Dr. Becky Kennedy: Protocols for Excellent Parenting & Improving Relationships of All Kinds

Dr. Becky Kennedy: Protocols for Excellent Parenting & Improving Relationships of All Kinds

Dr. Becky Kennedy (00:00:00)

  • Dr. Becky Kennedy is a clinical psychologist specializing in parent-child relationships.
  • She is the author of the bestselling book "Good Inside: A Guide to Becoming the Parent You Want to Be."
  • Dr. Kennedy is also the founder and creator of an online learning platform called "Good Inside," where parents and parents-to-be can learn effective parenting skills grounded in clinical psychology.
  • Healthy boundaries are essential for good parenting and all types of relationships.
  • Boundaries define what is and is not acceptable behavior in a relationship.
  • Setting boundaries helps children feel safe and secure and teaches them self-control.
  • Boundaries should be clear, consistent, and age-appropriate.
  • Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person.
  • Empathy is essential for building strong relationships with children and others.
  • Parents can show empathy by listening to their children, validating their feelings, and responding with compassion.
  • Empathy helps children feel understood and loved.
  • Disagreements and arguments are a normal part of any relationship.
  • Parents can navigate disagreements and arguments with their children by staying calm, listening to each other, and trying to understand each other's perspectives.
  • It is important to avoid name-calling, insults, and threats.
  • Parents should also avoid trying to control or win the argument.
  • Apologies and punishments can be effective tools for teaching children right from wrong.
  • Apologies help children to understand that they have done something wrong and to take responsibility for their actions.
  • Punishments should be fair, consistent, and age-appropriate.
  • The goal of punishment should be to teach children, not to punish them.
  • Rewards can be an effective way to encourage good behavior in children.
  • Rewards should be specific, immediate, and meaningful.
  • Rewards should also be used in moderation.
  • The goal of rewards should be to reinforce good behavior, not to bribe children.

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  • Dr. Andrew Huberman's podcast is separate from his teaching and research roles at Stanford University.
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  • Dr. Becky Kennedy, a renowned parenting expert, discusses effective parenting strategies and relationship-building techniques.
  • She emphasizes understanding children's perspectives, meeting their needs, and setting clear boundaries while allowing autonomy and choice.
  • Dr. Kennedy advocates for patience, empathy, and consistency in parenting, avoiding power struggles and harsh punishments.
  • Open communication and active listening are essential for building strong and healthy relationships with children and others.

Healthy Relationships: Sturdiness, Boundaries & Empathy (00:07:35)

  • Sturdy relationships: The ability to connect with oneself and others simultaneously is crucial for healthy relationships.
  • Parenting: Parents have two primary roles: setting boundaries and teaching life skills.
  • Boundaries: Boundaries are actions we commit to that don't require anything from others. They keep us connected to ourselves, represent our values, and protect our children.
  • Life skills: Teaching life skills helps children develop independence and success as adults.
  • Empathy and validation: Dr. Becky Kennedy emphasizes the importance of empathy and validation in parenting and relationships.
  • Sturdy leadership: Effective leadership involves actions rather than just qualities.
  • Boundaries in parenting: Boundaries in parenting should be semi-permeable, allowing for both structure and flexibility.
  • Codependency: Codependency can be healthy when there is mutual reliance, but it becomes problematic when one person lacks a sense of self or merges with the other.
  • "Other-other relationships": Individuals should maintain their own identities and see each other as separate entities to avoid codependency and unhealthy merging.
  • Boundaries are what we tell someone we will do and they require the other person to do nothing.
  • A boundary is not a request.
  • A boundary is a statement of what you will do if your request is not met.
  • Boundaries are necessary because children need sturdy leaders.
  • When children don't listen, it's often because a boundary wasn't set early enough or in a sturdy enough way.

Rules, Boundaries & Connection (00:18:24)

  • Kids crave boundaries and connection, not just rules.
  • Setting boundaries while empathizing with a child's feelings is essential.
  • Boundaries help children learn emotional regulation.
  • Parenting strategies that focus solely on rules or solely on empathy are incomplete.
  • Kids need to feel seen, understood, and safe.
  • Boundaries provide a sense of safety and protection for children.

Rewards & Punishments; Skill Building (00:22:19)

  • Rewarding children excessively can disrupt their reward mechanisms and lead to negative consequences.
  • Mixing rewards and punishments can confuse children and distort their understanding of appropriate behavior.
  • Parents should critically examine the assumption that rewards and punishments are necessary for effective parenting.
  • Alternative approaches that focus on fostering children's intrinsic motivation and building resilient adults should be considered.
  • Believing in children's inherent goodness can provide a foundation for understanding their behavior and developing more effective parenting strategies.
  • Children are born with emotions but lack the skills to manage them, leading to challenging behaviors.
  • Punishing behaviors without teaching emotional management skills is ineffective.
  • Rewarding children for basic tasks can lead to a reliance on external incentives rather than developing intrinsic motivation.
  • A more effective approach is to help children understand their role in the family and provide support to overcome obstacles, focusing on building generalizable skills rather than relying solely on external rewards.

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Kids & Inherent Good (00:31:16)

  • Kids are inherently good.
  • Kids form their identity from our reflection of them.
  • If we constantly reflect to kids that they are bad and untrustworthy, they will develop mental health problems.

Family Jobs, Validation & Confidence, Giving Hope (00:34:06)

  • Impingement occurs when a child's natural desires conflict with parental expectations.
  • Parents should strike a balance between allowing children's autonomy and setting boundaries.
  • Family jobs can teach children about responsibilities and decision-making.
  • Validating a child's feelings does not mean allowing them to dictate decisions, and setting boundaries does not mean disregarding their feelings.
  • Believing in your child and validating their feelings builds their confidence and self-trust.
  • Teach children to do things they may not enjoy as part of being a responsible adult.
  • Avoid letting children's feelings solely dictate decisions, but also don't dismiss their feelings.
  • Hold hope that your child can cope with challenges, even if they are reluctant to do something.
  • Be like a good boss: acknowledge their feelings, trust in their abilities, and set clear expectations.

Rewards, Pride (00:41:54)

  • Don't dictate children's behavior, but also don't quash their emotions.
  • Acknowledge and validate their feelings.
  • Provide rewards that are actually good for children and that they can apply to other situations.
  • The best reward is when children see themselves capable of doing something they didn't think they could do.
  • This type of reward motivates children in adulthood by giving them a sense of pride in their accomplishments.

Tool: “I Believe You”, Confidence & Safety; Other Relationships (00:44:48)

  • Saying "I believe you" instills confidence in individuals by acknowledging and empathizing with their feelings.
  • Validating someone's feelings and experiences is a core human need that helps build confidence.
  • Intervening to make children feel better by downplaying their negative experiences can actually lower their confidence.
  • When children share negative experiences, parents should validate their feelings by saying "I believe you" and sitting with them in their emotions.
  • Dr. Becky Kennedy suggests using the phrase "I believe you" in various relationships to create a sense of safety and openness.
  • Starting a conversation with "I'm so glad you're talking to me about this" can invite further communication when someone is upset.
  • Saying "I believe you" acknowledges the intensity of someone's experience and shows a willingness to listen and understand their perspective.
  • Using "I believe you" in partnerships can defuse tension and create a more open and non-judgmental environment for communication, especially when someone feels unheard or misunderstood.

Trauma, Aloneness & Repair (00:52:15)

  • Trauma fundamentally alters the brain and nervous system, leading to maladaptive responses.
  • Trauma can result from confusion over responsibility for negative events, especially in childhood.
  • Isolated and highly emotional events can become traumatic.
  • Children rely on caregivers for safety, and when caregivers become a source of danger, it creates confusion and terror.
  • Without repair after negative interactions, children may internalize blame and doubt themselves, leading to self-blame and self-doubt in adulthood.
  • Trauma involves not only the event itself but also how it is processed and experienced, particularly in relation to others.
  • Processing emotions in a safe and connected environment, rather than alone, makes a significant difference in a child's well-being.
  • To repair a relationship after yelling at a child, parents must first repair with themselves.
  • Parents should separate their identity from their behavior and acknowledge that they are still good parents despite their mistakes.
  • Genuine repair involves showing up differently and not expecting anything in return from the child.
  • Creative methods like texting or leaving notes can be used to apologize to older children.
  • Emphasize that the child is never at fault when a parent yells.
  • Avoid conditional apologies or statements that shift blame to the child.
  • Rejecting apologies is common when children are used to insincere repairs.
  • The goal is to make the child feel real and safe, not to seek permission to be okay again.
  • Simple but potent tools are essential in the fast-paced and dynamic landscape of parenting.

Tool: Good Apologies (01:01:04)

  • A good apology in the real world may not be as polished as those seen on social media.
  • A good internal landscape for apology involves acknowledging the other person's feelings and taking responsibility for one's actions.
  • A realistic apology can be simple, such as saying "I'm sorry I yelled."
  • Adding a statement about working on managing emotions and trying to stay calm next time can be helpful.
  • It's important to acknowledge that children often assume things are their fault, so it's good to explicitly state that it's not their fault.
  • A simple apology can be powerful because it acknowledges that the other person's feelings are valid.

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Tool: Rudeness & Disrespect, Most Generous Interpretation (01:04:37)

  • The most important words in any language are "I am" because they establish identity.
  • Effective parenting involves teaching children emotional regulation skills through simulations and practice.
  • When a child says "I hate you," consider the most generous interpretation of why they might say that, rather than immediately assuming negative intentions.
  • Children have all the feelings that adults have but lack the skills to manage them effectively.
  • Good boundaries are about setting our own boundaries, not expecting a change in behavior from others.

Walking on Eggshells, Pilot Analogy & Emotional Outbursts, Sturdy Leadership (01:12:32)

  • Parents should not be afraid of their children's potential responses or how they might turn out if they enforce discipline.
  • Deeply feeling kids experience intense emotions and may have massive tantrums that can look animalistic.
  • Walking on eggshells around a child's behavior reinforces their belief that they are as toxic as they feared.
  • Parents should not change their decisions based on the threat of a child's emotional outburst, as this creates an unsafe environment for the child.
  • Dr. Becky Kennedy suggests that parents should practice being "sturdy leaders" by setting clear expectations and boundaries, and by staying calm and consistent in the face of their children's emotions.
  • Parents should write down and practice saying their expectations in a firm but warm tone, and be prepared to follow through with consequences if necessary.

Deeply Feeling Kids; Fears, Sensory Overload (01:20:49)

  • Deeply feeling kids experience intense emotions, notice details others miss, and are prone to explosive behavior and a fear of abandonment.
  • Traditional parenting strategies may not work with deeply feeling kids, as they can feel intruded upon and reject attempts to validate their feelings.
  • With the right approach, deeply feeling kids can develop strong, loving relationships and express immense love and empathy.
  • Deeply feeling kids tend to push their parents away when they need them the most.
  • The exact prevalence of deeply feeling kids is unknown, but it's likely a growing trend due to the overstimulating world we raise children in.
  • Many deeply feeling kids grow up to become successful performing artists.
  • Deeply feeling kids are desperate to be believed and understood, and their deep fear is their unlovability.

Co-Parenting Differences & Punishment (01:30:10)

  • Children seek positive reinforcement from different caregivers to balance out negative experiences.
  • Co-parents should align strategies and offset negative behaviors from each other.
  • Diverse opinions and backgrounds among co-parents can make coordinating parenting efforts challenging.
  • Parents should focus on their child's experience and help them understand their emotions rather than trying to change their partner's parenting style.
  • Timeouts and spanking are ineffective and not recommended as disciplinary methods.
  • Communication and collaboration between co-parents are essential for consistency and support for the child.
  • Children need to process difficult experiences with a trusted adult.
  • Effective communication between partners is crucial, and unwillingness to engage in discussions indicates a core relationship problem.
  • Respect is fundamental in any relationship, and disregarding a partner's requests or concerns can damage the relationship.

Tool: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD); Meditation (01:37:11)

  • ADHD diagnoses should not be made loosely.
  • Children have a lot of energy, and it is important to allow them to express it in a safe way.
  • It is more effective to tell children what they can do rather than what they cannot do.
  • Parents should work with their children as a team, rather than against them.
  • Meditation and other self-regulation tools can be helpful for children, but they may not be enough to offset the challenges of social media and other inputs.

Tool: Tolerating Frustration, Screen Time, Learning (01:41:20)

  • Children today have less tolerance for frustration and parents' tolerance has also decreased due to the instant gratification culture, making it harder for parents to set boundaries and discipline their children.
  • Screen time and social media can contribute to children's decreased tolerance for frustration, and parents should be aware of the potential negative effects and use it in moderation.
  • Children need to learn to put in effort and work hard to achieve success, which may be challenging for them if they are used to instant gratification.
  • The key to excellent parenting and improving relationships is to understand the concept of the "learning space," which is the space between not knowing how to do something and successfully doing it.
  • Parents should focus on praising their children for their effort and progress, rather than just their success, as children who are allowed to experience frustration and learn from their mistakes develop a stronger sense of self-belief and a greater ability to succeed in all areas of life.
  • Dr. Becky Kennedy emphasizes the importance of learning through challenging experiences and encourages parents to allow their children to experience frustration and stay in the learning space for as long as possible, as this is how they develop resilience and willpower.

Grace & Parenthood, Parenting Job Description; Relationship to Self (01:51:57)

  • Parenting is the most difficult, confusing, and triggering job, yet we receive no resources or training.
  • Instead of spiraling into self-blame, parents should feel protective and helpful anger towards the system.
  • Parenting involves setting boundaries and providing empathy and validation.
  • The same principles apply to the relationship with oneself.
  • We should allow ourselves to feel our feelings and validate them, but not let them control us.
  • We can think of our feelings as passengers in a car, and we are the driver.
  • The phrase "you're a part of me, not all of me" captures the essence of validating and setting boundaries with our feelings.

Tool: “I’m Noticing”, Asking Questions; Emotional Regulation (01:55:24)

  • Praising children should come from a place of connection and not control, and it's helpful to use phrases like "I'm noticing" to avoid making it feel like a criticism.
  • Asking open-ended questions, such as "What do you think led to that?" can help children reflect on their experiences and learn from them.
  • Encouraging children to explore the range of emotions, rather than just labeling them as "good" or "bad," can help them develop better emotion tolerance.
  • Teaching children to identify and understand their emotions, including anxiety and excitement, can help them better cope with a wide range of feelings.
  • Resilience is the ability to tolerate a wide range of emotions, and it is important to help children develop this skill.

Adolescence & Critical Needs, Explorers vs. Nomads (02:01:15)

  • Adolescence is a time of rapid physical and emotional changes, which can be challenging for both teens and parents.
  • American parenting approaches that emphasize behavioral control can contribute to adolescent rebellion.
  • Parents need to be prepared for the sense of loss they may feel when their children become adolescents and start to separate from them.
  • Adolescents need space to explore their own identities, but they also still need their parents to provide a secure home base.
  • Parents should respond to their teens' anger with empathy and understanding, and should try to reconnect with them after a few minutes have passed.
  • The circuits for attachment that are laid down in childhood persist into adulthood, and the dynamics of adult relationships are similar to those of childhood relationships.
  • Children need to feel secure in their attachment to their parents in order to feel safe exploring their surroundings.

Saying “I Love You”, Teenagers; Family Meetings (02:09:58)

  • Remind children that they are unconditionally loved, regardless of their behavior.
  • Approach children with empathy and try to understand their perspective, even if it differs from your own.
  • Consider having regular family meetings to discuss problems and work towards positive solutions.
  • When conflicts arise, collaborate with your children to find solutions, viewing the parent-child relationship as a team effort rather than an adversarial one (as suggested by Dr. Becky Kennedy).
  • Engage in open discussions with your children, listening to their ideas and concerns, rather than imposing rules.
  • This collaborative approach fosters respect, trust, and a sense of value in children, which is especially important during adolescence when they often feel misunderstood.

Self-Care, Rage & Boundaries; Sturdy Leaders; Parent Relationship & Conflict (02:15:07)

  • Prioritizing the parental relationship creates a sense of safety and security for children, rather than making them feel deprived.
  • Parents should set boundaries and maintain their own identities outside of their relationship with their children.
  • Rage in parenthood often stems from unmet non-caregiving needs of the parents.
  • Having one consistent and reliable caregiver is more beneficial for a child than having multiple caregivers who are all perfectly attuned.
  • Children learn from their parents' behaviors, and witnessing healthy communication and affection positively impacts their perception of adult relationships.
  • Addressing conflicts with children and acknowledging their feelings helps them process and cope with difficult situations.

Tool: Wayward Teens, Marijuana & Substance Use, Getting Additional Help (02:22:08)

  • Parents may struggle to assess the severity of their children's behavioral issues and find it difficult to determine the appropriate level of intervention, especially before the age of 18 when it is legally easier to intervene.
  • Signs that additional support is needed include a decline in overall functioning, such as a drop in grades or social withdrawal, as well as a significant increase in conflict within the home.
  • Parents should not let their children's feelings about therapy dictate their boundaries and should be loving and firm, even when it means doing things that make their teenagers unhappy.
  • Teenagers often need their parents to make decisions for them and their words are often a representation of their fears and emotions, which parents should not take literally.
  • Parents who can admit that their children need help are the strongest parents.

Mentors (02:30:03)

  • Mentors are important for personal growth and development.
  • Mentors can be found in various forms, such as non-parent mentors, people in real life, or through reading and media.
  • Mentors provide healthy aspects that parents may not be able to provide.
  • Internalizing healthy aspects from mentors can benefit personal growth and well-being.
  • It is unrealistic to expect parents to be everything to their children.
  • Setting high expectations can lead to relationship disappointment and unrealistic standards.
  • Parents should allow their children to seek guidance and support from other sources.
  • Encouraging children to have other mentors and sources of support can help them develop healthy relationships and expectations.
  • Parents should validate and embrace other sources of healthy upbringing for their children.
  • Mentors and other individuals can provide different aspects of support and guidance that parents may not be able to provide.
  • Acknowledging and valuing other sources of healthy upbringing can be beneficial for both parents and children.
  • Parents should reflect on where they learned the idea of being everything to someone and challenge societal expectations.
  • Realizing that parents don't have to be everything to their children can be empowering and freeing.

Tool: Entitlement, Fear & Frustration (02:34:26)

  • Entitlement is the fear of frustration that develops when children are not allowed to experience it and adults always find a way to make it go away.
  • Entitled children grow up expecting things to go their way and become intolerant of frustration.
  • Entitlement can be about money, power, or control.
  • The key to preventing entitlement is to allow children to experience frustration and learn how to cope with it.
  • Children who are given everything they want may develop a higher threshold for dopamine, leading to a constant desire for more and a sense of fear and entitlement.
  • Money can be used to buy a child's way out of frustration and make parenting easier, but it can also contribute to a sense of entitlement.
  • Parents who grew up in different circumstances may struggle to raise children who are not entitled, as they may feel they have earned the right to certain privileges.
  • It is important to find a balance between gratitude and entitlement, and parents may need to intentionally create experiences that allow their children to develop a sense of appreciation and resilience.

Tool: Experiencing Frustration; Chores & Allowance (02:41:57)

  • To reduce entitlement and frustration in children, parents should involve them in mundane tasks and responsibilities, such as household chores.
  • Chores can help children develop a sense of purpose, learn to do boring tasks, and understand that sometimes they need to do things for the benefit of others.
  • Parents should clearly define the goals of chores and allowance, and structure their parenting approach based on what they want their children to accomplish.

Good Inside Platform (02:46:31)

  • Dr. Becky Kennedy, a parenting expert, believes that parenting is the most important job in the world but often lacks the necessary support and resources.
  • Her "Good Inside" membership program offers parents actionable strategies, resources, and support to raise sturdy and confident children.
  • The program includes bite-sized scripts for various situations, access to experts, and a community of like-minded parents.
  • Dr. Kennedy stresses the need for parents to learn a new parenting language that differs from their upbringing.
  • She emphasizes the importance of becoming sturdier and more confident leaders to raise sturdy and confident children.
  • Dr. Kennedy's video provides valuable insights into excellent parenting and improving relationships of all kinds.
  • The video highlights the significance of choice and engagement in relationships.
  • Dr. Kennedy's generosity, clear communication, and heartfelt approach are highly appreciated.

Zero-Cost Support, Spotify & Apple Reviews, YouTube Feedback, Sponsors, Momentous, Social Media, Neural Network Newsletter (02:51:27)

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