Even though I have an 8 and 5-year old, I feel like I have a teenager (or two) sometimes. Especially, when I’m talking to my oldest and he tells me I don’t listen to him when I actually listen to everything he says. That stings.
My biggest fear is my kids grow up and don’t want to talk to me about their problems, issues, or struggles. Honestly, I was beginning to feel like my 8-year-old wasn’t opening up to me like he used to.
Whenever I feel like I am struggling with parenting or not getting through to my kids, I always reach out to moms who have been there and done that.
I reached out to a mother and grandmother that has over 30 years of experience with working with families for this problem. My friend Maria, from The Moms I know Podcast. In the latest episode of the podcast, Maria shares:
- Practical tips for communicating with your teen
- The best way to respond when your teenager or big kid opens up to you
- When you should leave your child alone and when to intervene
- Helpful advice on communication with your teenager
One big takeaway is when my kids are talking to me about their problems, I need to listen carefully and not make fun of them or laugh at their problems.
This seems simple, but it’s a reminder that everyone wants to feel validated and not judged when they are opening up.
If you have a teenager (or big kid) that you need a little help with communication with, this episode is for you.
Maria is an educator, mother, grandmother, and podcaster with over thirty years of experience in working with families. She is passionate about empowering moms to make conscious choices and supporting them to find joy and fulfillment in their parenting journey.
Connect with Maria
- Blog/Website: http://thefutureoffamily.com
- Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/thefutureoffamily
- Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/cookthestory
- Schedule a Clarity Call with Maria: https://mariafahrner.as.me/schedule.php
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Transcript of this episode
You are listening to the Real Happy Mom podcast, the weekly podcast for busy working moms to get inspiration, encouragement and practical tips for this journey caught motherhood. My name is Tony and and you are listening to Episode 149. Hey there, thanks for joining me again for another episode of the Real Happy Mom podcast. Today I have a friend that is going to help us with conversations with our teenagers because let me tell you, I was that teenager that was a little sensitive when my mom started talking to me. So I know that this episode is going to be helpful if you have teenagers and even adult children. And also we talk about some things that can help you even if your kids are at that age yet. I definitely think that this is an episode for all moms. But definitely in particular, if you got a teenager, listen up. In this episode today, I am talking to Maria from the moms I know. And today we are going to talk about some of the things that we can do as moms to do better with communicating with our teenagers, in particular, how we can make our children feel respected and also be able to communicate so that we can help them when they are struggling. And then also some of the things that we need to remind ourselves of so that we can help our kids to learn from their mistakes, but also not get to the point where they are making mistakes that can harm themselves or others. We also talk about some boundaries, as well as how we can do better about listening more and talking less. Lastly, we talked about how we need to do better about taking care of ourselves, and rediscovering who we are so that we can be that awesome mother for our children. Now, before we jump into this episode, really quick, if you haven’t already, please make sure that you join me over in the Facebook community where it is kind of the after party to the podcast episodes. in there, you’ll find more of some of the things that we’re talking about here on the podcast, as well as some other encouragement and tips. But the biggest thing is the monthly trainings on Trello. And if you’re not familiar with Trello, this is a project management tool that people use for various things. But in particular, I can show you how to use Trello to help you with managing your home, managing life to make things a lot easier for you and to simplify things. So you definitely want to join me over in the Facebook group. So you can get those monthly trainings, see those Trello boards and start implementing them so that you can have a lot better handle on things and not feel so overwhelmed. So head over to Real Happy Mom comm slash community and there you’ll be able to join the Facebook group. So now that we have that out of the way, let’s go ahead and jump on into this week’s episode with Maria. Welcome to the podcast. I am excited to have you. I’m excited to be here. Yes, yes. I love talking to Miss Maria. She is one of my favorite mom friends to talk to you because we have such great conversation. So thank you for coming on. And thank you for agreeing to have this chat with me here today. So before we jump into our actual topic for today, I just wanted you to share a little bit about you and what you do.
Okay, well, I’m Maria foreigner, and I have the future of family calm. And basically I am an educator, a mother, a grandmother, a podcaster. I have a podcast, the moms I know, with my colleague, Sheila Walsh Denton. And basically I have been working with families for Gosh, it’s over 30 years now and helping moms to find conscious answers to their to their questions and to help them really look at parenting through this lens of how can we raise this next generation of children to be confident, caring, loving, and, and just well intelligent and curious little learners. And so there’s so much around parenting, that is difficult. And we don’t have all the answers. So basically, I’m here to support moms to find those answers for themselves.
Awesome, awesome. And one thing that I love is that you are a mother and a grandmother. So you can speak to the moms who had the little ones as well as the moms who had the grandkids who are out of the house too, as well. And that is a little bit about what I wanted to talk to you about. Because I don’t I think we’ve talked about it before, but I sent a survey out to my listeners. And one thing that was surprised me was there were several people who are parents of adult children who actually have grandkids and they’re like, yeah, Tony. Yeah, we want to hear more about that. So I was like, Okay, I gotta find somebody and I found you. So I definitely wanted to talk a little bit about some of the challenges that mothers have have with adult children because one thing I remember in particular, when effort became a mom with someone was telling me, you know, Tony, and it doesn’t get easier as they get older gets harder because you have to, you can’t be in control of every little thing, once they get to be grown and adults, they have to be, you know, old enough to make their own decisions and make their own choices once they get to a certain point. So it’s harder to, to parent at that age. So I wanted you to talk to the moms, especially those that are in that stage where they have, you know, teenage kids or adult children, and they’re struggling with the choices that their kids are making, they want to, you know, kind of reel them back in, but at the same time, they know that they have to let them make their own choices and live their own life.
This has been such a challenge for me over the decades, and it’s something that I really feel that I’ve worked hard at, and this is that idea of letting go. And so my hope is really a long, you know, we’ve got the end game here that we’re playing the long game with families. And so the thing is, is, that’s why I work with young moms, or you know, moms that have young children, because all of the choices that we make along the way helped to form that foundation for them to make the healthier choices when they hit those teenagers, when they’re the young adults when they start having children of their own. And so I think the key is really thinking about that as early on as possible. And if we haven’t thought about it, then as the children grow, we have to come from this place of deep respect. And especially with the teen years, we have to listen carefully, we have to have a sense of humor, but we can’t make fun of them. So it’s like we have to have that lightness, that sense of humor. But we can’t use sarcasm or you know, teasing with them. Because I don’t know if you remember the teen years, but oh my gosh, you know, that is so serious. And so every little thing is so important. And so I think for the parents of the teams, if we’ve established that communication, that really strong quality of respect for our children, when they’re young, then as they become teenagers, we also respect them and their choices. And even if they start making some choices that we don’t agree with, we can give them their own autonomy, and help them to learn from their mistakes. But it isn’t always easy. And as we watch some of those things that they may get into. And I mean, there’s certain times when we do have to intervene. I mean, you know, with what’s going on today, I think there are times when As parents, we really have to step in, and whether it’s tough love or whether it’s I wouldn’t say tough love. But I mean, you know, really making sure that we are making conscious choices around when we intervene, the boundaries that we have the agreements that we have as a family. And that’s another thing really having those conversations from early on, on where every family member is listened to heard respected for who they are, then the teenagers, I think they don’t have to push those boundaries as much. I mean, I could go on and on about this for, you know, for hours, because I’ve seen so many different stages of this all. But I think that the major thing, and even for parents of grown children is weight, the only person we can change is ourselves. So you know, let’s do the inner work on ourselves. Let’s do the conscious inner child work. And then hopefully our children will be seeing that and modeling that for themselves.
Absolutely, because that is one thing that I’ve learned is that kids don’t listen to what we say like listen to what we do. I have definitely been paying attention to that. But you brought up a couple of things. One, one thing in particular, because I remember in particular when I was a teenager, and like you said it was like oh my goodness, the world is just going crazy. And and I would talk to my mom and she would just look at me and she would be like girl, like wait till you you know, get older, like you’re gonna real problems, which is true. Like the problems I had as a teenager are definitely a lot different from as an adult, but definitely being sensitive to to their problems and when they’re talking. So I was just wondering, in particular, when it comes to having conversations when they are, the teenagers are opening up because I know a lot of times with teenagers, they do tend to kind of hold back if they don’t really have that relationship to as far as how much they share with the parents. And I know I’m trying to get to a point with my kids where they feel like they can talk to me about whatever it is that they’re going through. So what are some things that you would suggest to the moms are listening who wants to do better about listening and communicating, but are trying to, you know, not laugh when they like tell about their problems, and don’t want to minimize their problems, but also want to be supportive of them too as well.
Right? Oh, I actually have a Funny story about that. And I learned that one from my, my, my wise son, when my kids were teenagers, they’re two years apart, and one time at the dinner table, and we did foster that environment, they could talk to us about anything. And so they were going on and on. And I started getting a little judgmental about, you know, I started putting in my opinions. And finally, my sense is Mom, you know, if you keep criticizing the things that we’re telling you about, we’re going to stop talking to you about it. And I went, Okay, and I immediately, you know, it’s like, you know, learn to talk less, listen more. And so I think for that, it’s really making sure that we are listening from that place of deep, deep connection. And like you said, not minimizing, not laughing, but we don’t have to fix everything, we can just listen. And we can say, I hear you. And that’s really all they need. And I think back to my teen years, and it was a generation when the parents weren’t really listening to everything that we were dealing with. And I don’t think they could have understood what was going on when I was a teenager, because it was so different from their teen experience. And so I just didn’t share it. But I wanted to I wanted to have these parents that could listen to everything. And so when we were raising our kids, I think that that was really important. So I think, you know, like you said, listening to them, not minimizing, but not always having to jump in and fix things, or have the solutions have the answers. Just let them know that we hear them. We love them, we honor them for exactly who they are. And sometimes that’s really hard, especially when they’re making decisions that we think are unsafe, or unwise or ridiculous. I think you know, where we have to have those family boundaries is when it’s not safe, when it’s not safe for them when it’s not safe for their friends. And that’s where the family conversations of family meetings, however, you you know, you, you know, the listeners are doing it within their own families to make sure that everybody has an opportunity to really be heard.
Yes, yes. And definitely, because I was wondering, when you were talking earlier about, you know, when kids start to push the boundaries, I’m like, okay, like, where it’s hard, because I feel like it’s kind of a fine line, especially like with teenagers, because it’s like, we want to keep them safe, but at the same time, it can, we can be hindering them from actually learning from their mistakes. So I’m glad that you brought up about and when it’s not safe, that is definitely a boundary that we got to make very clear.
Yes. And every family is going to have different ideas and different values within their family unit about the choices. I mean, whether it’s around dating, whether it’s around driving, whether it’s around gathering with their friends, you know, now we have social media, which is a huge factor. I mean, every single family that I talked with, that is becoming something that is more and more difficult to control to monitor. And so each family is going to look at that differently. But I think that it’s important to have the boundaries, because the other thing is, is I noticed that when children have, what I’ve seen over the years is if children’s boundaries are too strict, they’re trying to constantly break out of those, that if they don’t have any boundaries, then they just keep going until they come up against something and you know, quite often that might be the law. And so or, or a dangerous situation. And so finding that lovely balance, I mean, it’s a dance of of where the boundaries are for your family, at what stages, you know, in our family we had, we were pretty open about all the conversations, and they had a lot of freedom in terms of being able to roam on the property and things like that. But when it came to media, we were pretty strict. And so you know, we they had a sheltered little childhood in terms of their early years. But then as they grew up, the world opened up, and we gave them a lot more freedom. And so it’s going to be different for every single family. But it’s it’s that taking that time to really think about what are, you know, the core values of our family? Where do we feel that we need to make sure that our children feel safe and contained and they know what those boundaries are to that there’s no surprises there?
Yeah, definitely. Because it’s funny that you bring that up as far as the boundaries in if they don’t have any boundaries that they will continue to, to go until they bump up against something. And that is one thing that it just brought up a conversation that I had with a mom who was just like totally devastated here recently. And it was because her son had gotten in trouble with a lot and she felt like you know, she had done everything that she could for him and you know, as far as you know, being a single mom because I think the father had passed away and Doing everything herself, for him in trying to show him the right way. And then he goes and does this. And so I was trying to, you know, encourage her and tell her, you know, don’t beat yourself up about it, you know, and in the day, he makes his own decisions, but she still was feeling terrible. So I’m just wondering, you know, for the moms that are dealing with the kids who are making these choices, that it’s like, come on, why are you acting like a knucklehead? Like, what would you say, to encourage them or to help them so that they don’t go down, like, you know, spiraling into depression, and, you know, beating themselves up and things like that?
Oh, it’s so tricky, because as moms, you know, we take everything on. And first off, you know, when we do everything for our children, we’re not giving them the opportunity to learn how to do things for themselves. And so, you know, it’s, it’s one of those, again, the balance of making sure that we’re taking care of them. But we’re also giving them opportunities to make their own mistakes, to figure out things on their own. I mean, you think of a toddler, you know, if we tried to help them learn to walk, they’re never going to figure it all out on their own, you know, they get up, they fall down, they get up, they fall down, and they figure it out. And so we have to let them do that, even as they come into the teen years. And some kids are going to get into trouble. And some kids aren’t. And it, it so often has nothing to do with the parenting. And so to be able to say, Be gentle on ourselves, acknowledge that this has happened, and it doesn’t. And the when I look at behavior, you know, there’s not, there may be behavior that we don’t really like, but we never say that that child is that or something like that. And so you know, it’s like, we look at the behavior, not the person. And so we can have those conversations around what it is. But also just realizing that, you know, some kids are going to get into drugs and alcohol, some kids are going to be sexually active younger, some kids are going to get into trouble with the law. But if we can hear where they’re coming from, we can respect them. And we can know that if we’ve done everything that we can, then sometimes those things just happen, and we need to be still respectful of the human being behind that behavior.
Yes, definitely. Definitely. And, and one other thing that you brought up to that I wanted to circle back on is about how you said, the only person that we can change is ourselves. Because I think a lot of times we are in the business of trying to fix everybody else that we that we can’t change them. So I want to talk to us a little bit more about that. Because I know it’s one of those things is it’s kind of one of those hard pills to swallow, but is the truth. And I think it’s one of those things that we need to hear a little bit more of or be reminded of, because I know even with mine, and they’re little now I think that I can change them. But yeah, you have very strong personalities, that four and eight and they cannot change that. So I just wanted to talk to you about you know, what are some changes that we can make within ourselves so that we can have better relationships with our, with our kids?
Well, I think the most important thing is, you know, what you work with moms about is helping them take care of themselves. And so when we don’t take care of ourselves, then that’s when you know, we have we’re tired, our fuses shorter, we lose our temper more quickly. We aren’t present for our children, we’re not really listening as carefully. And so I think the most important thing we need to do is that work. And also, I don’t know, an adult out there that had an absolutely perfect childhood that is completely centered, grounded, has all the answers. And so there’s always this continuing inner child work that we can be doing, we can be working on our own past traumas or injuries or hurts or wounds or you know, from from our own upbringing. And so I think that we really need to look at that. And take the time to do whether it’s through meditation through prayer through working with a coach working with another respected adult, to kind of delve deep into our own stuff. Because really, I mean, it is so true that the only person we can change is ourselves. And so we have to know that we are the models for our children. And so the best thing that we can do for our kids is to be doing our own conscious. Well, like I can only say inner work. That’s that’s what it comes down to. And so, it’s not easy, either, because when we’re consumed with the day to day raising of the kids, it’s it’s hard to take that time, but I wanted to say also that having children was my greatest path of rediscovering who I was, you know, as we raise our own children where we’re taking back from Our own childhood. And we can kind of revisit these stages. And it’s also interesting sometimes that when we’re having struggles with our kids, that quite often is a time in their life when we were having a struggle as a child. So it brings up all of this stuff, and we get to re examine that and go, Oh, that’s what was happening then. And I can look at it differently now through the adult lens. Hopefully,
yes, no, definitely. When you when you’re saying that, I was thinking like, yeah, cuz I definitely see that with my kids now, like, I definitely understand their struggles a lot more and can sympathize with them. And, and definitely make it so it’s not as hard so
and there’s two parents, so you know, the children may be, you know, picking up on things from and, you know, they also love to just push our buttons, you know, they learn pretty early on what is going to be a trigger. So if we can learn what our triggers are, and learn to deep use them, then we have that patience, we have that understanding we can have, like I said, a bit more of a sense of humor around it. But again, not ever making fun of the children, but just bringing a little levity to the situation. And in some situations are much easier. I mean, there’s those ones where you’re just trying to stifle a laugh when your teenager is telling you about this thing. But then there’s the times when it’s like, oh, my goodness, we really need to look at this and figure out as a family how we’re going to deal with this situation. Okay, got it. Got it. Yes,
yes. Now, you have shared with us a lot of really great things here. Today, as far as you know, how we can have better communication, some ways that we can do better with establishing some boundaries, because one thing that I always tried to remind moms is that you are uniquely who you are, like, you don’t have to be like, you know, Betty, down the street or Susie, down the road, you are, who you are, and be true to who whoever that is. And, and I think that is really important to remind moms like you, you get to define what your household is going to look like, you get to define, you know, some of those boundaries that you have for your kids, whether it be strict with you know, electronics or with, you know, certain times that they go to bed, whatever it is in, and that is totally fine. Because I think a lot of times we think that we have to do what someone else is doing, because I love social media. But sometimes we can get trapped in there trying to, to live up to the perfection. So I really appreciate you reminding us of that, in particular, because that is one thing that I definitely really, really, really want moms who are listening to hear that, if anything.
So true that we just have to be ourselves. And we my colleague, and I, Sheila and I talk a lot about family culture. And you know, every family is going to have a slightly different take on some families, you know, music is going to be really, really important for another family travel for another family, you know, it might be their, their church that they’re very involved with, and giving back and community. And so you know, each family has a different set of values, set of activities, all those things. And so it’s important to think about those as the children are I mean, if a couple can really talk about those even before they have children, that’s great. And it’s how do we want to bring our kids up? How, what are the things that we really want to emphasize. But in the end, we’re just kind of figuring it out as we go. And we’re making those choices. And so you know, it’s really important to find support. That’s one of the I think that moms learn from each other. And so you know, what you’re doing what I’m doing, bringing moms together to have these conversations, there is no right or wrong. There’s not a guidebook for parenting. And so when we hear each other, we can say, Oh, that’s a great idea. I haven’t tried that. Or, oh, yeah, that wouldn’t work for my family or for you know, this child and every child is different, too. And so the choices that we make for one child may may be different for another. And so all of these things are evolving. They’re continually being adjusted. And, you know, we’re human beings. And so there’s so much variability with all of the whole family life.
Yes, definitely, definitely. No, you have shared a lot of real great goodness. I was just wondering if there was any motivational quote, words of encouragement, first Real Happy Mom before we signed off?
Well, my absolute favorite quote is from Marianne Williamson. And this kind of summarizes why I do what I do. And she says there is no single effort more radical in its potential for saving the world than a transformation of the way we raise our children. And I just really feel that that that gives me inspiration daily, to continue to work with families to try to help them find the answers for themselves, but to really look at what we’re doing is so important. And if we Want to have a future where people are loving, caring, creative, conscious individuals? We have to look at the way we are raising our children. Absolutely.
Now if we want to connect with you learn more about you online, where can we find you?
So the future of family.com is the best place to start. There’s also links there to our podcast, the moms I know. And there’s information about the parenting programs that I do there and with the links to Facebook and Instagram and all of that, so the future family calm.
definitely got that one is I will make sure to include that in the show notes. Again, and thank you so much for coming on. This has been really helpful and I really, really appreciate it. This has been good. Well, thank you so much for having me. It’s been great. Now that does it for this episode of the Real Happy Mom podcast to find the links in show notes mentioned here in this episode, head over to Happy Mom comm slash 149. And there you’ll find the cliff notes version of what was going on in this episode as well as any links that were mentioned and do me a favor if you’ve enjoyed this episode, let me know by leaving a five star rating review in Apple podcasts. This helps to get the word out to other moms that this is a great podcast listen to and also lets me know that you are enjoying the content that we are pushing out here. So do me that huge favor. I’ll be so so grateful. And thank you thank you thank you for tuning in to another episode. Make sure to tune in on Tuesday for another full episode and on Thursdays for another mommy’s hot Thursday.