About this Episode
On this episode of Brainy Moms, Dr. Amy and Teri interview Lainie Liberti, teen mentor and author of the book, Seen, Heard, and Understood: Parenting and Partnering with Teens for Greater Mental Health. Lainie shares a radical approach to relating to teens through a partnership parenting paradigm. Although unconventional, it’s an approach that promotes connection and cooperation with your teen. Based on ideas from her book, Lainie explains the benefits of knowing your teen’s love language, creating shared family values, and partnering in problem solving as a family. Join us for this conversation about a truly unique approach to raising teens.
Lainie Liberti is a bestselling author, international speaker, teen mentor, world schooler, partnership parenting advocate, and mom. Lainie is also a community leader and alternative education advocate and is often credited with spearheading the thriving world schooling movement. Lainie’s book Seen, Heard, and Understood: Parenting and Partnering with Teens for Greater Mental Health is a number one best seller on Amazon in the parenting new releases. She’s here today to talk about the partnership parenting paradigm and connecting with teens.
Connect with Lainie
Mentioned in this Episode
Link to Lainie’s book: Seen, Heard, and Understood: Parenting and Partnering with Teens for Greater Mental Health
Work with Lainie: transformativementoringforteens.com
LearningRx is a worldwide network of brain training centers offering cognitive, reading, and math remediation and enhancement for all ages. LearningRx has worked with more than 100,000 clients who have learning struggles and disabilities, ADHD, traumatic brain injury, autism, and age-related cognitive decline. Visit www.LearningRx.com or call 1-866-BRAIN-01 to learn more.
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Read the transcript for this episode:
Dr. Amy Moore: Hi, and welcome to this episode of brainy moms. I’m your host, Dr. Amy Moore here with my co-host Teri Miller coming to you as usual from Colorado Springs, Colorado. We are super excited to bring you a conversation with our guest today, Lainie Liberti, who is coming to us from Mexico. Lainie’s a bestselling author, international speaker, teen mentor, world schooler, partnership parenting advocate, and mom. Lainie is also a community leader and alternative education advocate and is often credited with spearheading the thriving world schooling movement. Lainie’s book Seen, Heard, and Understood: Parenting and Partnering with Teens for Greater Mental Health is a number one best seller on Amazon in the parenting new releases. She’s here today to talk about the partnership parenting paradigm and connecting with teens.
Teri Miller: Welcome Laney.
Lainie Liberti: Thank you. Thank you so much for that really warm intro. I’m really excited to be here.
Teri Miller: Good. Well, your expertise and your advice is really unique and is something that, uh, Amy and I are both excited to hear about and I know our listeners will benefit, but before we even launch into that, start by giving us a little, your background and how you ended up doing what you’re doing.
Lainie Liberti: Okay, I’m gonna try and give you the reader’s digest version. okay. Cause you, I wanna get into like this really good stuff, right? So in a nutshell, um, I’m a single mom. I, uh, used to work in marketing and advertising for close to 18 years in the last eight of those years, I owned my own agency. Um, when the economy crashed in California in 2008, I decided that, um, you know, the stress was overwhelming. I knew I wasn’t bringing my staff back. And the most common thing that I heard from my son who was nine at the time, he would say to me, “Mom, you’re always working. You’ve never spend any time with me.” And that broke my heart into a million pieces, as you can imagine. And so when I was faced with this, you know, life changing challenge with the economy crashing and my business needs to like, um, refocus, I, I asked my son flat out, “Do you wanna just get rid of all this stuff and go have an adventure?” And he said, “Heck yeah, I am in.” And so that’s what started all of this. We ended up, um, planning a one year trip that would start from, uh, California and head down south and we were to end up in Argentina at the end of one year. And, um, that was our plan.Um, that was 13 years ago. And just sort of like a little, uh, hi, um, like news flash. We never made it to Ashu and we never went back. So the trip never ended, but as we launched into our travels, we decided to be very, very intentional about our traveling and the biggest thing that I wanted was us to be partners in this adventure.
And so we made deals. Our deal was we were gonna do this in partnership. We were gonna live in partnership. Um, the budget. Uh, decisions. He had all the access codes to all of the, the ATM, the bank he had. Um, it was a pure partnership with my son who then turned 10 and this was our adventure. And so we approached the adventure as walking side by side, right. And, and it, that’s something I feel really strongly about. And that literally was us against the world, even though it wasn’t really against the world, but we were the team. And in order to make the partnership a part of, um, a really strong family culture, we came up with things that were important to us.
I was accustomed to saying no to everything because I didn’t have time before we left on our travels. So I wanted to create a culture where we said yes to everything. And in order to say yes to everything, we weren’t living by rules, right? Because suddenly we were creating our own adventure and our own way of living. We needed to have, um, something to measure up against whether or not this, this yes was in alignment. And because I came from the world of branding. One of the skills that I knew how to do was to facilitate how to define and explore your core values. So we did this, my son knew his core values. I knew my core values and together we took those and remodeled them for a family core values. And so every time a decision came up and we needed to make a choice or a decision, we would run them through our core values to see if this was in alignment, because we could do anything we wanted in the world, but we wanted to have this. Scaffolding or this framework in order to guide us.
So the core values would give us a, a, you know, a, a definition of whether or not this was a true yes or not. And if it was in alignment with our core values, we’d say yes. And then we did lots of little things like that. And eventually I’ll talk about writing about, um, helping other families live in a partnership parent paradigm or partnership paradigm. Um, but a lot of it comes from the lived experience that we experienced over those 13 years. my son now is 23, by the way. And I know I’m gonna talk about the book a little bit later on. Um, but for those of you that are interested at the end to, you know, actually dig into it, The forward is written by my son mm-hmm , which is one of the most powerful, um, affirmations that this is a great way to live.
Teri Miller: Yeah. Lainie. I, I cried . I mean, it makes me tear up just thinking about it. It was it’s every parent would dream of their kid saying what he did about you, about your strength, about your overcoming, about your constant pursuit of knowledge. Yeah, Ugh. The proof is in the pudding. It’s in the fruit, you know, all that.
Lainie Liberti: Wow. Yeah, really, really sweet. appreciate it. I really do appreciate that. And that when I read it, I was like, oh, I was like, literally in my kitchen, just sobbing. Like I can’t believe this. And of course you’re, you’re making me tear up. it’s it is so sweet. Oh my.
Dr. Amy Moore: So I love that we’re having that conversation in the beginning, because what you’re gonna talk about in the next 45 minutes can seem radical, right?
Like it’s, this is a parenting approach that is not mainstream. And so to be able to say that your child had that appreciation for that approach, right? To, to be able to look back and say, oh, I wish my mom had done this differently. Right. That isn’t the story. And so I love that we’re talking about the end at the beginning. Nice. Yeah. Yeah. So let’s dig into this partnership parenting model and paradigm. How, how is this different than the traditional model of parenting? How did you take your own experience and then create this formal paradigm? Talk to us about it.
Lainie Liberti: Well, a big part of my personal journey was healing a lot of the childhood traumas that I experienced as I was growing up. And I knew, like I knew I was gonna take my next breath, that I did not wanna raise my child like that. And so it was up to me. To me personally, to be accountable for my own mental health. And that led me down the path of trying to unpack and reprogram my, um, my attachment issues.
If you know anything about attachment theory, which I’m sure you do, you know, I had a disorganized attachment. Um, uh, uh, model and what that meant is in my personal relationships, you know, it was push and pull, push, and pull, and a lot of sort of craziness that came from inside of me. And I noticed that I had a pattern and when I conceived Miro and, um, knew I was going to be a parent. I really wanted to make sure that I was accountable for being the best parent that I could. And I had already spent many years doing self healing and, and exploring a lot of the things that didn’t work in my interpersonal life and did a lot of observation, self observation. I did shadow work. I did, um, all sorts of, you know, reparenting I did all myself. I did a lot of challenging of my own beliefs and it really helped me become step into a, a better human being. And when I gave birth and started this beautiful relationship with my child I wanted to make sure that he felt comfortable talking about emotions that he felt like he was seen.
That was, I mean, I remember like I knew when he was upset and angry that I would, you know, either go to him or bring him to me and we would sit and look eye to eye and have the experience of feeling those things. And I’d let him. You know, not let him, because obviously it’s his choice, but I, I encouraged him to share and really dig into the moment of what he was feeling and that kind of, of developing of emotional intelligence was super important to me. That was part of my own healing clearly. Right. I wanted to break the, the generational wounds, but I also wanted to raise somebody who knew what he was feeling and knew how the stories that he was telling was affecting himself and felt. He was never dismissed or invalidated.
And I wanted him to know that he was seen that he was heard and it was the very thing that I wasn’t. And so by virtue of me giving that to him very intentionally, I was also healing my own child, inner child at, through my parenting. Mm-hmm um, I didn’t really fall into partnership parenting through, you know, the first 10 or nine. Um, I lived more of a conventional life and it never even occurred to me. You know, I just accepted that the, the conventional belief that our children are vessels that we need to fill up and guide them because we want what’s best for them. That was also my attitude around, um, education. I knew that my child needed quote, air quotes here to be educated. I wanted that for him, because that’s what everybody wants for him. And I want him to be happy and again, air quotes succeed in life. And my, my conditioning was the only way to do that is through education and all of those things. As we started to travel and redefine and rediscover, what was true for us came into greater focus and we felt like we had the freedom to redefine those things. So that took us down a, a journey of, of, you know, reexamining education, reexamining, the whole parenting process, reexamining what it means to be in relationship with another person on equal footing. I didn’t wanna be his authority. I didn’t wanna tell him that we were going from this Mexican city and we’re going to Guatemala now.
I didn’t wanna make those decisions. I wanted to have an adventure with my son together, and I already recognized that I lost the first nine, almost 10 years, because I just simply wasn’t present. I was just working on the. Right. So, yeah, that’s a big part of it. And I hope that answers your question. yeah.
Dr. Amy Moore: So define that for us then, like, I know that this is what you’ve, you’ve written the whole book on this paradigm and the importance of connection. And so where does partnership parenting fit in that idea of connection?
Lainie Liberti: Well, first of all, I had to examine what the model of authoritarian parenting looks like. And I even uncovered gentle parenting, peaceful parenting. And there’s one more, I can’t remember what they call it, but all of those paradigms that are being shared in, you know, sort of, um, uh, liberal circles, um, are really. Trying to do the same thing, which is change the behavior of the child in order to please the parent.
And I saw that right away. I saw that, that, that even though it’s peaceful parenting or gentle parenting, it’s still concerned about the child’s behavior and changing. So it’s more convenient for the parent and that screamed to me in inequality. And I knew that I gave birth to a whole human being. Right.
I knew that I had been on the planet longer and there, those are obvious differences, but I never once discredited his humanness by. Dismissing him or not answering his questions or even giving him a full, complete answer to whatever it is these he was asking of me. So for me, the kind of respect didn’t come from a place of authority.
It came from a place of connection. And then I started to look at the. Between the, the, the, the slight nuance, even though if I’m choosing to be a gentle or a peaceful parent, there still is this belief that I am the authority over this person. And I have the right to change this person’s behavior. Um, You know, belief system, uh, perspective.
And I think that that is something I completely wanted to avoid because to me that felt like coercion and dismissal. And that was what I experienced throughout my entire childhood, which made me feel invisible. Right. I didn’t start seeing my own value until I healed those wounds. And then I recognized that I was born.
The, the value of the human being that I am today. And just because it wasn’t seen or acknowledged in my own childhood, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t there. I was, you know, uh, that my parents tried to mold me into something that I was not. And because of that, um, I was completely dismissed and lots of other traumatic things.
If you read my book, Recall the stories, right. So, um, yeah, , there’s a lot to it. So I also have taken, um, throughout my entire life an approach, which is known as anarchy. And I don’t mean anarchy as in chaos. I mean, choosing the systems that align with my value. And just, you know, disregarding or, um, throwing out the ones that don’t.
And a lot of that shows up in my relationship to, um, the conventional education system, which I don’t agree with. And that’s a system I don’t accept or, or. You know, have chosen to raise my son within for up or after the age of 10. So he’s actually a, a fourth grade dropout so I’m very, very proud of it. Um, so understanding that I have a voice to choose and because I’ve recognized that these systems, some systems don’t work as in the education system, it gave me really the empowerment to say, well, I respect you as a human. I. And trusting you, which is why he had the bank codes. Um, I believe that you’re gonna make great choices because you do, and that kind of relationship creates connection.
And he never once went out and spent money or, or did anything because he was trusted because he was held at such high regard and because emotional intelligence. Such a major part of our, our entire engagement, our entire, uh, relationship in his entire childhood mm-hmm . So he was accountable. The self inquiry and understanding his internal worlds and communicating that and recognizing the, in the state of his internal worlds and how that affected our relationship and our life and our adventure and that gave him a lot of accountability. So when you give somebody, you don’t just say I’m giving you accountability. You really need to function at, in partnership in order to feel accountable. Right? And, and part of that is, you know, it goes back to trusting that he can self-regulate, that he can decide when he is hungry, that he can decide when he is sleepy.
He can decide, you know, when he is, had too much of video game playing. And that probably sounds. Radical for a lot of people listening to this podcast. In fact, somebody might even be tempted to turn it off right now because that’s so controversial. But what it did is within the safe space of our relationship, it gave him the space to make mistakes and to feel his way into self-regulation both from a, a nervous system perspective.
And also from, you know, just simple biological needs. So I think all of that is really empowering. And how can I do that? I can’t do it and control him. I can do it by partnering with him. Mm-hmm yeah.
Dr. Amy Moore: So if, if you’re attempted to turn this off don’t cuz I’m gonna ask the question that you’re thinking listeners so, um, what happens when a child then makes a mistake? Where’s the, what is your role? What is yeah. Bad choice. Yeah. Or a bad choice. What is the role of the parent then? What’s the next step, right? How do you handle that? What does that look like?
Lainie Liberti: So it may be in contrary to, or may be contrary to some people’s perspective of parenting. And I’m just gonna give you that disclaimer, but this is how we approached it, and this is how it works.
Um, So, there’s no such thing as punishment in our family. There is a thing called natural consequences. And by being able to face the natural consequences together. And unpack them. Yes, I am the person with more age or, or more years on this planet. And perhaps I have some, you know, greater knowledge about some worldly things and it’s up to me to share what those are and help him to unpack it.
So if there was a point where my son decided he didn’t wanna brush his teeth. Okay. Okay. These. that are living in your mouth are yours. They’re yours to do with what you will. And probably a lot of parents might be saying, go in the bathroom, brush your teeth now. Right. Mm-hmm um, That wasn’t my approach.
My approach was first showing him that I brush my teeth every single day. I flossed I’m modeling to him. What, what good hygiene looks like? The second thing is when he chose not to brush his teeth, I’d ask him why. And you know, is, is there intentionality behind this? are you choosing not to brush your teeth or are you just forgetting?
Sometimes he’d say I’m just forgetting. Um, and then I’d ask him, would you like for me to help you to remind you and sometimes he’d say yes, sometimes he’d say no, and we’d just let that play out. And then. If he chose not to brush his teeth, I let him know what it’s like. And we’d watch videos together, depending on the age, of course we’d watch videos.
And then when we go the dentist, the results of not brushing your teeth. Is a natural consequence of that action and all that together is not gentle parenting. That is partnership parenting because it doesn’t mean I’m not going to, uh, let him know the reality of his. Choices. It means I’m going to support his mistakes because having a safe space to make mistakes, especially when you’re growing up is more important than controlling the behavior.
Even though I believe it’s good for him. Right. That’s well, and it sounds like you were still providing guidance in the form of information and that conversation with what might happen if you make this choice. Mm-hmm . Absolutely. Absolutely. And, and partnership parenting is not on parenting and it’s not permissive parenting.
And I hate those words. Mm-hmm um, because it, it doesn’t describe what we’re doing at all. It’s really highly engaged parenting. Um, but it’s also. Relationship it’s it’s, it’s about relating to one another on a very human level. Um, there’s a, there’s a part of my book where I talk about childism, which is really controversial.
A lot of parents don’t like to, to even. You know, consider this as a thing, but the, the population of the world that has the least amount of rights is a child. And of course, parents believe because our culture believes that we need to control our children because we know what. Best. And I think that is where the problem lies, right?
Yes. We can guide them, but it doesn’t necessarily meet control them. And partnership parenting makes that distinction. So if you unpack and unravel the thread that holds together childism and you recognize how much. Your interaction with your child is based on some authoritarian belief that you have over them.
You’ll, you’ll run away, you know, actually, um, kind of not happy with the way that you are treating another human being. Right. Mm-hmm yeah. When I read that word, of course, I actually had not heard that term before. And so childism like, Ageism or racism. I mean, it was discrimination against child, a child. I think you gave a, I think you gave an example about what happens when we force them to eat Uhhuh something or everything on their plate.
Like, why would we do that? Right. We take away their autonomy. Absolutely. And, and a good part of the foundation of partnership parenting is autonomy, right? It’s autonomy and sovereignty. Um, and also consent. So if you’re taking away their ability to give consent, go kiss, grandma, you know, you know, grandma needs, you’re, you’re teaching that young child that they have no autonomy over their body.
And when, and I teach consent to teens and in fact, I’m heading up to California to do a workshop. A lot of times, they, the teens themselves don’t make that connection. But once they uncover an unravel that they’ve always been made to, to kiss their, their uncle or their grandmother or their grandfather, and they didn’t want to that kind of giving away your power seems really natural in normal adolescent interactions where this is where we need to practice our empowerment to say.
I don’t wanna do that, or yes, I give you consent to touch me here. But nowhere else like that kind of, of empowerment is not innate in children who have been raised without autonomy over their own body. And that goes to food. Um, the, what, the kind of clothes that they wish to wear, the hairstyle they wanna have.
All that stuff. And I think the other thing, and I know you didn’t ask me this, but I think the other thing that parents forget along the way is what they’re experiencing now. Whether it’s they wanna dress with black eyeliner or dye their hair or cut it real short, what they’re experiencing right now. Is right now and it’s not forever.
It’s right now. And the, the act of expression. And we’ll talk about like the teen development, adolescent development, a time where they’re individuating and experimenting and trying on different. Identities that’s natural. And if we don’t allow them to do that in the safety of our home, and we haven’t established a safe place for them to make mistakes and to thrive in new explorations, right.
That stuff will happen behind your back. And your relationship is virtually severed or at least for now. And yep. It’s what, not what anybody wants. Mm-hmm .
Teri Miller: Ooh. Yeah, that’s so good. I so appreciate you talk about, um, knowing or discovering your teen’s love languages. And I, as you’re talking about connection, I’m thinking about that because I have a lot of kids. You have one kid and. You know, there’s a little part of me. That’s like easy for you.
Dr. Amy Moore: Teri has nine.
Lainie Liberti: Oh my goodness.
Teri Miller: No. So it’s, it’s a different ball game. Mm-hmm when you have a lot of kids and they’re looking at one another for examples mm-hmm and, you know, hitting. Biting and taking from another and there, you know, it does change things up a little bit when you’ve, when you’ve got several kids and, and one of them is a little more aggressive or assertive or whatever.
And it’s like, no, I want that bigger cookie. And I’m taking the bigger cookie and I’m taking your cookie too. And there is a point as a parent where you have to step in and. You know, put some limits on things and it does get harder with more kids, but besides the point, I’m not I’m to, I love, love, love the connection aspect, so that as I’m guiding my children about which cookie they’re gonna get, I need to know how to connect to them.
So talk to us a little bit more about that, knowing your teen’s love languages and how that works together in partnership parenting.
Lainie Liberti: Well, love languages is just one of many tools, but I think at the foundation is as a family with two people or 12 people, you know, the, your, your job is to inten, like there’s intentionality in everything that I say and everything that I do in my family, as I was raising my child, everything was quite intentional.
And that can be exhausting, especially with a large family, but finding. What your family’s theme is and having buy in from everybody. And if you decide that your family’s theme is freedom, then that means that, okay, how, how are we going to express freedom? So everybody has this experience and still give out the cookies.
Does everybody free to take what they want, what happens? How do we resolve conflicts and in using the tools of conflict resolution and empowering them to do that. Right. And I, I don’t know the ages of your kids, but there are times where you need to be more hands. Often let them. You know, I recognize that this is a conflict that they need to, to work out, unless of course there’s violence and you know, things like that.
Yeah. And I don’t know the ages. Um, but for the older kids, which is what I, I, I resonate mostly with the older kids, the twins and teens on up, um, there’s a lot more hands off and like, I’m here to guide, I’m here to consult, but I’m not here to, to solve your problems. How do you think is the best way to handle this?
How should you divvy this up? Is this in alignment with our family’s, you know, freedom? Like if that’s the thing that you want to base, you know, if that’s your. Core value. Right. And I think going through and empowering everybody, I’ve worked with large families before, and we’ve done an exercise where everybody has defined individually what their core values are.
And then I make them create a like pie. You know, PI not, I guess, chart PI chart where mm-hmm you have, you know, equal pieces for each family and each or each family member and each family member then adds each of their core values to that one thing. So visually we can see them all there and then you take that and together you decide what the collective.
Together collective, uh, core values are for the family. You could borrow from all of these, does this sound right? Go together. And the process of doing that might seem laborious for a large family, but to see it sitting on the refrigerator helps visually create that family culture where every. Can buy into it.
So now here’s a conflict, or like I said, in the beginning, there’s a decision to be made or that needs to be made when we’re traveling. Um, our goal is to say yes, but we’re only gonna say yes to things that are in alignment with hat our values are.
Dr. Amy Moore: Mm-hmm yeah, you I’m gonna quote you, um, in your book you say, “Guide by values, not rules.Connection is fractured through punitive discipline techniques. Instead connect through values and become the guidepost as your team develops his or her own sense of moral responsibility within the construct of the family value system and the greater world.”
Lainie Liberti: yeah, yeah.
Dr. Amy Moore: I loved that because it’s kind of like that, you know, goal directed behavior, but it’s values directed behavior. Right? So is what you just did consistent with our family values. Mm-hmm and if not, how do we need to make an adjustment?
Teri Miller: And that, that is, it gets way more challenging with a large family. Then, you know, I mean, my kids range in age from 28 to 10. Oh goodness. And yeah. And, and it, it is challenging because you’ve got kids that will say, well, that is not my value.
That may be the family value, but I don’t value that I don’t value togetherness. I don’t value connection and family time because you’ve, you know, you’ve got in a big family, you’ve got some kids that are really great with that big family and some that are introverted and, and. They don’t line up with that value of family togetherness and connection.
And so then you have to step back as a parent and honor that, you know, you can call it being an introvert or whatever honor that, um, unique bent of that child that they need time to withdraw. And that that’s okay. Totally. Totally. I mean, you just said it. Yeah. Yeah. And it’s really about finding a balance to get everybody’s needs met.
I’m not saying this is easy, right? It’s worth, worth trying, because those, those steps that you’re taking, those are the things that they’re gonna remember through their childhood. My mom honored that I was an introvert and gave me time and space. Right. And asked me when it was comfortable for, for me to join.
This group and you’re right. Family dynamics are there’s, there’s no one way of doing it. No formula. And nobody’s the same. Nobody’s like, and I would never, um, recommend creating a, um, you know, family value, whatever the, the value are for the family. Based on just some of the members, I would have a contribution of everybody, right?
Yeah. And it doesn’t always look like equality. But the other thing that we did in our family, which you’re gonna say is easier with two people, but I’m gonna give you an example of doing it with 15, right. okay. Is, um, consensus. I don’t like the idea of democracy. I mean, well, I’m not talking politics, but I mean, in a family, right.
I don’t like the idea of a democracy because that always means somebody’s voice is not getting heard because that means majority wins. So what happens to the minority? And I don’t like that. I will take the time for consensus. Yeah. And I know you’re thinking two people, easy consensus, but yeah. But so explain it.
Lainie Liberti: What’s, what’s the difference, so, well, My son and I, um, this is not really what I’m here to talk about, but we started a company, um, in 2012 or 13 called project world school, where we brought groups of teens to living community together for four weeks. In a foreign country and we would world school, it was immersive experiential learning and it was community building.
And I always said these retreats that we facilitated are ways, you know, the outer world, um, adventures were ways for us to really explore the inner worlds. And I was really aware of that. And so this stuff that we did, you know, we’d have these. Immersive learning adventures. And then we come back and unpack them.
And we do a lot of, well, who, who am I in comparison to this? What about people? Am I, you know, worldview stuff? Um, why was I triggered by this thing that I saw in, you know, the market or, you know, unpacking that stuff, but we ran these month long retreats with groups of 15 teenagers. Based on consensus. And that took a lot of work and I’ve done, I’ve worked with over a hundred teens.
Like I’ve, I’ve worked with a lot of them and lived in community like, you know, 24, 7 for one month. Like there’s no escaping it, right. This is a one month commitment and we’re all together. And. Things come up, right? You can’t help for things to come up. Mm-hmm sometimes somebody who is an introvert just needed a day off and said, I don’t wanna do this activity tomorrow.
And so even though everybody else in the group, He is excited about doing this activity. We need to stop and negotiate and figure out a way that every single person gets their needs met. And sometimes our night circles, which we did every night, uh, would last three hours until we came to a resolution. So we knew what, how we were going to approach the day.
Sometimes it meant we were doing separate stuff we tried not to, but sometimes that’s the only solution. Sometimes we, we took the thing that we were gonna do and rescheduled it for another day and swapped it and, and decided to have a down day where we did nothing. And how, um, magical is that? Because that was the experience that they wanted to have.
Or some of the people wanted to support the other person that was struggling. And that was a great way for people to show up for themselves and to be able to show up for people in the community. And, but it was never coerced. It was always about how are we going to come to a consensus? I have no skin in the game as to what the, the decision is.
It could be whatever it. I just want us all to agree on the thing and the act of
Teri Miller: I’m gonna interrupt you. You just said something so powerful. Okay. I, but I think this is powerful. Like listeners don’t miss this. She just said I have no skin in the game for the outcome. That is what we do as parents. We constantly have skin in the game. We constantly have an agenda of what we want our kids to look like, how we want them to behave, how we want others to think about them, because it’s a reflection on us. I spent, I mean, my first three kids I’ve said this on so many episodes, my oldest three were the Guinea pigs, and I did so many things wrong. I was so concerned about what other people thought I had so much skin in the game. I was just all skinny. That’s just all I want I was so stressed about it and I have been gradually, gradually learning. Yeah. To let them be okay with who they are and I’m okay with who they are and I’m okay with those outcomes.
So don’t miss that listener. She said, try not to have skin in the game about the outcome. Can we do that? That could be the difference between that controlling parenting that leaves us all tied up in knots and that partnership parenting.
Dr. Amy Moore: Yeah, well said, well said. So I wanna, um, I wanna talk about a concept that you spent some time on in your book so that even if you’re not buying into the whole hundred percent idea, Partnering with your child.
You talk about being unconditionally present. And I, I think that every parent, regardless of the parenting approach that you take can strengthen the relationship with their child by being unconditionally present. What does that look like? What does that mean?
Lainie Liberti: Well, okay. So this is where it gets a little sort of nuanced, um, as you talked about not having skin in the game, you really alluded to having an agenda mm-hmm and when we have agendas as parents, we’re not present for what is, right? And so a lot of times we’re looking at things through the lens of what we’re trying to control and controlling behavior because it’s convenient for us. Sure. We all, we, we don’t wanna let’s face it. I’m not gonna lie. We don’t wanna sit in a room with 20 screaming kids or five screaming kids. We just don’t.
Right. That’s not convenient for us. It doesn’t feel good. And how, how, you know, can you be present when that’s what’s happening? Right. I mean, I get it. That’s not, you know, there’s no denying that this is a challenging moment, right? So you have a couple of options, you can control their behavior. So it’s more convenient for you. So you don’t lose your mind. You can move yourself from the situation and if that’s not safe, you can figure out. You know, a way to put on headphones. I don’t know. I don’t know, but there are, there, there are options, especially in a stressful situation, but when we’re not in a stressful situation, we still continue to run these agendas that are not reactionary.
They’re, you know, for, for peace of the family, everybody should do. You know, and, you know, meditate or whatever the thing is, uh, for the peace. So I have this agenda of how I expect their behavior to be, because it’s all for the greater good, which is the peace of the family and really my own wellbeing.
Right. Again, that’s an agenda mm-hmm and a lot of times these agenda. They, they are really a part of control. And if you’re practicing gentle parenting, you’ve disguised it. You’ve disguised your control as gentle parenting, but it’s still control and control comes from a place of. Fear. And so the accountability for the parent to know what is happening in their internal worlds is paramount.
This is the key. And again, I write this in my book. A lot of people are gonna be triggered by pushing the accountability on the parent to be aware of what’s going on and unpack their agendas. And you might just notice it. The very first time, because you do have a manipulation or an agenda in store while you’re dealing with them.
Mm-hmm and I know I haven’t answered how to be present yet, but I’m getting there. I promise . So if you can unpack that there’s a slight agenda, pull that thread because it’ll lead you to that. You’re really trying to control and can. on the other side of control is fear and where you’ve got fear. You may, you may not, but you may have some unresolved traumas and there may be some beliefs that are.
You know, sort of like, like hitting your head up against a brick wall and that’s for you to unpack. So in order to be present, you have to be aware of your own internal landscape. And when you find that you are either manipulating or even controlling yourself, like I’m gonna be calm, I’m gonna be calm.
Well, you’re not really dealing with it. And maybe in that moment, it’s not the time to deal with it, but making. A commitment to self to figure out why am I triggered by loud noises? I mean, okay. Granted loud noises may not be a great thing to hear, but I know why I’m triggered by loud noises. And that’s because I was yelled at every day of my life growing up and I shook and I still shake when I hear people yelling at each other.
It, it affects my nervous system. And so I know that those are parts of the things that. Is me right? That this is when I come into a relationship, whether it’s a parenting relationship with a child, and I’m gonna approach this from a partnership parenting perspective or with a, with a partner, with a, a romantic partner.
I know who I am coming into that. And I can say to my children or my child, or my romantic partner yelling. Affects me in this way. I’m, you know, I’m constantly trying to, um, calm my nervous system. This is how I’m a better person when I’m not around yelling, but when it happens, know that my reaction is this and I have to process this way for a child under 10, that might be hard for them to comprehend.
10 and up, they can comprehend that. And by you being self-aware of what’s happening in that moment, in your own internal worlds and sharing that with your children, you’re modeling greater mental health, you’re modeling accountability, you’re modeling the you that you bring to the partnership, right.
You’re modeling a greater you and. And also you’re modeling the fallibility that all of us are as humans. And there there’s no shame in dealing with your stuff. There’s no shame in being human and having challenges. There’s no shame in that and we don’t wanna teach our children shame. For sure. Right. We don’t wanna model that.
So how are we present? We’re present by, by, by the awareness of our internal worlds and the us that we bring to the partnership. Right. So we can fully be there for another person.
Teri Miller: Beautiful.
Dr. Amy Moore: Yeah, absolutely. Um, so we need to take a break and let Teri, um, read a word from our sponsor LearningRx. And when we come back, let’s hear, um, from Lainie about all the resources that you have available and how people can connect with you and work with you if they want to.
Teri Miller: (Reading sponsor ad from LearningRx)
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Dr. Amy Moore: And we’re back talking to Lainie Liberti about a novel way, um, to think about parenting, um, especially with teens through this lens of connection and partnership. So Lainie, if our listeners are interested in learning more, um, about this approach, um, how can they, how can they find more information and even work with you?
Lainie Liberti: Sure. Um, well, first I’m gonna recommend that you pick up my book , which is, uh, available through Amazon. And the book is called, Seen, Heard, and Understood: Parenting and Partnering with Teens for Greater Mental Health. And it’s got these two little bird people on the cover and, um, I think, I think it’s important to recognize too, it could be, however you interpret this. It doesn’t have to be parent and child, which is what most people will go to the larger bird being the parent, the, the smaller bird being the child, but they’re, they’re engaged in playfulness and you know, they’re side by side, they sort of look back back to back, but they’re really side by side, engaged in playfulness together. And I think that really should encompass your relationship and your family. So pick up my book, um, I work directly with teens. And that’s really the work that I love to do.
I’m I just, I’m so honored and I I’ve got a great rapport with the teens, you know, they call me Elaney and sometimes they call me their travel mom. Um, but it’s, it’s a wonderful, um, relationship that I have with teens. And every time I work with teens, it’s like healing my inner child and I’m so engaged.
And so like, there’s so such a reason why I’m doing this. I teach courses. And basically I teach them to, uh, normalize self inquiry and I do that through giving them challenges and tools and lots of different ways to look at different parts of themselves and really, really get clear about who they are in their internal worlds.
And it’s a lot of fun. So I teach courses. Um, for older teens, I also teach courses for younger teens, which is just getting them used to self inquiry. And it’s a lot of fun. I gamify it for the younger teens and tweens, so that’s a lot of fun. And I also do one on one coaching, um, and that’s primarily issue driven.
So it’s not therapy, but it’s like, okay, self esteem is gonna be our focus for this month. And whatever the thing is that they’re challenged with, we’ve got a, a, a definite goal. We’ve got tools and we’ve got ways of measuring what it is that they’re doing and how that is changing or transforming in their lives.
Um, so you can find me at transformativementoringforteens.com for any of that stuff. Um, I also work with another, uh, unschooling mom and we’ve got, uh, courses for parents through our, um, offering called partnershipparenting.com. And you can find, we don’t run courses all that often, maybe twice a year.
Um, and there’s usually a wait list for them and we touch on topics like deschooling and partnership, but it. Goes back to the mental health and self inquiry of the parent and how that plays a role in the relationship with their children. And then if you’re interested in my world schooling projects, um, you can find more information over at projectworldschool.com.
Dr. Amy Moore: Okay. All right. You’re all, all over the place, huh? Yeah. all right. So we are outta time, um, and need to wrap up, but this has been a fun conversation, um, with Lainie Liberti. Thank you so much for joining us today. Um, we will put all of Lainie’s links that she talked about. Um, her Facebook handle is @mentoringteens.
Uh, we’ll put that in the show notes so that you guys can find her and her work and along with a link to her book as well. So thank you so much for listening today. If you liked our show, we would love it. If you would leave us a five star rating in review on Apple Podcasts. If you would rather see our faces, we are on YouTube. You can find us on every social media channel @TheBrainyMoms. So look until next time, we know that you’re busy moms and we’re busy moms, so we’re out.
Teri Miller: See ya.