schlepping to and from every single day or you know getting an old car and letting them drive it. So that was sort of a convenience for me. I don’t really see that as an entitlement issue. I think the key is that as kids progress from the tweens to the teens they are taking on more responsibility in all aspects of their lives. So whether it’s you know doing their own laundry or preparing their own lunches, getting involved in meal preparation for the family, learning how to you know get the oil changed in the car, taking on some responsibility financially. At kind of each milestone, if you want that to be each year, your kids should be becoming more and more independent. And so basically when they leave your house whether it’s to go to college or whatever their next step is they are fully functioning. They’re capable of running a home, they’re capable of managing their own finances, they have all of those skills.
Sue: So we know that that’s really important for them. We talk about it all the time in fact on our podcast we’ve arrested a number of times. One of the things that I found as a parent is that saying no can be racing through my head as the right answer. And my body is not letting me do it because I know what comes next. I know that the battle that I have to confront next and I just don’t have the energy. So it’s like everything in my brain is saying that the right thing here, Amy McCready says I should say no right now, and instead I go, “Fine.” You know like this defeated fine.
Amy McCready: Well you know the good news is we don’t always have to say no. One of the tools that I teach to parents that I just love and I didn’t come up with this but it is a tool called convince me. And so if there is one of those situations where you know everything in your being is saying no but they are dead set upon doing that thing, you can use the tool called convince me. And basically what that involves is them understanding all of your concerns. So if it’s going on an overnight trip in the next town with a bunch of friends to go to a concert obviously you have some concerns around that topic. So you as the parent would you know communicate all of your concerns about that whole event. And then it’s their job to understand those concerns, take those into consideration and then come back to you with a plan that addresses those concerns. So basically they’re going to convince you. And the reason that tool is so effective is because they have to put themselves in your shoes and really try to understand what your concerns are and then come up with a plan that would address it. And you know what the backup plan is if something goes wrong and all of those things that they need to take into consideration so they can come to you with that plan and you can say, “You know what? I see that this is really important to you. And I feel like you’ve really thought through it. You have a backup plan. And so I’m going to take this leap of faith and let you go to that concert in the next town.” And then we see what happens. If they do well and they’re successful then you have more confidence the next time something comes up that might be outside of your box of what you’re comfortable with.
Steph: I think that is so brilliant Amy. It’s funny I’m sitting here and I hadn’t thought about it in a long time. We had something with one of our kids who was like 15 and wanted to sell T-shirts at a concert and we thought he was crazy. I already had in my head, I had him in a body bag on his way. Right? And I remember saying I’m so uncomfortable about every piece of this. So you need get us to some comfort level we’re not going to be totally comfortable but I have to be more comfortable than I am at the beginning of this conversation. Like I remember thinking how grown up he seemed when he presented his plan to us. And again I still wasn’t comfortable but I was more comfortable than I had been five minutes prior to that or 10 minutes prior to that. But you know I love that because first of all it’s that whole idea of their forced to see it from someone else’s viewpoint.
Amy McCready: Absolutely. And if we’re talking about the me me me epidemic and sometimes for teens it’s understandable it is kind of all about them from their perspective but it does force them to sort of put themselves in your shoes and think about what your concerns might be. I think the other thing that it does is gives them some real world skills that they can use in future settings because you know so much of life is kind of working with somebody else who has a different viewpoint on things and finding a way to compromise and get things done. And so it starts to build those skills and we can start with the little things like you know things that aren’t as big and potentially dangerous as driving across to the other town for a concert but start with the little things. And as they sort of build goodwill in their sort of bank account then you’re more willing to let them do other things and take other leaps that you might not feel comfortable with otherwise.
Sue: So that sounds great for like the big stuff. And I could totally walk away from this and try it like I really see a space for that. But the daily stuff, the grind of the daily stuff, like in my house I don’t want what you made for dinner, right? So I don’t I’m not going to tell my kid to… What was the language you used?
Amy McCready: Convince me.
Sue: Those really hard words. No I’m not going to tell my kid, “Convince me why you don’t have to eat the meal I just prepared.” This is like the stuff that wears me down on a regular basis. So I do really feel like I mean in the world someone just prepared dinner for you say thank you sit down and eat it. So how do you navigate that one since convince me it probably doesn’t work in this situation.
Amy McCready: That’s right. Yes convincing me would not be the tool to use there. So I think for those other sort of day to day challenges whether it’s, “I don’t like this that you prepared.” Or just general grumpiness and attitude and kind of backtalk and those things that just make us wanna scream. We have to just take a step back and try to I understand where that is coming from. Sometimes it’s not about the meal that you made or whatever else they’re grumbling about but it’s kind of a power struggle between the parent and the child. And so we really do have to address those power struggles at the root issue. Very often parents, and I’m really guilty of this, we do a lot of ordering correcting and directing we do a lot of, “You need to do this.” You know kind of a lot of bossing around and for teenagers who are extremely independent. You know they’re digging in their heels. They may not say this but their thought process is, “I don’t have to listen to you. You’re not going to boss me around.”
Steph: That’s my favorite line, Amy. “You’re not the boss of me.”
Amy McCready: You’re not the boss of me even though you live in my house and you know I pay for everything. But yeah. But that’s their perspective. So very often by changing our communication style it will make a huge difference.
Sue: And what does that look like?
Amy McCready: Well it’s first starting from a place of empathy. So when they come home to us at 4:30 or 5:00 o’clock we have no idea what happened in their day. Right? Being a tween or a teen is really hard. And so we have no idea the challenges that they faced all day. Empathy is always going to be more effective than, “Oh yes you will eat this food or do your laundry.”
Steph: Yes I am the boss of you.
Amy McCready: Exactly. But we tend to react to that because those comments are triggers for us. They’re emotional triggers and then we tend to react with power. “Oh yes you will.” But if we can just really sort of train our brains to start from a place of empathy and emotional connection that can so often diffuse that. The other thing that we can do is if you find yourself— I always like for parents to make lists of what are the typical power struggles. So maybe it’s around food and meal time maybe it’s around doing family jobs or chores. There are certain buckets that we can sort of put these power struggles into and then we create a strategy for that particular bucket. So for example if it’s around, “I don’t want to eat what you prepared.” Then we kind of sit down in a non emotional time and say, “You know I really want you to be more involved in what we’re eating around here. So let’s let’s sit down and figure out the menu for the next week.” Or the next month or whatever it is. Really get them involved in that. Get them involved in meal preparation on the weekends when they have a little bit more time. Sometimes if we sort of do some brainstorming and problem solving around that issue, we can have more success. If the power struggle is around doing family jobs then we create what I call “when then routines.” And so the when then routine sounds like this, “When your family jobs are done and I’ve inspected. If you if you feel that that’s necessary. Then you can enjoy your technology time.” And so family contribute— I call them family contributions rather than chores, family contributions are always structured around a when than routine when X Y and Z is done then you can enjoy your 30 minutes, one hour whatever the allotted technology time is.
Sue: But that’s great from our perspective, what happens when the kid doesn’t do it?
Amy McCready: Well then well, so here’s the thing with the “when then” particularly for tweens and teens, most of them have access to technology now and it’s very important to them. Right? So technology as part of the “then” in a when then routine is usually very effective with teens and tweens because it’s kind of their lifeline. So if for some reason that’s not effective then we might have a different “when then.” So if your tween or teen doesn’t drive yet then it becomes when you’ve finished your family contributions then we’ll leave for soccer practice. And that is a hard stop. Like you are not leaving for soccer practice until the family contributions are done and you’ve checked them or the homework is done or whatever it is, whatever that “when then” routine is.
Sue: Do the parents report back to you that it’s effective? That it changes things?
Amy McCready: It is a game changer. And again I could go into it so much more details and it’s in lot more detail in the book. But when you start creating those “when then” routines for your morning, after school, and evenings, then there’s no need to nag and fuss and remind. The routine becomes the boss. So if the kid wants the technology, which usually tweens and teens do, then they’re motivated to get the yucky stuff done. So the yucky stuff always comes before the thing that they’re most interested in, but it’s the routine that is the boss. If you’re not firm on the routine if you’re giving in, if you’re rescuing, then it’s not going to work that well. But if you stick to the routine that you said and you don’t get into a big badgering like negotiating back and forth discussion on it, it’s the routine. If you want to enjoy your technology, then you know what needs to be done. It’s brilliantly effective.
Steph: OK. So here here’s my question. So in this age of over parenting right and everybody gets praised and at the same time we’re trying to you know bring all of these lessons— You know there are chores or whatever you call it, their contribution.
Amy McCready: Family contributions.
Steph: Yeah exactly the contri— We have a line I always say, you’re part of the family or we do this— I can’t remember, something stupid that I’m sure they hate.
Amy McCready: It’s all about teamwork.
Steph: Right. But OK and chorse and allowance and all these things I picture it like a big blender and put it into the blender and what we wan,t at least what I want to come out of that blender is a really delicious milkshake. Right? One that tastes really good. That’s satisfying for everybody. So I guess my question is, is there ever any room for spoiling before you’re a grandparent? Let me throw in there. While you’re still the parent. How do you…? I feel like everything is a lesson and everything is, “Oh my God. Because if I don’t do this they’re going to end up you know in jail.” You know like crazy parenting thoughts like everything has to be a lesson. So is there room for that?
Amy McCready: Absolutley. Don’t you think it’s like everything in moderation. It’s you know it’s like eating you know you can have treats and sweets as long as everything the rest of your diet is pretty healthy. And I think it all comes down to sort of the health of that relationship. How is the relationship between you and your tween or teen. Do you speak to your tween or teen with respect? Do you encourage their input and family decisions? Or is it just constantly telling them what to do and how to do it? If that’s the case you’re going to have you’re going to have a battle on your hands. In terms of you know can we ever spoil kids, yes absolutely. That’s one of the joys of being a parent. It’s all about the balance. So we don’t want to be doing everything for our kids all the time but there’s nothing wrong with taking over some of their responsibilities just because you know they’re exhausted and they have a big test coming up or making their favorite meal or their favorite dessert whatever it is. It’s all a balance. What we want is kids who are independent and capable and empowered to do age appropriate responsibilities and function as happy, healthy tweens and teens and as long as all that’s happening there’s nothing wrong with spoiling every now and again. And to your point earlier like everything doesn’t have to be a lesson like it shouldn’t be… It just shouldn’t be that difficult. We want this time to be joyful. And you know if we take everything so seriously and if parents feel like they have to do something about everything it just sucks the joy out of it.
Steph: I want to go back to something you said earlier, much earlier in the conversation you said about we’re trying to make sure that each year they’re becoming more independent. How do you know that as a parent? You know it’s so hard the days run together and you’re so busy particularly you know multiple kids right? I have three, Sue has five you know. I don’t have an independent checklist and say OK you know Zach did this and Ethan did that, right? How do you measure that and is it even the same for all kids and then even in your own household?
Amy McCready: Well each year we do want kids to become more and more capable and independent and I think you know there are checklists. I mean we have a checklist that we give to parents in our program kind of by age. These are things that kids need to be trained on. And so it starts out with you know think about your home by the time they launch, again, we want them to have the skills to successfully run a home. And that means knowing how to change air filters, and turn off the hot water heater when you go out of town, and do laundry and cook meals and all of those things that are hired to run a home. We want them to have the financial skills so that they are completely financially independent. So we’re training them on how to manage a bank account, and how to manage their own expenses and all of those kinds of things. So if we can think about the different buckets of areas where we need them to be independent. If we can access a checklist online or we could just jot one down ourselves. But just thinking about OK what are all the things that we do as an adult and what are the skills that they need? It does require some attention and that’s the hard part because I mean let’s face it we’re just like kind of getting through day to day and week to week when you have a busy family and activities and everything else. So to really take that time and sit down and say OK what do we want to train on and sort of keeping track of that. That’s where the challenge comes in.
Sue: I think it’s one more thing to do when you’re brushing your teeth.
Steph: Oh my God.
Sue: The single biggest time to accomplish every single thing. Your balance, your medicine. What else are you supposed to do?
Steph: Just your dental hygiene.
Sue: Your dental hygiene. Yeah. One more thing to add there so I have one last question about the not curious situations because I think I as a mom encounter many more of the times when asking what was the phrase? Convince me?
Amy McCready: Convince me.
Steph: I can tell you’re going to be using it all the time.
Sue: Yeah, I’m gonna use it after I call you. I’m going to have to call Amy every day.
Steph: I’ll wear it on my head for you Sue, convince me.
Sue: Yeah. So Amy those times that are not the convince me times that I think I live with many more of then the convince me times. I think intuitively I handled the convinced me times a little better than I do the daily things. So the trail of clothing and shoes and backpack that I think a lot of families have when the kid comes home from school. But some families have mastered. Well what makes the nagging? Because you’re big about doing things that don’t get you to the yelling point, don’t make you the nag over and over again. So what do you do?
Amy McCready: You can do a number of different things. So first let’s take the clothes and shoes and everything, backpack, flannel over the floor example. So. I always like to start with visual reminders so you put up a little sign that says, “Thanks for putting your shoes in the bin.” Or, “Thanks for hanging up your backpack.” Whatever that is. That’s kind of the first step. The second piece is decide what you will do. And this starts with the premise that we can’t make somebody else do anything, right? At least not without a power struggle.
Sue: Damn it.
Amy McCready: I know! Like I’m just figuring that out now.
Steph: Amy you are no fun.
Amy McCready: Oh please, ask my kids. That is for sure. As parents though, we can decide what we will do. I know some people in my house who don’t put their clothes in the laundry room or in the laundry basket. You know laying on the floor.
Sue: Next to the laundry basket.
Amy McCready: Yes. Exactly. How hard is this? So I’m not going to nag him about that but I will decide what I will do. So I have decided that I will do laundry on Tuesdays and Fridays. If your stuff is in the basket on Tuesday and Friday I will be happy to wash it because you know he’s got a full time internship and yada yada.
Sue: Oh I’m gonna push back on that one. Your kid is old enough to do their own laundry. I heard from Amy McCready your kid is old enough to do their own laundry.
Steph: Convince me he doesn’t have time to do his laundry Amy.
Amy McCready: He totally does. This comes back to the spoiling thing right? So this is the one area where I said OK while you’re home for the summer I’m doing laundry I’ll throw the stuff in. So that’s the spoiling part that I’m doing for sure. And then the second piece is I’m going to do laundry Tuesday and Thrusday. If your stuff is there I’ll throw it in with mine. If not, you’re on your own. So that’s where I’ve decided what I will do. Then we can get a little bit more consequential. All right. And this is where it gets a little uglier to be quite honest. We always want to find things that well let me go back. So another thing that we can do is just sort of sit down and have that heart to heart and say when I come home from work it’s just really stressful for me when I see all this stuff flying around, I walk in the door and this is what I’m facing and it’s just… So you can try to see if you can get them to budge on the heart to heart thing. Very often that will work. But if none of that works then you might have to get a little bit more consequential and that means anything that’s laying on the floor is going into a box and it’s going to be put away for the next week and you’ll have to figure it out. Or you can just decide to let that one go. I mean it’s just there are different issues and we can handle them differently depending on how much of a stress point it is for us, how much of a trigger it is for us.
Sue: Right so that that one bugs me a lot. It might not bug someone else. Absolutely. I want to get to the point where I’m saying that we end every single episode with this but it’s a little premature because this is only the second time. You are the second person to answer our every single time we ask this question question and it is what is the biggest myth about parenting that you’ve encountered?
Amy McCready: All right. So the biggest myth about parenting gets to what we talked about earlier, that we can control our kids. That we can make them do what we want them to do. People don’t say that out loud but they kind of operate with that belief. And that’s I think where it gets us into trouble, that we’re going to make them do it our way. And whatever it takes, whether that’s nagging ,whether that’s yelling, whatever that looks like for you. But I think when we sort of understand that concept that we laughed about earlier that you can’t force somebody else to do something. There’s no way, no how, at least without a power struggle. And when you change that belief system in your own mind then it totally changes the paradigm and how you interact with your kids. And so it makes you view your communication differently, that you want to connect emotionally, you want to find win win solutions, you want to problem solve rather than jump in with consequences and all sorts of other things to make your kids comply. So I think that’s… I don’t know if that’s a myth from your perspective but that’s kind of the biggest thing that I see where parents stumble in terms of their effectiveness or how much joy they’re finding in parenting.
Sue: Yeah we see that all the time on Facebook in particular that when parents respond to anything that feels like we’re giving power to the kids there’s a real pushback about, I am the mother they will do what I say. Amy McCready thank you so much for being here. Once again, Amy is the author of The Me Me Me Epidemic and we’re so grateful you were on today.
Amy McCready: Thank you for having me.
Steph: Thanks for joining us for the Your Teen podcast. If you have any topics that you want us to talk about, let us know on our Facebook page or email email@example.com. Your Teen with Sue and Steph is a production of Evergreen podcasts. Special thanks to executive producer Michael DeAloia plus producer Hannah Leach an audio engineer Eric Koltnow.
Steph: You can find more from us at yourteenmag.com, at evergreenpodcasts.com or anywhere you listen to podcasts.
Sue: And don’t forget if you like today’s podcast please leave us an iTunes review. Help other parents find our podcast.
Steph: We’ll see you next time.