Beyond Sunday

First the Broccoli Part 4: Some Truly Important Distinctions

August 23, 2023 King of Kings Church
First the Broccoli Part 4: Some Truly Important Distinctions
Beyond Sunday
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Beyond Sunday
First the Broccoli Part 4: Some Truly Important Distinctions
Aug 23, 2023
King of Kings Church

Learn the best math equation for parenting ever and how we should all "be like gravity" as we parent. 

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Thanks for listening!

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Learn the best math equation for parenting ever and how we should all "be like gravity" as we parent. 

Stay up to date by following us on your favorite social networks.

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube

Have questions or comments? Email us at contact@kingofkings.org.

Thanks for listening!

Speaker 1:

Hello and welcome to another Beyond Sunday podcast. This is the parenting edition. I'm here with Dr Tim Riley and something we're calling the broccoli series. This is based off of his book first broccoli, then the ice cream. We are on session number four today. So if you're like just jumping into this, go back and listen to sessions one, two and three, because it's all going to build off of itself and then, by the time you get to four, four is going to make a whole lot more sense. Dr Tim Riley, thank you for joining us again. For the listener out there, tell them a little bit about yourself, your credentials. Why should we listen to you?

Speaker 2:

Currently I'm in private practice in Lincoln. I've been in private practice for more than 20 years at this point. Prior to that I was on the faculty professor of pediatrics at the medical center the university of Nebraska medical center, at Monroe Meyer Institute for genetics and rehabilitation, so my training is in primarily pediatric psychology. I've branched out a little bit since then, but I know some stuff about kids.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and if you listen to sessions one, two and three, and even going back further than that, dr Tim was with us on a couple other one-off sessions one about returning from the pandemic, one about the growing LGBTQ movement and how to parent with that, and so it's been awesome learning with you. And this is session four. In session three we got into the really truly useful principles for parenting. We talked about principle number one. Let me go back and mine notes and find this, because principle number one and two they work together. But one is that most behavior is learned behavior and two, that behavior has a purpose, or main takeaway was that give your attention to what you want your kids to do again. So if they are doing positive behaviors, to really support them, appreciate them, cheer them on in those and then give more attention to positive than to negative behaviors. Which leads us to the really truly useful principle number three that children learn from what happens to them.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So the anecdote I tend to think of here is like and I think I saw this on a school playground in Lincoln or somewhere. So it's like this it was a teacher or a mom talking to this little kid we'll call her Chloe, you know, maybe five years old and she appropriately, you know, bend over, looking Chloe in the eyes and saying now, chloe, you understand why you can't act like that. You can't be taking kids toys balls away from them on the playground. No one is going to want to play with you, they're not going to want to be around you. You're never going to get into a good college Graduate school is out of good.

Speaker 2:

So that's maybe a little bit of an exaggeration, but something like that. Right, she's really giving her a lecture about this and then she says now, do you understand me? And of course, chloe nods solemnly yes, you know, I understand you. What Chloe really understood was, if I nod solemnly, mom will stop talking to me. So, like in our previous episode, we talked about Josh, the kid downstairs watching TV. This is another example of mom teaching something entirely different than what she thought she was teaching. She thought she was teaching Chloe these important life lessons. What she was teaching her was it's best not to be completely honest about this? And if I just do this behavior, I nod and, you know, look solemn and say, yes, I understand, I get to go play again, and I'm constantly amazed by parents who seem to think that kids have more insight into their own behavior than their parents do.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it is interesting and it's kind of just a slice of what it's like to parent right now, because there's a lot of different advice that we receive as parents, and that's what makes us parents and that's what makes us really murky. That's also what made us want to start a parenting series for you all is that we have a lot of voices. Which ones can we trust? And we hope that this is one of the voices that you can trust. One of the voices that I've heard as a parent of a five, seven and nine year old currently, is like talk to your kids about these hard things. Talk to your kids Like, if they don't know about the pandemic, talk to them about the pandemic. If they don't know about LGBTQ, talk to them about that. If they don't know about racial justice, talk to them about that. And you're saying, like, some of these things are going to be pretty big. Don't just bring them up for because you want them to learn about it. Yeah, because it makes you feel better.

Speaker 2:

Yes, somehow. I mean I don't think there's a reason to introduce difficult topics into kids' lives unless you have to. I mean, you get X number of years to be a kid and to develop some really important kind of skills and ideas and all of that, and you don't need that to be mucked up with adults putting adult concepts on top of you, particularly those that you really don't understand, right, right. And then you get more of that like head nodding behavior. Good, and you know.

Speaker 2:

The other thing that parents are inclined to do is they'll ask kids why they did something Right. Why did you do that? Why did you hit your brother? And as often as not, the answer is I felt like it Right, because I wanted to. But if they say I wanted to, then the parents are like, no, that's not it, there has to be something more to it. And so the kid will go to work trying to figure out some explanation that will satisfy the parent. Get them off their back. That's the equivalent of nodding their head some solemnly. And then what they, what they're really learning is my parent is really not interested at all, yeah, in the reason for this, and it's best if I lie to them if I want to get back to doing what I, what I need to do. Telling the truth doesn't get me anywhere, because they'll just keep questioning me.

Speaker 1:

Wow, you know, and one thing that I learned is that, even complex things, what I want my kid to learn from it is and this is what you're talking about is they're they're coming at it with the mind of a kid.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

And so an example of this for me was years ago in Omaha. There was a shooting that happened and because of that, like, a lot of Omaha shut down. This was during shortly after the George Floyd and there was a lot of tension in the city. And I remember my oldest son at that time was a preschool student here and we, like a lot of the city, actually closed early and said stay in your homes, yada, yada, yada.

Speaker 1:

So my son, benton, he was with me at the door, smiling and waving as to parents as they, like, frantically, came in early to pick up their kids. So then on the way home, benton's, like, what is going on, like this is different, what is like? And I heard someone mention a shooting and I'm like, oh goodness gracious, what do I say to my kid? So I was like, well, I tried to explain it to him. Well, these two grownups, like one was being mean and the other one was being mean, and they got in a fight and a tussle and one of them shot and was in an accident. I don't know, buddy, if it was an accident or not, but one of the men died and people are, or could be, really upset about that. And when I got all done, his response and this was from a five year old brain at the time was so they were both mean to each other.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and that was an aha moment for me was like oh yeah, yeah, that's correct. And his takeaway he was understanding it from a five-year-old where I kind of wanted him to understand like there's racial tension in the city, yeah, and that just wasn't going to happen.

Speaker 2:

And after we're done, talking about that, ben, let's spend a few minutes talking about organic chemistry, right, right, to speak Russian again. Yeah, he's not equipped to deal with those things, and we talked about this before not answering questions that aren't being asked, right? Just like you give a brief answer, more than likely it's going to be satisfactory and they're like okay, what's for lunch? And go on from there. I mean, his understanding of shooting is not an adult understanding. It's what he sees in Marvel movies or whatever, and so you don't need to elaborate on things that are outside of his reasoning ability. At that point. It's just confusing, right?

Speaker 1:

So in your book you talk about gravity. Yeah, and this is one of my favorite and I'm only I'm keeping up as far as I can to do this podcast, but this has been one of my favorite images, pictures of an analogy with parenting, and you talk about gravity, that it is the best teacher ever. Tell us about that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think gravity is a. I don't know when I started thinking about this, but gravity is a model for how you, in particular, you develop corrective training to your kids or discipline for your kids, and that is you want to try to be like gravity, because gravity is a tremendous teacher. And it's a tremendous teacher for a variety of reasons. One is it is 100% reliable. If you jump off of the King of Kings building 10 times, you will fall down 10 times. You'll never fall sideways, never up. You will always accelerate at 32 feet per second, per second.

Speaker 1:

Never changes. I did not know that these are immutable laws of the universe.

Speaker 2:

Gravity doesn't get mad at you, it doesn't yell at you, it doesn't get angry, it doesn't give second chances. It just happens and because of that, kids accept it and they just change their behavior accordingly. I have never met anyone who said yeah. I saw my kid outside shaking their fist at gravity, saying quit pulling me down. I hate it when you do that. Don't do that. They just accept it. This is the way the world works. I need to adjust.

Speaker 2:

I need to not jump off of tall things and, by the way, if I take a I don't know, maybe three month old kid up on the top of this building and put them to the edge, they're as likely to crawl off the edge or roll off the edge as not. But some number of months later they stop doing that. They'll go up to the edge and then back away from it. How do they learn that? They don't learn that because you teach them the laws of physics. They don't learn that because you give them a lecture about now. You need to not jump off of tall things. They learn from their experience. They learn what? From what happens to them, and gravity is just a really nice example of how that learning process takes place. It's their experience, not their knowledge about how fast they accelerate. You know, jumping off of buildings that makes them change.

Speaker 1:

So really truly useful. Principle. Number three children learn from what happens to them. Parents, be like gravity. If we can be, the more consistent we can be. Gravity doesn't give a warning. It doesn't say, hey, you do that again, you'll fall next time. I mean, it's consistent, it happens every time. It doesn't give second chances. And if we as parents can be more consistent like that, like you break the rule and we're going to give this consequence, we're also not gonna be emotional about it. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

I'm just a force of nature here. Yeah, you are. I don't get angry with you, I'm not upset with you, I'm not gonna yell at you about this, but something is going to happen if you behave in ways that I disapprove of. And also, things are gonna. Something is gonna happen if you behave in ways that I approve of. I'm gonna notice those as well. That's how I'm gonna help you make the distinction in your life between what appropriate behavior is, what productive behavior is, and what unproductive behavior is.

Speaker 1:

And another incredible side effect of this is I believe it was the amazing Bruce Lee who said be like water, so be like gravity. You can feel a little bit like Bruce Lee, which is awesome, okay what's the what's the force of nature?

Speaker 2:

Another force of nature what?

Speaker 1:

what you don't have to connect it all to him, that's fine. Someone out there connected to that Be like gravity. That brings us to a really truly useful principle. Number four the learning process. Yeah, and now in your book, for all of you you're gonna rush out when the second edition comes out sometime this summer or early fall of first, and broccoli or maybe next spring.

Speaker 1:

Or next spring, or 2025, whenever Dr Tim's able to wrap this up, you're gonna rush out, you're gonna buy this book and when you get to this section of the book, it's going to look like your nightmares of math from high school, cause there's some equations of this, and we're gonna try to unpack these in ways that are easy to understand but really truly useful. Principle number four the learning process.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so if you're able, this would be a good time to grab a piece of paper and a writing utensil If you're driving don't do it, but you'll turn back to whatever minute marker you're on now at home.

Speaker 1:

grab your pencil, grab your paper, go ahead.

Speaker 2:

And this is just a good way to illustrate some really, really important ideas. It really kind of brings together everything that we talked about how learning happens, right? So think, for example, about what happens if you do jump off a building or you don't jump off a building. There's a very big difference in those outcomes, right? And so people learn things very quickly. You don't have to fall out of the tree too many times to realize that it's a good idea to hang on when you're in a tree, and what we wanna do then is apply those ideas in a systematic way, as we're thinking about. Well, what do we wanna teach? How do we go about teaching it?

Speaker 2:

So, when kids are little, we make most of the choices for them. We can make them do things that we want them to do, although I've known any number of parents of two-year-olds who don't seem to be able to get them to do anything. For the most part, if you wanna take their little hand in yours, you can and get them to do something. But they get older, they get more active, they spend more time away from us, more time away from us. So then, how do we translate that? And we translate that into finding ways to make it obvious to them what's a good choice and what's a bad choice. And those are the principles that we're talking about here. So when kids are little, they might be motivated by an extra cookie or a few minutes more outside. When they're older, it's like the car keys or whatever, but the principles are the same.

Speaker 1:

What, hey Tim? What would motivate you more right now? An extra cookie or car keys?

Speaker 2:

50, yeah 50, 50.

Speaker 1:

I'm going with the cookie every time, but anyway, keep it going.

Speaker 2:

So the way that I illustrate this is and you know if you're able to write this down, if not, then visualize it a big letter C and then an X for times, a big letter R, and then either an arrow pointing to the right or equal sign, and then a little triangle, and that triangle represents that's a symbol of science, a symbol for change, and in this case, the change is learning. So what this equation says is that contrast C times repetition creates learning, creates improved behavior, creates change in a positive direction.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so I contrast C, which I need to learn what that means. Times repetition. You said Yep Equals a learned behavior.

Speaker 2:

Right, Okay, A change in behavior which is what really what learning is, or at least how we're able to demonstrate that learning has happened.

Speaker 1:

Got it, so tell me about contrast.

Speaker 2:

Okay. So, by contrast, what we mean is that something different happens to the kid depending on what their behavior is. So what we want is for good behaviors, or what we define as good behaviors, which is behavior that's going to help the kid develop the skills that they need to be successful in their life. Good behaviors produce good outcomes. If I do something that's appropriate, adaptive, productive, productive, good things happen for me. I get the extra cookie, I get the car keys, I get the whatever. If I don't do that thing, none of that happens, and maybe something unpleasant happens on top of it. The bigger the difference is in those two situations, the better the good things and the worse the bad things, the quicker learning happens.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you mentioned in one of our earlier podcasts about like if a child does something you don't want them to do, you want it to appear the vast difference between like a vibrant, colorful, incredible image, almost thinking like the Wizard of Oz when they finally get to the land of Oz, and it's beautiful and colors like they'd never seen before, versus black and white, dull, drear. It needs to be a whole different world.

Speaker 2:

Sorry, Kansasites.

Speaker 1:

Kansasians can't. No, not Kansasians. That's even worse. I'm going to stop, kansans not stop, let's go, kansans. So that contrast making it wildly different for that child.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And so last time you talked about your daughter wanting to go outside. Yes, remy, yes, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Or Bemi Bemi Remy.

Speaker 2:

And so what you said was don't go out there, right, and she went out there, yep. And your reaction initially was nothing. Yeah so what changed for her? Because she didn't listen to you. Nothing, nothing.

Speaker 2:

So that means no contrast, right? And so if you look at that equation and you put a zero in the place of the C, zero times anything is zero. She may have learned something there, but it was. She didn't learn anything like what you wanted to learn about how to listen to you. Because of the lack of contrasting outcomes For her, there was no effect on her life. What we want is for kids to be able to notice a change in what their life is like if they do or do not follow through with things that we ask them for, Right? So once you decided that, okay, there's not going to be any dessert tonight, and then you followed through with that, you introduced a meaningful change in her environment. Then it's up to her to decide whether or not it matters whether, you know, I might still be willing to give up dessert if I can play outside for another 15 minutes, but you at least made the choice apparent to her. The bigger that difference is, the better in terms of being able to learn.

Speaker 1:

So you talk about. It's a parent's job to make life as fun and interesting and enjoyable as possible when the child is doing well Right, and as dull, boring and uninteresting as possible when they are not. Let me give you another scenario. This is with Bemi, little RemiCube Now RemiCube at times like it's interesting. We don't even necessarily we haven't been able to compute when and why this happens.

Speaker 1:

Sometimes she walks into school as happy as she can be and sometimes she'll fight it with every ounce in her little body. And it's a tricky thing. It's a helpless feeling as a parent when she's having one of those days where she just doesn't want to let you leave and you drop her off at school and she's clutching onto your hand and you're like, trying to get out the door and she's screaming bloody murder and and you like like finally a teacher comes and holds onto her and you get out that door and you rush to your vehicle and you feel like a failure as a parent. And so in a time like that, my go-to is like I'm going to have to have a big talk with Remi later and I don't know that that's ever been effective for me. But like what? Like I don't know in this discussion right now. What could that contrast look like?

Speaker 2:

Well, it might.

Speaker 1:

It's a tricky one, it's a stumper.

Speaker 2:

No, it really isn't. It be the. The other thing to keep in mind here is that it takes some number of repetitions, which is the other thing that we're going to do for the equation for for a kid to learn something right.

Speaker 2:

There are very, very few things in life that are learned in one trial. Like you know, putting your hand on a hot burner on the stove once is probably enough. Yep, they'll do it. Um, you know, calling a large, unruly person bad names probably is. You know one that you learn fairly quickly not to do. But most things take a little practice, and particularly if, as it sounds like, she might have a little bit of anxiety about the whole school kind of thing, yeah, some days. So in that particular case it's. You actually want the contrast to be in the direction of what it's like when she goes in voluntarily and then it produces a big outcome about how proud you are of her, what a great job she did when she comes home, right At the time that you're dropping her off. You want it to be as gravity like as you possibly can.

Speaker 1:

Consistent.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I don't want it, you know this is what we do every day Yep, um, yep. Okay, I can see you're unhappy.

Speaker 1:

Bye, see you later, so don't play into her anxiousness in that moment, right.

Speaker 2:

Because what you're doing fundamentally is giving attention to that anxious behavior which we identified as maybe the most powerful positive reinforcer of it all for little kids, and if you end up attending to it, then you're encouraging that behavior, as opposed to, the sooner you get out of there, the better in that particular situation.

Speaker 1:

So you give three different examples of parents. One is indulgent parents. So when I am, um, like one more hug, one more hug and what like, it's going to be okay, you're going to be fine, I'm indulging her in that moment.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, I mean, there's no whatever. Whatever contrast there is in that moment is in the wrong direction. Right, it's in the direction of the more you complain the more attention, the more I respond. Yeah, right. So again, you're teaching her something, but it's not what you believe you're teaching her. You're, you're um. You know you're probably reacting more to your own discomfort in that situation that that there is on.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think that's true. Yeah, it really is. So there are three different types of parents that you'd mentioned.

Speaker 2:

Yep.

Speaker 1:

These, uh, the distracted or disinterested parent. What does that look like?

Speaker 2:

Um, those are the parents who, for whom kids are almost kind of an inconvenience, right, they're more involved in their own lives than they are in the kids lives, uh, which is, there's some justification to that to some point, but they, they like, basically don't pay a lot of attention to the kids regardless.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, um and uh, you.

Speaker 2:

So that means that the kids get away with a lot of misbehavior because their parents aren't really watching what's going on.

Speaker 1:

Is there a rise in this type of parenting with smart devices?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think so. I mean, I don't have any research data to support that, but that's my impression. That's what I hear from kids is you know mom's on her phone all the time. You know she's, she's on the couch, we're doing stuff, and you know she's doing Instagram or Facebook or whatever. And so those kids often misbehave in pretty big ways because you know. I've been doing this behavior for a while. Nothing really happened, Didn't cause any problems for me, so I keep escalating. Nothing's caused me any problems before. No reason to expect well, that it will now. And then often, when the parents do respond, it's they respond too much, or they say go to your room. And so the kid goes to their room and what has really changed for them? Yeah, location.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's it they were being ignored ignored before, they're still being ignored when they're in their room. There's no contrast in that situation. Those kids aren't going to learn anything. Zero times Anything is still zero.

Speaker 1:

Right. A friend of mine painted this picture for me once about like the, a distracted parent being like when a kid goes on a carousel. You and they come around and every time the kids looking for their parent and they want them to smile at them, wave at them. Whatever with the modern age, with smartphones, or even back in the day with newspapers or just wandering in our own minds, if we don't ever look at that kid, they're going to learn to quit looking at us.

Speaker 2:

So, and when they quit looking at us, the implication of that is, over time, they're going to look to somebody else.

Speaker 1:

There you go. Okay, then there's the indulgent parent that I mentioned earlier. Tell us a bit about that parent.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so that's the parent who is always attentive to the kids. Kids are at the center of the universe. Kids get lots of privileges and attention, no matter what, and experience few consequences, regardless of what their behavior is. Those are parents who are not satisfied. A couple of sessions ago we talked about being a good enough parent, meeting kids needs, but not all of their wants. Those are parents who are not satisfied with that. You use the term helicopter parent or bulldozer parent. Those are our parents who are overly involved in their kids lives, managing every detail, and so the kids don't really get as much chance to misbehave because the parents are in the middle of everything doing it. But there's no, there's no real contrast in those situations early either, and then, when they do have to confront something that's more difficult, they have a hard time doing it.

Speaker 1:

And then you mentioned the rigid parent.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so the rigid parent is. The strict rules can't be violated in any way. You know structure in every aspect of their lives all the time and must be responsive to everything that the parent says Immediately. It's kind of the you know boarding school, you know approach to things and what tends to happen. And there need to be some rules. We're going to talk in some detail about how to structure rules and some of those things later on. There need to be rules. There need to be some things that are non-negotiable, but that number is pretty small.

Speaker 2:

Honestly. You're making sure that you're taking care of the core things and then, beyond that, you want to begin to involve your kids in the process of being able to to negotiate or talk about things or whatever. When kids never get the opportunity for that, when it's just absolute compliance all the time, the most likely reaction is they go underground. They start learning to be sneakier or to bootleg things because there's no good way for them to really get what they want from the parent. There's no flexibility in anything, so they learn other ways to accomplish what they want to accomplish.

Speaker 1:

So you give these examples of parents, so none of them are great, like I'm not supposed to pick one of these and be like I'm one of these. Or do most people fall in one of these buckets of distracted, indulgent or rigid parenting?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I don't think anybody probably falls into all of those. I mean, they're just intended to sort of guidance for things to look out for right Got it, so you have.

Speaker 1:

each of us may have a tendency to fall in one of these three categories.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, I think so At least I did so.

Speaker 1:

When you see a kid, or even an adult, can you make a good guess as to what their parenting like, how they were parenting, yeah, by their behavior. So how do you think my parents? Well, were my parents distracted, indulgent or rigid? Yes, wow, come on, Get off the fence. It hurts sitting out of the fence, tim, what?

Speaker 2:

do you think you know? I don't know that I know you enough, but I'm inclined to say that they were more rigid.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you nailed it For sure, my parents. They definitely weren't distracted and not indulgent either. But part of that, I think, is a time piece of it as well. Like for me growing up, the parents, the adults, most often got the benefit of the doubt. Yeah, so if I came home and I was like my teacher did this, like my parents never, ever took this out of the teacher. They, it was almost always like, well, what did you do that caused your teacher to do that? Yeah, whereas I have seen the change now where it's like the parent will more often listen to that child and take their side over the teacher pretty, pretty quickly, and there's still a lot of you parents out there who are not doing that. But yeah, so my I grew up in more of a rigid parenting in that bucket and I think that's caused me to parent, or maybe my inclination is to be more of a rigid parent, or maybe I rebel sometimes and I become more indulgent.

Speaker 2:

You go in the opposite direction Right right.

Speaker 1:

But each of us land somewhere in one of these buckets and it's good for us to kind of acknowledge that, diagnose that, so we know what our tendencies are.

Speaker 2:

but to not be content in any of those three buckets, yeah, and what you're really looking for is balance, and I mean everything that we have talked about, everything we will talk about, is aimed toward being, you know, reasonable in your expectations, but having expectations right.

Speaker 2:

Not expecting four year olds to understand or do things that they're not prepared to do yet, but also expecting that you know kids are gonna comply with you, not only for their own safety, I mean. Like you know, sometime you just need them to listen to you, just because I mean, if I say don't stick that fork in the outlet, I don't wanna have to have a discussion about that, I need them to do that. Don't run in the street. That's not open for discussion, right. So there are some things where you need to just be compliant. But once we establish what those kind of core things are and you've established yourself as an authoritative instead of authoritarian kind of presence in their lives, then within that framework, this part we're not gonna negotiate about at all. But from there we can have a talk and I will listen to you, but at the end of the day I'll make the decision and my decision is gonna be the one that matters in the end.

Speaker 1:

And that gets into repetition, yeah, of parenting like gravity. Be like a gravity parents. That repetition of being consistent over and over again. You have a story in your book about Jackson and the toy train.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, this actually was something that happened in a clinic. I think I was doing an outreach clinic in Columbus at the time and the usual approach is parent comes in with the kid. I usually would talk to the kid for a few minutes to try to get to know them, while the parent looks on. And then at some point I said okay, good, thank you, I need to talk to your mom for a few minutes. Go over there and play for a while. I'll let you know when I'm ready to talk to you again. And so after a couple of minutes the kid comes back and he has this little toy train and as the wheels go around, the engineer's head bounces up and down. He says, mom, look. And she's like oh, is it that so cute? Look at that. Look what happens when you turn the wheels. That's so cute. Thank you for showing me that. Go play now while I talk to the doctor.

Speaker 1:

Fine right very nice, I'm.

Speaker 2:

good reaction, positive response. Couple of minutes later the kid comes back with a different toy. He says mom, look. And she says would you get away from me? I am talking to the doctor, holy cow, Jekyll and Hyde.

Speaker 1:

Plenty of contrast, right?

Speaker 2:

Yes, huge C for contrast, big difference between her reaction to the first event and the second event. So that's good, but no repetition, oh nice. No R, because the way she reacted was essentially the same behavior, coming to show mom. Something was completely different from one time to the next. So big C, but repetition is zero. Anything times zero is still zero. So that kid wants to learn that that's going to equal.

Speaker 1:

No change, just unsettling. What do I do? And as adults we experienced this too where we're like, hey, I completed my report on time last time and the boss was pointing me out in the meeting and said Charles actually got the report done on time. Thank you, charles. None of the other losers got it done. And now this time I got it done and he doesn't make it?

Speaker 2:

Is that commonplace or out here?

Speaker 1:

None of you losers, none of you losers get it done. That is, if I got my reports done on time, I would find out. No, that's not true.

Speaker 2:

But so basically, I mean you think about like, if one of your kids is studying state capitals.

Speaker 1:

Yes, yes, here we go.

Speaker 2:

You're breaking out the flashcards or whatever, and you're helping your Benton learn state capitals, all right. Ok state capital of Texas is.

Speaker 1:

Austin, Austin, one for one.

Speaker 2:

All right Next time. State capital of Texas is Dallas. State capital of Texas is Houston, el Paso, houston.

Speaker 1:

Kalamazoo, Omaha, whatever we're going out of state lines.

Speaker 2:

If you give a different answer every time to the same question, it's really hard for anybody to learn anything?

Speaker 1:

Right, but finally.

Speaker 2:

In essence, you can think of your kid's behavior. They do some behavior and they're asking you a question. Is this behavior OK with you?

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Is this a good thing for me to do or not? Yes, you want to give them the same answer every time, right? Yes, you don't play games by different rules every time. You don't have a different job description Well, you kind of do Every time you show up for work. But if somebody changed the rules on you every single time, it would be confusing and difficult and painful.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 2:

And that's basically what you do when you respond to the same behavior two different ways, or you respond to it anyway one time and not at all the next time. So that idea of consistency is a really, really big deal. I mean, you've heard people say you should be consistent with your kids. This is why I mean that's how you're teaching them.

Speaker 1:

So this is also communication between the mom and the dad as well. To be consistent, Whether you're in the same household or not, that consistency really matters. Repetition matters.

Speaker 2:

So we want kids to get the same message from all of the adults with whom they interact. So again, that points out the importance of having some kind of a plan for what you do and being intentional about what you're doing with parenting, so that you're teaching the same thing the same way from one day to the next, one person to the next, one circumstance to the.

Speaker 1:

Right. So for Remy I say, hey, don't go outside, and now I bring her back inside, but then the next day I just let her go again. Then it's inconsistent. My repetition is a zero. And she's not learning. She's only learning my beat. Who knows? Yeah, he might punish me, he might not.

Speaker 2:

I'm going to play the game and see what happens, so this inconsistency you know big consequence one time not so much actually produces more misbehavior than if you don't respond at all. So I mean, the best example of this one with which you have, I assume, limited experience is slot machines.

Speaker 1:

Slot machines right so slot machines are.

Speaker 2:

There's a lot of behavioral science that goes into gambling and extracting money from people. Sure, slot machines are set to pay off on what's called a variable schedule of reinforcement, which means you know it's going to pay off, you just don't know when, uh-huh. And so what that produces is a very high level of behavior, because the faster you pull the handle or press the button or however it works, you'll get a win at some point.

Speaker 2:

You're getting to the payoff sooner, right? So things that pay off sometimes, but not all the time, tend to produce very high, very durable rates of responding. So if you are inconsistent, if you lack repetition, you can actually create more problem behavior, as that mom did with a little kid in the in the toy train in Columbus. I think Wow.

Speaker 1:

So we do have time for a bonus, really truly useful principle, and that is that doing better leads to feeling better. Ah, yes.

Speaker 2:

Tell us about that. Kids who are in environments that makes sense to them. Okay, do better.

Speaker 2:

If they have to work to figure out what your position is on things. If one day it's okay to go outside without asking, in the next day it's not. That's confusing. It's not as extreme as the example of the little kid with the toy train, but it's kind of the same thing.

Speaker 2:

I mean, I've been in classrooms where there are nine different ways for the teacher to get the teacher's attention. You can say the teacher's name, you can stand by her desk, you can pull on her shirt, you can wait quietly, you can stand on your desk, you can whatever, um, and because there's no clear understanding, no repetition, in that those tend to produce very high levels of problem behavior. Right, kids who know where they stand know where they stand and they can go on to doing the next thing and the next important kid thing in their life instead of having to worry about how that parents are. So that is a more comfortable place to be. And if you think about you know adult examples of you know things that happen to you that are unpredictable or inconsistent, your car won't start.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Or someone doesn't show up to meet you or, as I did, showed up early for the meeting today, and it's kind of confusing. Or you get laid off or something changes in your job on short notice. That's disconcerting, it's it's. You know. It's difficult to deal with emotionally. Same thing is true for kids. If things happen unexpectedly or inconsistently, it's hard for them, but they don't have adult level skills to deal with that Right. So if my car breaks down, I've got some really rudimentary like mechanic skills. I can open up the hood, look under there and then, after I fail completely at that, I can use my cell phone to call somebody to come help me or get a tow or call AAA or whatever it is. Kids don't have any of that stuff. What they've got is their behavior.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

So they behave, they do something and see what happens, and if something good happens, they do that again, yes, and if something bad happens, they don't do that again. But if something different happens every time, they basically just get confused. That that kid in Columbus was one confused little boy. Yeah, and he did some fairly extreme stuff just to try to get some kind of a positive or some kind of a reaction out of his mom, which is mostly being yelled at. Yeah, and he had some kind of extreme stuff that he would do, and he did it a lot, not because it produced a good reaction, but because it produced a reliable reaction.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 2:

And that consistency was more important to him.

Speaker 1:

He was looking for something to stand on, even if that was shaky ground. Yeah, so the good news for this is God has made each of you different, and I know there's some parents who will say to me I'm just not really a kid person. Um, I and and that might be true, it's like cause God has made each and every one of us different, uh, but amid our uniqueness, each of us can follow these principles to give our kids something reliable to stand on. And so that is with the big that, that sea of contrast, of making their life different. When they do something that we appreciate, we let them know, we celebrated. We actually make a difference there. If they do something that we don't want them to do, we make that look different as well. We go from the land of Oz to the dreary land of Kansas or into whatever state you don't like, and then that times repetition to be consistent in that give your child steady ground to stand on so that each time they go against this rule, they know what's going to happen. They might still roll the dice and see, like I still really want to get that cookie, so I'm going to reach for the cookie, but then, once they get caught. There's actually.

Speaker 1:

And as a kid who misbehaved a lot like, this is a, this is a, this is a, this is a, this is a, this is a. This. This stood out to me because I don't really shock to hear that, yeah, isn't that weird. So, and I have siblings who didn't misbehave a lot, but I misbehaved a lot. But I'd have a teacher who was like really strict and, um, people would just assume that I didn't like that teacher. But the reality was, if I knew what to expect from that teacher, I liked them.

Speaker 2:

You knew where you stood, I knew where I stood with that teacher and then you probably took it up right up to the very edge.

Speaker 1:

I absolutely did, but I knew if I cross that I'm going to get punished and that's, and they're consistent with it. Yeah, and so parents, you don't all have to be the wild, as goofy, as most fun parent be. Show that contrast and be consistent with it so that C times R is going to lead to things where your kids they're, they're going to learn that change. Um, and it's going to become consistent and we don't have to be the goofiest, the silliest, be who God made you to be and your kids. They don't need you to be silly, they need you to be you.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so he's okay. And the bigger point here is they should have a really good idea of how you're going to respond to a particular behavior, because you had a really good idea First you. You had thought about it, you know where you stand on things and you're prepared to respond in a consistent way.

Speaker 1:

Wonderful. So a couple takeaways from this. All name one, you name another. I'm going to go with this equation that I just learned that contrast times, repetition, will equal change or learn behavior in my child and that if I don't have contrast or I'm totally inconsistent with my reaction, then those are zeros and my child is going to be unsettled and not learn or change their behavior over time. So that's one main takeaway that I got from this. What's another one you'd want people to have?

Speaker 2:

The biggest takeaway for me is the more consistent you are as a parent, the more intentional you are as a parent, just like you interacting with that. You know. Stricter teacher, the more you let kids know where they stand and then you remind them of that time in time out every single time, the better their lives are. They may object to not being able to go outside sometime because they had something else for them, but in terms of their adjustment, in terms of their emotional status, they feel more secure in the world because you're like the rock there. They know they can count on what they're going to get from you.

Speaker 1:

Yes, and like Dwayne the Rock Johnson says, can you smell what the rock is cooking? I'd like to leave you with that. Today, hopefully, you're cooking something delicious, but regardless of all that, thank you for tuning in. I love learning. Together. Let's learn how to be the best parent we can be, the way God has made us, so that our children will one day be ready to get out there, love on the world around them Because they've been given a foundation and they've learned some really healthy ways to self-regulate, to live and love the people around them, and that these boundaries they're helpful. So thank you for joining with us today. We'll see you next time for session five of First of Broccoli, see you.

Teaching Children Through Parenting Principles
The Role of Contrast in Learning
Different Parenting Styles and Their Effects
Consistency and Repetition in Parenting
Consistency and Reliable Reactions for Parenting
Be the Best Parent With God