Parenting is not easy. Every child is different and has their own personality. As a parent your job is to navigate what works and does not work for your children as they learn and grow. Children are sponges and if something is affecting them negatively at home, it usually shows in their behavior. Parent Coach, Erin Taylor, addresses the difficulties of parenting and offers general and situational advice, so you can be the best parent possible.
- 3:56 – Conscious Parenting
- 4:29 – Neutralizing the triggers
- 6:10 – Revolutionizing life: the secret to parenting
- 7:07 – The powerful parent child connection
- 9:05 – Putting an end to a negative cycle
- 14:50 – The continuous learning initiative
- 18:18 – Practicing tactical transitioning
- 22:58 – How setting boundaries sets kids up for success
- 24:55 – Teaching children to pay attention to their own reaction
- 26:36 – Making the non-negotiable become negotiable
- 29:17 – Supporting children with their passion projects
Full Episode Transcription:
Erin, thanks for joining us on learn to win.
I’m happy to be here.
There are so many ways we could take this conversation. But just as a starting point, you know, we talked a bit about education and children and evolution of life. Maybe you could just tell us a bit about how you got into your line of work right now and how that story has kind of influenced you.
Well I guess I would have to go back to when I was 11 and I knew, I looked around, I knew that I had a beautiful childhood. My parents were amazing, loving, supportive. They were just amazing. But when I went to school as I started getting older, I looked around and I thought, I don’t think everybody here is experiencing what I have at home. And so that felt very bad to me. And so I made the decision at age 11 that I wanted to spend my life doing whatever that meant to other kids.
That is that you knew that at 11 years old. Yeah. I don’t even know what I was thinking at 11. But that really is to have that moment of reflection and really what should we talk a lot about our show and the awareness that, Hang on, I have something that’s really special that other people might not, right?
Yeah. So I knew that forever from them or you know, since then. And then I went to school, I got a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Then I got a master’s degree in psychology and I worked with foster, adoptive and biological families for about 20 years. And then I decided to go back to school and get certified as a parent coach and then work directly with the parents because I realized in my 20 years I realized instantly working with these families that I’ll say maybe 95% of the transforming that needed to be done. How do be done with the parents? The kids were just fine.
Yeah. But they were acting out because of whatever current conditions had been created in their family. And so that’s what after 20 years I said, okay, I just, I have to just work with the parents.
That’s, I just have to, cause I know that’s where my work needs to be.
So what does that process look like specifically? Tell us about when you work with a parent and you want to help them through that, through that experience to be more supportive and more aware, more conscious parents. How do you take them through that journey?
I help them, well I tie in a lot of conscious parenting teachings from my dear friend, Dr. Shefali, who we talked about. And it really, I think it’s about helping them to raise, helping to raise their awareness level and helping them to see the child that’s in front of them instead of the child they think they have or they wish that they had or they imagined they would be. Sometimes they’re not even seeing their actual child. So it’s really important for them to kind of see who’s in front of them.
And then I help them to understand how to go about it, go through a process to go about understanding why their child might be acting the way they are and whatever undesirable way they are. And then also understand, go back in their life a little bit and understand what their triggers are and where they might’ve come from so that when they notice their child is triggering them, they could go, Oh wait, Nope. They can kind of neutralize that trigger and then get back to seeing the child in front of them so they can make that authentic connection.
I have so many questions for you. It is funny. Before the show, the way over here, I texted my wife a reminder and I said, remember I’m going to immediately Erin today. If you have any questions, be sure to send them over. I have a text message a mile long, but before I even glance at those what has occurred to me as a parent, I have a five and a six year old. And as I hear over and over again from a lot of different sources, like between the age of zero and seven, they’re the most influenceable and they’re the sponges of knowledge. And now my six and a half year old, I’m like, Oh my God, what have I done? What have I missed doing? Right? And it baffles me that there’s no, there’s no parenting school. There’s no, you don’t get taught how to be a good parent. You don’t get taught how to fight. It’s like the most important thing you could possibly do for that person’s entire life. And I feel like I’m missing something. So I’m so happy you’re here and why don’t you to teach me everything you know, 20 minutes.
Intensive tutoring. on parenting.
Yeah. But so yeah. What, what are some of the fundamentals and can people learn more? Like, where can they get this if they don’t have the luxury of sitting with you as a one on one parent coach?
Well, interestingly enough, I’m in the process of building an online school for parents, myself and my community of coaches. We are the teachers in the school and we’re building courses around a wide variety of different things that parents might struggle with. So that’s a place and that’s called revolutionizing life. And so that’s a place revolutionizing life.com that’s a place where families could go for some guidance if they can’t get in direct contact to work with a coach, which I think is, I mean I’m biased, but I think that’s a more powerful way to go because you, like you were saying, you have that interaction with a human, so they can help sort out the confusion and get you clear on whatever your challenge is.
And really tailor it to your unique circumstance and perspective and mindset of personality.
But one thing I want to go back to what you said is, Oh my gosh, my child’s almost seven. Is it too late? Did I miss the window? No, you did not. No, you did not. They are sponges for their, for their whole childhood, but particularly up to five, six years old. But it’s never too late. I hear from parents all the time. I had a parent in a workshop raise their hand and say, my daughter’s 4 have I have I ruined her. And I always say no. I’ve actually spoken to adults who tell me, who have told me if my now senior citizen parent would come to me today and say, you know, I realize I made some mistakes raising you and I, and I understand it better now. And I’m really sorry that I kind of didn’t do it the right way. It would mean everything to them. So whether your child is just born or five or 20 or 40 it doesn’t matter. Children always want that connection with their parent no matter what age they are. And as soon as they understand that their parent figured out a better way, kids are so forgiving and they’re so loving and they’re so willing to go, that’s fine. You know, I, I appreciate that. And you’re doing a good job. So it’s never ever too late.
So, so one other question going back a second. So you mentioned back to the 11 year old version of yourself or you just recognize this gap, like what was it that you saw or experienced your parents doing that, that set this emotion for? Like how did you know, like you obviously had a great example. So what were the fundamental things? What were they doing that you’re like, this is just an example of their great parenting versus when you saw the, the not as good or completely lacking, how did that fail? Tell us a little about that. So like what’s the aspiration of the great parenting.
My mom conveyed an unshakeable love for me. Like I knew that she, that I was just the center of her world. Not that I think a child should be the center of anyone’s world because then that gets like a little bit too much. But I really knew how much she loved me. There was no doubt in my mind. And she told me as I got older, she told me little bits and pieces about negative things in her childhood and she said, I never wanted that for you. And I was committed to making sure that I raised you differently than I was raised. And so I always knew that she’s, she stopped the cycle, whatever the cycle was, cause she never really told me what the details were. But whatever the cycle was, she stopped it. That was it. And then my dad, the biggest thing that I think he gave me was a just unshakable belief in me. He always said, you can do whatever you put your mind to. I know you can achieve it. You’re capable of anything you choose. Like he always just was my biggest cheerleader, but I have two older brothers, but they were older teens when I was born. So they were already off getting ready to start their own lives. So I say I’m an only child with two brothers.
But yeah, I think that the unshakeable love and the unshakable faith in me are the two ingredients that were probably the most powerful.
And that’s probably the thing that was most, I dunno, obvious and sad about the people who didn’t have that. Like they didn’t have the encouragement. They didn’t have someone who was like believing in them and, and, and really backing them up. And I think that is when you, when you see a child who is just longing for some sort of encouragement, it’s sad. You know.
And I’ve worked with, I’ve worked with many parents who it comes out and coaching that they didn’t get that cheering. Not only did they not get that cheerleading, but they also didn’t get, they got the opposite of it. The pressure, the expectation, you’re not good enough. You’re not measuring up to my what I think you should be. You know, why aren’t you more like your sibling? Why aren’t you getting straight A’s? So I’m constantly trying to help parents realize their own value and then help their children to see how valuable they are to,
This is certainly a neat angle in terms of like learn to win, right? You’re learning from your parents, you’re learning from modeling, are you from your environment? And what the word wind is kind of fun to discuss because some people think it’s aggressive and it’s winning and it’s beating everyone at all costs. It’s like war, right? You win the war and then maybe that’s not the definition of winning all the time. Maybe it’s enjoying the ride, right? So when you see different parenting styles, whether it’s, you know, you’re not living up to my expectations, you need to do better. I’m having flashbacks to eighties movies. There’s like the breakfast club. He was talking about his dad, right? Both strategies or approaches could probably lead to success, like financial success and some kids that are, had a really rough life becoming incredibly financially successful and accomplished. And maybe that’s not the type of winning that we might want for our children.
How do you define winning is the question?
That’s a good question. Many stories of successful business people who are feel empty inside, the outside, they have every measure of material success, but they’re not, they’re having like a mini spiritual crisis inside because they don’t really know. If I lost all my money and my success tomorrow, would I still be worth it? Would I still be valuable. Would anybody want to be my friend? Right. And I think you have to know that before you worry about the material stuff.
That’s a common theme of our conversations, that internal work first. Informing the external, you know, vision, an example of what you see. So on that note too, so I mean, I think what you’re doing, the work you’re doing is amazing and noble. First off, you mentioned your community of coaches. How do you, how do you find them? How do you, how do you screen them? How do you train that? How do you help them to, to live? Again, not to use it, but not a higher standard. But there has to be some expectation regarding being able to communicate this unwavering love and belief. How do you transfer that to them in such a way that they can transfer that to parents?
Well, no one comes into the community without first having a conversation with me. And so I make sure that they feel aligned with kind of the mindset that the people in the community have. And if they don’t feel aligned, they’re just not coming in basically. Yeah, it makes it more difficult to grow the community because I have to make sure I screen every single person, but there’s no other way to do it. You know, I can’t, I wouldn’t ever have just whoever just saying, Oh this looks like a great opportunity, a great community and sign up. There isn’t even a link to sign up until you get it from me. That’s how particular I am about making sure that we’re always building it with people who share that mindset. So, so that’s number one I would say. And then we have, I do for my community, a monthly mastermind session where anybody who wants can sign up for that time slot.
And then whoever’s free in the community, we join on a video call and we look at their business and see where they are, how they got there, where they want to go, what obstacles might be holding them back or maybe they need clarity on something or whatever. We can meet them where they are and share our collective experience and wisdom to help them break through the next level. So we do that. And then we also once a month have a, another presentation by either someone inside of the community who’s sharing their little area of expertise so that the rest of us can continue to learn. Or I bring someone from outside of the community who I think has a really cool story and something that would be valuable to all of us and then they come in and present to us. So we’re constantly learning about all the things.
It’s funny, that was my question. So back to traits of good parents and traits of the example you want to set or do you find that in your parents, for example, and others that you’re coached that are selling at this, are they constantly learning? Are they really curious? Are they, is this like, is this a common trait that you find in all of these people that are really committed to being great parents?
They’re voracious learners. They’re hungry, they’re thirsty, they want the information, they want to figure it out. They want to act on that. Yes.
That’s why Todd has a whole list of things.
Maybe I should consult the text message here, I’m sure there’s some killer questions here.
I’ll make sure I answer all of hers no matter what.
Okay. Yeah. I mean these are very tactical. Like how to deal with very specific child issues.
I’m sure if you’re having a challenge someone else is having a challenge
My six year old transitions horribly. Like if, if we don’t give them a lot of TV, but we get about a half hour, 45 minutes in the evening after he’s kinda settling before dinner or sometimes after dinner to get him away from something he’s really into is a struggle beyond belief. Every single night we try and time or countdowns 10 minutes and it’s like, what was that? Every time it’s probably half the time, you know, it’s just puts up a fight stopping playing a board game. And it’s not just technology that’s usually like a real hook.
So two part of that cause it’s related. So, so we, my daughters two, we, this is a tech company, but we don’t really give her much access to tech. Right. So occasionally we just, we’ll let her watch like baby sharks. She just started this like watching baby shark sometimes or like one of those like baby ABC videos or whatever. And she’ll watch it for three minutes and she is like focused and then I’ll, I’ll take it away. I said, okay, let’s, you know, and she literally will have a meltdown. I like, I mean it’s crazy to watch it that quickly and she’s only, this has only been like two weeks of this, right? I mean like if that’s how noticeable cause I’m like, wow, like she’s been the happiest little kid and all of a sudden she watched some YouTube videos and it’s like Jacqueline Hyde, right? So like the reason that example as a six year old, I have a two year old
And it’s been like that. So we waited until two. So we didn’t do any screen time.
Which is great! Hard to do, but great.
Yeah. So hard with traveling. It’s like, yeah, we just kind of deal with the screaming baby. No iPad. It’d be like just give him the thing. But yeah, it’s, it’s persistent and we’ve, you know, my wife is a national board certified teacher, very educated in the world of teaching or grade school level, but not so much in parenting. Right.
So tell us your thinking.
How do we pull the technology or the game or whatever their hooked on in the moment.
Well, let me answer your question first and then we’ll get to yours. I would say that certain kids have a bigger, have more trouble transitioning.
So my five year old piece of cake, right? Yeah.
Do you notice that your six year old, is it a he or she? Okay. When he’s into what he’s into, is he like tunnel vision? He doesn’t hear anything. And is the other one kind of like notice, notices things?
Yeah. To generalize. Yes. That’s their personalities.
Which makes sense because when he’s in it, he’s in it and he is laser focused. And so right now you’re looking at that difficulty transitioning as a challenge and maybe a problem even. And what do we do about it? And I would encourage you to think about it as a strength of his. So how do you work with that strength? Almost like judo, right? You work with it instead of fighting against it because then you’ll lose and it will be a war.
So we say that frequently. We’re like, we someday this might, this must be really valuable. So we try to remind ourself, we just don’t know in what, maybe it’s in business or in, you know, his career,
Whatever. He’s passionate about.
But in the meantime, if we need to get him to go to sleep, it’s really challenging.
So I would say the best thing you can do tactically is to create the conditions that make it easiest for him to disconnect, whether it’s from a screen or from a game or whatever it is he’s doing, but maybe, maybe take the excitement level of what he’s connected to down as bedtime gets closer so that the things he’s doing get a little less exciting and a little more boring. You know, like I think of reading a book.
Oh, so stair step down sort of instead of like TV to bed, like have some,
Yeah, maybe TV to bath, time to coloring, you know, something that’s taking the energy down and the excitement and the, Oh, I’ve got to have this. I can’t let go of it. If that, whatever those things are that are super, super enticing to him, I would put them earlier in the day and put the less enticing things closer to bedtime so that it’s just a little bit easier for him to move on.
It’s good. Like last night we had dinner together and the babysitter told the story last night they were Johnny and char, they were building these wooden like Jenga structures and Johnny, the older one, he kept falling over so he just could, she was like, it took me half an hour to get him to stop building his tower because he will, he’s fiercely competitive. So yeah.
So he didn’t want to stop because he wanted master that power.
Because his little brothers was taller than his and he was like not having it.
So that’s challenging especially that are so close in age and it can be infuriating when the older one can’t master what the younger one can. Yeah, yeah. That’s a challenge.
I liked the kind of gradual transition idea. It makes sense logically to to go from like, Oh well maybe now we go into like from whatever to let’s build a little thing. Let’s do a drawing. And it’s ease towards the bath
And even something maybe like hide and seek, which is fun. But you know, after a few rounds maybe you’re like, okay, we have to do another one. But sometimes kids will get that way too. It’s really exciting for a couple of turns and then it’s kind of like, okay, what else? And then when, when he gets to, okay, what else are you cool? Why don’t we brush our teeth? You know, like work with that energy to make it easier for him. And then of course all of the warnings. And so maybe you wouldn’t use suggest if you suggest hide and seek, you say, why don’t we play three rounds? If you’re willing to go four then, maybe you say, well we go three rounds and then at the end if you say, can we have one more? Okay, fine. We can have one more. And then he feels like he’s winning, but yet you’re still within the bounds of what you were willing to offer to him. So everybody’s happy.
That’s actually a really funny time to learn to win. Let him learn that he’s winning. Like, Oh, okay, one more round.
Right. But it’s still within the balance of what you are comfortable with. And I like to think of, I like to vision envision parenting. Not that I want to put kids in a box, but boundaries are kind of like a box. So the boundaries that you said are the outer limits of what you’re, you’re willing to tolerate or accept. But then you give them free reign inside of those boundaries to figure it out how they want, do it in the order they want, do it with, you know, if they want to wear purple socks instead of green socks, fine, whatever. But as long as they’re within the boundaries that you have set for them, then they have the freedom. They feel like they’re winning, they’re still honoring your boundaries and everybody’s happy. And it’s just a lot less power struggle.
I have to remember that.
And then in terms of the two year old, the APA, I think, I think, yeah, I think right now they do recommend no screens up to two. And then just teeny bits from two on, you find that this is just too, too much right now. Then maybe you just pull it back and try again in three months or six months, and maybe your daughter or maybe your daughter will be more able to not have a meltdown when you have to take it away. But then it’s also about letting her know, well, one episode or whatever the show looks like. And then I also learned a terrific bit of advice from a guy named Nir Eyal.
We had him on our show a few weeks ago. Nir’s awesome. Yeah.
So in his book at the very back, he talks about how he helped his daughter to regulate her own screen time. Did he say that on the show?
Yea, well I read the book? So I love that part, but we’re not quite there yet.
We could talk more about it on the show.
Really it’s just about helping them to pay attention to their own reactions to it. You can too, which is why you have to monitor it for her. But as they get a little bit older by six, seven, eight, then you can start saying, well, you watch one episode. How did you feel? Do you feel comfortable, relaxed, happy? Do you feel itchy? Do you want to run around? And helping them to really start to learn to pay attention to their own bodily reactions.
Yeah. That’s a good opportunity to sort of teach that mindfulness and awareness .
Because then they are winning.
That’s what we’re teaching that. Literally. Yeah. Define the winning for them and then let them experience that. Yeah.
And then when they do, then they have so much more investment in it because if they say like her, his daughter said, I think one or two episodes or something and it was going to be 20 minutes. I think that’s it. And he was expecting her to say two hours, but he was happy with what she suggested. She was happy and then she just did it and everybody was happy.
Yeah. So that’s cool. Yeah, Nir is great. We had a really good conversation.
Do you have another one Todd?
Yeah, I do for another one. So this one is how would you advise parents who have firm rules, boundaries and behavior expectations, which we do, and clear consequences. How do we, how do we address that or manage the kids when they’re being negatively influenced by someone else in their grade or in the neighborhood that does not have those rules and expectations? So they just think, it’s totally unfair, right? And we’re not budging on certain things like.
And this is where empathy comes in. So just saying to your kids, well, Johnny has rules at his house and we have rules at our house. And not every, no house is exactly the same. And so he has to operate whatever his parents have created and you have to operate with whatever we’ve created. And I know it’s probably really annoying and frustrating for you, but this is the values that we have in our family and this is what we have to, this is how we do things. I would suggest that for the things that you feel are non-negotiable. But I also encourage parents to make as many as few non-negotiables as possible because I think almost everything should be negotiable. That doesn’t mean the kids, you know there’s mutiny and chaos and the kids are just running the show going crazy. It means like, like I was saying with the hide and seek, if you’re comfortable with five, four rounds, you suggest three.
They say, okay, but then if they say, can we have one more? Well if there’s time for it and you’re okay with it, then you say yes. If there’s really not time for it, then you might have to say no. But it really you, you kind of have to take the whole situation in that moment into context. So maybe yesterday, the night before your child got a good night’s sleep, and so if they sat 10 or 15 minutes later, it’s going to be okay. So maybe that day you can have more rounds of hide and seek, but maybe tonight you realize that they didn’t go to bed early enough last night. And so you really don’t want to push it two nights in a row. So, unfortunately you’re going to have to cut the hide and seek short because in this moment, that moment was okay to go longer. This moment is not. So it’s really about kind of seeing where they are energetically and what is the circumstance you’re operating inside of in that moment. And then trying to make the decision based on that. I don’t know if that helps.
Yeah. Very good. So along those lines then and kind of related to the concept of learning, right? How do you see this, you know, nonnegotiable boundaries with the flexibility play out for parents when they want to expose their kids to learn? Like when they’re trying to educate them or give them access to it, recognize everyone learns differently and everyones styles are different than their needs are different. And to your point, their mastery levels are different. Like how do, how do we accommodate children who become future adults and how do we set them up for success when it comes to education?
I feel like it’s really important to help your kids figure out what excites them. I think that the world would be a different place if every single person on the planet knew what excited them and what they’re passionate about.
Their art as Seth Godin calls it. We interviewed Seth recently and he’s all about, you know, making what you’re passionate about, your art. Do you do it as art? Not as a assignment or job or project. So you’re creating art.
Right? Because if you’re interested in it, you’ll be more motivated to explore it, dive into find out about it. And so I think it’s really valuable for parents to expose their kids to a lot of different things, but not pressure filled. You know, you have to do this just, Oh, there’s a six week class on whatever. Do you want to try it? Just offer the things to them. Let them try it. See if they like it. If they like it there, they’re going to clearly know, right? If they don’t, yeah, they’re going to know. You’re going to know if they don’t like it. So just keep exposing them to the different things that are out there and then support them to do more of those things that they find interesting.